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Star Trek films on Blu-Ray... what we know so far

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Scott D S, Sep 21, 2008.

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  1. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Not only. It was released and is available on the Directors cut DVD.

    Or do you mean a different commentary?
     
  2. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Yes, there's an additional commentary for the Director's Edition beyond the one that is on the DVD. The producers of the director's edition felt that they had more to say than what made it into the disc, and recorded a separate commentary that could be downloaded from the web.
     
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  3. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    And it's even more disappointing that, aside from Wrath of Khan, it's still the best-looking of the original crew's HD transfers currently available. And I dunno; by 2000, it was kind of shortsighted to finish the Director's Edition in standard def only. They could have at least sprung for 720p.

    TMP wasn't a
    giant hit in its day, but it did earn a respectable profit. And it essentially rebirthed Star Trek as a marketable franchise and led to all the later films and spinoffs.

    Hopefully the recent change in direction at Paramount will lead to their taking better care of both current releases and their catalog. (It's pretty staggering how poorly they handled the marketing of the rebooted film franchise after the first one actually was a giant hit.)
     
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  4. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Yeah - I think a huge part of that is that J.J. Abrams himself was ambivalent about returning for a sequel. Paramount really wanted him to direct the follow-up, and ultimately had to agree to finance his passion project ("Super 8") and allow him to make that first, in order to get him to sign on to do a sequel -- but that ultimately delayed the franchise by four years, which doesn't work in an environment when Harry Potter and similar franchises were releasing new films every 12-18 months.

    Paramount did spring for new 4K transfers of their Mission Impossible films, so it's always possible that they could come around on this. I think it'll really depend on whether or not there is a fourth Kelvin movie. If Paramount has something to tie a release to, it seems more likely; if it's just about being a random thing dropped into the marketplace, I'm less hopeful.
     
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  5. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    Maybe if the Viacom/CBS re-merger happens, they'll tie it in to all the new All-Access series that are supposedly coming over the next couple of years.

    Also, when Paramount does do 4K catalog releases, they tend to be pretty good, so I guess we'll see.
     
  6. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Josh, that’s true about the business end. It’s really unfortunate that TMP is not regarded as well by the current management at Paramount.

    I know the times and circumstances were far different when Star Trek The Motion Picture was one of the early titles used for and earlier version of Laserdisc and VHS in the early 1980’s. They further leveraged the title with the Special Longer Version on LD and VHS. Then they did a widescreen release. The management then I assume knew they had a title the fans would buy.

    My theory is at the time they were thinking the fans will buy it and buy anything with the Star Trek brand. There’s more popular Star Trek titles out now of course, so I can see they would want to invest in those titles for more sure profits. But I still think as a fan, the management at Paramount owe TMP some credit for at least being a title that started a series of films in the franchise. My hope is that the new management, if a new management team takes over, will be more Star Trek friendly.
    TMP deserves more respect!

    Reminds me of the story Leonard Nimoy tells. He went in to talk to Paramount about Star Trek 3. The executive couldn’t understand why Nimoy was interested in the third film. He said, I thought you hated playing Spock. I thought that’s why you killed him in the last movie. He said, no that’s not true. (I’m paraphrasing so I might not remember the details) So I think there’s some of that thinking still, that the people at Paramount thinks the fans hate TMP. Though I admit it’s not a big number of fans who love it. At least there’s notable people out there who love it.
     
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  7. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I don't think Paramount thinks that fans hate the film.

    I think Paramount is well aware, as all studios are, how much physical media has declined in recent years - a brand new study that came out within the past week or so says there's been a 50% decline over the past five years. Additionally, there's been some fatigue in the market as people are becoming resistant to purchasing the same content over and over.

    From a business perspective, it's not about being intentionally disrespectful to fans. It's about not wanting to throw good money after bad. Any version of any Trek film that was actually finished on film has a great chance of making it to 4K eventually. What's a bit iffy is whether Paramount will spend hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars on making a new HD version of a film that has no hope of grossing that much in return in 2019 and beyond. There's probably less chance of them going all out to do it on physical media with the rapid declines of physical media sales. I hate to be the voice of pessimism, but if Paramount couldn't be motivated to release their already existing 4K UHD master of Wrath Of Khan in 2016 when they actually had the 50th anniversary of the franchise to celebrate, along with a new theatrical movie to tie it into it, and if they couldn't be motivated to release it in 2017 on the 35th anniversary of the film to coincide with the limited Fathom theatrical re-issue... if they couldn't take that very minimal step with an asset they already had, for the most popular classic Trek film, if they felt that wasn't going to be profitable, I just find it very hard to be optimistic that they'd do more than that with a film where they don't even have an asset available to present it in the way that's being requested here. And Paramount did indicate that they were open to a TWOK 4K UHD disc if the reboot movies sold well on 4K UHD. That they haven't put it out indicates to me that the reboot movies did not meet their sales expectations. And while those movies may be less popular among some long time fans, they were enormously popular with modern audiences and critics, making them a surer bet and likely to be better sellers to begin with.

    I think the best we can hope for, and I'm not even terribly hopeful for it, is that there's a possibility that the Special Longer Version was completed on film rather than videotape back in the day, and if so, that it could be scanned in HD the same way that Warner recently was able to scan the three hour television cut of Superman: The Movie. Again, this isn't a comment on what I want to happen or what I think should happen - but I think that is the only likely path for any version other than the theatrical to come out in an HD format. And even then, with Paramount shifting from physical releases to digital for their catalog releases (as evidenced by the 4K versions of "War of the Worlds" and "It's A Wonderful Life" and TWOK being available only on digital platforms and not physical), I don't think it's gonna be put out on a disc.
     
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  8. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    I’m about half way through the wise guys episode of inglorious treksperts podcast about the making of the directors cut dvd. It’s nothing short of amazing to listen to. I highly recommend it for everyone interested in this film. It’s about an hour.
     
  9. Worth

    Worth Producer

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    I saw a screening of Trek a couple of years ago with Douglas Trumbull in attendance to speak about the film, and it was some kind of hybrid cut - basically the director's cut minus the new effects, or if you prefer, the TV cut minus the unfinished scenes. This was a 35mm print sent directly from Paramount, so at the very least, that version exists on film.
     
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  10. cb1

    cb1 Stunt Coordinator

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    Josh, as a "regular shmoe" I have to agree with this 100%. I see so many movies re-released over and over in every special edition you can think of. There is nothing these days that interest me anymore. So many of the movies that I would like to see will most likely never be put on Bluray.

    and example would be Gladiator, 15 editions of this movie. Really??? 17 editions of The Godfather (series)
    for Pete's sake. People are getting tired of the same old baloney over and over.

    but studios don't seem to care. There is a fan request for 20K beneath the sea for how long? The Mouse ignores it, Also, but not as loud, The Black Hole. The Mouse ignores it.

    How about some old goodies that would sell like "To Hell and Back" with Audie Murphy, or Dragon Slayer. Nope, No Fun For You!! (say it in fake Russian accent - LOL)

    The Fans would love to see ST-TMP in Bluray quality or better. why the hold up? it took forever to get Wrath of Kahn done right and they botched up the first run of the movie anyway. And the rest of the Star Trek theatrical movies. Let's not get into Star Wars, that is a whole different thread... LOL

    Look, if Mr Harris can get It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World done with floor scraps, why in perditions flames can't we get some good content released?
    OK, sorry for the rant, I'll go drink some water.... but you get my drift... (I hope) LOL
    Cheers!!!
     
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  11. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    The short answer:

    Mad World is owned by MGM, which is much more willing to license content to third parties than Paramount. Criterion acquired the license, and they’re willing to spend more on bonus content than most home video labels. And Mad World is a personal passion project for Mr. Harris, which meant he was willing to work on it, possibly for less than his usual fee.

    If Paramount was willing to license this to (just for the sake of an example) a label like Arrow, it’s possible they would be able to get it done. (They just did a release of Waterworld which includes the theatrical version, the extended TV cut, and a hybrid fan-edit.) Arrow has a smaller staff, smaller overhead and smaller sales expectations. But Paramount has made it abundantly clear that the Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Godfather and Transformers franchises are not available for licensing. And Paramount is too big of an operation to have interest in taking on a major effort project with only minor financial potential.
     
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  12. DVBRD

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    That Inglorious Treksperts podcast about the Director's Edition claims that there was another extended cut that dates back to 1991 or 1992 for a special screening in Westwood, California. That cut had most, if not all, of the footage from the TV version; the scene of Kirk leaving the Enterprise to search for Spock was noticeably absent (for presumably obvious reasons). That might be the cut you're referring to. And I think they also said that the TV cut also exists in 35mm as well, so there's no reason why an HD master can't be made of it.
     
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  13. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Josh you’ve been talking about the fall of physical media for some time now. Sure, it’s happening, it will happen, to paraphrase someone in Star Trek.

    I hope that physical media will be around for sometime longer. I have been experimenting with digital files and bought War of the Worlds a few weeks ago. And I just redeemed a coupon for Star Trek 2009 to upgrade from the SD copy I had to the HD in iTunes.

    I’d had thought, and you had too at nearly the same time, that remastering Star Trek TMP for downloading was a possible venue. I’d be up for that for a remastered HD version of all three versions. But as you said, the cost to remaster will not be a drop in the bucket. The cost for the studios to make discs and distribute them I’d imagine isn’t anywhere as high as remastering. So downloading to save on the physical media might not be enough incentive.

    Now that I think about it, how crazy is it that we streamed Star Trek Discovery because it was the only way to see it new and then bought the Blu Ray! They didn’t have to do that. But it must be an additional revenue stream.

    It’s interesting how years ago, the thought of buying a movie was seen by some as crazy, why buy a movie, how often will you watch it? It’s like driving, it’s a privilege, not a right. So the studios can do whatever they want.

    I’m still making it a mission to see Star Trek The Motion Picture remastered and available to us fans to own. :)
     
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  14. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I was frankly shocked that it came out on disc. I’m glad it did and I bought it but I would have understood if CBS left it exclusive to their service so they’d get people to pay whenever they wanted to watch it. But I’m guessing that the expense of putting the already existing masters onto a disc wasn’t very high, and that the physical media version might help promote the show to people who weren’t into streaming when it first aired. And Trek probably has a higher sales potential than most things these days - sci-fi, horror and cult titles still do reasonably okay in the marketplace because those fanbases tend to be more passionate about their stuff. You can buy Discovery on disc but that may be the only All Access program that that’s true for.

    I really do hope something happens with TMP. But I’m thinking a Warner Archive approach of scanning whatever longer version is extant on film (like WA did with Superman: The Movie) is probably the most Paramount would be willing to do. If the Director’s Edition was going to be upgraded to HD and put on a disc, it would have been ten years ago. It sucks because at this moment in time, remastering and CGI are cheaper than ever so it would probably be easier technically to do it now than ten or twenty years ago, but demand for physical media is down so much more that it almost doesn’t matter.

    I mean, I’m gonna watch the SLV on VHS one day soon. It’s a bit crazy that that’s the state of things!
     
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  15. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Good point, the Disco Blu Ray could be seen as promoting All Access.
     
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  16. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    Watch it Today??
     
  17. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    Audio was one of the last pieces that should’ve been completed for tmp in 1979.
    Due to time many of the audio engineers were not allowed to complete work or the work they did complete was left out until the directors cut. They literally had finished original audio work in places that they just put in for the directors cut.

    They also mentioned that the motion picture Blu Ray is not right in terms of the brightness. It is too bright according to the podcast
     
  18. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    Robert Wise was really respected and paramount was willing to listen to him for the directors cut and making it happen.

    Also in terms of the sound Bob wanted the film to have a more human film. So the sound was a big part in making it warmer and humanizing the film. Original series sounds and also the change of the computer voice. At times the computer voice would also state the obvious too. So it was trimmed where this occurred.

    This is a fantastic podcast about the directors cut project.
     
  19. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Screenwriter

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    That's what I wished they left alone in the director's cut. I love the original sound design of TMP. I lived with it for 20 years before the DVD release and think it is brilliant. It adds another level of verisimilitude to the proceedings. I get a real sense of danger when I hear "Negative response at helm" coming out of the bridge computer. This is precisely what modern military aircraft were doing for pilots at the time when the film was made and I appreciate that level of attention to detail. The added seat restrains were a similar touch.

    Adding unfinished optical effects in certain places was fine. Changing shuttles and transporter sound effects to be more in line with the television series is just revisionist thinking and going too far. I hate it in Star Wars and I hate it in ST:TMP. Leave my childhood alone thank you. I appreciate that there are a large group of fans who like the alternate cut. I hope you get the HD version that you want. I just hope Paramount keeps the original available for future generations to see what these film artisans achieved under extreme circumstances. I thought it was excellent in 1979, and still do today.
     
  20. Worth

    Worth Producer

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    That sounds like the same version I saw.
     

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