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The Era of "You Want Extras Ya Gotta Pay For 'Em" Is In Full Swing


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#1 of 95 OFFLINE   cineMANIAC

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Posted December 12 2008 - 02:03 AM

I Am Legend: Over 200 million in U.S. box office, a bona fide hit by definition. The Studio responds with a $35 DVD that was a joke: some cartoons and the same movie with a tacked-on alternate ending on a second disc! Nine months later they unveil a $50 "Ultimate Edition" with material that should've been included on the initial release. Its not just Warners doing this, I've noticed this pattern with other studios. If the studios are tired of coming up with material to throw onto discs then they should just stop. We're essentially being asked to pay a premium price for the priviledge of having a couple of featurettes and fancy packaging. Most of the stuff they call extras is just crap nobody watches more than once anyway. I just picked up The Dark Knight, the no-frills version, for fifteen bucks at CC. It doesn't even have the trailer but I'm ok with that. I'm not paying $27 for the "Special Edition". At this point, after more than 10 years of collecting DVDS, paying premium prices for movies, especially in this economy, is simply not justifiable.
 

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#2 of 95 OFFLINE   Simon Howson

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Posted December 12 2008 - 02:09 AM

I've grown pretty tired of special features. They have to be REALLY special to justify a purchase for me.

I'm more interested in the film. If I like the film, or haven't seen it but think it looks interesting, then that determines whether I buy or not.

#3 of 95 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted December 12 2008 - 02:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luisito34
I Am Legend: Over 200 million in U.S. box office, a bona fide hit by definition. The Studio responds with a $35 DVD that was a joke: some cartoons and the same movie with a tacked-on alternate ending on a second disc! Nine months later they unveil a $50 "Ultimate Edition" with material that should've been included on the initial release. Its not just Warners doing this, I've noticed this pattern with other studios. If the studios are tired of coming up with material to throw onto discs then they should just stop. We're essentially being asked to pay a premium price for the priviledge of having a couple of featurettes and fancy packaging. Most of the stuff they call extras is just crap nobody watches more than once anyway. I just picked up The Dark Knight, the no-frills version, for fifteen bucks at CC. It doesn't even have the trailer but I'm ok with that. I'm not paying $27 for the "Special Edition". At this point, after more than 10 years of collecting DVDS, paying premium prices for movies, especially in this economy, is simply not justifiable.
You should compare apples to apples. The single-disc "no frills" version of I Am Legend listed at $29. The $35 price you quote is the list price for the 2-disc version.

More important: It's neither fair nor accurate to compare the street price you paid for TDK to the list prices for Legend. In fact, the list price for that TDK disc you just bought is the same $29 as the single-disc Legend released initially, and you could have bought that disc for a similarly discounted price on the day it streeted.

You're right: If you want the extras, you pay for them. And if you want or need to economize, you're provided the option to acquire just the film at a lower cost. Where's the problem?
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#4 of 95 OFFLINE   RickER

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Posted December 12 2008 - 02:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Howson
I've grown pretty tired of special features. They have to be REALLY special to justify a purchase for me.

Boy isnt that the truth.
Back in the LD days i actually listened to commentaries cause they were good! Now i dont even give them a second thought. How many times can you hear, we were good in this movie, or, here i am coming in the door. Tell me something i dont know!

All the paper and nick-knack stuff they put in some of these releases isnt worth my time either.
I also HATE fancy packaging that is cheap, or impossible to get a disc out, not to mention hard to shelve.

Blade Runner was the last, and one of the best SE's that measured up. Same with Lord of the Rings. But those are far and few between.

What Michael said too! If the SE doesnt thrill you, you have options to buy the bare bones disc. Most of the time.

#5 of 95 OFFLINE   Reggie W

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Posted December 12 2008 - 03:23 AM

Interesting topic. I think it's not always true that you must overpay for special features. Taking the Blade Runner set as an example the price for that set was great and the Blu version ended up being a steal, it ended up less than the SD.

I am only interested in special features on older films. I have little interest in most new films and even less interest in hearing the people who made them talk about them. I think there are very few new films that deserve any special features at all. I Am Legend is a good example. This is not a great film, sure it made money, but there is little about it that is interesting. It's a remake and there's nothing groundbreaking about it. The Lord of the Rings films were a massive project that took some time to complete, I can see that project being deserving of lots of special features, but I Am Legend was just a remake and not a very interesting one. Will Smith churns out sci-fi bubble gum films one right after another and they are all pretty bland. I don't say that as a knock but come on, would there be a big difference hearing him talk about I Am Legend, Hancock, IRobot, Men in Black, or whatever? Do the directors of these films interest anybody? What would be a "good" special feature with one of these films?

My point is unless there is something of note about the film why even bother with special features as on these big budget bubble gums films they churn them out to pay the bills and we all know that. So I almost feel like a good question for Smith would be which check did you like better, the one for I Am Legend or the one for Hancock? Nothing against Smith, I think he's a very likable actor, hence his success, but he's not exactly stretching or pushing any boundaries in these films.

On older films when there are actual "legends" involved with the making of the films, people that broke rules, influenced others in their craft, defined some aspect of filmmaking or a genre, by all means give us special features and I will pay for them. So many new films, at least to me, seem like nothing more than a sales pitch and there are really only a handful of interesting filmmakers working today as well as the ones that have already established themselves.

They don't build big sets anymore, actors perform in front of a green screen and a computer jockey pastes in effects and backgrounds, is that interesting? Not to me and the fact that they can now shoot an entire sci-fi film in a warehouse in front of a big green screen might save them money and fascinate fans of video games but it bores the heck out of me. They just don't make 'em like they used to.

I'm just saying, when it comes to "special features" what films really warrant them?

#6 of 95 OFFLINE   cineMANIAC

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Posted December 12 2008 - 04:16 AM

I was using I Am Legend as an example. It was on ok popcorn flick and the scenes of an abandoned New York were spectacular but, no, I dont really care about this particular film's production history. I too am more interested in older movies and when the studios come up with insightful analysis and reflection in the special features department then it makes for a more satisfying and exciting experience and I have no problem paying a little more for the disc. Getting back to the topic, why are studios now charging so much for special edition DVDs? In 2008 no one should have to fork over thirty bucks for standard definition discs
 

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#7 of 95 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted December 12 2008 - 04:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luisito34
I was using I Am Legend as an example.
It wasn't a good one, for all of the reasons noted above. Can you give an example of a special edition DVD that you would find worthwhile if the cost weren't so high?

The Blade Runner set was mentioned (another Warner title, BTW). For what was provided, I'd call it a bargain.
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#8 of 95 OFFLINE   cineMANIAC

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Posted December 12 2008 - 04:43 AM

The 30th Anniversary Edition of Close Encounters of the Third Kind has 3 versions of the film and a feature-length documentary among other worthy supplements. It even has a mini-poster reproduction, a big plus for me. I don't remember how much I paid for it but it wasnt thirty-five dollars!
 

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#9 of 95 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted December 12 2008 - 05:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luisito34
The 30th Anniversary Edition of Close Encounters of the Third Kind has 3 versions of the film and a feature-length documentary among other worthy supplements. It even has a mini-poster reproduction, a big plus for me. I don't remember how much I paid for it but it wasnt thirty-five dollars!
So that proves the opposite of your point, and it doesn't answer my question. I was looking for an example of a disc with good special features that you think is too expensive.

Oh, BTW: list on Close Encounters 30th Anniversary is $40. Please stop using street prices for the ones you think are reasonable and list prices for the ones you think are not.
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#10 of 95 OFFLINE   cineMANIAC

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Posted December 12 2008 - 06:23 AM

I apologize for not making much sense. I was using the computer at work when I came up with this thread out of boredom and it suddenly became chaotic and wasn't thinking straight. Anyway, I know I shouldn't use list prices as a guideline to complain about high prices. I was simply trying to illustrate my point that the average price of a standard-def DVD has, in fact, risen sharply in recent times. I just don't understand why and why now. The example I wanted to use is a TV title-Lost Season 4. That season of the series had much fewer episodes yet cost the same as a full season. They had to come up with a second disc of extras to justify the price.
 

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#11 of 95 OFFLINE   RickER

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Posted December 12 2008 - 06:39 AM

Times are harder now. It cost more to make the things, and to ship them to stores. Also, i noticed the stores are giving you less of a discount on release week. But if you can wait, deals are still able to be had. I have bought Blu-rays and DVD boxsets at great prices once again this Christmas season.
Warner has some of the best prices around, and i am more likely to buy something of theirs on release week. FOX, i usually have to wait for a good deal, especially if its a movie i am on the fence about.
I buy almost everything on Blu-ray now. I sure have no interest in double dipping on Blu-rays just for added features, no matter what they cost. It just doesnt matter, most the time. I am just fine with the Blu-ray of I am Legend, and the first Blu of Casino Royale. I got both these movies at a great price too!
I know what your saying, but unless its an SE you just have to have today, wait for the deal.

#12 of 95 ONLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted December 12 2008 - 07:27 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luisito34
I was simply trying to illustrate my point that the average price of a standard-def DVD has, in fact, risen sharply in recent times. I just don't understand why and why now.

I can't speak for everyone's experiences or even cite any statistics, but I can say that in my own personal DVD purchasing, I haven't noticed this sharp price increase that you speak of. Now, I'm not doubting you when you say that you're paying more now than you used to for DVDs, but I am saying that in my experience, I haven't had the same issue. Most of my in-store DVD purchases for the past seven years or so have come from Newbury Comics (a smaller chain in the New England area), while most of my online purchases during that time have come from Amazon.com. I don't feel like I'm being charged any more now than I was five or more years ago. For instance, I've purchased all of the Harry Potter films on DVD when they were originally released. When the first one came out on DVD in 2002, I paid about $23 for it (give or take a couple dollars), and as far as I can recall, I've spent about the same on each of the sequels, right up to the most recent (a 2007 DVD release).

If anything, I feel like the prices of certain types of DVDs have gone down over the years. Catalog titles used to be priced about equally to new releases, even if they had no special features whatsoever. I passed on purchasing the original Apocalypse Now DVD because the $20 or $25 that it was going for initially seemed to be too much for a DVD devoid of special features. A couple years ago, I got the special edition for about $12. When the two disc set for "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" came out on DVD in 2002 (I believe), I paid about $25 for it. By the time they got around to releasing the two disc set of "Star Trek VI", I think I got that for about $15 when it was released. I remember eagerly anticipating the release of the "Warner Legends Collection" in 2003 (which had two-disc special editions of The Adventures Of Robin Hood, Yankee Doodle Dandy and The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre), and I paid about $70 for that. I can't imagine a three movie set costing that much these days...I'm at work so I can't glance over to my movie shelf, but anecdotally speaking, I feel like the equivalent set today would be a lot closer to $50.

The point being, in my experience, prices have stayed pretty consistent over the years. Maybe I paid a dollar or two more for a title at times, but I don't feel that there's been an overall, across-the-board rising of prices. And in the past few years, the cost of catalog titles for the most part has dropped, and it even seems like TV season sets can be found for cheaper than ever during their initial releases.

The only difference that I've seen, and you've noted it as well, is that studios have begun putting out a single disc and two disc version of the same title often on the same street date. Years ago, they just would have put out the two disc version. When you have titles like that, it gets a little harder to compare prices over the years... I see how it can feel like we're paying more when you walk into a store and see a copy of a movie with no special features going for $15, and then you see the same movie next to it but with a bonus disc, going for $20. And maybe you're right, maybe the editions with the bonus features have ended up costing a dollar or two more compared to what it might have been had the studio only released a two-disc version like in the old days... but I haven't experienced anything that drastic firsthand.

#13 of 95 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted December 12 2008 - 08:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Steinberg
The only difference that I've seen, and you've noted it as well, is that studios have begun putting out a single disc and two disc version of the same title often on the same street date. Years ago, they just would have put out the two disc version. When you have titles like that, it gets a little harder to compare prices over the years... I see how it can feel like we're paying more when you walk into a store and see a copy of a movie with no special features going for $15, and then you see the same movie next to it but with a bonus disc, going for $20. And maybe you're right, maybe the editions with the bonus features have ended up costing a dollar or two more compared to what it might have been had the studio only released a two-disc version like in the old days... but I haven't experienced anything that drastic firsthand.

I think this is the real issue. Street prices here are typically $20 average for the no frills version, and $30 for the 2 disc set. Before they started giving you the choice, the average for a new release, whether bare bones or a 2 disc deluxe edition (Like Fight Club, SEVEN, etc) was about $25 on the day of release, barring any specials (Disney films like Snow White Platinum were about $19 on the day of release). Most people, regardless of how much they like special features or not, would probably go for the 2 disc set if it was priced the same as the single bare bones. I would think so anyways just based on human nature of wanting more for less.

I just don't see how it's economical for the studios to create at minimum 3 versions of one DVD : Standard, Standard Full Screen, Deluxe Edition, all differently pressed discs (seems like disc one in a large number of 2 disc sets are different then the single disc release). It must be more costly no? Is the smaller (again, I'm guessing) run on the deluxe editions with the extra $5 retail really make up the gap for producing and shipping all those versions of one film?

#14 of 95 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted December 12 2008 - 01:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Reuben
So that proves the opposite of your point, and it doesn't answer my question. I was looking for an example of a disc with good special features that you think is too expensive.

Oh, BTW: list on Close Encounters 30th Anniversary is $50. Please stop using street prices for the ones you think are reasonable and list prices for the ones you think are not.

Wrong price for CE3K "Ultimate Edition". It was - and is - a $39.95 MSRP title. Which was - and is - a steal...
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#15 of 95 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted December 12 2008 - 02:44 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin Jacobson
Wrong price for CE3K "Ultimate Edition". It was - and is - a $39.95 MSRP title. Which was - and is - a steal...
You know, I wondered about that, because dvdpricesearch.com has the Blu-ray at that price and the standard DVD at $49.95, which doesn't make sense. They probably reversed them. I'll edit the original post.
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#16 of 95 OFFLINE   Corey3rd

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Posted December 12 2008 - 03:09 PM

Age does make a major difference. The Special Features on the Bond, Alien and Universal Hitchcock discs are essential viewing. but I find too many times not caring to rewatch "new films." And too many director commentaries are too nice. They really ought to liquor them up so we can get some truth.
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#17 of 95 OFFLINE   Robin9

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Posted December 12 2008 - 08:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey3rd
And too many director commentaries are too nice. They really ought to liquor them up so we can get some truth.
The commentaries by John Frankenheimer on some of the DVDs of his movies are excellent. He is not spiteful about his colleagues but he has something to say which is why his commentaries are interesting.

#18 of 95 OFFLINE   Billy Batson

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Posted December 13 2008 - 02:22 AM

I'm movie mad, but like some of the people here I just don't care about extras anymore. There are a few good ones; the doc. with Cleopatra for example, but a good transfer is all I require.

#19 of 95 OFFLINE   Reggie W

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Posted December 13 2008 - 02:26 AM

One thing I did not say in my last post was that I'm fine with the studios charging more for something like a special edition of I Am Legend or films like it. These newer films that score big bucks but are released as summer time fluff are just not interesting enough to warrant special features and I wonder how many fans of these films actually want to watch the special features about them. I mean they are basically assembled to be the equivalent of an amusement park ride and while there are plenty of people that will stand in line for that huge roller coaster, I really doubt they would stand in line to hear one of the engineers that designed it give a 60 minute lecture on how it was constructed...it's just nowhere near as fun as the ride itself.

So, who are they marketing a new edition of I Am Legend to? It's not the casual fan who only wants to take the ride, it has to be to a collector, meaning they will likely sell far fewer copies of the I Am Legend Ultimate Edition than they will of the bare bones single disc. Are they wrong for wanting more money for that "special edition", I don't think so.

I'd rather see the studios ask big money for a special edition of a newer film and sure that's selfish because I don't buy them, but like I said who cares about special features on these newer films?

This leads to my next point and that is how many times have you watched special features on a newer film and what was the quality of these features? I've watched some and in my opinion, I can't see anybody ever wanting to see them a second time and the quality...well...lets just say I can sum it up with one word, dreadful!

I'll use a film that I really enjoyed and was a "big" film as an example, There Will Be Blood. Now this film also got a duel release, a two disc and a single on the same day. If anybody is familiar with this release and owns the two disc, as I do, was I the only person that wondered what the point was of having the second disc as there was basically nothing on it and what was there could have easily been added to the single disc. I won't get into detail about what the features were but let's just say they were very slim, included not a single word from the director of the film, and gave practically zero insight into the making of the film. Basically, the second disc was a total waste on this set. As an interesting side note, I only bought the 2 disc in this case because for some odd reason the store where I bought it was charging 3 bucks less for it than the single, which seemed to make no sense but those were their price points.

Another new release I can name that got a nonsensical two disc release was Into the Wild, check out all the special features on that second disc...oh, I mean special feature, as there is only one and it's one of those bland 15 minute "We loved making this film" commercials for the film you just bought!

If anything I think we should be complaining about how bad the special features are not really the price points because as somebody pointed out they have stayed pretty stable.

#20 of 95 OFFLINE   Corey3rd

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Posted December 13 2008 - 03:18 AM

the market for the new Warner Ultimate Collector's Edition can be found in the time. They're not merely for the collector, but the relative/loved one of the collector who want to get them a nice Christmas present.
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