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More Disney OAR/MAR nonsense (1 Viewer)

David Lambert

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I notice Ron is quoted in this article. But that the basis of the article is to defend the full-screen MARring of the titles Disney is putting out. Boo; they've simply been given the same platform for self-defense that The Bits already gave them (same guy, too, plus a friend). AND they made our forum out to look like a bunch of crackpots.
 

george kaplan

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Pathetic. Disney is basically saying, that in their estimation, by not putting out an OAR version, hell, we're only losing 10% of potential sales. I don't know about you guys, but that does not sound like sound business. They mention that the widescreen Princess Diaries only accounted for 20% of sales. I don't know how much revenue that 20% was, but basically Eisner is saying, we don't need or want it. Pathetic.
 

Joseph Bolus

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They mention that the widescreen Princess Diaries only accounted for 20% of sales.
In my market (Birmingham, Al.) the consumer was barely given the choice of purchasing the Widescreen version of this title.

As far as I was able to tell only Best Buy and Suncoast in this area ever stocked the Widescreen version.

All the other retailers and rental outlets here stocked only the P&S version of the title.

So ... In this particular market at least, this was not a fair test.
 

Eric Peterson

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I have been concerned about this ever since the outset of the dual release for OAR and P&S method became standard. The sales department can simply say that one out-sold the other without any mention of which version was produced or stocked in higher volumes. I also think that consumer confusion has played a major role in this war and it's one that the studios seem to have no interest in fixing. I almost bought the wrong version of Jerry Maguire last night, since the old and new versions look identical except for a small line of white text at the top. Why can't they change the cover artwork between widescreen and P&S or between old and new versions. (NOTE: I am aware that the old version of Jerry was widescreen). The consumer shouldn't have to strain or search through piles of DVDs to find the version that they are looking for, and when most consumers don't know what they're looking for, it's easy to tweak the sales data.

My biggest question is, why do the studios insist on spending the extra money required to edit a movie for P&S when the same money could be spent to educate the consumers?

Hopefully, my rambling made some sense.
 

Jerry Gracia

Supporting Actor
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As a Home Theater Enthusiast, I could care less how "carefully" edited a full frame version is, dammit! :angry:
 

John_McKittrick

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Nov 9, 1999
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This whole 'confusion' issue is absolutely ridiculous. Has the 'joe 6 pack' public become so stupid that they can't read either? One DVD says WIDESCREEN right on the top or bottom. The other says FULLSCREEN right on the top or bottom. What the hell is so confusing about that?

You guys should read the new Entertainment Weekly. On the list they have for DVD sales they have Spy Game :WIDESCREEN listed at #1 followed by Spy Game: Fullscreen at #2. The proof is in the pudding.

Also, The Princess Diaries sucked. I can understand why it only sold 10% in widescreen. But you can't base that movies sales on every other future dvd release.

John
 

Malcolm R

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As John mentioned, and I had posted in another thread, the WS version of "Spy Game" seems to be nicely outselling the P&S version.
On the current Video Business/Vidtrac DVD sales chart, as reprinted in the new Entertainment Weekly, the WS version of Spy Game is at #1, the P&S version is at #2. Small victory, perhaps?
UPDATE: I found the most recent chart at the Video Business website. Rather encouraging overall that the WS version remains at #3 behind this week's debuts, while the P&S version falls to #8. Somewhat discouraging is that Circuit City seems to report that the P&S version is outselling the WS version in their stores (P&S #4 vs.
WS #8), but at Best Buy the opposite seems to be true (WS #4 vs. P&S #7).
And as has been said, they can quote all the sales figures they want, but in most places the WS and P&S versions are not both available. So considering that WS made up 20% of the sales for "Princess Diaries," but was likely only available in 25% of the markets. That seems pretty good to me and an indicator that if that small amount of market penetration can make-up 20% of overall sales, then the demand for WS is much larger than they think.
Oh well, if Disney doesn't want my money there are others who do. I was becoming a bit concerned financially about all the great DVD releases coming up. Clearing all the Buena Vista titles from that list frees up quite a bit of cash.
 

John Berggren

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Jun 17, 1999
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Is that Taps I hear?

I'm pretty well disgusted by the way studios are caving to the fill-my-screen mindset.

I embraced DVD because I felt I'd be able to (eventually) get all of the films I love in their original aspect ratio. This was an option I didn't have on VHS. Now this option is been weeded out of DVD on a movie-by-movie basis.

Already there are 3 announced films that I would have bought that I cannot, and will not buy.

Prior to getting into DVD I was buying a Widescreen video tape each week. If anyone remembers what the selection of Widescreen VHS looked like (one rack at Best Buy or Suncoast) than you know that this was no small feat. Some weeks I'd buy a film I was lukewarm about to encourage further widescreen releases.

I saw DVD as my panacea, nearly a utopia for films as they should be seen in the home (in my home). However, as with every utopia, the cracks begin to show, and the original premise breaks.

In order for a full catalog of films to be released on DVD (and thus available to me in widescreen), we required mass-market penetration. With that same mass-market came many who never understood the benefit of DVD. Those consumers who agree with Blockbuster that you can and should rent 4 for the price of buying one. Those consumers who see DVD as VHS without the annoying rewinding. With mass-market came the end of DVD as I have come to love it.

I'm not giving up. Don't ever get the idea that I'd give up, but I'm really distressed over the recent developments. Sure we've had unpleasant developments in the past, and we've overcome them all. Yes, they were all uphill battles. But the incline of that hill seems quite steep today, and it doesn't seem that the studios want us to climb it. They've already got their marketting guys out there pushing for the pan and scan vision. They are selling the public and the press on the benefits of pan and scan as they've never sold the benefits of widescreen.

Many have postulated that ours will be the next great technology. DVHS or HDDVD. I myself will find it hard to partake. I had every intention of getting into HDDVD when it became available and economically feasible. I had no qualms about rebuying films I'd already bought on DVD. But I don't want to get into another format that gets tainted when it hits the mass-market that is required for some of my favorite films to even be pressed. It's infuriating. I wish we could take our ball and go home. But unfortunately DVD is not our ball. It's theirs now as much as ours, and they have more members on their team.

Studios are only reinforcing the pan and scan consumer that they are right. It's hard enough convincing someone that they are wrong without authorities working to convince them otherwise.

It does irritate me also that no one in the creative community seems willing to come forward and take up this worthwhile cause. It's certainly worth fighting for.
 

Bryant Frazer

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And as has been said, they can quote all the sales figures they want, but in most places the WS and P&S versions are not both available. So considering that WS made up 20% of the sales for "Princess Diaries," but was likely only available in 25% of the markets. That seems pretty good to me and an indicator that if that small amount of market penetration can make-up 20% of overall sales, then the demand for WS is much larger than they think.

The real villain here is not necessarily the studios, but the retailers. The studio execs are following the money, trying to maximize their return on the investment their company has made in these movies. That's their job. The sticking point is mass-market retailers, whose stores are operated on principles (minimum wage rack stuffers who are charged with indulging management's stack-'em-high-and-watch-'em-fly philosophies) that are anathema to presenting fine distinctions in the product mix. Carrying two different SKUs of the same video title tastes like poison to these guys, because it increases their inventory troubles significantly and requires their worker drones to be able to distinguish between those DVD boxes that have a little widescreen banner on them and those that don't.

I don't think the home-theater crowd is going to get anywhere by petitioning the studios. The home-video divisions of studios don't answer to consumers; they answer to the retailers who order their product and send them the checks. The retailers, in turn, answer to Joe Customer. In order to make a difference, the retailers who are demanding only pan-and-scan versions of major titles need to be convinced that a significant portion of their customers are unhappy to have that choice taken away from them at the cash registers. If Costco orders widescreen versions, the studios are sure as shit gonna make them.

I don't know if there are enough people who care about aspect ratios to make any kind of dent in the corporate mindset at, say, Wal-Mart, but I really think that's what it would take to make a difference here.

-bf-
 

LukeB

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So consumers want what they want, and as [those interested in full-frame] become more vocal and more a percentage of the marketplace, it’s not in anybody’s interest to ignore them.”
The implication is that it's in their interest to ignore the people who want to see movies the way they were made.

And the spiel about family titles is crap. There is stuff coming out June 4 that is P&S that is PG-13 and R. Not "little kids" films.

What a bunch of bull.
 

AaronMK

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They don't think the Muppets films will sell at least 10% in OAR if they had a seperate release!?!?

While Princess Diaries was not on my buy list, I too remember seeing only the P&S version at most retailers. What did they expect? Considering that, I'm impressed that 20% of the copies sold were widescreen.
 

Jesse Skeen

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Apr 24, 1999
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How do those sales numbers compare to their average sales of widescreen LASERDISC titles? The laserdisc people preferred widescreen, it seems now they're just telling us to f--- off! And I guess the people who have 16x9 TVs don't matter at all either! Thanks a lot Mala Vista!
 

DaViD Boulet

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The negative of retail confusion and consumer confusion by having two different options can outweigh the benefit,
Any such confusion is only because the studios in these cases have opted for *separate* versions for P/S and WS. If both are contained on the same DVD...no confusion bcs there's only one version to buy.

Most of these titles are 1.85:1. Had the studio used the electronic P/S option, only *one* transfer would be required and no additional cost or space would be needed to provide both aspect ratios to the end consumer

Had you all contacted Disney and told them that???
 

Jesse Skeen

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The thing that cracks me up about this, which doesn't seem to have been considered, is that obviously they ARE getting a lot of heat about this- if they weren't, they wouldn't be making all these explanations.

BTW while I'm glad to see the outcry over this, where was everyone when Columbia put out Baby Geniuses (a 2.35 film!), Elmo in Grouchland and Thomas and the Magic Railroad in pan and scan only (all these were short enough to include both formats), and when Warner did all 3 Pokemon movies in pan and scan (but included audio commentaries!)
 

Jeff F.

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Mar 31, 1999
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I have an idea:

The studios can release two versions of a film and not confuse the buying public by doing this:

"Letterboxing" the DVD case picture art and denoting it as being Widescreen on the box in GIANT LETTERS; and conversely placing picture art on the DVD case that covers the entire front and describing it as "Formatted to Fit Your Screen" or "Contains No Black Bars" in even BIGGER LETTERS.

Studios:

This ain't brain surgery!
 

Malcolm R

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obviously they ARE getting a lot of heat about this- if they weren't, they wouldn't be making all these explanations.
But it's heat they could easily ignore. They are the owners/manufacturers of a much-desired entertainment commodity. It has penetrated the mass market to such an extent that they do not need to listen to anyone. If they put out the DVD's, people are going to buy them regardless of the presence of black bars.

Consumers/retailers can put out all the heat they want to, but any retailer that threatens to pull DVD's out of their stores unless they are P&S is bluffing. There is no way any retailer is going to stop selling DVD at this point, even if every single one of them has black bars. And any consumer who has said they won't buy into DVD unless the black bars are gone is the customer that deserves to be ignored, not the pro-OAR early adopters who spend hundreds of $$$ per month on DVD software.

If the studios were to remain true to the initial intent of DVD, and show their appreciation to the early-adopters who made the format such a success (black bars and all), they would brush off all this so-called "heat." There wouldn't be a damn thing anyone could do about it other than put up with the black bars or buy the two brain cells required to set the DVD player to zoom.

There is absolutely no reason for them to make concessions. They have cornered the DVD market with OAR, there is not one single logical reason for them to abandon it now.
 

Jack Briggs

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Jun 3, 1999
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We could see this day coming back when DVD started really taking off in '98 and '99.
There is a saying in Japan that states, "Business is war." That's what this feels like in a way.
Well, if Disney feels it can go it alone without us along for the ride, my attitude is the studio can proceed merrily along. We simply won't buy the studio's butchered transfers.
Sayanara, ol' mouse ears. And I detest your theme park in Anaheim, too.
Have a good day. :)
 

SteveK

Supporting Actor
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Jan 10, 2000
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I think Disney (and other studios) will finally wake up when they make the shocking discovery that NO title released only in P&S outsells comparable WS or P&S/WS releases. Once they realize that EVERY P&S only title has lower sales figures than WS, then perhaps we have a chance of getting every title released in its proper OAR.

Now we can only hope that all P&S titles will indeed be outsold by titles offered in WS. Widescreen doesn't have to outsell P&S as long as all P&S only titles are outsold by titles offered in both formats or WS only (which we probably won't see anymore). The day that a P&S only title outsells a WS or P&S/WS title is the day WS may start disappearing entirely.

Steve K.
 

Michael St. Clair

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Agreed, Jack. But in addition to not buying pan-and-scan, if the sites like HTF, DVDFile, The Big Picture, The Digital Bits are really opposed to this behavior, they should refuse to officially review the titles. Oh, put a 'review' up all right. Put a one sentence review up for each title. A sentence that says "Due to this title not being available in an original (widescreen) aspect ratio, no review has been posted, as is our policy".
No review hurts them more than a bad review. If you post a real review, sixpackers surfing online will happily ignore the 'this is bad because it is cropped' part of the review, and the studio will still get free promotion.
We all know that the studios now view the promotional aspect of these forums and sites as the real value. Deprive them of that free promotion, but make sure that each title is mentioned, to draw attention to the magnitude of the situation (and so they see how many titles they are not getting free online promotion for). On release date, post this notice even if they didn't send an advance copy.
Will it make a difference? Probably not. But I'd bet on it being more effective than studio petitions.
 

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