The Mummy Returns...the end of rental OAR?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Peter Kim, Oct 3, 2001.

  1. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    I wasted an hour of my time driving to both Hollywood Video and Blockbuster yesterday. I've never had a problem before renting oar dvd's. So, looking to watch something entertaining, I aimed for The Mummy Returns.
    What the hell?!! At my first stop, Hollywood Video had about 50 copies, all full screen. I asked the clerk whether they had any widescreen...he just sneered at me and said, "if you don't see it on the shelf then I guess we don't have 'em".
    At Blockbuster, the same thing abounds. Asked their clerk the same thing and he said they only have widescreen for sale, none for rent.
    Hmmm,...have the studios defined and acted upon a newfound demographic? Those cinephiles that buy, buy widescreen. Those that primarily rent, don't care or don't know. And the studios seem to have determined that those who fall into the latter far outnumber the cinephiles. So the business decision becomes clear.
    This alarms me. Does this signal the end of mainstream availability of widescreen rental? Or worse, does this portend the end of widescreen altogether? I've noticed that while this forum's voice seems to be increasing volume in its cry against p&s/cropping, the number of separate discs/non-oar discs being released are gaining in quantity.
    Anyway, just pissed off...I decided against renting The Mummy Returns. I'm not sure what I'll do, now or in the future. I just can't afford to buy every dvd I want to watch for entertainment.
     
  2. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Peter, the exact same thing happened to me yesterday. Neither Hollywood Video nor another local video store had any widescreen copies for rent. As widescreen copies are available, I think it is more likely that the video store managers are just plain stupid. I mean, are they that ignorant of their product? Hell, it's their buisness to know what video releases are out there! I could understand a fullscreen-only selection if you can only afford a couple of copies, but Hollywood Video had nearly 50 copies on the shelves! Would it have killed them to order half a dozen widescreen copies? OAR enthusiasts can't be that few and far between. Oh well, from what I hear, we're not missing much anyway - but that's beside the point.
    ------------------
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  3. Marty M

    Marty M Cinematographer

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    quote: Those cinephiles that buy, buy widescreen. Those that primarily rent, don't care or don't know. And the studios seem to have determined that those who fall into the latter far outnumber the cinephiles.[/quote]
    I believe this is the exact thinking of the studios and video stores. With DVDs becoming more mainstream, i.e. Joe 6 Pack buying DVD players, the studios and video stores are tapping into that market who only want P & S versions of movies.
    I think this will be a growing trend. This could also be a way for a mom and pop video store to survive, by offering the OAR DVDs that aren't available at the chain store rental places. I won't be completely upset as long as DVDs are produced in AOR and are available to purchase or rent at a M & P store.
    The "great and wise" Mike Knapp warned that the DVD format might mean trouble for us when it went mainstream and started catering to the P & S market.
    [Edited last by Marty M on October 03, 2001 at 09:38 AM]
     
  4. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

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    I've said this in another thread, but it fits here too.
    My wife is the store manager at Hollywood Video here in town (K-Zoo) and "the corporate" sent her store only full-screen. We rented it, for free last week 'cuase god The Mummy and The Mummy Returns sucks harder than ____ (place your own descriptive comparison here)(again, thank god it was free) and noticed it was full-screen (my wife hates full-screen, god I love her! oh, I hate full-screen too, obsessively). When she went back to the store the next day, all of the copies in the shipping box were full-screen.
    She doesn't know why they sent her only full-screen, that's just they way it worked by "the corporate." As far as the other video stores, I wouldn't know their reasoning.
    ------------------
    "I was born to murder the world." -Nix (Lord of Illusions)
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  5. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    You're absolutely right...these are big chains (HV && BB). They can afford to buy both formats. So, taking a doomsday approach, are they making the decision not to?
    We all here decry non-OAR discs, e.g., "just print the oar version and everyone will get use to the black bars".
    But is there something more sinister at play here? Are the studios intent on squashing the highly vocal yet severly undermanned OAR legions? Perhaps after Willy Wonka, the studios took the complaints as a slap of the glove, a challenge to squeeze out the cinephile. Anyway, who the hell cares about the elite cinephile snob, certainly not mainstream America.
    The point...the corporate at HV & BB are not so stupid not to be able to distinguish between fullscreen and widescreen. To shelve only fullscreen with nary a widescreen offering was purposeful and intentional.
     
  6. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    Many (like me) have warned this will happen. Stores get their DVDs from corporate and corporate will order JUST ONE version and it will be pan & scan if they can help it. God forbid they stock at least a few widescreen among the zillion Pan & SCAM MUMMY RETURNS.
    Only one video store I called yesterday in the New Haven, CT area had the widescreen version and they said only few, as opposed to 10 Full Screen.
    What needs to be done is simple: Find out who exactly is in charge of those major stores and try to get a hold of them and inform them they they need to stock BOTH versions, so that all customers are satisfied.
    If we sit back and do nothing, then in two to three years, you can kiss widescreen goodbye for good.
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  7. Jason Elrod

    Jason Elrod Auditioning

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    Look's like it's time for a petition folk's.
     
  8. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    I am told regularly that I can't/shouldn't afford buying all of the films I want to see, but I just don't care for trusting video stores to carry what I want (and not be scratched to hell).
    Keep in mind that these decisions were made by the video stores. I don't know if they twisted the arms of the studios for more full frame/pan/scan releases or if the studios are doing so on their own volition - but remember - the Original Mummy was available in both formats.
    It's short sighted for Blockbuster and Hollywood to carry only pan and scan for rental, but I quite clearly remember hearing of blockbuster employees telling customers "Don't worry, those black bars won't always be there" i.e. - we'll make pan and scan available for you whatever it takes.
    The best bet to avoid this from becoming the norm is to quit out of blockbuster & hollywood - explain your reasons - and patronize the nearest mom & pop. Or even Netflix, but having not had experience with them, I can't recommend one way or another.
    Widescreen OAR will never die. There is too much support from the talent. And people do have the capacity to learn. We just need to be patient teachers.
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  9. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    This is why I cringe a little every time I read statements by OAR enthusiasts who applaud the studios for giving consumers "a choice" by creating separate widescreen and P&S versions.
    What it really does is gives the video rental outlets and even some retailers the "choice" to ignore OAR, as well as create confusion. I could not rent an OAR copy of "Remember the Titans" at my local place.
    I'd rather see only one version, with OAR and force the J6P crowd to learn to watch movies correctly or not at all. I don't even like DVDs with both versions either on the same disc or a separate disc -- either you get more junk on the disc which can compromise the video quality or a worthless second disc that takes up more space.
    Sorry if that's elitist, but we begin to see now what compromise and choice has brought.
     
  10. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

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    QUOTE:
    but I quite clearly remember hearing of blockbuster employees telling customers "Don't worry, those black bars won't always be there" i.e. - we'll make pan and scan available for you whatever it takes.
    __________________________________________________ ___
    My wife, HV Store Manager (yes, I too am sick of stating that she is, leave me alone! [​IMG] ) lets people know that the black bars are there to stay. She hates P&S as much as the rest of us and typically makes fun of J6P when inquiring about P&S. She never said anything like the quote above.
    Remember, the FEW of us that are out there renting actually care and MOST people that rent are people that don't know the difference. As my days of a video store shift manager, I told people all the time that widescreen is the way to go. I even showed them a comparison (this is sounding like a post a did earlier to another thread) of Star Wars ANH widescreen vs. p&s. Some people got it, others didn't care.
    As far as DVD is concerned here is my oppinion:
    1. People who buy DVD (especially when they first came out) players are movie enthusiasts and care about OAR. This is what DVD is for. People who LOVE movies. John Q. Movierenter likes it when *he (insert any action star, especially Steven "I'm a monk CIA agent turned Buhdist peace-lover 'hey there's a knife blade in my credit card' 'I'm just a cook'" Segal)* shots that guy and there's an explosion. These people don't care/don't know about OAR. They just want to rent the movie. Do you think my mom or your mom is renting a movie right now saying, "I wonder if this movie is Original Aspect Ratio?" I pretty sure they're not. I spent three years of my video store career on crusade about this (not about moms, but about OAR); it worked about 5% of the time.
    2. DVD should only come in OAR and let VHS handle the P&S. If John Q. videorenter doesn't like it, rent it on VHS. Remember when DVD first came out and barely any, if none, where P&S? I do. It should have stayed that way.
    Alas, we can't stop the gears of the profit machine. We can only hope more dvds than not will be in OAR. This, I believe, will remain true.
    Fret not renters, if you were going to enjoy a piece of crap like The Mummy Returns anyway, my suggestion is this:
    Rent it P&S, buy it OAR. [​IMG]
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  11. wally

    wally Second Unit

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    Let’s not get too excited. Remember at the same time P&S versions are dominating the rental outfits, widescreen presentations of quality cable and broadcast programs are increasing. That can only be good, right?
    If we are going to petition the studios against P&S we should also applaud the networks, HBO, NBC, etc, for their support of widescreen.
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  12. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    If only we could consign P&S to VHS. Unfortunately the argument that you can't appreciate the resolution/audio benefit of DVD if you don't appreciate OAR doesn't fly well with J6P.
    My father-in-not-law picked up a DVD player and can't stand it on his 4:3 65" rear projection television because it doesn't fill the screen. I have attempted explaining the concept, but it always comes back to "why can't it fill the screen". He thinks VHS looks better than DVD because it's a full image.
    My mother thinks they should use CGI to generate image at the top and bottom of wide films.
    All DVDs should include a feature on why wider is better. Education is the only way to get OAR out there. I don't know why some studios, and most rental outfits are afraid of this concept.
    If I had a blockbuster, a hollywood, or a mom and pop - I'd run films on the AV that were available in both formats synchronously. 1 OAR per 1 botched edition. Perhaps side by side comparisons of the true films might get people to ask "why are these different".
    I think Best Buy should do something similar.
    I don't know why neither do.
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    [Edited last by John Berggren on October 03, 2001 at 10:59 AM]
     
  13. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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    quote: Fret not renters, if you were going to enjoy a piece of crap like The Mummy Returns anyway, my suggestion is this: Rent it P&S, buy it OAR. [/quote]
    Easier said than done. Once I knew what they did to get movies to fill the screen, there was no going back. I don't rent parts of movies, I rent the whole movie.
    This will not just make me not the movies that are stocked P&S only from these stores, but will make me reluctant to rent any movies at all from them.
    I know there are to many P&S zombies out there for this to really be an issue to BB and HV, but it is is just the natural response to this course of action.
    Now, it is time for me to seek out other alternatives in my area.
    As far as The Mummy Returns being crap, that is a different discussion for a different thread.
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    My DVD's
    If a movie is not available in OAR, than it might as well not be available at all.
    [Edited last by AaronMK on October 03, 2001 at 11:49 AM]
     
  14. Brad_W

    Brad_W Screenwriter

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    If I had a blockbuster, a hollywood, or a mom and pop - I'd run films on the AV that were available in both formats synchronously. 1 OAR per 1 botched edition. Perhaps side by side comparisons of the true films might get people to ask "why are these different".
    ___________________________________________
    I think I commented on this already, but if I didn't here it goes:
    I did do this when the special editions of Star Wars was released to video. We carried both versions and many people complained they accidently got the widescreen version when they rented. I then showed them and many other people (my crusade at the time) the first 2-3 minutes of Star Wars: ANH (both pan and scan and widescreen. example: at the begining when R2 and 3PO are walking down the corridor. In p&s you only see 3PO's big head full-screen or R2's big head full-screen. In the widescreen version, you see them both, side by side, walking down the corridor with stuff happening all around them) and some of them got it, others didn't. This worked for about 5% of the people I showed it to. So even in the case where they can SEE the difference, John Q. movierenter doesn't care.
    Also, I try to point out when Ben-Hurr was released p&s there was a big stink about it because:
    1. in P&S, they only show you what they think is important.
    2. Because of this: In Ben-Hurr there is a wide shot of a male actor on one end and a female actor giving a monologue on the other, but because at the time the film was cut up (i.e. pan and scan) women were still being treated as lessers, they only show the man with his facial reaction to what the woman is saying. That really sucks.
    When I was in a band at that time called, Oddity, I wrote a song about these type of people entitled: Black Bars.
    Yeah, I went WAY too far.
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  15. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    We're screwed. It's that simple. The fact that stores will ONLY cary the Pan & Scan if possible is the tell tale sign that the apocolypse is here. If we do not speak up about this, then it's our fault. We need to get a hold of the corporate fat cats and demand that they carry BOTH.
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  16. Doug Lachman

    Doug Lachman Auditioning

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    There are other avenues besides HV & BB. Since I got my DVD player last year I have not entered one of those stores to rent my DVDs. I've used NetFlix (bad) and rentmydvd.com (great) and with few problems. In fact for as many as movies I rent a month it is cheaper than the B&M stores, more convenient and I don't have to worry about remembering to return the movie by a certain time or date. Most importantly, they cater to this crowd vs Joe 6 Pack - The Mummy Returns is only available in widescreen - and have a larger/broader selection than your neighborhood store.
     
  17. Robyn Young

    Robyn Young Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I work for hollywood video, and am very good friends with the managers. When I started working there, I printed out one of the dvd-demystified FAQ's for each of the managers/shift leaders that asked for one. Our dvd expertise level is way higher than the blockbuster across the way.
    I was at the store when the mummy returns showed up, and took one home to watch last week. I had a date, and we were going to watch the movie. Well, needless to say, I was very upset when the little "modified to fit your screen" announcement came up. Only then did I realize it wasn't widescreen. (our rental stickers cut off the widescreen/fullscreen bar at the bottom of the label)
    So, I went to the store the next day and complained to any of the managers who would listen. Again, that is a corporate issue that we have absolutely no control over. I also mention that there is a lot of information cut off of the fullscreen dvd to customers that rent it, although I don't bash it so hard that they won't rent it.
    My argument was that if they provided the widescreen dvd, that fullscreen would still be available on vhs if they wanted it. Adds to the variety of selection in the store if nothing else. One of the other managers told me that folks who bought a dvd player and got rid of thier vhs and would want fullscreen(which I laughed at when the customer left, because even though I haven't watched a vhs tape in over 2 years, I still have a vcr.)
    Um, anyway. The point I'm trying to make is that on a store to store level, we have no control over what we get, and we'd more than likely carry both versions if given the chance.
    Robyn
     
  18. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

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    >>My father-in-not-law picked up a DVD player and can't stand it on his 4:3 65" rear projection television because it doesn't fill the screen. I have attempted explaining the concept, but it always comes back to "why can't it fill the screen". He thinks VHS looks better than DVD because it's a full image.
    My mother thinks they should use CGI to generate image at the top and bottom of wide films.
     
  19. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    Our policy is to carry:
    Widescreen (OAR)
    DTS
    Special editions
    smiles.
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    Yumbo - IMDVD
     
  20. William Ward

    William Ward Supporting Actor

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