Industry News

Comic-Con 2015: Studios Say ‘Why Bother’ with Blu-ray

Filmmaker Robert Meyer Burnett is more blunt about the studios attitude toward the high-definition medium.

“They want to get rid of physical media,” said Burnett, who has produced the Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-rays and edited many of their features. “It’s a pain the ass.”

Instead, the studios are much more enchanted with streaming media, which is lower quality and no-frills, but extremely convenient for non-discerning viewers. There’s no packaging or extra features – from deleted scenes to making-of documentaries – for the studios to spend precious money on.

Cliff Stephenson, a producer and editor for the Blu-Rays of “The Hunger Games” film and NBC’s “Hannibal,” blames the downfall of Blu-rays on the phenomenal success of its predecessor. DVDs democratized movies in a way that VHS or laserdiscs never did, making movies at home incredibly popular for the casual viewer. That popularity bloated Hollywood’s expectations when Blu-rays hit the scene a decade ago, Stephenson said.

Consumer demand never caught up to those expectations, so the studios lost interest. Stephenson would have preferred that Hollywood marketed Blu-rays exclusive to collectors who were willing to pay a premium – much like laserdiscs of the 1990s. He cited the movie “Tron,” which debuted on laserdisc for $100 years ago.

“For the studios, It kind of hits that `why bother’ threshold,” Stephenson said during a panel at the San Diego Comic-Con.

While the pair are still fighting for Blu-rays, they are hoping that Hollywood learns from its recent history and adjusts for the next generation of media.

photo credit: Blu Ray Dvds via photopin (license)

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