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Canadian Release Out Shine those in the United States

I recently made a discovery that I would like to share with my fellow home theater owners and DVD collectors, the film studios are penalizing those of us that live in the United States. This may sound strange consider most of the world’s DVD players and home theaters are in the US but I have found it to be true. There are releases that are made just north of here in Canada that are not available in the US. There are also significant differences in many of the DVD released in Canada from their American counterparts.

For a long time I have greatly enjoyed the work of director Kevin Smith. His ‘Jersey Trilogy’ is excellent. In America, only the first two films are available on DVD. The third, Chasing Amy is not. Then I went to Smith’s production company’s web page, http:\\ . I saw an announcement of the DVD release of Chasing Amy so I followed the link and sure enough, it was for pre-sale only a week away. I bookmarked the site and returned to the place I usually order DVDs and it was no where to be found. I looked at other DVD sales sites and again found no mention of Chasing Amy. I returned to the site that had it to order and noticed that the site was in Canada. The studio was releasing this film on DVD only there. Since Canada and the US are both DVD region one, I ordered it. I began to look around the site to see what else they had and was stocked that the selection in Canada was a lot better than here in the states. After checking around and asking the places I normal buy I found it was not the fault of the dealers but the decision of the studios. To date I have not received an answer from the studios as to why this discrepancy should exist.

Now, how about some other examples of differences between the US and Canadian releases. Pulp Fiction, a very popular movie that has enjoyed successful sales in both DVD and VHS formats. In the US release on DVD the added material is a trailer of the movie. In Canada, there are English and French covers and four deleted scenes. The American DVD is in Dolby Surround while the Canadian is in Dolby 5.1. Why should the Disney/Buena Vista studios not release the better version here in the States? Then there is an all time favorite, the special edition of the Abyss. No plans to release this in the US but it is on its way in Canada.

Now, I’m not saying that consumers in the United States should receive preferential treatment, rather, the studios should provide the same product to all consumers. I would like to hear from people that buy non-region one DVDs on whether or not these discrepancies exist elsewhere. The retail prices between the full release and the release without added features are about the same. This would indicate that the cost of production is very similar. Also, there is little reason from the point of view of the consumer as to why a DVD would be released in such a limited market rather than making the full DVD available to all. No frills DVDs do sell. Just look at the recent release of Titanic without any added features to speak of. The point here is that if the features are produced they should be marketed to all DVD owners. It the studio goes to the time and effort to produce a DVD like Chasing Amy or the Abyss, why not give all collectors a chance to purchase the product.

The home theater owners make up a growing percentage of the ones that purchase DVD and videos. Why should we have to search around the world to find a film we want to own? It is our hard-earned money that provides the profits the studios enjoy so much. Should this place on them a responsibility to treat us with some respect and make a new release universally available? A large number of DVDs are purchased on line now so I can see no reason why a large distributor should be denied a product that is sold in another country. It is time the studios remember that we the consumer sign their paycheck with our money and treat us with a little more respect.

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