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  1. #1

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    I always thought I was the only one who felt this way, but then I saw a thread on IMDb about it, ensuring that at least a small selection of anally retentive geeks feels the same way. I wonder how MiceChat feels about this.

    So I recently got my hands on the Hunchback of Notre Dame DVD, a film which I've always felt is one of the best and most underrated ever. That quality was certainly reflected in this, the original movie poster...



    ...a gorgeous, atmospheric, well-designed piece that captures the feel of the movie perfectly. It's so nice you'd want to frame it and look at it every once in a while.

    Unfortunately, the DVD looks like this:



    A schmaltzy, crowded, mediocre drawing of a scene that never occurred with more shiny Photoshop airbrushing than six years of Vogue put together. And while the movie is one of Disney's darkest and deepest, the cover art invokes the sort of cartoon that teachers toddlers to count.

    The same thing happens with every release; gorgeous movie posters, awful DVD art.

    Why must they do this? I understand that they want parents to pick these up and think, "oh, this will be lovely for little Layla," or, "this looks long and loud, maybe if I pop this into the DVD tonight and crank up the volume Harold and I will finally get a little time to ourselves," but do they have to dumb their own masterpieces down like this? And doesn't it alienate that older demographic that watches animated films for their own enjoyment; the sort of crowd you see at every Pixar release? What do you think?
    Last edited by pussnboots; 11-03-2008 at 05:06 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Why are DVD covers always so awful?

    IMO, the movie cover for the Hunchback of Notre Dame is cute, not awful. For the most part, I think movie overs are ok.
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  3. #3

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    Re: Why are DVD covers always so awful?

    But it doesn't exactly reflect the aesthetics or atmosphere of the movie, does it? Esmeralda doesn't even look like herself.

  4. #4

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    Re: Why are DVD covers always so awful?

    You think that's bad, just look at the cover for The Great Mouse Detective!

    Ya, Most Disney DVD covers are quite awful. I miss the nice look of the Black Diamond Classics and Masterpice Edition VHSs. Alot of the Laserdisc covers were quite nice too. It's as if in 2000 they fired the good cover designers and hired newer crappier ones. Just look at the upcoming Mary Poppins 45th Anniversary (yes, another pointless anniversary re-issue DVD with no new real content) DVD. 1940s streamline font for the logo?
    I like The Happiest Millionaire. What's wrong with that?

  5. #5

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    Re: Why are DVD covers always so awful?

    The covers are crap because they are pandering to the lowest common denominator. So that the 6 year old can't miss the title and main character on the cover.
    A good example is the VHS cover for Aladdin.

    Vs. the Laserdisc version that was obviously designed with the mature film enthusiast in mind

  6. #6

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    Re: Why are DVD covers always so awful?

    Yeah, when Beauty and the Beast came out, I really admired the poster that featured nothing more than a soft light sillouette of the pair dancing above the film title, and a caption at the top saying something about it being the greatest love story ever told. It was a truly striking image. But it never made the cover for the initial VHS or DVD.

  7. #7

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    Re: Why are DVD covers always so awful?

    Blame marketing. Or maybe it has something to do with artists and not wanting to pay the original artist royalties? So they have their staff create lousier covers for the home video releases.

    I could be wrong though.


    They have gotten better in recent year but they're far from the majestic qualities of the original movie posters.

    The only one that I can somewhat recall it having a cover close to some of the teaser posters was the 2Disc special edition of Tarzan. The cover for that dvd was the sketch of Tarzan that Glen Keane did that ended up being a teaser poster.

    And that Hunchback one sheet is beautiful. I have it framed at home.


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  8. #8

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    Re: Why are DVD covers always so awful?

    On Pirates 2, one of the movie posters is exactly the same as the dvd cover, but it highly detailed for a space as small as a dvd cover. On HUGE posters, you can afford to go much more detailed, or have just a teeny tiny detailed figure to focus on. With the size of movie posters, you can do a lot more artistic things. Perhaps just a couple simple images, like the bells being real large, and a tiny Quasimodo. A more artistic image, which in the same case is really more detailed, and more an artistic representation of the movie. Lion King and Tarzan had some similar posters, too. Those posters are introductions, to whet your appetite about a new movie. The only competition they have at the movie theater are other movie posters that are the same size, (and occassionally some indoor lobby displays.)

    BUT with DVD covers, you are competing for shelf space with hundreds of other DVD covers. And your cover is only up front and center, if you're lucky, for one or two weeks. By then, that movie is relegated to a place much more hidden and camouflaged among all the other older releases. They HAVE to make these dvd's recognizable at an instant, and they way they do that is to place the significant characters up front and up large, reflecting the mood of the movie that is most appealing and memorable. And they have to do that in a teeny tiny amount of shelf space. That way the consumer can recognize the movie at an instant and grab it, if the consumer cant find it, or doesn't recognize the cover, they've lost sales, and that can translate to millions of dollars in just the first couple of weeks of dvd release.

    The picture on the dvd cover serves an entirely different purpose than the movie poster. The Poster serves as a way to intrigue people about the movie and generate interest, and movie posters are sometimes released months prior to create a buzz. The dvd cover serves to primarily sell it to people who are already familiar with the movie and know the characters and the story, and get them to place it in their shopping cart (whether it be on line or in a physical store).

  9. #9

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    Re: Why are DVD covers always so awful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    Blame marketing. Or maybe it has something to do with artists and not wanting to pay the original artist royalties? So they have their staff create lousier covers for the home video releases.

    I could be wrong though.


    They have gotten better in recent year but they're far from the majestic qualities of the original movie posters.

    The only one that I can somewhat recall it having a cover close to some of the teaser posters was the 2Disc special edition of Tarzan. The cover for that dvd was the sketch of Tarzan that Glen Keane did that ended up being a teaser poster.

    And that Hunchback one sheet is beautiful. I have it framed at home.

    Emperors New Groove also had a 2 disc set that looked similar to the Tarzan 2 disc set..

    Some of the more artistic movie posters just look much better in movie poster size, than reduced down to a 4" x 6" case. You just can't see the beauty of that smaller image - And if you like the image that well, get the poster and frame it like Coheteboy. I've purchase a few movie posters, myself. I even liked the image of a Tarzan poster that was designed for a British movie poster size, that I ordered it in that size. With a dvd case, usually the majority of it's life is display with only the binder showing, at most.

  10. #10

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    Re: Why are DVD covers always so awful?

    Quote Originally Posted by pussnboots View Post
    I always thought I was the only one who felt this way, but then I saw a thread on IMDb about it, ensuring that at least a small selection of anally retentive geeks feels the same way. I wonder how MiceChat feels about this.

    So I recently got my hands on the Hunchback of Notre Dame DVD, a film which I've always felt is one of the best and most underrated ever. That quality was certainly reflected in this, the original movie poster...



    ...a gorgeous, atmospheric, well-designed piece that captures the feel of the movie perfectly. It's so nice you'd want to frame it and look at it every once in a while.

    Unfortunately, the DVD looks like this:



    A schmaltzy, crowded, mediocre drawing of a scene that never occurred with more shiny Photoshop airbrushing than six years of Vogue put together. And while the movie is one of Disney's darkest and deepest, the cover art invokes the sort of cartoon that teachers toddlers to count.

    The same thing happens with every release; gorgeous movie posters, awful DVD art.

    Why must they do this? I understand that they want parents to pick these up and think, "oh, this will be lovely for little Layla," or, "this looks long and loud, maybe if I pop this into the DVD tonight and crank up the volume Harold and I will finally get a little time to ourselves," but do they have to dumb their own masterpieces down like this? And doesn't it alienate that older demographic that watches animated films for their own enjoyment; the sort of crowd you see at every Pixar release? What do you think?
    Are you sure that was the original poster? Looks more like a teaser poster. And if that's the case, they wouldn't usually use that anyway for the DVD.

    I think this was the main poster used to promote the movie, which is a little bit more along the lines of the DVD cover:

    http://www.nostalgia.com/nf_moreinfo.html?sku=15986

  11. #11

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    Re: Why are DVD covers always so awful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Yeti View Post
    Are you sure that was the original poster? Looks more like a teaser poster. And if that's the case, they wouldn't usually use that anyway for the DVD.

    I think this was the main poster used to promote the movie, which is a little bit more along the lines of the DVD cover:

    http://www.nostalgia.com/nf_moreinfo.html?sku=15986


    You're right. The domestic poster is the one you linked to and STILL infinitely better than what they've come up with.

    But I suppose Aladdin makes a good point. Studios are finding ways for their DVD art to stand out on the shelves and sometimes, using the original posters aren't enough, even if they ARE the better way to do it. So again, it all comes back down to marketing.

    I for one still thinks the original poster art stands out quite nicely in the smaller size. And for me, it's actually more identifiable and appealing... especially when the characters drawn are actually ON MODEL.

    For Pixar films, I can see why they wouldn't go with the original poster as a lot of them are very busy and elaborate as well. BUT... they at least design their dvd art with the same computer models so it looks decent enough.


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  12. #12

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    Re: Why are DVD covers always so awful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    For Pixar films, I can see why they wouldn't go with the original poster as a lot of them are very busy and elaborate as well. BUT... they at least design their dvd art with the same computer models so it looks decent enough.
    You bring up an interesting notion. Now that John Lasseter is running Disney Animation, he may take a more vested, artistic interest in DVD and Blu-ray cover art. In fact, I know he approved the cover art for Tinker Bell (I was in the meeting in January when the designer got the word from his boss that John loved it.). So perhaps we'll see a new era of better-looking DVD/Blu-ray covers to come now to please more Disney folks.

  13. #13

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    Re: Why are DVD covers always so awful?

    The evolution of the Mary Poppins cover:

    1998:


    2000:


    2004:


    2009:


    All I got to say is next year's release looks terrible. The 40th Anniversary edition that came out in 2004 was the best. I also can't understand why they are re-releasing it once again when there are other movies in the Disney library that deserve better releases, or, movies that have not yet got a release; how about Song of the South?

  14. #14

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    Re: Why are DVD covers always so awful?

    ^ That's an enlightening recap, thanks. Regarding MP being released, my guess is the Broadway show is hitting the road next year (I'm looking forward to seeing it at the Ahmansen) and I believe the new release has a bonus feature about it. Synergy.

  15. #15

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    Re: Why are DVD covers always so awful?

    on the 2009 MP release looks like the flipped Mrs. Andrews face over but not the rest of her head.

    It also follows the Disney DVD case layout to a tee. Big disembodied head(s) on top, Title just above the center line, and horizon, action shot on the lower third.

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