With a real war receiving saturation coverage on television, few Marylanders are flocking to video stores for Hollywood's version of hostilities.
While there is still demand for rentals of war films such as "Platoon" and "Casualties of War," more people are checking out comedies and the first two "Godfather" films, according to a survey of several area video outlets.
Most stores report that business is back to normal following a steep drop-off when the Persian Gulf war began, which they attributed to people watching round-the-clock television reports.
At Video Outlet in Pikesville, customers are opting for such lightfare as "Look Who's Talking," foreign movies and musicals, according to owner Jo Ann Ricketts. "It's escapism," she said. "People need a break."
In fact, Ms. Ricketts has specifically instructed her staff not to stock war movies on a special shelf of recommended titles, explaining, "I don't want to make people more upset than they already are."
Gus Karas, sales associate at Erol's in Loch Raven Plaza, said most of the demand at his store has been for "Godfather I" and "Godfather II," predecessors to last month's long-awaited "Godfather III."
"Oddly enough," he said, there had been little demand for "Top Gun," the 1986 hit film that celebrated U.S. fighter pilots -- who have played such a prominent role in the first week of the gulf war.
"People have seen TV coverage all week long and they're tired of it -- that would be my guess," he said.