Underbelly: articles

Underbelly Uncut sells out before it hits the stores

RETAILERS have so many pre-orders for the Underbelly Uncut DVD that they may have sold out before tonight's Village Roadshow's DVD launch in Sydney.

Village Roadshow is having a party in Sydney's King's Cross tonight (Thursday) to launch the Underbelly DVD which includes scenes not seen on television for legal reasons.

The party is in Sydney because Underbelly - about Melbourne's 10-year gangland war - is banned in Victoria where there's a case currently being heard in court.

By coincidence, Underbelly music coordinator Jess Moore was in court for a murder trial (though not anything to do with the gangland murders). She witnessed an assault at a party.

Underbelly executive producer Des Monaghan said the DVD release was creating a lot of excitment because demand had been greater than anticipated.

The benchmark was set by the ABC's Summer Heights High which broke DVD sales records becoming the biggest selling TV series DVD in Australian history in less than five months - selling over 310,000 copies.

Village Roadshow are expected to make an announcement at tonight's launch about sales numbers.

But Mr Monaghan, executive producer of Screentime which made the series, said there was a reality television element at play.

Not since Popstars in 2000 which produced Sophie Monk in a band called Bardot (also produced by Screentime) had Mr Monaghan seen a similar phenomenon.

"We have never had an Australian drama Underbelly has sold into 50 territories overseas including Canada, Asia and Europe.

"We have never had anything as big as this in Australian drama," he said.

Meanwhile, the Underbelly soundtrack is at the top of the Australian independent charts - second only to John Butler.

It features Australian music acts such as Brisbane's The Paper Scissors, Melbourne's Piklet, and Perth's The Panics. The soundtrack was complied by Level Two Music for Screentime. The theme song "It's A Jungle Out There" was written by Golden Globe-winning composer Burkhard Dallwitz (for Peter Weir's The Truman Show).

Burkhard Dallwitz also wrote the theme for Channel Seven's upcoming coverage of the Beijing Olympics.

Level Two's marketing manager Brendan Williams said The Panics had sold over 50,000 albums over the past two months on the back of Underbelly.

And surfers were "freaking out" because the soundtrack includes an out-of-print classic by GOD called My Pal, Mr Williams said.

They have sold 8000 copies of the soundtrack since it was released in March, but Mr Williams expects that sales will pick up with the DVD release.

"More than 30 per cent of sales these days is digital sales and we only go live for digital sales on May 6," Mr Williams said.

"We will definitely pick up sales for the soundtrack."

By Lisa Yallamas
May 01, 2008
The Courier-Mail