10/26/99 Black Mask (with Jet LI) has been canceled - another casualty of low preorders. This follows the cancellation of every single pending Synapse Films release. All of these recent cancellations highlight the importance of preorders. Some of you might be wondering what preorders are and why preorders are so important now when they didn't matter as much in the past? Preordering is simply what it sounds like - ordering a product before it has been made. The reason they are so important is that Laserdisc producers will use preorder numbers to set how many copies of a title they will press. If the number is too low, they simply won't make the title at all. In today's market, Laserdisc producers often only press 100 units over preorders.
Unfortunately, to the general public, the concept of preordering is odd and unnecessary. After all, in the past, Laserdiscs were still produced even though few people actually preordered anything. It seemed as if only rabid fans (usually Star Wars or Star Trek fans) preordered Laserdiscs. Actually, this wasn't too far from the truth. In the past, retailers' orders made up the bulk of preorders. Furthermore, these orders were to fill shelves, so consumers could come in and find products to buy from them. Today, it is a different matter. Look at how many Laserdisc retailers there are. In the past, Blockbuster, Camelot, Suncoast and Tower Records carried Laserdiscs. No longer. Aside from a few specialized dealers like Sight and Sound, retailers do not carry laserdiscs anymore. Now, retailers that place orders turn around and send most of them directly to consumers. Actually, now that Image Entertainment owns Ken Cranes and Pioneer started Laser Visions Direct, most people actually order Laserdiscs directly from the distributors instead of retailers. Few retailers order Laserdiscs simply to fill shelves. Almost all of the Laserdiscs produced today are already earmarked for consumers. The days where hundreds of laserdiscs sit on shelves and in warehouses are over. What this means is that you have to adjust your buying patterns or else laserdiscs will die a quick (and undeserved) death. Personally, I find it sad that The Matrix on Laserdisc has more people wanting to buy it than copies for sale. On the other hand, one million copies of The Matrix on DVD was shipped to retailers. However, the DVD, while a best seller, is nowhere close to being sold out. Therefore, it is essential to preorder Laserdiscs.
There are a few misconception about preordering that I hope to clear up. First, like regular orders, most reputable places will not charge you until the order has actually shipped. That means your money won't be tied up in a Laserdiscs that may never ship. Furthermore, you can cancel preorders just like regular orders (cancellation charges and/or deadlines might apply). Therefore, preordering is similar to regular ordering. You just have to wait longer for the Laserdiscs to be shipped to you.
Of course, there is one disadvantage to preordering - you have no idea what the Laserdiscs will be like. For example, you have no idea how the picture and sound is. Plus, Image Entertainment doesn't make it easy for you since they report what extras are included AFTER the preorder deadline passes (dumb). Luckily, the quality of Laserdiscs nowadays is excellent so this is less of an issue than it was in the past.
Speaking of extras, I managed to find out a little about some upcoming December LD releases.
Pioneer Entertainment has announced that American Pie (LBX,DD) and The Wood (LBX) are coming to Laserdisc. Both will retail for $29.98. American Pie is scheduled to be released on December 7. Preorders for this title are due on November 9 so it before then. The Wood is scheduled to be released on January 18. Preorders are due December 7.
Image Entertainment will finally release Life is Beautiful (LBX,DD,Subtitled) on December 14 for $39.99. This title was put on hold when Miramax decided to re-release a dubbed version in theaters to capitalize on its Oscar success. The Laserdisc will include both original and dubbed soundtracks. I'd mention the preorder date but I don't know it (oops!!!). It's nice to see a title actually come off hold. It gives me renewed hope that the Indiana Jones Trilogy that was supposed to street today will finally make it to Laserdisc.
Finally, if Jet Li fans really want to see Black Mask, there is a Hong Kong Laserdisc of that title floating around . . .
Also, check out my reviews section. No more popup ads and errors in MS Internet Explorer. Titles added this week include The Blair Witch Project, Election, Life and Star Trek Deep Space Nine Episodes 59/60. Click on the Second Opinions link to submit a review. There's a shiny nickel in it for the first one who submits a review.
10/18/99 Unfortunately, this is a slow week for Laserdisc news. The only title streeting this week is Election. Luckily, my reviews section is finally online and working!!! If you click on the "Reviews" link on the menu located on the left hand side of your screen, you will be transported to the reviews page. There you can read my (lone) review or submit your own review. To submit your own review, click on the title of your choice. When the review page loads up, click on the "Second Opinions" link on the bottom of the review page. Just fill in the form and your review will be posted. If you want to review a title that isn't listed, email me and I will list it. In the near future (hopefully by next Monday), I will have a blank review form that you can fill out on any title you want. Titles currently listed include Election, The Matrix, The Mummy, A Star is Born and Die Hard with a Vengeance (which just happened to be the movie I was watching prior to creating the reviews page).
Now, a couple
words of words of warning. First, if you use Internet Explorer, you may
get an error message when accessing the "Second Opinions" page. Ignore
this error. It has nothing to do with the submission process. The
error is related to the the popup ad code that my CGI webpage host automatically
inserts into my webpages. I will get rid of this code in the coming
week or two. Also, this week and possibly next week, you
may have trouble connecting to this page. My standard webpage host
(Crosswinds) will be upgrading
their systems. In the future, this should mean faster page loading
times. However, in the present, this means slow or no connections.
I apologize for the inconvenience.
10/10/99 Pioneer Entertainment has announced that The General's Daughter is coming to laserdisc on December 14 for $29.98. No extras (not even Dolby Digital) was mentioned in the announcement and don't expect them either because this is a Paramount release and Paramount generally doesn't do extras packed titles.
Over this long Columbus Day holiday, I hope to finally begin posting Laserdisc reviews. If you click on the reviews link on the left side of the screen, you should see some titles listed. Some of them will only contain Second Opinion titles so don't be bashful and submit a review if you watched any of the movies listed.
10/04/99 - I'm back!!! Thanks for continuing to visit my website in spite of the fact my last update was quite a while ago (9/19/99). There are many reasons why I didn't update my site for the past two weeks. Those reason include (1) I got a job that interfered with the day I normally do updates (Friday), (2) laserdisc news has been depressing of late and (3) I've been busy contemplating major upgrades to this site (especially my reviews page which has been "under construction" since I started this site).
If you haven't heard by now, Image Entertainment recently axed two titles due to the fact they can't use Pioneer's American LD plant anymore. Jack Frost was canceled (presumably because of poor preorders) along with Caligula (supposedly Japanese plants refused to press it because the movie violates their decency standards). In addition, all of the James Bond movies placed on hold when MGM instituted a moratorium on all Bond movies (on all formats) are now officially canceled. That's too bad because I was looking forward to getting the two Timothy Dalton Bond movies in widescreen and Dolby Digital for the first time on video. Oh, well.
Anyway, enough doom and gloom. It's time to accentuate the positive. Laserdisc isn't dead yet. Image has announced three new titles for December. Those titles are Deep Blue Sea (LBX, DD), Entrapment (LBX,DD) and The Iron Giant (LBX,DD). Deep Blue Sea was one of the few movies I saw this summer (along with Bowfinger and The Sixth Sense). Unfortunately, it was the worst out of the three movies I saw this summer (To see my movie review of Deep Blue Sea, click here). However, I am interested in seeing how this movie turns out on Laserdisc. When I saw this movie in the theaters, the picture looked slightly grainy (probably because Super 35 was used) so I'm interested if the grain will make it to home video. Also, I'm glad to see Entrapment because it means Fox has decided to start releasing their movies on Laserdisc again. Quite frankly, I'm not surprised to see the Iron Giant announced because WB has been relentlessly promoting this title on home video since it tanked in the theaters. Entrapment is due on November 23 for $39.98, The Iron Giant is due on December 7 for $29.98 and Deep Blue Sea is due on December 14 for $39.98.
Laserdisc titles due this week include My Favorite Martian:The Movie (LBX/DD), Mummy:Signature Coll. (LD/1999) and Star Trek DS9 #057/58:Past Tense #1 & 2. Also, horror fans better not forget to check out the recently released The Walking Dead with Boris Karloff and Lucio Fulci's Cat in the Brain. Titles due next week include Life with Matrin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy and A Star is Born (with extras!!). Also, expect American Pie to be announced in the next couple of weeks.
DTS is holding a blowout on all the DTS laserdiscs they have in stock. All titles are $20 (plus shipping) and are going fast so hurry over.
Turning to the changes on my website, almost all the pages on my site have been updated in some way since 9/19. My FAQ has gained a MP3 of the Dolby Digital "screeching" sound people hear on older incompatible players. I also fixed some dead links in my links page. Also, my email address has changed so my email page has changed as well.
However, my review page hasn't changed (yet). I have decided that I am too slow of a writer and too poor (being poor and a laserdisc fan is not a good mix) to write enough reviews to satisfy my readers. Therefore, I have decided to allow the readers of this page to post their own reviews. What this means is that if you have bought a new LD (say The Matrix) and you have an opinion on the title, you can submit a review to my page. That way, if I haven't bought the Matrix, there will still be a review on that LD for other readers to enjoy. Clever, huh? Those of you who remeber Dave Beckman's page will certainly appreciate this. I have written the CGI scripts (the first ever Perl program I have ever written) to do this but I haven't finished my automated page generating program so the reivew sections is not done yet. However, I plan to have everything done by next Monday. However, those that wish to see what this will look like and how it will work can visit my beta review page (on Die Hard with a Vengence) by clicking here. Click on second opinions to see how to submit reviews.