Although “Pulp Fiction” is still doing so well in theaters that it won’t be released on video tape until September, most of this year’s other major Academy Award nominees will be available on tape by the end of April.
If all goes according to most predictions, this year’s major winners will be in stores a few weeks after the Oscars are handed out Monday night in Los Angeles.
“Forrest Gump,” which is expected to dominate the awards, is due on tape April 28. Now officially the fourth most successful film ever made, it has just passed “The Lion King” in theatrical gross, and will no doubt add to its honors with Oscars for best picture, actor (Tom Hanks) and director (Robert Zemeckis).
Paramount Home Video is releasing the tape for just $23 and promising its “largest marketing campaign ever,” although it’s not expected to do as well on cassette as “The Lion King,” which now dominates the kid-vid market with nearly 30 million tapes sold.
Coming April 18 is “Blue Sky,” the front-runner for best actress (Jessica Lange), who has already collected a couple of critics’ prizes for her work as a restless Army wife in the early 1960s. Filmed nearly five years ago and delayed because of Orion Pictures’ money troubles, it was a commercial disaster when it was released to theaters last fall, and an Oscar-related reissue did little business last month. It will undoubtedly find its largest audience on tape.
“The Shawshank Redemption,” which collected seven nominations, makes its video debut April 11. This inspirational prison drama brought in the smallest crowds of the five Oscar nominees for best picture, and it did only slightly better than “Blue Sky” when it was reissued to theaters recently. Nevertheless, it could collect an Oscar or two in technical categories next week, and it’s expected to do well enough on cassette to reach the breakeven point.
“Ed Wood,” due April 18, seems likely to collect both of the Oscars for which it’s nominated: best makeup and supporting actor (Martin Landau as horror veteran Bela Lugosi). Tim Burton’s delightful comic biography of the inept Z-grade filmmaker (expertly played by Johnny Depp) was also a commercial bust, expected to make back its production costs on small screens.
Due the same day is Robert Redford’s outstanding 1950s morality drama, “Quiz Show,” which the New York Film Critics picked as the best picture of 1994. Although it seems to have a slim chance of capturing any of the four Oscars for which it’s nominated, it should also benefit from the buzz created by the Oscar telecast.
“Hoop Dreams,” which is coming to tape April 25, caused an uproar when it failed to win a nomination for best documentary. For that reason, it stands a good chance of winning in the one category in which it is nominated: best film editing.
Another strong contender with only one nomination is “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” which is up for best costume design. The Australian comedy about drag queens and ABBA fans is coming to tape April 4.