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Chat Transcript: DreamWorks
on Home Theater Forum

The following is a complete transcript of the on-line chat with with Missy Davy, Mark Akinson, Bob Buchi and Paige Johnson of DreamWorks Home Video, held on Wednesday, February 7th on The Home Theater Forum. Thanks to Ron Epstein and the staff the HTF for all their hard work, and for providing the transcript for all to read. Enjoy!

Home Theater Forum


Date: February 7, 2001

[RonEpstein] Thanks everyone for coming tonight. I am proud to introduce.... Missy Davy, Mark Akinson, Bob Buchi and Paige Johnson of DREAMWORKS HOME VIDEO. I hope I got all the names right. Welcome!

[DreamWorks] Thanks for having us!

[RonEpstein] Congratulations are in order -- you guys had a steller year last year. GLADIATOR became the biggest selling DVD.

[DreamWorks] of all time!

[RonEpstein] That's quite an accomplishment

[DreamWorks] Thank you

[ParkerClack] How many copies did you guys end up shipping out anyway?

[DreamWorks] More than 5 million

[RonEpstein] We are going to jump right into the Q&A session....Members ready?

[MartinB] Good evening ! I am Canadian . As far as I know, american consumers couldn't care less about having french as language option on your DVDs. But since Canada is part of region 1, your products do not include that language choice, which is an offense to a quarter of our country's population. I want to take this opportunity to ask DreamWorks to include french tracks on their DVDs just like the majority of American DVD distributors.

[DreamWorks] This is an issue that we continue to explore. We understand your concern and take the issue quite seriously.

[MatthewChmiel] Thanks DreamWorks for coming tonight. My question is: can you slip us some details about the upcoming Almost Famous DVD and will there be a SE coming out at a later date?

[DreamWorks] As you know, the Almost Famous DVD will be released on March 13 and includes a number of bonus materials. Hot off the press, we just secured seven original Cameron Crowe penned Rolling Stone articles that will be included in the DVD. You guys are the first to hear about this. We have not yet announced this to the press. Other bonus programming includes the "Fever Dog" music video, and a behind-the-scenes featurette, as well as DTS and Dolby Digital.

[MeganDodson] I would like to ask that Dreamworks start a policy of 100% accessibility for the deaf & hard of hearing on their DVDs. For example, the featurette & director's commentary on What Lies Beneath are not accessible. I would recommend offering both captioning & subtitling on the featurette & then a subtitle track for the director's commentary. I think best policy is to always offer both options however on the audio commentaries. I was also just taking a look for the first time at Gladiator's 2nd disc before this chat and was pleased to see that Dreamworks saw fit to caption the first two featurettes so the 2nd disc isn't a total loss to the Deaf. Thank you. Please be the studio to lead the way for others. Caption and/or subtitle everything on the discs, not just the movie. You do good work and I'd love to see you take the next step. It will really be the icing on my cake to finally be able to enjoy the entire disc as you've seen fit to share with us.

[DreamWorks] We do include closed captioning where it is made available; thank you for bringing to our attention the need to add closed captioning on all bonus materials. We will certainly look into this.

[hakanpowers] First thanks for consistently putting out *great* product on DVD and getting it right from the beginning! Question from me here in Sweden: Do you have any say on if/when Deep Impact will get the anamorphic SE treatment it deserves? Or is this 100% Paramount territory?

[DreamWorks] As the domesticDVD team, this question would be better suited for our international team. We will pass along this comment to them.

[louis-olivier] I wanted to ask about french languages tracks... but MartinB asked... So I will just ask why is Saving Private Ryan Marked as a limited edition? It's been available for a long time now, so if it was really limited, wouldn't it be out of print by now?

[DreamWorks] We are only producing a finite number

[Thomas_Edstrom] Hello Missy, Mark, Bob and Paige! I'm Thomas Edstrom, also from Sweden and I was wondering if there are any plans on a new edition of Saving Private Ryan, with additional footage, like an extend cut. The reason I ask is because I have heard rumours and talk about scenes that was cut.

[DreamWorks] We don't currently have any plans but who knows

[John_S] Are you concidering a 2-disc dvd set for any upcoming animated films, like Shrek or Monsters Inc? Like Disney does with Toy Story/Fantasia.

[DreamWorks] Monsters Inc? Save that for the Disney chat. : ) As for Shrek, you can look forward to a mind-blowing DVD

[GarethFlynn] Hi guys, thanks for coming. You may have heard that the Learning Channel documentary on future pressings of the Region 2 release of Gladiator (distributed by Universal via Columbia Tristar) is being edited to remove an erroneous and upsetting reference to the Hillsborough football stadium disaster - I was wondering if you knew if future pressings of the Region 1 release will have the documentary similarly edited?

[DreamWorks] Universal and DreamWorks and Columbia Tri-Star deeply regret that the producers of the documentary portion of the Gladiator DVD inadvertently included a stock photo of the Hillsborough soccer game. The origin of the photo was unknown, and we are sincerely sorry for any additional pain this may have caused. Now that we are aware, we are taking immediate steps to remove this photo from all future copies of the DVD

[Julian_Nior] Good Evening. I was wondering when can we expect Cast Away on DVD, and what can we expect on the DVD ?

[DreamWorks] We don't have the domestic rights to Cast Away - that's a Fox question.

[Niko_Nykanen] Ok, Another Question here from Sweden... Is there a Audio Commentary by Crowe (preferrably with others) on the Almost Famous DVD??? (Audio Commentary is THE Feature in many peoples minds)

[DreamWorks] All of the content has not been finalized. Look for an announcement in a month or so.

[SteffM] Good evening, DreamWorks. I'm not satisfied with the generic answer you gave to MartinB earlier, regarding the total lack of French language tracks or subtitles for your Quebec customers. Can you be more specific??? Thanks.

[DreamWorks] Please know that we do take it seriously, but at this point, we have no further information to provide. Thanks.

[DougIrving] Welcome guys! Thanks for your interest in the forum. This may have been asked previously, but I arrived late. What are the chances of a DTS version of Joseph: King of Dreams and are there any plans for future animated Biblical stories from DreamWorks?

[DreamWorks] As you know, we are one of the few studios that provides DTS on a majority of its DVDs. We are thrilled about your interest on Joseph. At this time, there are no plans to create a DTS version, but your suggestion will certainly be noted.

[Dale_S] Thanks for taking the time to talk to us peons. :) Okay, 3 questions (2 really): first off, why was the "Into the Breach" documentary not included on the DTS version of Saving Private Ryan? Was the DTS stream so large that the video wouldn't fit on 2 layers? When, assuming they are within your domain, are Schindler's List and ET expected? And are they to get full special edition treatments?

[RonEpstein] Those are not Dreamworks titles

[DreamWorks] Due to capacity issues, there was no way to include "Into the Breach" and DTS on the same disc and maintain video quality.

[MarkPfeiffer] Sorry if this has been asked already (couldn't get here right at 9:00 p.m.)'s Jeffrey Wells had previously talked about a 2hr 40 min "Untitled" cut of "Almost Famous" to be released as part of a 2-DVD set. In today's column he states that it will not appear in March. Is this extended/director's cut going to see a future DVD release?

[DreamWorks] Please stay tuned for our announcement next month

[John-C] Hey there, I'd just like to know if there are any future plans to release DreamWorks TV product like "The Others" on DVD? And how do you view the option of complete season boxsets for TV series?

[DreamWorks] "Friends" and "Ally McBeal" have been very successful -- at this time, we don't have plans to release our TV products on DVD, but clearly it is a viable market

[LouSytsma] OK Hi - Dreamworks thanks for coming. What plans do you have for the Shrek DVD?

[DreamWorks] Our pleasure. It's a little early for the DVD details -- we're 3 months away from the theatrical release, but as we said earlier, it will be an amazing DVD...we promise.

[Tyler_Ruggeri] Thanks for coming, Dreamworks! What specifically were the reasons for the deleted scenes and alternate ending being cut from the American Beauty DVD and might we see these scenes in the future in any way? This is one of my favorite films and I would love to see these scenes. The whole process of making this film is fascinating.

[DreamWorks] It was the director's choice. As Sam Mendes at the release, the inclusion of these scenes would profoundly detract from the film's mystery and would crucially affect the way in which the film is perceived when viewed again. One must be careful not to demystify a film to the point where it loses its magic. These were direct quotes from Sam Mendes.

[DerekMiner] Good evening... Has DreamWorks ever considered acquiring outside productions for video distribution? Signing on as a distributor for a film out of Sundance, for example?

[DreamWorks] We do not have any plans at this point.

[SteveTannehill] Hey everyone! Thanks for chatting with us! What is the resolution of your high definition transfers that show on HBO-HD? 720p? The Saving Private Ryan DVD in 480p, which looks great to begin with, was comparable to HBO's high-def broadcast (and the DVD had 5.1 sound, whereas HBO was 2.0!)

[DreamWorks] The HD Master is transferred to 1080i. I don't know HBO's broadcast Specs, but they are delivered a D5 that is a direct digital clone of the transfer master.

[Thomas_Edstrom] I was wondering if you have any policy regarding the cover art on the DVDs. I prefer the original movie poster, and especially a clean one without small logos, quotes etc. One suggestion is that you start using two-sided covers, one side with a totally clean original movie poster and one with logos, critic's quotes and grades. (Excuse my language, English is not my mother tongue).

[DreamWorks] We create DVD artwork on a case-by-case basis -- sometimes the original theatrical artwork does not work on such a small scale.

[hakanpowers] First I'd like to clarify that my earlier question about Deep Impact was in regard to the R1 release. I wouldn't touch a Swedish DVD release! Question: Are there any more DTS ES 6.1 Discrete titles planned?

[DreamWorks] This is driven by the theatrical release. If the theatrical mix is a 6.1 mix, then the DTS will be a 6.1 mix.

[MeganDodson] This is a followup to John-C's question/your answer. I noticed that the two TV DVDs you mentioned, Friends & Ally McBeal, are actually "best of" compiliations and NOT season by season releases ie X-files, Monty Python, Sex in the City, Buffy (r2). Please be aware that I am in no minority when I say that I refuse to buy compiliation discs. Season by Season OR Sequential (Star Trek TOS) is the only way to go. I'm proud to own many TV titles including all of above that I used as examples. If you do ever get into releasing TV content on DVD, please don't take the "Friends" route.

[DreamWorks] Thanks for your input

[RonEastman] Thanks for joining us, DreamWorks! I really enjoyed the "easter eggs" on the Gladiator DVD, especially the Rhino test footage. I was just curious who at DreamWorks decides when/if to include features in this manner and do you get a special sadistic enjoyment when hiding them? :-) Thanks.

[DreamWorks] It's a group effort -- we have a team of people who collaborate on each DVD to decide which features best enhance that DVD

[Augustin] Thank you for coming tonght and supporting the Home Theater forum members. I have to say that I love your signature selections. I recently purchased "What Lies Beneath", and was a little disapointed that this title did not receive signature selection treatment. Did Robert Zemeckis have the final say with this film? What criteria do titles have to meet to get the signature selection? Sorry if this question was asked earlier. Thank you.

[DreamWorks] Every release is reviewed on a case-by-case basis; Although it is not a Signature Selection DVD, we were thrilled to have Robert Zemeckis' involvement with thee transfer and audio commentary.

[Heinz_W] Will Almost Famous be rereleased in the foreseeable future featuring the longer cut by Crowe? Or is the forthcoming release it?

[DreamWorks] As we have said earlier tonight, we will be making an announcement in about a month that will address this

[MatthewChmiel] I'd like to know if DreamWorks is having any input for the upcoming "Freaks and Geeks" DVDs that Rhino is releasing soon.

[DreamWorks] We are not aware of this DVD release (done)

[John_S] I love it when trailers on the DVD are 5.1, I was just curious to know if your going to continue this

[DreamWorks] Yes -- across the board when the 5.1 mix is available

[ChrisMatson] First a comment. I thank DreamWorks for taking the time to answer questions. Sorry that I came in late--any Spielberg commentaries in the works? Schindler's List?

[RonEpstein] Not a Dreamworks movie

[SteveTannehill] Y'all consistently put out the best DVD's. Do you look to other studios at the work they are doing (like Artisan and the T2:Ultimate Edition) or do you think that they look to you for the standards of excellence that you have already set? And best wishes at Oscar time for GLADIATOR!!

[DreamWorks] Thank you, Steve! The DVD production community looks to one another to raise the standard of excellence -- all to your benefit

[RonEpstein] Yes, Dreamworks, on behalf of all of us -- Best Wishes for GLADIATOR at Oscar time.

[Niko_Nykanen] About "Almost Famous" and audio commentaries again... With the release date set to March 13th, Is 5 weeks really enough to set up a meeting, to record, and add that Audio Commentary to the DVD??? (if you decide to do it, Please Consider)

[DreamWorks] We are excited to share details of the release in an upcoming announcement

[Niko_Nykanen] With the fact that Dreamworks doesn't have a catalogue of titles, Is there a possibility that You could buy the rights to a bunch of movies like MGM did when Orion went bankrupt??? Like for instance approaching MGM (apparently low on cash ;-)) to purchase some of the old ORION movies maybe???

[DreamWorks] This not part of our current plans.

[JamesGarner] Are there any plans to do a online DVD virtual theatre similar to what WB \ did with Matrix & Perfect Storm?

[DreamWorks] We have certainly considered this and believe this would be great for the appropriate title.

[hakanpowers] Do you have any plans to re-visit some of your early DTS titles? I am thinking of the ones that were released with full bitrate DTS soundtrack, if they were to be re-released with half-bitrate sound most of the extras could probably be fit onto them. Thanks for coming !

[DreamWorks] This is something that we are looking into now

[MeganDodson] No question this time. Just wanted to take a moment and say thanks for working with HTF to provide such a wonderful opportunity for us DVD enthusiasts to communicate directly with a studio's DVD department. I look foward to seeing Dreamworks make some headway on that 100% accessibility goal and I especially hope you'll start with Almost Famous (as my partner actually works with Ben Fong Torres so we have a special interest)

[DreamWorks] It's been our pleasure (done)

[RonEpstein] I want to make a statement and ask a question. We at Home Theater Forum will forever be grateful for the way your studio opened the doors to our members during our LA visit last year. You treated us like royalty. Thank You again. My question: How much do you folks continue to read Home Theater forum, and how has the internet changed the way you do marketing?

[DreamWorks] We regularly read Home Theater Forum -- the Studio Feedback section, in particular, is a valuable resource. The Internet has greatly opened up the lines of communication between the consumer and the studios. We certainly take your comments into consideration, and appreciate your feedback.

[ParkerClack] I want to take this time to say how much we all enjoy the work that you put into your movies and DVD releases. You can tell that you really care about your products and the consumer. Keep up the great work!

[DreamWorks] Thank you!

[RonEpstein] On behalf of everyone, we wish to thank Missy, Mark, Bob & Paige for joining us tonight. You folks are welcome back anytime. I am going to open the floodgates so the members can thank you personally.....

[DreamWorks] Many thanks for inviting us. done

Session Close: Wed Feb 07 22:59:19 2001

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