Hidden Japanese language options on Warner/Fox Blu-rays

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Hidden Japanese language options on Warner/Fox Blu-rays

Postby James-Masaki_Ryan » 07 Feb 2017 15:17

Warner Brothers and Twentieth Century Fox are two companies that make it a habit to “hide” Japanese audio and subtitles from non-Japanese menus on their Blu-ray discs. If you are submitting specs for a Warner or Fox Blu-ray release, it would be helpful if you could check for confirmation when submitting.

Here is an example of what you would see and how to find the options:

“Doctor Zhivago” Warner Brothers Blu-ray.

Here is an screenshot of the main menu of the “Doctor Zhivago” Blu-ray when played back on a Blu-ray player in which the player’s menu is set to “English”:

Image

There are multiple audio and subtitle options but note that “Japanese” (日本語) is nowhere to be found.

If you run a BDinfo scan of the disc (with the BD-ROM program “BDinfo”) this is what will appear:

Image

It states that (*) Indicates included stream hidden by this playlist.
In that playlist, “Japanese” audio and subtitles are marked with an asterix, therefore the hidden language. (You can also find another playlist in which Japanese does not have an asterix but all other dubs and subs have an asterix instead.)

So, the Japanese audio and subtitles are physically on the disc. How do you access them?

This will depend on the player, but in the Blu-ray player’s settings, there is a way to choose the disc’s menu language. On players bought in the US or UK it should default to “English” or “Auto”. German players default to “German”, Chinese players to “Chinese” etc. On some players you are able to scroll through to “Disc Menu -> Japanese”. There are some players where you would have to input a country’s language code and that depends on the model’s maker’s specs. Once the menu has been changed to “Japanese” and the disc is played, the “Doctor Zhivago” Blu-ray should look like this on Japanese menu settings:

Image

Notice that “English” and “Japanese” (日本語) are the only options available on the Japanese menu, locking out all other dubs and subtitles.

This is a practice so far ONLY seen on Warner Brothers and Twentieth Century Fox Blu-ray and Blu-ray 4K UHD discs. Other Hollywood companies such as Universal, Sony, Disney, and Paramount do NOT hide Japanese and make them normally available on any language menu.

Now, it would be easy to say “I did a BDinfo scan and it says Japanese, so I will list Japanese.”
This is where it gets complicated and I will show two examples where BDinfo don’t tell the entire story:

“Runner Runner” Spain Blu-ray (Twentieth Century Fox)
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“Arrow: Season 1” US Blu-ray (Warner Brothers)
Image
For both these titles, Japanese is clearly on the discs according to BDinfo. But even with setting the Blu-ray player’s menu to “disc menu -> Japanese”, only the English menus appear.

For “Runner Runner”, Fox created a Japanese dub and sub track, but for some reason they decided not to release the film in Japan themselves and sold the rights to the Japanese company Happinet. Happinet created their own dub and subtitle track and released their own Blu-ray which is different from the Fox disc. Apparently the Fox discs with Japanese audio and subtitles were already authored, but instead of reauthoring the disc to remove the Japanese options, they decided to remove one thing - the Japanese menu screen. Therefore players are unable to access the Japanese tracks.

For “Arrow: Season 1”, it uses the same lockout by removing the Japanese menu screen. It may be due to the US set being much cheaper than the Japanese set even with identical content. Strangely, seasons 2, 3, and 4 have accessible Japanese audio and subtitles on the US releases.

So far “Japanese” is the only language I have seen that gets the “hidden” treatment. Why do they do this? I’m not exactly sure but it does create headaches for people (like me) looking for non-Japanese releases with Japanese options.
Last edited by Ulrich_Christensen on 15 Oct 2017 06:31, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Re-hosted the images to DVDCompare proper to get rid of the nasty Photobucket ransomware.
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Re: Hidden Japanese language options on Warner/Fox Blu-rays

Postby Alex_Fernandez » 22 Jun 2017 14:50

Have you got a list of other possible cases that I can test? I know of one, Kingsman: The Secret Service, I'm guessing it was going to be released by Twentieth Century Fox but then it was released Sony a few months after the rest of the world had their releases, I have the Spanish release and I can confirm that it does indeed have Japanese menus, audio and subtitles.
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Re: Hidden Japanese language options on Warner/Fox Blu-rays

Postby James-Masaki_Ryan » 22 Jun 2017 15:01

"Kingsman" has already been confirmed here.

Can't recall any particular ones at the moment that could be checked but it is always the Fox and Warner releases that need double checking.
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Re: Hidden Japanese language options on Warner/Fox Blu-rays

Postby Brent_Reid » 09 Dec 2017 19:47

Fascinating, re “Runner Runner” and “Arrow: Season 1”. Aren't the Japanese sub/dub options selectable via the remote either?
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Re: Hidden Japanese language options on Warner/Fox Blu-rays

Postby James-Masaki_Ryan » 09 Dec 2017 23:55

Brent_Reid wrote:Fascinating, re “Runner Runner” and “Arrow: Season 1”. Aren't the Japanese sub/dub options selectable via the remote either?

No, they aren't. they are completely locked out.
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Re: Hidden Japanese language options on Warner/Fox Blu-rays

Postby Åsmund_Utvik » 16 Jan 2019 15:32

I wonder why you have this post here still?
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Re: Hidden Japanese language options on Warner/Fox Blu-rays

Postby James-Masaki_Ryan » 16 Jan 2019 15:42

Åsmund_Utvik wrote:I wonder why you have this post here still?

So people can read it and learn before submitting specs.
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