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Chat Transcript: Columbia TriStar
on Home Theater Forum

The following is a complete transcript of the on-line chat with with Michael Stradford, the Executive Director of DVD Marketing at Columbia TriStar Home Video, held on Tuesday night (April 25th) on The Home Theater Forum. A wide variety of DVD-related topics were discussed, and I think you'll find it interesting. Thanks to Ron Epstein (of the HTF) for all their hard work, and for providing the transcript for all to read. Enjoy!

Home Theater Forum
Subject: Columbia/TriStar chat Date: April 25, 2000

Session Start: Tue Apr 25 21:56:26 2000

[RonEpstein] Thank You everyone for coming tonight... At this time, I would like to introduce Michael Stradford from Columbia/TriStar

[RonEpstein] Say a few words, Mike....

[cthv] Hi Ron. Good evening everyone. Thanks for making the time. Hopefully the hour delay won't disrupt things too much.

[RonEpstein] Michael, what is your position over at CTHV?

[cthv] Executive Director of DVD Marketing, although it's kind of a hybrid position that is also involved with production and content

[RonEpstein] We Thank You for coming tonight.

[RonEpstein] Here we go...First up is SteveEnemark...

[SteveEnemark] When, oh when will LAWRENCE OF ARABIA be released to the DVD format? Please give us film lovers a ray of hope. We've been tortured long enough! :)

[cthv] It's coming. I can officially tell you that we're working on it and should be out before the end of next year (maybe sooner..)

[PeterMFitzgerald] Since it received major restoration a few years back, will Columbia release Michael Powell's STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN (1946 UK) on DVD soon? Preferably as an SE.

[cthv] Sure. The thing with Lawrence is that it's been released so many times that we want to give you a product that's worth buying again. As for Stairway, not anytime soon, but we are planning to release it.

[Joel_c] Any chance of a rerelease of early full-frame titles like Babe and Karate Kid? In widescreen of course.

[cthv] Yes, but not immediately. Babe isn't a Columbia title

[Jason_Hughes] When can we expect the Roman Polanski classics Tess and Macbeth and also Whit Stilmans metropolitan ?

[cthv] We don't have the rights to Metropolitan anymore. Tess we're renegotiating to keep the rights, currently there are no plans for Macbeth, but I'll put it on the list for consideration

[Steve_Simon] Thanks for the Chat tonight, welcome, any suprises you could let us in on as far as releases, for the rest of the year?

[cthv] Well, if I told you, they wouldn't be suprises. But we've got some big theatrical films coming up that will make excellent DVDs, like Mel Gibson's "The Patriot", Paul Verhooven take on the Invisible Man, "Hollow Man" and more. We're working on special editions of "Remains of the Day", "Bram Stoker's Dracula", "Bad Boys", "Legends of the Fall", "Cliffhanger" and more to come.

[RoArKe] Whats the Status on Leon: Integral Version and Le Grand Bleu? Any more Besson titles in the works?

[cthv] Both will be out by the end of the summer, international versions. We just picked up rights to Besson's SUBWAY and hope to have that out soon too.

[RonEpstein] Next up from THECINEMALASER.COM, Derek Germano...

[DerekGermano] Any chance of seing Hammer horror classics REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN and THE GORGON on DVD (16:9 enhanced of course)? How about another horror classic like NIGHT OF THE DEMON (aka CURSE OF THE DEMON) or more William Castle movies like HOMICIDAL, 13 GHOSTS or MR. SARDONICUS? Thanks for coming tonight.

[cthv] We plan to work on more Castle titles. Revenge, Gorgon and Demon don't belong to us anymore

[DanR] Are you guys REALLY going to be supporting DTS or will it be just the titles mandated by Spielberg? What other DTS titles can we expect and when?

[cthv] DTS is being considered on a title by title basis. I have no new titles to report to you tonight

[ChrisCaine] All I prefer is your new logo in 5.1, audio defaults to 5.1, DTS support, dual layer with software ratio switching (double side is ugly and scratch prone) , more care with your SONY CLASSICS - a few got botched, and isolated scores, thank you

[cthv] Thanks for the constructive criticism Chris. We'll try to do better! Chris, the new logo is in 5.1.

[JackNapier] when will the Dogma S.E be out? Also any plans of what other movies you will rerelease like Last Action Hero or Ghostbusters 2?

[cthv] Dogma later in the year. There's a lot of material to go through. Last Action Hero is being considered for SE, depends on what kind of material we can come up with. GB2 isn't planned at this point.

[Rodneyk] Any chance for the Bruce Willis movie Blind Date on DVD soon?

[cthv] Yes, possibly before the end of the year

[Jason_Hughes] Is Scorsese's Age of Innocence in the works? And if so, is it a special edition? Also what about an SE of In the Line of Fire? Thanks. BTW, Columbia puts out the best DVDs!

[cthv] We've been waiting for Martin Scorsese to make time to participate, so it's currently on hold. In The Line of Fire is in the works, we've got a commentary from Wolfgang Petersen, several deleted scenes, an interview with Dylan McDemott and two short documentaries on the Secret Service and the making of the film. We went after Clint, but he's tied up with his Space Cowboys film. Never got a reply from Malkovich, Rene Russo said yes, then changed her mind. Thanks Jason. We appreciate your support!

[VinceMaskeeper] Mike, what are your thought (personally) on a rental pricing scheme for DVD? What is Columbia's official position on Rental Pricing vs Sell through model, is CTHV committed to DVD as a sell through product? (BTW- Ghostbusters SE is the best disc in my collection, thanks!!)

[cthv] We're committed to the format as a sellthrough format. I think that's all that I need say about that. Glad you like Ghostbusters

[JeffKleist] When can we expect to see the Muppet Movies on DVD? Bill Barretta indicated to me that we could expect these and possible episode discs of the original Muppet Show sometime soon. Also, a special edition of Real Genius would be GREAT! I really like the fact that I never have to worry that a Columbia disc will be horrible. Thanks for the good work!

[cthv] The Muppet Movies are being reviewed for condition concerns. There may be extensive restoration in store. Real Genius will probably come out, but I don't know how much material there is on the title. Glad you like the discs.

[Jeffrey] Hello...Two requests....More Stooges and "The Natural"...anything you can tell us? You guys are the best with catalog product...keep it up!

[cthv] More Stooges on the way. Another 2-3 volumes before the year is out. The Natural is coming. Waiting for Mr. Levinson's schedule to clear.

[LukeBonanno] I think that all DVDs should contain BOTH widescreen and fullscreen versions- that way you please everyone...Columbia/TriStar is one of the few studios that can be relied on to do this...keep it up...Also I remember hearing that Columbia/TriStar was planning to do full blown Collector's Series of "Ghostbusters II" but that they were waiting to see how the Collector's Series of the original "Ghostbusters" did before they got involved in

[cthv] We include both aspect ratios when we can, but when get a lot of added value material, everything can't fit and something's got to give... as for GB2, that was never part of the gameplan. Just another rumor.

[StevenA] You are the best of the major studios for quality DVDs by a long shot, in my opinion! Thank you SO MUCH for releasing The Emporer and the Assassin in June with a commentary by director Chen Kaige! Can you tell us anything more about the disc and whether you plan to release Zhang Yimou's Not One Less which Sony Classics also had theatrically (or any other foreign/art house titles we can look forward to)?

[cthv] Thank you Steven. That was the longest commentary I've been associated with and Kaige did a great job. Not One Less will be coming out on DVD as will the majority of Sony Pictures Classics releases. I'm particularly looking forward to Ang Lee's 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' with Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh

[EmilStoica] Any news on a Tootsie release? I echo the other comments about Columbia making the best DVDs. Thanks.

[cthv] Thanks again. Tootsie's in the works. Mr. Pollack and Mr. Hoffman have agreed to participate, just waiting on their availability.

[SteveHauben] Thanks for coming. I would love to see a boxset of all episodes in chronological order of All In The Family & Archie Bunker's Place, I know I'm not alone, any possibility? Also any updates on Avalon, See No Evil-Hear No Evil, or Mississippi Masala?

[cthv] TV is slow to develop in the format so far. There are a lot of TV shows out on DVD, but few are selling, so we're going to let the market demand increase before jumping into those waters. Avalon: next year, same with See No Evil. We don't have Masala anymore.

[James_A] What in your opinion makes a good DVD, "great"? PS - Another vote for both Muppets and more TV stuff including Fraggle Rock?

[cthv] First and foremost the movie. Then the transfer, audio quality and appropriate extras that ENHANCE the film, not overshadow it or disrespect it.

[SperoD] Hi. I would like to know if there is a Fifth Element Special Edition DVD coming out soon? And if so will it include the comedic outtakes at the end of the film that were shown in the theaters in France and a DTS track please? Please keep the DTS tracks coming on DVD's.

[cthv] Nope. We talked with Luc Besson for two hours and he won't let us add anything. He doesn't want to destroy the 'magic' of the movies, even though he puts out detailed books on the making of each of his films. That' s been one of my biggest disappoinments. But it's his film and we respect his wishes.

[DAVE] Hi Mike. First off, thanks for coming tonight. CTHV does great work, keep it up! What is the status on Glory, Bridge on River Kwai and On the Waterfront as Special Ed.s? Are any coming this year? Thanks.

[cthv] Glory's going to be great. We've got a lot of stuff that I think you'll enjoy. Bridge we're working on now. On the Waterfront we're still researching materials.

[RonEpstein] Folks, Mike has alerted me that he has to leave. We can allow one last question, and actually I may have one more after that. We have to get Mike out of here in 5 minutes.

[DerekGermano] How about Orson Welles LADY FROM SHANGHAI for DVD or Harryhausen's FIRST MEN IN THE MOON?

[cthv] LADY will be out before the year's up. Peter Bogdanovich did a commentary for it and narrated a featurette. More Harryhausen to come.

[RonEpstein] I'll take the last question tonight that I know most people are wanting to ask. Mike, we hear rumor that CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is done for DVD. Will there be a release this year and what can you tell us about it as far as SE content?

[cthv] Ron, it's not even close to being done. We haven't started on it yet! Not sure what the content will be, although the documentary produced by Laurent Bouzereau for the LD will be included in some form or fashion.

[RonEpstein] I wish to thank our guest, Mike Stradford for coming tonight. Mike, you are welcome back at any time. This was a lot of fun and we appreciate your time.

[ParkerClack] Mike thanks so much for taking the time out of your day to have this chat. Please come back and lets do this again.

[cthv] Thanks Ron, thanks everybody. Once again I appreciate you all taking the time to chat. On behalf of Columbia TriStar Home Video, thanks so much for the consistent support and constructive feedback. All the best! Good night.

[Ryan_Pete] Great job! Thank you for excellent answers! Keep up the great work


[BrianKirchhoff] Thanks for coming Mike!

[StevenA] Thank you Mike!!

[DAVE] Thanks Mike!

[SteveHauben] Thanks for coming and keep up the good work!

[JeffUlmer] Thanks for coming and all the great DVDs!

[James_A] Thanks!

[EmilStoica] Thanks Mike!

[Brian_Price] Thanks!

[DanR] Thank you

[DerekGermano] thanks

Session Close: Tue Apr 25 23:01:14 2000

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