Special Edition, Director's Cut and Unrated DVD releases of popular films have been a staple on video store shelves for the last few years. Lately (more specifically, since the release of the Extended versions of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy) there seem to be more variations on a single film than are films themselves. And it won't be getting better any time soon.
Thanks to this trend, Lion's Gate Home Entertainment has announced its plans to release a "Scene Collector's Edition" series of DVDs for all of its films, beginning July 1st, 2006. "We'd been kicking the idea around for a year or so," explains Thomas Moneygrubber, who is responsible for the Lion's Gate home release schedule. "However, we weren't sure the public was ready until late last year."
Moneygrubber is referring to a special "Uncut Edition" (released in October 2005) of its unexpected hit horror film "Saw" that featured a new cover with colored water in a protective sleeve. It looked like blood, and fans ate it up.
"Thank God for the Geeks," Moneygrubber says.
"Saw" had already been available for several months in the standard Fullscreen and Widescreen editions, both of which featured grisly looking limbs on the cover. Later releases of the film included new packaging that resembled a jigsaw blade, and the aforementioned "Uncut Edition" that added a mere eight seconds to the original film. Read that once more, and you'll understand why Lion's Gate is excited about the possibilities.
"We never expected people to be interested in so little new content, but they were, and we couldn't be more excited. The "Saw: Uncut Edition" release was only a test, but it was a bonafide success. Eight seconds of new footage! And they actually bought it! Imagine the possibilities."
The "Scene Collector's Edition" releases will forage new ground in the world of home video; no other company has attempted so ambitious a project. Simply put, each new film will have a separate DVD for every scene. Collect them all, and you'll have the entire movie. "Of course, it's only fitting we launch the series with "Saw II" states Moneygrubber. "As the film has over sixty scenes, there will be over sixty DVDs, each with a different scene."
Does Lion's Gate really expect fans to cough up a ton of money for films they already own? "These people are completests," he continues. "There's no way they won't want every release associated with their favorite movie."
Moneygrubber says Lion's Gate isn't greedy, however. "We'll be offering them at a very reasonable $12.95 per disc."
Other distributers are paying careful attention to the experiment. New Line's Jonathan Avarice states his company is not blind to the potential for new sales. "If Lion's Gate is successful, you can almost certainly expect us to follow suit with the "Lord of the Rings" films."
At approximately 200 scenes a film, that works out to be over $2500 per film for each collector.