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.”