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A few words about...™ Amadeus -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About

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#41 of 214 Robert Crawford

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Posted February 17 2009 - 01:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Harris
Actually, Warner's record is quite good in this regard, along with Sony and Disney. When one looks at the real numbers, it becomes clear that the actual replacement, probably a few hundred discs at most, gains far more in credibility, consumer awareness and consumer loyalty than the $5 or so per replacement.

RAH
Again, spotty when considering the industry as a whole.

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#42 of 214 Xylon

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Posted February 17 2009 - 01:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bleddyn Williams
Wow! This thread comes as a bit of a shock, considering Xylon at AVS (whose eyes I consider more demanding than my own) acknowledged the processing, but said the picture was "very good to excellent for the most part."

The outdoor scenes to me looks very good to excellent. But yes no excuses for the extra added DNR on medium shots and close ups.

A recall? sure why not. Include The Dark Knight while we are it Posted Image

#43 of 214 David Wilkins

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Posted February 17 2009 - 02:24 AM

It's my guess that the $14.99 promotion is no accident, especially when you consider the fairly high price point that has been maintained for the Warner "book" titles.

I wonder, too, about the lack of pre-release online reviews that were available, which certainly would have affected pre-orders. I think they knew exactly what the reaction would be from the various forums.

#44 of 214 Josh Dial

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Posted February 17 2009 - 02:39 AM

Damn - I bought the BD last week, because I assumed a movie of this calibre would be treated with only the highest regard. I even checked the forums for a post such as this!

Now I wish I hadn't opened the packaging...

#45 of 214 Brian McHale

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Posted February 17 2009 - 03:36 AM

Personally, I'd like to see the theatrical cut of this. I didn't feel that any of the added scenes significantly improved the story, and most of them simply made the film longer. Combined with the less-than-stellar presentation they appear to be giving this on BD, I think I can live with my DVD copy until they get this right.
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#46 of 214 Chris S

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Posted February 17 2009 - 03:58 AM

Posted Image

I wish I had seen this thread before ordering a couple days ago. Dang it! I hate supporting overly DNR'ed release, especially inadvertently. So disappointing...


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#47 of 214 Patrick McCart

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Posted February 17 2009 - 05:06 AM

I'm surprised this was such a messed up release. Overfiltered transfer, only the DC, and low bitrate. This should have been a BD-50 with high bitrate, PCM 5.1, the music-only track, and both cuts via branching.

It's not like Amadeus isn't worth the financial risk to put more effort into. Sony was able to fix The Fifth Element, so why not Warner with this? I'd be happy to pay $30 for a proper transfer and both cuts.

If WB doesn't have a lot of control over these outside projects from Zaentz, Morgan Creek, and others, they simply need to stop being so passive. This is what resulted in the embarrassing PAL converted Chaplin DVDs from MK2 when pristine 1080p and 2K masters existed! Why should they waste money on subpar releases when their licensees are doing it half-assed?

#48 of 214 Brandon Conway

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Posted February 17 2009 - 05:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Harris
Actually, Warner's record is quite good in this regard, along with Sony and Disney. When one looks at the real numbers, it becomes clear that the actual replacement, probably a few hundred discs at most, gains far more in credibility, consumer awareness and consumer loyalty than the $5 or so per replacement.

RAH
If they have to make a whole new HD master such a process is not cost effective, running much higher than $5 or so a replacement. That's the unfortunate business side of things.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#49 of 214 Brandon Conway

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Posted February 17 2009 - 05:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick McCart
If WB doesn't have a lot of control over these outside projects from Zaentz, Morgan Creek, and others, they simply need to stop being so passive. This is what resulted in the embarrassing PAL converted Chaplin DVDs from MK2 when pristine 1080p and 2K masters existed! Why should they waste money on subpar releases when their licensees are doing it half-assed?
I'm not sure what they can do. And even if they are going to companies they only distribute for and yelling/screaming/pleading/begging them to release at a higher quality one shouldn't expect to read about it publicly.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#50 of 214 frankie108

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Posted February 17 2009 - 06:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Wilkins
It's my guess that the $14.99 promotion is no accident, especially when you consider the fairly high price point that has been maintained for the Warner "book" titles.

I wonder, too, about the lack of pre-release online reviews that were available, which certainly would have affected pre-orders. I think they knew exactly what the reaction would be from the various forums.
That's certainly a possibility. Another factor could be that fans of this film would have recorded this title to their HD DVRs from the splendid recent HDNET high definition broadcast. An introductory price of $15 for a premier catalog on BD will, I hope, jumpstart sales. Personally, I hope this title sells like hot cakes and sends a message to the studios that there is an audience out there that's willing to buy catalog titles en masse if they're reasonably priced. I think this message is more important them some subjective PQ issues, IMO.

#51 of 214 Aaron Silverman

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Posted February 17 2009 - 06:15 AM

This is just insult on top of the injury of permanently replacing the original theatrical cut. The Director's Cut, whether one likes it or not, is *significantly* changed from the movie that won the Oscar for Best Picture. It is a different and far less subtle film.

My recommendation to anyone who wants this movie is to just buy the old flipper disc from 1997. At least it's anamorphic (and IIRC it includes an isolated score track).
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#52 of 214 Powell&Pressburger

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Posted February 17 2009 - 06:16 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankie108
That's certainly a possibility. Another factor could be that fans of this film would have recorded this title to their HD DVRs from the splendid recent HDNET high definition broadcast. An introductory price of $15 for a premier catalog on BD will, I hope, jumpstart sales. Personally, I hope this title sells like hot cakes and sends a message to the studios that there is an audience out there that's willing to buy catalog titles en masse if they're reasonably priced. I think this message is more important them some subjective PQ issues, IMO.

I only hope a film you really look forward to never comes out on blu ray with any subjective PQ issues.

The point is to correct the issues so they don't happen again... WBs seems to repeat their mistakes.

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#53 of 214 Dave H

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Posted February 17 2009 - 07:18 AM

From what I've heard from insiders at another site, Warner is the most stubborn of all studios and will not listen to any input from folks who know what they are talking about. As a result, they continue to filter and use low bit rates on too many titles.

I just watched the UK version of Batman (1989) which will be the same transfer as the US version - it too has been filtered down and most of the grain removed giving the image a "clean" look.

#54 of 214 Loregnum

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Posted February 17 2009 - 10:37 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Agermose
I haven't seen this myself but am relying on Mr. Harris expert opinions.

This discussion is yet another in the long line of cases of studio tampering with our beloved films. Starting with OAR, continuing with soundtrack mixes, we're now stuck with transfers designed for the videogaming generation.
For years nobody complained about OAR, the studios kept doing pan-scan and we kept on buying them. If we don't make a stand now they'll continue down whatever path will make them the most money.

Vote with your wallet.

I think it is silly to make a generalization that the "videogame generation" is why these transfers are being processed so much. As I am 30 and am in the "video game generation" since I am an avid gamer, and can say that I can't stand DNR and other processing work done, I find this to be ridiculous. If anything, I would say it is more middle aged people who bitch and moan about grain and other things and want their films to look like the video based HD programs they watch on TV.

I am also with Xylon...if this were to get recalled then recall The Dark Knight as well since every non IMAX scene is an over processed mess as well.

All I can really say is I am getting sick and tired of there being a high profile disc seemingly every week that has been processed like this...just release the damn transfers without messing with them since it leads to them looking WORSE.

Me thinks the people who thought doing this was a good idea are the same people who thought having close to indestructible plastic packages for most things was a good idea since they obviously are a pain to open and most throw them in the garbage which does nothing good for the environment. I cut open a plastic package today for one of my xbox live points cards and I thought my scissors were going to break.

Then there are the 3 security stickers on DVD/blu-ray cases that are extra sticky but thankfully all but Lions gate seems to have clued in you do not need 3 and the one at the top that is easy to peel off does the job. Nice to see it took them all these years to finally get it.

#55 of 214 MatS

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Posted February 17 2009 - 10:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankie108
An introductory price of $15 for a premier catalog on BD will, I hope, jumpstart sales. Personally, I hope this title sells like hot cakes and sends a message to the studios that there is an audience out there that's willing to buy catalog titles en masse if they're reasonably priced. I think this message is more important them some subjective PQ issues, IMO.
I think both are very important
and considering who the subject is I value his subjective opinion

#56 of 214 MatS

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Posted February 17 2009 - 11:02 AM

so this guy is flat out lying then, correct?

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Quote:
Blu About The Slow Release of Classic Titles On Blu-ray? Take Heart!
Tue Feb 17, 2009 at 03:10 PM ET
Tags: Industry Trends (all tags)

George Feltenstein of Warner Home Video talks about future releases and why it takes so long to bring Golden Age gems to Blu-ray

Article by David Krauss

It's a question serious movie fans have been asking for some time: "Where are all the classics on Blu-ray?" Almost three years have passed since the debut of high-def discs and we're fast approaching the first anniversary of the format war's abrupt end, and still such iconic titles as 'Gone With the Wind,' 'The Wizard of Oz,' 'Lawrence of Arabia,' 'Citizen Kane,' and 'Rear Window' have yet to see a Blu-ray release. "What's taking so long?" everyone seems to be asking. "Is Blu-ray only for recent blockbusters? Will we never be able to enjoy our favorite old movies on this glorious new media?" As time creeps along and more households embrace Blu-ray, the clamor for classics grows louder and more persistent, while the wait drags on…and on. I can speak from personal experience when I say film buffs are many things, but patient isn't one of them.

Well, if you're one of those antsy aficionados aggravated by the dearth of film classics available on Blu-ray disc, take heart. A prominent home video executive feels your pain, and he's doing all he can to rectify the situation without sacrificing quality or compromising a film's original elements.

Anybody who knows DVD classics knows George Feltenstein, senior vice president of marketing/theatrical catalog for Warner Home Video. A major Golden Age film fan himself, Feltenstein has been the driving force behind hundreds of classic releases from the days of VHS on through laserdiscs and into the digital era. His unrivaled passion and commitment to classic film has helped cement WHV's reputation as the genre's leading producer, and developed a loyal consumer following for the studio. And guess what? He's just nuts about Blu-ray.

"I don't think you'll find anyone on the planet complaining more about the lack of classic releases on Blu-ray than me," Feltenstein said in a recent phone interview from his Burbank office. As a consumer himself, he personally thinks it's "horrible, ridiculous, and frustrating" that more pre-1970 titles are not available on the format, and believes "thousands upon thousands of people" haven't made the Blu-ray leap because few of the titles on store shelves interest them. (Feltenstein also feels the film industry hindered the public's adoption of the technology because it failed to clearly and accurately communicate the format's vast superiority over standard DVD during its early stages.) As an industry executive, however, he understands all too well the studios' quandary over whether to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars on a per title basis to remaster classic films – and that's what it costs if you need to start from "scratch" – when demographic research shows "typical" buyers could care less about the classic genre. And, Feltenstein adds, "The fact that we are in a recession-slash-depression and the world's economy is going to hell in a hand-basket doesn't help things."

All that said, Feltenstein, who dubs himself WHV's "in-house Blu-ray cheerleader," believes WHV has recently made some "bold and aggressive" moves regarding classics, and hopes other studios will follow suit. He cites next month's releases of the biblical epic 'Quo Vadis,' and two Best Picture winners, 'Gigi' and 'An American in Paris,' as a "litmus test" for classics, even though they are "very, very risky titles to put out in this marketplace, which mostly caters to new theatrical releases." (20th Century Fox will also hop on the classic BD bandwagon next month with 'The Robe' and 'South Pacific.')

That trio, however, is just a warm-up for what Feltenstein calls a "murderer's row" of classic releases later this year that will include such AFI 100 masterpieces as 'Gone With the Wind,' 'The Wizard of Oz,' and 'North By Northwest.' Hitchcock's thriller underwent a $1 million restoration, while 'GWTW' and 'Oz' – both of which were remastered in 2K Ultra Resolution three or four years ago for splashy DVD releases – have been completely overhauled once again to make sure they meet all of Blu-ray's exacting standards. "What was perfection two to three years ago is not now," Feltenstein says. "We thought 'Gone With the Wind' would be good to go on Blu-ray with what was done previously, plus $200,000 for dirt cleaning. But to look perfect, we had to start all over from scratch at enormous cost. I took it to management and there was no hesitation. Having a film like 'Gone With the Wind' on Blu-ray will set a new standard and pave the way for more classic releases."

According to Feltenstein, WHV has been mastering its classic films in 1080p since 2002, long before Blu-ray's official dawn, but he's quick to point out that even those relatively new transfers still must undergo expensive, time-consuming dirt and scratch removal to make them suitable for Blu-ray. Regular 1080p remastering is fine for standard definition, he says, but HD quality requires additional work. "Blu-ray demands perfection and our consumers demand that these films achieve the best possible image quality. I assure you they will, but there will always be people out there who will nitpick and find something wrong with them."

Perfection, he explains, doesn't mean compromising a film's original elements, such as grain structure, and Feltenstein is adamant that WHV does not condone such tampering, nor does it allow The Motion Picture Imaging Group, the company that produces its transfers, to artificially enhance images or apply digital noise reduction to achieve a more modern, sleek look. Black-and-white films of the 1930s and 1940s tend to exhibit more grain than movies made in the '50s and '60s, and sometimes that grain looks amplified when projected on a high-def display. When doing transfers, Feltenstein says, "we keep the grain, but get rid of every piece of non-photographic originated dirt we can."

Oftentimes, 1080p remastering shines a beacon on basic rudimentary production techniques used in classic films. Mattes, backdrops, and rear projection work are more noticeable, and special effects can lose their mystique. When upgrading 'Top Hat' (1935), Feltenstein was shocked to see how dirty the floor was on which Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers danced. That dirty floor will be clearly visible when the Astaire-Rogers films make their Blu-ray debut in 2010, as will the wires that support the Scarecrow in certain scenes of 'The Wizard of Oz.' Age-related specks, scratches, and grit, however, will be erased.

Sound issues have also drawn ire from many consumers hungry for high-def audio on Golden Age films. Some have complained about the lack of a Dolby TrueHD track on 'Casablanca' and the upcoming 'An American in Paris.' Feltenstein insists he will always try to fashion an HD audio track, but only if it can be created naturally through the film's original multiple channel recordings. Both 'Casablanca' and 'An American in Paris' were recorded in mono, so monaural tracks were used on their respective Blu-ray discs to preserve each film's authenticity.

When discussing the criteria for selecting suitable titles for Blu-ray release, especially this early in the format's lifespan, Feltenstein notes there are still "hundreds upon hundreds of wonderful classic films in the Warner library that still haven't even seen a standard DVD release." At this time, he says, limited audience titles will not immediately come out on Blu-ray, such as a collection of Esther Williams movies WHV is readying for later in 2009, because projected sales would not effectively cover costs, which can quickly spiral into the stratosphere. Dirt and scratch removal on existing 1080p masters is expensive enough, but some films require new intermediate elements from the original negative, while others demand a full photochemical restoration before a new master can be created. Authoring, compression, menu creation, and design also inflate the price tag. "Even replicating the physical Blu-ray disc is expensive," Feltenstein says. "So it's not just the cost of making the master that determines whether we go forward." As a result, the studio is currently prepping its most iconic titles for Blu-ray and holding off on more specialized material.

Does that mean some titles, especially those antiques with heavy grain and scratchy audio, will never see a Blu-ray release? "Just because it can't be perfect doesn't mean it shouldn't be on Blu-ray at some point," Feltenstein says. "Some titles will take longer than others, but a film's vintage will not keep it from Blu-ray. Because we've been mastering in 1080p since 2002, we have gorgeous high-definition masters on more than 250 black-and-white 4x3 movies. They're just not the kind of movies that will lure people into Blu-ray. Remember, it was about five years into the DVD era before it became financially viable to go deeper into the classic library; we are about to begin year number four of Blu-ray in a few months, and I believe our plans for Blu-ray library marketing are in line with what we did – and continue to do – for DVD. But right now, we have to try and find the right classic film that will really show off the technology."

And Warner has plenty of those on tap. In addition to the Astaire-Rogers canon in 2010, Feltenstein said the 1954 'A Star Is Born' with Judy Garland, currently being remastered in 6K resolution, will also see a 2010 release, and 'Citizen Kane' will celebrate its 70th anniversary with a Blu-ray bow in 2011. Other titles in the pipeline include the 1959 'Ben-Hur,' which was already remastered in 1080p, but is being redone because, Feltenstein says, many viewers were displeased with the standard DVD transfer. 'Singin' in the Rain,' previously mastered in 1080i in 2001 is unsuitable for Blu-ray in its present form, so it's gone back to square one for a "profusely expensive" 1080p makeover. 'The Music Man,' 'Doctor Zhivago,' and 'Meet Me in St. Louis' also will see high-def releases in the next two to three years. And in honor of its 40th anniversary, 'Woodstock' will arrive on Blu-ray later this year in limited numbered editions with two hours of recently discovered performances. The classic concert film was originally shot in 16mm, so beware, there will be noticeable grain.

Though Hollywood usually thrives during tough times, Feltenstein said the home video industry has not been immune to the economic downturn, as layoffs and store closings make production more time consuming and marketing more challenging. "It's a very difficult environment to further this agenda," he said. "But if you put out a great release, people will buy it, and buying ensures that more releases in the same vein will follow. If people want to see more classic releases, they need to support the ones that are available or will soon be available. It's that simple."

Feltenstein can't speak for other studios, but emphasizes WHV's strong commitment to classics on Blu-ray, both from a financial and ideological perspective. "The horizon is bright," he says. "We will continue to be aggressive, and I believe people will be very happy with what we have in store."

In other words, good things come to those who wait.

I guess he could be telling the truth when he says (at the end) "good things come to those who wait"

#57 of 214 Brandon Conway

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Posted February 17 2009 - 11:17 AM

Mr. Feltenstein probably has little to no control over titles Warner only distributes (New Line pre-fold in, Saul Zaentz, Morgan Creek, etc.)

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#58 of 214 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted February 17 2009 - 11:43 AM

This sure is a big disappointment now. Posted Image

I was all ready to pounce on it for $15 from Amazon. Not too sure if I'm actually all that glad I didn't do that before reading this thread. OTOH, I don't want to buy another overprocessed great film on BD, but in this case, it's also not too clear to me whether it'll be a satisfying enough upgrade (for the $15). And yeah, the lack of the major awards winning theatrical version also bites. Posted Image

Think I'll just hold off on this one for now...

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#59 of 214 Dan M

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Posted February 17 2009 - 12:05 PM

This is so disheartening. After all these years I still hang on to my old flipper disc. The image looks rough blown up on my 100" screen but it's the only way I can enjoy the theatrical cut. It's such a shame being how far we've come in terms of technology but this film still has not yet been done right.

Give us the option to watch the directors cut along with the original Oscar awarded theatrical cut with the proper transfer. Sans the digital cleanup please. Thats the only way to fully justify the release of Amadeus. Is that asking too much?

#60 of 214 JonZ

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Posted February 17 2009 - 12:07 PM

I picked this up but havent had a chance to watch it.

Scanning through it a bit I thought the bright scenes looked pretty good with nice color rendition. You can see details on the beautiful architecture of the walls and such and the nice clothing designs.

The dark scenes definitely were a bit more problematic.

I did think the pic looked a bit soft, but had soon forgotten about that as I was too busy looking at the lovely reds, blues, etc.



Im also watching this on a 32+ screen so I might not be seeing some of the things others with larger screens are.

oh and I agree - the studios need to start giving us more choices. The theatrical cut should have been included.


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