Is "Lost" losing its DVD punch?

Hundreds of journalists who attended last summer's big "Lost" Season One DVD launch event are still talking about it. Including (full disclosure) me. I covered the bash as a freelancer writing for the now defunct Variety publication, VLife.

First, there were the free flights to Oahu and lodgings at the luxurious Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore of the island. Then there was the travel intinerary/party invite with an Oceanic Airlines plane ticket for a tram ride to the secret party location, complete with chirpy stewardesses handing out packages of peanuts.

The 'flight' hit a little planned 'turbulence' (a bumpy road and slightly erratic steering by the driver) as the tram performed a rocky landing in the dark jungle. Hidden speakers blasted loud roars and sounds of crashing vegetation as guests and reporters followed the colored lights to a clearing deep in the mangroves.

LostdecorThe centerpiece of the party  was a burned Oceanic fuselage, where a band performed while guests enjoyed Hawaiian fare and tropical fruit drinks, occasionally checking out the penned and totally bored wild boar.

Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Naveen Andrews, Jorge Garcia, Dominic Monaghan, Terry O'Quinn, Daniel Dae Kim and others came to talk to reporters waiting on the red carpet rolled out on the sand. Even the cast was impressed by the elaborate jungle party space, where the sand was specially cleared and cleaned for the event.

With all this planning it's no wonder the event, executed by Paradigm Shift Worldwide, just won the Event Marketer Organization's 2006 EX Award for "Best Press Event (Consumer/Mass Media)."

"We wanted to create an event that got our talent, guests, and the press to experience 'Lost' as if they were really in that environment," Gordon Ho, Buena Vista Home Entertainment told Event Marketer, a trade publication. "We wanted to enable the press to feel excited about it--to be able to have in-depth conversations with the talent about the DVD and the show, and then translate that to the consumer."

So how will BV top this act? They're not even gonna try.

The next "Lost" Season Two DVD Release event is again being held at the Turtle Bay Resort on August 15 for the DVD which will be released on Sept 5. But for starters, the invited press list has been drastically cut.

"We're only inviting half the press we did last year and the list is mostly broadcast press," says an inside source. "The red carpet was so long last year that it took the cast members two hours to do the press line."

And that expensive bungle in the jungle party? It's been changed to a much smaller party at the resort's spiffy new 125-seat restaurant, Ola, (meaning life or living), which was under construction at the time of the last launch.

The party is still early in the planning stages and more intricate details about the "Lost" launch may be forthcoming. But it's worth noting that one reason for this year's low key shindig could be that BVHE, a division of financially challenged Disney Studios, may be feeling the Disney purse strings tightening up. Especially since 650 Disney employees were let go yesterday.

Or maybe BVHE is just not willing to pony up to promote "Lost," which was noticeably – and explicably - snubbed for so many Emmys this year. Does this much smaller and less expensive "Lost" DVD launch signal the death bell of the hit ABC show as a moneymaking franchise?

Let's hope not.

Photo Credit: A close look at the "Lost" DVD Season One launch party in a jungle near Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu in 2005.
Photo by Elizabeth Snead

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