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Scenes I'd Like To See...

5 Dec, 2002 By: Thomas K. Arnold

I'm getting calls left and right from the national media, which all of a sudden seems to be “discovering” DVD — and concluding that it's not a fad, after all.

The New York Daily News did a story, using our research, on how DVD is leading to bigger and bigger video sales. The Buffalo, New York, newspaper followed, with the reporter asking me to quantify how big DVD has become.

Other metropolitan papers around the country have also been calling about DVD and I recently finished a radio interview with a news-talk station in the Big Apple on the DVD phenomenon.

Now, I hear the New York Times is working on a story with a futuristic slant, focusing on DVDs, like Unfaithful, that contain alternate endings.

Quite frankly, that's my favorite special feature of them all. I like having director commentaries and music videos, but I don't generally watch them, unless I'm really into the movie.

But I do make it a point to run through all the outtakes and deleted scenes, and on the rare instances when I come across a DVD with alternate endings, I'm in heaven. Deleted scenes can really change the way you view a movie; alternate endings can actually change the movie.

But as much as I enjoy them, I am also realistic, and believe that alternate endings will never be the Next Big Thing in the special features department.

Adding a different ending or two would change the story from what they released to theaters. After the pre-theatrical release focus groups settle on an ending, Hollywood types hate to change them. Heaven forbid fans prefer one of the alternate endings to the one from the theatrical version! What would that do to a fragile Hollywood ego?

If there is a trend in the development of special features, I think you have to go back to what Disney's Bob Chapek said over the summer at our DVD at 5 conference — that instead of more special features, you're going to see better special features.

DreamWorks takes the cake on this one, with the delightful “make a movie” feature on Spirit. This is one of the most entertaining and innovative extras I've seen, and definitely shows they put some thought and creativity in assembling this DVD.

With that in mind, here's a list of some special features I'd like to see on upcoming DVD releases.

The Ring — This one's a no-brainer, as far as I'm concerned. Slap the deadly videotaped film on as a standalone featurette, then issue a special/deluxe/collector's/whatever edition that includes the original Japanese version, and then maybe even a four-disc set with all three Japanese films (the original, along with the prequel and the sequel). Four discs might sound like a lot, but hey, if it worked for Pearl Harbor…

8 Mile — An Eminem concert video.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — More set-top games, a tribute to Richard Harris and a virtual reality flying car.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding — An interactive recipe guide to some of the fabulous food served at the wedding, and a minidocumentary on Ouzo and maybe a Web link (sponsored, of course!) to order some online.

Die Another Day — An interactive Aston-Martin dashboard that lets you put yourself in the action and control the car through some of the scenes, and a documentary on the Bond girls through the years.

That's it. If any studio wants to offer me a marketing job, you know where to find me.

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