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View Full Version : Would you be upset if a dvd you really wanted was released this way?


dolphinboy
02-07-05, 06:14 PM
From my time on this board, it's always seemed that the most important issue with dvd buyers is that a film is released in its OAR. Am I right or wrong on this?

A small movie just came out with 2 different versions. One is an R-rated version presented in 1.85:1 and another is an unrated version, that states on the cover Original Unrated version, and this version is 4:3.

The company DID NOT bother to put the aspect ratios on the box cover, so the odds are if you bought it, you wouldn't even know there was a widescreen version and a full frame version and I know, generally, people tend to buy unrated versions when given a choice. So, if you bought the unrated version, you probably would assume 4:3 was the OAR.

I e-mailed the company and after quite some time, they told me that the director insisted that the Unrated version be 4:3. But the company insisted that the CORRECT OAR was widescreen. Does that make any sense? Wouldn't a director want to preserve his or her OAR for the dvd release, especially if an R-rated version was being released in widescreen?

I wrote the president of this company and he basically called me a jerk for writing him and sharing my concerns about OAR, that the two version were different, and that the box cover didn't have widescreen or full frame printed anywhere on the box. He told me I was crazy and that dvd viewers wouldn't be upset if a release they wanted was released in this manner.

I told him that he was dead wrong. Am I nuts for thinking this man doesn't seem to know much about what dvd buyers want or is he right? I won't name the film or the company (both are very small), but if a movie that you wanted came out this way, wouldn't you be unhappy or frustrated that an unrated version came out in full frame, an rated version came out in widescreen, that the boxes didn't state WS or FF anywhere at all, the company insisted the director wanted the Unrated version in 4:3 (making me think this was how he originally shot it and wanted it presented), but insisted the widescreen version was the TRUE OAR (making me think they think they'll sell more widescreen copies and are pushing it, even by not being honest with the customers)?

If this were a Star Wars or a Lord of the Rings release, wouldn't people be going nuts if something like that happened?

I'd like to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

Mountain Biker
02-07-05, 06:17 PM
I won't name the film or the company (both are very small)


:hscratch: Why not?

ShagMan
02-07-05, 06:19 PM
this is a hotly debated topic (read up on Kubrick's films)... I personally want OAR, even if it isn't what the director "wanted" for home release... I want to see it as it was framed in the theatre. I think you're totally in the green on this... but that's just my opinion.

garmonbozia
02-07-05, 06:19 PM
aww, come on....tell us the dvd and company.... :)
we are all nosey here.

hell, why not post the email responses you got back as well.... those always make interesting reads.

dolphinboy
02-07-05, 06:24 PM
I guess I just thought that would be going out of my way to bash a small company and after receiving e-mail from them, I thought that might be perceived as making it personal. I guess I thought people wouldn't care, because it could be any movie and I still think this is a terrible way of releasing a film and that the company president is totally wrong in thinking this wouldn't be a huge issue if this was a major release.

If people want me to name the film and the company, I will.

matome
02-07-05, 06:30 PM
The 4:3 unrated version is probably just the 1.85:1 version with open mattes to show the nudity that was masked off before. :)

nightshadebooks
02-07-05, 06:32 PM
He might be talking about the Shriek Show release of Fulci's Lizard in a Woman's Skin, which is being released this way. The US cut is anamorphic widescreen, and the uncut original italian version is being released full frame. If so, I gather it was largely a question of source materials. Films like this, you frequently have to take what you can get.

If the OP isn't talking about Lizard, then ignore me.

dolphinboy
02-07-05, 06:33 PM
He might be talking about the Shriek Show release of Fulci's Lizard in a Woman's Skin, which is being released this way. The US cut is anamorphic widescreen, and the uncut original italian version is being released full frame. If so, I gather it was largely a question of source materials. Films like this, you frequently have to take what you can get.

If the OP isn't talking about Lizard, then ignore me.

Nope, not Lizard.

garmonbozia
02-07-05, 06:39 PM
He might be talking about the Shriek Show release of Fulci's Lizard in a Woman's Skin

since Fulci has been in the ground for about 10 years, it might be difficult for him to voice his concerns about what aspect ratio the uncut versions of his films are released in. -ptth-

Matthew Chmiel
02-07-05, 06:53 PM
since Fulci has been in the ground for about 10 years, it might be difficult for him to voice his concerns about what aspect ratio the uncut versions of his films are released in.
And on top of that Fulci shot in numerous aspect ratios. He wasn't like Kubrick who mostly kept strictly to 1.33:1 or 1.66:1.

paulringodaman
02-07-05, 06:56 PM
you should just tell us just in case we want this movie and want to avoid OAR "problems."

asianxcore
02-07-05, 07:00 PM
reminds me of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, and Return of the Living Dead 3 releases. Both "R-rated" versions of both movies are in their corrrect OAR, while their unrated counterparts are Full Frame.

dolphinboy
02-07-05, 07:07 PM
The thing is 4:3 means pan and scan on some movies, others it's just open matte, and you still don't know what the director actually wanted and why unless the company tells you. Most films come with a pretty good press release and bigger films usually have the OAR listed by the imdb.com or people just post what they know or there are places to go to get these answers. Then you can make your decision based on the real information that is available about which version of a film you buy.

If the director wanted the unrated version to be open matte, why would they matte the r-rated version? I want to see the film the way that it was meant to be seen and I don't want to guess about that and I certainly don't want to have people making a decision to matte a movie just to provide people with the "warm" feeling inside that they are watching widescreen.

Widescreen means nothing to me and black bars are stupid, if they're just put there for the heck of it. Showtime and HBO movies are usually shot in 4:3 and I wouldn't want them matting those films, just to make it widescreen. We'd be losing what the director wanted us to see.

The thing is that the president of this company said to me that I shouldn't be complaining, that I should just pick a version and shut up, and that it didn't matter.

But how I'm seeing the movie means more to me than sound or extras, I don't want to have to guess whether I have the version that is OAR, I want to know, and I think that's something almost everyone else wants. This guy basically said, no one would care. I think he's completely wrong and I can't believe he's the president of a company that might be releasing other films that I might want and has that kind of attitude.

dolphinboy
02-07-05, 07:13 PM
reminds me of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, and Return of the Living Dead 3 releases. Both "R-rated" versions of both movies are in their corrrect OAR, while their unrated counterparts are Full Frame.

You see, that's exactly like this situation and I would be so pissed if they did that. It makes no sense to me to offer an unrated version not in OAR.

But the cover of this dvd says something like Original Uncut version, so it's clearly implying that this is how the director wanted the film to be seen, making me even more confused since they claim the R-rated version has the correct OAR.

The movies you mentioned "might" have unrated versions that the studio put out on their own, without the director being involved. I don't know.

illennium
02-07-05, 07:17 PM
Oh, oh, I know! It's Ken Burns' America Collection, isn't it?

dolphinboy
02-07-05, 07:23 PM
Oh, oh, I know! It's Ken Burns' America Collection, isn't it?

About your sig, you are so right about Garden State. Total garbage. Kinda with you about Napolean, but only because it's so over-hyped. But the other films were all good or better.

The movie is This Girl's Life

Neitzl
02-07-05, 10:04 PM
Isn't this the same studio that released super size me, in non-anamorphic, yet most of the supplement were anamorphic?
That president sounds like a loser and should be knocked down a few notches.

BigDan
02-07-05, 10:33 PM
I woudl also disagree that people don't care whether the movie is widescreen or fullscreen. It's my experience that people on both sides of the debate care a good deal. They have their preferences, one way or the other, for a reason. They don't simply take what's offered because it's offered.

dolphinboy
02-07-05, 11:21 PM
Isn't this the same studio that released super size me, in non-anamorphic, yet most of the supplement were anamorphic?
That president sounds like a loser and should be knocked down a few notches.


YES, the same studio. Hart Sharp Video. And, I am by no means a dvd business know-it-all, but I've never dealt with a company or the president of a company that was so utterly rude, inept, and clueless about what they were doing.

The president of the company made a whole stink about "did I think the president of Fox or Universal would write me personally" (as if that's a fair or reasonable comparison) and then sent me an e-mail offering to refund the money I'd spent if the store wouldn't take the dvd back because the packaging does not state widescreen or full frame anywhere.

Well, I wrote the company a VERY short e-mail last week asking questions about the two different releases and the mis-information about the specs, so that I could avoid wasting my time and money on something that might not be right. I never bought it, he told me how great he was for getting back to me, and he clearly didn't even read what I wrote. He wanted kudos for screwing up the release, skimming my letter, and then telling me I was a dick for trying to get the right info.

I see why the big companies can get away with being rude, but this guy should be going out of his way to help answer questions and get good word of mouth about his company and their releases. I only asked because I wanted to buy it, I just didn't want to drop down $20 for something that wasn't OAR. He basically told me that I shouldn't be concerned and that if I wanted widescreen, buy the rated one, and if I wanted the unrated version, I should be happy with full frame. That totally misses the point and it's not really a fair choice to ask someone buying a dvd.

Wannabe
02-08-05, 12:57 AM
The unrated version is full screen so you can see the nekkid bits better.

DoogieHowser
02-08-05, 01:26 AM
this is a hotly debated topic (read up on Kubrick's films)... I personally want OAR, even if it isn't what the director "wanted" for home release... I want to see it as it was framed in the theatre. I think you're totally in the green on this... but that's just my opinion.

I agree. I want it the way it was shown in the theaters. They can put everything else on the DVD as an extra.

renaldow
02-08-05, 09:14 AM
I e-mailed the company and after quite some time, they told me that the director insisted that the Unrated version be 4:3.

I think that tells you everything you need to know. The theatrical release was 1.85:1, but the director preferred a different ratio. I don't see what the big deal is. A DC is a DC, and is going to be in whatever aspect ratio the director wanted for his film. If you have a complaint you should be writing to the director about it as it's his choice. The studio releasing it probably has little choice in the matter.

When they said the correct ratio was 1.85:1, they probably meant that the original theatrical release was 1.85:1 because whichever ratio the filmmaker wants the film to be in is the 'correct ratio.'

BigDan
02-08-05, 11:17 AM
If you have a complaint you should be writing to the director about it as it's his choice. The studio releasing it probably has little choice in the matter.

I doubt the studio has little choice in the matter. It would be the extremely rare case that any studio would give up that kind of power to a director. They can go along with a director's wishes, but the studio nearly always holds the power over what does or does not get released.

digitalfreaknyc
02-08-05, 12:04 PM
Soooooooooooooo....
where's the email from president? :)

dolphinboy
02-08-05, 12:42 PM
I think that tells you everything you need to know. The theatrical release was 1.85:1, but the director preferred a different ratio. I don't see what the big deal is. A DC is a DC, and is going to be in whatever aspect ratio the director wanted for his film. If you have a complaint you should be writing to the director about it as it's his choice. The studio releasing it probably has little choice in the matter.

When they said the correct ratio was 1.85:1, they probably meant that the original theatrical release was 1.85:1 because whichever ratio the filmmaker wants the film to be in is the 'correct ratio.'


If it said DC on the box cover, I think it wouldn't be a problem. I'd be pretty sure that the director really did prefer the 4:3. The reason I wrote them in the first place was only to clear up the confusion and the company didn't seem to know how to answer questions or even understand why I thought the correct OAR was important. With no information to go on, like a comment from the director or something really clear from the studio, something you can usually get or find on "bigger" releases, I just won't spend my money and take a chance. It's their loss for not being able to answer what should be relatively easy questions, because someone there has to have actually had a hand in working on that exact release. They just assumed that I wouldn't care or that it didn't matter. People might be willing to buy 3 copies of Spider-man 2, but this was a small, indie film that was going to be a blind buy. It's too bad that they don't care enough to take aspect ratio questions from their customers seriously.

renaldow
02-08-05, 12:50 PM
I doubt the studio has little choice in the matter. It would be the extremely rare case that any studio would give up that kind of power to a director. They can go along with a director's wishes, but the studio nearly always holds the power over what does or does not get released.

On a small indie release like this one the director probably owns the film himself, or at least has controlling interest in it. The studio releasing it going to be just a distributor and when they buy the rights to distribute a film they buy what the director is selling. The director has the power.

Also, I definitely would not say 'extremely rare case.' That couldn't be further from the truth. Directors hold studios hostage all of the time. As long as they make money they get to do pretty much whatever they want.

dolphinboy
02-08-05, 12:53 PM
I doubt the studio has little choice in the matter. It would be the extremely rare case that any studio would give up that kind of power to a director. They can go along with a director's wishes, but the studio nearly always holds the power over what does or does not get released.

I'd like to know what the truth is. It really isn't that big of a deal as they made it out to be. You know, like was the movie shot for 4:3 and then matted against the director's wishes for its theatrical release? Or was the director fine with it being release in 1.85:1 even though they claim that's not how he wanted it to be seen? The way the president of the company acted, which was almost as if he didn't even know what OAR was, and the fact that they didn't put anything about how the film was being presented on the box cover at all (I wasn't even about to ask if the widescreen was anamorphic, because I didn't want to get called another name) makes me not confident at all about this release. They did tell me that some of the extras on the 4:3 release were in widescreen and someone else posted that the film Supersize Me was released non-anamorphic but had anamorphic widescreen special features. That's sloppy and people don't like it. I tried to just express that and they went absolutely nuts on me. They'll find out what people expect one day, when they get a bigger release and mess it up like this.

rdclark
02-08-05, 12:57 PM
Let me see if I understand:

The OAR of the theatrical cut is 1.85:1, and it's presented that way on the disc.

The other version was never released theatrically, so it can't have an OAR. It can only have an "intended ratio." The director says the intended ratio is 4:3, and that's the way it's presented.

If this is correct, where's the problem?

(Never seen the film, just curious.)

RichC

Richard Malloy
02-08-05, 01:48 PM
I suspect Wannebe nailed the reason for the different aspect ratios in his post upthread... the full-frame presentation is likely open-matte, thus revealing more nekkid parts, hence the "unrated" marketing tag.

I understand there are a number of 80s teen sex comedies where the open-matte presentation is preferred for this reason.

And let's not forget that this is a low-budget film, many of which are shot in Academy ratio -- and intended to be shown in that ratio -- but which are routinely cropped to force-fit into the usual commercial theater dimensions. The only 1.33:1 film I've ever seen properly projected at a commercial theater (that is, not an arthouse, repertory house, or museum screening) was for "The Blair Witch Project", and that screening was at a Landmark Theater (a chain that takes particular care in proper projection).

ShagMan
02-08-05, 02:02 PM
I can kind of understand that the "unrated" or director's cut could be in another AR, as rdclark laid it out, but ONLY IF it's majorly re-cut, and not just extended in a minor way. In most cases, it's just minor (time/scene-wise), so the arguement that it's a completetly different film, just doesn't hold up.

The open matte could certainly explain the reason for an "unrated" cut, but is that really the case, was there some "naughty bits" below where the matte line would be?

Also, the studio would make it seem that the director owns or has controlling interest in the film, in this case?

dtcarson
02-08-05, 02:10 PM
I wrote the president of this company and he basically called me a jerk for writing him and sharing my concerns about OAR, that the two version were different, and that the box cover didn't have widescreen or full frame printed anywhere on the box. He told me I was crazy and that dvd viewers wouldn't be upset if a release they wanted was released in this manner.


My thoughts are that if the pres of the company wrote me, a concerned customer, like this, it wouldn't matter what the OAR was, what the extras are, hell, he could even come and put it in my DVD player and I wouldn't buy it from him.

Other than that, it does seem like the difference is OAR-as-released, and unreleased-directors-cut-preferred-ratio. Which one is 'better'? I don't know. The OAR would be more 'real,' that is, that's the film that was shown, but you'd assume the DC would be 'tweaked' like the director wanted it. They're both 'right', just different.
Of course, then we get into Greedo-shot-first land.

BigDan
02-08-05, 02:19 PM
On a small indie release like this one the director probably owns the film himself, or at least has controlling interest in it. The studio releasing it going to be just a distributor and when they buy the rights to distribute a film they buy what the director is selling. The director has the power.

They buy what the director (or, more accurately, the owner of the film who may or may not be the director) is selling, but I've not heard of a case of such a sale giving the director such a power. Maybe because the company is so small, they were willing to give up more to get the movie, but of the deals I've seen, these sorts of things are not given to the director contractually.

Also, I definitely would not say 'extremely rare case.' That couldn't be further from the truth. Directors hold studios hostage all of the time. As long as they make money they get to do pretty much whatever they want.

So they rarely give up theatrical final cut to directors, but they give up the home video cut to directors all the time?

Martin Scorsese doesn't have it, but Johnny Hawaiian does. Okay.

I don't doubt that it's possible, but such a situation is not the norm or even all that common in my experience.

dolphinboy
02-08-05, 03:21 PM
My thoughts are that if the pres of the company wrote me, a concerned customer, like this, it wouldn't matter what the OAR was, what the extras are, hell, he could even come and put it in my DVD player and I wouldn't buy it from him.

Other than that, it does seem like the difference is OAR-as-released, and unreleased-directors-cut-preferred-ratio. Which one is 'better'? I don't know. The OAR would be more 'real,' that is, that's the film that was shown, but you'd assume the DC would be 'tweaked' like the director wanted it. They're both 'right', just different.
Of course, then we get into Greedo-shot-first land.

You're exactly right. I will not buy this film after the way they treated me. The fact that even in this thread that there is such a lively debate certainly suggests to me that people take these issues seriously. And that there are more than a few possibilites for why this release ended up this way. His company should have been a lot more respectful and helpful in trying to get me the info that I asked for. That's the whole backbone of what they do.

I rely on this board and its members often to get the best info I can to make an informed decision. In this case, I went to the company because no one here or anywhere else knew. There was no website or message board for the film. All I wanted to know were a few things about the film that most people here always want to know before they buy a dvd and I got blasted for trying to find out.

I once had to call Anchor Bay and they were SO nice and helpful and had this been them releasing this film, I bet they would have taken my e-mails and tried to get me the answers from the people who helped produce the dvd release or even the director. It's not that hard and you'd think a first time director would want to get an answer to someone that wanted to see his work. They didn't write me back and tell me to give them some time to look into, they wrote me back and told me that I was a jerk for not just picking a copy, buying it, and being happy with it no matter what. That's not right.

This movie was seen by so few people, it seems, I still don't understand why they wouldn't release only the version the director preferred. The few people who are interested in the film, like me, are probably all going to prefer to see what the director wanted to be seen. But, even with that, the way they answered me, I don't even know if they were being honest about that. The president actually boasted how he shipped 30,000 copies. Well, I have not seen 1 copy in any store and haven't come across 1 person at any board that has seen it (other than the person here who reviewed it). I guess they lost the only $20 they were gonna make, by being so rude to me. :)

renaldow
02-08-05, 05:40 PM
They buy what the director (or, more accurately, the owner of the film who may or may not be the director) is selling, but I've not heard of a case of such a sale giving the director such a power. Maybe because the company is so small, they were willing to give up more to get the movie, but of the deals I've seen, these sorts of things are not given to the director contractually.

Did you read what I posted? This is an indie movie, written, directed and produced by the same man. Done by his production company. It's autonomous. I don't know how clearly I can spell this out to you... There's nobody else to own it. There's nobody else around to take it from him. One last time: IT'S HIS MOVIE AND HIS DEAL. AS THE SOLE OWNER OF THE FLICK HE CAN DICTATE THE TERMS HE LICENSES IT FOR DVD DISTRIBUTION IN THE EXACT SAME WAY YOU CAN DICTATE THE TERMS IF YOU SELL YOUR OWN PROPERTY.

So they rarely give up theatrical final cut to directors, but they give up the home video cut to directors all the time?

Martin Scorsese doesn't have it, but Johnny Hawaiian does. Okay.

I don't doubt that it's possible, but such a situation is not the norm or even all that common in my experience.

See above please.

And if you don't think Scorsese would have final cut, regardless of what's printed in whatever article you've read, you are mistaken.

I don't know and honestly don't care what your experience is, because it seems to be limited and or wrong. :brickwl:

dolphinboy
02-08-05, 07:01 PM
This is an indie movie, written, directed and produced by the same man. Done by his production company. It's autonomous. I don't know how clearly I can spell this out to you... There's nobody else to own it. There's nobody else around to take it from him. One last time: IT'S HIS MOVIE AND HIS DEAL. AS THE SOLE OWNER OF THE FLICK HE CAN DICTATE THE TERMS HE LICENSES IT FOR DVD DISTRIBUTION IN THE EXACT SAME WAY YOU CAN DICTATE THE TERMS IF YOU SELL YOUR OWN PROPERTY.

:

Why do you suppose, if the director made the call on how both of these releases, that he would want his vision (4:3 according to the company selling the dvd, insisted on by the director) to be only on the unrated release?

Is he really trying to pacify the few hundred people who saw this film theatrically, assuming it was matted to 1.85 for the theaters?

I suppose that is the sole reason for the widescreen version, just to have something that is exactly what people who saw it in theaters expect, but it causes a lot of confusion. The director has to know people who go to the trouble of buying this release, must have liked the film and will be drawn to an unrated, ORIGINAL release because that seems to be stating the obvious... that the director prefers that version and would have preferred it to have been shown that way in theaters.

So if he's making the call on a small, indie film, he should have released both versions on one disc. Your choices now are, see it the way the director wanted you to see it or see it the way it was shown in the theater. If that's really the case, it's a pretty easy call and it just confuses me (and I think others) when something comes out like this.

The fact the people were rude and unprepared for questions didn't make things easier.

Filmmaker
02-09-05, 08:52 AM
If you really want to convey to the president that you're electing not to purchase any products released by his company solely on the basis of his unacceptable treatment of you, you should send him a final e-mail/letter stating this, perhaps with reference to the minor furvor you've started here (which, in terms of the already limited grosses he could hope to earn from sales of this title, could appear to his interests as a major furvor). If you quietly don't buy the title, the president just figures no one was interested in the film but if he knows you were prepared to buy the title and then changed your mind specifically due to his attitude, then he's obliged to either change his attitude or watch his fledgling company go bankrupt in short order--either way, you and I as the consumer ultimately win.