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RELEASE OF `NINJA TURTLES’ WILL FUEL BUSY VIDEO-BUYING SEASON THIS FALL

SHARE RELEASE OF `NINJA TURTLES’ WILL FUEL BUSY VIDEO-BUYING SEASON THIS FALL

In a move that sets the scene for a hotly competitive Christmas video retail buying season, Live Entertainment Inc. has announced that it will release the box-office smash, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie," on videocassette this fall.

Live's Family Home Entertainment label will offer "Turtles" on Oct. 4 at a suggested list price of $24.99. The price reflects a desire to promote the sale of the video heavily, as opposed to relying on rentals.Pizza Hut Inc. is backing the release with a $20 million marketing campaign, which will include rebate coupons, and television, radio and print advertising. Pizza Hut undertook a similar tie-in last year with the videocassette release of Universal Studios' "Land Before Time."

"This has been talked about for months," Tim Baskerville, publisher of Video Marketing Newsletter, a Hollywood industry publication, said of Monday's announcement. " `Turtles' has the potential to be a very big title."

But it's far from alone. Walt Disney Co. has announced plans to release the animated classic "Peter Pan," with a promotional tie-in with RJR Nabisco, Inc.

MGM/UA Communications Co. will release "All Dogs Go to Heaven," the Sullivan/Bluth Studios animated feature, with a promotional tie-in with marketing powerhouse Procter & Gamble Co.

The competition could become even more heated if Disney decides to release "Dick Tracy" on videocassette, as many industry executives are speculating. Disney executives were unavailable for comment.

Doug Lowell, an analyst with the Western Group in Los Angeles, said that "Turtles," which has earned $130 million at the box office to date, has the potential to be a "monster" video hit, along the lines of blockbusters such as "Batman."

"Batman" and "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" are either No. 1 or 2 in all-time videocassette sales, according to differing industry estimates.

Alexander & Associates, a New York consultant, estimates that 13 million units of "Batman" were shipped last year, although there may have been as many as 4 million returns. The firm estimates that 12.5 million units of "E.T." have been shipped, with few returns.

In a statement, David Mount, president and chief executive of Live Home Video, said, "The `Turtles' movie is generating incredible excitement among retailers and consumers as well."

Separately, Live Entertainment said it has renamed its home video subsidiary Live Home Video. It was previously known as International Video Entertainment Inc.VIDEO QUESTION

Q: I'm thinking of converting my 8mm film into videotapes, but I'm concerned. I've heard that film lasts much longer than tape. Is this true?

A: Film and tape will both last many, many years if cared for properly - stored away from heat and dampness. The primary reason to convert film to video is for convenient viewing. It's much easier to turn on a TV set and VCR than to set up the old projector. Besides, you're not going to discard the films, are you? They can be used again and again to make new video versions. - Andy Wickstrom (Knight-Ridder)NEW VIDEO RELEASES

RIVERBEND - Blacks in a small Southern town are terrorized by a bully sheriff who kills anyone courageous enough to talk about going to outside authorities. Enter three AWOL black Marines, led by rugged Steve James. En route to an Army base and a date to be court-martialed for not following orders to massacre a town of civilians in Vietnam, the soldiers outwit their captors and escape to Riverbend. There they rally the frightened black populace and turn the tables on the redneck sheriff and his cadre of racist politicians. The plot is overly formulaic, but there are solid performances from Steve James and Margaret Avery. It's the sort of video you have to lower your expectations to enjoy, but once done it yields some exciting moments. 106 minutes. Rated R. Prism. - Mike Pearson (Scripps Howard)

CHECKING OUT - Jeff Daniels is a man obsessed by his own mortality, a fixation sparked by the death of his best friend. We've all been reduced to jelly by those midnight palpitations that signal the dread end (haven't we?), and that's what makes this such a great comic subject. It's also what makes the failure to make something out of it all the more lamentable. Instead of developing the theme, the film attacks it with a lot of numbing slapstick featuring Daniels clutching his chest, stocking up on blood pressure monitors and bickering with his wife, played with likable feistiness by "thirtysomething's" Melanie Mayron. 1989. 95 minutes. Rated R. Virgin Version. $89.95. - Hal Hinson (Washington Post)

GHETTOBLASTER - A Vietnam vet/widower and his teenage daughter move back to his childhood neighborhood in Los Angeles, only to find that a gang called the Hammers has taken over the streets and is extorting money from businessmen - his stubborn father among them. Well, pop is gunned down, daughter is kidnapped, and soldier is beaten up in a bad way. Does he get mad? You bet, and then he gets even by pumping enough lead into the street punks to anchor a cargo ship. A tired formula action yarn that goes out of its way to avoid discussing the underlying causes of juvenile crime. The result is a video that couches boredom amid an avalanche of noise. 86 minutes. Rated R. Prism Home Video.- Mike Pearson (Scripps Howard)