Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The End of the Cartoon Mega-Set

You may have heard that the Looney Tunes Golden Collection volume 6 will be the last four-disc "Golden Collection," though Warners hastened to reassure us that we'll still be seeing WB cartoon releases next year. I don't know what's being planned, but given that this set consists mostly of obscure cartoons, I'd guess that future releases will be smaller, cheaper to buy and focusing more on the famous characters who are being given short shrift on this collection. The last LTGC looks like a way to do some of the cartoons that won't make it onto later, more character-based releases. This is blessing in the case of the wartime and one-shot cartoons, a curse in the case of all those Boskos and Buddys, though I won't argue with anyone who's happy to see these cartoons; especially since this is probably the last chance to get them on DVD.

I'll have more comments on the individual cartoons when we learn more about the 15 "bonus" cartoons planned for the set, but I do want to say this: the end of the four-disc Golden Collection sets isn't at all surprising and, while I don't like defending Warners a whole lot (there's a lot that annoys me about their DVD department), I think they're probably right to put more emphasis on smaller-sized, less expensive collections. The state of the economy combined with the flattening of DVD sales makes the big, high-cost DVD set a trickier proposition than it was in 2003. I have no doubt that Warners will continue releasing the old cartoons, if only because they've still got a lot of money invested in Looney Tunes merchandise, and with no Looney Tunes TV shows on the air, they have to do something to keep the characters in the public eye. But a $30 set of Foghorn Leghorn cartoons -- and they'd sure as hell better be planning something like that, with only two Foghorn cartoons on this set -- will prompt more "impulse buys" than a $60 four-disc set, and in today's market it's probably very important to release DVDs that people can and will buy on a whim, rather than saving up for them.

If -- and this is a huge if -- Warners keeps properly remastering the cartoons instead of putting out the battered prints we get on some of the "family-friendly" cartoon sets (like the Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collections), I'll be happy to buy whatever they put out. Still, I would have liked to see them do "Racketeer Rabbit" before the Golden Collections stopped. Oh, well.


Anonymous said...

Suicide time!

Anonymous said...

In two years there'll be a boxed set of the current Warner Online projects, starring every character Hanna-Barbera and Warners ever created.

Anonymous said...

Next we'll get to re-buy them on Blu-Ray!

Anonymous said...

From what I've heard, the 2-disc Warner Bros. cartoon DVDs will continue to be produced by George Feltenstein and his crew, and restoration from original negatives will continue. The only things that are really changing about these are that the number of discs/cartoons per set will be cut in half and the GOLDEN COLLECTIONS moniker is being dropped.

By the time you get to "volume six" of anything, sales aren't going to be what they were for volumes one and two, particularly when a $60 price tag is involved.