Why is Universal releasing many newer films with so few extras?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by DouglasRobert, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. DouglasRobert

    DouglasRobert Second Unit

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    Here are some of the extras on some newer films released by Universal.

    Because I Said So:
    · The Making Of Because I Said So.
    · Designing a Wilder World.
    · iVillage Ad.
    · Music Video World Spins Madly On By The Weepies

    Alpha Dog:
    A Cautionary Tale:
    ·The Making of Alpha Dog
    Witness Timeline
    ·Get detailed information on each witness as the shocking events unfold.

    Smokin' Aces:
    Alternate Ending and 18 Minutes of Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
    Shoot 'Em Up: Stunts & Effects
    ·Uncover the secrets behind some of the film's most action-packed scenes!
    And Much More!

    The Good Shepherd:
    16 Minutes of Deleted Scenes

    Let's Go To Prison:
    Includes Deleted Scenes and Original R-Rated Theatrical Version.

    Man of the Year:
    Robin Williams: A "Stand Up" Guy
    ·Get a rare behind-the-scenes look at the hilarious improvisational genius of Robin Williams.
    Commander And Chief
    ·Go on-set to see how acclaimed director Barry Levinson got the most hilarious performances out of his all-star cast.

    And then we get lame extras on the upcoming Flash Gordon special edition, even though we've been waiting for it for years and other regions have a better special edition.
    Then the recent re-release of Brokeback Mountain was also nothing special at all.


    Seems that very few of Universal's releases of new films have many good extras anymore. Seems most don't have audio commentaries at all, or even deleted scenes. Seems that all they do is putting one or two featurettes on the DVD and releasing it.
     
  2. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    It's costs them less money when they have less features to produce.
     
  3. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    1. Less $$$ to produce
    2. 'Bonus Material' no longer a big selling point for average buyer
     
  4. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    Joe Sixpack may not give a HOOT about extras, but I do. There are often the deciding factor in a buy/no buy decision for me. [​IMG]
     
  5. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    I'm not a "Joe 6Pack" (I hate that term, sooo elitist) but extras are never a decision to buy a movie. The question is ..... do I want the movie or not? If I do, extras are cool bonus (even if I never watch them) but LACK of extras would never deter me from buying a movie I wanted.

    Am I missing something here? Is someone saying they would buy a movie they're not particularly interested in IF the extras were generous enough? When did the extras become more important than the movie? It's a case of the tail wagging the dog!
     
  6. RobertM.Fleming

    RobertM.Fleming Stunt Coordinator

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    They want to ensure they are voted one of the worst DVD releasing studios again.

    Universal is also one of the few studios left still pushing the fullscreen widescreen split for almost every title they release. Ive noticed more and more studios not even bothering with FS releases anymore, but Universal keeps on chopping and cropping.


    that being said, the only way they can ruin flash gordon for me now is if its a damn flipper disk.
     
  7. David Allen

    David Allen Stunt Coordinator

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    Simple explanation: HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. The studios need to differentiate the old from the new, and justify the price hikes. It's been long suspected that the picture quality of new standard def DVDs isn't always as good as it used to be, possibly to make HD formats look better in comparison. This might just be an urban legend, but it makes sense to force consumers to start buying the new formats and watch the old DVD's whither on the vine. Bonus material still sells, don't kid yourselves.
     
  8. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    That's been my guess for a long time now, unfortunately. The new HD and BluRay formats are a big disappointment for the studios and nobody really cares except for the real niche people --- so in order for the new to take over the old, the quality and extras on standard DVDs will likely go way down.
     
  9. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Very much so!! I've purchased many movies that I only had a moderate interest in seeing due to the quality of the extras. Perhaps it's a movie that I feel is only worthy of a rental, but with substantial extras, I need more time so I'll pay the extra money to have it.

    Also, if you're truly interested in the making of films, these documentaries, outtakes, etc.. are truly enlightening.

    ...and as far as saying that "Joe 6-Pack" is an elitist term, your attiutude that "extras should never make a difference" is equally elitest.

    I can say without hesitation that the quantity of newer movies added to my collection had dropped greatly due to the lack of extras. To be honest, that's fine with me because WB is more than making up for it with their incredible catalog releases.
     
  10. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    As most people know, there's a good number of catalog titles that didn't even sell 1,000 copies. Granted, that's not a new release but most of the new release numbers aren't exactly blowing anyone's mind either. If the studios' plan is to force people to shift over to a high definition format, they're failing miserably so far.

    And how are extras that most people don't watch, going to entice them into a new format?
     
  11. Dion C

    Dion C Stunt Coordinator

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    I am a huge fan of extras. Like Eric mentioned, the decision to purchase a DVD for which I'm on the fence about almost always comes down to the quality and quantity of the supplements.

    If it's a film I have a real yearning for (usually older catalog titles that are a nostalgic kick for me), I will buy regardless of supplements. But other than those instances, I will simply rent. Or if it's on sale in the dumpster bin at Walmart for 5.50, sure.

    But I ain't payin' 15-to-20.00 bucks for a paltry bare bones release of a title that I have only a middling interest in (that I would have otherwise purchased if the extras made the deal sweeter).

    Since I have a passion for film, I have a passion for quality extras that offer more enlightenment on films.

    Extras aren't the cake, but they can make for very sweet icing. So studios are more than welcome to hold back their efforts on supplements, and I am more than welcome to keep my dollars in my wallet. No hard feelings.
     
  12. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I know I've read before that the catch 22 of extras is that the average consumer doesn't watch them but they still want them on the disc anyway.

    Personally, I'd like to see extras on everything that I buy but if a movie that I liked came out with zero features, it wouldn't deter me from buying it.
     
  13. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    re: "Extras aren't the cake, but they can make for very sweet icing."

    Thanks, Dion, I can see where you're coming from as I actually know someone who eats all the icing but leaves the cake half eaten. Then there are some of us who scrape off the icing (too sweet) and just go for the cake.
     
  14. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Thing is, sometimes for a movie I've already seen in the cinema, I never or hardly get around to watching the movie again, and only go through the extras, which of course I've never seen before. Then the disc becomes part of my library, and I might watch the movie again sometime later if I suddenly have a hankering to watch it, but I am pretty sure there are several discs in my library where I've never actually watched the movie off that disc, but have indeed "eaten all the icing".

    'Different strokes for different folks'.
     
  15. Dion C

    Dion C Stunt Coordinator

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    An example of "cake" vs. "icing":

    I saw "Hannibal" in the theater back around 2000 (can't recall exact year). Found it disappointing -- as did, apparently, many others. I'm a huge Ridley fan, enjoyed "Manhunter" and "Silence...," etc. So I was jazzed, and then I was deflated. Had no intention of picking up the eventual DVD release.

    DVD comes out. Very nice set of extras. I take the bait.

    Watch the film again at home. Go through the supplements. Glean some interesting insight into the film that I didn't have upon my theatrical viewing (such as the angle that Hannibal has a "love" for Clarice, and that this sequel is, in its way, a "love story" of sorts).

    I don't suddenly become a huge fan of "Hannibal," but I certainly appreciate it more now after viewing/listening to the DVD's extras -- something that I never would have done if it was not for the supplements, 'cause I never would have bought the DVD in the first place.

    The movie's the cake. The extras are the icing. I can eat a cake without icing if it's good enough, but icing always makes it sweeter.

    And this concludes the metaphor portion of our programming. :)
     
  16. MarkBirds

    MarkBirds Stunt Coordinator

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    I know for a fact I'm buying fewer new releases now than, say, three or four years ago, mostly due to the fact that I have a hard time shelling out that extra 20 bucks for the SuperStupendous Edition that will come months later. I'm also fed up with the limited two-disc special edition new releases that can be a hassle to track down and are always $6-10 more than the single disc.

    Unless it's something that appeals to My Inner Geek (like that lackluster Casino Royale "Special Edition"), I'll just wait for it to show up on the weekly Best Buy $7.50 list or in the $4.88 bin at WalMart.
     
  17. Matthew Clayton

    Matthew Clayton Stunt Coordinator

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    Warner, Paramount and Fox also still bother with the fullscreen widescreen split too, but now they only do that with their really big mainstream films. The other films Fox usually gives the two-sided DVD treatment, and Paramount and the WB don't fool around with cropping their box office duds.

    Although I am curious as to why Universal just keeps pushing out the titles without any real concern for extras -- if a film flopped or did middling business, they just grab a few extras created while the film was in production, slap it on there and release it without any real concern for the customer. And an even bigger slap in the face of customers is that Universal reverted back to releasing DVDs without any real disc art... cheap, cheap, cheap. If full-color, non-translucent art is too expensive for Universal to do for each of their releases, then use the cheaper translucent stuff that Disney uses nowadays.

    That said, I'm glad that Universal has made films like Miami Vice and The Return available only in their original aspect ratios, and quickie releases like Serenity, King Kong and Children of Men have quality transfers and extras worth caring about.
     
  18. Chris S

    Chris S Cinematographer

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    Universal is the king of the double dip. Why add on a bunch of extras now when they can sell you another release with extras tomorrow.
     
  19. Tony J Case

    Tony J Case Cinematographer

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    The thing that pisses me off? The ONE extra that really needs to be included? The trailer. Universal isnt that guilty of it - but Sony is. I was so honked off at the new 007 disc and it's threadbare extras - but to not include the trailer is just lazy.

    Oh, wait - I *CAN* get it. . . if I buy the Rocky VI DVD. Idiots.
     

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