The last two studios to hold down prices on new rental titles have given up and raised their rates. Both Paramount and Vestron recently announcedupcoming videos that will retail for $89.95, a policy most major labels adopted earlier this year, when top list prices were lifted from $79.95. Consumers may never know the difference: Retailers threatened to buy fewer copies of the movies when the price hikes began, but sales are as strong as ever.
Paramount has further softened the blow by picking two of the summer's biggest disappointments to usher in the new price level: "Summer School" (due on tape in December) and "Back to the Beach" (scheduled for January). Vestron, meanwhile, has pegged the popular "Dirty Dancing" at $89.95, despite the fact that the tape will have at least one commercial on it when it comes out in January. Vestron has agreed to place an ad for the sound-track album at the end of the tape, and is reportedly looking for a second advertiser to put its message at the front.
Hollywood Souffle' Among Hollywood restaurants, Spago reigns supreme as the scene-to-be-seen for celebrities and studio executives. Chef Wolfgang Puck has garnered some measure of celebrity himself, enough to earn him a guest spot on "Hollywood Squares" this year. Now Puck is aiming for more permanent exposure with a cooking video, "Spago Cooking With Wolfgang Puck," due from Warner Home Video this week. The one-hour, $29.95 tape offers 15 recipes from the restaurant's California Cuisine menu, including two of the provocative pizzas (one topped with prosciutto and goat cheese, the other with smoked salmon and caviar) that have earned Puck renown. Of course, Spago wouldn't be Spago without star power, so Puck has lined up some local luminaries to help him out, including Kate Capshaw ("Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom"), Christina Ferrare ("A.M. Los Angeles"), Joel Grey, Robert Townsend and Vincent Price. Townsend, who only last year risked his credit rating to bring "Hollywood Shuffle" to the screen, helps Puck whip up a chocolate souffle' and other confections; call them just desserts.
Classic Clearance NelsonEntertainment is cutting the price on eight vintage films this week; formerly ticketed at $25-$70, all eight will now retail for $19.95. Most feature the work of top-notch producers, directors or stars in movies that either kept them famous or made them so. From the grand old days of British cinema come three from producer Alexander Korda: "The Divorce of Lady X" (1938), with Laurence Oliver and Merle Oberon playing infidelity for laughs; "Knight Without Armour" (1937), with Marlene Dietrich, Robert Donat and John Clements in a Russian Revolution romance; and "The Private Life of Henry VIII" (1933), with Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester, Binnie Barnes and Oberon as husband, wife, wife and wife. Laughton shows up again in "Hobson's Choice" (1954), and Alec Guinness stars in "Tunes of Glory" (1960). And there's also one each from three of America's biggest directors: John Ford's "The Hurricane" (1937); Howard Hawks' "Ball of Fire" (1941); and William Wyler's "Dead End" (1937). The price reduction is permanent.
Goetz's Release The Bernhard Goetz video didn't make its target release this month, but it will be out on the streets well before its star's case is over. MPI Home Video, which had hoped to get the tape out in time for Goetz's sentencing, plans to release the tape early next month. "The Confessions of Bernhard Goetz" will run 80 minutes, much of which will be taken up with Goetz's emotional confession. There are also interviews with the victims' lawyers, some jurors and Goetz supporter Curtis Sliwa, head of New York's Guardian Angels. All this for $39.95 -- or the equivalent of 40 trips on the New York subways.
Hues of 'Heat' Its moral issues may still be black and white, but the folks at CBS/Fox Video have decided that the 1949 gangster drama "White Heat" needs a little dressing up. The James Cagney classic comes out later this month after a trip to the colorizing lab. The title will not be affected ... If you think you could do a better job than the colorization computers, Workman Publishing is going to give you a chance. Next month it will publish "The Colorization Coloring Book," which features outlined drawings of shots from 35 movies, including "Citizen Kane," "Psycho" and "Casablanca." Purists, of course, can tear out the drawings and display them as they are.