Sleeping Beauty: 2003 Special Edition vs. 2008 Platinum Edition

Discussion in 'DVD' started by PaulP, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    It did make a profit the way many Disney features that failed in their original releases did. Through re-releases. Fantasia didn't show a profit until 1963.

    According to Boxofficemojo, the film has grossed $51,000,000 since it came out, presumably including the three reissues in 1970, 1979, and 1986. On their adjusted-for-inflation chart is #29 for all time and the seventh highest Disney film behind Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 101 Dalmatians, Fantasia, Mary Poppins, The Lion King, and The Jungle Book. Fox's Cleopatra is #38 on that list.

    If you think $6 million in 1959 is a lot for an animated film (and if we were talking Hanna-Barbera production values you would have a point), it's chump change compared to $160,000,000 for Shrek the Third. Just in terms of inflation $6M in 1959 is a little over $42,000,000 in 2007. Disney hasn't released budget figures since they got heat for "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," 20 years ago.

    And Fox was in the red every year of the 1960s except 1965, the year of The Sound of Music. Cleopatra was merely the glaring symptom of an inability to keep costs down, a lesson they forgot as quickly as they learned as they allowed costs to continue to skyrocket into the end of the decade, leading to the downfall of Darryl F. Zanuck. Even many of their lower-budgeted pictures throughout the decade lost money. I have heard that it was the sale to network TV that nudged Cleopatra into profit.

    Furthermore, one shouldn't underestimate the importance of home video as a profit center for films, even ones that performed disappointingly at the box office. SB was the #1 selling video in the Billboard chart as reported October 31, 1986:

    http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/58074135.html?dids=58074135:58074135&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Oct+31%2C+1986&author=DENNIS+HUNT&pub=Los+Angeles+Times+(pre-1997+Fulltext)&desc=For+a+Home+Horror+Happening%3B+Glut+in+the+Ho liday+Sales+Market%3F%3B+Third+Round+of+%60Police+ Academy'&pqatl=google

    And its DVD sales back in 2003 must have been really good, as the film was promoted to Platinum status.

    In my opinion, to call the film a "flop" would be a bit of an overstatement.
     
  2. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    Do we? Then what is that featurette about the computer restoration referring to? It was on the 1997 Laserdisc and 2003 DVD and shows how the film was restored frame-by-frame and then output back to film.
     
  3. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    I guarantee you that "Sleeping Beauty" has made a profit for the Disney Company by now!

    But even so -- to me it's funny how we judge if a movie was successful or not by what goes on in the studio accounting department, as opposed to just how many people paid to see it.

    It seems to me that the popularity of a movie is more important than whether or not it turned a profit, which might hinge on many extraneous factors.

    "Cleopatra" had a lot of bad luck, but by the end of 1964 is was Number 4 on Variety's list of All-Time Top Movies (which they measured by rentals, not total boxoffice gross, in those days.)

    Number 4 of all time is pretty impressive for a so-called flop!

    And "Sleeping Beauty" took in a nice amount at the boxoffice in 1959 -- almost as much as "Lady and the Tramp" did in 1955. So if their costs were reversed, all of a sudden "SB" would be a smash and "LatT" a disaster?

    Anyway, to repeat, rather than focusing on financial success, I prefer to focus on popularity as measured by ticket sales, and "Sleeping Beauty" did just fine in 1959.
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I doubt they used the Technirama SEN, but rather a 35mm reducton. There's so much poor quality manipulation, it could be from 16mm for all we know. Not that it was, but you can't really get a sense of what a transfer originated from when there's a ton of filtering and edge enhancement applied.

    Multiple digital restorations may be necessary, anyways. Disney is eventually going to re-do Snow White since the existing 4K is over a decade old. They can scan the SEN and digitally re-composite now, which wasn't possible in 1994.

    It's likely some are just oblivious to problems on videos. On one Disney title, there were praises for the earlier edition compared to the newer SE, despite having a lot of EE, DVNR, and contrast boosting. Apparently, these problems were not noticable while the relatively ultra-minor problems of the other release were seen as much worse.
     
  5. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Just watched the PIP audio commentary on the Blu-ray, which was enjoyable. John Lassetter and Leonard Maltin discuss the 2.55:1 intended aspect ratio within the first ten minutes. You can't get more authoritative than that, IMO.
     
  6. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    It might help if you read the full post. I said "transfer", not restoration. Transfers from large-format elements were difficult to obtain in the early years of this century, so most transfers were done from 35mm reduction elements. I again note that the MPAA logo was cut off on the bottom of the frame in both the 1997 and 2003 transfers, so no one can definitively say that those transfers were in keeping with Walt's intentions.

    EDIT: If, however, the transfer was derived from digital restoration files a la Snow White which were obtained from original 8 perf elements, did someone in the video suite arbitrarily decide to mask the transfer to 2.35:1? The mind reels...

    Again, keep in mind that in 1997, the technology probably did not exist to transfer seps or three strip negatives (which the successive exposure negative is analogous to), apply the appropriate colour filters and then recombining the elements digitally. The first of these efforts did not begin appearing until the last 3-4 years or so. This is why I suspect that the ONegs were not used for the 1997 restoration. This transfer is a different beast altogether.
     
  7. Roy Batty

    Roy Batty Second Unit

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    I must thank Chuck too for his many screenshots.

    And, while I am somewhat fond of that greenish range from the previous DVD release (and, apparently, from ALL previous releases), for it somehow matches my memories, I am quite sold on the reddish but more natural and vivid color range of the 2008 Platinum DVD screencaps. And, in my humble opinion, they certainly look better framed and more detailed (with the exception of the fuzzy opening title).
     
  8. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    Anyone with Photoshop can combine different color channels together. The technology more than existed, though it does seem that for SLEEPING BEAUTY and SNOW WHITE they used a restored, recombined negative to work from. I say this because on the restoration featurette included on the SNOW WHITE LD and DVD releases there is a guy who mentions that the digital restoration would not have been possible had the 1987 traditional film restoration not already taken place. The 2001 SNOW WHITE DVD claimed the original digital files from that restoration as a source (the 1994 Laserdisc was from a film-sourced transfer), though I do wonder if the vivid palette seen during the original theatrical release will find its way to video in 2009. It was great to have the cel dirt scrubbed from the film, but the colors seemed quite pale and the image overly bright to what I saw in the 1987 theatrical reissue.

    And as for the technology not having existed until 3-4 yrs ago, Warner has been scanning and recombining YCM separations for some of their A-list Technicolor titles going back to 2001 for SINGIN IN THE RAIN, 7 years ago now.
     
  9. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    Check your sources. Only the 2003 DVD, which was hailed by nearly everyone when it was released, has the logo cropped.

    1987 LD
    [​IMG]
    1997 LD
    [​IMG]
    2003 DVD
    [​IMG]
    2008 DVD
    [​IMG]

    My main gripe with this reissue is the way it is being marketed, and with the conflicting statements on the previous releases. Of the four video releases in the past 22 years, three are billed as "Fully Restored!" What's the next release going to bring? I'm betting on "ALL-NEW 3-D EDITION! BETTER THAN WALT EVER DREAMED!"

    Below is the featurette included on the 1997 Laserdisc and 2003 DVD releases that I have been referencing. Note that the before and after clips in this segment honestly compare the 1987 and 1997 video releases, which is odd considering the "faded color" comment as the 1987 release and the 2008 DVD have very similar color schemes....

    I'm all for technology providing better ways to experience films at home. I knew when I bought the past few releases of many a Disney film that it wouldn't be the last time I bought them. Still, how much better can things get? Is completely repainting and recoloring to achieve the cleanest look possible a viable option (see CINDERELLA DVD)? I have my opinion but not the answer.

    Anyway, make of this what you will.
     
  10. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    I stand corrected on the 1997 transfer. I recalled it as being cropped in the same way, but since I no longer have that widescreen VHS tape, I'm willing to acknowledge that memory is imperfect.

    Don't get me started on marketing departments. Warner's marketing department shouldn't allowed within spitting distance of a family film, and all these guys seem to do regardless of company is recycle the "New! Improved!" rhetoric. I rarely look to marketers for the truth.

    That being said, I don't think we'll ever have a definitive answer on what Walt's intended ratio was. The movie looks fine in both ratios, and each person is going to have their individual preference. Mine is the 2.55:1, because, after so many cropped and panned and scanned versions, this version looks "right" to me, having had information added on all four sides. I can spout about production timelines and changing aspect ratios all I want (and so can everyone else), but we'll never know the actual right answer. As much as Walt controlled the production, he couldn't be in every lab QCing every print that went out.

    But personally, I think this newest version hews closest to the original intent, because the medieval artwork that served as inspiration for the production was all about detail even where the subject matter was reduced to a tiny portion of the frame. That has been reproduced in spades here. Does it distance the viewer by having an ultra-wide frame? No more than other 2.55:1 productions.

    As for a 3-D version, don't give them any ideas.
     
  11. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Setting aside all the talk of aspect ratios, the other improved features people may not be aware of between the 2003 and 2008 editions are in the extras. The featurette "Grand Canyon" that played theatrically with SB's original release has now been beautifully restored and is 16X9 enhanced. The 2003 edition was letterboxed and rather shoddy-looking. Also "The Peter Tchaikovsky Story" is now the version that appeared in "Walt Disney Presents" program, the episode now in its entirety and presented in STEREO as is was in 1959 though a three way simulcast of TV, AM radio, and FM radio. The PQ of "The Peter Tchaikovsky Story" is also much improved from the 2003 DVD.
     
  12. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    That line in the 1997 video about the negative being faded rings false. If it was B&W successive exposure, by definition it can't fade.

    It really begs the question of what the real condition of the negatives is.
     
  13. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    I am so glad to see more image after always feeling something wasn't quite right about the AR. As for Walt's intentions, I'm sure he would be fine with this. From everything I know about Disney, I don't think he was a purist. He was all for changing technology. He even said he would go back and re-do Snow White from scratch if he could (this was around the time of the film's initial release) because he was so familiar with it he could only pick out the flaws.
     
  14. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Hey people, its "The Movie Business!
    (so yeah, it DOES matter how many $$$ a film makes)
    I've also seen where "SW" is getting a do over (this quickly).
    Was the last re-mastering at "4K" (or was it 2K)?
    In redoing "SW" would they used the current digital files or go back too the original elements?
    Thanks.

    Hopefully w/the hit "SB" is, PQ-wise, "SW" will also be sourced from film at 4K.
     
  15. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    I've just started watching this movie on Blu-Ray and am noticing some wild differences in color from shot to shot. One scene in particular stands out, and here are 4 captures from the new DVD from that scene. 3 of the 4 shots are back to back, while the last has a different shot in between. Still, should the colors (take notice of her blouse) change so much in between shots? Who did the color timing on this?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I'm surprised by the sound, which I figured had to be rebuilt from scratch. The sound restoration featurette on the second disc was very good, but it also lamented the fact that the dialog and effects were unfortunately recorded on magnetic tape. Um, wasn't the entire movie recorded magnetically, and isn't it from magnetic tapes that the beautiful underscoring was restored?

    The version of the original mix included has a much higher hiss level than ANY video release I've ever heard, as if they wanted to make sure it sounded worse or something. As it stands, it is a good mix but I wouldn't call it restored with that high hiss. Odd that the previous restored and non-restored versions didn't sound like that.

    I'm also surprised by how much content is in HD, like GRAND CANYON and a lot of the other material. They could've just sloughed off the old stuff but they chose to improve on it where they could for the Blu-Ray.
     
  16. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    Given that Snow White was first restored in 1987, with a further digital restoration in 1993 (which formed the basis for the DVD release), I'd be surprised if the mastering was at anything more than 2K. Given the age of the film and depending on the film stock used for the SEN, I don't know that 4K would coax any more information out of the SEN. Scanning SB in 4K makes sense because it was an 8 perf element, whereas SW&TSD is 4 perf 1.37:1.
     
  17. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    And all of this is in HD on the Blu-Ray - Color me surprised! The sound on GRAND CANYON is amazing also. I wonder if they did anything special to it.
     
  18. leomichel

    leomichel Auditioning

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  19. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    from that link:
    "There are images there that we believe nobody has ever seen except probably during the dailies and maybe there was a unique screening at one point. But, certainly, if you ever saw the film in the movie theater when you were a child, or if you have the DVD or the VHS, you haven’t seen that information on the left and right. And because of the effect to the original negative, we scanned that full 2.55:1 and that is what you’re going to see on this release on Blu-ray and DVD, you’re seeing the full left, the full right; they animated it side to side in the full 2.55 and laid it out. There are pictures here you have never seen so this is really great for widescreen and everybody having in their plasma screen or their LCDs. This is a great title to release in that format.

    Actually, the only other one that was a little bit different was Lady and the Tramp. They actually started making that one in 1.33. And then, when CinemaScope came out, Walt changed it over. At that point it was 2.35. So, this was the only title that had that extra information that nobody has ever seen before. Because it was made, you know, it took years to make the movie, so during that period of time, the format changed, but instead of going back and redoing everything, they just finished the movie as it was.”

    Um, wasn't LADY AND THE TRAMP 2.55:1? And the optical work required for 35mm from 70mm, wasn't that standardized at 2.35:1 around the time AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS was produced, or shortly thereafter?
     
  20. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    Lady and the Tramp is indeed 2.55:1. As for Around the World in 80 Days, like Oklahoma, it was shot twice because of the different frame rates between Todd-AO (30fps) and CinemaScope (24fps), the difference being that both versions were shot with 65mm cameras for ATWI80D. All references for ATWI80D indicated that 35mm prints ranged from 2.1:1 to 2.35:1, depending on which side of the Atlantic you were on. Hardly standardized.
     

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