Blu-ray Highlights: Week of October 20th, 2013 – LMGTFY

Searching for a new movie to watch this week? I hope you’re feeling lucky.

Which Blu-rays Interest You This Week (10/22/13)?

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New Releases

Former wedding crashers Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson reunite to invade Google headquarters in ‘The Internship‘. Trailers for the movie suggested that it’s little more than a two-hour product placement ad for the internet superpower. By all accounts from those who’ve seen it, the alleged comedy is a lazy, unfunny mess. Surely, you can do better than this.

‘Saw’ director James Wan has had a very busy and very successful last couple of years. In between his popular ‘Insidious’ chapters, Wan also had the biggest hit of his career with the haunted house thriller ‘The Conjuring‘, which is supposedly based on the exploits of the same paranormal investigators who inspired the original ‘Amityville Horror’. Although the film doesn’t appear to strike any new ground for the genre, both viewers and even critics praised its old-school approach to generating scares with atmosphere and suspense rather than over-relying on digital trickery.

As readers of this blog may remember, I wasn’t a fan of Nicolas Winding Refn’s overhyped, overrated ‘Drive’. Frankly, I thought it was a steaming pile of crap. The three dozen other people in the world who actually paid to see that movie in a theater disagreed with me on that, sometimes violently. Yet even the biggest fans of ‘Drive’ seem to have reached a unanimous conclusion that the director’s follow-up with star Ryan Gosling, called ‘Only God Forgives‘, is unwatchably awful. Perversely, that may actually give me a tiny inkling of desire to see this one. Just a tiny smidge, though. I doubt I’ll follow through on that.

Much more exciting for me is ‘Before Midnight‘, the latest sequel to the wonderful ‘Before Sunrise’ and ‘Before Sunset’. (I hesitate to call this a trilogy, because director Richard Linklater and writers/stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have all said that they’re eager to do more of these every nine years.) I was unfortunately not able to catch this in the theater, but word-of-mouth is that this one is just as good as the prior two.

Another big hit from the indie scene this year was ‘The Way, Way Back‘, the coming-of-age drama from Nate Faxon and Jim Rash, Oscar-winning writers of ‘The Descendants’. (Yes, that’s the same Jim Rash who plays Dean Pelton on ‘Community’.) Less acclaimed or successful was the rom-com ‘I Give It a Year‘, starring Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall.

Catalog Titles

The story behind Shout! Factory’s ‘Bruce Lee: The Legacy Collection‘ box set has gotten very convoluted. The 11-disc package (containing four Blu-rays, four duplicate copies on DVD, three supplement DVDs and a book) was scheduled for release back in July, but was pulled at the last minute after word leaked that all of the Blu-rays contained upconverted standard-definition transfers of the four movies: ‘The Big Boss’, ‘Fist of Fury’, ‘The Way of the Dragon’ and ‘Game of Death’. At first, the studio denied these claims, but later admitted that the owners in Hong Kong had provided the wrong HD masters. The set was delayed in order to re-author the Blu-rays with true high-definition transfers. While that appears to have happened, word now is that the new transfers suffer serious coloring issues that, ironically, the upconverted copies didn’t. Sadly, this set appears to be a huge clusterfuck, and I have a hard time recommending that fans shell out $100 for it. It seems inevitable to me that Shout! Factory will remaster and reissue the films again in a couple of years.

One can hope for better treatment from the Criterion Collection’s ‘John Cassavetes: Five Films‘ box set. Then again, Cassavetes’ movies are so rough technically that it may be difficult to tell the difference between a well-mastered and poorly-mastered Blu-ray anyway. Despite his influence in shaping the American independent film scene, I’ve never been a huge fan of the actor-turned-director. I’ve always found his movies very alienating. However, it’s been so long since I’ve seen any of them that I feel I really ought to give them another shot. After all, Seymour Cassel is in most of these, and he’s pretty awesome.

Criterion’s other offering this week is the 1944 Gothic ghost story ‘The Uninvited‘, starring Ray Milland.

More Halloween treats await in ‘The Vincent Price Blu-ray Collection‘, which includes six of the star’s classic horrors: ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’, ‘The Masque of the Red Death’, ‘The Haunted Palace’, ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’, ‘The Abominable Dr. Phibes’ and ‘Witchfinder General’.


If you’d like to catch up on a little TV this week, Warner has the third season of ‘Nikita‘ while E1 has a Complete Series box set of ‘Primeval: New World‘, which I understand to be a spin-off of the cheesy British dinosaur-hunting adventure drama ‘Primeval’.

Wider Is Better

Constant Image Height viewers may wish to take note that the following movies this week are presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio:

  • ‘The Conjuring’
  • ‘I Give It a Year’
  • ‘The Internship’
  • ‘Roulette’
  • Bruce Lee Collection: ‘The Big Boss’ (a.k.a. ‘Fists of Fury’)
  • Bruce Lee Collection: ‘Fist of Fury’ (a.k.a. ‘The Chinese Connection’)
  • Bruce Lee Collection: ‘The Game of Death’
  • Bruce Lee Collection: ‘The Way of the Dragon’
  • Vincent Price Collection: ‘The Fall of the House of Usher
  • Vincent Price Collection: ‘The Haunted Palace
  • Vincent Price Collection: ‘The Masque of the Red Death’
  • Vincent Price Collection: ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’

I’m definitely eager to see ‘Before Midnight’. I will also add the Vincent Price and John Cassavetes box sets, as well as ‘The Uninvited’, to my wish list. Will you pick up anything this week?


  1. Freakyguy666

    Those considering Constant Image Height screens (CIH) may want to note that comedies such as The Heat & The Intership will appear bigger on CIH screens than this month’s Top Selling Movie Pacific Rim.

      • Freakyguy666

        …although the director himself prefers that Pacific Rim appear larger on the screen, hence the decision to maintain 16×9 for the home. CIH members will get the opposite of the intended effect.

        • Josh Zyber

          For that one movie. Balanced against thousands of other movies which were deliberately shot in 2.35:1 with the intent that they should be projected larger on cinema screens.

  2. Art0330

    Particularly after reading M. Enois’ review of the Vincent Price box set, I’m looking forward to diving in to it.

  3. Drew

    I’m completely in awe of the ongoing idiocy and stupidity that FG continues to exhibit. How can this dunce not understand that a 1.85:1 film, such as ‘Pacific Rim’ is displayed identical on a 2.35:1 screen, to the way it is displayed on a 16×9 screen?!? A 1.85:1 film is always displayed at 1.85:1! It doesn’t matter whether the screen itself is 1.85:1, or wider than that! The film is still going to be shown at 1.85:1.

    Let’s forget about theater screens, and focus on 16×9 televisions. When you watch PR on a 16×9 television, it’s displayed at 16×9. If you watched PR on one of those niche 2.35:1 televisions, it would be dispayed at the EXACT SAME SIZE as it was on the standard 16×9 television. OMG! That is extraordinary! How did the 2.35:1 television display PR identically to how the 16×9 television did?! I guess FG will never understand.

    • Doesn’t this really depend on the movie? If the movie uses a single aspect ratio throughout the movie, there’s no discussion. Assuming a CIH setup, where there’s no more available height, a 2.35:1 movie will be as tall as, but wider than, a 1.85:1 movie.

      However, movies like The Dark Knight, the IMAX scenes (1.85:1) are supposed to be as wide as the 2.35:1 scenes, but taller. If you have a CIH setup, and want to present the movie correctly, you’ll have to use the 1.85:1 setting, and accept black bars for the 2.35:1 scenes. (Personally, I’d opt for cropping the IMAX scenes, and using a 2.35:1 image for the entire movie)

      • Josh Zyber

        Movies like The Dark Knight that alternate aspect ratios only played that way in IMAX theaters. In all other theaters, they played at a constant 2.35:1 aspect ratio. All of the IMAX footage is composed with cropping to 2.35:1 in mind and contains no vital picture info above or below those frame lines.

        In fact, the directors of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Star Trek into Darkness instructed that their movies be transferred to Blu-ray at a constant 2.35:1 even though they had some IMAX scenes just like The Dark Knight. Brad Bird explicitly stated that he finds the variable ratio distracting and never intended the movie to be seen that way outside of IMAX theaters.

  4. William Henley

    Nothing this week, which is a breath of fresh air. It is giving me time to pick up on a few that I missed that are now in bargain bins.

    As for the CIH topic – I am not getting into that today.

    • Freakyguy666

      William, whenever you do decide to add to the AR discussion please reply to the questions I posed to you in the previous thread.

      • Josh Zyber

        No one is under any obligation to respond to your ridiculous questions, given that you have continually dodged direct questions asked of you. You repeatedly use Skyfall and Oblivion as examples of “immersive” movies that you believe are meant to be watched on narrower screens, yet the Blu-ray editions of both Skyfall and Oblivion are both 2.35:1. How do you watch movies like Skyfall and Oblivion on Blu-ray?

        • freakyguy666

          JZ: “No one is under any obligation to respond to your ridiculous questions”




      • William Henley

        I think I can answer your IMAX question without getting into an CIH discussion.

        My issue with a good deal of the current IMAX theaters is that they are actually converted traditional auditoriums, but they have the IMAX ratio screen. Why is this an issue? Well, the screen is certainly taller, but the screen isn’t as wide. As such, a scope movie (whether 16×9 or 2.35:1) is actually SMALLER than it would be on a conventional movie screen. Having a few minutes of the movie opened up to full-frame Imax is not enough for me to suffer through watching the rest of the movie on a smaller screen – especially after paying the ridiculous IMAX surcharge.

        As such, I reserve IMAX screenings for special events (such as Jurassic Park and Wizard of Oz which was only available on IMAX – and Wizard of Oz’s 4:3 aspect ratio actually worked out really well on an IMAX screen) or documentaries – which I usually catch at the science musuem on the IMAX Dome.

        So, given the choice, I will watch a movie on a 2.35 screen as opposed to an IMAX screen because of size issues.

        Now, which aspect ratio do I prefer? Nature and science documentaries look fantastic on IMAX’s large screen and domes, and is my prefered way to watch them. But you add humans into the experience, and its just too freakin big. IMAX is supposed to immerse you in the movie, and I don’t like being immersed in an actor’s torso or crotch and being forced to crane my neck to see their face.

        Now it could be argue that IMAX scenes in movies are framed to avoid that, but I wouldn’t know – I haven’t seen a shifting aspect ratio film on the IMAX. Besides, most theaters have converted to digital, so the PQ is really not any better than a good-quality traditional theater.

        So to summerize – anything with humans – traditional 2.35:1 theater. Nature and space documentaries – IMAX.

        • Freakyguy666

          Couple clarifications may be in order: 1) if they are converted Scope auditoriums, why would they not use the same width? If they are using the same width then you are not losing any length just gaining height. 2) I was referring to true IMAX theaters–not LieMax. Have you ever been to a real IMAX film? If not, it is understandable why you may prefer 2.35. But obviously you are limited in your experience to make that call.

          I watched Skyfall and Oblivion on both scope and Real IMAX. I can tell you with 100% certainty that pretty much anyone who did so–including the FILMMAKERS themselves–prefers the IMAX versions. Again, since you apparently have had the benefit of that experience, I understand your concerns about an actor’s crotch. I may have shared those concerns as well were it not for my experiences.

          • Josh Zyber

            Even IMAX has phased out those old 1.44:1 screens. Digital IMAX (which is almost all IMAX right now) has a screen ratio of about 2:1.

            When Skyfall and Oblivion were “opened up” for IMAX screens, they were opened up from 2.35:1 to 2:1 – not to 1.44:1 or 16:9. Only to 2:1. The difference between 2.35:1 and 2:1 is quite minimal. When the directors of both Skyfall and Oblivion were asked what aspect ratio to transfer those movies to Blu-ray, they both chose 2.35:1, even though they had the opportunity to open them up again if they’d wanted. They preferred 2.35:1 as the best archival aspect ratio for their movies.

            Do you have an IMAX screen installed in your home theater, Freaky? If not, why do you pretened that decisions that were made only for IMAX theaters and nowhere else have any bearing on your home viewing?

  5. JM

    Looks like ‘Before Midnight‘ is the only blu-ray I will buy this year.

    ‘Only God Forgives‘ I’m renting based on the Badass Digest review.

    ‘The Internship‘ I know I should skip, but I just can’t say no to VV.

  6. Timcharger

    Don’t block him.
    You baited him with your Wider is Better section of this week’s highlights.
    Perhaps I’ve missed them in the past, but I’ve never seen that section in your weekly new releases column.
    I don’t use a projector, so I’m not involved here.
    But FG doesn’t use insults, tries to explains his reasons, uses the word “please”; not a troll in my book.
    I would bet if you, Josh, didn’t write that Wider is Better section, FG wouldn’t post in this column.
    I don’t wonder if they start selling 2.35 panels, would I “upgrade” from my 16 X 9 LED screen? Hmmm… I’m not sure.

    • Barsoom Bob

      Not exactly true there Tim. Freaky almost always slips some very condescending personal swipe at Josh in his postings, you are not reading closely enough.

      If anyone here thinks GDT framed Pacific Rim in 1.85 or 16×9 for any other reason than budget constraints, I think you are kidding yourselves.

      I wrote a late post in the original thread that got put in the wrong place and buried over the weekend but i came to the realization that Freaky is confusing the impact of scale with the differences of the formats. IMAX is just inherently huge, it is not a better visual format per se.

      Scope is much closer to our natural vision. I believe the attraction Freaky cites on the part of directors using it, is more a function of “this is he biggest picture I can throw at you”, not that it is a better format match for our natural vision physiology. Given equal vertical heights, Scope is much more immersive than 16×9.

      • Timcharger

        I’ve looked back at his posts in this column and last week’s new release highlights column (I’m sure there were more in previous articles about CIH), and the condescending remarks were coming from both directions, but the jabs were all accompanied with facts/arguments still trying to make rational points on good faith. Heated, yes, but not to the point of making up lies and curse-offs.


        This much should be agreed:
        Weekly New Release Highlights isn’t the place for this CIH debate.


        Common Josh, did you really need to list out this week, the blus with 2.35 ratio and that’s just a coincidence you have a “Wider is Better” heading?

        If Avatar puts out a new version this week at 2.35 instead of the previous 16X9, then of course that calls for special note.

        But you really needed to fill in 3 inches of column space by listing all the Scope films released this week? And you’ll now do so every week going forward? And didn’t do so every week in the past?

        CIH fans, do you really buy movies based on whether they are 16X9 or Scope? I can’t imagine a CIH fan NOT buying Pacific Rim (if they are a fan of Pacific Rim) just because it’s not Scope. You’re gonna buy the Bruce Lee Collection or the Vincent Price Collection for other reasons. Yes, you would want it in their original dimensions. But you’re not using Josh’s 2.35 list as the starting point for your weekly shopping list.

        Again, I don’t have a dog in this fight.

        • William Henley

          Well, I HAVE seen LCD and Plasma owners get pissed off that a movie “still has black bars after I paid all that money to upgrade”, but a HDD column which has a niche audience – and especially a New Release thread, is really not the place to educate consumers as to why they have black bars. If people are really that anal, I show them where the Zoom button on their remote is.

      • Freakyguy666


        I suppose The Avengers, the entire Back-to-the-Future trilogy, E.T. The Extraterrestrial, Jurassic Park, Avatar, Transformers 2, The Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises, Tron Legacy, Zero Dark 30, Life of Pi, Les Miserables, MANY Pixar and Dreamworks Animation films like Finding Nemo, and the IMAX versions of Star Trek: Into Darkness, Oblivion, & Skyfall all suffered from “budget constraints” as well….because they were all presented at,or close to, 16×9 rather than Scope.

        The reality is that GDT preferreed the 16×9 aspect ratio to Scope for this movie.



        • Josh Zyber

          Let’s see how Freaky loses his argument today, shall we?

          – The Avengers vs. all of the Iron Man, Captain America and Thor movies. Oh, and Serenity too, if we want to specifically look at Joss Whedon.

          – Back to the Future vs. Contact, What Lies Beneath, Flight and all of Robert Zemeckis’ animated movies.

          – E.T. & Jurassic Park vs. Jaws, Close Encounters, 1941, Hook, Minority Report and all the Indiana Jones movies.

          – Avatar vs. Terminator 2, The Abyss, True Lies, Titanic and – oh look at that – Avatar itself, as it played in a majority of theaters.

          – Transformers 2 vs. Transformers 1, 3 and 4… and also Transformers 2 as it played in a majority of theaters and is presented on the majority of Blu-ray copies. Plus, The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Bad Boys II, The Island and Pain & Gain.

          – The Dark Knight & The Dark Knight Rises vs. Memento, Insomnia, The Prestige, Inception, Batman Begins and… yup, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises as they also played in a majority of theaters.

          – Tron Legacy vs. Tron and… Tron Legacy as it played in a majority of theaters.

          – Zero Dark Thirty vs. Point Break, Strange Days and K-19: The Widowmaker.

          – Life of Pi vs. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

          – Les Miserables vs. West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Oklahoma! and, quite frankly, just about every other musical ever made.

          – Pixar and DreamWorks animated films. You mean like The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Cars 1 & 2, Kung Fu Panda 1 & 2, Monsters vs. Aliens, How to Train Your Dragon, Megamind, The Croods and Turbo? Those Pixar and DreamWorks animated films?

          – Star Trek into Darkness vs. every other Star Trek movie, including Star Trek into Darkness as it played in a majority of theaters and is presented on Blu-ray.

          – Oblivion vs. Oblivion, as it played in a majority of theaters and is presented on Blu-ray. Also, countless other (as in, there are far too many of them to count) mega-budget science fiction movies photographed at 2.35:1.

          – Skyfall vs. 18 of the 23 James Bond films, which includes Skyfall as it played in a majority of theaters and is presented on Blu-ray.

          You will never, ever win this argument, Freaky. Half the movies you cite played in theaters at 2.35:1, and almost every single one of the directors you champion has made and continues to make other movies at 2.35:1.

          For every one example you can name of an “immersive” 1.85:1 film, I can counter it with literally HUNDREDS more “immersive” 2.35:1 movies.

          2.35:1 is clearly, without any question, the aspect ratio of choice for the type of movies you claim to like. I would venture a guess that if you sorted through the collection of movies you own on DVD and Blu-ray, probably 85-90% of them are 2.35:1.

          Your hatred of the 2.35:1 aspect ratio runs directly counter to your stated intention to present big, epic, “immersive” blockbuster movies as large as possible in your home theater. Your hypocrisy is as obvious as it is seemingly inexhaustible.

          • Freakyguy666


            I’m repeating myself because you still have not been able to grasp this simple concept: most theaters were designed for 2.35 because back in the 50’s when televisions started taking marketshare from the cinema/film industry they came up with Scope as a gimmick to force people back into theaters.

            Today, studios prefer to make money and since most theaters are NOT IMAX they make films in scope. That does not mean that Scope is the better format. It simply means that it is the MOST PREVALENT format in theaters. Just like VHS was more prevalent than BetaMax, even though Betamax was the superior format. Most studios went with the VHS format because it had the most marketshare. Similarly, blu ray vs HD-DVD: Studios now only produce bluray; not because they think it is BETTER, but because it has more marketshare. Since most people own 16×9 TVs, most Television programming is in 16×9….what a coincidence!

            If the majority of theaters were IMAX, I would bet the majority of studios would go to 16×9 or taller.

            But unfortunately there are simply more 1950’s style scope screens than IMAX therefore the studios make most movies in that format–but it is NOT because Scope is inherently better! In fact, the TOP FILMMAKERS IN THE WORLD ARE ON RECORD AS STATING THAT THE IMAX ASPECT RATIO IS MORE IMMERSIVE THAN SCOPE. You have not been able to find a SINGLE QUOTE from a top filmmaker than contradicts this!

            You have lost the argument, JZ. LOST!

          • Josh Zyber

            It’s hilarious how you keep making points that actually undermine your argument. Such as:

            1) Most movie theaters are not IMAX.
            2) Scope is the most prevalent format in movie theaters.
            3) Studios make more films in scope than IMAX because they want to maximize the viewing experience for audiences in the most prevalent cinema format.

            There is a very obvious direct correlation here. What part of 1 + 1 = 2 is not getting through to you?

            You say that scope was a gimmick to lure people back to theaters as competition for television. What do you think IMAX is?

            Freaky, if you (wrongly) believe that human field of vision is close to 1.48:1, and that the original IMAX screens near that ratio (which have been phased out, it must be noted) are the best way to view a film, why haven’t you installed a 4:3 screen in your home theater?

            In your own words: “I suppose I could have gone to 4:3 but there is not much HD content for that.”


            So what you’re saying is, the amount of content available in each aspect ratio DOES play a factor in your decision of screen ratio? Because the way you’ve been arguing it, taller is always better, and if there’s even just one single movie that would benefit from a 4:3 screen (like Gone with the Wind or The Wizard of Oz, perhaps?), that’s the type of screen you should install. Screw the fact that there are thousands of other movies that would benefit from a wider screen.

            Do you plan to tear down your current screen and install a 4:3 screen instead?

            You say that “the top filmmakers in the world are on record” preferring IMAX. How many of those top filmmakers are you talking about, Freaky? Do you even need the fingers on both hands to count them? And how many of those same “top filmmakers” continue to shoot other movies in scope?

            “If the majority of theaters were IMAX, I would bet the majority of studios would go to 16×9 or taller.”

            Is that a bet you’re prepared to put money on? People have been saying the same thing since the introduction of 16:9 HDTVs. (“I bet the majority of movies will switch to 1.85:1 so that they look better on home video.”) And yet there has been no sign whatsoever of that happening.

            Why is it that even the majority of movies that play on IMAX screens are projected at scope ratio on those screens?

            You seem to believe that you’ve cracked the secret motivation behind why filmmakers choose one aspect ratio over another. What you fail to recognize is the difference between theory and practical reality. Regardless of alleged motivation, more of the type of movies that you like to watch are photographed in scope than any other ratio. This isn’t just something that happened decades ago. It’s happening right now as we speak, and will continue to happen for the foreseeable future. More of the type of epic blockbuster movies you like to watch are and will be photographed in scope. And you’ve chosen to compromise the integrity of those countless movies to benefit a small handful of outlier exceptions, all out of some misguided sense of principle.

            If it’s your personal preference to watch epic blockbuster “immersive” movies shrunken in size with large black bars on the top and bottom so that they’re dwarfed on your screen by episodes of American Pickers or Dance Moms, that’s your prerogative and no one can tell you not to do it. But your continued evangelism that this is the best way to watch those movies is just flat-out objectively wrong.

            The only one you’re fooling here is yourself.

          • Freakyguy666

            JZ, once again you have demonstrated your inability to retain information. To wit, just a few days ago I reminded you that my 14′ screen is wall to wall. I could not go wider if I wanted to. But I could go taller.

            Movies projected on my screen IN SCOPE will appear nearly twice the size that they appear on your CIH screen.

            Retain that!

          • Josh Zyber

            Put your dick back in your pants, Freaky. You’re not impressing anyone.

            As large as you may claim to project scope movies, the fact remains that you still believe them to be inferior in importance to “immersive” content such as 2 Broke Girls and The Price Is Right, which will always be given priority.

            Again, that’s fine if you want to do that. But your insistence that this is the way that the movies are intended to be seen is ludicrous. You obviously don’t understand anything at all about how movies are actually made.

          • freakyguy666

            No need to be jealous, JZ. Just deal with it.

            As to your obsession with crappy TV shows, as I mentioned numerous times (and apparently you have not been able to retain this–AGAIN) I do not watch crappy TV shows in my cinema just as they don’t play the news in movie theaters. My cinema is reserved for movies and sports and a very few select shows such as Game of Thrones. I watch the news on my flat panels and or idevices as they were intended…and believe it or not, they appear MUCH smaller as they were meant to.

  7. Barsoom Bob

    Freaky, It’s very telling that all those examples you just listed are effects driven movies. Most of us know that you pay by the pixel for that effects work at a very exorbitant rate. You don’t think that might have had something to do the choice of format?

    IMAX has an undeniable scale factor that gives it impact, but it is also another “gimmick”, for the studios to make extra money on a movies theatrical release, similar to post converting movies to 3D.

    Just come out and say it, “it is more important to me to see Dancing with the Stars larger in my home theater than Lawrence of Arabia.”

    • Freakyguy666

      Bob, you really need to do some research on how films are made. Let’s just say you clearly have no idea what you are talking about. I believe that even JZ would agree with me that budgets had nothing to do with aspect ratios selection.

      JZ, you agree?

      • William Henley

        CG is normally calculated by resolution – IE HD resolution is higher than SD, 4k higher than 2k, etc.

        I am not sure if movies are encoded digitally for theaters in anamorphic or not, however on film, 16×9 and 2.35:1 take up the same frame size (the exception is Super35). So it could be assumed that aspect ratio has nothing to do with costs if you were rendering in anamorphic.

        Now, if movies at theaters are encoded similar to how they are in Blu-Rays, then 2.35:1 would be cheaper to render in than 16×9 because its of lower resolution. However, I doubt this is the case – I am willing to bet theaters use the full 2k resolution and use anamorphic lenses – but that is just an assumption.

        In any case, if there is a cost difference between doing effects at 16×9 or 2.35:1, those costs would be marginal. It also wouldn’t explain choice of aspect ratios in any technology other than CG-heavy movies.

  8. William Henley

    I forgot about a movie I had ordered from Zavvi – Team America came out this week in the UK. So I am getting one movie this week. 🙂 (or actually, probably sometime next week with international shipping speeds)

  9. Drew


    Don’t forget to remind FG that ‘Pacific Rim’ was screened WIDER, and at a ratio CLOSER to scope on IMAX screens (both genuine and digital). FG is always talking about how Pacific Rim is supposed to “appear larger on the screen” and this is why the decision was made to “maintain 16×9 for the home.” And do I really need to go into detail about all of the moronic shit that he says about IMAX? In spite of this, Pacific Rim was screened at 2:1 in IMAX, which is WIDER. Hmm, that must mean that it was less immersive, in IMAX.

    • Freakyguy666

      Pacific Rim was presented in 1.90:1 in IMAX, just as Oblivion and Skyfall were. That is basically 1/10 off of 16×9 (1.78) whereas scope is ~2.35. And you say it’s closer to scope? Apparently Drew didnt pass basic math.

  10. Drew

    As you already know, I didn’t mean that 2:1 is mathematically closer to scope. I meant that it was presented WIDER in IMAX, which means that it was LESS immersive, right FG? You’re well aware of all of your idiotic statements about IMAX.

  11. Drew

    You specifically said that Pacific Rim was meant to appear larger on the screen, and that’s why they “maintained” the 16×9 ratio for home. When you combine that statement with everything you’ve said about IMAX, how are you going to try to weasel out of the fact that it screened WIDER in IMAX? Like I said, this definitely means that it was LESS immersive in IMAX than it was on any other cinema screen, or than it is at home, right?

  12. Drew

    FG, 2:1 is closer to scope than 1.85:1 is, right? Just checking … I know that 2:1 is certainly less immersive than 1.85:1, but I think it might still be wider, and thus closer to scope than 1.85:1 is, right? Oh, see, now you understand what I meant when I said that it was closer to scope than 1.85:1 is. I wasn’t ever commenting on whether 2:1 was closer to 1.85:1, or 2.35:1. But you already know that. It was just another one of your snake tactics to try to drive it that way.

  13. Drew

    Okay, you dirty snake, I knew you might say that. Still … 1.90:1 is — say it with me — WIDER than 16×9. Ooh, it’s too bad that Del Toro opted for a WIDER and “less immersive” aspect ratio for IMAX. It’s a good thing he made it “larger for the screen” at home.

  14. Timcharger

    This shouldn’t be the place for this, but you two sucked me in… (Using my Pacino voice)


    Let me ask this question:
    For any wall size of a room, wouldn’t I just want to put in the biggest square footage of screen into that wall space?

    If my wall space is more wider & rectangular, then wouldn’t I want Scope?

    If my wall space is more taller and less rectangular, then wouldn’t I want 16X9?

    One isn’t inherently better than the other, no?


    Don’t I just want to fit in the largest screen on my desired wall size, so Lawrence of Arabia looks the biggest?

    If that means Larry would be smaller than 2 Broke Girls, so be it.

    Would I be better off to put in a Scope screen that fits in my desired wall dimensions, so that Larry is now always larger than 2 Broke Girls, but it is also SMALLER because this room has high ceilings and I could only fit in a smaller Scope screen instead of a larger 16X9 screen that would have covered more square footage of that wall?

    My goal should be to get the biggest Larry, not to get Larry larger than 2 Broke Girls.

    Thus, it is the room wall dimensions that will determine whether 16X9 or Scope that will deliver the biggest screen.

    • Josh Zyber

      Tim, honestly, you can do whatever you want to do and whatever you feel works best for your circumstance.

      However, the point I’ve been trying to drill into Freaky’s head is that the whole reason CinemaScope was ever invented in the first place was to provide a larger, wider theatrical experience than other traditional movies. Jaws is of course supposed to be projected larger than Captain Ron. That’s just a big fat “Duh” that most people should be able to recognize when you point it out to them. The current 16:9 HD standard reverses that dynamic. Generic comedies like Captain Ron or Billy Madison, plus average TV content including sitcoms and game shows, now dwarf the many thousands of scope movies that were specifically designed to be larger than them.

      No director has ever shot a movie in scope format expecting it to be projected smaller than 1.85:1 movies or TV shows. That’s not the purpose of the scope format. By overwhelming majority, 2.35:1 is the aspect ratio of choice for the type of epic blockbuster movies that Freaky says he likes to watch.

      Now, Freaky will argue that the reason IMAX was invented was to provide an even larger, taller theatrical experience, one that’s bigger even than scope. And you know what? He’s right. It was. However, what he fails to acknowledge or recognize is that the number of movies genuinely designed to take advantage of the taller height of IMAX can be counted on his fingers and toes. And even of those, half of them were made with scope in mind as well and work equally well in that format. When you watch the IMAX scenes in The Dark Knight, there’s nothing important going on at the extreme top or bottom of the screen. Every shot was framed for projection in scope theaters, with all of the critical picture info within the 2.35:1 safe area.

      So, what that leaves him with is a theater that was designed to maximize the experience of less than a dozen movies, and that deliberately compromises the experience of thousands more by projecting them smaller than TV shows or zero-budget indie dramas shot in studio apartments.

      Again, if that’s what he (or you) wants to do, that’s his or your prerogative. But if you believe the purpose of home theater is to emulate the theatrical cinematic experience, Constant Image Height is the format that most theaters use and the format that most movies (meaning, more than 99%) were photographed to be projected in.

  15. Drew

    No, Timcharger, you’re looking at it backwards. Josh has already explained, so I’ll let you go back through the comments — especially on the proper thread — and see why you’ve got it all wrong. ALWAYS install a scope screen, regardless of room/wall dimensions.

  16. Drew


    Just remember, 1.85:1 content is always going to play at 1.85:1, regardless of whether or not the screen is wider than that. Therefore, going with a scope screen guarantees that both 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 content will ALWAYS be displayed properly. Going with a 16×9 screen means that 2.35:1 content is ALWAYS going to be improperly displayed. That’s ALWAYS unacceptable!

    • Timcharger

      I’m a panel guy; I don’t project, so I’m stupid here.


      If Scope screens are ALWAYS better, then why are 16X9 screens even made? I assume Freaky bought his somewhere.

      Are there sales figures that point to a 20 to 1 ratio of Scope screens outselling 16X9 screens? Is there an ACME-only-16X9-brand that has a clearance going-out-of-business sale?

      And if such evidence existed, the debate should end on those facts.

      This can’t be the case that the masses who flocked to Michael Bay films are stupid, so box office numbers don’t mean a thing about good films.

      Home theater projection buyers should know better and choose wisely and the market would reflect that, no? I hope?

      • freakyguy666

        Tim, you are exactly right. I believe bigger is better. That is the idea behind IMAX, as even JZ admits. So why would you “waste” space as you very astutely suggested? In my space, I have 14′ wide screen that is basically wall-to-wall (similar to an IMAX screen) and there are no curtains to take up any space between the screen frame and the walls. But if I went with Scope, I would have been essentially “wasting” the height since I had space above and below the potential Scope screen. Not only that, but when playing movies such as Pacific Rim, The Avengers, the entire Back-to-the-Future trilogy, E.T. The Extraterrestrial, Jurassic Park, Avatar, Transformers 2, The Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises, Tron Legacy, Zero Dark 30, Life of Pi, Les Miserables, MANY Pixar and Dreamworks Animation films like Finding Nemo, not to mention the multitude of epic documentaries such as Planet Earth, North America, and myriad IMAX films, would ACTUALLY APPEAR SMALLER.

        So the logical choice was to go with 16×9.

        I believe most people who have Scope Screens could have actually installed a 16×9 on the same wall without sacrificing WIDTH. Now someone who has a 6′ high ceiling in their house, like poor JZ, are the EXCEPTION–not the rule. And for them, they really have NO OTHER CHOICE but to go with Scope.

        And know you know, Tim!

        • Josh Zyber

          Again with the same small handful of movies to make your case, Freaky. Even among these, you’re still misguided.

          The Back to the Future trilogy should not be projected larger than, for example, Contact or Flight.

          E.T. should not be projected larger than Jaws, Close Encounters or the entire Indiana Jones series.

          Finding Nemo should not be projected larger than WALL-E.

          The directors of all these movies have worked in both aspect ratios. They chose 1.85:1 for certain movies based on specific criteria or artistic goals, knowing at every step of the process that these 1.85:1 movies would be projected at the same height but narrower than scope movies (including their own).

          Back to the Future was not produced with any expectation of being projected on an IMAX screen. E.T. was not produced with any expectation of being projected on an IMAX screen. Finding Nemo was not produced with any expectation of being projected on an IMAX screen. Not even Jurassic Park was produced with any expectation of being projected on an IMAX screen. That possibility wasn’t even available to any of these movies when they were made. If you have any desire to be true to the artistic intent of any of these movies, you should project them on a Constant Image Height screen, because that’s what their own directors knew would happen when they made them.

          And for fuck’s sake, TV content should NEVER, not in a billion years, ever be projected larger than any scope movie. That’s absolute fucking madness, I don’t care how pretty the nature photography is. Planet Earth was not produced with any expectation of ever being displayed larger than 60″. (Honestly, 36″ was more likely the target goal.)

          You might have a stronger case with some of the newer movies on your short list, especially those that were actually photographed with IMAX footage. But your sample size has dwindled to an infinitesimal fraction of all the many thousands of movies ever made in the 120+ year history of cinema. How can you not see that?

          You have chosen to prioritize the needs of this tiny handful of movies against everything else you watch, because you seem to have built your whole home theater around them. I hope those scant few movies are truly important to you, and you plan to watch them over and over and over and over again. Personally, I have broader tastes than that. But that’s just me.

          I will ask you again: Do you have an IMAX theater installed in your home? If not, why do you pretened that decisions that were made only for IMAX theaters and nowhere else have any bearing on your home viewing?

          • Freakyguy666

            Take a look at the link, JZ. IT IS A HOME THEATRE AND THAT IS THE DIRECTION THAT TOP HOME THEATERS ARE MOVING IN (I.E. Maximizing both WIDTH AND HEIGHTH). According to you, your puny theater is superior.

            You are hilarious!

          • Josh Zyber

            I will ask again: Do you have an IMAX screen in your home, Freaky?

            Do you really need me to waste time Googling high-end home theater design companies currently installing scope screens?

            Of all the 1.85:1 or 16:9 content that you personally watch, how much of it was designed with the IMAX experience intended, and how much of it was designed with smaller screens in mind?

      • Josh Zyber

        16:9 was chosen as the HDTV standard because it’s the mid-point between the narrowest ratio (4:3) and the widest (2.35:1) that would be displayed on the screen. Both have the same amount of black bars. A 4:3 image pillarboxed in the middle of a 2.35:1 screen has very large black bars. While you can make that work in projection, it’s impractical on a flat panel – and even more impractical on the CRT sets that were still dominant when the standard was developed. For its intended purpose (which was primarily general TV viewing with maybe the occasional movie once in a blue moon), 16:9 was the most logical and practical compromise. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s ideal for home theater.

        Projectors are also 16:9 because they follow the TV standard. It’s something that’s simple for most people to understand. “My TV is 16:9. The projector screen is like a big TV, right? So it should be the same shape as the TV, I think.” Again, this doesn’t mean that it’s actually ideal for a dedicated home theater application.

        Scope solutions for projectors may be a niche, but they’re a growing niche in the home theater sector. At every industry trade show, you’ll see almost all projector demos done on scope screens – because they’re way more impressive than 16:9 screens, and almost all of the big epic blockbuster movies that help sell home theater gear (the same ones that no doubt dominate Freaky’s own personal video collection) were photographed in scope aspect ratio.

        • Freakyguy666

          Once again, JZ is confusing aspect ratio for sheer size! There is NOTHING in modern cinema that says what size these aspect ratios should be projected at.

          Using your logic, ET & Back to the Future should be viewed SMALLER and therefore LESS IMMERSIVE than comedies such as The Heat & The Internship. I’d bet you anything if given a choice, the overwhelming majority would want the EXACT OPPOSITE.

          Your logic has been proven faulty over and over again.

          Cheers to that!

          • Josh Zyber

            My god, you’re insufferable. The Heat and The Internship may be comedies, but their directors made them with the intent that they be projected larger and wider than 1.85:1 movies (not shorter and smaller). At the same time, E.T. and Back to the Future may be sci-fi movies, but their directors made them knowing full well that they’d be projected narrower and smaller than scope movies. All of these directors had their reasons for doing what they did, and made their decisions as they felt appropriate.

            Ask Steven Spielberg which of his movies he expected to be projected larger when viewed on the same screen: E.T. or Close Encounters – or which he expects to be projected larger today. He’s not going to say E.T. He knew what compromises he was making when he shot that one at 1.85:1. He had other reasons for choosing that ratio, and decided to sacrifice width (and thus relative size on a cinema screen).

            With every post, your sample size of movies to make your case shrinks smaller and smaller and smaller. Congratulations, you’ve found two sci-fi movies at 1.85:1. How about looking at the bigger picture (no pun intended)? Out of all the movies ever made in the history of cinema, what aspect ratio are most sci-fi movies? 2.35:1, of course. What aspect ratio are most comedies? 1.85:1. Do you not understand the concept of “most”? If you like sci-fi movies, way more of them are 2.35:1 than 1.85:1. And not by any small margin. Seriously, almost all sci-fi movies are 2.35:1. This isn’t a coincidence. That ratio is favored by the makers of sci-fi movies for a reason – because they want these movies to be projected larger than 1.85:1. Because that’s how scope projection works.

            E.T. and Back to the Future and Jurassic Park are exceptions to this rule. Yes, exceptions do exist. But they are a minority. A tiny fragmentary sliver of the greater whole. Your inability to recognize this is myopic. Your insistence that you’re right while the people making the very movies you watch are all wrong is delusional and frankly just sad.

  17. Drew

    Nope! Once again, FG couldn’t be more wrong. The ceilings in my theater room are nine and a half feet. The wall that I put my screen on is just short of 16′ wide. There’s no way that I would have considered installing a 16×9 screen. FG talks about how your wasting the height by installing a scope screen. Clearly he doesn’t understand the term constant image HEIGHT. If FG would have installed a 14′ wide scope screen, the handful of movies that he keeps citing like a Bible thumper would be every bit as tall as the hundreds of scope films he watches. There would be no wasting of height. Those movies would merely be narrower than the thousands of other movies that he loves, just like they were intended to be!

  18. Drew

    The most hilarious thing about FG’s ridiculousness is how he keeps talking about how he installed a 16×9 screen so that he wouldn’t be wasting his height. And then he does exactly that, and wastes that beloved “height” EVERY SINGLE TIME he watches a 2.35:1 film, just so he can keep it, when he watches the handful of movies that he keeps citing, over and over again.

      • Josh Zyber

        Do you have an IMAX theater in your home, Freaky? Oh, you don’t? Then I guess the guidelines for IMAX don’t apply to you. Why do you cling to them?

        Some questions you may wish to ponder:

        How many movie theaters are there in the world?
        How many of those movie theaters are IMAX?
        What aspect ratio are the screens in most movie theaters?

        How many movies are made per year?
        How many movies play in IMAX theaters per year?
        How many of the movies that do play in IMAX theaters per year are projected at 2.35:1 in those IMAX theaters?

        What type of movies do you like to watch?
        What aspect ratio are most of those movies?

        Of the movies or TV programs you watch that are 1.85:1 or 16:9, how many of them do you honestly consider worthy of “immersive” viewing?

        Of the movies or TV programs you watch that are 1.85:1 or 16:9, how many of them are generic, flat, boring, non-epic, non-blockbuster, non-“immersive” content?

        Do the needs of the small handful of genuinely “immersive” 1.85:1 movies outweigh the needs of the much larger percentage of genuinely “immersive” 2.35:1 movies in your personal movie collection?

        I don’t expect you to respond to any of these questions to me, Freaky. But how about you ask them of yourself, and try to be brutally honest with yourself in how you answer. It’s time for some soul searching and personal reflection. We’ll wait while you give it some thought.

  19. Timcharger

    Josh, you wrote this:
    “TV content should NEVER, not in a billion years, ever be projected larger than any scope movie.”

    It sounds like a crime punishable with a “billion” year sentence, if it’s 2 Broke Girls, but what if it’s Game of Thrones? When it’s epic TV viewing, it doesn’t sound so bad. It doesn’t sound like a crime, to want to watch Game of Thrones as big as possible.


    Imagine if I owned 2 HDTVs of different dimensions (Scope TVs have hit the market):
    A) 70inch (diagonally measured) 1.85 plasma TV.
    B) 65inch (diagonally measured) 2.35 plasma TV.

    Note that both TVs have about the same width of 61 inches, because it was the largest I could buy to fit in my entertainment furniture.

    When I watch Lawrence of Arabia on either TV, they are exactly the same size.

    Here’s my question, Josh:
    according to you, I must ONLY watch Game of Thrones on my 65inch 2.35 plasma TV, and cannot watch it on my 70inch 1.85 plasma TV, because a “billion” years of bad luck will ensue?!

    If I watch Game of Thrones on my 70inch 1.85 plasma, it would be bigger than Lawrence! Oh no!

    So to follow your rules, I must force myself to watch Game of Thrones on my 65inch 2.35 plasma screen, so Scope films won’t have their toes stepped on?!


    To be fair, what if my entertainment furniture had plenty of width space, but height was the limiting factor?

    Then yes, obviously I would just use the 65inch 2.35 plasma TV for all my viewing.

    Because a 65inch (diagonal) 2.35 HDTV would have a height of 26inches. And a 1.85 HDTV of the same 26inch height would only be a 53inch (diagonal) HDTV.

    [This goes back to my suggestion that wall dimensions (or entertainment furniture constraints) may best determine screen dimensions.]


    It seems to me, that your goal isn’t ONLY to watch Lawrence as big as possible.

    Your 2nd goal is to preserve a hierarchy of what content deserves or doesn’t deserve larger viewing.

    Maybe there’s nothing wrong with having a class system to categories of content? 2 Broke Girls needs to ride in the back of the bus, okay. No civil rights or due process was violated.

    But maybe, there’s also nothing wrong with others who want to watch ANY content as big as possible?


    If Game of Thrones is displayed larger than Lawrence of Arabia, so be it. Guess what Josh, it happens a “billion” times every week. Every HDTV owner watches Widescreen content larger than Scope content.


    Freaky, don’t mistake me for saying 16X9 is always better. That’s not my position.

    • Freakyguy666

      Great post, Tim. Unfortunately, I predict you’ll soon discover as I did when I’ve made these very same arguments that JZ is completely unable realize these truths. As shown in the image in the link I provided, highend theaters are moving to 16×9 because the majority of architectural spaces fit this ratio and they strive to use the entire space (wall to wall–floor to ceiling). To wit, even Drew confirmed that his wall is practically 16×9! If money were no object, ideally he would install a 16×9–not a scope!

      In any case, Tim, get ready for some of the most hilarious logic you’ve ever heard, courtesy of JZ (and his 6′ ceiling).


    • Josh Zyber

      Tim, again, you can do whatever you want to do in your home. But consider these points:

      The makers of Game of Thrones know that they are making their program for TV, not movie theaters. While it may be an “epic” program, its intended target audience are viewers watching on screens from 27″ to about 60″. Meanwhile, every theatrical feature film is expected to play on a movie theater screen from 30 feet to 50 feet. The Game of Thrones people knew this and accepted it as the necessary compromise for the type of story they wanted to tell. Game of Thrones should not be projected larger than Lord of the Rings. Lord of the Rings is a feature film. Game of Thrones is TV. (Yeah yeah, insert joke here about how “It’s not TV, it’s HBO” if you must.)

      How many “epic” TV programs like Game of Thrones can you name? Ever made? From the dawn of television to today. Ever. Do you need more than the fingers on one hand to count them? If you build your home theater to maximize the experience of watching Game of Thrones, you are also by default building it to prioritize the experience of watching Mike & Molly, The Voice, The Bachelorette or Minute to Win It. With a 16:9 screen, every one of those average, everyday, nondescript TV shows is unavoidably displayed larger than genuinely “epic” feature films like 2001, Star Wars, Blade Runner or The Fifth Element.

      • Freakyguy666

        Thanks for making my prediction come true, JZ!

        And, Tim, to further debunk this 1950’s idea that scope is always supposed to be biggest, the top FILMMAKERS in the world have proven that wrong with their actions. Namely, when given the larger canvass of the IMAX screen, the filmmakers determined that IT WAS NOT BLASPHEMY to present Oblivion, Skyfall, Avatar, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises, Tansformers 2, Tron Legacy, and others in 16×9. In fact if you look up their quotes regarding these choices they invariably say how much more immersive the experience is with these changes.


        His arguments may have been valid 65 years ago, but not today. But given his age I realize the past is a tough thing for him to let go of. Kinda feel sorry for the old dude.


        • Josh Zyber

          Sigh. Same small handful of movies cited. Same oblivious disregard for the fact that, even in IMAX theaters, the majority movies that play there are photographed and projected at 2.35:1.

          Here’s a list of all Hollywood movies that have been put through the IMAX DMR process:

          For 2013, there are 31 movies. Of those, at least 20 were projected in IMAX theaters at 2.35:1. (I can’t find aspect ratio information on Stalingrad. While I have a feeling that it’s probably also 2.35:1, I’ll toss you a bone and put it in the 1.85:1 column.)

          Even in IMAX theaters, 63% of the movies that played on the IMAX screen were projected at 2.35:1. The directors of these movies DID NOT change their height for IMAX. These include major A-listers such as Alfonso Cuaron, Paul Greengrass, Zack Snyder, Marc Forster, Bryan Singer and Gore Verbinski, all of whom wanted their movies projected at 2.35:1, even in IMAX.

          Further, of the 11 movies that were projected at other ratios, 3 of them (Oblivion, Star Trek into Darkness, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) were designed with the intent that they be projected at 2.35:1 in all non-IMAX theaters. In fact, the directors of Oblivion and Star Trek into Darkness transferred their movies to Blu-ray at 2.35:1. These directors (J.J. Abrams and Joseph Kosinski) want you to watch their movies as 2.35:1 at home, NOT 1.85:1.

          So, 23 of the 31 movies (74%) that played in IMAX theaters this year were designed with 2.35:1 projection in mind.

          Again I ask, do you not understand the concept of “most”?

          This is not a “1950s idea.” These are all brand-new 2013 movies. And this trend shows no signs of changing in 2014. Of the 13 movies announced for IMAX DMR conversion in 2014, 9 of them (64%) are confirmed to be 2.35:1 productions. Of the other 5, the aspect ratios for 3 (Pomeii, Godzilla and Jupiter Ascending) are not yet confirmed, but most likely also 2.35:1 given that all of their directors primarily shoot at that ratio.

          Facts are fact, Freaky. Of the type of movies that you claim to like, the overwhelming majority are, have been and will continue to be photographed at the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. 2.35:1 is the aspect ratio of choice for the “immersive” epic blockbuster movies you like to watch.

          No director has ever photographed a movie in scope ratio expecting it to be shrunken in size and projected smaller than TV shows. Ever.

      • Timcharger

        Hi Josh,

        I’ve considered your points, but the amount of bad TV content versus the smaller amount of bad Scope content (do remember there’s a lot of bad Scope content, too.) does not convince me that I need to discriminate between categories of content, for the sake of: THAT’S THE WAY IT SUPPOSE TO BE.

        Yes, I understand you have this notion that SOME content shouldn’t be projected larger than SOME other content.

        In your example, you must have Lord of the Rings larger than Game of Thrones. I think I want to have both as large as possible, and if that means one is “wrongly” larger than the other, I’ll “suffer” watching that giant projection of both.

        Naming Mike & Molly or Bachelor, instead of 2 Broke Girls; and me countering with Game of Thrones ISN’T going to resolve the issue.

        Bear in mind, in my examples, I have already attempted to projected Scope films AS LARGE AS POSSIBLE given the wall dimensions (or cabinet furniture dimensions). I can’t make Scope films any bigger. So it is NOT the case that I don’t want to project Scope larger.

        I’m just figuring out what to do with 16X9 films: make them as large as possible too, OR throttle/cap/limit their size so that Scope films will always be larger.

        In the case of a very rectangular wall, making 16X9 films as large as possible, would mean they are still smaller than Scope films.

        But in the case of a less rectangular wall, making 16X9 films as large as possible, may mean they project larger than Scope films.


        Imagine it’s season 7 or whatever final episode there is to Game of Thrones. The ending will be a 2 part episode, long like a feature film. HBO decides: let’s sell tickets to this and it’ll play in movie theaters. Great idea!

        If Josh ran the movie theater…
        Josh would play the series finale of Game of Thrones in the tiny theater #19 of his movieplex. Because Josh doesn’t want a 16X9 film to project larger than Scope movies. So, he’ll project it on the smallest #19 theater he has, so it doesn’t really violate the code that these bathrooms are for Scope films and these other bathrooms are for Widescreen films.

        Many ticket buyers would ask, why don’t you play the series finale of Game of Thrones on the IMAX sized theater #1 screen, Josh?

        “Never, never, never in a billion years would I do that.” Josh replies.


        Josh, I understand you have a ranking system. So be it, too.

        I’m just saying, for me, I don’t think using Scope screens to preserve a segregated idea of a content class system is a necessarily good thing.

        • Josh Zyber

          Tim, it’s your prerogative to do whatever you feel works best for you. However, I must point out that your notion of “no segregation” in fact does segregate all 2.35:1 movies (good, bad or indifferent) as being inferior to all TV content (again good, bad or indifferent). With a 16:9 screen, all TV shows will always be larger than all scope feature films. There will never be a case when any scope movie is displayed larger than any TV show.

          Let’s say you’re a fan of Modern Family (a popular and Emmy-winning show). Great, enjoy that. But do you honestly believe that Modern Family should be larger and more immersive than Star Wars? Does that seem right to you?

          If you really don’t want to segregate anything at all, what do you do with old TV shows like All in the Family or Cheers? (Both good shows, no shame in wanting to watch them.) Will you install a giant 4:3 screen to maximize the display of those?

          You don’t want to segregate content into classes. But the fact of the matter is that this content is already segregated into classes when it’s made. TV shows are designed to be watched on TVs. Feature films are designed to be watched in movie theaters with much larger screens. And scope movies are designed to be projected larger than 1.85:1 movies on Constant Image Height screens. That’s how they’re made.

          Freaky continues to harp on his small list of exceptions, but refuses to acknowlege that they’re exactly that – exceptions. A minority. He fails to see the forest, not just for the trees, but for a couple of twigs on the ground under his feet.

          If you believe that the purpose of home theater is to recreate the theatrical cinematic experience, the majority of professional movie theaters are Constant Image Height format, and almost all movies are made with the expectation of being projected on Constant Image Height screens.

          Perhaps that’s not important to you? Perhaps your HDTV is just a TV to you, a box to watch football on and maybe the occasional movie. There’s nothing wrong with that, though it does seem odd to me that you’d read a site like this or invest a lot of money in this hobby in that were the case.

  20. Drew

    FG, I didn’t make your point. I implicitly made a completely opposite point. I’m not wasting anything, unlike you. I get to watch scope films at the exact same height as 16×9 films — JUST LIKE THE FILMMAKERS INTENDED. In spite of my wall practically being 16×9, I would never install a 16×9 screen. I would never EVER want to watch scope films shorter and smaller than their 1.85:1 counterparts. That’s not a sacrifice I would ever be willing to make, regardless of whether my wall was 30′ wide by 20′ tall, or 10′ wide by 5′ tall. I would ALWAYS want to watch ALL films at the same height, and different widths, JUST LIKE THE FILMMAKERS INTENDED. I hope you enjoy sacrificing, no, molesting the artistic integrity of every single film you watch, just so a handful of 1.85:1 films can look “larger.”

  21. Timcharger

    Freaky, you keep naming those films, that doesn’t convince me. Just as Josh naming bad TV doesn’t convince me of the opposite.

    Freaky, if you’re gonna push Drew to admit that his 16X9.5 wall is perfect for Widescreen…

    then Freaky, you should also admit that if your
    wall was 24 feet wide X 10 feet tall, a Scope screen would be better for you, too.

    • Freakyguy666

      Tim, given the plethora of posts my simple comment has generated, I could understand how you may have missed this, but I’ve been saying that in JZ’s room, he is better off with scope because of his short 6′ ceiling, however, most home theaters are not limited to such a crazy low ceiling height.

      • Timcharger

        So if you admit that sometimes Scope screens are better, then there is no screen that is automatically more immersive for everyone.

        Yet you keep saying 16X9 is more immersive.

  22. Drew

    “IT WAS NOT BLASPHEMY to present Oblivion, Skyfall, Avatar, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises, Tansformers 2, Tron Legacy, and others in 16×9.”

    NONE — NOT A SINGLE ONE! — of these films was EVER screened at 16×9. Not in regular theaters, or IMAX. Every single one of these films is a scope film! They were all screened at 2.35:1 in over 90% of the theaters they played in. When they were screened on a limited number of IMAX screens, only three of them were presented at a taller ratio, closer to 2:1. (IMAX is not 1.9:1, FG. It’s between 1.9:1 and 2:1 — closer to 2:1). Only two of them included any scenes that opened up taller than that. Only one of them was transferred to blu-ray at 16×9, so when FG watches all but one of these on his magnificent home theater screen, he screens them at — drumroll please — yup, 2.35:1! That’s right, folks, FG watches all but one of these films that he includes in his statement, at 2.35:1!

    • Josh Zyber

      No personal attacks allowed, folks. I’m deleting or editing comments with personal attacks, even if they support my side of the argument. We should be able to have this debate without making it personal. Thank you.

  23. Drew

    Tim, the following quote illustrates that you are still not grasping the concept.

    If Josh ran the movie theater…
    Josh would play the series finale of Game of Thrones in the tiny theater #19 of his movieplex. Because Josh doesn’t want a 16X9 film to project larger than Scope movies. So, he’ll project it on the smallest #19 theater he has, so it doesn’t really violate the code that these bathrooms are for Scope films and these other bathrooms are for Widescreen films.

    This couldn’t be further from the truth. If Josh was given his choice of auditorium, I’m sure he would screen it on the biggest scope auditorium that the theater offered. And guess what? It would be glorious and massive! It just wouldn’t be as wide as a scope film would be, when projected on the same screen. It would be awesome! Just as tall was that humongous screen! Just not as wide … JUST LIKE THE FILMMAKERS INTENDED.

    • Timcharger

      If he projected Game of Thrones on his biggest screen at the 8:00 showtime, and then a the 10:00 showtime, he projected Lawrence on the same biggest screen he has, Game of Thones would be projected bigger than Larry!

    • Timcharger

      Because the biggest screen at the Josh’s movieplex is not a long rectangular wall with a short ceiling, the biggest screen is a tall auditorium.

    • Timcharger

      And tiny theater #19 is the one with the shortest ceiling ratio to wide wall, so that if Game of Thrones was project there, Larry would still be projected bigger.

    • Timcharger

      Sorry, one more…

      The point of this hypothetical example is to say, that Josh wouldn’t really project the series finale of Game of Thrones on Theater #19.

      This is the allegory to ask: is there a need to have a notion that some content necessarily needs to larger or smaller than other content?

      • Josh Zyber

        Tim, you’re confusing the matter by talking about projecting different movies in different theaters. The debate we’re having here is how to display different movies on the same screen in the same theater.

        • Timcharger

          If both Game and Larry was projected in Theater #1, Game would be bigger and that violates your hierarchy system.

          If both Game and Larry was projected in Theater #19, Larry would be bigger, and you’re happy, while ticket buyers are grumpy.

  24. Drew

    But that would violate his notion that Scope films need to project larger that 16X9 films, no?

    No, Tim, absolutely not. The scope film would still be larger, when projected on that same largest screen in the auditorium. I don’t know how to make you understand that.

  25. Drew

    If he projected Game of Thrones on his biggest screen at the 8:00 showtime, and then a the 10:00 showtime, he projected Lawrence on the same biggest screen he has, Game of Thones would be projected bigger than Larry!

    No, it wouldn’t be! They would both be the same height. Larry would be much wider. Just as the filmmaker intended him to be.

    • Timcharger

      The biggest screen at the movieplex isn’t a 2.35 screen.

      The auditoriums are tall. The biggest screen is more squarish and less rectangular.

      The maximum projection size of a 16X9 film on an Imax-sized screen is larger than the maximum projection of a 2.35 film on the SAME Imax-sized screen.

      • Timcharger

        Both projections are already projected left-side-wall to right-side-wall. They are projected at the maximum width already.

        But since the biggest screen of the movieplex is in a tall auditorium, there is more height available for the 16X9 projection to fill up. Hence the 2.35 film is projected smaller.

  26. Drew

    Josh, please reinstate my comment that was in reply to what FG said about me making his point for him. You can delete any of the verbiage that might be construed as an attack. I apologize. I won’t include attacks, any longer. My comment was vital to this discussion, however, and I really hope you will reinstate it. Please do.

    • Timcharger

      Drew, it might be difficult to undelete it. You might just want to retype your point without the alleged insulting verbiage.

  27. Timcharger

    Josh & Drew, if the biggest screen at the movieplex is a Scope 2.35 screen then you’ll be correct that Larry would still be bigger than Game of Thrones. But that’s not the biggest screen in theaters anymore.

    • Josh Zyber

      Tim, scope is still the largest screen in the vast majority of theaters. IMAX is a minority. And even in IMAX theaters, most of the movies that play on those screens are projected as scope.

      • Timcharger

        Yes, you’re right that the vast majority of the THEATERS still have Scope screens as their largest screen.

        But let be clear, that’s if you’re counting by THEATERS, not if your counting by SCREENS.

        The vast majority of the biggest screens in aggregate of all screens of all theaters are NOT Scope screens anymore.

        15-20 years ago, 90% of the biggest 100 screens were Scope screens. Now 90% of the biggest 100 screens are not Scope screens.

        Notice the difference of why I’m saying. I’m being precise about this.


        Let’s not get sidetracked, discussing the economics of theaters and Imax ticket prices.


        My point is correct that in the cases of the vast majority of largest projection screens we have today, 16X9 will project larger than Scope films. This is true.

        And my point about this ISN’T Freaky’s point.

        He’s saying thus, 16X9 is always better. I’m not saying that.

        I’m saying, would you really care that a 16X9 film is projected bigger than a 2.35 Scope film? Josh, you’ll grab some popcorn, and you’ll fire up the projector at Theater #1 and enjoy the gigantic series finale of Game of Thrones (despite the fact that it would be larger than Larry on that same screen).

        • Josh Zyber

          Tim, you’re being disingenuous with these numbers. When you say “90% of the biggest 100 screens,” you’re of course referring to IMAX, which (at least in theory) has larger screens than other theaters. Since IMAX has the largest screens, and since all IMAX screens are 1.9:1, ipso facto most of the largest screens are 1.9:1.

          The problems with this reasoning are twofold. 1) Although IMAX may have the largest screens, they are still a very small minority of theaters. Most movie theaters are not IMAX. 2) Not every movie plays on an IMAX screen. Not even every “epic” blockbuster movie plays on an IMAX screen. Only a relatively small number of movies made per year go through the IMAX DMR process. In 2013, there were only 31. That number is comparable to the previous two years.

          Outside of the IMAX brand, every other premium movie theater format employs Constant Image Height 2.35:1 screens: AMC’s ETX, Regal’s RPX, CineMark’s XD, Showcase’s Luxe, etc. All of them are Constant Image Height. Only IMAX is an outlier, and even IMAX has widened its screens from the original 1.43:1 format in acknowledgement of the fact that most of the movies it now projects are widescreen.

          As I pointed out earlier, even the majority of those movies that do play in IMAX theaters are projected at scope aspect ratio, because their filmmakers are more concerned about how they should be presented in every other theater in the world.

          Do you have an IMAX theater in your home? If not, the IMAX guidelines don’t apply to you and have no relevance to how you set up your home theater.

          What you should actually look at is the content you watch. Of the movies/TV shows/whatever you watch, which ones qualify for being truly “immersive” viewing experiences? Of those, how many are 2.35:1 and how many are narrower ratios? I’m sure you’ll find that, overwhelmingly, the majority of epic “immersive” movies are 2.35:1. Also overwhelming, the majority of content you watch that’s 1.85:1 or 16:9 does not qualify for that label. By installing a 16:9 screen, you’re prioritizing the non-immersive content and displaying it larger than what should be the most immersive content.

  28. Timcharger

    Josh, my point has nothing to do with whether I have Imax in my home or not.

    My point is a realistic example if HBO were to release the series finale of Game of Thrones into theaters in the future, it will likely project LARGER than Scope films in the largest screens in a theater near you and near 90% of all Americans.

    I bring this up to have you think about your notion that in a “billion years, never, never, never should a 16X9 film be projected larger than a 2.35 film”.

    In 90% of the largest screens, 16X9 films ARE being projected larger than 2.35 films everyday.

    It doesn’t matter that the majority of films projected on Imax screens are being projected at 2.35.

    But that EVERY 16X9 film projected on a Imax screen is larger than EVERY 2.35 film projected on the same Imax screen.

    So it’s NOT in a “billion years that 16X9 should be larger than 2.35 projections”, it’s everyday.


    Does that mean you should have a 16X9 screen instead of a scope screen in your underground mancave?


    I’m simply saying that I disagree with 1 of the arguments you’re using to justify your position that SOME content should inherently be projected larger than OTHER content.

    • Josh Zyber

      Tim, if HBO were to gives episodes of Game of Thrones a theatrical release, there’s no guarantee they would play in IMAX theaters. In fact, they probably wouldn’t. In the vast majority of other theaters, they would be projected onto Constant Image Height screens.

      Even if these hypothetical episodes of Game of Thrones did play in IMAX theaters, all that means is that they’d fall into the very tiny handful of exceptions to the rule that Freaky keeps harping on again and again.

      I’ve already explained why your “90% of the largest screens” statistic is misleading. 90% of the 1% of movie theater screens that IMAX accounts for equals 0.9% of all movie theater screens. Unless you have an IMAX screen in your home, the rules for IMAX have nothing to do with you.

      Read the final paragraph of my last post. Rather than worry about how things are projected in IMAX theaters (which you don’t have), look at what content you actually watch and attempt to weigh how much of it is 2.35:1 vs. how much is other aspect ratios. By majority, which content at which ratio typically merits being displayed larger than the other?

      I take it that you’re a fan of Game of Thrones. But is Game of Thrones ALL that you’re a fan of? If you happen to be a massive Game of Thrones fan with a Game of Thrones themed home theater surrounded by Game of Thrones memorabilia, who watches episodes of Game of Thrones over and over again practically every day – then yeah, it makes sense that your theater be designed to maximize the Game of Thrones experience to the exclusion of anything else. That’s fair if that’s what you like. However, if you’re like most people and watch a variety of different content, you should probably take a good look at what that content is.

      If HBO were to bring Game of Thrones to a close on TV and release a follow-up theatrical movie, I’d say that there’s about a 98% likelihood that it would be photographed in scope aspect ratio. Most movies adapted from TV shows (Star Trek, The X-Files, Mission: Impossible, The A-Team, etc.) go this route in order to emphasize that the movies are bigger and more epic than the TV episodes that fans had been watching. That’s not a coincidence.

    • Freakyguy666


      You seem to have made a couple of assumptions about my position on this topic probably because you have neither the time or interest in going thru the plethora of posts….but you should know that a) the list of movies that I provided are to provide actual TESTIMONY from the filmmakers own mouths that they describe the larger IMAX aspect ratio of their film as being more immersive when compared to their 2.35 versions. This flies in the face of what JZ apparently believes. And it should be noted that he has no testimony from a single top filmmaker contradicting this point–just his opinions. B) I have never said that 16×9 is inherently better than scope. In fact, if you go thru my posts, they ARE CONSISTENT in saying that bigger is better and IF one has the height to expand a 2.35 to 16×9, they should. In fact, I have written on this site that there is a certain cinematic beauty to scope as a style that I appreciate. But I stop short of saying it is blasphemy to project a taller aspect ratio larger than scope. I hope the distinction is not lost.

      Finally, I have written that if one is unfortunate enough to be limited to a 6′ high ceiling as JZ apparently is, then the biggest screen they could fit is likely a scope. And that’s fine. But I argue that most spaces could accommodate 1:90 or 16×9 more efficiently.

      Hope that clarifies my position (and I just saved you a ton of time in reading old posts!).



      • Freakyguy666

        One last point. It should be noted that when scope initially came out, most theaters were NOT scope. It took years for the theaters to “upgrade” their screens to Scope. But if you had used JZ’s logic at that time, he would say that because most movies were not yet using Scope that it meant that filmmakers preferred the non-scope format. So it seems it is just a matter of timing.