Prolific filmmaker has longstanding ties to homevideo business
Brett Ratner, one of Hollywood’s most successful directors and producers, is responsible for a string of theatrical hits that have grossed more than $2 billion at the box office, including “Hercules,” the “Rush Hour” trilogy, “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “Tower Heist.”
Alongside this theatrical pedigree, Ratner boasts a strong connection to home entertainment.
He began his career directing musicvideos. And throughout his film career, his movies have tended to perform particularly well on homevideo. For example, back in 2007, “Rush Hour 3” was the top rental, beating such major blockbusters as “Spider-Man 3,” “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” and “Shrek the Third.”
With every movie he makes, the eventual video release is top of mind, he says. “From the first moment of pre-production to the premiere of the film, I’m always thinking of the homevideo release,” he says. “It’s the way the film will exist forever. Formats might change but the color correction and sound design will never change. Ten years from now when technology gets better I can see myself going back into a film and tweaking some shots. Otherwise I sometimes find flaws are charming and add to the personality and tone of the film.”
Ratner says his infatuation with the homevideo format began when he was a film student at NYU.
“I really have a soft spot for homevideo because of the laser discs. I attended NYU film school and began making movies at the age of 8. Not only did I learn how to make movies (in school), but also by listening to directors’ commentaries on laser discs.”
The Blu-ray release of “Hercules” features not only a 90-minute running commentary, but also an extended director’s cut of the film — a first for Ratner — with five minutes of additional footage.
“I was very happy with the final cut of ‘Hercules,’ but the extended cut gave me the opportunity to change some shots I thought could be improved upon —
particularly with some of the visual-effects shots.”
“Hercules” was released to the home market on Nov. 4 and promptly debuted at No. 2 on the national sales charts, topped only by Disney hit “Maleficent.” “The extended cut is for me the completed final vision of the entire film,” he says.
But Ratner’s involvement with “Hercules” went further than that. “In addition to enhancing the visual experience through the digital intermediate, I spent a great amount of effort remixing sound for the home-viewing experience … which is totally different (from) watching in (the) theater. I wanted to design and create a presentation of my film for audiences to enjoy in their homes regardless of how advanced or expensive their setup is.”