Pick up a DVD or Blu-ray disc of most anything by filmmaker Paul Feig — from the cult comedy “Freaks and Geeks” that first put him on the map, to this year’s release of “Spy” — and it’s obvious he appreciates the advantages of home entertainment.
There’s a simple reason Blu-ray owners of “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat” can spend nearly as much time with the bonuses as the film itself: Feig doesn’t want us to miss any of the jokes.
“There was nothing worse when we were (first) buying tons of DVDs and the special features were the trailer,” says Feig, who will be inducted into the Variety Home Entertainment and Digital Hall of Fame at a gala ceremony Dec. 8. “Well that sucks. If I’m going to buy this, I want a ton of stuff. If I loved the movie, I want to know everything about it, I want to see everything I can, making-of, gag reels. So it’s really fun to load it up.”
Kicking off with “Bridesmaids,” Feig’s recent string of successes (with “The Heat” and “Spy”) put him in position to produce this year’s “The Peanuts Movie,” a stressful enough gig, he says, trying to make sure fans of Charlie Brown and Snoopy were satisfied. Recently editing the all-female reboot of Sony Pictures’ “Ghostbusters” proved even more taxing: it’s a franchise he adores, a project he was hesitant to direct to begin with and leaving anything on the cutting-room floor proved painful.
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Knowing there’s a post-theatrical home for what he cuts, Feig says he can live easier without a “3½-hour director’s cut of the movie.” Anything left on the floor can be used for home entertainment, he adds.
“It makes it so easy to kill your babies now: we’ll just put them on the extras, put it in a reel or do a deleted scene,” he says. “To me, (deleted scenes) are the healthiest thing that’s happened for filmmakers.”
Already Feig has become a proponent of what’s next for home entertainment: he praises the potential of high-dynamic range (HDR) technologies, has already embraced virtual reality (creating a 360-degree VR promo for his Yahoo show “Other Space”), and, especially, touts early digital releases of content.
Feig’s movies are made with the theatrical experience in mind: he wants a room full of people laughing together, he says. But that doesn’t mean he’s adverse to today’s digital reality: early digital, even day and date with a theatrical release, is something that should be explored.
“I’m so true to the exhibitors — and there’s nothing greater than a group experience in the theater — but I think we may see something like that eventually. If you do something like that and make it such a premium, that people do have the choice, it would be a pretty interesting experience, because I do think there would be a big market of people who would (pay).”