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Spielberg Still Mum on <I>A.I.</I>

12 Feb, 2002 By: Ralph Tribbey

Director Steven Spielberg will maintain his DVD silence with the Mar. 5 release of A.I. Artificial Intelligence, but the disc will include just about everyone else' point of view.

In an open and often revealing show-and-tell of the decisionmaking and wizardry behind A.I., DreamWorks Home Entertainment executives and the DVD's production team fielded questions about the double-disc release.

A.I. special features producer Laurent Bouzereau addressed the sometimes touchy issue of Spielberg's lack of audio commentaries on his DVD. "There is no commentary as it is redundant," says Bouzereau, who has worked closely with the director to provide special feature content on the DVDs of both Jaws: The 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition and Jurassic Park: The Lost World. Universal Studios Home Entertainment released both titles, also without commentary from Spielberg.

Instead, consumers will find a bonus disc containing nearly two hours of special features prepared by Bouzereau and his crew.

The group got exclusive access to the sets, actors and production crew to film a series of featurettes "documenting the film for the DVD from different viewpoints," Bouzereau said. Viewers get a peek at the film from a range of perspectives including acting, set design, lighting, music, robotics and sound, to name just a few, in a series of menu options on the bonus disc.

"It really is a comprehensive look at the making of the film," said Mark Rowen, DreamWorks' DVD producer.

"No footage has been made available" for other venues such as television, DreamWorks domestic head Kelley Sooter emphasized. "This was a very closed set" that yielded material prepared "from a DVD perspective, recognizing the value of DVD."

At DreamWorks "nothing gets on (the DVD) that hasn't been blessed by the director," said Mark Atkinson, head of Video Mastering and DVD Transfers, because each film's director has the final say in content.

Hence, the A.I. DVD has no commentary and no ROM features.

"Our focus was on how the film was made, there is no ROM by choice," Atkinson said.

A.I. arrives on DVD as two separate SKUs, one full frame and one widescreen. Both versions include the same bonus disc.

Ordering patterns for the two formats is generally divided 35 percent for the full frame version and 65 percent for the widescreen version, Sooter said.

"I suppose we could have forced the issue with just one release of the widescreen version," she said, "but why risk losing (open-to-buy) dollars from those who prefer full frame?"

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