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H'wood Directors Tout Advantages Of Blu-ray

1/24/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

LAS VEGAS — This is not a joke: How many Hollywood
directors does it take to sell Blu-ray movies?

If you’re Fox Home Entertainment and Panasonic, the answer
is three. Superstar directors Oliver Stone, Michael
Mann and Baz Luhrmann came from behind the cameras
to tout the “spectacular” and “stupendous” benefits of the
Blu-ray format and promote sales of their movies.

The trio spoke in the Panasonic booth during International
CES with a backdrop of almost 100 plasma HDTVs
under the banner “Technology: Hollywood, The Director’s
Vision.” The directors were introduced by Jim Gianopulus,
head of Fix Filmed Entertainment, and the panel was
moderated by Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times.

As you’d expect, the three directors were quite bullish
about the format for a variety of reasons, but Blu-ray’s
outstanding quality topped the list. Clips from the directors’
greatest hits were shown on two big screens, including
“Moulin Rouge.” “Romeo+Juliet,” “The Last of
the Mohicans” and “Wall Street” parts one and two. After
the clips, the directors gave additional comments.
Of the three, Luhrmann was clearly the most animated
and enthusiastic. “Blu-ray
is better, that’s a given.”

After the “Silly Love
Songs” clip from “Moulin
Rouge” he told the
audience how he wanted
to recreate the feel of
old-style three-strip Technicolor
MGM musicals. He
couldn’t resist tweaking
the studio execs in audience
by asking if he could
go back and adjust the red
in the scene just shown.

Boucher asked them
if they were optimistic
about the future, given
the proliferation of technology
and the fact people
now were watching
movies on cellphones and tablets. Oliver Stone related
how sad it made him when he watched his daughter
viewing one movie on the PC in a bright room while
multitasking. “Blu-ray is the best of the last hardware,”
Stone said.

He lamented how people may never have access to
physical books, records, comic books and movies in the
future. He urged people to buy movies on Blu-ray, predicting
a collection would be quite valuable by 2050, just like
baseball cards bought in the ancient days of the 1950s.

Mann and Luhrmann were far more optimistic. Mann
said he loved the advances in technology, the bigger
screens and 3D. Luhrmann was fantastically excited
about the “power of the instrument.” He likened the new
breakthroughs to Toulouse Lautrec saying, “Oh, here’s
some cardboard, let’s paint on it.”

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