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Titanic Release

August 17, 1998|By SHEILA HOTCHKIN

Local video stores are bracing for the Sept. 1 release of "Titanic" as the winner of 11 Academy Awards prepares to conquer the retail market.

Most are taking advance orders for the video or offering special deals to attract the fans that made the movie a success at the box office.

Dawn Kearns, an assistant manager of Blockbuster Video in Martinsburg, W.Va., estimated that by late July, her store had placed 400 advance orders for the double-tape video.

"It's going pretty well," Kearns said.

Her store is offering a free rental to those buying "Titanic," Kearns said.

She saw the movie twice, but has not had a chance to add her order to the number already placed.

"Not yet, but I will," she said.

Blockbuster Video's Hagerstown store is giving away a $5 gift card with the purchase of the movie, said Jason Polosky, a store manager.

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His store also has taken a number of orders. "We're doing all right," Polosky said enigmatically, although he declined to give exact figures.

The "Titanic" video will sell for $18 to $23, according to retailers.

Requests for the video have been pouring into many stores since the Oscar winner for Best Picture hit the big screen last year.

Polosky said customers have asked if he had the movie in "ever since it's been in the theater."

And rumors have even developed around the film's release, Kearns said.

"I've heard a lot of people saying they heard it was never coming out," she said.

While the highest-grossing movie of all time appeals to a broad audience, it holds a particular attraction for a certain group.

"It's mostly young women, although...we've had a lot of middle-aged people. But it's mostly teenagers. Because of Leo," said Kearns, referring to the movie's male lead, Leonardo DiCaprio.

A manager at Video Invasion in Martinsburg who declined to give her name said her store is expecting Sept. 1 to be especially busy due to the release.

While she said there are no plans to schedule additional employees, she predicts her staff will feel the difference.

Not everyone has been affected by "Titanic's" impending release.

Ronald Itnyre, a manager of A to Z Video in North Village Shopping Center, said his store had only preordered a handful of the videos within a month of the release.

Still, he said, they are prepared for a rush with a number of orders for the store already placed for videos both to rent and sell.

"For something like that, it's standard," Itnyre said.

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