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Old 08-05-07, 09:43 AM   #1
toddly6666
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Early-released Russian DVDs of Hollywood films: No English audio options?

Why are there no English audio options available on early-released Russian DVDs of Hollywood films? I'm currently vacationing in Moscow and I see that the official Russian DVDs of Spiderman 3, Evan Almighty, Fantastic Four 2 and Die Hard 4 have been released, but only Russian dubbing is available. I understand that movie companies don't want English-speaking people getting DVDs earlier, but what I don't understand is that why would they release a DVD without the original language, not even in later months when the Western DVD releases are all then available? Has the Russian movie market made the general consensus that the Russian people don't want original language audio options on their DVDs? It's pretty strange because the Russian people are into home cinema/HDTV as equally as the West. I have to agree that Russian DVD/movie dubbing is pretty good (not one dude voicing all the characters anymore), but still, the majority of DVDs sold in Russian are of American and European films.

Are there any other countries that do this as well, such as consistently leaving off the original language audio option off the official DVD?
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Old 08-05-07, 10:16 AM   #2
andrash
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They are bootlegs Toddly,I'm familiar with some of these Russian dvds.Even though they are pressed(not DVD-R) they are not legit,the maffia puts these on the streets months before the official USA/European releases. Russian-only probably because they take the cinema print for the sound.

BTW,I have seen this playing in my city,what do You think?

Last edited by andrash; 08-05-07 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 08-05-07, 12:42 PM   #3
toddly6666
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Andrash,
I know the Russian DVD bootleg industry pretty well too, and I guarantee you that these are the official DVDs. They are all advertised "now in stores to buy" on Russian TV. Sure, mafia can be running the whole country, but that's not the situation here. These new DVDs (Spiderman 3, Fantastic Four 2, and Die Hard 4) are advertised on Russian tv the same way Fanta, Nescafe, and Nestle are advertised. It's not like a public channel advertisement.

Here are the ones even sold online. And these are the legit ones:

Die Hard 4: http://www.dvdigitall.com/dvd/w14521
Fantastic Four 2: http://www.dvdigitall.com/dvd/w14345


That Russian/Hungarian movie looks like a masterpiece...haha...
Andrash, have you heard about this new Russian movie: It's like a James Bond movie starring a female KGB agent, with sky diving, martial arts, a lot of action. I can't find the title anywhere. And I think Twitch did an article on it. It doesn't look that bad.

I did however pick up a good Russian bootleg DVD of THE LAST LEGION. The official Russian dvd (anamorphic, DD 5.1 English, DD 5.1 Russian, Russian subtitles) has the forced Russian subtitles when watching it in English. This anamorphic DVD however doesn't force the Russian subtitles, but it only has Stereo English or Stereo Russian. I'm happy to lose the surround sound instead of having forced subtitles.

Not too many other tempting Russian DVDs to pick up though. I'm hoping some movie company will pick up the rights to Wolfhound (Russian anamorphic DVD, Russian DD 5.1, no english subtitles). And I'm still thinking about buying OSTROV.

Last edited by toddly6666; 08-05-07 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 08-05-07, 01:51 PM   #4
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Who gives a shit about those early-released (and some not-so-early-released) R5? They are no better than bootleg TeleCine releases and have nothing to do with "real" DVDs. Those who want a proper DVD with original audio and stuff wouldn't touch those early-released R5 with a 50-foot pole.
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Old 08-05-07, 02:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddly6666
Andrash,
Sure, mafia can be running the whole country, but that's not the situation here.
It is the situation! And it is so up in your face you begin doubting such travesty could exist. Yet...it does!

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Old 08-05-07, 03:24 PM   #6
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I bet ya the producers of SPIDERMAN 3 would have a word or two about it if not for the fact that the Russian system is inpenetrable to Hollywood.

That film is not a Russian/Hungarian co-production,but is the first big budgeted Russian action film ever made (along with Night Watch) at 12Million USD. It's about that incident where Chechens took hostages in Moscow.It is said that the Kreml bankrolled this one!
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Old 08-05-07, 04:12 PM   #7
Jah-Wren Ryel
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Are these discs really R5? Why would bootleggers put region coding on the discs?

My impression was that those R5s are legit studio releases specificly designed to compete against the bootleggers. Thus no special features, and either a russian dub or hard subs and no special attention paid to the quality of video or the audio all on single-sided discs.

I read a while back that hollywood was trying the same thing in China, although at the time, their prices still seemed too high to be competitive (equivalent of a couple of dollars versus the bootleggers under a buck pricing).
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Old 08-05-07, 05:48 PM   #8
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OK, so the situation is this: fighting piracy was (and is) extremely difficult in Russia because it's impossible to make people buy CDs and DVDs for $15-20 when the majority in this country has an average sallary of $300. Certainly most would go and buy some bootleg for $3 and those bootlegs are not hard to find, they're everywhere. Besides the culture of movie-watching in this country is so low that many would rather watch a copy recorded on a camcorder in a theater with abysmal video and audio than wait for a normal release.
To fight this tendency (and audio-video piracy by the way is one of the reasons Russia is still not in WTO) Russian authorities suggested foreign CD-DVD make prices lower. So for example US distributors would sell the rights for a Russian release three times less then to any other normal country. Partially the deal was made and now the rights for R5 DVDs are sold cheap indeed. So now Russian distributors don't have to wait till the DVD is released in the US. All the films here are now released before America. And those early releases cost about $3. This allows distributors not to lose money because of bootleggers. So foreign distributors have been refusing to sell DVDs in Russia for such prices, but finally realized a couple of cents per disc is better than nothing. But these early editions come with inferior quality - both audio and video. No extras, no audio choice, no original language sountrack. Barebones. Video is dark and grainy. Only couple of months later they can release a normal edition in a good fancy box, with load of extras, DTS etc. In this case English sountrack is usually available. But sometimes - still not. So, Jah-Wren Ryel, you were right.
To show you the attitude here in Russia for this matter I'll tell you a little story. Once I walked in a little shop to look for some DVDs. I found some above mentioned early cheap releases and asked the clerk if it's possible to switch off Russian translation. "Why would you want to do that?" - he asked. "Because I guess I like watching films with their original soundtrack, neither dubbed nor just translated" - I replied. He looked at me like I was a creature from outer space and said all of their DVDs had "burnt-in" translation track. So no one here actually cares for original soundtracks - that's the answer. That's one of the reasons I hate local DVDs - aside from the fact that their artwork is usually utterly poor and during a film itself the picture sometimes freezes for a second...
P.S. I'd like to emphasize those early releases are NOT bootlegs, they're absolutely legit. Bootlegs also exist of course, bit they are usually being sold on the streets and in some small shops. You can't find them in big stores. But those early legit editions are sold in those stores OFFICIALLY.

Last edited by Giggles; 08-05-07 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 08-06-07, 03:26 AM   #9
toddly6666
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GIGGLES, exactly. And I have bought the ones I listed out of curiousity (not costing too much), and I watched them on an HDTV here, and the video/audio quality is pretty good. There are of course bad quality DVDs, but I have to say that the Russian video/audio DVD quality in recent years is a lot better. Especially with the dubbing.

I would also like to add that in the Moscow DVD palatkas (mini DVD/cd stores), the DVD covers of the bootlegs are pretty professional looking, especially the ones that list English audio on them (which turn out to not have English audio). It's not until you open them up and look at the artwork on the DVD that it's a pixilated photoshop job. The official Russian DVD releases do NOT list English audio/English subtitles, but sometimes a bootleg looks so professionally done with the cover, that I have to check that maybe they did add English audio. The trick is in Russia is basically find a nice DVD vender and they will show you the DVD on their little tv to see if there actually is English audio. Just as Giggles said, I think a lot of DVD venders assume that there actually is English audio on the DVD, but they never have a reason to check it, so I think most Russian DVD venders aren't out to trick anyone, since they get their bootlegs from elsewhere. And it does seem that the majority of Russians prefer to watch them dubbed in Russian - it's a cultural thing.

The last time I was in Russia was 7 years ago, and now in 2007, a lot has changed. The country has cetainly caught up with having the same things to consume as in other first world countries. Presentation and quality has certainly gotten a whole lot better here as well (in Moscow) Sure Russia is a corrupt country, but so is any country. Sure, Russian politics is as backwards as ever right now such as actually debating that there is too many homosexuals in politics and shown on TV, which of course is retarded. But otherwise, things are massively improving, people use banks and credit cards now, which was practically non-existant in year 2000. The Moscow streets are a bit cleaner, since they have no problem now hiring people from the ex-soviet republics to do the cleaning (locals don't want those jobs). So basically, life is a lot better for Russians. There is always craziness in politics. Unfortunately, there is less tourists in Russia, especially Americans. So now that Russia is up to standard as a come-visit-our-country type place, there aren't as many tourists as there were in the past.

I wish I could enjoy these Russian official bare-bones dvds for 6 bucks. I wish USA did that - release dvds early with anamorphic video and only English DD 5.1/DTS and no extras.

Last edited by toddly6666; 08-06-07 at 03:33 AM.
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Old 08-06-07, 03:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddly6666
So now that Russia is up to standard as a come-visit-our-country type place, there aren't as many tourists as there were in the past.
Unfortunately, Moscow isn't Russia!

On the outskirts the country is in ruins and unless you have an average paying job in the capital chances are you're starving. DVDs and legality are hardly a topic of concern for the locals!

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Old 08-06-07, 05:11 AM   #11
toddly6666
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PRO-BASS, I meant Moscow the city only. I'm only talking about Moscow really. And it's the mayor of Moscow who's the most responsible for Moscow's make-over, not Putin...
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Old 08-06-07, 07:54 AM   #12
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Yes, many things have changed during the last 7 years, everything changes here pretty fast, and now is not like it was the last year. Certainly the most changes are about Moscow, St. Petersburg and a couple of other major cities, but in some villages people still live in the end of XIX century. It's a common proverb here that Moscow is a country within a country.
So everything changes, but corruption, and DVD piracy is completely about that. Bootlegs will be always sold in the center of Moscow untill someone up there decides to eliminate them. Some orders are permanently being made and all the "palatkas" are being closed just to be opened again the next day. Because their owners pay police for protection, and if a policeman controls some street or a district and has a couple of these "palatkas" under his wing, his income must be pretty good. So if you walk the street, see a bootlegs' seller and wonder why he's here since he's disallowed, be sure he's in confederacy with police. That's why they feel so relaxed - they know nobody would do anything about them. It's only until Putin really decides to do something about the situation and give law-enforcement direct orders. Because everything here starts being done only when Putin wants it. And that's sad of course.
By the way Toddly, if you're in Moscow right now, try to visit a store named Purpurny Legion. It's close to Novokuznetskaya and Tretiakovskaya subway stations. Many interesting DVDs there of all the regions, pretty costy though. Sometimes it's possible to find some really oustanding stuff there.

Last edited by Giggles; 08-06-07 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 08-06-07, 08:10 AM   #13
toddly6666
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Giggles, I don't know if I can make it, since we are leaving tomorrow morning. What kind of DVDs have you found there? Is that store right outside the entrance of the metro? If you give me more specific directions, I'll try to go tonight.

Just the other day in my neighborhood (Aeroport), I looked in a pretty busy DVD palatka, and today, it's totally cleaned out empty. I was totally shocked.

Do you know if the "Moscow" anamorphic DVD of DOBBERMAN really has English audio (it says it on the back)? I almost bought it, but I bet it's only Russian DD 5.1/DTS. I know that the official Russian DVD of DOBBERMAN is anamorphic, advertised english on the back, but doesn't have english audio, and the UK DVD has English audio, but it's non-anamorphic. I'm always thinking it's possible to get lucky with the bootlegs and they might merge the anamorphic with the english audio...

Last edited by toddly6666; 08-06-07 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 08-06-07, 08:39 AM   #14
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Not sure about Dobberman, the best way is to ask the seller to play it on his player just in front of you so that you can have a look. I can't tell for sure because there might be a dozen of different Dobberman releases so...
So Purpurniy Legion... You exit Tretiakovskaya station and go to the right. Pass an old temple on the right hand from you, cross the street and keep going - about 30 yards you'll see this little shop with glass doors. That's it. It's Monday so it's open till 9 P.M. today. You can find a lot there - R1, R2 (both European and Japanese), R3 and R5 DVDs. Sometimes I see some rare editions there, but it depends - you never know what is your lucky day. If you have a free evening you can go and just have a look.
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Old 08-06-07, 12:06 PM   #15
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Toddly: I may be wrong here, but AFAIK an English dub of Dobermann doesn't exist - I owned the UK Tartan disc (before double-dipping for the 2-disc French edition) and it had English subs but no English audio track. A few years back the title (and the lack of a decent English-friendly release) was the subject of some discussion here on the forums (do a search & you'll see), but certainly AFAIK no English audio exists on any edition...

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Old 08-06-07, 01:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazza
Toddly: I may be wrong here, but AFAIK an English dub of Dobermann doesn't exist - I owned the UK Tartan disc (before double-dipping for the 2-disc French edition) and it had English subs but no English audio track. A few years back the title (and the lack of a decent English-friendly release) was the subject of some discussion here on the forums (do a search & you'll see), but certainly AFAIK no English audio exists on any edition...

Dazza.

Nope, you are not wrong! Your statement is correct!!

Tartan disc- English subs, poor transfer.
French 2DVD- Great pic, great exatrs.
Dutch disc- port of the French print.
Korean 2DVD- improper direct port of the French disc.
Swedish/Danish discs- different than the French print, still very good.
German- single DVD, good print.


...aside from the Tartan release no other release has has an English sub track. There has never been an English dub either!

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Old 08-06-07, 01:08 PM   #17
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GIGGLES, thanks for the advise, but we've just run out of time. I'll check out the store on my next visit to Moscow, which probably won't be there when I come back to Moscow since stores come and go like Ruski Heat groups. What do you think of the new Garbushka? I haven't been to it and I hear it's just an electronic market everyday, unlike the great Garbushka on Saturdays back in 2000. Overall, my Russian DVD buying was sort of a success - I got lucky with 2 out of 5 DVDs (THE LAST LEGION and the Russian animated film KARLIK NOSE, which only says it's letterboxed and has Russian stereo on the cover but is is actually anamorphic and has Russian DD 5.1 when I tested it out). My OSTROV, SPIDERMAN 3, and DIE HARD 4 DVDs didn't have English audio, so I just gave them away to my Russian poppa-in-law.

DAZZA, so the moral of the story is that we will never see an anamorphic DVD version of DOBBERMAN with English audio or English subtitles?
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Old 08-06-07, 01:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddly6666
...so the moral of the story is that we will never see an anamorphic DVD version of DOBBERMAN with English audio or English subtitles?
I am actually fairly certain that this title may be a candidate for a BR very soon. There are just so many issues with the standard release (a US release will not appear because of Miramax's monopoly and the violence issue) that I am convinced Tartan will take advantage of it.

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Old 08-06-07, 02:25 PM   #19
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OK, thanks for confirming that, Pro-B: it was just as I thought. I know it's been quite a few years since that big Dobermann thread, and I was fairly certain that no English dub had surfaced since then.

Toddly: as Pro-B mentions above, I would suspect we haven't seen the last of this as far as the hope of getting a decent, English-friendly transfer goes. I imagine such a release would be subbed as no English dub appears to have ever been recorded, and I would doubt that anyone would do one now (although there have been cases of belated English dubs appearing, such as for the first Taxi film - but that was for a very different target audience.)

Also, keep in mind that as rights can sometimes change hands the quality of releases can also change: I used to own the UK Tartan disc of La Haine which was terrible in just about every way, IMO. I hear that Optimum have given this a far better UK release.

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Old 08-06-07, 04:47 PM   #20
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Ну, погоди! To made a product that is dodgy technically (bad covers,skipping) with the blessings of the studios is hard to believe.But if this is official in Russia then let's leave it at that.I'm glad this is not going on over here and we ain't exactly Switzerland either.Bad dvds should come from pure technical incopetence not marketing strategy.
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Old 08-07-07, 03:32 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddly6666
GIGGLES, thanks for the advise, but we've just run out of time. I'll check out the store on my next visit to Moscow, which probably won't be there when I come back to Moscow since stores come and go like Ruski Heat groups. What do you think of the new Garbushka? I haven't been to it and I hear it's just an electronic market everyday, unlike the great Garbushka on Saturdays back in 2000. Overall, my Russian DVD buying was sort of a success - I got lucky with 2 out of 5 DVDs (THE LAST LEGION and the Russian animated film KARLIK NOSE, which only says it's letterboxed and has Russian stereo on the cover but is is actually anamorphic and has Russian DD 5.1 when I tested it out). My OSTROV, SPIDERMAN 3, and DIE HARD 4 DVDs didn't have English audio, so I just gave them away to my Russian poppa-in-law
Toddly, I just started wondering where all your knowledge comes from regarding Gorbushka etc., but then you mentioned your Russian poppa-in-law...
Be sure Purpurny Legion will be there when you come back. Maybe not on the same exact location, but in some other place - it's a big serious store so doesn't appear and expire like other small-time palatkas. Anyway feel free to write to me when you're going back next time if you need some advice. Gorbushka is not just an electronic market nowdays, it's also a biggest spot for finding CDs and DVDs - both legal and bootlegs. If you're looking good and talking to the sellers you can find practically anything there. But certainly it's not the old times Gorbushka in the open air which was the place mainly not to buy and sell stuff, but to exchange it. Many collectors used to go there to look for vinyl records, my father who's a DJ at the radio and a crazy Beatles fan was going to Gorbushka every Saturday and Sunday morning - like at work. But those were the good old days...
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Old 08-07-07, 03:42 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrash
To made a product that is dodgy technically (bad covers,skipping) with the blessings of the studios is hard to believe.But if this is official in Russia then let's leave it at that.I'm glad this is not going on over here and we ain't exactly Switzerland either.Bad dvds should come from pure technical incopetence not marketing strategy.
That's what surprises me the most here. When my friends ask me why I don't buy Russian DVDs I just take a Russian DVD from the shelf and a non-Russian one and tell them to feel both boxes in their hands and feel the difference. Russian boxes are so poor I can't even replace some R1 releases' cases with them. The transparent membrane is ribbed, not smooth like with other countries' DVDs, the case opens itself just like those holding lock isn't there at all. I just got this unpleasant feeling holding those cases in my hands. Not to mention problems with DVD itself - skipping, frame-freezing, impossibility to turn on English soundtrack... Even with nice studio legit releases when you can turn it on, you can't get away the subtitles - this just infuriates me! Why can't I just watch a movie without both Russian soundtrack and subtitles? But they impose them on me...
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Old 08-07-07, 09:27 AM   #23
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Here's the trailer for the Russian female James Bond move Code Apocolypse:
http://a-code.ru/index.html

I saw a bunch more clips on Russian TV, and it looks not bad, a lot of martial arts scenes inspired by Thai martial arts so it seems...
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