Newsvine is reporting that Blade Runner fans are going to be hustled by Warner Home Video into purchasing two more DVD versions of Ridley Scott‘s 1982 future-noir. The item isn’t written as clearly as it should be, but it seems to say that Scott’s “director’s cut”, which first appeared on DVD in 1997, is “being restored and remastered for a brief DVD reissue in September.” Four months later, or sometime in December ’06 or January ’07, this version will be “deleted” (i.e., withdrawn from the market) and replaced by a 25th anniversary “final cut”, which Warner Home Video is billing as Scott’s “definitive new version” of the film.

  • Zachary

    I don’t think fans are being hustled here. Warner Brothers is doing fans a favor here. By doing two releases, they are allowing fans who want just the 1992 DC to own just that. For the die-hard fans, they’re releasing a multi-disc box set next year with:
    1982 Domestic Theatrical Version
    1982 International Theatrical Version
    1992 Directors Cut
    2007 Final Cut
    Also, the 2007 Final Cut is being released into theaters before coming out in the box set.
    I’ll be picking up the 2-disc set this September and the multi-disc set next year since the extras on the 2-disc probably won’t carry over to the box set.

  • Steven R. Silver

    I’m curious as to how much of a market there will continue to be for these “special edition” DVD’s the closer that HD-DVD (or its rival) comes to being a commercially viable reality. Until these HD-DVD players start selling for under $100, you will still have the Blockbuster/Netflix crowd lining up for every new release, but older films being released or re-released on DVD cater almost exclusively to the true film buffs. Directors and studios can see the light at the end of the tunnel and they are straining to get every last buck they can out of this more sophisticated market before the gravy train comes to an end and buyers decide to wait for these deluxe editions on the higher definition format.
    I can appreciate that films released on DVD in 1997 or 1998 were often barebones, non-anamorphic affairs rushed into production to get a sufficient number of titles available to the public to justify plunking down hundreds of bucks for a player. I have no problem with studios revisiting classic titles years later and giving them a proper DVD re-release, as has happened this year with The Wild Bunch and The Dirty Dozen among others. However, I do have a problem with trying to pull the same stunt over and over again on film buffs with the same movie, especially when there is very little that is special about the special edition.
    I was all in favor of the extended version of Kingdom of Heaven. As soon as I learned about its recutting, I knew I would wait for the full-length version before buying a DVD. But Ridley Scott seems to be getting a bit hungry or perhaps greedy. There is an “extended cut” of Black Hawk Down adding eight minutes of footage. I see no reason that could not have been included on the three-disc version released a couple of years ago. Now, there is Scott’s “definitive new version” of Blade Runner. Well, it would have to be something truly spectacular and there would have to be a heck of a good reason for waiting till now for me to buy it.

  • Daniel Zelter

    Still less of a money-grab than the de-mastered Star Wars Original Trilogy.

  • Rich

    I think Zachary got it right. The only way you’ll get fleeced is if you don’t pay attention and buy the Director’s Cut in September. Unlike Lucas and Fox, Warner’s is being up front about their release schedule. Yes, they are trying to squeeze in more special editions before the Hi-Def “leap,” but at least they’re including every version in that special edition.

  • Def Doubter

    Why is everyone so sure the Hi-Def DVD leap is going to come at all? With the film industry’s foolish insistence on dueling formats, they’ve created instant confusion beyond the ranks of tech heads. No one beyond home theater gurus are interested in this stuff yet. Players have been delayed, what players are available are cumbersome and expensive, the first generation titles are fairly hard to find and the leap in quality just isn’t as obvious. I’m sure when the technology evens out, gets cheaper, and starts to get bundled with X-Boxes and PS3s, things may change. But the dueling format snafu may permanently hobble this next generation home video market. I see it as possibly becoming the next generations laserdisc player. A superior format over the common standard that requires too much effort on the part of the average consumer to become widely successful.

  • Josh Ehrnwald

    Concerning the timing of this release, and the “money-grabbing” factor:
    This was actually intended for release way back in 2000 or 2001, and was in fact completed that long ago, but Jerry Perenchio (billionaire owner of the “Blade Runner” rights) pooched the whole thing out of personal spite for Ridley. Scott himself has remained extremely dissatisfied with the way the (so-called) 1992 “director’s cut” turned out, not having been able to devote the time needed to fine-tune and fully realize that particular version…he finished work on the “final cut” a good five or six years ago, but Perenchio put the brakes on it, languishing it in legal hell until now.
    Apparently the Warner Bros. checkbook has a way of soothing old wounds, as this announcement was a total shocker this past week. (But, oh — who needs “Blade Runner” when the “Underworld: Evolution” TV spots are now pimping it on Blu-Ray, baby??)

  • sean

    Steve – you’re wrong. Plain and simple, you don’t know what you’re talking about.
    : I’m curious as to how much of a market there will continue to be for these “special edition” DVD’s the closer that HD-DVD (or its rival) comes to being a commercially viable reality.
    They’re being released on HD and Bluray simultaneously, assuming both are still around by then.
    : Until these HD-DVD players start selling for under $100, you will still have the Blockbuster/Netflix crowd lining up for every new release, but older films being released or re-released on DVD cater almost exclusively to the true film buffs.
    And, naturally, a true film buff will only watch a film on the absolute best technology available, even if the film being offered on the technology is crap. I mean, that does seem to be the bizarre belief you’re suggesting … I think you’re confusing “technology buffs” and “film buffs”. Film buffs are the ones who still have working VCRs because they taped movies which you can’t watch any other way, and still have working laserdisc players for those few movies which you can’t get on DVD.
    : Directors and studios can see the light at the end of the tunnel and they are straining to get every last buck they can out of this more sophisticated market before the gravy train comes to an end and buyers decide to wait for these deluxe editions on the higher definition format.
    Directors have nothing to do with how a distributor chooses to market the film. The only choice they get is whether to participate or not. Also, your fundamental premise is flawed, because if people want to wait, the special features will be on the HD releases whenever they happen. Seems like it’s up to the consumer.
    : I can appreciate that films released on DVD in 1997 or 1998 were often barebones, non-anamorphic affairs rushed into production to get a sufficient number of titles available to the public to justify plunking down hundreds of bucks for a player. I have no problem with studios revisiting classic titles years later and giving them a proper DVD re-release, as has happened this year with The Wild Bunch and The Dirty Dozen among others. However, I do have a problem with trying to pull the same stunt over and over again on film buffs with the same movie, especially when there is very little that is special about the special edition.
    So you’re saying that there’s nothing wrong with re-visiting a title which, like ‘Blade Runner’, was only released in 1998 … so what’s the “stunt” you’re talking about? ‘Cause it makes no sense. Especially claimed “There is very little special about the special edition” – we’re talking about a four-disc box set.
    : I was all in favor of the extended version of Kingdom of Heaven. As soon as I learned about its recutting, I knew I would wait for the full-length version before buying a DVD.
    Even though Ridley Scott himself cut that version down willingly, because he had agreed to a certain running time, you chose to wait. Interesting…
    : But Ridley Scott seems to be getting a bit hungry or perhaps greedy. There is an “extended cut” of Black Hawk Down adding eight minutes of footage. I see no reason that could not have been included on the three-disc version released a couple of years ago.
    Because the distributor has decided that extended “unrated” cuts sell better. Do you really think that Ridley Scott has any say over what Jerry Bruckheimer does? You’re looking for hate in all the wrong places, friend.
    : Now, there is Scott’s “definitive new version” of Blade Runner. Well, it would have to be something truly spectacular and there would have to be a heck of a good reason for waiting till now for me to buy it.
    “heck of a good reason” – in 1982, the film was taken away from Ridley Scott and certain changes were forced upon him by the completion bond folks after he went over-budget. Among many changes was the “happy ending”. In 1992 (?), WB decided to go back to the other way, but didn’t put any time or effort into the process, and didn’t allow Ridley Scott access to the editing room. They did allow him to have a little input, so he suggested a few specific things to put back in, but as he had nothing to do with the cut itself, and as they were using the slightly-trimmed US cut rather than the international cut (which had all the violence Scott had wanted) to “restore”, this was not considered a “director’s cut” by anybody except the marketing people.
    Thus, if you’d been paying attention, you’d know that there has never ever been a cut of ‘Blade Runner’ prepared by Ridley Scott, unlike ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ or ‘Black Hawk Down’. It’s really more analagous to ‘Legend’ than any other Scott picture.
    (And, before you bring up ‘Alien’, I’d point out that Scott himself says the “Director’s Cut” is just a marketing thing the studio did, and that he fixed the extended cut so that it was as good as could be, but does not prefer it to the theatrical cut.)
    Oh, and that studio that you’re so mad at just spent untold millions to negotiate the rights to distribute every previous and future version of ‘Blade Runner'; the man who controlled the rights hates the movie, wanted nothing to do with it, and didn’t want to license any version to WB at all, though WB had previously retained the rights to the so-calld “Director’s Cut” previously released (until some time last year). This release has been planned for at least three years, but the rights situation was very, very complicated.
    The funny thing is, I don’t think your conspiracy theory is crazy (though including directors in it is), it just so obviously doesn’t apply to ‘Blade Runner’ that it’s a bizarre release to get angry about.

  • Steven R. SIlver

    I saw the short version of Kingdom of Heaven in a theater. I did not see any reason to plunk down more money to get that same version on DVD a few months later when the longer version would be out in a few more months.
    Like everyone, I have a limited amount of money to devote to watching movies in any format: theatrical, DVD, High Def or Bluray. If I can readily forsee that a particular movie will be available in a better format in the relatively near future (whether it’s a more definitive cut, better special features or technologically improved like High Def), I am willing to wait for that and spend my money somewhere else today. There are plenty of choices out there; I don’t spend my Saturday nights watching Cops or Law and Order reruns because I didn’t buy the new Blade Runner. And I have a feeling a lot of other film buffs are like me in that respect.
    You are right that the Hi-Def purchases are being made right now by technology buffs rather than film buffs (how else to explain Swordfish being one of the first titles released). Right now, May, 2006, I don’t see either Hi-Def format being available at the right price with the right library in the near future for me to say I will wait for it. So, if a Special Edition truly interests me, I am willing to buy it, even if I already own the earlier version (and I do own the old Blade Runner). In a year or two that may change.
    My feelings about Special Editions do not change, though; I feel it should be a significant improvement over what’s already out there to justify a double dip, and, if I feel it is just a crass money grab, I will allocate my limited funds elsewhere. Talk about “permanently retiring” Blade Runner gives off a whiff of hucksterism that will make me look at these new editions very carefully before deciding whether I’m going to invest in them.

  • Don Mynack

    How about a version that takes out all the boring parts? Man, watching that thing recently, it just creaks along…

  • Josh Ehrnwald

    :::My feelings about Special Editions do not change, though; I feel it should be a significant improvement over what’s already out there to justify a double dip, and, if I feel it is just a crass money grab, I will allocate my limited funds elsewhere. Talk about “permanently retiring” Blade Runner gives off a whiff of hucksterism that will make me look at these new editions very carefully before deciding whether I’m going to invest in them.:::
    The only version of “Blade Runner” that’s set to be “retired” is the ’92 cut — and even *that’s* going to be included in the mega-set, alongside the other cuts of the picture. Nothing’s truly getting retired, here.
    If anything, it’s that that particular version is poised to be rendered SUPERFLUOUS, rather than “retired,” considering Scott’s intentions to release the new cut to supplant the ’92 one. The supplements in the 2-disc set aren’t likely to get carried over to the “Ultimate” set either, and at least WB are decently giving us the heads-up on both versions long in advance.
    Far from hucksterism, methinketh. It’s not like it’s gonna be a complete, stunning jaw-dropper a few months later, when the Mega-Uber Set hits the stores.