Universal snubs the on-line comminity: No reviews of E.T. and Back to the Future

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 11, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Allow me to get on my soapboax for a moment...
    It certainly was an eye-opener this week
    when we all received word through our promotional
    contacts that Universal is not making review
    copies of E.T. (and possibly) Back To
    The Future available to the on-line community.
    In fact, over the past year, Universal has greatly
    scaled back the product it has made available for
    any of us to review.
    If Universal doesn't want us reviewing two of
    their biggest releases this year -- fine. You know
    what? You saved me hours of work.
    I do want to make a point, however, that this is
    a very disturbing move. The studio readily forgets
    that it was forums like ours that launched the
    DVD format. It is forums like ours that provide
    more DVD information than any magazine or print.
    It is forums like ours that will lead the way into
    the next realm of home entertainment -- Hi-Def DVD.
    It's amazing that when the on-line community was
    desperately needed for feedback and promotion of
    the format, the studio was bending over backwards
    to make sure we had promotional product. Now that
    the format has gone mainstream, Universal has
    conveniently forgotten who helped that format get
    to where it is.
    It's bad enough that most all the studios have
    taken their advertising elsewhere leaving the
    on-line community (the ones that helped launch
    their format) struggling to stay afloat. Now,
    Universal wants to head the pack in making review
    copies unavailable to the Press.
    This means that except for those of you who get
    copies overseas or have friends in the industry,
    there are going to be no early reviews for
    either of these titles.
     
  2. Nigel McN

    Nigel McN Supporting Actor

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    That is pretty sad, is it possible that they might also think the online sites would be harder on them? I am thinking of ET specifically here.
     
  3. Dharmesh C

    Dharmesh C Supporting Actor

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    Or, they feel that E.T. and BTTF don't need reviews as they are extremely popular titles?
     
  4. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    Pathetic. My gift set is in stock and should ship today and be with me Monday or Tuesday and if the interest is there I will of course put my personal thoughts forward early next week.

    Perhaps I'll do it in the form of a Q&A instead of a straight review as with this news of Universal shunning online communities by not sending out copies of what will be their biggest and most valued releases of the year, even when I do have it in my hands I think given this treatment they may not deserve the satisfaction of a full review.

    I continue to think they have something to hide with the release of E.T, most notably the gift set. If all is not well with anything in the E.T gift set, you will be hearing about it from me early next week.

     
  5. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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  6. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    Well Ron, the whole E.T. release has been - quite bluntly - a farce. This has led to many (I hope, constructive) criticisms online, and even in this forum. But if this is how they react to criticism then they've only proved that such criticisms were spot on in the first place.

    Looks like Universal US is lowering itself to the poor standards of the UK subsidiary.
     
  7. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    One possible reason did spring to my mind just a moment ago. In Universal's defence here, it COULD be that the reason for lack of screeners from the studio in regards to some upcoming titles is possibly down to the fact that with the Christmas season looming disc replication facilities are as busy as they will get and this may have restricited the possibilities of further copies being pressed to go out in advance for review.

    That said, E.T is done and all versions have been pressed for a while and there's really nothing to stop a studio pulling so many finished copies off of the producting line and sending them off to reviewers.

    Dan
     
  8. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

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    If these were not catalog titles I would suspect Universal was trying to keep them from being pirated via P2P sites.

    Because BTTF & E.T are multi-disc sets that are well above the normal price for a single disc title, I won't purchase them until I can get my hands on a review from a reputable source.
     
  9. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    here in the UK the magazine DVD Monthly has a review of ET and it comes with the usual coverage.
     
  10. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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  11. Brent Hutto

    Brent Hutto Supporting Actor

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    Speaking purely as a consumer with no insight into the review process...

    It looks to me like a pretty predictable development. When the key to making money with DVD was the early adopter population, reviewer web sites were obviously the best, fastest, most direct way to reach buyers. And frankly, people were so pleased to see programming released on DVD in those early days the studios could expect most releases (if the quality was at least half-way decent) to get plenty of favorable reviews--at least favorable enough to get those early adopters to buy.

    We're getting to the point now that those early adopters can be treated as an insignificant portion of the market. Since on-line criticism tends to be pickier and more demanding than mass-market media "reviewers" the studios could easily see it as a losing proposition to have 50 on-line reviews (possibly including some proportion of negative or partly-negative ones) out there the day after the screeners are shipped out. The mass-market reviews, which I would expect on balance to be less discerning (read "picky"), will tend to take several additional days to reach consumers.

    If, as I suspect, the studio marketing departments think that there's even a slight tendency for on-line reviewers to point out problems that mass-market reviewers do not then it would be to their advantage to give the mass-market guys a head start. That's what I think will happen over time and it may have entered into Universal's new policy.
     
  12. James L White

    James L White Supporting Actor

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    [​IMG] [​IMG] well anotther dumbass move by Universal, [​IMG] as far as ET goes I'm not gving them my moeny anyway, I like that movie but UHV doesn't deserve money from the sales of ET.[​IMG]
     
  13. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Screenwriter
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    You know, I got kind of reamed by an admin in another thread when I said that we had been the patsys of the studios and now that we had outlived our usefulness, they were going to ignore us. I guess it all comes out in the wash. I hope that when HD-DVD comes out that we're a little more careful. Big Business will always be Big Business. They're only concerned with the bottom line. Universal is only going to be the first of many studios to ditch us, I'm afraid. Oh well, it's not like we shouldn't have seen it coming.
     
  14. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    Since I decided not to purchase E.T. due to the rip-off price by Universal, this decision on their part only adds fuel to the fire. Universal has been one of the worst studios when it comes to DVD and it doesn't look like they'll ever change. Universal and Artisan should become golf buddies.
     
  15. AndrewA

    AndrewA Stunt Coordinator

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    With all the things this forum and other on-line dvd sites have done for this format, you'd think Ron, et. al. have earned the respect of this industry...
     
  16. Jussi Tarvainen

    Jussi Tarvainen Second Unit

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    oscar_merkx: what did the review say? Are all of the deleted scenes really only available in that stupid Total Axxess (or whatever the hell it is) form?
     
  17. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    I have the LD of ET and feel no need to get the DVD, but BACK TO THE FUTURE is a must have and Universal's sttitude is troubling, as sites like this often help me decide on purchasing a release if I'm on the fence (transfer quality, sound, etc). At least Ron got to give us a killer CLONES review! All the positive reviews of that DVD is making it THE must-buy of the upcoming holiday season. You listening, Universal? No, I didn't think so.
     
  18. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    Jussi,

    Deleted scenes actually form part of the 50 minute documentary I believe (a recent R4 review of the two disc 2002 edition seemed to indicate this). The doc sounds like a 2002 version of the excellent hour long laserdisc documentary with new interviews replacing old but much of the same subject matter being covered.

    Dan
     
  19. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    I honestly don't see what all the fuss is about. To refuse to make a purchase (that you were previously planning to make) based solely on the fact that the studio has not supplied screeners to reviewers seems, to me, like a nose-cutting/face spiting situation.

    Wait until the product is released. Read some reviews. Make a purchase decision based on these reviews balanced against your feelings about the films. To do otherwise seems irrational.

    It's not personal. It's business.

    Jon
     
  20. Barry_B_B

    Barry_B_B Second Unit

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    Sad. As much as I'd like to build my collection, I won't purchase either of these movies. Will also bend the ears of my movie-viewing friends as well [​IMG]
     

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