• Re: Format

    By Peter Becker

    Last November, when we announced that we would start releasing dual-format editions, we hoped that we had found an alternative that would address our concerns about packaging costs across two formats, while guaranteeing that both DVD and Blu-ray customers would still have access to an identical product. While we did solve that problem, no one seemed particularly happy with the solution. Blu-ray customers didn’t like making room for DVDs they didn’t want, and DVD customers didn’t like paying more to get a Blu-ray they couldn’t play. We soon found that we had to start releasing stand-alone DVD editions alongside the dual-format ones because a fairly large proportion of our audience has not made the leap to Blu-ray yet. And once we had separate DVD editions, what was the point of putting DVDs in with the Blu-rays? A good question.

    With that in mind, when we announce our September titles at the beginning of next week, we'll be going back to releasing separate DVD and Blu-ray editions. In most cases, the contents of the releases will be the same in both formats. This may come as welcome news to many of you and perhaps as a disappointment to some, but please know that we’ll keep thinking and listening, experimenting and exploring, so do let us know your thoughts and preferences.

197 comments

  • By ab
    June 19, 2014
    05:06 PM

    I've been avoiding Criterion DVD-only versions for a few years now because I'd rather have the titles on BD and can wait for a rerelease. While I do not use the DVD copies in the combos, I don't mind that they're there and understand that people in transition or who think they don't need HD (they're probably wrong, but we can wait) might want them. I own a significant fraction (about a third) of the existing Criterion Blu-ray titles- so many that my local B&N only gets titles I don't have when new ones come out. I hope that re-splitting the stock doesn't make them less likely to have the BD versions since their DVD section is noticeably larger.
    Reply
  • By Something
    June 20, 2014
    04:00 PM

    Personally, I only own 1 dual-format release (Fantastic Mr Fox),and hope to get maybe 2 more (3 if I decide on weather or not to get the Blu of All That Jazz) to be honest, while I love the features, the packaging, although nice, is really flimsy (the disc tray is breaking. I'm having the same problem with my DVD of Legend) and clunky, it just doesn't fit in with my other Criterion Blus like Brazil or Rushmore (and I'm ticked off that now the dual formats are beginning to be released in keep cases, All That Heaven Allows is a big perpetrator.) Maybe this was a good idea, maybe not. Also for those of you bickering about prices, I saw at Costco Criterion Blus like Charade, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Harold and Maude, The Lady Vanishes and The Great Dictator are $20 each!
    Reply
    • By 120FILM
      September 18, 2015
      02:39 AM

      Did they have Salo, The Night Porter,Antichrist, or Sweet Movie? No? Didnt think so.
  • By Linou Gertz
    June 25, 2014
    03:32 PM

    I can't believe my eyes. First, DVD-costumers says "Oh, DVD is so much superior to blu-ray, much nicer packeting and bigger booklets than the small-package that the blu comes with. And the picture is not that superior on blu-ray anyway!" and now, with the grand package with two DVD:s and one Blu-ray for you own choose wich one to watch yourself and which to lend to a friend/family-member or sell on Ebay, and very nice booklets. I don't mind small Blu-ray-cases, but I just watched "A Hard Day's Night" on dual-format and both the packeging and the booklet is a experience beyond just watching a film. Just as it should be with Criterion. And that is worth the pricing, even if I'm not that rich and need to import from B&N on theire sales sometimes. So, for me, this is sad news. I think a big dual-format Eraserhead and The Innocents would be nicer than small blu-cases.
    Reply
  • By HOUSE
    June 27, 2014
    08:38 PM

    My experience with the dual format was one of grudging acceptance. I happen to be one of these "lower income" buyers who really has to watch his spending, especially when it comes to the ever addicting Criterion Collection. If I don't watch myself I'll buy two more films than my bank account can stomach. So naturally, I was a die hard DVD guy. The $10+ difference was huge for me, and I very much like to buy my Criterion from my local B&N for the immediate and visceral gratification (people who are still buying physical copies should appreciate this). So even though I am not burdened with a "low IQ", I tend not to bargain hunt or buy used off of Ebay. But, when I heard the news of the Dual, I bought a used player from best buy and dove in. So you guys did get me. What did that do to change my experience? Well- Firstly, the bump in image quality is NOT negligible. I was frankly blown away. When I first watched Eyes Without a Face and La Notte, I couldn't believe I hadn't upgraded earlier. Why was that again? Oh yeah, the money! I now realize that this means I have to be far more selective when it comes to what I can purchase. There are at least a half-dozen releases I quite possibly WOULD have picked up at the dvd price, but when I see the bigger price I get scared. Now, some releases I can't help myself, but my "to buy" list has been growing more rapidly since the transition. I was pleasantly surprised to find uses for the DVDs in my laptop and my portable dvd player. The future? Well, aside from the initial annoyance due to their back-peddling after I made the transition, I don't begrudge Criterion at all. I'll continue to buy the Blu Rays now, so they've made me a convert and will be getting more of my cash per release, but when I'm being more selective, does that translate to more cash overall? And this business of people selling the dvds from the Duals for cut rate on ebay... I see the ethical loophole, but still...shame on you guys!
    Reply
  • By WillemDafoe
    July 10, 2014
    06:14 PM

    I'll miss Dual-Format Editions, not because I like having copies of the same movie on Blu-Ray and DVD but rather the packaging for them, like The Great Beauty, Persona, and Breaking the Waves just to name a few
    Reply
  • By SilverContent
    July 19, 2014
    12:32 PM

    As formats go, whatever floats your boat. I have both Blu-rays and DVDs in my collection. But if both formats are using the same hi-def source material, I'll always choose the higher definition format— but if a title is available only in DVD format, I might purchase it. And I agree with many of you, but I take issue with phrases such as, "...worst news I could possibly hear." If Criterion stopped doing what they do best—for reasons that extend beyond what we see, that would be a travesty.
    Reply
  • By sp4zzj4zz
    July 20, 2014
    04:02 AM

    Well, I gotta say, this doesn't make me happy. So I suppose with the loss of dual format releases we will also lose the incredible new packaging also? Because that will *really* make me unhappy.
    Reply
  • By NOTADIRECTOR
    November 20, 2014
    01:33 PM

    With the beginning of this months Barnes and Noble Criterion sale I've ventured into more than one Store to find that some of the originally thick packed DVD titles such as The Golden Age of Television have been Re-packed into slim DVD cases. How many "Box Set" DVD releases will be re-packaged this way? Because part of the appeal of Criterion releases are the high end presentation, from Picture quality of the film right down to the premium packaging. If I had a choice I'd rather pay for the Premium Packaging if I choose to Own the film, other wise If I want to just watch a title I will use my HULU account.
    Reply
  • By callahan09
    November 24, 2014
    08:59 AM

    This is fine for DVD fans, because from what I'm seeing they will not get to pay $30 for the DVD alone, without having to pay the extra $10 for the Blu-Ray they don't want. But now that we're going to be getting DVDs separate from Blu-Rays, why do we Blu-Ray fans have to pay the same price for just the Blu-Ray as we used to be paying in total for the combo? Blu-Rays still cost $40, only now we're getting less for our money.
    Reply
    • By mietha
      December 19, 2014
      01:18 PM

      Pretty much my opinion on the matter as well. There is NO excuse to not have a blu ray player in 2014, especially if you are will to pay $30 for a DVD. Blu Ray debuted as a format EIGHT YEARS AGO. Why is criterion catering to a vocal minority of people stuck almost a decade in the past?
  • By Anthony B.
    February 16, 2015
    06:09 PM

    The Dual format editions that were released are great. I would like to own all of them. I will buy everything from the Criterion Collection on Blu-ray because I feel like everything about Blu-ray is superior. I'm happy that Criterion listens to their fans but at the same time, the five people against dual format editions have been getting more of a say than the 5 billion people for them. I like having both the DVD and Blu-ray packaged together in a thick Digi pack with a booklet. Going back to separate releases is like taking a step backwards in the wrong direction. In some ways, you could even say that Criterion is taking an even farther step back because now we are not even getting booklets, just leaflets. I hope that in the future Criterion will consider going back to the dual format editions as I would rather buy those than the current releases. I have always been a huge supporter of The Criterion Collection and they will always be my favorite company but, I hope that they eventually go back to releasing dual format editions as I'm starting to miss them.
    Reply
    • By Ricart
      February 18, 2015
      05:27 PM

      I also hope that Criterion goes back to offering dual format as at least an option. It is great to be able to view a movie under different conditions (for instance, both on laptop and regular monitor). The perceived difference in price that people complained loudly about does not seem a real issue, as it appears that most blu-rays are priced the same as the dual format editions. I also love the quality and richness of Criterion's offerings and will also buy the Blu-rays, but I will be trying to get all the dual editions while still available.
  • By Anthony B.
    February 16, 2015
    06:13 PM

    We also get more artwork in the Digi pack sets and the heaviness makes me feel like i'm getting more for my money.
    Reply
  • By Pedro Verdugo
    March 12, 2015
    10:32 PM

    Ok, no more dual format, but please bring back the booklets, hate the leaflets :(
    Reply
    • By jon-not-john
      March 13, 2015
      07:48 PM

      Maybe having to spend more money to make separate editions of the releases means they can no longer spend the money to produce lavish booklets.
    • By stynn
      April 01, 2015
      01:54 AM

      Agree!
  • By Gord
    March 13, 2015
    12:52 AM

    Besides being curious to see what they did with the DVD menus compared to the Blu- (which I did a grand total of twice) I never bothered with the DVDs. I just got the Zatoichi box and I can't help feeling it's unnecessary to have so many DVDs (18) I'll never use. Then again maybe the need to house 27 discs is the reason why we have Zatoichi in such a beautiful box, haha. I've not noticed a return to leaflets, but the most recent one I have is Eraserhead which was from Oct '14 (before Anthony & Pedro's comments). On what releases are there leaflets? Eraserhead has a nice bound book. All That Heaven Allows and Fantastic Mr. Fox, two other recent ones I bought have the stapled bootlets, but they're pretty nice. The last time I saw a fold-out leaflet was the Blu- for Last Temptation of Christ and I didn't mind it because it was old-school Criterion which seemed appropriate for a title they've offered for 15 years. Anyway, if it's true yes it sucks.
    Reply
    • By Pedro Verdugo
      March 17, 2015
      11:57 AM

      I think Eraserhead was the last release with booklet (apart from box sets) i think it may even have began a bit earlier, but since Eraserhead had a digipak and they probably still used a booklet for that reason.
    • By Pedro Verdugo
      March 18, 2015
      01:36 AM

      I Think Eraserhead was the last one released with a booklet, and that is because it was a digipak release which usually comes with a thick booklet, all the other releases from that time until now have either came with a triptic kind of leaflet like this one: http://criterionforum.org/DVD-packaging/vernon-florida-blu-ray/the-criterion-collection/1399 or a foldout like this one http://criterionforum.org/DVD-packaging/dont-look-now-blu-ray/the-criterion-collection/1378 you can check all other releases in that website
  • By jon-not-john
    March 13, 2015
    07:47 PM

    I appreciated the dual format releases. I really can't understand someone who buys Criterion, but does not own a Blu-ray player. It stands to reason that someone who is interested in classic and world cinema enough to purchase physical media at premium prices, would also invest in the technology to view said media at the best possible quality. It is also important to consider the financial realities of producing physical media these days. If dual format helped keep Criterion afloat and operating I am very sad indeed to see you return to a more costly separate release formula.
    Reply
  • By Cezary_C
    March 17, 2015
    05:10 PM

    I'd just like to address a couple of the misconceptions I've seen in the more recent comments. First, most of the new releases include booklets, not leaflets. If a few of the releases have slim leaflets included, they are nowhere near as common as booklets. Second, although some of the dual releases came in larger digi-packs, some were still released in the regular slim Blu-ray cases. Even when Criterion was DVD-only, some releases came in more elaborate digi-packs, while others were in slimmer DVD cases, so there's really no change, there.
    Reply
  • By Pedro Verdugo
    March 18, 2015
    01:38 AM

    Agreed with your second point, about the leaflets check the links of my previous post, i don't consider any of the two forms shown on my links a booklet.
    Reply
  • By Pedro Verdugo
    March 18, 2015
    01:45 AM

    Something happened with my previous post (i guess you can't post links), i was just saying that Eraserhead was the last of the booklet releases because it is a digipak, which usually comes with a thicker booklet, the more recent releases all have either one triptic kind of leaflet or one that folds like a map, you can check criterionforumd dot org to check the packaging of all releases.
    Reply
  • By Andrew Day
    September 11, 2015
    06:00 PM

    Criterion needs to just ditch DVDs. This is a niche company catering to cinephiles. Any serious cinephile should have bluray by now. The players are less than $100. Criterion never did dual format laserdisc-VHS, it was just laserdisc. Why use a lesser format now?
    Reply
  • By Marcelo
    September 15, 2015
    09:32 AM

    It seems unfair that some people claim that DVDs are obsolete and Criterion should only release Blu-rays. I think that the price difference is what matters the most when deciding on your purchase. I can add a few extra titles for that price difference. Criterion should lower their prices. While some people here on this thread claim that "we all" have Blu-rays players I have to say I have region-free players in my house, and very often I buy from Eureka, who offers similar, if not superior quality Blu-rays, and their prices are much more affordable (even with the conversion rate). Eureka DVDs start as low as 6 pounds and Blu-rays at 9 pounds, and just like this company, their goal is to make money, and provide movie lovers with great titles. In conclusion: lower your prices! And let the buyers decide if they want Blu-rays or DVDs. This company prides itself for "listening" to their consumers, so please do so.
    Reply
    • By 120FILM
      September 17, 2015
      12:11 AM

      Eureka sucks. Locals only brah
  • By 120FILM
    September 17, 2015
    12:09 AM

    Start releasing laserdiscs again! Maybe do limited editions. Is this possible?
    Reply