How Did the TNG Remaster "Not Turn a Profit?"

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Cryogenator, Jan 24, 2024.

  1. Cryogenator

    Cryogenator Commander Red Shirt

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    According to Robert Meyer Burnett, each episode of The Next Generation cost approximately $70,000 to remaster, which means the remaster project cost around $13 million.

    Sales figures for the first season Blu-ray were cited at 95,435 copies in the first five days in America alone, equaling "well over $5.5 million."

    If that's true, then if we factor in global sales, over half the cost of the entire series remaster was recovered within a week from just the first season.

    The Blu-rays (which continue to sell even a decade later) must have turned a profit even before adding additional profits from television and streaming rights. I don't see how the remaster could not be tens of millions in the black by now.

    Why, then, was CBS widely reported as being "disappointed" with sales, and why are the Blu-rays widely said to have "bombed?"
     
  2. The Knappos

    The Knappos Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Because in common, narrow parlance, unless you make the outlay back within 20 minutes, you’re a bomb these days.

    Corporate targets and expectations for media releases are always front loaded for the fiscal year they enter market. Further behind the scenes though, any time a company undertakes a project with significant cost, they will have several forecasts of where their breakeven point will be. And that will normally sit within the 2-5 year range. But those record making headlines are very nice accolades to be able to put in your year-end bonus justification.
     
  3. Tosk

    Tosk Admiral Admiral

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    Being "disappointed" in the sales numbers all depends on their expectations.
     
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  4. JamesRye

    JamesRye Captain Captain

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    It will have made a profit - and will continue to do so. Long term, even the box office bomb that was Nemesis will turn a profit. I've purchased it on DVD when it came out, bought the blu-rays and now the 4K's - like many fans. People will buy it in 8K super vision and it will sell long after everyones forgotten about Maids in Manhatten (that beat it to no.1).

    The whole release strategy for TNG remastered was arse about tits. The 2009 movie - one of the best selling blu rays of all time came out alongside TNG season 1, which sold very well. But imagine you are a new fan, and you then have to sit through that!! ST09 was huge in terms of physical media sales and was nearly universally loved (not by some hardcore trekkies though). It was a cultural event - and they never managed to build on it.

    They should have milked the fans and the new fans by:
    Remastering and releasing the TNG 2 parters as TV movies alongside ST09. Put some exclusive stuff on there so that fans will double dip.

    Watching DS9 and Voyager on Netflix sucks, you get weird rainbow artefacts, it looks terrible. But people will keep watching TNG on there for a long time - because it looks great. Same with TOS. Little wonder then, that these are the most popular shows.

    The cost of remastering Voyager and DS9 is trivial now. It's easier to do. Either upscale the F/X or re-do the VFX. By todays standards there aren't many VFX shots. The entire series of DS9 could be done for the price of 4 episodes of DSC. For heavens sake, if it makes sense to remaster something as obscure as Babylon 5, then DS9 and Voy should be a no-brainer. Also, don't fleece the fans! I like B5, but I don't love it. But hey £70 for the entire series!!! I bought it for list price on day 1.

    Now, I'm a huge TNG fan - but I just watched the remasters on the Sci-Fi channel and only purchased the whole set when the price dropped.

    FFS, even Columbo, Seaquest DSV and The frickin' Dick Van Dyke Show!!! have had remasters.

    Pull yer finger out CBS.
     
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  5. Cryogenator

    Cryogenator Commander Red Shirt

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    They should release an extended cut of Nemesis with the fifty minutes of scenes cut from the theatrical release (only seventeen minutes of which were released as deleted scenes, in low quality). We know from the workprint that Generations also has a substantial amount of additional scenes, and the others probably do, too.
    I just discovered that they apparently look significantly better on Paramount+.

    DS9: Redefined has reduced or eliminated the rainbowing.
    I agree, although Babylon 5 was only partially remastered. An old print was used instead of the original negatives, and all of the scenes with any CGI were upscaled. They also kept a broadcast bumper in every episode on the Blu-ray release and five or so in the digital edition. Worst of all, the space scenes now have judder.
     
  6. evilchumlee

    evilchumlee Fleet Captain Captain

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    I think the problem is that CBParaViaMountComS has always had with Trek is that they consistently have incredibly, almost impossibly high expectations for anything with the Star Trek label on it.

    Just take ENT. At the time of it's cancellation... it was the highest rated drama series on UPN. But it wasn't ENOUGH for them. Star Trek always does well, but the standards set are generally not obtainable.
     
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  7. MrPicard

    MrPicard Jean-Luc's Loving Husband Fleet Captain

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    Given how much they were asking per season and how they stretched out the release season by season instead of just releasing it all together I'd say the "they had impossible expectations" idea is correct. They probably thought that since TNG is so popular people would all rush to buy each season for the horrendous price instead of what people actually did - wait for all the seasons to be available AND for a lower price.
     
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  8. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This is the problem. People wait and wait and wait to spend on it, and then complain about the prices of this product. This doesn't inspire any confidence, especially with a smaller niche show like DS9 and VOY who did not have huge ratings compared to TNG while it aired.

    Sorry, fans are convinced that they know that it will sell but the history of waiting for the prices to drop, or purchasing on the secondary market, sends a much different message to Paramount/CBS and it's one that isn't supportive.

    No.

    Fans, demonstrate that you'll actually buy it not just talk about it.

    Probably, and that might be an unreasonable expectation, but that doesn't change their expectations, or how much money was made, or how much it would cost to complete it.
     
  9. MrPicard

    MrPicard Jean-Luc's Loving Husband Fleet Captain

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    They probably figured that "if TNG as the most popular/successful Trek show commercially doesn't sell as well as we expected we won't bother with remastering DS9 or VOY in the first place".
     
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  10. evilchumlee

    evilchumlee Fleet Captain Captain

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    But... that shows the failure on CBS.

    People will buy it. The data is there. They won't buy it at the price they initially wanted.

    It's the unrealistic expectation. Companies have to work the market, not just expect the market to work for them.

    It's pretty clear that the people buying these want the whole series, in one shot, for a reasonable price. That reasonable price will still be a tidy profit, and also help the strengthen the brand as a whole. They're always trying to get new fans... by making the rest of the works more accessible to new fans, it's going to help. If you want some 16 year old kid to get into Star Trek... watching some fuzzy, grainy, dark garbage looking episodes of Deep Space Nine isn't going to help you.

    I'm not gonna lie though, it's at the point where AI tools are increasingly available to Joe Public so it may just get the point where soon enough, i'll just remaster my old DVD copies myself.
     
  11. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But not in the way that the consumers think.

    Depends on the 16 year old.

    Maybe my eyes are shit but it looks fine to me watching it on streaming or DVD. My kids enjoy watching older films, and shows. I haven't once heard a complaint about "the film is too dark."

    I feel like this is a problem put forth by fans who want to see a remaster but it isn't enough of an interest to actually make money off of it. I don't believe that fans will purchase it at any initial offering price. I see a lot of talk; I don't see action.
     
  12. evilchumlee

    evilchumlee Fleet Captain Captain

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    How can you see action if there's no way to act?

    It's an arbitrary number, but I would be comfortable spending... $150? for the series in a boxed set.

    Some quick math using the provided numbers. There's 176 episodes of DS9. The TNG remasters were stated to cost $70,000 per episode. Costs have come down. I'm using a somewhat arbitrary estimate of $40,000 now per episode. That means it would cost somewhere in the neighboorhood of $7 million to produce.

    With my $150 dollar mark, going with the numbers provided for the TNG Season 1 in the first five days, that's $14,315,250.

    That's double the investment made. In the business world, I would call that "profit". Now factor in streaming and what not, not mention total over time sales?

    It makes money.

    That's some real backwards logic of though "I don't see action".

    Fans: Hey [insert company] I would like to buy x product.
    Company: Well, too bad. We aren't going to sell x product.
    Fans: But... we'll buy it.
    Company: Nope. Prove it first, then we'll sell the product.
    Fans: But... how?
    Company: Not my problem. Figure it out.

    Honestly... why not crowdfund it? The crowdfunding effort, back in 2006! to bring ENT back for a fifth season reached *$35 million*.

    They can sell it before they even do it. They can quite literally in todays world collect the profit before even creating the product. If they don't get enough money? Oh well, they refund it back, don't make the product, oh well.

    EDIT

    As noted, Babylon 5 got a remaster... it's a good show and all, but nowhere near the level of popularity of DS9 or Voyager.

    My eyes work very well, and DS9 especially is damn near unwatchable on a modern TV. It looks horrendous. Voyager fares better, it looks fine enough. DS9 is in rough shape.
     
  13. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Mileage will vary.

    I have zero issues.

    I believe in the business world it is requesting that they make the product. I have limited business experience, but when I did get requests for product we looked in to it, and send it to the buyers and did some research to see if it was viable. Some products worked, and some don't.

    See, that would be a way to show there is actual interest and people willing to put money forward. All I see is a lot of talk. I don't trust talk from customers. I trust actions.

    How so? Inflation, cost of labor and marketing have all gone up. So, costs are either the same, or slightly increased.

    ETA: also, as stated by others and on the DS9 documentary, remastering DS9 is different than TNG due to the VFX.
     
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  14. BillJ

    BillJ The King of Kings Premium Member

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    You're not factoring costs to press and ship, retailer take and I'm sure other ancillary costs.
     
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  15. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We can only guess the costs and figures. Paramount are the only ones who know for sure. If they say disappointing, it's disappointing. I'm sure if it was a roaring success we'd have DS9 and Voyager in HD by now.
     
  16. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    They did release the merged (=edited together as a single "movie") 2-parters as blu-rays. Is that what you meant? I'm not sure what you mean by "...as TV movies alongside ST09."
     
  17. JamesRye

    JamesRye Captain Captain

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    Yes they did release them - but not to coincide with the massively popular ST09.

    Star Trek didn't have joined up synergy back then because it was split between two companies.
     
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  18. evilchumlee

    evilchumlee Fleet Captain Captain

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    Realistically, it probably wouldn't have happened anyway... Best of Both Worlds is completely irrelevant to Star Trek '09.

    Might have made more sense to release a re-remastered special edition of Wrath of Khan alongside Into Darkness though.

    Thinking about this in terms of a DS9/Voyager remaster... I could be satisfied with a scaled down, more curated remaster of key episodes. It's harder for DS9 due to it's later serialization, but it works well for Voyager.

    For DS9, maybe just do like, Seasons 6 and 7 and call it a day under "The Dominion War" set.
     
  19. JamesRye

    JamesRye Captain Captain

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    You know what they should do. Release Caretaker, Equinox, Emmisary and Way of the Warrior. Add in some extra footage and redo the FX, cut it together as movies. License to Netflix and watch closely to see how many watch it. Also, do a limited physical release on a preorder basis.

    I bet that Voyager especially would get stonking viewing figures.
     
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  20. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Vice Admiral Admiral

    Redoing the f/x would be the better alternative. Upscaling still doesn't match up its end result next to a digitized/remastered 35mm film cel. Next time you see a youtube video from ~2023 with the channel operator being all self-content over how great their pet project is, ask them to place their upscaled TNG next to the official release. Guess which wins and by a considerable distance? For HD true to the name, it's silly not to get at the most HD source material out of the gate.

    B5 got a remaster, only because they had this intermediate that was built in 1993, meant for foreign sales but the US videotape masters came from that or must have done, existing in a corner somewhere. The remaster is as bare-bones and didn't go back to the base reels for a full reconstruction (assuming those exist and are usable), which takes more work - but would look far sharper, and with a more even 24fps as opposed to the composited scenes that were done in 1993 - but will the fanbase pay another $10-$100 for that level of work? That, among other things, is what an Estimator has to decide.
     
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