Repo! The Genetic Opera – DVD Anatomy

Repo! The Genetic Opera, this year’s third-best dystopian rock opera about organ repossession, lands on DVD and Blu-ray January 20. Regardless of the movie’s critical reception (not so much “mixed” as “polarizing”), this movie has been an exercise in the power of the Internet fan base, which pestered Lionsgate Films until the direct-to-DVD movie got a very limited release in four cities. The word-of-mouth fandom came out in droves, and pressure on the studio built until more screenings were scheduled. The creators have been doing a road trip for the last few months, hosting the film at various independent theatres around the United States.

Full disclosure: I was emphatically not a fan of the theatrical release. However, regardless of my problems with this film in itself, I think the general phenomenon of a movie succeeding on an internet grassroots campaign is well worth investigating. The fans, who call themselves “The Repo! Army,” peppered YouTube with viral marketing about the film and literally took to the streets to hand out fliers about screenings; consequently, Lionsgate has shown enough interest to suggest several songs from the movie for Oscar consideration. The market informing the creation seems to be increasingly popular—and successful—in an age where even Tina Fey takes message boards to heart.

Well, home-release watchdog DVD Active has the final release details for the DVD and Blu-ray editions, and it looks like Lionsgate is still not sure what to do with Repo!.

DVD ($19.98) extras will include:

– a commentary by director Darren Lynn Bousman and actors Bill Moseley, Alexa Vega and Ogre
– a second commentary by director Lynn Bousman, creators Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich and music producer Joseph Bishara
– 2 featurettes (From Stage to Screen, Legal Assassin—A Repo Man)
– theatrical trailer

The Blu-ray ($29.98) will include all of the above features, plus:

– select scene audio commentary by Bousman and actress Paris Hilton
– 2 additional featurettes (Zydrate Anatomy—Amber Sweet: Addicted to the Knife, Chase the Morning—Blind Mag: The Voice of GeneCo)
– deleted scenes
– video sing-alongs

According to early reports, the deleted scenes are:

– Come Up And Try My New Parts
– Needle Through A Bug
– Buon Giorno
– Graverobber And Shilo Escape

It seems odd that Lionsgate (which should be aware of this movie’s fan base by now) is so deliberately snubbing DVD owners in favor of trying to eke another ten dollars out of every fan via Blu-ray. Why not offer a two-disc DVD set for another ten dollars? (From what I’ve seen, the fans are willing to buy industrial meat hooks and specialty contacts for cosplay—it’s not like they’ll balk at another ten bucks.) Are they trying to seduce the casual buyer into dropping twenty dollars on a movie that’s announced under the umbrella of the Saw franchise? (The beautiful Art Deco-meets-Soviet-propaganda posters that advertised the film are nowhere to be seen on the cover art, which depicts a lone rubber-aproned Repo Man.)

Is Lionsgate just pulling a Peter Jackson and planning an expensive Director’s Edition in six months? It might be the best explanation; certainly, keeping the deleted scenes (and what is no doubt priceless Paris Hilton commentary) off the DVD release is a strange move for a movie with such a thorough following, and Lionsgate might want to reconsider the stratification of DVD extras. Nothing is as frightening as a fandom scorned.


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