New Line With New Extras
New Line Home Entertainment is the third Hollywood studio to give gamers extra features on their PSP, as we see in this new column!
New Line Home Entertainment is the third Hollywood studio to give gamers extra features on their Universal Media Disc (UMD) movies. The first wave of New Line films, which includes Freddy vs. Jason, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Secondhand Lions, Elf, The Butterfly Effect and Blade, all include bonus extras from their DVD counterparts. The UMDs are priced to own at $20.
Taking a page from Buena Vista Home Entertainment, which was the first studio to incorporate DVD-style extras on UMDs in the early days of the PSP release, and Lions Gate Home Entertainment, which was the second; New Line will continue to offer extras on all of its upcoming releases, including Wedding Crashers: Uncorked Edition, Dumb and Dumber Unrated and Domino.
"Our methodology is that when we have space on the disc, we will include as many special features as we can from the DVD release," said Justine Brody, senior vice president, marketing, New Line Home Entertainment.
Brody said that the most popular features from DVD releases are deleted scenes, gag reels and director and talent commentary. The first batch of UMD movies includes a lot of extras. The Butterfly Effect includes the director's cut of the film, director commentary and deleted scenes. Secondhand Lions offers a gag reel, deleted scenes and a director commentary. Freddy vs. Jason includes deleted and alternate scenes and commentary from the director and Robert Englund. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre serves up deleted scenes and three feature length commentaries. Elf spreads the Christmas cheer with deleted and alternate scenes, commentary from Will Farrell and Jon Favreau and a featurette with Will Farrell. Blade offers previews of other films, as well as a commentary track with Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, writer David S. Goyer, cinematographer Theo van de Sande, production designer Kirk M. Petrccelli, and producer Peter Frankfurt.
"Our philosophy is that some consumers aren't repurchasing the UMD movie, but are buying it for the first time," said Brody. "And we want to offer them as close an experience to the DVD as we can."
Brody said that research has found that there's been little cannibalization between DVD and UMD movie releases. People want to purchase and bring their favorite movies on that road trip.
That's good news to the home entertainment companies, which can now sell the same movie twice to the technologically savvy consumer. That has been one of the reasons that all of the major studios, save Dreamworks Home Entertainment, have jumped on the UMD bandwagon.
Brody said that the transition from VHS to DVD was a great learning period for studios. It paved the way for the quick adoption of UMD in the DVD age. Because both DVD and UMD films are from a digital master, porting movies from one format to the other is rather simple, technologically speaking.
As PSP enters its first Christmas, Sony expects to have an installed base of over 5 million hardware units in the U.S. The game company has already shipped 20 million PSPs around the globe. What this means on the UMD movie front is that more kid-friendly films will be released on the format.
"As people start realizing the portability of PSP, the age range of consumers will drop," said Brody. "What we've put out for this holiday we believe will be good for a wide range of ages. We believe people will receive PSP as gifts and they'll want to buy movies for the device. Some people will buy a PSP and a game and some movies, which is why we have family films like Elf and Secondhand Lions available."
While UMD movies will skew younger, the new and catalog titles that are released will continue to focus on male gamers.
"Studios know that early adopters of PC and game platforms are mostly males," said Brody. "While some girls game, I think it will be a while before you see movies aimed at girls on UMD. The Notebook, which had a demographic of females in their 20s, won't be coming to UMD any time soon. I think you'll see films like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants released on UMD before movies like Under the Tuscan Sun.
Brody said that New Line evaluates every theatrical release and monitors the demographics of the PSP and calculates how a UMD title would sell. She said the studio will definitely release a lot of thriller, horror and action movies. And for 2006, she said the studio will look more seriously at more PG and PG-13 titles to tap into the broader demographic.
One thing that hasn't had an impact on PSP movie sales thus far is piracy. Although it's relatively easy to download illegally copied movies from a PC to a PSP, consumers are purchasing UMD movie releases at retail.
Brody said that movie piracy is most rampant between the time a movie is in theaters until it is released on DVD or UMD. The price point and quality of DVD and UMD movies acts as a deterrent against piracy from that point on.