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Andrei in the office

lordandrei

Andrei's Universe

One man's journey from infinity to nothingness


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Andrei in the office
lordandrei

Little Shop DVD: Redux. What happened

I got a couple of posts in the comment area and a few IM's so I figured I should bring this into its own post rather than a comment.

The first DVD and what happened:

The original issue of the DVD has rescued footage of an ending that would have followed the original film and the broadway show.

As originally filmed.
The plant kills Audrey. She does the reprise of "Somewhere that's Green" there is a very spiritual scene with Seymour feeding Audry to the plant. He tries to commit suicide on the roof. Then makes a failed attempt to kill the plant and is eaten. "You ate the only thing I ever loved"

The DVD shows "Don't feed the plants" with a load of rough scenes of the plants taking over the world. The smiling plant is seen in a toy store.

Test audiences (used to Hollywood endings) couldn't deal with the B-Movie Horror ending. Despite the filming being finished, Geffen ordered Oz to rehire the cast and crew to reshoot the ending (under much vehement disagreement from Oz).

You can tell where the cut occurs if you watch the final release carefully. A munched Audrey is pulled to the back of the store. Seymour bends over her and worriedly calls to her, "Audrey, Audrey?" There is a strange edit between these "Audrey's." This is the case because several months elapsed between Moranis saying these two words.

Oz was never happy about this change. (As a director I can sympathise with the order, "Change the ending of your movie. I don't like how the story ends") He has running commentary throughout the 'rescued' footage. His tone and comments make it clear that he's not happy.

It turned out that Geffen may have perceived the release of this footage was to challenge his decision. Geffen was reported to have the attitude that 'This is the way the film was released, this is what the audiences should see.' So the discs were yanked and destroyed within days of the 1998 issue.

Now, I haven't seen the 2000 issue. I don't know if the disc is the same disc that has simply been re-mastered. It could be that Geffen has acquiesced as the proof is public. The new disc may be missing the old footage and simply be a standard DVD release. If anyone has the 2000 issue of the DVD (check the ISBN number as per my previous post) I'd love to compare. (Granted, I could just plunk $10 on the disc...)

Regardless, there are differences between the 1998 issue and the 2000 issue. In 1999 (when I tracked down my copy) it was rare. It was a disc that had circulation only in the numbers purchased. This disc will be a long range collectable now.

Here I will talk about personal theories on how collectibles work. Please note, my numbers are illustrative estimates and not in any way related to hard data except where stated. The industry of collectibles is (like the stock market) a field that has so many variables that a crystal ball or monkey with a dart may be just as effective.

Collectables work in this way:

  • A high demand item has a smaller than demanded supply. (It's value goes up about 40-80%)
    New X-Men 1 $3.00 cover, 2 months later $5.00
  • A 2nd run of the item with an oversized supply is released. (Original's value will move +/- 20%)
    New X-Men 1 2nd ed. $3.00, Orig issue $4.50

    What happens is that over time the "Not so collectable" first edition (because the same media is available for cheaper) gets lost in the shuffle. Effectively a % of the original set get mixed in with the larger set of 2nd releases and lives out its life.

    Now, in any issue of an item there is loss. People discard, damage, wear out, and lose items. People don't know the innate value of an item. If you figure 20-40% of a collectible item is lost over time you can assume that a higher percentage is lost over an item that is not considered 'collectible.' This means that cards, comics, coins, which have a very established 'collectors community' tend to have better staying power than say, 'casino gambling chips' which has a much smaller collection of 'enthusiasts.' Suffice it to say, the number of people who've said to me, "Oh, I had a box full of old comics in the 50's but my mom threw them out..." would have made me very rich. And if you dout how one man's attic storage is another man's pot of gold... Anyone wanna know where the original manuscript of "Liber al Vel Legis" was found?

    Usually you can tell by Googling on "term price guide." (This worked for: sports card, coin, comic, beanie, and pokemon. This failed for DVD, but did work for casino chip) So, the long-and-short of it is that you're 20-40% supply loss will be larger for items with a smaller collector basis.

    So, what kind of numbers are we looking at? This kind of data is especially hard to come by. Especially when the original is considered an embarrassment that the creator would rather you not notice. Until large scale collecting groups are formed, sometimes these treasures go unnoticed for 50-75 years. But let's play with numbers.

    "Raiders of the lost ark" sold 1.1 million DVDs in its first week of release. This would be a good starting number but it should be said that at the time it also throttled records for a DVD release. So, let's assume that the top release of the week from Little Shop's release was closer to 600,000. (Now, you may wonder how I manage to drop 30%. I use the dvdfile's videoscan chart The number 10 seller of the week has an index of 15.5. This means that the 10th most sold DVD of the week sold 15% of the units of the #1 seller. We'll give Little Shop some benefit of doubt. Let's say it 'would have' sold 30% of the number of units of the number 1 seller of the week. This would say that the 1998 release of the disc was the 5th most popular release that week.

    So, at this point we're up to a disc that could have sold 30% of 600,000. (Again... all numbers estimated) We're down to 180K units. But remember, these discs were available for 2 of 7 (28.6%) days and then pulled. Now, we're just over 51K units. I should note that the original issue of the disc had a mastering problem that didn't let it play on most DVD machines at the time. This gives the impression that the discs were recalled because they were damaged. Let's chuck 10% from returns and trash. 46K.

    Now, I will be honest. I think my estimates are very, VERY liberal in favour of the number of units from the first issue that are floating. I'd estimate that the number is closer to 20-25K. This is all before the 2000 release. So a new issue of the DVD comes out. Let's estimate that there are now 600K available and it's still 'in print.' The boxes (from advertisement) are nearly identical. What happens now is that the DVD goes thru its normal life. Some people are made aware that the DVD is collectable thru ebay or amazon comments. Most don't care because they can get the DVD for a small amount and $200 is crazy for a DVD.

    Over the next 10-25 years... DVDs will come and go. Eventually, people may consider turning it into a collectors field. The industry already is. Multiple issues of DVDs with all new features and re-mastering. Box sets. But in the long run... the true collectible isn't the manufactured one. It's the one that people didn't intend to make collectible. It's the first small run of McFarland's Kiss toys. It's McFarland's work on The Hulk and Spiderman, when people grabbed him for content not name. It's the mis-minted penny with a double strike that the Mint tried to recall and hide under the rug.

    To be realistic, DVD's could eventually go the way of the 8-track tapes that fetch $0.25 on ebay or Vinyl where a copy of "Please Please Me" by the Beatles could fetch $450. One doesn't know. The fact that this DVD (which is only 6 years old) is currently valued at $140-$225 on ebazon, means that at least I'm not the only one looking at it.


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    I'd like to see the alternate ending...

    is there anyway you can rip it from the dvd and send it to me as a file?

    If not, I'll just have to get over it :P

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