Potentially Good News Regarding Paramount's Future DVD Output

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Walt Riarson, Jan 10, 2003.

  1. Walt Riarson

    Walt Riarson Supporting Actor

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    From DVDTalk.com:

    Eric Doctrow Resigns From Paramount

    LOS ANGELES (AP) - The head of Paramount Pictures Corp.'s home entertainment division resigned abruptly and will be replaced by a veteran video executive from Warner Bros.

    Eric Doctorow, who spent 20 years at Paramount's video unit, stepped down Thursday. Paramount would only say that Doctorow left to ``pursue other interests and to seek new challenges.''

    He was credited with helping push the direct sale of videocassettes in the late 1980s and was responsible for the launch of ``Titanic'' on video and DVD.

    He'll be replaced by Tom Lesinski, who aggressively marketed DVDs to consumers while he was at Warner Bros.

    Doctorow is the third top home video chief to leave a studio in the last month. Patricia Wyatt left 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment to form a film company. Warren Lieberfarb, the ``godfather of DVD,'' left Warner Bros. last month after 20 years. Lieberfarb, who won an Emmy in 1999 for his efforts to develop, launch and establish DVD technology, was replaced by James Cardwell.



    Hmmm, the strangest feeling...I keep wanting to hum a song from The Wizard of Oz...Weird...

    Seriously though, they have nowhere to go but up. I consider this extremely good news.
     
  2. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Paramount Home Video puts out some of the finest transfers on DVD I've ever seen. And when they put their minds to special editions, they're just flat-out awesome.

    Having said that, I wonder if they're going to change their pricing structure. Even from day one when I first joined the HTF, I still complain about their prices for bare bones DVD's. When you've got companies like MGM or Anchor Bay that jam pack their editions for half the price, you gotta wonder about the mountain sometimes. They're about as bad as Universal at points.

    25 bucks for a barebones Apocalpyse Now or Apocalypse Now: Redux?
     
  3. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Why is this a good thing? Take a look at all of the Paramount DVDs and notice something they have in common.

    Hmm...all OAR (Star Trek VI and Top Gun are less matted for video...likely a cinematographer decision), all well made transfers for the 16x9/new transfer discs....

    Sure, they may not do a huge SE for each title, but they almost always have a well-done a/v transfer.
     
  4. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    OAR and quality transfers are BY FAR what matters to me the most. Paramount has been more consistent with these two more than anyone.

     
  5. Dean Kousoulas

    Dean Kousoulas Second Unit

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    Sadly, the damage is already done. While some titles might come back as special editions (Titantic for example) most of them will stay bare-bones for a long time. Trading Places, Major League, Face/Off, Snake Eyes...

    Dean
     
  6. Walt Riarson

    Walt Riarson Supporting Actor

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    Firstly, their DVD thinking is circa 1997, with the obvious lack of enthusiasm for the format. Next to no added features are added to discs, and sometimes not even trailers (unless it's a "big gun" like Forrest Gump or The Godfather). If it's just the movie that counts, VHS is indeed the format for you. DVD is a collector's format.

    Secondly, they don't release Director's Cuts or NC-17 films to DVD. Considering their Blockbuster ties, this is obviously a corporate decision, proving that they acknowledge DVD as nothing more than "product". If a film has a legion of fans? Who cares? The bottom line! Coffee is for closers!

    Thirdly, all their discs are over-priced. I don't know about the rest of you, but I only have two arms and two legs. That's 4 Paramount DVDs. I'd better choose wisely.

    Fourthly, in the last 6 months or so, their new cover art for older films has gotten laughable. And I thought Columbia was bad...well, Columbia's getting worse too.

    Regardless, there is indeed room for improvement. Whether the new guy will improve things, who knows? It'll probably be a while before we notice any major changes anyway. However, he does have my blessing to try to shake things up at the company.

    I mean honestly...it's now 2003 and Paramount is no further along in its DVD growth than it was in 1997. Something's got to give.
     
  7. rhett

    rhett Supporting Actor

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    I love Paramount's transfers, they are probably the most consistent in the business. But their passion and devotion to their large body of films has always been lacking. They deface original cover artwork at will, nix extras that are readily available, and charge far too much for their product. They are good, but they still have a ways to go before they become the best in the business.
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Also, how can you make such a judgement? After seeing their consistent high quality work on their dvd presentations and the recent releases of "Roman Holiday" and "Sunset Boulevard" I can't agree with that generalization either.

    By the way, I never liked their price structure, but that's probably tied to their business relationship with the rental industry.




    Crawdaddy
     
  9. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  10. Peter Overduin

    Peter Overduin Supporting Actor

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  11. Ronald Epstein

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    I also ask why would this be considered
    a good thing?

    What did Eric Doctrow do wrong at Paramount?

    That studio has been puting out some of the
    best transfers from day one.
     
  12. David Coleman

    David Coleman Supporting Actor

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    I've always wondered why people constantly praise their transfers. I don't see them as any better than anyone elses. Not saying they are bad, but i don't see a qualitative jump over any other studio.

    Studios like Warner, New Line and Colubmia have transfers in line or surpass Paramounts in consistantcy. I applaud the fact that they put an effort into it but i've seen a few "dogs" slip through!

    As for pricing, they've always been overpriced!! They're the only studio with no $14.95 catalog price point, they are slow when it comes to re-pricing and as far as catalog releases are all at the $25 price point where most studios will be at $20 for bare bone catalog releases. When it comes to bare bones releases they never seem to be able to put out extras like all the other studios. They simply aren't competitive.

    If Mr Doctrow's exit will cause the studio to review their releases policies to put them on par with the other studios, it could be a good thing. Let's hope that it will.

    David
     
  13. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    I worked at Pioneer Laserdisc and we had a long running contract with Paramount to release films on video. Doctorow never wanted any extras on the disc. Getting a few trailers here and there was a major pain in itself.
    I wish they would do more extras on their DVDs. Paint your Wagon was released without the original Ten minute "making of" done at the time of the film.
    Many of us are still waiting for major Paramount musicals (Half a Sixpence and Lil Abner) to be released. We had a hard time doing those on laser because Doctorow never liked them. What Doctorow wanted, Doctorow got.
    the only so called musicals we get are things like Flashdance etc - stuff musical buffs don't consier musicals at all - and now four more Elvis Films. I find it amazing all these elvis films are coming out on DVD - because Elvis releases on laser couldn't be given away. For some reason, he just didn't sell.
    I would love to see Paramount do some restoration and release the uncut stereo Great Gatsby - Gatsby was stereo in theaters and had two extra scenes that now seem to be gone - both with Gatsbys father.
     
  14. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I'd like to see more TV series.
     
  15. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Dave H said:
    I have no problem with that at all. As a matter of fact, I'll even say that during my first days on the HTF, that's all I ever complained about was the lack of special editions.
    I see now that it's true that the film and its presentation matters first and foremost. But an old problem still remains with us though: the pricing structure.
    With the exception of far and few between titles like Payback and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, you've still got barebones single-disc editions that retail for at least twenty-two to twenty three bucks. And even when they go down, it's only by virtue of a sale (eg. Best Buy).
    All I'm saying is that I hope and wish that Paramount reconsiders the way they price their DVD's. They could charge upwards of $25 and up for special editions, just make some of their other single-disc bare bones edition less expensive a la Ferris Bueller's Day Off or Payback.
    If there's one outright compliment I can give Paramount, though, is that they are much better in the A/V department than a studio like Universal.
     
  16. Walt Riarson

    Walt Riarson Supporting Actor

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    Paramount does release quality transfers, but as a major studio, it's what they're supposed to do. It's expected. Many of you are treating this as a bonus.

    It's like buying a car and then praising it for driving you from Point A to Point B. It's supposed to drive you places. It's a given. It's expected. It's not a bonus. That's why you bought it.

    When I buy a DVD, based on the company, I expect the best possible transfer they could arrange to place on the disc. It's a given. From a smaller company like Diamond or Hen's Tooth, I expect less because of their size and/or budget on certain titles. But with a major studio like Paramount, they should have top-quality transfers every time. It's their job.

    Now, once you create something with its expected purpose, then comes the time to add additional features. For a car, it might be power windows, cupholders, or a CD player. For DVDs, it might be trailers, behind-the-scenes material, or audio commentary.

    Paramount rarely got past this step. They were too busy praising themselves for repeatedly "inventing" the car that drives.
     
  17. Bill J

    Bill J Producer

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  18. Ian Ramos

    Ian Ramos Agent

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    I realize this is just cosmetics, but their packages always look like crap as well. I never feel satisfied paying for one of their discs, even if it is the content you are really paying for.
     
  19. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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  20. Bill J

    Bill J Producer

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