As we begin a new year, let us look back at some of the more significant developments in the Philippine DVD scene that happened in 2006.
January ushered in the first R3 full-length feature films that came with 3-D glasses: Magnavision’s The Adventures Of Sharkboy And Lavagirl
and C-Interactive’s Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
. Yes, the 3-D was terrible and the films were even worse, but I’m sure a few parents were forced to purchase these for their children due to the novelty value of having a DVD that comes with 3-D glasses – not exactly something you could pick up at Metrowalk. Hopefully you didn’t have to sit through either of these with your kids, though. I tried, and honestly developed a really bad headache about 30 minutes into Spy Kids
that refused to go away for hours. To this day, I’m not sure if it was due to the anaglyph process or to the film’s plot.
February saw the Warner release of Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
in two very attractive versions – with figurines for 1200 and with a booklet and refrigerator magnets for 599. Magnavision released the digipak Jurassic Park Trilogy
at prices comparable to its R2 counterpart... but missing the booklet. Oh, and The Dukes of Hazzard: Unseen
was also released by Warner this month – and firewired actually gave it a positive review!
March saw the first local edition of DVD Price Wars – when Odyssey broke the release date of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
and Astro countered by lowering the disc’s price below SRP. This went on and on, with 2 more reciprocal price reductions before the DVD’s official release date. This never happened again. Darn.
Later that same month came the release of Peter Jackson’s King Kong
. The pre-order promo proudly announced that the two-disc version came with a slipcase. When consumers actually saw the slipcase in question, many wished that they hadn’t pre-ordered.
In April, just one week after the King Kong
packaging fiasco came The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
packaging brouhaha. For 900 pesos, the 2-disc set featured digipak casing but no slipcase, no postcards despite their being pictured on the box, and multiple typographical errors on the packaging. This sparked a huge debate here at Pinoy DVD – how could we ensure better packaging in the future? Some people called for a boycott of all Viva releases, others felt this was a ludicrous proposal. In the end, I think most people who wanted this title just waited for it to go on sale, and suddenly seemed to forgive or forget all the typographical errors when paying just 299 for it.
In May, Warner released a whole slew of TV series including HBO’s Entourage
, while Magna had another pre-order promo – this one for Memoirs of a Geisha
with a booklet and a slipcase. Although the slipcase was better than King Kong
’s, the booklet included in the set proved rather poorly-made and easily fell apart. Star Cinema released Pinoy Big Brother: Celebrity Edition
- not a great title, but very significant since it was the first commercially-released locally-pressed DVD9 that I am aware of. But by far, the biggest story of the month was the soft launch of PinoyDVD.Biz
, making DVD shopping even more addictive – and just a few clicks away. By the time the site was formally opened two months later, most of the bugs were worked out – if not the purely Warner selection. That changed later in the year.
For me, the biggest development in the local DVD scene in June would be the stealth appearance of Ishmael Bernal’s Manila By Night
at mag.net in Greenbelt... and only
in that shop. Sin City
was also finally released, but
by C-Interactive - the Video to “C”.
July was a big month for Filipino films on DVD. Viva released its Award-Winning Homegrown Movies for only 199 each. These included such local classics as Batch ’81
, Bayaning 3rd World
and Minsa’y Isang Gamu-Gamo
. Although devoid of special features and of variable picture quality, it was nice to finally see these films available on DVD. Later that month, Regal also released Sister Stella L.
, making July a banner month for fans of Mike De Leon.
August saw the release of V for Vendetta
with slipcase and graphic novel. But for me, this month is most significant since it saw the Philippine release of discs in the Girls Gone Wild
series. Wait... did I say that out loud?
Although September didn’t have too many releases, it was the month of the Astrovision Sales – Makati’s Midnight Madness; Mall of Asia’s Big Blast Weekend; and The Podium’s Biggest Sale of the Year. Ultimately, those who had been to the earlier sales were disappointed with the one at The Podium, since some prices weren’t as low, and getting to the mall post-Milenyo
was a hassle. I think the best buys of these sales were The Sound of Music
and Walk the Line
, both 2-disc sets being sold for only 299. In the case of Walk the Line
, the price reduction came less than a month after its local release at 900!
October will best be remembered as the month blitzkrieg was no longer the only member of Pinoy DVD to own a Jose Rizal
GMA Films came out with an excellent DVD9 for this modern Marilou Diaz Abaya classic. It was also the month when The Da Vinci Code: Extended Edition
was released on R3 but not on R1. It was released in three versions, including an attractive limited edition boxed set with a cryptex and a certificate of authenticity. This set was limited to 5000 copies throughout Asia. However, two members of Pinoy DVD BOTH got #5000, and to this day, Magnavision and Sony Pictures Entertainment have not addressed this issue.
November was a SUPER month, with the release of Superman Returns
and Superman: Ultimate Collector’s Edition
. Although the latter set has one less disc than its R1 counterpart, unlike that edition, it contained the correct version of Superman III
. It was also a month for animation lovers, with the release of Cars
, Ice Age 2
, Over the Hedge
and The Ant Bully
. Finally, the end of the month saw the release of the #1 Box Office Hit of 2006 – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
, from Viva.
December saw very few DVD releases, most notably Lady in the Water
and A Scanner Darkly
. It will best be remembered, though, as the month of the Pinoy DVD Grand EB at the Philippine Plaza Hotel, where over 100 DVDs were given away including a Quentin Tarantino-autographed copy of Reservoir Dogs
(Bartmaniac, you lucky dog!), hemisphere raffled off his Alien
Head Japanese Limited Edition set, crazyguyallert got drunk and danced on the table to the theme from Rent
, and techdude won the grand prize: an all-expense paid trip to Sydney, Australia.
And that last sentence was pure fiction, just to check if anyone was actually still reading.
Here are my R3 DVD Wishes for the New Year:
- Lower price point for Magnavision’s DVD9 titles. 895 is too much!
- Less typographical errors for Viva’s Disney titles. Come on, hire a proofreader. In fact, I’ll do it for nothing... other than a free copy of the final product.
- C-Interactive: Locate the local DVD9 facility that Star Cinema uses. Your packaging has already improved, now it’s time for your discs to do the same. And remember... full screen is for VCDs, please give us the DVDs in widescreen.
- Star Cinema: Three words - Oro, Plata, Mata
- Warner... keep up the good work!
On with 2007!