Wednesday, April 26, 2017

McPop: Dances With Failure

When Dances With Wolves won the Best Picture Oscar, it not only inflated Kevin Costner's ego, it also inflated Orion's predictions of how many VHS videocassettes it would sell. The company made the then novel decision to mass produce videocassettes and sell them at a low price point, similar to the way Disney sold its animated features. It worked for Disney because its films catered to children who would wear out the cassettes with repeated viewings. Would it work for Mr. Costner's masterpiece?


It didn't. Orion was stuck with millions of copies that were returned by stores who couldn't sell them. Loathe to destroy them or dump them in a New Mexico landfill, Orion convinced McDonald's to market the film alongside its Big Macs and Egg McMuffins.


If a customer purchased a large burger or McMuffin, he or she could own one of three Orion films for just $7.99, a deep discount from the suggested retail price of $24.99. The promotion was a huge success and inspired a similar deal that coincidentally featured another Kevin Costner film- Field of Dreams.