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The Godfather Goes Digital

The Godfather is finally coming to DVD.

The digital holdout will be released by Paramount Home Entertainment on Oct. 9 in a five-disc collector’s set aptly titled The Godfather DVD Collection. The boxed set includes Parts I, II and III of the crime family saga, plus a 3-hour, 20-minute “bonus materials” disc featuring behind-the-scenes documentaries, additional footage and interactive features.

The collection will carry a minimum advertised price of $74.95.

The films will be presented in a widescreen format enhanced for 16:9 televisions and will feature Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround audio tracks. Paramount said the movies would not be available individually.

Interactive elements will include an extensive Corleone Family tree that will allow viewers to learn more about specific characters or cast members by selecting their images. The bonus materials disc will also feature a drillable timeline that blends historic and on-screen events, as well as a “Rogue’s Gallery” of Godfather heavies. All told, the bonus disc will hold nearly 300 informative menu pages and still images.

At a retailer/press event held here earlier this month, Paramount Home Entertainment Worldwide president Eric Doctorow said the studio had delayed releasing the films on DVD “until the market had matured enough.” Citing Consumer Electronics Association figures, executive VP sales and marketing Meagan Burrows defined maturation as the expected “20 million installed DVD players by October.” International president Phil Jackson added that 6 percent of TV households worldwide will have the hardware this year.

Director Francis Ford Coppola, on hand to announce the release of the collection as well as a new macaroni line from a local pasta factory, said he is “a tremendous fan of the format” due to the quality of sound and image that it affords. That wasn’t always the case, he added, as “They didn’t quite have the authoring down” for first generation conversions.

Days after the event, reported the Godfather DVD Collection set a single-day DVD sales record at the Web site, nearly four months before its release date, and the first day it was available for pre-orders.

Amazon put the title in the No. 1 position on its “Movers & Shakers” list, with more than 4,000 boxed sets sold during the 24-hour period, equaling more than 20,000 DVDs and resulting in the largest single-day DVD revenue ever for a single DVD title at