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Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 21, 2013.
I'd be shocked if it happens. At any rate, I'm more than pleased with the fan restorations.
At last check the original negatives were edited in the 1997 version. A scan of the original negatives would probably be the 1997 version and then add the subsequent changes back in.
If anybody needs me, I'll be standing over here, holding my breath.
For what it's worth, A New Hope is screening at the TCM Classic Film Festival this weekend, and it's specifically advertised as the "Special Edition."
I hope that somewhere in the Lucasfilm archives lie the 20+ year-old digital files of the pre-Special Edition cuts before the changes were made. Someone hopefully had the decency to back those files up.
Then again, this is just wishful thinking.
Yeah, the original version is not available for theatrical booking. In fact, it’s extraordinarily difficult to even book the special edition.
Here in NYC, the Film Forum was running a 35mm restrospective on Alec Guinness, and they had a very difficult time getting permission to show Star Wars. From what I heard, the initial answer was “absolutely not under any circumstances or with any version” but they were persuaded apparently with the knowledge that it wasn’t going to be an all Star Wars event. They were given permission to book exactly one screening only (and not allowed to add shows when it sold out, which it did), and were only allowed to show a print from 1997.
For me it was still kinda fun because I hadn’t seen the 1997 version for a good long while.
But yeah, any exhibition of the original films is tricky at best.
I doubt we'll see the original version of Star Wars while George Lucas is alive and Kathleen Kennedy is president of Lucasfilm.
And then there's the question of whether the version they'd call the original is the 1977 version or the 1981 re-release that added the episode number and "A New Hope" secondary title.
I also think that some of us overestimate how much market demand there is for those versions. While I’m sure they’d move some copies, I don’t think it would be the earth shattering, record breaking seller that some people anticipate. That the DVD and BD and digital versions sold as well as they have is kinda proof that this isn’t a huge issue for the majority of the marketplace.
I still have my laserdiscs of the original 3 films, and will not buy the altered editions. I’ll happily pay for the originals to be released in a proper BluRay.
I don't know the math on this, but just because someone bought the current versions, that doesn't necessarily mean they wouldn't also buy the originals if they were made available.
A release like this wouldn't have to be an earth-shattering, record breaking seller to make a profit. At this point, I would absolutely take a 2K IP scan of the original trilogy. I'd even settle for the 1993 sound mixes.
Time to sell my Star Wars blu rays I guess...
I agree 100% with all of this.
I was just trying to counter the point that I’ve seen made that they should release the original version because it would make more money than anything in the history of anything. It’ll do well by 2019 disc sales standards but wouldn’t reinvent the wheel...at least, that’s my prediction.
That's a logical prediction. Maybe 12-15 years ago it would have sold phenomenally, but overall physical media sales have softened considerably, many longtime fans already have the fan restorations, and there may be some Star Wars fatigue setting in - all of which would tend to dampen sales a bit. And I think in a soft market, businesses tend to become fairly conservative, so it wouldn't surprise me if they just decided to stick with the current version of A New Hope and not spend any further capital on a restoration. I would love to think there's a huge pent-up demand for the originals, but who knows, maybe the studio is currently making more in merchandising with the newer trilogy than the original trilogy and wants to focus on that. I'd like to be wrong.
It would be a nice sell as a Target exclusive to go alongside their launch of the classic style Kenner figures
Honestly I suspect if they did an Ultimate box with the Originals and 4K transfer it might set a new revenue record for Blurays sales even in the waning days of the format. I suspect if they could put out some sort of UHD+BD upgrade of the Original Original Trilogy the old fanboys would look like World War Z scaling the walls. it could well be the last gasp, but I have little doubt a SuperSet would be extremely popular.
Since 2011 when SW was 1st released Bluray's have sold roughly $16B since
SW Complete Saga $290M (#22 All time unit sales, #1 Revenue)
The 2 trilogy boxsets approx $200M total (Trilogy 4-6 is #27 in ALL-TIME Unit Sales and #8 in Revenue)
SW Vii 150M (#1 Unit Sales 2015, also essentially tied for 3rd All time in Units Sold and 6th All Time Revenue)
Rogue One 66M (#1 by Unit 2016/#25 All Time)
SW VII 70M (#1 by Unit 2017 and #30 All-Time)
Solo 40M (#12 by Unit 2017)
Fatigue or not, basically the various SW discs have accounted for approx 5% of all Bluray Sales since the 1st release
Obviously add whatever Episode IX, the Sequel Trilogy and Skywalker Saga Boxsets plus 6 seasons of Clone Wars, etc and I dare say Star Wars is the glue for Physical Discs to exist.
Someone in the know who has no reason to lie to me said that one of the things Lucas insisted on in his agreement to sell Lucasfilm to Disney was that they would never release the original trilogy in its unaltered state. And I believe it, sad to say.
Sadly I think that the damage has already been done, meaning that those that really want the unaltered movies in HD probably have them in one form or another. They are most likely perfectly fine with the professional-like fan edits.
Back in 2011 (has it been that long?) when the BD sets were released a total of over 6 million copies were sold. Nearly three and a half for the then complete set of Episodes 1-6, and just over 3 for the OT alone (episodes 4-6). But in 2011 physical media was in a sweet spot. In 2020 in would take a miracle to get those kinds of numbers again. Especially for the 6 million people that own the sets already, wondering why bother buying them a second time on disc.
I don't mean to dispute you or your friend, but if Disney were in fact contractually prevented from restoring the original versions, I feel like we would have had some confirmation of that by now. With all the speculation over the past six years (which Disney must be quite aware of), it would be an odd thing to keep secret.
I agree with you. But by the same token, we have had so many false rumors that never amounted to anything, I also can't dismiss my friend's hearsay. I hope my friend is wrong. One reason, however, too keep the truth secret is to spare making fans feel the way I felt when he told me: really betrayed and pissed off, because those were the versions that made Lucas his original fortune, and IMO fans who want them should have access to them. Another reason: the versions of the original trilogy that were nominated or won Oscars are not available officially in HD. For me it's so wrong on so many levels. I will always believe fans should have access to versions of the films that they grew up with.
One piece of evidence that does support my friend's claim, however, is Lucas's own statements about how inferior those original versions are, how he wished they could be expunged, and how he once asked rhetorically why anybody would want to watch them.