Blockbuster chief pushing to get region codes removed

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Lance Nichols, Dec 17, 2003.

  1. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

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  2. Mark Silver

    Mark Silver Stunt Coordinator

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    Under his argument....Region Coding is not the problem......the different release windows are the problem.....
    His idea won't fly because different studios own distribution rights for certain films in different countries. Just look at the Twin Peaks fiasco as 1 example.
     
  3. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    I too would like to see Region coding abolished, but I don't foresee it happenning.
     
  4. Robert Floto

    Robert Floto Supporting Actor

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    That, and the fact that some movies have been released on DVD here just as (or even before) they are finally getting a theatrical release overseas.
     
  5. Lance Nichols

    Lance Nichols Supporting Actor

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    Hmm, I see your point, but the over all reason the region coding was put in was so release windows could be maintained for the studios.

    Really, there should be little reason to hold off on a title's release in say, Russia, until after the title has been released to DVD in North America.

    The only delay I could see would be to dub/sub a title, oh and getting the rating approvals by the various local ratings boards.
     
  6. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    I like this related story about how the makers or the Hong Kong film INFERNAL AFFAIRS III are releasing legit DVDs of that film in Mainland China just THREE DAYS after the theatrical release of the film, where piracy seems to be the worst on earth. I don't think this is the first time they've done this, either, but it may be the shortest window yet. Of course, all they've done now is allow the domestic and overseas piracy market to be flooded with pristine copies of THESE DVDs at a fraction of the price long before the movie is "supposed" to hit DVD abroad. Chinese pirates have never just hawked their product IN China...
     
  7. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    Of course, the rights issue is really a non-issue. Some books are licenced and printed by different publishers worldwide. Hell, even Coca Cola is licenced in the UK.

    Doesn't stop people importing books, cds or even coke if they want to. The fact that, in Twin Peaks case, Paramount doesn't sell Twin Peaks DVDs in America, and Artisan doesn't sell Twin Peaks DVDs in the rest of the world is enough to satisfy the licencing issues. Neither company is selling their products outside their licenced area.

    If Paramount are worried about Artisan imports affecting their European sales, then it's up to Paramount to release a comparable product in both price and quality. You know, it's a little something called "competition". It's supposed to be what the Western economy is based upon. Why should the studio's have a opt-out?

    The real issue is theatrical release dates, but really given the amount of imports taking place outside America already, the damage is already done. For example, Disney's Freaky Friday was released here last Friday. The same day as my DVD arrived. Removing region coding may result in a small increase in importing, but the vast majority of the general public don't care about region codes, importing or release windows or even bootlegs. They just want to get a copy of a movie. They'll either buy it direct from the high street or (either knowingly or unknowingly) buy a bootleg from a market stall. After all, it's there and something they can hold and purchase.

    Region coding has failed. Multi-region players are two-a-penny outside America. Even Amazon.co.uk sells out-of-the-box multi-region players. The only people who don't have multi-region players are people who probably aren't even aware of region codes in the first place, and wouldn't even think of purchasing a personal import from the internet.

    The Studios have two options - remove region coding and work on narrowing the worldwide release windows of theatrical releases, or dig their heels in and come up with a better region system.

    Sadly, I think I can predict what they will choose.
     
  8. Qui-Gon John

    Qui-Gon John Producer

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    I'd love to see them removed as well. Since the major studios have failed to see fit to release anamorphic R1 versions of some of my favorites. Movies I would gladly buy if they re-issued in R1 as anamorphic.
     
  9. Mark Silver

    Mark Silver Stunt Coordinator

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    James,

    With all due respect, I think you don't have a realistic view of the rest of the world.

    1) The vast majority of people, as least in the US, don't have multi-region players. Collectors and people on this forum are the exception not the rule.

    2) You couldn't be more off base about the rights issue, the entire reason for having distribution rights is to avoid competition. A company buys the right to do use or not use a property as they see fit. For example, "Titanic" was a joint production venture that split the distribution rights by country. Fox and Paramount don't want to compete with each other all across the world, neither one would make money and overall would decide not to make the movie.

    While we may not like it, a company has every right not to distribute a product in the U.S. or any country, until they want to. The destruction of region coding would devalue their property.

    Additionally, it would never work with U.S. television shows.

    Don't get me wrong I would love to see the end to region coding, but it isn't a practical idea.
     
  10. Rick P

    Rick P Supporting Actor

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    And the vast majority of the rest of the world DOES use region-free/multi-region players (isn't it OZ where you CANNOT sell region-locked equipment??)

    The only place being harmed is the US....
     
  11. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Course, some companies (Miramax) have no problem devaluing their own property...

    Jason
     
  12. Julian Lalor

    Julian Lalor Supporting Actor

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    Yes, and consumers have every right to import a DVD from another territory if the Studio can't be bothered to do so in their own country.
     
  13. Mark Silver

    Mark Silver Stunt Coordinator

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    I will stand partially corrected and recognize that I am looking at this from an "ethnocentric" point of view but.....






    The reason the U.S. is an integral part of this decision is that the U.S. studios make the films. For the most part we are exporters only. Studios make a most of their money back on selling distributon rights. The U.S. public doesn't import movies in nearly the numbers the rest of the countries do. Therefore, U.S. territorial rights will be protected.

    I refer back to my Titanic example. Also, regarding T.V. shows, until recently, the U.S. sold exclusive syndication windows,before DVD rights, which is why a lot of TV on DVD hits other regions before it makes it to the U.S.
     
  14. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    A Canuck sez:

    While it doesn't truely surprise me, it's fascinating to find out that many places in the world actually consider region-coded players to be in violation of anti-trust laws, and enforce bans on the practise. This I did not know! Up here, many of us still feel like WE'RE violating some (now confirmed) unreasonable and non-existant law by buying and hacking DVD players, when in actualality, there's probably not a court in the land that wouldn't throw out any attempt by Hollywood to try and crack down on the selling of these machines.

    I truly wish more Canadian and American brick & mortar retailers would advertise the region-free and PAL/NTSC qualities of many of their players, but most of them probably aren't even aware they SELL such things and in addition they'd probably have the studios threatening to boycott them.

    Hollywood, I Trudeau salute you! (middle finger up!)
     
  15. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    But in all honestly how many Americans do you think would actually bother to buy a DVD on-line from another country? What incentive do they even have to do this for most releases? Most non-R1 discs are released later and cost more money. The actual number of imports would be very small (for the reasons you point out about America making the bulk of the movies themselves). And then - for America anyway - there's the whole PAL/NTSC hurdle.

    If region encoding is abolished, it would still be illegal for Fox to attempt to sell their Titanic DVDs in America, as they don't have the rights.
     
  16. Chad A Wright

    Chad A Wright Supporting Actor

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    This won't ever happen, but wouldn't it be nice if it did ....
     

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