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I know it must be a madhouse over there but this is a pretty big issue and I've tried to solve it myself with no joy

Desktop Specs:
i5 4460
r9 280
8gb ram
win7 x64
1920x1080 monitor

So I can't get the game to start. It fails to launch immediately with both the launcher and game's .exe. I get a windows message saying ___ has stopped working.

Things I've tried:
launching the game without my fight stick plugged in
launching the game without a controller plugged in either
toggling windowed mode
toggling hardware vertex shading
running as admin (also as a long shot, tried in xp compatibility)

gonna see if im behind on driver updates but im usually not, only other relevant thing is thta I didnt install it to the default location/hard drive so im trying that next
This question / problem has been solved by Piranjadeimage
Does disabling movies make a difference? It could be a codec, ffdshow, or video splitter issue.
No, it doesnt make a difference, still crashing.
Installing it on c drive also didnt help
My specs are nearly the same as yours and I have the same problem. :-(
For me the following worked:
De-installing the old version of GOG Galaxy that I still had installed (and didn't use).
Installing a new version of Galaxy (that I don't use).
Game starts now.
Yeah same here.

I havent launched Galaxy since around TW3's launch and did not use it to isntall this game, but uninstalling and reinstalling Galaxy has solved my issue
I have the same problem with you, but since I play this game at work ( :O) I can not install GOG Galaxy on this computer.

is it possible to do anything to start it without Galaxy ?