Snow White in the 21st CenturyThe responsibility for bringing Snow White into the new millennium, and for showing that Disney can hold its own with the innovative DVDs that have been coming out of other studios, fell on the shoulders of Chris Carey, senior vice president of DVD productions for Buena Vista Home Entertainment - the marketing, sales, and distribution arm for Disney DVDs and videocassettes. Carey is the driving creative force behind the $30 two-disc set. He was also my guide on a behind-the-scenes tour of the people and places that played key roles in the creation of the new DVD.
As he slid into his tan BMW at the end of Mickey Avenue on the Disney lot, Carey flashed the grin of a man about to unveil a better mousetrap. "From [Disney CEO] Michael Eisner on down, it's been a priority to make the Snow White DVD great in every way," Carey said. "We wanted to make sure it's something people will enjoy for a long time to come - that it will remain fun and entertaining. The Platinum releases are going to be where we bring out the biggest, best, and most impressive things we have."
Dwarf Power The tour that lay ahead included everything a wannabe Mouseketeer could hope for - meetings with the key creative figures who collectively conjure the Disney magic and a peek at the state-of-the-art equipment and restoration methods. Standing in front of the Disney headquarters, looking at the happy sight of Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey, and all the other dwarfs who serve as its literal and figurative pillars, it was easy to imagine the Snow White DVD sailing off successfully into a fairy-tale sunset. But it will actually face some pretty stiff competition, premiering the same day as The Godfather DVD Collection and just a few days before the October 16 worldwide DVD release of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace.
I asked Carey if he was worried about these rival discs. "Well, I bet ours is better than theirs," he said with a laugh. Growing more serious, he added, "But I don't know. We'll have to see what they've done."
The Snow White DVD absorbed the better part of Carey's life for the past two years as he coordinated people in dozens of departments. Most recently, it cut short a vacation with his family in Australia. "We're redoing the animation of the Magic Mirror in 32 languages," said Carey by way of explanation. "There's a lot left to do," he said as he steered the BMW toward the facility where the movie's color was digitally restored.
Bob Chapek, president of Buena Vista Entertainment, and Chris Carey,
senior VP of DVD productions.
Ed Wexler and Stan Deneroff show how they converted existing artwork for the Dopey's
Wild Mine Ride DVD game.
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