THE MORNING BUZZ: DVD Producers Have Arrived22 Aug, 2002 By: Thomas K. Arnold
The recent signing by the ICM talent agency of two independent DVD producers, Jonathan Gaines (X-Men, The Matrix) and Blaine Graboyer (Scream Special Edition) signals yet another narrowing of the gap between Hollywood and home video.
Indeed, DVD has done as much for the self esteem of home video executives as it has for the bottom lines of the studios, allowing them to transcend the long-held stigma of being in the “used movie” business and becoming an integral part of the creative process.
Extra material on DVD has certainly proven itself to be an alluring selling point to consumers. Study after study has shown consumers like special features and are buying more movies on DVD than they did in the VHS-only days largely because of all the bonus material.
Video Store Magazine's latest consumer survey finds that 67 percent of DVD buyers and 61 percent of renters access special features, and that the longer consumers have owned a DVD player, the more likely they are to view this supplemental material — a finding that to me signifies a sea change in how the public watches movies at home. It's no longer a passive experience, it's an interactive experience, with consumers perceiving DVDs as something new and exciting to fiddle with.
But as excited as consumers are about special features, video executives love this stuff even more because it finally helps them achieve a level of respect in the movie industry that has long seemed just beyond their grasp.
For years, they merely packaged and sold the movies someone else produced, and consumers had already seen.
Now, they're often getting involved in DVD planning while the movie is still in production. They get to talk to directors and other talent and work with them to create a new product of which the original movie, while still the centerpiece, is no longer the whole enchilada.
And in conservations with friends at backyard barbecues, weddings and Little League games, they can proudly say, “I work for a movie studio” without feeling the need to blush and toss in a disclaimer about home video.
Indeed, DVD producer, as my friend Cheryl Glenn told me earlier this year, is the hot new job in Hollywood — and one that's only getting hotter now that the agents are involved.
And with DVD producers still reporting to, or working under contract to, home video divisions, there's going to more and more elevation by association.