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The New & Improved Real Ghostbusters DVD Packaging

 By Paul Rudoff on Jul. 14, 2010 at 11:45 PM , Categories: Home Video
When TimeLife's The Real Ghostbusters: Complete Collection DVD box set was first released back in November 2008, the five smaller sets ("volumes") inside were each housed in a metal SteelBook™ case. When Vol 1. was released by itself in March 2009, it retained its Steelbook case from the box set. However, earlier this year TimeLife begun the process of replacing the Steelbook metal cases with plastic cases that are of the same dimensions. It started with the individual release of Vol. 2 in January, it will continue with the individual release of Vol. 3 in a mere three weeks (on August 3, 2010), and now the Complete Collection box set and the individual Vol. 1 are using the plastic cases, as well.

I, for one, am glad that they made the change to the plastic cases. I wish they would have used them all along. The new cases (which are the same dimensions as the Steelbooks) have each disc on its own page with NO overlap (unlike the Steelbooks). I suggested this packaging to Jeff Peisch (producer of the DVD box set, and head of TimeLife's video division) back in January 2009, after I saw how well it worked in CBS/Paramount's Petticoat Junction - The Official First Season set. One of my major complaints about the Complete Collection box set, other than the slow or sped-up episodes in Vol 4, is with the Steelbook cases. I hate the disc-over-disc storage inside the cases, and the disc locking mechanism, which has absolutely no give and upon repeated use will cause the inner ring of the disc to crack. I've had this happen with my Ghostbusters 1999 DVD, and that case's disc locking mechanism is a bit better than the Steelbooks - but not by much. So I'm quite happy that TimeLife decided to take my suggestion and replace the Steelbooks with the plastic cases, though I'm sure it's the cheaper cost of the plastic cases that really spurred their decision.

If you'd like to see for yourself why the plastic cases are better than the old metal ones, check out this comparison/review that I just wrote up using the individual Vol. 2 release.

As several people have already reported buying the Complete Collection box set from Amazon and getting the plastic cases inside, instead of the Steelbooks, I decided to ask Jeff Peisch about it. Not only did I want to confirm the reports, I also wanted to find out if it's only Amazon that's selling the new plastic case sets, or if other retailers (online and brick-and-mortar) are selling them too - including TimeLife.com.

He told me, "All configurations are now in [plastic cases]. NO Steelbooks at all. So those original sets are collectors' editions!!"

Since TimeLife has been manufacturing the set with Steelbook cases for at least a year (probably a year and several months), I wouldn't be quick to call the Steelbook cases "rare". "Collector's Editions" - sure, I would say that, but certainly not rare. Still, don't be surprised when you see them popping up on eBay at exorbitant prices with the word "rare" prominently displayed in the listing.

In an effort to help out the fans as much as possible, I asked Jeff for a little more information - particularly the answers to these two important questions regarding this matter.

1. Since some of the Steelbook "Complete Collection" box sets may still be out there in the wild, is there any way to tell from the outside packaging (the firehouse box) if there's plastic or Steelbook cases inside? Like maybe a different UPC/item/part number, a new/removed/different logo on the bottom, a change in any of the text on the bottom, or something else?

For the individual sets it will be really easy to see what case they're in, but for the "Complete Collection" box sets, the cases will be inside the sealed firehouse box. So that's why I'm asking if there's any small clue on the firehouse box of the new "plastic case sets" that could let the buyer know that there's plastic cases, and not Steelbooks, inside.

    -- Jeff's response: "There shouldn't be any of the Steelbook complete sets out there, since we just duplicated several thousand more of the new versions; and we wouldn't have made new ones if we had old ones in inventory."

2. Are there any plans to make a set of the new plastic cases (with the high-quality paper liner artwork) available for purchase to whomever may want to buy them to replace their Steelbooks?

For a fair amount of money (like $10 for the set), I know that there are folks who would buy them. That would be an extra source of revenue for TimeLife, without having to invest in anything new - you just do the same as you're doing now, but leave out the discs and firehouse box. Maybe you can bring this up at the next staff meeting, or mention it to whomever would be in charge of approving such things (if it's not you).

    -- Jeff's response: "Not at this time."

And for those of you who have been collecting the sets individually, I asked Jeff if the release dates for the individual releases of Vols. 4 & 5 have been determined yet. He said, "We'll definitely release next year." So you can rest assured that, as things currently stand, you'll be able to complete your collection before the end of 2011.

I'd like to publically thank Jeff Peisch for graciously answering all of my questions and putting up with my pestering.


Comment from: Dekaprime [Visitor]

I love the new plastic set. So much so that I’ve actually had a go at calling TimeLife to let them know that if they ever did put out a plastic case for volume one or even rereleased Vol.1 in the plastic case I would be very happy to buy it. I love consistency in my dvd’s and the plastic case is just so much better for a show. Individual movies can work in steelbook but not multi disk shows. I think the steelbooks where a nice add-on for those that bought the complete set anyway. Gives them one more extra over those of us that have to wait. . . . quite a bit admittedly between volume release dates.

Jul. 15, 2010 @ 02:20
Comment from: [Member]

Yeah, there was a year-long wait between the individual releases of Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. Only a six month wait between Vol. 2 and Vol. 3. Thankfully, for those collecting the individual sets, they should have Vol. 4 and Vol. 5 out before the end of 2011.

Jul. 15, 2010 @ 02:41
Comment from: AlexLoup [Visitor]

I bought The Complete Collection from Amazon (directly, not from a side shop) and all five volumes came in the plastic cases. Reading this I’m glad I did get the plastic cases.

Jul. 15, 2010 @ 07:58
Comment from: Dreamstalker [Visitor]

Count me in as wanting a set of plastic cases. I liked the Steelbooks initially, but that disc locking mechanism is now making me nervous with all the shuffling and finagling required to get the disc to stay (the cases themselves are starting to not close properly). At least the plastic cases have some give. I’ve also heard reports of the books starting to rust on the inside.

On the Amazon reviews of the collector’s set there’s a mention of someone receiving the plastic cases.

Jul. 15, 2010 @ 18:25
Comment from: [Member]

AlexLoup - Yesterday, when I read the Amazon review that Dreamstalker mentioned, was the first I heard of the complete series box set having plastic cases inside instead of Steelbooks.

I’m going to check with my source at TimeLife to find out about the situation with plastic cases in the complete series box set.

[UPDATE 7/16/2010 - I just completely rewrote this article to be about the use of the plastic cases in ALL of TimeLife’s Real Ghostbusters releases, not just the Vol. 2 release.]

Jul. 15, 2010 @ 22:13
Comment from: the phantom [Visitor]

i preferred the steel book cases becasuse they are tougher and quite frankly look better a plastic case is just another was to save money

Aug. 19, 2010 @ 15:17
Comment from: ME [Visitor]

You people cry to much. The stealbook is unique and nicer. Plastic cases look cheap and poor quality:-(

Dec. 24, 2011 @ 01:00

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