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Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Old 03-02-09, 03:12 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Originally Posted by Spiral Staircase View Post
Jon Mulvaney responded to a member of criterionforum.org and confirmed Criterion will be switching to a custom clear plastic Blu-ray case for some of its releases later this year.
So I guess this will resemble the clear PS3 cases, except it'll be the BD size.

Other studios are also preparing certain releases in different color cases for this year. A prime candidate would be the LOTR films, since they were in colored cases for dvd.
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Old 03-02-09, 03:23 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Originally Posted by Mr. Cinema View Post
Other studios are also preparing certain releases in different color cases for this year. A prime candidate would be the LOTR films, since they were in colored cases for dvd.
I don't care what color they are; I just want them all the same form-factor, so I can open them easily and keep them all in the same storage rack.
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Old 03-02-09, 03:24 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Originally Posted by Drexl View Post
Isn't the main thing getting the movie in HD though? Maybe they don't want to shaft the DVD customers by withholding extras. PiP seems kind of tacky for Criterion.
For me, Criterion used to mean the best possible release you could get for a film. Obviously, as the years have gone by and the studios have produced their own excellent special editions, that status has slipped. And now it seems like they're lagging behind with Blu-rays. I don't want to be buying a DVD and a Blu-ray copy of a movie. I shouldn't have to. The Blu-ray should have, at the bare minimum, everything the DVD has. But that's just the bare minimum. At its best, it should have more that takes advantage of the format. That's my opinion on it, anyway.

If Criterion wants to release the movies with no more than the DVD, fine. But don't except me to stumble over myself to buy the discs that way.
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Old 03-02-09, 03:42 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
The Blu-ray should have, at the bare minimum, everything the DVD has. But that's just the bare minimum. At its best, it should have more that takes advantage of the format. That's my opinion on it, anyway.
Mine, too.

Criterion's position at the forefront of the market slipped when they transitioned to DVD, but the wide audience for priced-for-sale DVDs probably brought them a lot of revenue over DVD's run. With the comparatively high production costs of BDs, I suspect they'd have to return to something closer to their LD business model (read: not making very much money) to execute relative to Blu-ray's potential the way they used to execute relative to LaserDisc's potential, and I doubt that prospect holds much appeal to their paymasters.

... just my pet theory/utter speculation, though.
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Old 03-02-09, 03:49 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Criterion still prices their Blu-ray releases equal to their DVD releases. That alone puts them near the top for me.
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Old 03-02-09, 03:51 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
For me, Criterion used to mean the best possible release you could get for a film. Obviously, as the years have gone by and the studios have produced their own excellent special editions, that status has slipped. And now it seems like they're lagging behind with Blu-rays. I don't want to be buying a DVD and a Blu-ray copy of a movie. I shouldn't have to. The Blu-ray should have, at the bare minimum, everything the DVD has. But that's just the bare minimum. At its best, it should have more that takes advantage of the format. That's my opinion on it, anyway.

If Criterion wants to release the movies with no more than the DVD, fine. But don't except me to stumble over myself to buy the discs that way.
so, if the lose the rights to an extra thats on the original DVD, they should not release the movie on BD?
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Old 03-02-09, 03:51 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt View Post
Criterion still prices their Blu-ray releases equal to their DVD releases.
Well, they kind of treat them like their DVD releases, too.
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Old 03-02-09, 04:21 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Originally Posted by Suprmallet View Post
For me, Criterion used to mean the best possible release you could get for a film. Obviously, as the years have gone by and the studios have produced their own excellent special editions, that status has slipped. And now it seems like they're lagging behind with Blu-rays. I don't want to be buying a DVD and a Blu-ray copy of a movie. I shouldn't have to. The Blu-ray should have, at the bare minimum, everything the DVD has. But that's just the bare minimum. At its best, it should have more that takes advantage of the format. That's my opinion on it, anyway.

If Criterion wants to release the movies with no more than the DVD, fine. But don't except me to stumble over myself to buy the discs that way.
You must have started buying Criterion's films rather recently then; when they began releasing on DVD there were plenty of titles that had nothing but a trailer...while other versions overseas had plenty of extras. And as pointed out already, when they lose the rights for certain extras it does not mean that they are slipping (after all, very recently they had to renegotiate an entire batch of Studio Canal titles whose rights had expired).

In my opinion, what is crucial is that the company provides the best audio/video quality possible. And by all means, their first Blu-ray releases have been anything but disappointing.

Finally, I'd rather have a solid HD release of a classic film that may or may not be lacking an extra feature or two rather than a loaded SDVD release only, which is anything but satisfying in the video/audio department.

Pro-B

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Old 03-02-09, 05:36 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt View Post
Criterion still prices their Blu-ray releases equal to their DVD releases. That alone puts them near the top for me.
I think that says more about how viable $40 DVDs are these days, rather than some charitable gesture of subsidising the blu-rays. And while you may argue that other studio DVD catalogue is also priced around the $40 mark (I did a quick check on Amazon.com and couldn't find many recent releases that are), Criterion intentionally opt out of standard industry pricing structures.

I'm sure they've done heaps of research that says that Le Doulos et al will only ever sell x thousand copies in the US (and the 'we don't acknowledge it but it does bring in cash' export market) no matter what price it is. This is a strategy that Eureka adopts in the UK, and most of their titles sell no more than a few thousand units. You can see they occasionally have a bit of a flourish and decide they want to broaden their appeal with the essential arthouse line, but then never really follow it up.

Artificial Eye in the UK (roughly) follow standard industry product lifecycles, and they are still able to acquire product for theatrical and DVD distribution and make money out of it. Quite why Criterion's older, slower selling lines are never promoted I will never know - unless they have ridiculous royalty payments, which are always possible.

Take something like Shock Corridor - it's an old release and realistically I can't imagine it sells very many copies on a weekly basis. For the benefit of the doubt, let's say it costs Criterion $1 to manufacture a DVD (it's actually a lot nearer to half that or even less, but let's presume they only want to make 2000 or something) and their royalties on that title are $2.50, so that brings us to $3.50 max. Now let's setup a promotion at Amazon, Deep Discount etc and sell them Shock Corridor for $8 - they can then retail at $15 and say '50% off Criterion titles'. Get a bit of backup in, and make sure your manufacturing contract can turn around discs quickly if sales take off. All those sales are additionals. Suddenly you've sold 500 copies of Shock Corridor in a month, on top of your new release sales. Criterion makes more money, their catalogue is reinvigorated and they can do it without cheapening the brand. If they don't want to follow the industry and routinely drop the price after 3 months, then wait 6 months or even a year - the people who want it immediately will pay for it, and those that don't will have probably forgotten about it by then.

Anyway, probably never going to happen but it gives you an idea of what Criterion could do if they wanted to.
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Old 03-05-09, 12:24 AM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Here's Pro-B's review of 400 Blows from blu-ray.com. Looks very nice.
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Old 03-05-09, 02:39 AM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Originally Posted by pro-bassoonist View Post
You must have started buying Criterion's films rather recently then; when they began releasing on DVD there were plenty of titles that had nothing but a trailer...while other versions overseas had plenty of extras. And as pointed out already, when they lose the rights for certain extras it does not mean that they are slipping (after all, very recently they had to renegotiate an entire batch of Studio Canal titles whose rights had expired).
No, I bought plenty of those barebones discs back in the day. But that was a very different market. Back then just having access to some of those movies was enough, because I had never seen them. Also, at the same time, conventional studio releases were not the comprehensive affairs they are now. So the idea of a barebones Sanjuro wasn't such a big deal. And then Criterion would offset it with something like the Brazil 3-disc set.

But as the studios, and other specialty companies like Anchor Bay, caught up with Criterion in terms of content, extra features, and overall packaging, this feeling of "Well, I'm just glad we're getting it at all" dried up. I mean, hell, I don't even remember who released that Jodorowsky box set, but that thing was pretty packed for a set of movies not readily available on home video in the U.S. for over a decade. I know it wasn't Criterion that did it, though.

And when they do release a great set, they charge through the nose for it. Well, fine. Part of it is that you're paying for the Criterion name. Part of it is that they have to license the film and sometimes extras. I understand the business aspect of it. But these days I can get much more bang for my buck than what Criterion has been providing as of late.

There was a time where I would avidly browse the Criterion catalog, checking off movies I wanted, and eagerly awaiting upcoming releases. Those days are long gone. Now it takes very specific films from very specific directors to get my notice.


Originally Posted by pro-bassoonist View Post
In my opinion, what is crucial is that the company provides the best audio/video quality possible. And by all means, their first Blu-ray releases have been anything but disappointing.

Finally, I'd rather have a solid HD release of a classic film that may or may not be lacking an extra feature or two rather than a loaded SDVD release only, which is anything but satisfying in the video/audio department.

Pro-B
I've always been a proponent of including all DVD extras, with hopefully new features on top, for Blu-ray. Every time I take this stance, I inevitably get arguments like the one above. I've heard it for years. Please, tell me where, in any of my posts, I make the comment that I want to sacrifice A/V quality to make room for more extras. You won't find that comment anywhere, because I've never made it. Because I don't believe in sacrificing A/V quality for anything. But great audio and picture should be standard for every Blu-ray. Why should I say, "Well, Criterion completely skipped out on extras, but at least the movie looks and sounds good" when the movie should look and sound good regardless?

I want it all. I want the perfect sound and picture. I want all the DVD features. And I want all the new bells and whistles. It's not impossible. It can be done. Criterion has just made a conscious decision not to (wrt not adding new features just for the Blu-rays). That is their decision to make. Just like it is mine to be more choosy when it comes to purchasing their titles. Of the first wave, I only bought The Man Who Fell To Earth. I'll get a copy of The Third Man used when I find it cheap enough.
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Old 03-06-09, 01:42 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Originally Posted by GizmoDVD View Post
For those that have both - are Blu-ray and DVD "booklets" the same size? If so - couldn't they just have used normal BD cases + slip covers from the start? My Name is Bruce comes with a 36 page comic and it fits inside a normal BD case just fine. Unless they are recycling the same booklets from the DVD to BD it should have been normal from the get-go.
Originally Posted by redbill View Post
re: "this Ran stuff"

they lost the rights to the 1 extra not being included on the BD.
A couple of weeks ago I e-mailed Jon Mulvaney asking about these two issues with Criterion's Blu-ray release of "Ran." Here is his response, which I received today:

In this instance, it's because of space issues. Not all the materials would fit on the disc, and to include the additional 35-minute piece would have compromised the image quality of the film, and that's the most important part of the release.

As for the interview which will not be included in the Blu-ray booklet, that is a different case. For a combination of reasons, some economical, some environmental, we're trying to use a little less paper going forward. We'll still be producing dedicating ourselves to creating beautifully designed packages, but we'll be turning to the web as a means for delivering some text that in the past we might have included in a printed book. All the content will continue to be available online, and in fact, we expect to be assigning and publishing even more film essays, about new releases and classics from the catalog, since on the web we won't have to keep such a close eye on the page count. In the end, we're doing what we think makes the most sense for the films and our audience, putting more content into the hands of more people, in digital if not physical form. We think it's the right thing to do.
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Old 03-06-09, 01:51 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Wonderful. So Criterion couldn't even toss the extra feature on BD25 (or DVD) and the response for not including the book is laughable. Blu-ray really is niche, even to a niche studio like Criterion. Don't worry, we can always use BD-Live on out players to "download" the booklet...well, until the server goes down. I'll await the 4 or 5 movies I want from them and continue to skip the rest. Tsk Tsk, Criterion.
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Old 03-06-09, 02:31 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Yeah, I seriously don't understand how Criterion couldn't have just put the whole "Ran" film and commentary on a single BD-50 disc and just thrown in the 2nd disc of features from the standard DVD set? It's not like any of the special features on their blu-rays have been transferred to 1080p, yet, so it seems lazy on their part not to include the feature on this release. I would hate to think, too, that Criterion wouldn't include a 2nd disc because it wouldn't fit in their blu-ray "eco-friendly" packaging. Anyway, I'm writing off to Mulvaney right now about this issue again. Maybe, the more they hear about it, and what could've been done, they'll put more thought in to their future blu-ray releases.

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Old 03-06-09, 02:38 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Blu-ray.com's review for "The Last Metro" is now up! Still not enough posts, though, to post the link.

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Old 03-06-09, 02:48 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

The following info was posted by tvrbob86 over in the AVS Forums...

The April 2009 issue of Home Theater Magazine has a nice story on the Criterion Collection and its move into the world of Blu-ray.

A few highlights:

Criterion's simultaneous Blu-ray releases have made up 30-50% of the titles' total sales vs. the less than 10% typical for big studio films.

Lee Kline, technical director: "If there's grain, we'll leave it in. We may tone it down a bit, especially with Blu-ray, where it can show too much. But you'll still see some grain. That's what makes a film look like film."

Last Year at Marienbad will be released on Blu-ray (and DVD) "this Spring."

"Coming, in the next few months": Walkabout, For All Mankind, Gimme Shelter, Monterey Pop.

Peter Becker, president: "We're still figuring it out, deciding month-to-month. But we'll be more aggressive, not less, because sales have been pretty strong. We'll take chances."


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Old 03-06-09, 02:51 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

That Marienbad news absolutely makes my week!
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Old 03-06-09, 03:09 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Originally Posted by GizmoDVD View Post
Wonderful. So Criterion couldn't even toss the extra feature on BD25 (or DVD) and the response for not including the book is laughable. Blu-ray really is niche, even to a niche studio like Criterion. Don't worry, we can always use BD-Live on out players to "download" the booklet...well, until the server goes down. I'll await the 4 or 5 movies I want from them and continue to skip the rest. Tsk Tsk, Criterion.
It sounds like it won't be BD Live, but rather just on a website (which I strongly prefer).
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Old 03-06-09, 03:12 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

I emailed Jon about the Ran interview as well.
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Old 03-06-09, 03:21 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

I think they need to rethink their BD release strategy. If they aren't going to be including all extras in 1080i/p, then I'm ok with having Disc 1 be a BD with any new 1080 bonus materials and Disc 2 an SD with ALL available bonus materials. Also, the tidbit about the booklets is disappointing. I know Criterion pays for licensing and other materials, but I'm also paying quite a lot to obtain their discs. Don't give me that "paper saver" bullshit. Is the price going down on any titles because they're using less paper? Exactly. If I'm paying the same, I want it ALL. NO exceptions.
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Old 03-06-09, 03:22 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Look at the sales #'s (compared to their DVD versions) - there clearly are people buying Criterion BDs so they have no reason to step up the effort.
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Old 03-06-09, 03:24 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Originally Posted by Mr. Salty View Post
A couple of weeks ago I e-mailed Jon Mulvaney asking about these two issues with Criterion's Blu-ray release of "Ran." Here is his response, which I received today:
Ah ha! So it's not a rights issue. It's just Criterion refusing to add another disc (even a regular DVD would have been fine) in order to accommodate all the special features on the disc. I'm calling bullshit. As Gizmo said, put the movie on a BD50, thus giving it the best A/V presentation possible (because, believe it or not, I actually do give a shit about that), then have a DVD with the special features. Simple. Simple to anyone but Criterion, that is.
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Old 03-06-09, 03:35 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Originally Posted by KillerCannibal View Post
Is the price going down on any titles because they're using less paper? Exactly. If I'm paying the same, I want it ALL.
If you're paying the same, the price effectively is going down. Ever hear of inflation?
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Old 03-06-09, 03:48 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Originally Posted by ccfixx View Post
Lee Kline, technical director: "If there's grain, we'll leave it in. We may tone it down a bit, especially with Blu-ray, where it can show too much.
Leave it in but tone it down? How about just leave it alone...
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Old 03-06-09, 03:58 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays

Originally Posted by naitram View Post
Leave it in but tone it down? How about just leave it alone...
Yeah, that part concerns me a little, but I trust that they'll keep it minor.
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