It's been one of the genuine film phenomena of 2011 – in a year that's seen it's fair share of 'em too. The Inbetweeners Movie has soared beyond expectations, becoming one of the year's highest grossing earner, one of the most successful British films ever and also the biggest earning homegrown comedies too. Not a day passed by in the summer without one of the tabloids, or broadsheets for that matter, basing a story around it and has led to frantic TV and film executives looking at their rosters and trying to turn their sitcoms into film gold. Oh, it's also helped the word "clunge" come into common parlance, expect on Oxford English Dictionary entry soon. And now The Inbetweeners Movie is coming to DVD and Blu-ray, with a December 12 bow. Given its unparalleled success, we thought it only fitting that we devoted a special edition of The Raygun newsletter to The Inbetweeners Movie, and everything surrounding it and 4DVD's imminent release. So, settle down bumders and bus w*nkers, as we bring you everything you need to know about The Inbetweeners… (Normal service on The Raygun will be resumed this Friday…)
We'll start with the release itself. Its December 12 means that 4DVD's assorted SKUs will be in stores before Christmas and the release is certain to cement the franchise's reputation as a seasonal seller par excellence. Assorted box sets of the programme have been among the overall bestsellers in the market for the previous two Christmas seasons, and topped TV charts. The film is being made available in a standard DVD version and an all-singing, all-dancing triple play release. The former is still a double disc set, containing the film itself and a second DVD of extras, including a Making Of…, bloopers, deleted scenes and other featurettes. It carries a 15 certificate, while the Blu-ray is an 18, offering not one but two versions of the film, including the theatrical version and an all-new, extended, too hot for cinemas cut. Both DVD and Blu-ray formats within the triple play package feature both versions and a whopping four different commentaries. The package also includes a digital copy of the film and a full DVD's worth of extras, offering more than two hours of unseen footage. 
In an age of shortening windows, it's interesting to note that The Inbetweeners Movie won't be on television over Christmas. Channel 4 has eschewed going down the Sky route, preferring to hold on to the film for itself and a television premiere on its own terrestrial channel later in 2012. There will be an iTunes release, but the film will have a good run before it heads to television. 

When it first aired on our screens back in summer 2008, few would have expected The Inbetweeners to go on to enjoy the kind of success and status it has now. It was a relatively inauspicious start, not disappointing, but not huge by any standards. What happened instead is that the programme became a bona fide word of mouth hit, the kind that the entertainment industry dreams of. DVD has been an integral part of that too. It has surprised even the most seasoned industry observers in recent years, becoming one of the year's  bestselling TV titles both in 2009 and 2010. It has now shifted well over 2 million units across different SKUs. 4DVD's Jess Scott said: "The Inbetweeners TV brand has sold phenomenally well on DVD and to reach the landmark of selling over 2 million units is absolutely fantastic. Alongside some record-breaking sales for The Inbetweeners Movie this December, we are also expecting many more sales of the catalogue product too." 
The Inbetweeners Movie's theatrical success has been nothing short of sensational. Guardian box office columnist Charles Gant, who also writes for Sight And Sound and is Heat's film critic, has written an exhaustive feature about its theatrical success for our website, see here, with comments from producer Chris Young. He also breaks down some of the more interesting elements of its performance, paying attention to the way it played in the provinces and suburbs and its capacity for repeat viewing. As Gant said in his feature: "In the first place, DVD sales for The Inbetweeners series have always been impressive, punching well above the weight suggested by the TV ratings. What's more, there's all that repeat cinema business to consider. Not everyone who pays to see a film at the cinema necessarily wants to own it on DVD or download, but it's a safe bet that everyone who paid to see it twice will be first in the queue." See the feature over on our website, as well as a closer look at some of the film's point of sale and a look at the finest moments from the TV series and the film itself…
Its record theatrical receipts, on top of its already firmly established home entertainment pedigree, have given the perfect platform to 4DVD's DVD and Blu-ray debut for The Inbetweeners Movie. As Spirit Entertainment Robert Callow, charged with selling the film into retailers, noted: "Since Inbetweeners first launched on DVD in 2008 it has been a phenomenal award winning, multi million selling journey the likes of which do not come along very often. The  fact that the Movie has achieved an incredible £45m at the box office combined with the fantastic reaction we have experienced from our retail partners gives me no doubt that we will be celebrating the Movie’s awesome DVD and BD sales with many a ‘Fish Bowl' this Christmas."

And what of the marketing? 4DVD's plans for the film are entirely suited to a film of this size and standing. This means a TV campaign running throughout December, beginning in the week before release and continuing up into the week before Christmas. As well as the traditional TV channels, terrestrial and digital, the television strand of the campaign will also include spots on 4OD, Channel 4's catch up service. Press ads will appear in the national press and magazines, this will include a spot on the front page of the Metro newspaper on the day of release. Outdoor elements will include a nationwide six sheet campaign at National Rail sites with what 4DVD calls "dramatic and eye-catching concourse backlights at key railway stations nationwide". There will also be banners at international rugby games throughout November and December. Radio spots will also appear on the national chart show on the Sunday before release. Below the line activity will include a whole raft of point of sale, see our website here for some great work in progress images of how The Inbetweeners Movie will take over stores…
One of the key elements throughout the theatrical release of The Inbetweeners Movie was the PR and coverage the film received. As the phenomenon swept the UK, it became clear that the national press and magazines were keen to write anything about the film. But although that aided its theatrical receipts and helped word of mouth spread like wildfire, it also created its own problems. "In planning the PR campaign we were aware that, having received such a wealth of media coverage in the run up and during the theatrical release, we would have to be strategic to ensure we were offering something new and exciting for the home entertainment release," said Ffion Williams from agency Market-Me. The fact that there are more than two hours' worth of extras on the release has helped matters, with Market-me placing clips and content on some of the biggest websites, ensuring the film has a high profile and yet still feels fresh. Williams added: "In terms of talent support, although the boys are all very busy at the moment (with new projects and babies), we’ve been able to secure an appearance for all four boys on The Jonathan Ross Show Christmas Special which is obviously a fantastic pre-Christmas platform for the release. We’ll be concentrating on the biggest magazines, radio and national supplements to make the best use of the time available with the boys; to supplement the usual reviews and competitions across mainstream lifestyle press." The agency will also be targeting women's magazines and newspaper supplements using the four girls from the film effectively as a "gang" to rival the boys. "As such a well-loved film, we’ll be surprising key journalists and influencers with ‘media mailers’ of goodies from the film, along with the DVD, to ensure they are talking – and tweeting – about The Inbetweerners come release week," concluded Williams. 
The big question of the week is "what next for The Inbetweeners?" And, crucially, will there be a sequel? The latter question is one of the msot prescient. Given its £45 million box office, a sequel seems the most likely route, but there's still nothing confirmed, despite national newspaper reports insisting that it was happening (which tallies with what we noted about about the amount of coverage The Inbetweeners Movie has got). "Studio bosses" had, one story noted, asked for one, without mentioning which "studio" the report was referring to. The closest we've got is co-creator and writer Iain Morris, who told website Den Of Geek: "We love working with the boys, we honestly miss them, and the reaction to the film is incredible, so we’ve got a lot to talk about."
One of the most notable post-Inbetweeners success stories thus far, certainly one of the first out of the blocks, was Fresh Meat, starring Joe Thomas, aka Simon. He is one of a gang of students just started at university and sharing a house together, appearing alongside, among others, stand-up comic turned actor Jack Whitehall. The series has drawn rave reviews and strong audience ratings, with 4DVD's release now slated for 2012, coming out at the same time as a second series will air on Channel 4. Telly bosses announced that it is being recommissioned before the series had even ended its first run. 
Thomas has already starred in his comedy pilot alongside his fellow Inbetweener, Simon Bird, aka Will, who co-wrote the script to Chickens, which aired on Channel 4 towards the end of the summer. No news yet, however, as to whether or not this will be developed into a fuller series…
Meanwhile, the other main cast members of The Inbetweeners, have also been keeping themselves busy. James Buckley, also known as Jay, has just become a father, and was recently seen on our screens as part of a younger generation joining comic veterans The Conic Strip for their return outing The Hunt For Tony Blair. And Neil, known to his family as Blake Harrison, is starring in Reuniting The Rubins, which recently aired at the London Film Festival ahead of a full release. 
The Facebook site for The Inbetweeners is well worth a look, see it here:!/e4inbetweeners

Here's the original trailer for The Inbetweeners Movie…
Head over to our website for the newly-created home entertainment-friendly trailer, complete with an introduction from the boys themselves…
And here's writer/creators Iain Morris and Damon Beesley talking about some of their inspirations and other things…
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