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Extra, Extra — Part Deux

22 Oct, 2007 By: Stephanie Prange

I received some response to my column on the need to continue offering great extras on disc, some from those who produce the extras and may have a vested interest in studios continuing to finance them.

But it's not just the entertainment industry that likes to see special features on discs.

Case in point: Riding in the elevator last week I heard a consumer complaining about the lack of extras on DreamWorks Home Entertainment's Transformers. (Sorry to pick on one title, but that's the truth.) I'm not kidding. A guy in the elevator said he was disappointed in the extras on that disc.

He didn't work for our magazine or for our company. He was just your average consumer chatting with friends in the elevator.

I've begun to look more closely at these features, especially on Blu-ray Disc. (I'm still waiting for the HD DVD player that I purchased through the EMA show offer.)

On The Day After Tomorrow, the disc producers included a very interesting extra that engaged not just me and my husband, but my 9-year-old daughter, who happened by as I was reviewing the disc.

The film included questions that popped up from time to time about global warming, and my daughter, who obviously had studied the issue in school, chimed in with several answers.

I know there are several innovative extras on HD DVD releases as well.

That's the kind of thing consumers have come to expect from our industry, not just the same old movie on a smaller screen as we saw in the VHS era.

DVD offered more.

DVD allowed consumers to engage themselves in a movie through ancillary information. After the feature was over, they could peruse the making of the special effects or further explore issues raised in the film.

I know when studios look at the budget for releasing a film on DVD, they are weighing the cost of (and time spent on) extras against the return. But don't think consumers won't notice when you skimp on extras.

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