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Retailers selling out of copies of 'Gods and Generals' DVD

July 17, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

After a dismal Box Office showing, "Gods and Generals" got a promising reception in retail stores as copies of the DVD and video flew off the shelves this week.

The locally filmed Civil War epic was the top-selling DVD at Amazon.com its first two days on the market Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Director Ronald Maxwell and the online retailer's Web site.

Both Circuit City in Hagerstown and Wonder Book & Video in Halfway said copies of the movie sold out the first day.

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"That was pretty much all that was asked for all day," said Wonder Book & Video Assistant Manager Fawnia Souders. More copies will come in either Friday or Tuesday, she said.

Circuit City sold between 30 and 40 copies the first day and hopes to get more either today or Friday, said Product Specialist Amanda Leedy.

Leedy attributed the movie's popularity to the local connection and to the fact that "Gods and Generals" deals with the subject of war.

"Ever since 9/11, that's just how people are, they buy that kind of stuff more than they used to," she said.

Maxwell said even giant retailer Wal-Mart was having trouble keeping the movie stocked.

"It's just delightful news ... especially on the heels of the disappointing theatrical release," Maxwell said.

Ted Turner Pictures spent nearly $90 million on the production and promotion of "Gods and Generals," but the movie grossed just $12.9 million domestically, according to Box Office Mojo's Web site. Nationally, most movie critics panned it.

Maxwell said he won't get firm numbers on the DVD and video sales for at least a week.

Maxwell said the movie wasn't a hit in theaters because of its length, which was nearly four hours.

People are more likely to watch a long movie in the comfort of their own homes, he said.

"I think it reflects the movie-going patterns of the world we live in," he said. "There's a big appetite for this subject matter in this format."

Those who still want to see the movie, but don't want to buy it or rent it, eventually will have a chance to see it on television.

Maxwell said HBO and TNT eventually will show the movie.

For those fans who can't get enough, an approximately six-hour director's cut will be released in 2005, Maxwell said. It will feature deleted scenes, including those of the Battle of Antietam.

The just-released video includes the box-office version of the movie plus an introduction by Turner, footage on the making of the movie, two music videos and historical commentary.

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