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TOPIC: Back to Basics

Back to Basics 10 Aug 2001 11:06 #19724

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I know this a basic question. But why are movies cut to different times. I recently read that 15 mins. have been added to the DVD and VHS versions of "Shrek". Its just 15 mins., so why didn't they just leave it in in the first place? Is this a sales ploy or is there some other reasons why they subtract and add to the movies before and after there shown.
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Re: Back to Basics 10 Aug 2001 14:52 #19725

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Yes it is totally a sales ploy. The correct term for it is "Value Added."

For theatrical distribution a film is cut with the following ideas in mind. The story should have timing, flow and a beat. The film should fit in to a time slot for theatrical distribution that means it should be no shorter than 90 minutes and no longer that about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Yes you can stretch that should you need more time to tell the story but you had better have an interesting story. If you go longer than 2 hours and 15 minutes you should think about an intermission because people shouldn't sit that long. I'll think about this when I am taking my four transcontinental flights this fall.

When you edit for television you must get the film in a two hour, or 2 1/2 hour or three hour window with ad space.

Now that you are ready for the home release you can give the audience a little bit extra. After all you aren't asking them for $8 you’re asking them for $30. So to make it a little more enticing for them to own you ad a few of the scenes that you had to cut to get it down to 2 hours for theatrical distribution. You didn't add them to the videotape because there is a time constraint there as well. Plus you as a filmmaker don't really benefit from rentals anyway. You would just a soon everybody that rent turns in to a buyer instead. So throwing in the cuts you had to make to get a PG-13 rating or to bring it down to an R will help as will that funny scene that the studio test audience didn't find amusing but you still do. Then you throw in some production notes and some stills. There it is, now the DVD is a collectors item and people feel good about spending $30 for it instead of $15 you would have had to charge if you had just left it the same as the video tape.

The nature of watching a video is different than sitting in a movie theatre. The timing is lost because of potential interruptions and one can always pause the video and come back to it later.

Value Added: Sir if you up-size your popcorn to the jumbo tub, I will throw in this promotional pack of candy you don't need or want. How about that? Oh, yes please I love getting something extra!

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