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page created: 2/24/99

Chat Transcript: Warner Home Video
on Home Theater Forum

The following is a complete transcript of the on-line chat with John Powers (VP DVD Market Development Worldwide, Warner Home Video) and some of his associates at WHV, held last night (February 23rd) 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 and Parker Clack (of the HTF) for all their hard work, and for providing the transcript for all to read. Enjoy!

Session Start: Tue Feb 23 21:05:03 1999
#HTF url is


[RonEpstein] At this time...

[RonEpstein] I wish to introduce John Powers and Paul Hemstreet of Warner Brothers Home Video...

[RonEpstein] John, say hello...

[JohnPowers] and more folks

[JohnPowers] We have people from Programming and editorial,

[JohnPowers] Hello all

[Parker] Welcome John

[RonEpstein] John, your position with Warner Brothers is?

[JohnPowers] VP DVD Market Development Worldwide --John Powers

[RonEpstein] And with you is Paul Hemstreet

[RonEpstein] His position with Warner Brothers is?

[JohnPowers] Hi - I produce the special features - Paul

[RonEpstein] Gentlemen, we are so proud you have joined us this evening...

[JohnPowers] Andrew Fumento is here - He edits all menu content

[RonEpstein] Hello Andrew. Welcome!

[RonEpstein] Our members here are very anxious to talk with all of you...

[JohnPowers] Bring on the questions

[RonEpstein] Okay....Mike Schmitt is up

[MikeSchmitt] thanks...

[MikeSchmitt] yeah, i have a issue i've thought of...

[MikeSchmitt] It's about MGM and DIVX (if i can ask about divx here)

[RonEpstein] Yes, I am sure you can

[MikeSchmitt] ok...

[JohnPowers] Ok ask away,

[MikeSchmitt] well as far as i know, mgm is tied pretty closely with warner.. am i far off?

[JohnPowers] We distribute their titles

[MikeSchmitt] well, i love warner's strong stance against Divx so far.. But MGM seems to be actually supporting it

[JohnPowers] MGM has released titles in both formats.

[MikeSchmitt] what is warner's position on this? are they doing anything, and if so what?

[JohnPowers] MGM makes their own marketing decisions.

[MikeSchmitt] (also i have a less important question if i can sneak it in: will we see a Batman Animated movie DVD?)

[JohnPowers] Yes, no date determined yet.

[RonEpstein] Next up...

[RonEpstein] GreggStaten

[GregStaten] First off - thanks for all you've done for DVD. You've set the pace for others to follow and proven DVD can be a huge market for the studios. What's the status of Dead Calm and Excalibur? I'm eagerly awaiting both!

[JohnPowers] Dead Calm is being remastered for future releaase, date uncertain.

[JohnPowers] Excalibur is scheduled for 4th quarter, and we have recorded a commentary with director JohnBoorman.

[GregStaten] Wonderful news on the Boorman commentary! Thanks again! GA

[JohnPowers] thank you.

[RonEpstein] Let's skip to Tim Wilson

[TimWilson] Hi gentlemen. Though every WB DVD title I own is outstanding, I must admit I prefer the sturdier keepcases offered by other studios. Does WB have any plans to change the style of the current DVD keepcases?

[JohnPowers] Not at this time. We are staying with the Snapper.

[TimWilson] Thanks!

[RonEpstein] Next up is Pascual

[Pascual] I would like to know why we dont get Dolby Digital Trailers on our DVD's like we did on laser disk? I missed them since I think it sets the mood for a home theater.

[JohnPowers] When did you get Dolby digital trailers on LD from Warner?

[Pascual] Not from warner specific but I just enjoy the DD trailers and wonder why they are not on the DVDs?

[JohnPowers] Do you mean the DD trademark trailers?

[Pascual] Yes at the beginging of the show the surround sound trailers.

[JohnPowers] We prefer to allocate data space for other special features.

[Pascual] OK I just think they they where great to have... thanks

[RonEpstein] Cameron is back. Cameron..

[Cameron] Thanks for joining us again guys.

[Cameron] Can you guys update us on the status of the Pee-Wee's Big Adventure DVD? Please do not let us down with this long-awaited title. Give us the matted Widescreen transfer 16x9 enhanced with special edition content! No open matte/full frame please!

[JohnPowers] We are holding the title in hopes for future involvement by Paul Reubens.

[JohnPowers] We do have a 16:9 transfer avaible.

[RonEpstein] Next up...MaxY

[MaxY] Thanks for coming and allowing me to aks this question!!!

[MaxY] My Question is What Plans Do you have if any for DVD release of the Golden Age Of Looney Tunes Boxed sets. If you release them will you be cleaning up the video and converting them to DD 5.1 like Fox Lorber has done with their Cartoon Crazies releases. ( Please a little less LFE then that though). Also with the First DVD 18's on the horzion is it possible that this will be used to take full advantage of DVD's high storage capacity?

[JohnPowers] We will issue cartoon compilations next year and beyond, pending mastering issues.

[JohnPowers] We plan to develop DVD 18's and plan to take full advantage of double sided dual layer when available.

[MaxY] Thanks

[RonEpstein] Next up is Steve_Enmark

[Steve_Enemark] When will the first two Superman movies be released to DVD? I'd love a 5.1 remastering of both of them!

[JohnPowers] Superman The Movie is in need of restoration.

[JohnPowers] Superman 2 may be possible by next year. We are investigating internally.

[Steve_Enemark] thanks!

[RonEpstein] Rick is next...

[Rick] My favorite movies series is the Dirty Harry flicks. Any hopes of seeing these remastered in full DD 5.1 for special editions?

[JohnPowers] Yes, but that will take some time and Malpaso Productions is heavily involved in any upgraded transfers.

[Rick] Thansk for the info, John

[RonEpstein] Next up is Robert1701

[Robert1701] I'm very concerned by the recent trend of Pan and Scan only DVDs. Is this going to persist? Will you re-release Widescreen editions?

[JohnPowers] Which titles are you most concerned about?

[Robert1701] Well, I am a fan of Chevy Chase...

[Robert1701] A lot of his films have only been released on p&S;

[TylerRuggeri] National Lampoons and Grumpy Old Mens

[Robert1701] Exactly

[JohnPowers] We make decisions on a title by title basis; we research consumer preferences, and although some titles may only be available in one format at this time, that is not to say that they will not be revisited at a later date in an upgraded form.

[Robert1701] Thank you. I hope to see more WS in the future!

[Scott] Is Warners Planning More Musicals on DVD (got today's Music Man) especially JUDY GARLAND's 1954 " A STAR IS BORN" in a widescreen deluxes edition with Extras? ... Does Warners control the MGM Musicals library? Can we expect to see more Judy Garland MGM Musicals? (Other than "The Wizard Of Oz" -- when will that 60th Anniversary edition be out on DVD? And will it use the DYE TRANSFER print or the 1993 THX?) Thanks and keep up the GREAT WORK and LOW PRICES!

[JohnPowers] A STAR IS BORN 1954 is now undergoing restoration for a future release in all formats with extras contemplated. We cannot speak for the MGM musicals at this time because they are marketed by MGM. That includes THE WIZARD OF OZ.

[StuRosen] I'm thrilled to see Badlands was announced. Do you think the DVD market has matured to the point that we can expect more titles from the 70's, etc. Any idea of what's coming in that regard?


[RonEpstein] Next up is Walter Feddern

[WalterFeddern] What are the current plans for releaseing the Babylon 5 telivision Series on DVD? Even just the 2-hour movies would be great to start.

[JohnPowers] Babylon 5 is under consideration.

[WalterFeddern] thanks. Any chance of it being the Widescreen version?

[JohnPowers] We havn't made any decisions on widescreen transfers at this time.

[StuRosen] Thanks!

[RonEpstein] Lawrence

[Lawrence] When can we expect to see Good fellas remastered as RSDL? Will other flippers be rereleased?

[JohnPowers] Flippers will be revisited. GOODFELLAS will be a prime candidate.

[RonEpstein] John, to reitterate that question...will the flippers be remastered to RSDL?

[JohnPowers] There is no time table yet. Rematering and re-compression is involved in almost all cases.

[RonEpstein] Next up is Troy...

[Troy] What do you plan on doing with the extra space DVD 18 is going to give you, pan/scan as well as anamorphic or maybe DTS and DD 5.1 soundtracks on the same disc or both or what? more extras?

[JohnPowers] All that you mention are possibilities.

[RonEpstein] Next up is ChrisBeveridge

[ChrisBeveridge] With the dual layered discs becoming more common (and hopefully with a lower defect rate), will the widescreen and p/s versions reside on one side instead of two someday, similar to what several MGM discs do?

[JohnPowers] Dual Layer discs will become more common, and less costly to produce, and the possibility of both aspect ratios on dual layer is being examined.

[ChrisBeveridge] Thanks!

[RonEpstein] Next up is Krishna

[KrishnaSriram] When can we expect to see HEAT released here in the States on DVD?? And could you give us any info about planned extras

[JohnPowers] HEAT will be released in 3rd Quarter, with no extras.

[KrishnaSriram] Thanks ..

[RonEpstein] Next up is RandyB

[RandyB] What general guidelines are followed when deciding which films are offered with 16:9 enhancement, which films will be pan & scan only, what extras will go on what film, and which films will get the special edition treatment? Also, specifically - why was Bonnie and Clyde not released as widescreen?

[JohnPowers] Q1) Costs, availability of transfers, talent involvement, availability of extra content in high digital quality. Q2) Bonnie and Clyde double sided double aspect ratio is coming in May.

[RonEpstein] Good News! Next up is PeterRohlfs

[PeterRohlfs] Please bring to DVD Prince and the Showgirl (would be 1st Marilyn Monroe movie on DVD)

[JohnPowers] We will consider it. Thanks.

[RonEpstein] Next up is RichardStammer

[RichardStammer] Richard Stammer says "I would like to add my name to the chorus of thank yous for all the great DVD releases. My question is: I was blown away by the release of Casablanca. I wonder when we can see more classic films from your vaults like The Big Sleep, The Sea Hawk, The Maltese Falcon, etc.etc. I am watching thse titles disappear from lasedisc and am concerned. Thanks."

[JohnPowers] All the titles you mentioned are marketed by MGM.

[RonEpstein] John mentioned that MGM makes their own marketing decisions

[RichardStammer] Richard Stammer says, "Sorry. The confusion is that they were great Warner Bros. movies. Thank anyway."

[RonEpstein] Next up is KarimNogas

[KarimNogas] Divx seems to be less of a problem up here in Canada. What has WB done to market open DVD outside the US? Thanks.

[JohnPowers] We have the same strategy as in the US: affordable pricing , simultaneous release with VHS, joint consumer promotions with DVD player manufacturers and joint promotions with retailers. Warner has released titles in Europe, South America, Asia, Australia, and has plans for China, and perhaps Russia later this year.

[KarimNogas] Great. Thanks!

[RonEpstein] Next up is Scott

[Scott] Warner MUSICALS?

[Scott] Gypsy?

[Scott] Mame?

[Scott] Etc?

[Scott] The Music Man is great

[Scott] and WHAT is the release date for JUDY's STAR is BORN?

[JohnPowers] Gypsy and the Pajama Game are awaiting slots on the schedule. More will be worked in over time.

[JohnPowers] No date yet.

[Scott] any idea at ALL?99?

[JohnPowers] no date yet. Thanks.

[Scott] Thanks for ALL you guys do

[RonEpstein] Next up is Tyler

[TylerRuggeri] I would like to know the status of the American President, the Shawshank Redemption, and Rosalind Russell's version of Auntie Mame. Also, what will you be doing to get other studios, namely Paramount, Fox, and Disney into the DVD habit and influence them?

[JohnPowers] Q1: The American President will be released Q4, as will Shawshank Redemption. Auntie Mame is currently undergoing restoration, so that is next year or beyond. Q2: We are pleased that Paramount, Fox and Disney, and Dreamworks are releasing DVD titles, and we encourage you to contact them directly asking them for more.

[TylerRuggeri] Thanks so much for coming. This means a lot to DVD fans everywhere!

[RonEpstein] V-Kendry..

[V_kendry] Hi, 1st thanks, 2nd, not asking for any corporate secrets but What is your approx. unit sales target to earn a net positive margin and how much does re-mastering and/or a 16:9 transfer add to this?....(more)

[V_kendry] for example, if 100,000 units of a bog standard transfer is a net (after costs) profit, how much more does a re-mastered, 16:9 transfer have to sell?

[JohnPowers] Unfortunately we cannot discuss costs. Thanks.

[RonEpstein] Next up is TomMeyer

[TomMeyer] Are there an updates on Kubrick films ? Will 2001 be rereleased (theatrically & on DVD) in 2001 ? Any chance of director's commentary? Also, when will "A Perfect World" be released ? thanks.

[ JohnPowers] Kubrick's 4 Warner films - Clockwork, B. Lyndon, Shining, Full Metal-- are being worked on for potential release this year. Q2: 2001 is marketed on video by MGM, and we cannot speak for theatrical plans for this title just yet. Q3: A PERFECT WORLD requires a 16:9 re-transfer, and we hope to offer it next year or beyond.

[TomMeyer] great ! thanks.

[RonEpstein] Next up is Eldridge

[Eldridge_H] Once the original film is cleaned up and ready to be mastered, generally, how long does it take to encode the video?

[JohnPowers] If you mean compression from a completed transfer, the input process is 3x real time. We do three passes for encoding.

[Eldridge_H] Thanks!

[smallfry] What about kids/animated stuff... like the newer Batman & ScoobyDoo movies?

[JohnPowers] Smalfry: additional family titles are planned for 2000 and beyond.

[RonEpstein] I'll skip over to Cevan

[Cevan_Twilley] I read somwhere that Warner was planning on suplying the soundtrack for the movie on the same DVD. Almost like your Quest For Camelot. Thanks

[Cevan_Twilley] If you know could you fill us in?

[JohnPowers] We have no plans at this time to package a soundtrack CD with the DVD. We will explore a few instances of Music-Only tracks in the near future.

[Cevan_Twilley] Yields to floor thank you

[RonEpstein] Next up is Jack

[Jack] Hi John glad you and the gang are here.. Now other than tonight, have you thought about either at your web site or here in this faboulous area, asking us Consumers what we want ? Formats, future DVD movies etc. Maybe take a poll if your trying to decide between several movies what movie us consumers are waiting for?? Just think of the number of sales from us consumers getting a product we want rather than what seems to be occuring now

[JohnPowers] Write your wishes/comments to DVD Programming, Warner Home Video, 4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank Ca 91522. Thanks for any input.

[Jack] thanks...

[RonEpstein] Next up is RandyGhost

[RandyGhost] What is your stance on copy protection and progressive DVD players?

[JohnPowers] Copy Protection is critical and copy protection is addressed through the formal DVD Forum.

[JohnPowers] Two more questions Ron, please.

[RonEpstein] Okay, 2 more questions and I get the final one...

[RonEpstein] JasonHughes

[JasonHughes] What is the status on the remaing Steven Segal flicks, Out for Justice and On Deadly Ground? Also, no disrespect intended, but Outland is one of the worst looking discs out there. Any plans for a reissue (as a Special Edition?) Also, what is the status on some obvious RSDL discs like Excalibur, Wyatt Earp and Once Upon a Time in America? Thanks!

[JohnPowers] Q1: Both Seagals in May. Q2: No plans to remaster Outland at this time. Q3: Excalibur is planned for later this year. The other two are not, and will be 2000 and beyond.

[RonEpstein] Last up is MikeC, then I have a question..

[MikeC] What is the status of the Little Shop of Horrors dvd? It's been over a year since it's release. Will it ever be re-released and, if so, will the alt. ending be included? P.S. Is it true that A Clockwork Orange will be released in july in conjunction with Eyes Wide Shut?

[JohnPowers] Little Shop will reappear sometime. In some enhanced form. Clockwork will come later this year.

[RonEpstein] I have the last question..

[RonEpstein] Before I ask..

[RonEpstein] I ask that you all let our guests leave without bombarding them with questions.

[RonEpstein] They gave us a lot of their time tonight.

[RonEpstein] My question, and this is the #1 question I get..

[RonEpstein] Why no extras on HEAT, the most anticipated DVD release? And why released overseas (region2) first?

[JohnPowers] We do not have worldwide rights to HEAT. We have elected to allocate maximum disc space to just the feature, to maximize the impact. It requires a high bit rate.

[RonEpstein] Very good.

[RonEpstein] Gentlemen...

[RonEpstein] Gentlemen, on behalf of all the members, we are grateful for your time here

[RonEpstein] We hope that you choose to come back and do this agin with us soon

[JohnPowers] Our battery is fading. Thank you from all of us for attending and sharing your comments.

[RonEpstein] Thank You John, Paul, and all the folks joining you today

[Parker] Thanks John and everyone.

[TravisHedger] Claps!

[RonEpstein] Do come back.

[Cameron] THANK YOU

[DanLange] Thanks guys, please come back and do this again!

[KrishnaSriram] *applause*

[RandyGhost] Thank you!!!!!

[PeterRohlfs] thank you

[JohnPal] Thanks!

[smallfry] thanks

[Alex85T] Thanks again!

[TravisHedger] This was a great thing you did

[GregStaten] Thanks!

[Dimitri] Thanks John!

[JosephDeMartino] Thank you all!

[TravisHedger] Thank you a lot!

[shaz] Tanks

[Prentice] ha

[LouisWestfall] Thanks

[shaz] Thanks

[Douglas] thanxxxx

*** JohnPowers has quit IRC (Connection reset by peer )
Session Close: Tue Feb 23 23:27:20 1999

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