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Paramount - Why the change from original cover artwork?

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15 replies to this topic

#1 of 16 OFFLINE   Walt Riarson

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Posted May 02 2002 - 08:05 AM

This has been bothering me for a while now.

For whatever reason, Paramount has, as of late, been butchering the original cover artwork of many of it's beloved catalog titles. Look at these...

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or this...

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and who can forget these...

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They used to use the original artwork 95% of the time, but now, on almost every catalog title, they're changing it. They change the classic artwork on films like The Bad News Bears, but keep it for The Accused. What gives? The new artwork looks very cheap.

I hope they don't consider changing the cover art to April Fool's Day, Don't Look Now, My Bloody Valentine, as well as the upcoming Friday the 13th films whenever they are released. All of which had iconic artwork, within their respective genre.

Paramount, why has the policy apparently changed regarding original artwork?

"My advice to young film-makers is this: Don't follow trends. Start them!" -- Frank Capra

#2 of 16 OFFLINE   Will K

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Posted May 02 2002 - 09:03 AM

This is indeed a nasty habit among studios, particularly with MGM and Columbia/TriStar. I guess it would be different if the revised artwork actually looked good; they're almost always awful. As far as the above go, the Top Secret! art doesn't bother me too bad(color-wise, it's appealing). The Better Off Dead cover...well, if you can't say something nice...those Friday's are pretty horrid, too.
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#3 of 16 OFFLINE   Dave Anderson

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Posted May 02 2002 - 12:19 PM

Guys, who cares? It's the contents that I care about. How often do you look at the cover?
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#4 of 16 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted May 02 2002 - 02:43 PM

I could name many worse things that could happen to a DVD release.

#5 of 16 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted May 02 2002 - 07:30 PM

They probably change the artwork because a DVD case is damned small (even compared to a VHS box and certainly compared to an LD sleeve or a theatrical poster.) The image has to be clear, easy to see, identifiable, and it has to leave enough room for the title to be big enough to be seen from a distance, as when people are cruising the ailes of a store. This must sometimes require a few compromises. A cover illustration is a sales tool, and has to be adapted to the medium it is being used with. Same reason CD covers are nothing like the great album covers of old - there isn't room for the photographs and everything else that used to go on them. I'm with those who are more concerned with the contents than the cover. Regards, Joe

#6 of 16 OFFLINE   Dome Vongvises

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Posted May 02 2002 - 09:03 PM

DVD's, much like any other collectible item, is something to be cherished by said collector. Let's take the core movies that have come to the exhibit. These films are cherished by one group of fans or another. It's easy to understand the need to change cover art in order to build a new audience. But what's not easy to understand is why gamble with your core audience? It's kind of a huge paradox that companies believe that cover art has the power to attract a new audience, but at the same time not repel the old, core audience.

#7 of 16 OFFLINE   Lafe F

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Posted May 03 2002 - 09:48 AM

Some of us care about cover art!!! I wish studios wouldn't mess with the original theatrical artwork. I'd still like to punish those responsible at Paramount for changing the Friday the 13th covers. And why did Paramount move the banner from the bottom to the top? Call me picky and anal; I don't care.

#8 of 16 OFFLINE   Paul Richardson

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Posted May 03 2002 - 09:52 AM

The real reason for these silly covers is that the graphic artists have to justify their high salaries. If all that they were doing was scanning in the original posters, they could be replaced with trained monkeys.

#9 of 16 OFFLINE   Andy_S


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Posted May 03 2002 - 10:07 AM

Do graphics artists really make that much money? I was under the impression that they didn't. Also, when there are lay offs they're usually some of the first to go.
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#10 of 16 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted May 03 2002 - 12:13 PM

I believe it usually has something to do with royalties to the poster artist. Sigh

#11 of 16 OFFLINE   Larry Gardner

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Posted May 04 2002 - 11:55 AM

If at all possible, when they can they should use the original artwork on the single chapter list page in the inside of the disc. This way, everyone is happy. The new artwork is used to draw attention on store shelves and the collectors are happy getting to see what was used to advertise the film when released. Also isn't there a blank screen option on discs that when placed in the player - it is automatically shown. It could also be used there. It could also be added as a clip gallery pic.

#12 of 16 OFFLINE   Scott Weinberg

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Posted May 05 2002 - 01:39 AM

I'm also one who really appreciates it when the original poster art is used, but an ugly cover wouldn't stop me from buying a movie I love. But I would love to know precisely why these changes are made.

#13 of 16 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted May 05 2002 - 06:13 PM

I like it when they change the packaging artwork around. It makes it different from the previous VHS releases. So...if you happen to have both formats of a particular film, you won't have repeat covers.

I really love this cover change! (Although no one else seems to admire it. But it's a great look for this film!).....

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#14 of 16 OFFLINE   Walt Riarson

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Posted May 08 2002 - 12:09 PM

I think it has to do with how the films are presented. The cover art for Top Secret, Better Off Dead, and both Friday movies that I displayed makes them look cheap, like something that was sent direct to video.

Here's the original VHS artwork for Better off Dead...

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Compare it to the one I posted above.

Paramount isn't the only offender. Take a look at Buena Vista's terrible new artwork (the one on the left) for Ruthless People compared with the old VHS artwork (the right)

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Or how about Columbia's new Murder by Death cover? An intelligent spoof of the Mystery and Film Noir genres is displayed in the most generic of fashions...

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Even MGM has changed artwork from time to time. There is new artwork on Mannequin, but they decided to keep the original artwork for Invasion USA.

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This brings me to what bothers me the most about cover art being changed. Studios like Paramount and MGM aren't consistent. As I said earlier, movies like The Accused and Beverly Hills Cop don't get their artwork changed, while ones like the Friday films and Bad News Bears get new, cheap artwork. I'm very glad they used the original artwork on the Crocodile Dundee movies. I can't imagine those with any other artwork design. Then again, I couldn't imagine Top Secret! either.

Now, Paramount isn't as major of an offender in this area as other studios, but the reason I started this thread is because, as of late, Paramount has been changing catalog cover art quite frequently, and I'd just like to know why these sudden, needless changes are occuring?

"My advice to young film-makers is this: Don't follow trends. Start them!" -- Frank Capra

#15 of 16 OFFLINE   Walt Riarson

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Posted May 08 2002 - 12:42 PM

And yes, I'm fully prepared to cringe, come September 3rd.

I expect Don't Look Now (should it be one of the rumored releases) to probably have a blown-up photo of Donald Sutherland's face on the cover. Posted Image I hope they keep the bloody picture frame design. Classic.

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And I just can't imagine My Bloody Valentine (also, if it is part of this September 3rd wave) without the Miner's face on the cover...unless they were to use the European artwork (which is better than the US' in my opinion.) Maybe the lack of big name stars will prompt them to use the original or hopefully the European artwork. Only time will tell. Use either the original US (left) or the original European artwork (right)...

Posted Image Posted Image

Please, please keep the original artwork on some of our beloved mystery classics...if only for this September 3rd wave (whatever they may be.)

"My advice to young film-makers is this: Don't follow trends. Start them!" -- Frank Capra

#16 of 16 OFFLINE   Douglas R

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Posted May 08 2002 - 01:19 PM

The usual reason for changing cover art is to attract the casual buyer by using close ups of the stars of the film. Most buyers are not serious film fans and unfortunately for those of us who love original cover art, will often pick a DVD simply on the basis of who is in it. Murder by Death is a good example in that Columbia are counting on the familiarity of Peter Falk's Columbo persona, even though the cover makes no real sense to anyone who knows the film. Artists impressions of the stars would at least be an improvement rather than the cheap and easy way of simply using photographs.

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