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Twin Peaks Season 2: Artisan VS Paramount

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#1 of 36 John Sullmeyer

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Posted December 16 2003 - 04:07 PM

Just found this story on Lynchnet.com Figured it was worth starting a new thread.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Twin Peaks Season 2 DVD, Where Art Thou?

It's been two years now since the release of Artisan's Twin Peaks Season 1 DVD set, and the question on everyone's mind is, where's season 2? The good news is that most countries outside the US will be getting it in September of 2004. The bad news is that no US release is in sight. Why is that you're probably asking? In recent months there have been various news reports in which Artisan has claimed that they either don't have the rights any more or that the first season didn't sell enough to warrant season 2. Neither of these is true. Artisan's deal for the Spelling/Republic library (which includes Peaks) doesn't run out until September of 2005, and the Peaks box set was a fairly good seller for them, only bested by large blockbuster titles such as Terminator 2. So why haven't they really gotten around to season 2 yet? I've spent the last month or so looking into this, including talking with a couple of sources inside Artisan. The answer, sadly, boils down to petty corporate rivalry between Artisan and Paramount.
Paramount's parent company, Viacom, owned 80% of Spelling Entertainment in the late '90s due to a 1994 purchase of Blockbuster Entertainment. At the time, Spelling was showing huge losses and Paramount was trying to unload the unprofitable division. Thus they made the licensing deal with Artisan in 1998, figuring the catalog wasn't worth much. Then things changed in 1999. Spelling Entertainment underwent a dramatic restructuring that caused the company to start turning a profit, and suddenly Paramount started paying more attention. Instead of trying to dump Spelling, they purchased the remaining 20% to gain full ownership of the company and officially merged it into Viacom's family. Around the same time, dvd sales really took off, and before you knew it, home entertainment companies were eager to exploit their catalogs for titles to release on the hot dvd format. That library that Spelling let Artisan have cheap was now worth so much more.
So here's the interesting question to ask: Why has Artisan done so little to exploit the Spelling/Republic catalog, when every other home entertainment company is scrambling to dig into their back catalog for new dvd releases? The Spelling deal gives them the rights to over 6,300 films, yet to date they've only released about 30, most of which are just re-issues of the pre-licensing deal Republic discs. The answer once again, is Paramount. Because Paramount owns Spelling/Republic, they own all the source prints and negatives to every film and tv show licensed by Artisan (aside from prints have found their way into the hands of collectors). And Paramount doesn't like to share. Like most large entertainment corporations, they protect their assets fiercely once they deem them to have value, and would rather do nothing with them than let go of them cheaply for another company to profit off of. We already saw this in Paramount's refusal to license the Peaks pilot (which wasn't covered in the Spelling deal) at a reasonable price to Artisan for the first season set. With this new huge DVD market to be exploited, Paramount knew it had value, and they weren't going to let go of it easily. So we lost out on getting a US release of the pilot with the season 1 set. Now something similar is happening with season 2, and all the Spelling/Republic titles for that matter. The licensing deal Artisan has gives them the rights to release the titles, but it doesn't guarantee them access to the source materials to make new masters from. Paramount owns those, and they are doing everything they can to make it difficult for Artisan to get a hold of them to make new dvd masters from. Artisan has older existing masters for much of the catalog, but most were done for VHS releases and don't live up to the quality expected for dvd releases. New hi-def masters have to be made for dvd releases. In most cases, Paramount is either asking huge unreasonable fees for access to the source materials, or outright refusing to let Artisan have them. Artisan is a small company without deep pockets, so they have to watch carefully how much they spend on a disc. At the prices Paramount is asking, in most cases they just can't justify spending the money for new transfers (and of course if Paramount refuses outright they're stuck even more). That leaves them with two options: release sub-par discs that they know people will complain about and not accept, or not release the title at all. Artisan has opted for the latter.
So what this all means, is that we'll probably never see a release of Twin Peaks season 2 here in the US until after September of 2005, unless Paramount suddenly has a change of heart. The good news is that since Paramount is already doing new masters for the European and Asian discs, they'll have them done and can quickly churn out the discs once they re-acquire control of the Spelling library. The other wild card in all this is Lion's Gate, who now own Artisan. They're a bit more agressive with their home video releases and may decide it's worth spending the extra money to bring out some of the Spelling/Republic titles. Though given Paramount's lack of cooperation, I'd say it's a long shot at best. Most likely if you want to see Twin Peaks season 2 on dvd, you'll have to either import a copy from another region late next year, or wait until after September 2005 for a US release.


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#2 of 36 Brandon Conway

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Posted December 16 2003 - 04:21 PM

Because Paramount owns Spelling/Republic, they own all the source prints and negatives to every film and tv show licensed by Artisan

Well that explains the consistent terrible transfers on the classic films Artisan has released. Amazing that it's all Paramount's fault at the core of it.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932

#3 of 36 Jeff Adkins

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Posted December 17 2003 - 12:10 AM

I could care less if the US version ever comes out. I'll be getting the Region 3 NTSC Korean release from Paramount in September to match my Season 1 with the remastered pilot. This is yet another example of how limiting yourself to region 1 is just plain foolish.

#4 of 36 Chris Dugger

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Posted December 17 2003 - 12:18 AM

Agree on that Jeff...

My Season One the NTSC out of Japan with the remastered pilot also....

Here's being glad that I still have claim to my season 2 laserdiscs for the time being..

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#5 of 36 Jeff Adkins

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Posted December 17 2003 - 12:46 AM

Yeah, the Japanese set is very nice. It used to be real pricey though. I haven't checked to see if it has been repriced or not.

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#6 of 36 Gord Lacey

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Posted December 17 2003 - 01:11 AM

Nice article, except Warner Bros owns the TP pilot, not Paramount.

What we posted awhile ago about Season 1 not selling enough is still correct. It sold well enough to make a profit, but not well enough that they could justify paying Paramount for access to the masters to do season 2.

Looking at this purely from a business standpoint, I don't blame Paramount for not letting Artisan have access to the masters. Hollywood is all about making money, and if Artisan starts releasing some of these shows on DVD it's unlikely that Paramount could release them later on.

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#7 of 36 Tony Mirra

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Posted December 17 2003 - 01:37 AM

Wow. I'm glad I went region-free, so I have the opportunity to buy them in Sept 04, but that's pretty crappy treatment of a fanbase by Paramount. They know people have been salivating for Season 2 for a long time now.

I'm guessing Artisan was able to get Season 1 remastered and released before Paramount realized what they had?

#8 of 36 James Lambert

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Posted December 17 2003 - 02:19 AM

Living in Region 2 land I can't complain, especially over the price. Season 1 + pilot is now available from Play.com for £17.99 (less than $30) for any undecided about buying the amazing first set. This is the english PAL version though for those who need NTSC.
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#9 of 36 Arnie G

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Posted December 17 2003 - 04:09 AM

Where do you US guys get your non-region 1 discs?
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#10 of 36 Jeff Adkins

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Posted December 17 2003 - 05:17 AM

Nice article, except Warner Bros owns the TP pilot, not Paramount.

Not true. Warner licensed the pilot from Spelling many years ago but that license has long since expired. Paramount is picking up the Spelling library in 2005.

The Korean and Japanese sets are the only versions of Season One, complete with the original pilot as it aired that are NTSC (no PAL speed-up). The Korean set is $42 and available here. The packaging is almost identical to the Artisan release except for the Paramount logo. All the extras from the Artisan release are here as well, although the DTS track is gone. I think the DD 5.1 track works fine. The pilot looks stunning. I didn't think my Region 0 Taiwan release looked all that bad, but this blows it away.


#11 of 36 Christopher_J_F


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Posted December 17 2003 - 08:48 AM

Thanks for the link!
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#12 of 36 Duncan Reno

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Posted December 17 2003 - 10:26 AM

Jeff does it definately include the pilot because on their website it states "This four-disc set contains the first season's seven episodes, minus, curiously, the series pilot. Newcomers will be scratching their heads over the "Previously on Twin Peaks" prologue, but an accompanying booklet sums up the story" ?

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#13 of 36 Mark_Wilson



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Posted December 17 2003 - 01:09 PM

Yes, it does. Disc 1 is only the Pilot and Ep 1.

#14 of 36 Jeff Adkins

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Posted December 17 2003 - 01:34 PM

That description is a mess. If you click on the jacket it will show you the back where it clearly states the pilot is there. Would I really say the pilot looks stunning if it wasn't there? Posted Image

Twin Peaks Season 1 Korean NTSC Review


#15 of 36 Larry P

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Posted December 18 2003 - 01:33 PM

Do you think Paramount will re-release Season 1 with the Pilot after September '05 also?

#16 of 36 Jeff Adkins

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Posted December 18 2003 - 02:11 PM

Do you think Paramount will re-release Season 1 with the Pilot after September '05 also?
I'm sure they will if you don't mind waiting 2 more years. Why not get a good region-free player and be free of the studio politics?


#17 of 36 Dwayne


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Posted December 18 2003 - 06:36 PM

Wow, that's just wonderful.

Is the team putting together the non-region one release of season two the same as the one responsible for season one? I mean, it would really suck if if the "look and feel" between these two releases are inconsistent. It may not bother others, but it would certainly bother me.

Also, I would like to extend a sincere thank you to whoever it was with the wonderful lack of foresight to pass on retaining a quality property. We the fans, with our incomplete sets, are indebted to you forever. Good show!

#18 of 36 David Lambert

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Posted December 18 2003 - 10:53 PM

Do you think Paramount will re-release Season 1 with the Pilot after September '05 also?

I'm sure they will if you don't mind waiting 2 more years. Why not get a good region-free player and be free of the studio politics?


Actually, you play right into the political situation, whether you want to or not.

If you buy the Artisan release for R1 that's available now, you vote (with your dollars) for that studio. If you either wait for a Paramount version that may get released later, OR if you buy an overseas version that Paramount has already put out, then you vote for THAT studio with your dollars.

Given that there's no other legal choice if you want to own that item, you are stuck "choosing a side" whether you want to or not. But then, that's life.

I recommend that you do what's best for you, and not worry about which studio gets the most "votes" out of it. The point of buying DVDs is that you get a product you like, after all.
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#19 of 36 oscar_merkx


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Posted December 19 2003 - 01:08 AM

I know what you are saying David about the region situation.

I have a region free player and that is for me the best solution. If for some reason, R1 turns out to be a better version in two years time, I will double dip.

I have done this in the past and will continue to do so.

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#20 of 36 Mark Zimmer

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Posted December 19 2003 - 02:40 AM

As abysmal as Artisan is usually, the Twin Peaks S1 set is one of the finest releases ever. I can't imagine that given the bad blood they'll license the extras to Paramount, so it's probably worth going for, and hope that Paramount releases the pilot as a standalone disc. If not, the crappy import will do OK for me.

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