Posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
It’s typical for movie stars and directors do interviews and press to promote the release of their latest movies on DVD, but actor Simon Pegg and director Robert B. Weide are asking fans NOT to buy the Region 1 DVD of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People. It’s not a marketing gimmick, reverse psychology or anything like that — Weide and Pegg made big compromises in the final cut of the film under the belief that cut material would eventually materialize on the DVD release.
“In any movie, there are a number of scenes that get cut in an effort to keep the film from running too long. Some are of little consequence, but others are important scenes that are very painful to lose. In this instance, there were a few scenes that I fought hard to keep, but eventually acquiesced with the knowledge that at least they’d be available on the DVD. Well, not so in the U.S,” says Weide in an official press release. “Simon and I worked very hard to make sure the DVD would be packed with bonus material. The British distributors (Paramount) solicited our input and included all of the extras. Sadly, the American distributors (MGM/Fox) locked us out of the process and managed to leave off most of the bonus material.”
The deleted scenes (with optional commentary), audio commentaries, a gag reel, and video diaries are included on the Region 2 release, but are completely missing from the Region 1 (US) release of the DVD. Weide explains that once he discovered the bonus material was omitted from the U.S. DVD, he was told by the American distributors that they wanted to include the special features, but had trouble clearing it. Weide’s response? “It boils down to sloppiness and apathy. All of the material was absolutely cleared for all territories. There were just too many cooks in the kitchen and the left hand failed to communicate with the right hand. The ball was gently placed in those hands, and they dropped it.” Weide reports that he sent numerous e-mails to those charged with integrating the bonus material, offering to clear up any problems or questions they might run into along the way. “The responses I received were somewhat dismissive, until they finally wrote me saying ‘thank you’… they had all the material in hand. I later found out they never obtained it. If they had told me the truth, I would have had the tapes on their desk within 24 hours.” Weide says that by the time the truth was revealed, MGM told him that “The ship had sailed,” meaning the DVD replication had already taken place, and there was no going back.