To all studios - The "3 Complaint Super Angriest" thread (modified to fit your pc)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Michael Allred, May 27, 2005.

  1. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

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    We all have gripes when it comes to the how's and why's when it comes to the major studios releasing DVDs, some are minor, some more significant and recently it's come to a boil with me. I keep seeing the same practice used over and over as studios continue to dumb down DVDs for the, shall we say, less knowledgable consumer.

    Instead of randomly complaining here and there, I've let them stew in this noggin of mine (Danger Will Robinson! Danger!) and now I really feel like letting 'em rip.

    1) Studios dropping the proper widescreen/OAR version of movies on DVD. (I'm talking to YOU Sony!)

    What exactly is the mindset behind this most boneheaded of decisions? It's especially maddening when there seems to be no ryhme or reason to the titles that are selected for this shameful downgrading.

    Sony really seems to be spearheading this movement to fill the junk piles at Wal-Mart. Speculation seems to be that Sony is doing this so that the only way to get the widescreen version is by purchasing a future Hi-Def DVD (I've even heard this recently from certain people at various companies this past week.)

    Is this really the message Sony wants to send to the consumer? "We're intentionally wrecking any chance to watch your favorite movie the right way. Shell out more money for our more expensive product to get what you want." I would recommend searching RIGHT NOW for those catalog titles you enjoy lest you be left in the cold (as I have been doing recently.) I will NOT be poked and pinched into following some corporation's greedy line of thinking. It's dishonest and frankly bad for business. It sickens me that Sony now owns MGM - how many more titles will be treated in such a fashion?

    2) Double-dipping. (Hello again Sony!)

    So many quality catalog titles remain bare bones yet "Men In Black" has been released how many times? How often can you squeeze the consumer dry? How many releases of the same title can be justified? Single disc bare bones, 2 disc special edition, Superbit, Superbit deluxe, 3 disc collector's set, individual widescreen and full screen, it goes on endlessly. Why focus on the same title over and over when you can either simply do it right the first time or spread the wealth and give other movies equal treatment.

    Sadly some studios like FOX have recently been double dipping giving the consumer NO advance warning that a more elaborate special edition is forthcoming. Case in point, the recent 2 disc releases of "I, Robot" and "The Day After Tomorrow" and "Man On Fire" and.....you get the point.

    I will concede that some people just want the movie, could care less about bonus features and want the price of a DVD to reflect that. Ok good. Some, like myself, prefer all the bells & whistles they have to offer. Just LET US KNOW beforehand so we don't spend money twice. Stop being greedy, be honest with us, is that asking too much? I've now bought "The Day After Tomorrow" twice when, if FOX had been honest with their plans, I would've waited for the 2 disc set.

    Now I know some will say "Special editions were announced/released in other regions already so you should have expected it." No you cannot *expect* anything. Some SE's of movies have been released in other countries for a while now but they remain unreleased in America. Some SE's took a few years before they were released in the States. On top of that, a lot of people don't spend all their free time reading DVD sites for this information, they're completely at the mercy of studio greed.

    Just tell us, "Here's a single disc DVD now. Buy it if you want but there WILL be a SE within 6 months." I think everybody would be happy with such a simple, honest and straightforward business practice.

    3) Making DVDs "dumb."

    Just what executive thinks that by branding a new SE DVD with an incredibly stupid title will increase sales? Seriously, what's the point behind it? Paramount's "Holy Schnieke" edition for the upcoming "Tommy Boy" DVD would be an example not to mention the rumored "Don't Call Me Shirley" SE for "Airplane." (Don't get me started on Sony again, ugh "Booty Call"..what was it? "The Bootiest Edition" or something?)

    What exactly is wrong with keeping it classy? Special edition, deluxe edition, etc....why is that not good enough? Why does it have to be dumbed down? What can we expect in the future? "Gone with the Wind: Totally on fire" edition? Keep it simple, that always works.

    Perhaps this posting is pointless, I'm sure most will agree with what I've said (to some extent anyway) and figure why go on about it? Well, sometimes you need to vent I guess.
     
  2. Bradley-E

    Bradley-E Screenwriter

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    The thing about the "Double Dipping" is that most of these titles were big sellers originally. I think the studios count on you loving the movie enough to think you need to have the 'Ultimate Edition'. I admit being 'seduced' in the past only to realize it was not really worth upgrading. Case in point "The Bourne Identity". To me the original Collector's Edition was a excellent DVD. Universal (Instead of re-promoting) decided to make you think you were getting something better and in turn give the release of "SUPREMACY" a boost!

    There are examples of Double dipping I do not mind. The upcoming JAWS I will get so I can have the FULL Documentary that was on the Laserdisc, and next week's EAST OF EDEN and REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE and BULLITT. Just because I love the movies so much and the supplements are worth upgrading. Otherwise, it is usually a PLOY by the studios to up their revenues and taking advantage of a movie loving public.
     
  3. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

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    Next week's EAST OF EDEN is its first DVD release....

    No double dip there.
     
  4. Jeff D Han

    Jeff D Han Supporting Actor

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    Michael, I couldn't agree more that the studios are
    dishonest and sneaky with the consumer when they
    release another DVD version of a film 6 months or
    a year down the road without informing the consumer
    of these re-releases. I like to call it "double dip
    for greed". It didn't bother me in the past, but now I'm
    less interested in getting bled dry by the studios.

    Another terrible thing about DVDs today is the forced
    trailers and commercials that you have to try to skip
    past to get to a ridiculously long menu. Unfortunately
    this crap is something we will have to put up with
    because it will only get worse and more tedious for
    us DVD fans.[​IMG]
     
  5. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Menu screens in front of a movie still annoy the hell out of me.
    What is up with this "cute names" thing on reissues? I'm waiting for the Gone With The Wind: I Give A Damn Edition, or Deep Throat: The Deepest Edition [​IMG]
     
  6. Amy Mormino

    Amy Mormino Supporting Actor

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    To be fair on the silly names for the Tommy Boy and Airplane! special editions, those aren't exactly classy movies in the first place. Perhaps the makers just thought the new names would be funny- though they really aren't.

    I do agree, though, that The Bootiest Edition crossed a line that shouldn't be crossed.
     
  7. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Screenwriter

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    I feel that Universal is a prime offender in the double-dipping category.

    It's okay on certain occasions ("Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life" and the upcoming "Jaws"), but on other occasions, it's not neccesary.

    When it comes to the first 2 "American Pie" movies, for example, if you count the various editions in both their widescreen and pan-and-scan formats, than you're looking at 6 editions for each movie.

    That's overkill with a side order of necrophilia.

    Meanwhile, Universal is sitting on plenty of comedies that have yet to be released (everything from the sophisticated style of a Preston Sturges comedy to the lowbrow hijinks of "Private School...For Girls".)

    On top of that, there are dramas and thrillers and horror movies by the platoon that are being cast to the side in favor of double-dips that are either repackaged old releases ("Fast Times At Ridgemont High") or in some cases only adding one or two new features ("Coal Miner's Daughter" with the new Loretta Lynn interview and "The Blues Brothers" with the original theatrical version).

    Why not release balls-out Special Editions of the John Hughes movies? What about first-time releases for flicks like "Resurrection" or "Harry & The Hendersons"? How about giving "The Sting" and "The Deer Hunter" the treatment they deserve? I had to put aside my belief in OAR because I wanted to purchase a copy of "Tank"!

    Universal drives me up the wall!

    Sincerely,

    John Kilduff...

    And don't get me started on Sony!
     
  8. DavidBC

    DavidBC Second Unit

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    I work at a B&M store and I found out about the Tommy Boy release through a very respectable looking gentleman very politely asking me for "The Holy Schnikes Edition". I said, "Are you kidding me?" 'twas funny.

    But now I want a Casablanca: Here's Lookin' At Two Discs edition.[​IMG]
     
  9. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    There is appropriate and inappropriate double-dipping.

    The appropriate kind of double-dipping is for titles released long ago and require new editions. Examples: Criterion's "M" special edition; Warner's special editions of My Fair Lady, Blazing Saddles, Goodfellas, Casablanca, etc; Universal's Marx and Fields sets (better transfers, even if light on extras); Disney's special editions of Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland; you get the idea.

    I don't think it's unfair in those cases. Borderline is Anchor Bay releasing that 1-disc DivimaX edition of Dawn of the Dead, followed by the 4-disc edition a few months later. At least that 1-disc edition is cheap.
     
  10. RickB

    RickB Extra

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    I would agree that there are times when a double-dip is appropriate. I have never been one to purchase anything twice that is not a presentation upgrade, however I will admit to a few times. Then I have usually sold or given away my prior copy. I picked up 'Escape From New York', 'Top Gun' and 'Iron Giant' and then sold off the original titles. It didn't cost that much after selling them, but its just a hassle.

    I just find it hard to buy the same title a second time. For example, I would upgrade to the newer version of 'The Fifth Element' but its hard to pull the trigger even with the video being better. And they want 19.99 for it. That makes it even a harder pill to swallow. If the price were lower, like say 10.99, I would probably go for it. But to charge what is even high for a new release stops me cold when standing in front of the rack.
     
  11. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    Wow - I just did the double dip on a price dropped copy of The Hunt For Red October - $11 CDN at a B&M store, and a great deal considering the old version wasn't anamorphic and the "new" is almost 2 years old. I waited a very long time before (don't laugh) investing in the DTS "Waterworld" - $16 was a lot better than $40, and now I think its OOP.

    If you're not ready to double dip immediately, maybe wait a while and that special edition you don't mind that you skipped over the first time will be at an even better price.
     
  12. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Well, back in the laserdisc days I REALLY hated the prices, and have to laugh at people who complain about $19.99 for a DVD. The average movie was listed at $34.99, and most places that carried them sold them at full price. If you were lucky, sometimes new releases would be sale-priced about $5 lower. Prices started getting REALLY out of hand in the couple of years before DVD came out- the first letterboxed LD of "Willow" was priced at $69.99 with ZERO extras, not even a trailer, and was made by Sony DADC so many of those who did bend over for that title have now found their discs rotted! Most new movies crept up to $39, and if it had to be on 2 discs (since LDs couldn't hold more than 2 hours) they would usually slap an extra $5 or $10 on top of that! These were all for movie-only editions; only a select few titles got the Special Edition treatment (though having sat through tons of awful DVD extras, I think that only a few films really do deserve SE's) And those that did get Special Editions were priced around $99 or more! I thought I'd gotten the bargain of a lifetime when I was able to get the Nightmare Before Christmas set at Camelot Music for only $58! (I'd already bought the regular edition on sale for $24- most of Disney releases that were put out cheap on VHS got a break on the laserdisc prices as well, though of course they would often be delayed for months if not years but that's another story.)
    This was especially aggravating because when the first laserdiscs came out in the late 70s they tried to have movies priced around $15. Of course it turned out to cost a LOT more to manufacture quality discs than they'd expected, so they had a ton of defects on the first ones and prices had gone up to $29 by the time they got most of the technical problems straightened out. In the early 90s though a few studios tried lowering the prices again- Warner had most of their catalog titles priced at $24, and $29 for newer releases, even those that took up 2 discs. Their prices went up about the time I finally got my LD player though! The prices on a few older titles were reduced in 1997 around the same time DVD was coming out, but it was too litte too late.
    DVD prices started out a lot more reasonable, and many are practically being given away compared to laserdisc. Fox's first DVD releases at $34 were out of line, but they've since come around thankfully (their laserdiscs were among the highest-priced as well).
    Back to present-day, the thing that annoys me about reissues is that while they might improve one thing, they'll go backwards on something else- for example the new "Fast Times" disc only has the movie with 5.1 remixes, not the original mono track it was released with which is on the older disc. 5.1 is great if the movie was put out with it, but I want the older stuff the way it was released just like I don't want my black-and-white movies colorized.
     
  13. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    Good one, Jesse - and how much did we pay for the CAV Star Wars Trilogy TDC box set, guys? A modest amount of extras and a hardcover book that was something like $250 US list for 9-disc set? That was the 4th version (following P&S CLV/CAV, CLV WS), and 2 more came out after that (including the SE's), and when they were being cleared out the $70 CLV THX discs (the best of the bunch image-weise) could be bought for $25 ea or less.

    That's major double-dipping to the hardcore LD fans.
     
  14. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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    I would reserve spite towards the studios for where there is obvious malicious intent. I think the biggest offenses recently are the following:



    Forced Trailers
    Universal used to have a message that went something like "You may fast forward through these previews". News flash to the studios: Consumers don't need your permission to take advantage of the functionality of their DVD players. They don't owe it to you to watch your marketing material. Any attempts to force buyers to watch ads on legal discs they paid for, especially employing anti-skipping mechanisms, are completely unacceptable. This is comparable a grill boy spitting in everyones' food.

    Guilty Parties with examples
    Fox: I, Robot: CE has a "public service announcement" to discourage piracy and trailers, both forced with anti-skipping mechanisms.
    Dreamworks: Shrek 2 has numerous trailers at the beginning with anti-skipping mechanisms.
    Paramount: The Manchurian Candidate (2004) has numerous trailers at the beginning with anti-skipping mechanisms.



    Unannounced Double Dips
    Releasing a bare-bones edition with a planned but unannounced will special edition in an attempt to get people to purchase movies multiple times when they might have waited. If the SEs were announced with the bare-bones editions, there would not be malice, but intentional withholding of that information makes it an extortion tactic. Note: this does not apply to decisions to make a new release after the fact.

    Guilty Parties with examples
    Fox: I, Robot and The Day After Tomorrow were both released in other regions as the SEs that would later be announced for R1 at the same times as the bare-bones R1 releases. Fox was caught with the smoking gun here. Who knows how many more times this kind of extortion tactic is used.
     
  15. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Well if the "I Robot" CE has a forced anti-piracy message then I would get the regular edition instead! Ironic though that while illegally copying a disc, you can make it so the copy DOESN'T have any of the control lockouts enabled!
    "Madagascar" is finally out, but I'll never see it since there's a forced trailer for that on the "Shrek 2" disc that came out months ago (maybe I ought to make a copy that will let me skip the trailer?) [​IMG]
     
  16. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

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    Good call on Universal with their double dips, ignoring their catalog and silly titles for their SE's.

    Studios, are you listening? FOX, Paramount, Universal and ESPECIALLY Sony. We will only take so much abuse with your shameful business practices.
     
  17. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

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    Coming soon from FOX, a SE of "Alien vs Predator" (according to the rumor mill at The Digital Bits.) Yet another title I would've waited for had FOX told us a SE would be coming.
     
  18. Jeff D Han

    Jeff D Han Supporting Actor

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    I just bought I, Robot 2 disc SE, and I think I was
    able to at least fast forward through all of the
    forced garbage on the DVD. It sucks that we have
    to try to find ways around this stuff.[​IMG]
     
  19. Gabriel.H

    Gabriel.H Stunt Coordinator

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    If all movies were released in Superbit format (or something similar with higher bit-rate video and DTS) with a 2nd disc for those who enjoy the bonus stuff (I prefer just the movie), then life would be so much more perfect. An occasional director's extended cut is acceptable, but no more than 2 editions of the same movie. If only we lived in an ideal world. Most of the dvd's I own are superbit, I put out my hard earned money for nothing but the best.
     
  20. Dave Simkiss

    Dave Simkiss Stunt Coordinator

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    Never have I been happier to live in Britain.

    The vast majority of DVD's are released in widescreen only. There is almost never a W/S and Pan and Scan edition released seperatly. Back in the early days we did used to occasionally get flipper disks with W/S on one side and P&s on the other but those rapidly faded away.

    And DVD's like 'The Day after Tomorrow, iRobot, Man on fire etc etc are released in both 1 disk and 2 disk editions... at the same time!

    You guys are getting seriously screwed [​IMG]
     

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