Trend in Hollywood: melding musicians with movies.
The Weinstein Co. and Genius Products are showing their hipness by playing up the music angle of the upcoming DVD release of "Derailed." The title hits stores Tuesday with an extended version of the stylish thriller, which grossed $36 million in theaters and stars Jennifer Aniston along with Xzibit and Wu-Tang Clan's the RZA.
It's part of a trend in Hollywood: melding musicians with movies. For DVD the union makes for an even stronger bond because music stores are among the primary retailers of DVDs — and music fans who go there to buy a CD might be inclined to pick up a DVD starring their favorite musician.
"In this age of the iPod, portable media devices and mobile downloads, we are seeing the melding of pop culture like never before," Genius Products executive vp marketing Michael Radiloff said. "Given these trends, it's not surprising that films would star successful recording artists or rappers."
Indeed, all sorts of movies prominently featuring musicians have been hitting DVD recently. This year, nearly a dozen features with high-profile musicians have come out, from Universal's "Jarhead" (Jamie Foxx) to Paramount's "Hustle & Flow" (Ludacris, Isaac Hayes, Haystak).
Upcoming DVDs include Lionsgate's "In the Mix," with Usher (hitting stores Tuesday), and a pair of Paramount titles: the 50 Cent starrer "Get Rich or Die Tryin' " (March 28) and "Last Holiday," with Queen Latifah and LL Cool J (May 2).
"Musical talent like Usher and Ludacris have an incredible following that makes them extremely appealing to movie studios," Lionsgate president Steve Beeks said. "They also have a natural stage presence that allows many of them to transition to acting very easily."
When greenlighting movies, Beeks added, Lionsgate is "always interested in working with talent that bring immediate credibility and name recognition to our movies." Invariably, he said, "musicians take on roles that are in line with their stage personality."