Underbelly: articles

Underbelly DVD sales could break records

THE controversial Channel Nine series Underbelly goes on sale around South Australia today - but fans who haven't pre-ordered will struggle to find a copy.

“When you consider this is a DVD which sells for $69.95, the interest is absolutely unprecedented. Underbelly is a phenomenon,” says Paddy Bryans, marketing director at Village Roadshow.

Eager customers are still awaiting the first arrivals of the Underbelly Uncut, which is expected to hit shelves later this afternoon.

The first run of 60,000 sold out in pre-orders alone - and retail stores in Adelaide were experiencing a steady stream of inquiries today.

“Our first run was 60,000 units, which is roughly double the amount we would run for our other big-name series, like Dr Who or Top Gear,” said Mr Bryans.

“We have another 20,000 copies waiting in the wings. The DVD has only been released today, so it’s too early to say we will definitely be breaking records, but all the excitement has led us to believe this will be a huge seller for us.”

Underbelly Uncut has been released under stringent conditions, to comply with the current bans in Victoria.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Betty King banned the multimillion-dollar series from screening in Victoria in February, saying it could prejudice a murder trial.

The DVD has been banned from being sold over the internet by retailers and all packaging and promotional material will be marked “Not for Sale, Distribution or Exhibition in Victoria”.

"We are just putting the framework in place so that we are not condoning consumers from Victoria buying the DVD," Mr Bryans said.

"Not being able to sell it in Victoria limits the potential for the DVD, but there is plenty of interest in the other states."

However, Victorians might not have to wait too long to see the series.

The Nine Network could screen hit gangland drama in Victoria as early as next week, when the murder trial preventing it from being shown in the state is expected to conclude.

The order will end when a verdict is reached in the trial of alleged underworld killer Evangelos Goussis, who is accused of killing gangland figure Lewis Moran.

Once the jury deliver its verdict, Nine will be free to screen the show - although an application to extend the ban may be made.

Concerns have already been raised that screening the program could affect the trial of underworld figure Tony Mokbel and an appeal by Carl Williams.

But Mokbel's former lawyer Mirko Bagaric said the drugs fugitive had already received so much negative publicity that it would not matter if Underbelly screened.

Nine refused to comment.

By Michael Harry, Daniel Fogary
May 08, 2008
The Advertiser