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Rating the studios:

Rating the studios:

 
Old 05-16-03, 09:26 PM
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Rating the studios:

Here's my list of the major studios who release dvds with reasons I like/dislike them. How would YOU rate the studios?


01. MgM

The good- The sheer volume of titles in their catalog. The special editions. The price tag.
The bad- The inexplicable pan n scan & non anamorphic transfers.
The ugly- The changing of the original cover art.


02. New Line

The good- The great looking & sounding platinum releases. The obvious care that goes into their dvds. Their recent change from snappers to amrays.
The bad- The lack of catalog titles.
The ugly- polyester's scratch 'n' sniff card. Peeewwww.



03. Warner Bros.
The good- Many catalog titles. Good extras. Those nifty 2 disc special editions. Good sound & transfer.
The bad- Snappers. The rattling thing inside the snapper case.
The ugly- Snappers.


04. Columbia/Tri-star/Sony Classics

The good- decent transfers, good titles.
The bad- Double dippings, Not enough catalog releases, mono or stereo sound on many of their catalog releases, lack of extras.
The ugly- My copy of christine on dvd. The widescreen side is all gunked up. It's pretty nasty.


05. Dreamworks

The good- top notch transfers & sound, Dts
The bad- Not enough titles in their catalog, the documentaries broken up into tiny featurettes.
The ugly- The love letter


06. Lion's Gate

The good- The little company that could. Good new release extras, The signature series.
The bad- Sometimes murky transfers, Not enough good titles released.
The ugly- Frequent use of ugly cover art.


07. Buena Vista/Disney

The good- Generally good transfers & sound on new releases.
The large ammount of catalog titles making it to dvd.
The Bad- The Pan n scan transfers, The price tag on new releases, The trailers before the feature.
The Ugly- Tinkerbell when she wakes up in the morning.


08. Fox/Fox searchlight

The good- Transfers & Sound. Extras. Dts tracks.
The Bad- Double dippings, Dropping 2 disc versions for 1 disc versions. Not enough catalog titles.
The Ugly- The Pan n scan debacle.


09. Universal/Focus

The good- Good transfers & Sound on new releases, Dts tracks.
The bad- Not enough catalog titles released. Double dippings, Multiple versions.
The Ugly- Universal released Patch adams 3 times!


10. Paramount/Paramount classics

The good- Generally good transfers & sound.
The bad- Has vast library but nowhere near enough catalog titles released. Lack of extras on discs. Price tag on new releases. The releasing of cut versions instead of uncut.
The Ugly- The widescreen collection banner.


11. Artisan

The good- Extras, Transfers & Sound on new releases. Price tag.
The bad- Pan n scan catalog releases. Not enough good titles released.
The ugly- All those skanky direct to video movies.


And the non-studios (in alphabetical order)




Anchor Bay

The good- Small Gems that were swept under the carpet finding a new audience on dvd. Diverse catalog. Good transfers & Sound quality.
The Bad- The many versions of evil dead, halloween, etc.
The ugly- Too many of their titles going out of print.


Blue underground
The good- Eccentric catalog titles. Cult classics. Good transfers & sound.
The ugly- Contamination. It's pretty awful.


Criterion
the good- the best of film is right in their catalog, extras.
the bad- the price tag. not acquiring some of the great titles they had on laserdisc.
the ugly- the criterion collecting frenzy. Do some of those folk even watch the films?


Facets

The good- Devotion of foreign films in catalog titles.
The bad- Limited catalog, Hit or miss transfers & sound.
The ugly- Some of the artwork & transfers were just that, ugly.


First run

The good-Interesting catalog selections.
The bad- Limited catalog, insufficent transfers.
The ugly-


Image

The good- Vast catalog. Diverse titles.
The bad- Snappers on some of their catalog titles. Hit or miss transfers & sound.
The ugly-Titles going in and out of print.


Kino

The good- Their catalog & dedication to preserving lost classics.
The bad- Lack of features of some of their catalog titles.
Not enough good american films in their catalog.
The ugly- 29.99 price tag

New Yorker
The good- good titles in their catalog
The bad- Not enough of them released.
The ugly- Where's the decalogue, already?

Wellspring

The good- Great films in their catalog.
The bad- The awful transfers left over from the fox lorber days.
The ugly- losing good titles.

**edited to add:

image
dreamworks
kino
New Yorker
Facets
First Run
Blue underground


Please chime in with your suggestions!

Last edited by Sunday Morning; 05-18-03 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 05-16-03, 09:37 PM
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I dont dwell on the negative too much...I just take what I get, hope for the best and make the best of it. but I will just chime in and say my current fav is in the lead by a long shot....Blue Underground. great titles, true passion for films and what seems like a very bright future. when I find something negative, I'll let you know. I'd list more studios...but this 14 hour day has left me wasted.
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Old 05-16-03, 11:01 PM
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MGM are awful in "PAL land" and I boycott their PAL (Reg 2 and Reg 4) disks as much as I can. They remove all the on-screen captions from the movies and instead use text from the subtitle stream to display this. It's always presented in the most horrible, unappealing font you could possibly choose!

Sometimes they just get plain lazy too. For example, in the Reg 2 version of Ronin, they just turned on the English subtitle stream at various points, whenever French dialogue was spoken. This meant that when Sean Bean and Rob De Niro mix French with English, we get English subtitles of the English dialogue!

Another example, is the Reg 2 release of French Kiss. They forgot to turn on the English subtitle stream during the French dialogue, so you have to either do it manually or be sure you understand French!

As a result, I no longer buy MGM on Reg 2 or Reg 4 unless I can be SURE that the movie has no on-screen captions anyway (excluding credits). The ones I already owned, I sold almost all of them and replaced them with the Reg 1 releases.

I'll end on a high note: they tend to include more extras on their disks because we get DVD-9s with no P&S version. But then who cares right? The movie is ruined by their tampering anyway
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Old 05-16-03, 11:35 PM
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First, the "main" studios:

Universal: Usually great transfers and classic special editions are usually great. However, they are really picky about what Paramount pre-1948 films they release. It's usually musicals, which is fine...but still plenty of stuff like W.C. Fields comedies and others. Technically, their discs are well authored.

Warner: Superb transfers for classic films, excellent audio and video transfers. Supplements are always excellent. Their selection of classics is great, too. I have only one WHV DVD I dislike and it's being reissued in widescreen later this year. Their poster artwork on covers is really cool, too.

MGM: Great selections, but sometimes lacking in a/v quality. Supplements usually great on special editions. I wish they'd put more work into some classics and make them look better.

Disney: Superb special editions. However, their censored discs are flawed. The Miramax/Touchstone special editions are usually great, too.

Paramount: Excellent a/v quality with good supplements sometimes. Usually very high quality in technical terms.

Anchor Bay: Flawless in technical ways.

David Shepard/Film Preservation Associates: Great producer of silent films on DVD.

Kino: Also great, but gets really good restorations like the Griffith discs and the Transit Film imports.

Fox: Great quality all over. Great selection, too.

New Line: Like Anchor Bay, they are perfectionists. Great work.

Columbia: Transfers sometimes lacking. However, many are great while some need less digital work.

Criterion: Movie-buff friendly like Warner, FPA, and Disney. Can't say one bad thing about them. Their prices are justified by the quality.

Artisan: Too much digital work. However, the discs from farmed-out productions are good. (like T-2 and some Republic discs)
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Old 05-16-03, 11:50 PM
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Gut--

good call with BU. I really like them too. Lustig really cares about these films and puts work & money into it. keep it up, bill!

coming to blue underground soon:

gold told me to & Q the winged serpent!
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Old 05-17-03, 03:12 AM
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I think you have them listed perfectly, Sunday Morning.

Comments/Thoughts:

If not for their insistence on using snappers, Warner Bros. would be my number two. Also, if this is a list based on current output, then I agree with your placement of Fox. However, I think they still edge out Disney/Buena Vista on the all-time DVD ranking. You should also add Image Entertainment to your non-studio list. They do a lot of great work as well.

Last edited by joliom; 05-17-03 at 03:15 AM.
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Old 05-17-03, 11:37 AM
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Good post Sunday Morning! My favorite is MGM. They do release some crappy discs.. but then they make up for it by releasing twice as many good titles. I'm in heaven come august when I get to buy Valley Girl SE and the Howling SE!
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Old 05-17-03, 04:55 PM
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All I have to say is Paramount is Satan!

I can't believe these people don't pull their head out and get the catalog titles released...hello!...anybody home?
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Old 05-17-03, 05:09 PM
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Originally posted by Sunday Morning
Gut--

good call with BU. I really like them too. Lustig really cares about these films and puts work & money into it. keep it up, bill!

coming to blue underground soon:

gold told me to & Q the winged serpent!
thanks Sunday Morning, and you're right, Lustig is the man. I'm looking forward to those new releases!!
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Old 05-17-03, 08:03 PM
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Universal:
Overall: B-
Transfers: B
SE's: B-
OAR dedication: B-

Warner:
Overall: B+
Transfers: B
SE's: B-
OAR dedication: A (with the exception of their old "budget" line)

MGM
Overall: B-
Transfers: C+
SE's: B-
OAR dedication: B+

Disney
Overall: B+
Transfers: A-
SE's: A
OAR dedication: C+

Paramount
Overall: B+
Transfers: A
SE's: C+
OAR dedication: A

Dreamworks
Overall: A
Transfers: A
SE's: A-
OAR dedication: A

Fox
Overall: A-
Transfers: B+
SE's: A-
OAR dedication: A-

Columbia/Tristar
Overall: B-
Transfers: A-
SE's: C+
OAR dedication: C

New Line
Overall: A
Transfers: A
SE's: A
OAR dedication: A

Anchor Bay
Overall: B-
Transfers: C+
SE's: B-
OAR dedication: A-

Artisan
Overall: C
Transfers: B-
SE's: B+
OAR dedication: D+
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Old 05-18-03, 03:01 PM
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Good formatting. Good post, matome!
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Old 05-18-03, 03:18 PM
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updated list. keep the suggestions coming!
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Old 05-18-03, 10:47 PM
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You forgot <gulp>dare I say it

Goodtimes
Overall D
Transfers C because they do so much Pan & Scan
SE's F
OAR F
Audio F

Madacy
Overall F
Old Films Catalog C
Transfers F
SE's F
OAR N/A because they use old films
Audio F-----

Skip
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Old 05-19-03, 12:57 AM
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1) DreamWorks: Consistently excellent quality releases, although the new trend of losing the trailers is very lame.

2) Warner Bros.: Great prices, a newfound devotion to OAR, and awesome 2-Disc SEs

3) Fox: Their "No Black Bars" stickers campaign is a big kick in the groin, but they still always offer widescreen and often put together some really nice DVDs

4) Universal: They just seem to be doing a lot wrong lately, with their rising prices, decreasing quality, losing inserts, etc. Plus the whole E.T. fiasco was ridiculous. At least they're starting to release some of their huge unreleased catalogue, and it mostly seems like it's being done right.

5) Paramount: Prices and extras SUCK. They screw up some of their beloved classics after all these years of waiting. That's really lame.

6) MGM: I haven't bought too many titles from them lately, but the P&S catalogue titles are a huge turn-off.

7) Columbia/TriStar: Their Superbit releases are extremely gimmicky, and their practice of discontinuing 2-disc SEs in favor of 1-disc P&S and WS releases seems like an exercise in pointlessness. Then, there's the catalogue releases they put out in Fullscreen only, when from the beginning they were consistently putting out quality double-sided discs with both formats. Oh, and a lot of their special features are entirely fluff, seemingly designed to promote their other movies first and foremost, as if they're compiled as merely something to advertise, and nothing of substance.

8) Disney: Yep, that's right. The same studio that can put out super special editions. Quite simply because they're the studio that's screwing up more of my favorite films than any other studio. They need to realize that it'd be to their benefit to release dual-format discs. Their catalogue titles are featureless, and if they're not $9.99 SRP, they're seemingly overpriced at $19.99-$29.99 (Treasure Island). They're dedicated to widescreen, only when they feel that a majority of the buyers for that title want widescreen (Signs, Treasure Planet, Sweet Home Alabama, etc.) In those cases, they're one of the only studios that's not putting out Fullscreen versions.

But it's quite a sham, as their barebone catalogue titles of PG and G films often are pan & scan jobs, even when the laserdiscs were widescreen. Could they do dual-sided or DVD-9s with both formats on them? Absolutely...they're not using a lot of space on extra features there. But no, they seem rather content with pissing off a significant percentage of the population with their releases, as some strange effort to cut costs (and profits).

Their treatment of their live-action catalogue is particularly disgusting. Outside of 20,000 Leagues and The Love Bug (the latter of which they've done an excellent job of hiding the fact that it's coming out at all, and that it's an affordably-priced, completely-loaded 2-disc set), every other "Disney" live-action catalogue film has been released in Fullscreen this year. Which is fine for Treasure Island, but so NOT fine for the dozens of other titles. It's a trend they really ought to stop now. The DVDs they put out in the early days of the format (which was when the format was already a couple of years old) are superior to the catalogue DVDs they're putting out now. And how hard is it to include the trailer and an insert on their Paramount-like priced discs, such as Tuesday's release of The Rescuers?

Okay, I needed to spout out some venom at Disney, or at least half of Disney. The split-personality nature of this DVD studio makes them among the best and the worst at the same time. But seeing them screw up titles that I've looked forward to for years really, really pisses me off.

I haven't really seen enough of a variety of releases from the other studios to give them accurate comments. New Line seems to be kicking ass from the discs I have seen. They might be in competition with DreamWorks for the first place.
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Old 05-19-03, 11:02 AM
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Personally I'd put Universal dead last, just for E.T. and BTTF. Two huge releases, two huge fiascos...

Not to mention their trend toward putting the big releases in flimsy cardboard packaging. If you're going to give me cardboard, give me something sturdy like LOTR:EE.
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Old 05-20-03, 10:48 AM
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In all your gradings you’re all forgetting censorship (Fantasia, Family guy, etc) and screwing up releases (BTTF, etc)
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Old 05-20-03, 11:54 AM
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My list:

1) Fox: They used to be the worst of close to it in the 90s, but once 2000 hit they were awesome. They helped push the 2-dics set, release tons of TV stuff, and always do a great job with their big movies. Often have good stuff for their smaller movies, and I like the Fox Classics line. The only bad is that they released some crappy discs in the 90s, so they're forced to do some quality rereleases now. But they usually put out the good version first, and then release a stripped down version later.

2) Warner Brothers: Great catalog of titles, do a generally good job with new releases, although they are usually not super loaded. But they do have a great line of 2-disc SE of classic movies. Overall quality and quantity.

3) DreamWorks: Actually in my opinion the best studio, I just rank them this low since they have a smaller selection of titles. But I pretty much find their releases to be top notch.

4) New Line: Like Dreamworks, not a ton of titles. They have done some good things, maybe even overloading the Infinifilm DVDs so they don't have the best bit rate.

5) MGM: They were pretty cheap when I first got into DVD. Other studios have matched their prices (among newer releases), so MGM has gone to better discs. Things like the West Side Story set are a big plus in my book.

6) Disney: I'm including anything under the Disney umbrella, Miramx, Buena Vista, and so forth. I can't say most of the releases knock me over, but the Vista series is a plus, and the animated classics are usually very well done. Now if that spread to all their titles, it would be better.

7) Universal: They do seem to be dropping quality. There were one of the first to do quality picture/sound and extras at an early stage, but have slid in recent years. They can do good stuff still, but I've found them slipping recently.

8) Paramount: They're getting better, if ever so slowly. Would obviously like better price to value ratio. Other studios seem to do better stuff at cheaper prices. Still, they at least generally get a 16:9 picture which is a bonus.

9) Columbia/TriStar: I'm no big fan of the Superbit line, and they seem to be A LOT of release inferior edition first and come back with better stuff later. I'll admit I'm impatient so that doesn't help, but other studios do it much better.
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Old 05-20-03, 12:46 PM
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Universal is Dead Last. The Back to the Future and ET botch demonstrate how NOT commited to quaility they are. And their output has slowed to a trickle. So far in 2003 they've released like 20 DVD's.
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Old 05-20-03, 01:52 PM
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Warner Bros. / Paramount and some others : Refuse to release NC-17 or Unrated titles. Which means no uncut versions of:

Friday the 13th
Eyes Wide Shut
1900
The Devils
Cruising
etc.....
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