Wednesday, July 26

Yours truly quoted in USA Today

DVDs put viewer in director's seat
Even as new high definition home video discs arrive to replace DVDs, some new DVDs show signs of evolution.

Final Destination 3 and Choose Your Own Adventure: The Abominable Snowman, both out today, give viewers unprecedented control over the story line.

At several points, viewers must choose between two paths. Depending on the choices, the movies play out differently.

FILM IS IN YOUR HANDS: Play God on 'Final 3' DVD

In Final Destination 3 (New Line Home Entertainment, $30), some characters have different fatal outcomes, and several can survive the mayhem. Among the 11 unique story paths in The Abominable Snowman (Goldhil Entertainment, $20), an animated tale of three children searching for their explorer uncle, some have "very bad endings and some very good endings," says Michelle Crames, a co-producer. "This is new for kids entertainment."

Two more interactive Choose Your Adventure DVDs, The Lost Jewels and Mystery of the Maya, are planned for 2007.

Interactivity was among the most touted features of DVD when it arrived in 1997, but only a few obscure releases have allowed viewers to affect the story line. New Line Home Entertainment says Final Destination 3 is the first interactive movie to be created with the collaboration of a major studio's theatrical and DVD production teams.

"I have a feeling that we may see more interactivity on certain titles, sometimes even as just a gimmick," says Erik Martinez of "This could be a very good thing for studios."

Other interactive DVDs:

What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole Quantum Edition (Fox, $29, out today). The three-disc set includes an expanded "quantum mode" of the 2004 film that produces a different movie each time.

Livin' It Up with The Bratz ($20, Aug. 1) from Goldhil, the same studio responsible for the Choose Your Adventure series. The fashion dolls branch off into different scenes.

A Nightmare on Elm Street Special Edition ($27, Sept. 26) is the 11th in New Line's infinifilm series that lets viewers opt to see additional features along with the film. "The infinifilm mode allows you to see all the special features in scene-specific context," New Line's Mike Mulvihill says.

New Line approached director James Wong before filming Final Destination 3 about the idea of alternate story lines. The studio allotted an extra $750,000 to the $25 million film budget.

"The hope is the audience will respond to this in a way to encourage us to do this again," Mulvihill says.


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