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TV on dvd--a possibly dissenting viewpoint.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Steve Schaffer, Aug 21, 2002.

  1. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I think the explosion in tv on dvd is a good thing, providing us with a chance to view many old favorites as well as some excellent one-season wonders that never really made it into syndication.

    I guess my concern is that the resources devoted to this effort may be further delaying the release of some classic motion pictures that have yet to reach dvd. Many of the major studios have large catalogs of wonderful motion pictures that have yet to reach the shiny disc. The logistics of releasing these are complicated by the need for restoration, rights issues, etc.

    It is so much easier and cheaper for a studio to make a large profit with fewer complications by releasing old tv series than it is to go to the effort and expense necessary to offer us these catalog movie titles.

    While I certainly don't begrudge anyone thier chance to have their favorite tv series to keep forever and watch commercial free, I can't help wondering if we may never see Errol Flynn's Robin Hood, Spencer Tracy's Judgement at Nuremberg, or James Cagney's 1 2 3 because the studios are cashing in on the collector's edition set of Beverly Hillbillies, Season 7.

    If mastering and production facilities are adequate to meet both needs, then I have no beef of course.

    Perhaps someone more familiar with the production end of the dvd business can allay my concerns.
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Erroll Flynn's Robin Hood is currently undergoing a quarter million dollar restoration by the same people who did Citizen Kane

    The TV sets are not taking time away from the classics, if anything, they're generating massive amounts of income which give the studios extra budget money to afford to properly author and restore these classic films. The big hurdle is convincing the money holders that a title will sell enough to recoup costs.
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Note Jeff's last sentence, Steve. It's economics. If a studio perceives there is enough demand for a television series or a catalog feature title, then it will commit the title to DVD. And presently there is a big demand for favorite television series on the "shiny disc."

    (Because I have all Star Trek episodes currently available on DVD--TOS and TNG--weekend nights are often Trek evenings. And then there's The Outer Limits, arriving first of next month. Can't wait!)
     
  4. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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  5. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    Given that there are a finite amount of resources to devote to any release, the concern seems valid. And while revenues from televisions sales may help fund the restoration and eventual DVD release of classic films, the only thing linking those two items is studio policy, which certainly can change.
    Obviously each of the studios has to be graded individually with regards to support of their catalog titles.
    While I'm happy that Warner Bros. will be restoring and releasing titles such as Mildred Pierce, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Bringing Up Baby, and King Kong ( off the top of my head ) there are a number of lower profile titles that I'd love to see released. And despite that, I believe Warner Bros. is probably doing the best job with regards to its catalog of any of the major studios.
    On the other hand Universal has to be doing just about the worst job with regards to their older films. Given that Universal has announced the release of a number of television properties and still hasn't seen fit to release titles that they control by luminaries such as Ernst Lubitsch, or any of the classic noir or crime films of the 30's or 40's leaves me pessimistic. While I'm happy for the fans of those series that are being released, I'd rather have more catalog titles...
    Hmmm. Let me think... Would I rather have Sliders or Trouble in Paradise or Battlestar Galactica or The Ministry of Fear?.
    - Walter.
     
  6. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    I'm not flatly against releasing TV shows, I'm buying the Star Trek & X-Files sets. I just hate to see classic films left unreleased if there is only enough $$$$$ resources for one or the other & not BOTH!
     
  7. David Brent

    David Brent Stunt Coordinator

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    Personally, I think it's perfect timing for more TV material to start arriving on DVD.

    Most major existing films have already been released. With the consumer base now big enough, the DVD industry can turn its focus to TV material while gradually releasing the remaining lesser-known feature films, or preparing special edition rereleases.

    Seems like a good arrangement to me.

    David
     
  8. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Not much more to add; everyone's said what I would. Suffice it to say that I want TV-on-DVD, and I want classic films, including many that were mentioned (Robin Hood esp.).

    I don't think one's taking away from the other at all. There is an explosion of DVD sales right now, and the studios are doing all they can to profit from it. That includes every category you can think of.
     
  9. CaptDS9E

    CaptDS9E Cinematographer

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    Fans of tv shows waited all these years hoping to get tv show product on DVD. well the explosion is now.

    capt
     
  10. Randy_M

    Randy_M Supporting Actor

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  11. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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  12. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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  13. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    I think we'll see the classics in good time. I'd rather they spent the time to restore them than to release a half-assed edition.

    TV On DVD could only have a positive (cash reserve) effect on getting these released. Disc pressing time is not the big hurdle it used to be. DVD is significant enough now that replication facilities are generally available, and growing.
     
  14. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Screenwriter
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    I believe that the studios will eventually get around to releasing their classic films on dvd. Now that DVD is the mass-market format of choice, we'll begin to see more and more releases of catalog product. The thing to remember is that, because of the relatively high resolution of DVD, customers demand higher quality for films. That costs a heck of a lot more than just making a video copy of an old scratchy print. It also takes time. Be patient. Good things come to those who wait.
     
  15. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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  16. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    Given that high profile films such as The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Mutiny on the Bounty (Gable), The Grapes of Wrath, or The African Queen haven't been announced, I remain less than optimistic that titles such as 99 River Street, Leave Her To Heaven, Beach Red, Brother Orchid, Cry of the City, House of Bamboo, The Naked Spur, Pickup On South Street, and so on are likely to be released in the next four or five years. We'll see.
    - Walter.
     
  17. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I wish that all of the studios involved with TV releases would ask the public what they want and release those first, but... and I say this with reservations, has anyone considered that the majority of these are 4:3 - thereby enhansing the premise that WS is out?

    Glenn
     
  18. SteveK

    SteveK Supporting Actor

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    Glenn- I don't believe there is any connection between the release of 4x3 TV shows and the fear that widescreen is out. After all, how many TV series have been anything other than 4x3?

    As to my purchase plans, I have yet to purchase a TV series on DVD. I may make an exception with Babylon 5, as I have very much enjoyed watching that series on Sci-Fi. But I've never watched much television, and although the idea of not having commercials is very appealing, I'm not convinced that most of the TV shows have enough rewatchability value to make my purchase worthwhile. Obviously many people feel differently, as evidenced by the growing popularlity of TV on DVD. So even though I won't go bankrupt buying TV series on DVD, I do think it's great that studios are increasing their output.

    Steve K.
     
  19. David Oliver

    David Oliver Second Unit

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    You know that if they weren't releasing the TV shows there would be a whole separate group wondering where those were. Studios clearly are allocating there dollars and other resources to those projects they consider most economical. I love classic movies but I don't for a second believe they are big revenue centers for the studios.
     
  20. Brian McHale

    Brian McHale Supporting Actor

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    If studio resources were fixed, meaning they only had so much money, so many personnel and so many facilities, I feel this would be a valid concern. Certainly in the short term it might have a slight depressing effect on the release of back catalog movie titles.

    However, if TV-on-DVD increases revenues to studios and if the popularity of DVD continues to grow, studios should have more money available, should be able to hire more people, and more facilities should become available for DVD production.

    In the long term, I feel that anything that increases the profitability of DVD is likely to be a boon for the release of all material, including older movies, on DVD.
     

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