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Studio allegiance at work: a scenario


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#1 of 17 OFFLINE   Juan C

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Posted January 13 2006 - 07:05 AM

Okay, apart from the initial launch releases, how would all of this pan out if all parties dug in their heels?

We've got Fox, Disney and Sony with Blu-ray, and Universal with HD DVD. Paramount is going to release equally for both formats. WB is releasing for both formats, but more for HD DVD (at least initially); for simplicity, I'll assume WB releases 100% on HD DVD and 50% on Blu-ray. The Dreamworks situation is not clear (they went with Universal for home video, but now they have been bought by Paramount), so I won't count them for either side.

How does all translate in the current film scene?

1. Mainstream list

For reference, let's look at the latest DVD bestselling list on Video Business:

1.Wedding Crashers (NL/WB)
2.The Cave (Sony)
3.The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Uni)
4.The Gospel (Sony)
5.American Pie Presents: Band Camp (Uni)
6.Into The Blue (Sony)
7.Four Brothers (Par)
8.Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Fox)
9.Fantastic Four (Fox)
10.The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (Sony)
11.Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith (Fox)
12.The Island (DW/Uni)
13.The Brothers Grimm (BV)
14.Serenity (Uni)
15.War Of The Worlds (DW/UNI)
16.Family Guy-Vol. 3 (Fox)
17.March of the Penguins (WB)
18.Dark Water (BV)
19.Cinderella Man (Uni)
20.Madagascar (DW/Uni)


HD DVD
American Pie Presents: Band Camp
Cinderella Man
Four Brothers
March of the Penguins
Serenity
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Wedding Crashers

Blu-ray
Dark Water
Family Guy-Vol. 3
Fantastic Four
Four Brothers
Into The Blue
March of the Penguins
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
The Brothers Grimm
The Cave
The Exorcism of Emily Rose
The Gospel

As you see, I've struck Wedding Crashers from the BD list, but kept March of the Penguins. There'll be complaints at the inclusion of Sith in the BD list, but that is where it would belong if the current release scheme were already established.

That is seven titles available on HD DVD versus 12 on Blu-ray Disc.

2. Cinephile list

For this purpose, I've used the search engine at rogerebert.com and have searched for the films released in 2005 and which he gave 4 stars to:


Batman Begins (WB)
Bee Season (Fox)
The Best of Youth (Miramax)
Brokeback Mountain (Focus)
Broken Flowers (Focus)
Capote (Sony)
The Constant Gardener (Focus)
Crash (Lions Gate)
Downfall (Sony)
Good Night, and Good Luck (Warner)
Grizzly Man (Lions Gate)
Junebug (Sony)
King Kong (Universal)
Last Days (HBO)
Me and You and Everyone We Know (Sony)
Millions (Fox)
Munich (Dreamworks/Universal)
Murderball (Think Film)
No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (Paramount)
North Country (Warner)
Oldboy (Tartan)
Oscar Short Subject Nominees (Apollo Cinema)
Pride & Prejudice (Focus)
Proof (Miramax)
Saraband (Sony)
Sin City (Miramax)
Syriana (Warner)
Turtles Can Fly (MGM)
The Two of Us (Paramount)
The Upside of Anger (New Line)
Yes (Sony)


HD DVD
Batman Begins
Brokeback Mountain
Broken Flowers
The Constant Gardener
Good Night, and Good Luck
King Kong
Last Days
No Direction Home: Bob Dylan
North Country
Pride & Prejudice
Syriana
The Two of Us
The Upside of Anger

I have removed all titles for which no studio allegiance is known. Also I've deleted the IMAX presentation of The Polar Express.

Blu-ray
Batman Begins
Bee Season
The Best of Youth
Capote
Crash
Downfall
Grizzly Man
Junebug
Last Days
Me and You and Everyone We Know
Millions
No Direction Home: Bob Dylan
Proof
Saraband
Sin City
Syriana
Turtles Can Fly
The Two of Us
Yes

Here it would be 13 titles on HD DVD, and 19 on Blu-ray.

#2 of 17 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted January 13 2006 - 07:16 AM

Juan, you might want to state more clearly what you're aiming at here. I mean, what is your point?

#3 of 17 OFFLINE   FrancisP

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Posted January 13 2006 - 07:52 AM

I think that he is trying to break down the current best selling dvd list and break it down as to which would be HD-DVD only and blu-ray only. I've looked at that using no-brainer releases on HD such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc. It is an attempt to quantify how many titles we are talking about when we hear blu-ray has access to more titles than HD-DVD.

#4 of 17 OFFLINE   Juan C

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Posted January 13 2006 - 08:06 AM

That's right, Francis. I'm trying to bring it all down to earth. Like if we go to Best Buy and see our current favourite title is not on our format's shelf. Could we live with that?

For example, if you bought an HD DVD player you'd be able to buy Cinderella Man, but not Fantastic 4. With BD the situation would be the opposite. If we go to indie films, the HD DVD guy couldn't buy Crash, but he could buy Constant Gardener.

Me, I'm more of an arthouse guy, and I favour Blu-ray. So, funnily, my main cause of pain would be losing the usually excellent titles released by Focus Features (Lost in Translation, Constant Gardener, Far from Heaven etc etc).

#5 of 17 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted January 13 2006 - 08:49 AM

I see, guys. Well, carry on.

#6 of 17 OFFLINE   Daniel-M

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Posted January 15 2006 - 10:40 PM

Didn't Lucasfilm say somewhere they have no interest in releasing on either format as loing as there is a war going on. Think i red that somewhere

#7 of 17 OFFLINE   Juan C

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Posted January 15 2006 - 11:56 PM

That's right, Daniel. Lucas can delay the release of Star Wars titles for as long as he wants, but when he does release them, they'll be Fox titles. And Fox is Blu-ray only.

conjecture #1: according to this article, Fox is preparing two sci-fi titles to be announced later that will take advantage of the extra capacity of the 50GB dual-layer disc. Alien quadrilogy is obviously one of these titles. What might the other one be? Independence Day? I Robot? Or something else?

conjecture #2: 1977 + 30 = 2007

#8 of 17 OFFLINE   Richard Kim

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Posted January 16 2006 - 04:01 AM

Quote:
conjecture #2: 1977 + 30 = 2007


There have been rumors that Lucas will release a deluxe "Archival Edition" of the SW Saga in 2007, the 30 anneversary of SW, with new changes to the films (for example the new CG Yoda in Phantom Menace seen in the featurette of the Revenge of the Sith DVD).

#9 of 17 OFFLINE   Jim Smith

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Posted January 16 2006 - 07:02 AM

Quote:
There have been rumors that Lucas will release a deluxe "Archival Edition" of the SW Saga in 2007, the 30 anneversary of SW, with new changes to the films (for example the new CG Yoda in Phantom Menace seen in the featurette of the Revenge of the Sith DVD).


While a 30th anniversery version with more changes and extras is almost a sure thing but not in High Definition. Lucasfilm announced that none of there titles would be availible in High Definition until there was a sure winner. Unless HD-DVD is completely dead before the year is out it is likely that it will be an SD-DVD only release.

#10 of 17 OFFLINE   Rob_Walton

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Posted January 16 2006 - 09:14 AM

Does George Lucus own the rights to Star Wars? I thought he negotiated for ownership of the following movies after the first one was such a success, but wasn't aware he'd bought the first film from Fox as well.

#11 of 17 OFFLINE   Jim Smith

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Posted January 16 2006 - 09:24 AM

Lucas owns the rights to Star Wars completly and only he will decide when we see it in high def. He can also decide which format it is on. So even though Fox supports Blu-Ray he could decide HD-DVD if he wants. Though I would see no logical reason that he would choose to fight the studio for something so stupid.

#12 of 17 OFFLINE   FrancisP

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Posted January 16 2006 - 11:25 AM

I think Lucas will wait to see if hi-def takes off. If it does then he'll release the movies in whichever format is still around. If both blu-ray and HD-DVD are still around and economically viable then I think he goes both ways. I can't see him saying I will support one set of Star Wars fans and disappoint the other because of the format they choose. Lucas' and Fox's goals are completely different.

#13 of 17 OFFLINE   Ed St. Clair

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Posted January 20 2006 - 06:23 AM

This thread is proof positive that a format war hurts consumers. People who continually state a format war is a "good thing", seem to be only looking at the possible hardware benefits (as if prices would not fall without one & features are never added to a non-format war product).
This thread represents the movie mess we will all (except for those few who buy into both formats, granting themselves the pleasure of having one obsolete HD format on hand at all times) be confronted with as HD disc purchasers. Not pretty!

Lucus releasing SW in '07, like that's going to happen! It took him what, seven years to release SW to DVD?!?!?!?!?!

Thanks again, for all your work Juan.
Movies are: "The Greatest Artform".
HD should be for EVERYONE!

#14 of 17 OFFLINE   Nils Luehrmann

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Posted January 20 2006 - 07:25 AM

Quote:
This thread is proof positive that a format war hurts consumers.
Not at all. The format war has most likely pushed the studios who have an investment in the success of a specific format to release greater quantity and quality products to help insure the formats success over its competition. In addition, you've conveniently left out all the other ways the format war has benefited the consumer in many other keys ways.

I don't even buy the "consumers who buy the losing format are hurt" reasoning. I chose Betamax over VHS because I preferred that format's performance over VHS, and enjoyed it for many years until I finally replaced it with a VHS recorder. It was not like once they lost all of a sudden the player was useless and stopped working.

The only REAL victims of a format war are the companies who invested in the losing format.

The whole "Format Wars = Bad For Consumers" mantra is an urban myth from the PR departments of companies who would just as well not risk their bottom line fighting a format war.

Competition is the consumer's best friend, and nothing breeds more competition than a format war.

#15 of 17 OFFLINE   Brent M

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Posted January 20 2006 - 12:23 PM

I totally disagree that the impending format war is a good thing. I think the reason DVD is so successful is that there was never a format war to worry about(unless you count the early attempt by Divx which was snuffed out quickly). Competition in this case is FAR from the consumer's best friend because if you want titles by one studio you would have to buy an HD-DVD player and if you want titles buy another studio you'd need a Blu-Ray player. I'm not sure how this benefits the consumer. Two expensive players and two sets of connections don't help my situation one bit.
"If you're good at something, never do it for free."

#16 of 17 OFFLINE   Jim Smith

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Posted January 21 2006 - 09:06 AM

Format Wars before the market are good
Format Wars after the market are bad

It was good HD-DVD was there to push Blu-Ray into better features but today has lost its use. Similar to how it was good SD-CD and MMCD were combined to make a format that was best. Two competing technologies on the market are negatives in every way. It leads to confusion, combos, and split studio support (Damn you Universal). HD-DVD must die.

#17 of 17 OFFLINE   Juan C

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Posted January 22 2006 - 03:39 AM

Okay, let's see how we would fare if we were really barrel-bottom-feeders. Posted Image

I've taken the 'worst 25 films of 2005' list from Rotten Tomatoes:

1. Alone in the Dark - Lion's Gate
2. Elektra - Fox
3. White Noise - Universal
4. The Perfect Man - Universal
5. Son of the Mask - Warner
6. The Wedding Date - Universal
7. Yours, Mine & Ours - Paramount
8. Hide and Seek - Fox
9. Stealth - Sony
10. A Sound of Thunder - Warner
11. House of D - Lion's Gate
12. Are We There Yet? - Sony
13. The Dukes of Hazzard - Warner
14. Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo - Sony
15. Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous - Warner
16. Monster-in-Law - New Line
17. Domino - New Line
18. Honeymooners - Paramount
19. Cheaper by the Dozen II - Fox
20. Underclassman - Disney
21. The Man - New Line
22. XXX: State of the Union - Sony
23. The Cave - Sony
24. Supercross: The Movie - Fox
25. The Ring Two - Universal

We'd get:

HD DVD
Domino
The Dukes of Hazzard
Honeymooners
Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous
Monster-in-Law
The Perfect Man
Son of the Mask
A Sound of Thunder
The Wedding Date
White Noise
Yours, Mine & Ours

Blu-ray
Alone in the Dark
Are We There Yet?
The Cave
Cheaper by the Dozen II - Fox
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
The Dukes of Hazzard
Elektra
Hide and Seek
Honeymooners
House of D
The Man
Monster-in-Law
Son of the Mask
Stealth
Supercross: The Movie
Underclassman
Yours, Mine & Ours
XXX: State of the Union

So, out of the 25 worst movies, you could get 18 on Blu-ray compared to only 11 on HD DVD. Faint praise indeed. Posted Image





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