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 here with a backdrop of almost 100 plasma HDTVs under the banner "Technology: Hollywood, The Director's Vision." The directors were introduced by Jim Gianopulos, head of Fox 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."