Could "Special Editions" soon be history?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by MattHR, Dec 8, 2001.

  1. MattHR

    MattHR Screenwriter

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  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  3. Chris Beveridge

    Chris Beveridge Second Unit

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    The same thing was brought up well over 2 years ago. Special edition's won't go away, but we'll likely stop seeing them for every single title, especially those that don't really need it.
     
  4. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    Altrenatively, you might start seing DVD participation as part of the contract for doing a film. I think that you'll still see the people who actually WANT to do their DVD supplements doing them, but some of the ones who are kind of being coerced into doing it just giving up.
     
  5. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    The main problem is that the theatrical and DVD/VHS releases are still treated contractually as two separate entities. With a VHS release, this was not a problem because all the cassette contained was the movie and nothing else except maybe some advertising. Laserdiscs, with their extra features, were not a problem either because of the niche market aspect and high cost of the format.

    Now we have DVD, an inexpensive, highly affordable and high volume format that has opened up special features in a big way. Unfortunately, when the contracts are wriiten up for the production of a new feature film, very little is written in the contracts for the eventual DVD/VHS release. With older titles, this is quite understandable. But with today's releases, it's important now that clauses be added to the contracts that require the people involved in the creation of the movie to contribute material for the special features of the eventual DVD release. The actors, the composers, the writers and the directors...

    Once theatrical and DVD releases are seen as a single entity, the loss of special features on the DVD format may be averted. If not, then everyone in Hollywood is simply getting a bit too greedy.
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Nothing really to add to the discussion, but I just wanted to note that yours was a thoughtful and informative post, Francois.
     
  7. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    And Chris as well. I think you are right about some artist being leveraged into doing them for free or limited pay. I can see someone bothered by that.
    For a contrast some SEs clearly would have been SEs anyway, such as Kevin Smith films. He wants them and appreciates them and I'm sure he makes this clear to all involved.
    I love that we get extras but I do think it's a bit goofy in how many "regular" titles are SEs. Maybe I was just used to the LD practice of normal releases and then SOME titles also getting SEs. I could live with things going back to that (although I would always hope MY favs would be the SEs [​IMG]).
     
  8. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Cinematographer

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    Requiring filmmakers to participate in DVD SE content, by writing it into contracts, seems a bit unrealistic. I can't see the Woody Allens of the world embracing such clauses. What Chris Bardon says seems on the money to me.

    To be honest, I almost never listen to commentaries, or look at SE material besides trailers. A nice, anamorphic, widescreen transfer is all I need. Perhaps there's some way to contract studios to supply those?
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I can see some lesser titles having scaled-back special features in the future. But given the money involved in DVDs, I have trouble believing that even an extra $100,000 would kill a special feature. But perhaps sales of DVDs and profits are much lower than I realize?

    Also, special features are now expected; "menus" and "chapter access" no longer qualify as bonus features, and I think consumers will react negatively if the special-features well suddenly dries up.
     
  10. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    The most important extras are things linked to the movie itself.

    I would call a DVD an A+ disc if it had A+ video, A+ audio, and extras linked to the film such as commentaries, music-only tracks, seamless branching for special cuts...etc

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail: SE is a model of how good a presentation is...

    Excluding french/spanish audio/subtitles, there's over a dozen ways to watch the movie... (Audio: mono, 5.1, Gilliam/Jones commentary, Idle/Cleese/Palin commentary; Subtitles: english, Henry IV, screenplay, and white rabbit)

    The Ultimate Edition of T-2 has a dozen ways to watch the movie (Video: Theatrical cut, special edition, extended ending cut; Audio: DTS, DD 5.1, DD 2.0 surround, commentary...)

    The best DVD's have lots of extras that are part of alternate presentations and also lots separated from the presentation.
     
  11. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Ouch!

    At first glance, I thought nooooo waaaay! As these titles are doing so well.

    However, after reading the link, thank you, and finding out money's involed... . SE are in trouble. I liked the idea of the extra material being done at the time of the filming. MI2 was one of the first, were they captured as much as possible while the film was made. Tom Cruise pushed for it.
     
  12. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    I think doing DVD extras being part of the contract will be the norm in the future, same as doing the millions of TV junket talk shows to promote movies/books (afterall, even the mighty Jack Welch is going around promoting his book). Granted, some, such as Woody Allen, George Lucas,..., will not do it, but plenty of mega stars, directors, that enjoy it will be more than happy to do them.

    Just like anything else in life, a lot of "specials" will be subpar, but some such as Criterion's Brazil, will be a monumental piece of work.

    I do not know the actual $$$ figure, but I suspect DVDs are a lucraive business, simply from watching how fast these things are coming out and how many reissues, reissues with special features...

    Note that the studios OWN the right to a picture, it's not like selling commodities such as oil and corn (if you are more expensive or have no supply, customer will go somewhere else), if there's no money in it, they won't do it, if there's not a LOT of money in it, they won't do it with such gusto.
     
  13. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    Hey, if Ahnuld eventually has to do a commentary for the T3 DVD, he deserves the $30 million! [​IMG]
     
  14. Dick

    Dick Producer

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    Guess I just find the whole issue laughable. Here are these prima donna "stars" who make it big and decide they deserve untold riches for working sixteen hours a day for a few months. They complain because they work "so hard, and have to reveal ourselves and bare our emotions." Fifteen or twenty million just isn't enough for them, in spite of the fact that, almost SOLELY because of their insane salaries, you and I pay eight to ten bucks a ticket and the box office and popcorn costs five bucks. Now they want a piece of the DVD pie. Sorry. I have no sympathy. I work 48 hours per week at a job I don't especially care for and am paid nine bucks per hour. And I'm FORTUNATE!! I wish ALL studios and producers would, all at once, just draw the line and say, "Enough's enough, you salary for this movie is going to be a half-million," etc. and stand fast as a group if the actors whine and complain and threaten to go elsewhere. It'll never happen, but it's a dream of mine.
     
  15. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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    I would rather hear the comments of someone willing to contribute them for free than someone who wabts to be paid. People who beleive in a worthwhile project anr are willing to donate a day of their time for free probably have more worthwhile things to say than someone who insists on being paid to talk about a job they had last year.
     
  16. Trace Downing

    Trace Downing Supporting Actor

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    Hey Dick; You can add sports figures in with those pampered actors. We (the taxpayers of Denver) just paid for a new stadium, that has LESS capacity than the old one, but more high dollar indoor box seats.

    I'm all for extras on DVDs. But, don't you think all these Special Editions are getting less special, as the market gluts with them? The two disc'ers are getting out of hand as far as I'm concerned. It was kinda cool with Fight Club and Bug's Life, but now? Final Fantasy, Unbreakable, Cast Away, Pearl Harbor? Come on, Shrek's disc 1 will never go into my player.

    My shelves can't take it anymore! Star Trek:TMP was nothing but a two disc ploy to get us to buy a movie that we forgot was really THAT boring. Suprise! It still is.
     
  17. Brian O

    Brian O Second Unit

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    Hey, I will take all the materials they want to put on disc, as long as my end cost stays relatively the same and it doesnt hurt picture/sound quality.[​IMG]
    With DVD being the ultimate archival format so far, I would think the people who make movies would want to contribute to the extras on these discs, as long as its something they are proud of. After all, they might want to spin up their own movie someday.
     
  18. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  19. Alex Shk

    Alex Shk Stunt Coordinator

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  20. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    I guess I am about the only person on this forum that got into Laser and now DVD not for the presentation quality

    but for the EXTRAS

    I'll watch it on EP VHS if it is in widescreen, that doesnt bother me - I just need OAR.

    To me, a great looking picture is a bonus, the things like commentary, documentaries and deleted scenes are my bread and butter

    I have bought titles of movies I thought were OK over ones I liked because the other one had more extras.

    My reasoning is that I want to learn about movies, how they are made, the thinking behind the decisions, I watch movies as much to learn as to enjoy, so I get more out of learning about a film I find average than just watching something i like for fun.

    I like to buy those too of course, but I guess to make it simple, my reasoning is just opposite to most here

    A great picture is a wonderful thing

    but solid quality extras and im a happy guy!

    This could be very sad news indeed...
     

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