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Is SONY releasing any pre 1970's films?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Greg_M, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    They released "Dr Strangelove" but little else before 1970. Are they abandoning their catalog on Blu-Ray? FOX and WB/MGM have released some pre-1970's films

    is anything in the pipeline besides "Easy Rider"?
     
  2. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I have no inside info but I think I can safely say that you'll see more older catalog titles eventually. It's just that DVD was so massively succesful that the titles came out faster than they will on Blu-ray.
     
  3. OliverK

    OliverK Screenwriter

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    They are working on some obscure 60ies movie, something like Larry the Arab I think [​IMG]

    I am a bit surprised that you are asking specifically about Sony as to me the most underperforming studios with regard to older catalog are Universal and Paramount.
     
  4. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    I've given up on Universal - a long time ago.

    Paramount is starting to release 70's and 80's films so I would think they'll get around to pre 70's. We have gotten "The Godfather, "Grease' and "Saturday Night Fever"

    SONY was the first supporter of Blu-ray, yet very few catalog titles are available.

    WB who supported HD has released dozens of older titles - and as far back as 1937's "The Adventures of Robin hood!"

    Fox/MGM also have released many films (007 Bond, "The Longest Day", "Good, Bad and the Ugly", "Diary of Anne Frank", "Patton" etc)

    I'm surprised SONY didn't release their Best Picture series on Blu-Ray instead of just boxing them together for standard DVD
     
  5. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Paramount will probably release BDs of the pre-1970s catalog titles they can bring themselves to release on DVD: i.e. the ones with John Wayne and Audrey Hepburn.

    Sony should be releasing more; as creators of the format, they have the most to gain from its success from having titles available.

    If/when the economy stabilizes (and that's a big "if", as gas is going back up again) and penetration of BD players increases we may see more. I also guess they don't want to just carelessly dump stuff on BD like they did with a lot of DVDs. Many titles probably require remastering and restoration.

    I can wait for them to do it right. But within reason. This 26 year old would love to have Lawrence of Arabia on BD, but not as a present from my grandchildren.
     
  6. Sean A

    Sean A Stunt Coordinator

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    You would think "Oliver !" would be a natural for Blu-ray release. Also , where is "The Bridge on the River Kwai" or 'The Guns of Navarone" , much less "LoA"
     
  7. Terry Hickey

    Terry Hickey Second Unit

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    I would like to see "Jason and the Argonauts" on blu-ray.
     
  8. Richard Gallagher

    Reviewer

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    I don't know what the long-term plans are. The oldest titles I see on the schedule for the next three months are THE DEEP (1977) and MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (1978).

    If I'm not mistaken, the only pre-1970 BD releases from Sony this year have been IN COLD BLOOD and DR. STRANGELOVE.
     
  9. Dick

    Dick Producer

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  10. Dick

    Dick Producer

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    I know I'm not imagining this: it was said (I think even by Paramount) that SUNSET BLVD. would be out in Blu-ray soon. Somehow I'm inclined to believe that may no longer be true.
     
  11. OliverK

    OliverK Screenwriter

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    I agree with you observations, but for me Sony is still the best major studio when it comes to classics as they treat their classics the best - IF they release them.
    Both Warner and MGM have put out too much product that I find to be compromised and also MGM has not put out much pre 70ies stuff apart from the Bond movies either. Fox also has been a little bit hit and miss for me lately.
     
  12. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Pre-1970 Sony BD titles released so far:

    20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)
    The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
    Dr. Strangelove (1964)
    Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)
    In Cold Blood (1967)
    It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)
    The Professionals (1966)

    7 may seem pretty small, but by my count it's the fourth best of any studio. Warner has a strong lead (18), with Fox (8) and MGM (8) tied for 2nd, but the other major studios are even more lacking than Sony: Buena Vista (2), Paramount (0), and Universal (0). Even Criterion (4) and MPI (1) have got the latter two of them beat. (Disney gets a mild pass because their pre-70s feature film catalog is relatively small).

    Part of the problem is having a transfer worthy of a HD release. Sony has a pretty good track record over the last couple years for releasing high quality transfers, so they're surely taking their time to do things right.

    So what are the big guns one would expect from Sony? I see the following titles as pretty solid evergreen sellers for them when looking at their pre-1970s films.

    Guaranteed at some point:

    The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
    Easy Rider (1969)
    From Here to Eternity (1953)
    The Guns of Navarone (1961)
    Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
    On the Waterfront (1954)

    A good shot (may take a few years for some):

    Born Yesterday (1946)
    The Caine Mutiny (1954)
    Funny Girl (1968)
    Gilda (1946)
    Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? (1967)
    His Girl Friday (1940)
    It Happened One Night (1934)
    Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
    The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
    A Man for All Seasons (1966)
    Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
    Oliver! (1968)
    Picnic (1955)
    Ship of Fools (1965)
    The Talk of the Town (1942)

    But, honestly, I'm having a hard time coming up with more bona-fide A-list sure sellers. Sure, there are a lot more Capra titles, and a decent amount of Cary Grant titles, but a lot of these are 30s-40s Black and White films, which aren't exactly getting heavy HD treatment from the studios (even Warner, Fox, and MGMs output is heavily biased towards color). I would think that a film like The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T has a better shot because of the color factor. And that's not even considering film element issues.

    Sony (i.e. Columbia) just doesn't seem to have the same weight of pre-1970s catalog titles that Warner and Fox seem to be putting out: Color, A-List titles.
     
  13. OliverK

    OliverK Screenwriter

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    Fox/MGM is NOT one studio. I am wondering why they are always lumped together as the distribution deal they have does not justify that with MGM still deciding what gets released and what not. And not to forget that they went with Sony some time ago and later changed over to Fox so to me it would make more sense to view them separately.

    MGM has I think released 2 or 3 pre 70ies title when we exclude the Bond movies so they are not releasing as much either, Fox when viewed alone might also have about the same number of movies released as Sony. So we have Warner as the big leader, Sony, MGM and Fox with a rather similar (small) number of releases and then the dynamic duo of Universal and Paramount with - drumroll - zero releases, thanks for nothing. Looking at their back catalog I think that 2 pre 70ies movies is actually not that bad for Disney as they have not nearly as much to release as the other big studios.

    Criterion is as always exemplary but with their orientation towards cinema classics and author films I would have expected them to have the highest percetage of older titles in their lineup.

    The movies you list for Sony are logical choices and I agree that there is probably not that much else that would sell very well. Sony has a few classic westerns that I liked a lot but I guess they would not exactly sell like hot cakes on Blu-Ray...
     
  14. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Sorry to hit a nerve there with the Fox/MGM thing. [​IMG] I changed my post to split them up to avoid any further problems. [​IMG]

    Of MGM's 8, 4 are Bonds (Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball), and 4 are not (Battle of Britain, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, The Graduate, and The Pink Panther). They also haven't gone pre-60s, while Sony, Fox, Warner, Buena Vista and Criterion have. In fact, only Warner and Buena Vista have gone pre-50s (and pre-40s for Warner). This probably has a lot to do with elements and the hesitation to put 1.33:1 material out for misunderstanding owners of HDTVs.

    The Academy Ratio factor - of the 48 pre-70s titles from these studios/distributors already released, a total of 9 are 1.33:1. They are:

    The Adventures of Robin Hood (Warner)
    An American in Paris (Warner)
    Casablanca (Warner)
    The Day the Earth Stood Still (Fox)
    Pinocchio (Buena Vista)
    Quo Vadis (Warner)
    The Seventh Seal (Criterion)
    The Third Man (Criterion)
    The Wages of Fear (Criterion)

    Also, the color factor - of the 48 pre-70s titles from these studios/distributors already released, a total of 14 are Black & White films. They are:

    20 Million Miles to Earth (Sony)
    The 400 Blows (Criterion)
    Casablanca (Warner)
    The Day the Earth Stood Still (Fox)
    The Diary of Anne Frank (Fox)
    Dr. Strangelove (Sony)
    Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (Sony)
    In Cold Blood (Sony)
    It Came from Beneath the Sea (Sony)
    Jailhouse Rock (Warner)
    The Longest Day (Fox)
    The Seventh Seal (Criterion)
    The Third Man (Criterion)
    The Wages of Fear (Criterion)

    Only 5 titles appear on both lists.

    I must admit that Sony seems less fearful of Black & White than their big studio counterparts. It may be because of necessity since Columbia simply had less major films in color than Warner, MGM, Fox and the like until the 60s. But one has to think that not too many Black & White 1.33:1 titles are gonna be quick out of the gate, and for better or for worse, a lot of Sony's classics fall into this category.
     
  15. OliverK

    OliverK Screenwriter

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    Cool, thanks a lot, it is nice to see somebody adding up the releases - Sony does not look so bad now with 7 vs 8 releases and not even one mediocre release among them, the same cannot be said for Warner, MGM and Fox.
     
  16. Danny_N

    Danny_N Second Unit

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    That number of pre-1970 titles available is really pathetic. It's about 1 or 2% of the total available BD titles if I'm not mistaken. Sadly I don't see it changing soon as classics just don't seem to sell.
     
  17. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    SONY is reported to be working on Blu-Ray releases of:
    Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
    The Guns of Navarone (1961)
    The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

    I would think the following would look good and sell (but there really aren't that many from SONY

    Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)
    Mackenna's Gold (1969)
    Oliver! (1968)
    Funny Girl (1968)
    Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
    A Man For All Seasons (1966)
    Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
    On the Waterfront (1954)
    From Here to Eternity (1953)
     
  18. OliverK

    OliverK Screenwriter

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    They don't sell as good and cost more than newer titles - no wonder we do not get many releases [​IMG]

    It seems studios like Sony, Warner and Fox release both to test the market and because no classics at all would alienate a certain segment of the market that also likes older movies, people who refuse to buy into the format if only newer movies get released. Whatever it is I am happy for what there is and buy a lot of these titles.
     
  19. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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  20. OliverK

    OliverK Screenwriter

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    I never really found out how much of what we see in the finished movie was shot in 65mm, would be interesting to know. Overall the movie looked very good when it was aired in HD some time ago, the Blu-Ray will be a definite buy for me.
     

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