As the news item mentions that some H-B set sales were disappointing, I'm just hoping that this does not lead to more bad news. My personal hope is it will just lead to other titles (like the 60s superhero shows) being released ahead of the various early funny shows (so long as they finish off The Flintstones this year!). And hey, it seems to have led to good news for Animaniac fans! Really, Warner will keep releasing animation sets, it's just a matter of prioritizing, and they have plenty of properties to get through.
I'm very upset, but I am hopeful that it is the poor condition that ultimately delayed these and they will be undergoing a longer restoration treatment than they would have had they stayed the course but I do not reallylike how this news is worded. I do think it would have been better for both Yogi and Huck to release them at seperate dates. Really I think, if restoration was not an issue, it would be better to release Animaniacs around the same time as Quick Draw McGraw, then later release Pinky & the Brain and Waly Gator many months after, The only H-B sets I have not gotten are Flintstones Seasons 2 and up due to not finishing the first one just yet.
Great, just what Warner Bros despertaely needed... new management heading their animation dept. that is apparently unwilling to devote any time or effort into packaging these "old cartoons" due to their condition and costs involved. More focus on 'recent' TV shows... as if the old corporate management of WHV animation division wasn't bad enough.
Does this spell the end of vintage Hanna-Barbera on DVD?
What about the follow-up seasons of Hucklberry Hound? Are those "off the schedule" now too?
I'm as excitd for Animaniacs, Tiny Toons and Pinky & The Brain as the next guy, I'd be completely satisfied if we were told that these were being postponed due to the ammount of effort and time involved in bringing us quality presentation... but from what is described at tvshowsondvd, it does not appear to be the scenario!
I for one am VERY dissapointed!!!
I was hoping to at least collect seasons of Quickdraw, Wally Gator, The Magilla Gorilla Show and Secret Squirrel & Atom Ant! I was also hoping for season sets of Hong Kong Phooey and Captain Caveman...
I think WHV needs to reassess the management of their animation department because they seem to be utterly confused with how to handle many of these properties. I was completely overjoyed with this year's Huck and Yogi sets, but save for these and their Looney Tunes Collections, their animation department seems entirely mismanaged.
I hope these eventually come out. The word indefinitely is not a good sign.
Nor is the fact that the new head of animation declares these too costly, timely and laborsome to bother with.
I just wish that all pre-'65 films, animation or otherwise, were put in the hands of Mr. Feltenstein's classic film unit to compile, produce and release. Than we'd finally see a little consistency...
All I can say is, if the new plan is to avoid all earlier H-B shows and theatrical cartoons due to the "ammount of effort and time involved", rather than actually devoting that time and effort as should be the case... there will be a loud outcry from the animation community in response.
That is NOT the type of managerial decisions that WHV Animation ought to be making, nor the direction they should be looking toward.
I hope to see some sort of follow-up with more detail pertaining to all of this... but again, the fact that the word 'indefinitely' is used and the reasons cited for this do not seem positive.
A 2nd Huck Hound Set could probably still happen as part of This year's Q4 H-B Wave (or maybe paired up with the Last Flintstones Season),
But, yes, it's still unfortunate that these two sets are pushed indefinately, and as Marco described this could be the beginning of the end for Hanna Barbera on DVD (BTW, thanks to the management change, i have even less confidence for the release of Tiny Toons and Beetlejuice).
Also, i have a gut feeling that the new WHV animation big cheese must be taking lessons from either Disney (Only Yesterday), or Paramount (Pete and Pete, the Peanuts Specials) on the fine art on "shelving indefinitely"
As I said in my news, this is only concerning McGraw and Wally.
Hong Kong Phooey is fine.
Magilla Gorilla isn't "off" because it was never "on"; just researched. Nothing's been decided for it yet.
Continuations of existing HB titles (Flintstones, Huck, whatever) didn't come up, and I assume that they are still as likely as ever.
This new person, a she by the way (someone said "he"), simply saw that it could not get done correctly for QDM and WG right away, and made the decision to wait. But they will probably get done later on, in all likelihood.
re: "Two dvd sets I would have bought are being replaced with two I have zero interest in, so I'll save a bunch of money." As I stated in my news, that is the reaction I would have predicted of someone who's an HB fans but has no interest in Animaniacs or Pinky. I don't think Warner will find too many people who are in that camp...Animaniacs is simply one of the hugest most popular animated properties that Warner hasn't released yet. From a business point of view and from the PoV of many fans, this will be the right decision.
I've seen the Quickdraw McGraw cartoons on Boomerang and I didn't really think they looked all that bad. I totally agree though on Wally Gator and when I heard about it being released, that was the first question that came into my head.
I really hope HB doesn't give up on Quick Draw McGraw because I had really been looking forward to that show for the Quick Draw and Augie Doggie cartoons as a loyal buyer of these great HB sets.
For me, completing Huckleberry Hound and getting Quick Draw, Wally Gator (which I assume includes Touche Turtle and Lippy the Lion), Magilla Gorilla and Peter Potamus would complete my HB want list. Although I might pick up Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel and Ruff and Reddy if they ever were offered.
This is a disturbing trend with these cartoons. I'm still waiting for Mr. Magoo and Marvel Superheroes that were announced last year.
Sold below projections is so vague. It could mean that they lost money or just didn't make as much as they thought they would. If it is the latter then it is a sad commentary. Too often it seems that it's not enought to make money but you have to make enough money to satisfy the accountants.
It also brings up another point. Would we rather see pristine dvds of tv shows and movies and not see them on dvd or perhaps dvds that are in decent shape?
I think restoration is only a "small" part of the issue. I think there are bigger issues that Warner Brothers themselves do not want to address.
First off, sales have been disappointing. Okay, I understand that. This isn't "Batman: The Animated Series" or Disney's "Cinderella" that we're dealing with here. Why have sales been disappointing? Forums like this one have definitely have gotten the word out.
Maybe if WHV would MARKET and PROMOTE the H-B box sets, then they might see sales go up. I saw a promotion on Post's Fruity & Cocoa Pebbles Cereals for a coupon to receive like four dollars off the price of "Flintstones - The Complete Fourth Season." Otherwise, there has been NO MARKETING AT ALL! Whose fault is that? It's not mine as a consumer. I recently read on one of these forums that Warners have high licensing fees with the H-B characters. Why? I've seen underwear at Target with Underdog and Tennessee Tuxedo on them. Why not Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear? Get these characters out in the public's eye on a regular basis. Nobody has been doing that for a long, long time. There should be H-B characters faces on everything imaginable out there. I'm tired of looking at Mickey Mouse, Scooby Doo and Spongebob Square Pants in the store. I want to see something different.
Second, why release the Huck, Yogi and Flintstones sets during one of the most product crunched times of the year? It makes no sense. The Flintstones sell well in their March rotation but not in their November/December rotation. "Top Cat" did poorly when it released because of the overkill on product that is released during the Christmas Shopping Bonanzas. I'm using Amazon.com's sales rankings for my statistics - it's not accurate, but it's all we got.
Release these cartoons away from all the glut and they will do fantastic. On November 15th, there were over 200 DVDs released that day, including Huck, Yogi and Flintstones. Oprah released her set that day and the Polar Express showed up in stores that day as well. There was a lot of competition.
I checked all of the Sunday ads on November 13 to see who was carrying the H-B titles that Tuesday and not one of the ads had any mention of Huck, Yogi and Fred. A lot of stores didn't carry them because of the product overkill that day. Now that Christmas is over, I've noticed that several retailers have started stocking them.
I have been buying these H-B box sets the day they come out because I know they won't be around on the shelf much longer. It's happened over and over again. The sets will get discontinued and management will say that sales just didn't meet expectations. When will WHV management come to the plate and start doing their part to make these box sets a winner? The fans are doing their part; don't blame us.
I feel like saying to all the execs at WHV, "Now hold on thar. I'll do the thinnin' around here and dooon't you forgeet eet!"
I still can't see these sets selling any worse than say, shows like Courageous Cat or Underdog, etc. Obviously they require higher production costs and work, but the major difference is all in the marketing.
These shows are aware of their audience, whereas WB seems to be confused. The simple fact is, 12 year old kids in today's world of video games and HBO and MSN Messenger, are simply not going to be interested in a cartoon series from the early 1960's that they are unfamiliar with... and as you mentioned above, it's nobody's fault but the negligant license holders who chose to allow these characters and franchises to become stagnant and jeopardize their viability.
Still, I'm sure that Warner Bros. is not in fact losing money over these productions, but I would assume that their expectations were not met. And my bearing for this is in the sets themselves. When you see features like Huckleberry Hound's music video remix and How To Speak Like Huckleberry Hound, you have to take a guess at just what this kind of crap is being marketed towards. And than it becomes apparent that they are well off base in understanding their target market.
Personally, I've nothing but congratulations to offer the studio in regards to this year's Huckleberry Hound and Yogi releases. They were meticulously crafted and the recreations of episodes with original bumpers and vintage tv spots were hugely appreciated! Overall, these were terrific sets and it was evident that a lot of work and effort had gone into them. But they were mismarketed and put in the hands of WB's family animation division which has never known what to do with the majority of their properties, as best evidesnced by the mess they made of their Tom & Jerry sets.
As Greg mentioned, there was absolutely no reason in the world to release them when they did either. These are not high-profile curently airing television shows and to assume that they can compete with series such as That 70s Show, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Charmed, Cheers, Friends (final season), Scrubs, etc - all box sets released that very same day, is completely unrealistic and to be blunt - just plain dumb from a sales vantage.
Not to mention that other blockbusters like Madagascar and than classics like The Sound Of Music and Oklahoma!, etc. all saw release that very same day. Plus to fall within a weeks release of the latest Star Wars movie, the King Kong gift sets and dozens of other top tier sellers. Had these been released in the Spring, I'm sure the initial sales would have fared much more promising.
But at worst, it's possible to continue these productions in the same vein, perhaps aimed a little more tightly at the collector rather than general market... yet manipulate sales by issuing in smaller numbers and with more limited distribution (If WB has no intention of marketing or promoting these more effectively), so that they do turn into a more profitable venture.
To brush them off however, is simply unfair.
I'm sure the Flintstones have all been great sellers, and I'm willing to bet that a majority of these HB sets have fared really well too. But given the context of these latest releases, it's understandable that they might have sold less than expected which is unfortunate. I would still love to see some actual numbers because I'm doubtful that Warner Bros has ever fallen into the neutral zone with any of these HB franchise sets. They might not be as popular as some of Warners other releases... but Im sure the same could be said for a good many of their classic film properties too. Did Yogi Bear really sell less than Greta Garbo, The Val Lewton Collection or The Controversial Classics box sets?
Actually, no. At least not according to Amazon's sales rankings. And I suspect they really didn't sell all that poorly either. It's more than likely just a matter of expectation and a lack of understanding. WB's family division is used to Scooby-Doo and Batman sales. That is simply not going to happen with these sets, period, and it's something they need to recognize and get over.
I also don't quite understand why focusing on Animaniacs has anything to do with Quickdraw McGraw or Wally Gator? Surely their studiop and staff are equipped to handle more than one animated property at a time and considering these fall into entirely seperate context and different market attraction for the most part... why does the release of one mean the "indefinite delay" of another?
I think WB's response to the situation was not very well thought out.
Again, if we were told that these sets were being pushed back because they needed more work and attention, I'd be completely satisfies. But to say that they are being withheld indefinitely because of Animaniacs and print damage, etc. is a cop out.
We all know WB is one of the most adept production studios out there when it comes to remastering and restoring classic films that are in possibly much worse shape than any 40 year old television series could possibly see. A little time and effort would do these right.
But it doesn't appear that they postpnement is going to relate in any way to any more time or effort being devoted to these franchises.
Actually, it appears to be the opposite as WB seems to be putting these off and turning their back on them altogether as if to brush them off and say... "these 90's cartoons are more popular and in higher demans so maybe one day we'll get to these but it's not out concern anymore".
I wish I worked for WB's "family animation" division.
I'm glad to see that noone in this HTF thread is bringing up "Wacky Races" as an example of what didn't sell well, because I'm seeing that elsewhere online and also in reader e-mails I'm getting at TSoD. As far as what didn't sell well: Wacky Races and the two related titles did okay, from what I've heard. My contact specifically pointed out that Yogi and Huck ended up at Costco for $16 almost immediately. I haven't followed which HB titles ended up at Costco for that price, but my contact thought that this was the first time that happened since the first round of HB releases (Flinstones S1, Jetsons, J. Quest, Scooby 1&2) which Warner dumped at Costco because they weren't selling well to adults because of no extras. Since making extras a mandatory part of the HB releases, Warner has been satisfied with sales, he thinks, until Yogi/Huck.
You know how at TVShowsOnDVD you can mark which TV-on-DVD releases you own? Well, Gord and I know that this feature is under-utilized, and so this information is not scientifically or statistically accurate. But it is interesting to note that Yogi and Huck are marked as "owned" only 25% of the number of times as Wacky Races, and half the number of times as Pitstop or Dastardly.
Greg has an EXCELLENT point to make, though, about the glut of titles which streeted that day (Nov. 15, 2005) and how these animated titles got lost in the shuffle. Nevertheless, Flintstones sold okay, I think. But please, please, please focus less on the part of the story that mentioned low sales and much much more on the print quality issue.
While Paul above says that he has seen QDM on Boomerang and it looked okay to him, that's NOT the opinion I'm getting from the folks in the industry. QDM is considered not up to snuff, and Wally Gator is considered downright mediocre.
And it's not so much past sales as much as future sales potential that combined with the QDM and WG print quality that made up her mind, I think. I betcha Animaniacs sells better than both QDM and WG combined. Interest in that show is amazingly high, I tell ya.
People who buy other terrific WHV products like "Looney Tunes" or "Batman: The Animated Series" are not going to buy Hanna-Barbera. There is a different audience for each series of animation.
In early December Disney DVD released "The Proud Family Movie." I see a gazillion copies on shelves of stores like Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Target and Best Buy. I have two boys who are five and six. They like to shop at these places. I go over to Amazon.com and it currently ranks in DVD sales at #8140. I go look at Huckleberry Hound's sales and it currently ranks at #5224. At Amazon.com Huck's sales have always ranked better than some of his current contemporaries like The Proud Family. Both are good shows. Both have completely different audiences.
My question to WHV is this: Sales have been disappointing but what are you comparing them to? Is it to product like "Looney Tunes" or DVD's like "The Proud Family?" "Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi" which came out on DVD on November 29, 2005 is currently ranked #8684 at Amazon.com and it was released by WHV. This show still gets top promotion by Cartoon Network and I see the show marketed everywhere I go around town. Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and The Flintstones are beating them out in DVD sales and you say that H-B's sales are dissapointing?!? If you would only merchandise, promote and market these characters, you might have a cash cow on your hands.
This really blows. It looks as if Warners animation department will continue to get worse. Count me as another who has 0 interest in their replacements for these and will be praying for low sales on them. Since these sets will mainly appeal to kids and teens I don't see alot of sales potential. Parents will not usually buy box sets for kids. Animaniacs and Pinky would have been better suited for single volume collections. Leave the Hanna Barbera sets alone. This could bring an end to the Looney toon sets as well since those all need alot of restoration also. And we can forget about a Tex Avery set since he is not as well known. They'll give us some more Cartoon Network stuff instead. Oh! Boy! Warners
Does this new head of Warner animation control Looney Tunes now too? I thought they were controlled by someone who had nothing to do with the H-B titles and Tom & Jerry? I was hoping that this shake up would put the MGM animated shorts in the hands of someone with brains, one who knows how to handle them.
I'm a fan of all sorts of animation. I don't think "Animaniacs" and "Pinky and the Brain" were intended as "replacements" for "Quick Draw" and "Wally" since both were announced some time ago, long before the H-B shows were delayed. Thye're just divering the resources they would have used on the H-B shows to do superior packages on the newer shows.
I think many people in this thread are both underestimating the audience for "Animaniacs" and "P&TB" and have the wrong idea about the age group that will likely want these shows. "Animaniacs" began in 1993, and "P&TB" in 1995, and both shows always had a large following among teens and twenty-somethings. Even the young kids that watched them would be in their late teens and early twenties now, as well as a solid base of people in their late twenties and early thirties like myself. They're going to sell a ton of these, and it'll be mostly to adults FOR adults, not to parents looking for a cheap toon fix for their kids, so single-disc releases were NOT the way to go.
I just hope they sell well enough that "Freakazoid!" follows quickly thereafter. I wouldn't mind "Tiny Toon Adventures," either, but I suspect that may not have aged as well.
I'm a big fan of classic H-B animation, too - I grew up on a lot of that stuff, and there's a lot more I'd like to see released (especially the superhero stuff), but denigrating the newer stuff thinking it's going to lead to more classic H-B stuff is a fool's game. If the newer stuff doesn't sell, they're hardly going to reverse course - more likely, they'll give that much less attention to animation as a whole.
I understand the disappointment, but don't blame "Animaniacs" and "Pinky & the Brain," or pray for their failure.
Well from what I read, the article does point blame there, the head directs blame there which was really a foolish thing because some will not buy those in protest now. Animaniacs has wide appeal, but I wonder if sales will be not as good because they are likely to release Pinky & the Brain the same day, this situation is a bit similar to releasing Huck and Yogi at the same time. It would have been wiser not to mention Animaniacs and Pinky & the Brain at all and just say these are in need of more restoration than we thought so they will take much longer to release than previously thought.