Avengers: Endgame disc release comes under media attack

Over the past couple of days the disc release announcement of Avengers: Endgame has suffered media criticism by two reputable online publications, namely The Verge and Forbes.

As correctly pointed out by HTF members on the official Avengers: Endgame BD release thread this week, The Verge has weighed in on its own entertainment pages by telling fans who have yet to see the film to avoid watching Marvel’s promotional video, which includes spoilers revealing “quite literally, the entire film.”

To add insult to injury, John Archer at Forbes mag has pointed out on Wednesday that the 4K Blu-ray disc release will be missing a couple of “key AV features” which are sure to frustrate fans. The first of these is the glaring omission of a dynamic HDR format, such as Dolby Vision or HDR10+, with Disney settling instead for vanilla HDR10. Disney has already included Dolby Vision on previous 4K releases, including Black Panther, so it seems extraordinary that what will almost certainly turn out to be one of the biggest-selling discs of all time will not include the feature. More confusingly, the streaming release of the title will include Dolby Vision support.

Forbes also criticizes Disney’s failure to capitalize on the film’s IMAX source material, or at least providing an option for AV fans to do so. A:E was shot entirely using IMAX cameras, and a petition was even set up last year to ask Disney to make IMAX shots available as an option on disc releases that were captured on the large cinema format. The jump from 2.39:1 to a screen-filling and highly-detailed 16:9 image can be impressive, as proven to be the case exemplified by releases such as Dunkirk. With Avengers having been through-shot with IMAX cameras, surely it would have made sense to put out a separate disc?

 

 

 

 

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Martin Dew

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33 Comments

  1. It's worth noting that the lack of support for IMAX ratio footage is nothing new. Several of the Marvel films have featured shifting aspect ratios in IMAX and none have been duplicated on their disc counterparts in 2D. (I don't have 3D so can't speak to whether or not any of the 3D discs have contained this feature.) Infinity War was also shot entirely with IMAX cameras and only received a 2.39:1 Blu-ray disc. So while this may be disappointing for some people, it's certainly not without precedent or inconsistent with how Disney has treated these films on disc in the past. What they announced this week is exactly what I was expecting from them to announce.

    It's also important to note that all traditional theaters throughout the world screened the movie in 2.39:1, and the Russo brothers knew this was the plan when they were making the film So while 2.39:1 is not the only correct aspect ratio for the film, it is not an inappropriately compromised one either and is a valid way of releasing the film which represents the way that the vast majority of people who saw the movie in theaters experienced the film.

  2. Isn’t there a pattern?
    Disney uses high-end technological bells and whistles on media they want consumers to buy.
    Blu-ray 3D titles lack ATMOS, and now the latest UHD physical media title lacks DV.

  3. Jake Lipson

    It's worth noting that the lack of support for IMAX ratio footage is nothing new. Several of the Marvel films have featured shifting aspect ratios in IMAX and none have been duplicated on their disc counterparts in 2D. (I don't have 3D so can't speak to whether or not any of the 3D discs have contained this feature.) Infinity War was also shot entirely with IMAX cameras and only received a 2.39:1 Blu-ray disc. So while this may be disappointing for some people, it's certainly not without precedent or inconsistent with how Disney has treated these films on disc in the past. What they announced this week is exactly what I was expecting from them to announce.

    It's also important to note that all traditional theaters throughout the world screened the movie in 2.39:1, and the Russo brothers knew this was the plan when they were making the film So while 2.39:1 is not the only correct aspect ratio for the film, it is not an inappropriately compromised one either and is a valid way of releasing the film which represents the way that the vast majority of people who saw the movie in theaters experienced the film.

    This is not to say that there shouldn't also be a release with the IMAX ratio footage — I agree that there is value in releasing that — but releasing it in 2.39:1 is also correct. In effect, the film has two separate and equally valid original theatrical aspect ratios because of the differing presentations in IMAX versus conventional auditoriums.

    It really would be nice if these IMAX-shot movies came out with both versions, and it's not just Disney/Marvel that drops the ball – movies like "Sully" were almost entirely shot IMAX digital but not released that way.

    It doesn't seem like it would cost them much to put a second disc in the package with the IMAX version as well – or the non-IMAX in cases like "Aquaman" that do use the alternate ratio…

  4. I just think Disney isn't giving full service to the 4k community. We all know the release could be a little bit better. I kinda think they'll revisit this title in a year or two with the alternate cut. Anybody's guess whether they'll address the Dolby situation. Might have been a licensing or cost effectiveness problem with Dolby.

  5. Cost effectiveness? This is on it's way to being the highest grossing film of all-time.You'd think that Di$ney would put a little more effort into making it stand out from the rest of their Marvel releases.

  6. Ethan Riley

    I kinda think they'll revisit this title in a year or two with the alternate cut.

    That would be highly unusual for Disney at this point. Double dips on high-profile titles like this have not been Disney's pattern for a while. The last time they double dipped later on a big title was when The Force Awakens and The Jungle Book got released in 3D later than their flat Blu-rays. I really don't think it's very likely that they are holding back the IMAX ratio for a different release. I just think they're going to release it in 2.39:1 and have that be it, which is what they normally do.

    We already know that Endgame is going to appear on Disney+ in December. The audience for a double dip releasing after it is already on there included with the cost of people's subscriptions would be very small indeed. I really think they're just going to put it out in August and sell what they will sell and that's it.

    Is anyone here who wants the IMAX ratio actually NOT going to buy the 2.39:1 version?

    We mentioned in the other thread that digital only bonus features should not exist…but even though they do exist, we still buy the discs. Disney is going to release what they want to release and won't be motivated to change it until they lose a significant chunk of sales — which they won't. It's going to be what Disney wants to release, and the vast majority of interested fans will take that. I know I will.

  7. Paul Hillenbrand

    Isn't there a pattern?
    Disney uses high-end technological bells and whistles on media they want consumers to buy.
    Blu-ray 3D titles lack ATMOS, and now the latest UHD physical media title lacks DV.

    The cynical part of me definitely thinks this is the latest strategy to try and swing consumers away from physical media. I think it's a strategic mistake.

    Much like Laserdisc during the VHS era, UHD provides studios a niche market where they can get away with charging premium prices for cinephiles willing to pay more for the best possible presentation. Yes, there are production expenses with a UHD physical release that you don't have with a 4K digital copy. But if you can set the MSRP for the UHD disc at $40, while the 4K digital copy sells for $20, the UHD physical release is still going to generate more profits.

    But that only works if the UHD physical release has the best possible presentation. When you take steps like not including Dolby Vision, you're killing that premium pricing market.

    Colin Jacobson

    It really would be nice if these IMAX-shot movies came out with both versions, and it's not just Disney/Marvel that drops the ball – movies like "Sully" were almost entirely shot IMAX digital but not released that way.

    It doesn't seem like it would cost them much to put a second disc in the package with the IMAX version as well – or the non-IMAX in cases like "Aquaman" that do use the alternate ratio…

    Warner Bros. and Lionsgate are generally really good about including the IMAX version on their home releases — Sully being an exception for whatever reason. Disney is consistently awful on this point.

    And I do think it's a legitimate gripe.

  8. Adam Lenhardt

    Warner Bros. and Lionsgate are generally really good about including the IMAX version on their home releases — Sully being an exception for whatever reason. Disney is consistently awful on this point.

    "Blade Runner 2049" also was an IMAX-shot film from WB that only came out 2.40:1 on BD/4K…

  9. All of the Marvel 3D discs retain the IMAX presentations (for titles that had IMAX enhanced footage) with the notable exception of Infinity War, and, presumably, Endgame.

    For many of those titles, the IMAX release was exclusively in 3D, so in those instances, I believe it is proper that the 2D version does not include the enhancements.

  10. why cant studios stick to consistant aspect ratio?
    eversince Transformer 5 with mixed widescreen presentation ratio mix,I had oredi been watching cropped visuals from other movies. M.I.Fallout and Dunkirk are 2 to mention…

  11. Adam Lenhardt

    But that only works if the UHD physical release has the best possible presentation. When you take steps like not including Dolby Vision, you're killing that premium pricing market.

    Are they really? How many people are not buying those discs for that reasoning? Most people won't even noticed about the lack of Dolby Vision. Furthermore, those that do buy the disc also get their digital with Dolby Vision.

    I hate what the industry is doing with their physical disc releases as well as how they released their titles digitally. Neither video format is being utilized to its fullest by the industry.

  12. Maybe it’s all a thing of the past, but my impression of Dolby Vision from reading many discussions on various displays over the last year or so is that it can be somewhat problematic.

    As HDR displays continue to get brighter and, more importantly, HDR tone mapping gets better and better the “improvement” of Dolby Vision over regular HDR-10 becomes meaningless anyway.

    Dolby Vision seems most relevant when looking at displays that do a poor job of tone mapping HDR-10. But tone mapping has improved significantly compared to when UHD TVs first launched.

  13. YANG

    why cant studios stick to consistant aspect ratio?
    eversince Transformer 5 with mixed widescreen presentation ratio mix,I had oredi been watching cropped visuals from other movies. M.I.Fallout and Dunkirk are 2 to mention…

    In this case it would be a consistent aspect ratio. The entire IMAX version of Endgame (as well as Infinity War) was 1.9:1.

  14. Sean Bryan

    Maybe it’s all a thing of the past, but my impression of Dolby Vision from reading many discussions on various displays over the last year or so is that it can be somewhat problematic.

    As HDR displays continue to get brighter and, more importantly, HDR tone mapping gets better and better the “improvement” of Dolby Vision over regular HDR-10 becomes meaningless anyway.

    Dolby Vision seems most relevant when looking at displays that do a poor job of tone mapping HDR-10. But tone mapping has improved significantly compared to when UHD TVs first launched.

    Similarly: Projectors don't support Dolby Vision, so I don't care about it being on a disc.

  15. DaveF

    Similarly: Projectors don't support Dolby Vision, so I don't care about it being on a disc.

    Right. I currently use the Panasonic UB820 to handle the HDR tone mapping for my projector.

    I’m waiting to see the price range of the madVR Envy when that becomes available and then I’ll decide if I’m going to shell out for that or build a HTPC with madVR. The benefit of either solution (as well as for those who have the Lumagen Radiance Pro) is dynamic frame by frame tone mapping. So that’ll pretty much be doing what Dolby Vision does, but any display and HDR10 software can take advantage.

    As you said, projectors don’t have Dolby Vision and the chances of it coming to them any time soon seem very small. So DV is irrelevant to projector owners. And most new UHD TVs have good tone mapping now.

  16. Sean Bryan

    I’m waiting to see the price range of the madVR Envy when that becomes available and then I’ll decide if I’m going to shell out for that or build a HTPC with madVR. The benefit of either solution (as well as for those who have the Lumagen Radiance Pro) is dynamic frame by frame tone mapping. So that’ll pretty much be doing what Dolby Vision does, but any display and HDR10 software can take advantage.

    The MadVR solution sounds interesting [some day, right] but why the decided preference for Dolby Vision over HDR10+ or HLG? The former will never be an acceptable solution for projector owners and the latter offers similar specs.

  17. John Dirk

    The MadVR solution sounds interesting [some day, right] but why the decided preference for Dolby Vision over HDR10+ or HLG? The former will never be an acceptable solution for projector owners and the latter offers similar specs.

    Sorry, not sure I follow your question. I have no preference for Dobly Vision. Frame by frame dynamic tone mapping, however, should provide the best results on low luminance displays like projectors.

  18. Todd Erwin

    I've pretty much stopped reading the Forbes author's articles on home video. This article that Martin refers to says the same thing about just about every 4k release from Disney.

    Rephrasing: The author of the Forbes article has said the same thing about just about every 4k release from Disney released after Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

  19. Sean Bryan

    Frame by frame dynamic tone mapping, however, should provide the best results on low luminance displays like projectors.

    Agreed. I was only pointing out the fact that HDR 10+ and DV should offer similar performance, only HDR10+ promises to do it without licencing fees.

  20. I think “attack” is a little hyperbolic. The release is facing some criticism, with good reason.

    Studios have had the ability to use seamless branching on Blu-ray for years, but few use it. Studios had the ability to use BD-Live, but couldn’t figure out how to do something that was truly useful (they seemed stuck in the idea that they needed to create a “portal” which was just a confusing jumble of corporate worthlessness). Even Atmos seems a challenge for them.

    The one thing they really got right was implementing lossless soundtracks. (Although Disney has had an issue with their levels, so there’s that)

    The media *should* be encouraging, coercing, and pressuring the studios to do the best possible at every turn. That’s their role. They are the voice of the customer; because individuals have no voice that will be heeded. We should always be looking for the best possible outcome, or all we’ll get is mediocrity.

    The marketing trailer for the home video release does give away most of the plot of the movie. While that’s regrettable, it’s certainly not surprising or shocking in any way. The studio is probably making the pretty safe assumption that everyone remotely interested in the movie has seen it at least once, and if they haven’t, they’ve heard about what happens. It would be downright impossible not to know what happens unless one is *very* diligent about avoiding spoilers.

    It’s odd that the release should be HDR10 only, and not one of the dynamic formats. That might be an error in the specs that will flesh itself out once the actual release gets in people’s hands. I’ve seen this happen with some of Disney’s other releases, where the initial press release didn’t even mention HDR (the same applies here, there is no mention of HDR at all), but a quick E-Mail to some people got that straightened out. Maybe they’re trying out just using HDR to see if anyone cares? I could see them wanting to step away from Dolby Vision to save money, but who knows??

    The lack of aspect ratio switching is actually good news to me, as I dislike them. My projector doesn’t have the ability to mask off the top and bottom, so when I zoom to fill my 2.35:1 screen, the IMAX stuff just looks goofy being projected onto the wall and masking. That’s a problem I can fix and I don’t expect all the flat-screeners to have any pity on me, but feel free to contribute to my projector upgrade account… 🙂

    If seamless branching isn’t an option for some reason, then they could do an extra disc. That is an extra cost, so they have to deal with that, but the studios seem willing to toss in DVD’s in many of these releases for some unknown reason so I don’t know that that’s a big issue. Usability might be an issue, because confused consumers are rampant, and anything that adds to that confusion just isn’t worth the hassle. The extra disc weighs more as well, so there are likely shipping issues.

    On top of all this is a definite tendency toward streaming. I hate the thought of a world where I cannot buy movies on physical media any longer, so the further out that future is, the happier I’m going to be.

  21. I just looked, and my most recent E-Mail with questions about a home video release was Mary Poppins Returns 4K.

    That release is HDR10 only, no dynamic formats.

    So is Captain Marvel. And Dumbo. And every other home video release I checked going back about a year.

    Is there some history that I’m not seeing that would indicate that Disney would implement dynamic HDR on their new releases?

  22. Sean Bryan

    Maybe it’s all a thing of the past, but my impression of Dolby Vision from reading many discussions on various displays over the last year or so is that it can be somewhat problematic.

    As HDR displays continue to get brighter and, more importantly, HDR tone mapping gets better and better the “improvement” of Dolby Vision over regular HDR-10 becomes meaningless anyway.

    Dolby Vision seems most relevant when looking at displays that do a poor job of tone mapping HDR-10. But tone mapping has improved significantly compared to when UHD TVs first launched.

    Thats one perspective to have, if you want to narrow down the capabilities of Dolby Vision to just being dynamic tone mapping. Dolby is more than its dynamic tone mapping, 10 bit panels benefit from the 12 bit masters, primarily if the disc has the full enhancement layer, that also carries data from the original master. Some displays are properly set out of the box, with a contrast serting improperly set crushing white above 1000 nits or the display peak of 2000 nits. The ZD9/Z9D clips white in the 4000 nit range. The Z9F clips white above 7000 nits although its peak brightness 1500 nits. The Z9F has a properly set contrast setting.

    Dolby Vision streamed content doesn't use YCbCr color space, high brightness colors exhibit cross talk and posterization, it has Dolby IPT(ICtCp color space), a constant luminance color space specifically designed for HDR.

    Disc content go through a conversion process to take advantage of IPT(Dolby ICtCp color space, not as good as a pure DV stream.

  23. I will be picking up the Avengers: Endgame on 4K UHD Blu-ray but I do wish that Disney had used Dolby Vision instead of standard HDR! My plan is to have Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, Hulk and Captain Marvel all on 4K UHD Blu-ray. As far as Avengers: Endgame goes I will get the digital DV version via digital code when I buy the disc.

  24. My plan is to have every Marvel movie that was available in 3D on 3D Blu ray. Thanks to A.uk, so far, I am successful. Today I got the notice that Captain Marvel 3D is dispatched. Endgame 3D is on pre-order and Spider-Man FFH is pre-ordered from Amazon Germany. Remember only 5 or so years ago when you just strolled over to Best Buy?

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