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Why Are Criterions STILL Overpriced?
70 replies to this topic
Posted March 13 2009 - 08:46 AM
Yes it does improve rapidly and there is no doubt better technology than Blu ready to roll. So are supposed to upgrade entire collections every 5 years?
Posted March 13 2009 - 09:15 AM
In other words, the answer is "yes". Sorry to break it to you, but you were hardly alone in realizing that LD would be succeeded by another format, especially once CDs made their appearance. From that realization, everyone could make their own cost/benefit analysis. You made yours, but that doesn't make it the "right" one.
Posted March 13 2009 - 10:54 AM
In contrast, your argument seems to be that Criterion should be charging high prices for their discs, which seems a strange argument for a film fan to make. One would think a true lover of cinema would want to see lower-priced discs so that more people could have access to these films.
Posted March 13 2009 - 11:34 AM
Ok, A couple of point here: 1) I have the entire criterion collection on my Netflix Que. So Criterions titles are avliable for rental on one of the nations biggest rental sites. As far as B&M's are concerned, You can find some but not all of the criterion titles avliable for rent however the demand for such titles pale in comparison to the new releases. 2) YOu have cherry picked numerous titles for examples starting with the discounted price of Spartacus, and titles like Kwaidan, The Samuri Trilogy, M, TIme Bandits, and the virgin Spring. 3) Criterion does not have the appeal to people with only a mild interest in film. Many people who have a mild interest in film would definitely watch something more accessible than say WIld Strawberrys or any film that has subtitles and no aliens in it. 3)SPartacus was in fact released on HD-DVD by Universal. Just because it is not animorphic does not mean that it is because CRiterion also has the rights. 4) Criterion was the first studio to put out TIme bandits which was a port from their laserdisc. THe Anchor Bay release was released much later. 5) THe criterion Price for some discs are 29.99 MSRP, 39.99 for Most two disc sets except for spartacus because of probably the higher licensing fee, and rarely 79.99 for box sets. 6) If criterion released all of their titles at the 14.99 price at essential art house collection, it would Be a bad business move because of the loss of money and not every one would want a 115 dollar copy of Salo or YOung Torless in their living room. Yet, film student would want a copy of Grand Illusion and can pick up a bare bones edition for $15. The Essential ARt house is pretty much a Greatest Hits collection of Criterion. Also, MichaelEL, You say you have seen over 100 Criterion Titles. Which ones are they?
Posted March 13 2009 - 04:47 PM
The bulk of Kino's catalog is made up of "popular" films like Metropolis, Buster Keaton, essential silents, etc. They do release a lot of obscure stuff, but they're just like Criterion in the mix of top-tier, middle-tier, and unknown. Consider how Battleship Potemkin's 2-disc SE went for around $26 cheapest when it was released. Criterion would have had the same price, but would have had a lot more added content other than a short restoration documentary and a photo gallery. Many of Warner's earliest 2-disc SEs went for around $22. I remember getting the Casablanca SE pre-ordered for $22. An identical Criterion would have been $25 cheapest. $3 difference... and Criterion would have included a booklet. Warner and other studios have constantly repriced titles as they age. One can pick up that Casablanca 2-disc SE for under $15 now. Criterion should do an across-the-board reduction on all their now sub-par and movie-only editions to be competitive.
Posted March 13 2009 - 08:06 PM
But apparently you weren't smart enough to realize that LPs would be supplanted by a better format. DOH!
Posted March 14 2009 - 04:15 AM
Ebay's "Buy It Now" is also an alternative for purchasing Criterion discs. Now mind you, some of the eBay DVD businesses will charge almost what Criterion, Amazon, or DVD stores charge, but some of the discs can be had at a halfway reasonable price. I purchased The Red Shoes recently for $15 less than the MSRP.
Posted March 14 2009 - 04:20 AM
I agree about Kino. I have purchased items from them for years. I greatly appreciate their work in bringing silent and independent films to the public.
Posted March 17 2009 - 08:37 AM
I would buy more Criterion if they were competitively priced. As it stands, I mostly rent Criterion titles and own a select few. I would guess my Kino DVD buying outnumbers Criterion purchases by at least 5 to 1. Funny the difference a few dollars makes. For example I have probably spent thousands of dollars on various sets of old horror movies over the years, but I always balk at spending 79.99 for the Criterion "Monsters & Madmen" set. I've spent less money on sets that offer more than 4 movies!
"I'LL SHOW YOU THE LIFE OF THE MIND!!!" - Barton Fink
Posted March 17 2009 - 11:25 AM
Actually, I was not misquoting you. I agreed with the first part of your original statement and disagreed with the second part. I do think they have films in their catalog that would be great viewing for film students but I think it is way off base to say their collection appeals to "anyone with a mild interest in film." Let's take this conversation down a couple of notches by looking at what we agree on. First, I'd say we are both film fans with more than a mild interest in film. We both obviously have spent some time watching Criterion DVDs. Third, I'd say we both have an interest in seeing as wide a possible selection of classic films and films we consider "good" available to the general public. No, I am not trolling and no, I don't just want to pay more for the DVDs I buy and no, I'm not an elitist. I don't think my opinion on film is any more important than the next guy's take. I don't think I'm better than anybody because I'd rather watch The Third Man again instead of American Idol. As far as I'm concerned people are free to entertain themselves with whatever they like and what appeals to one person may not appeal to the next. If you walk into a Best Buy, a Walmart, or a Target, what sort of selection of Criterion discs do you find on their shelves? Probably at most two or three if you are lucky. The only title I've ever seen with any consistency in any nationwide chain is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Probably because Johnny Depp is in it. This is because the films in the Criterion Collection are not widely popular. They may be widely known, among film scholars and fans, but they are not blockbusters...well Armageddon may have been. This is why you won't find them on the shelves of a Best Buy, Target, or Walmart, they are just not films that interest most people. Sure, "worldwide" there are people that know them but these are people with much more than a mild interest in film. In fact, I'd find it pretty odd to find somebody that loves Wild Strawberries and does not know much about film. According to what you are saying Best Buy, Target, and Walmart are elitist because they are not stocking the Criterion Collection on the shelves of their stores. This means people need a computer and an internet connection to find them. People with low incomes are less likely to be able to afford a computer and an internet connection so does this mean Dell, Apple, HP, and every ISP is elitist? They too are participating in the conspiracy to prevent low income households from seeing the Criterion Collection. I'm not trying to be sarcastic, I'm just saying your "elitist" theory just seems like a complete invention and makes no sense. It breaks down to the simple fact that you think Criterion charges too much for their discs. This is fine, if that's how you feel, ok. You seem to be rating the Criterion discs purely on how great the audio and video presentation is and touting the fact that you were wise enough to wait for DVD. So, on this point as well your argument seems more than slightly askew. We now have Blu-Ray and likely there will be a format after Blu-Ray and based on what you have been saying you should still be waiting until we reach "the ultimate format" or something along those lines. When I talk about how Criterion treats a film I'm referring to the overall package they assemble and present to film fans. Look at the work they did on Welles films like Mr. Arkadin or F For Fake, look at the presentation of Days of Heaven, or The Third Man. Look at how they made the effort to put out a great disc of Bad Timing, a film called by the people who paid for it a piece of garbage...but to film fans that was a huge release. They involve people who worked on or know about the films and collect materials related to the films to try to give you a complete package designed exactly for people who love film. Yes, they charge more but not a lot more than other companies. Heck, the MSRP on most new discs is now $29.99 (I recently went to buy the new Guy Ritchie film RocknRolla and the two disc MSRP is $34.99!) and some stores charge that for them. You can get them for less and you can get Criterions for less too as there are plenty of sales each year on these discs. The thing is Criterion seems to put a lot more effort into giving film fans a great total package for their money and if Criterion charged less and went under due to this fact...think of the hole that would leave! Look at what has happened to a company like Anchor Bay. They could not stay afloat and so they were sold and they have not been the same company since. I believe the guy that played a large part in making Anchor Bay interesting went to Severin and who knows what kind of condition that company is in. So, sure wait for the sales to get your Criterions but I do think a huge cut in their prices would hurt them as a company more than it would help you improve your collection.
Posted March 17 2009 - 02:18 PM
Outside of watching every silent I can, I honestly haven't been to too many boards so I'm not sure what's hot or cold right now. From their monthly press releases it seemed like they were going for some very unknown stuff, although they did release their Griffith Vol. 2 a month or so back. I'm even having to look up some of the stuff they're releases. Some of it seems like a needless release (ala no popularity, historic value) outside of silent buffs. If more people are becoming familiar with these lesser known titles then I'm certainly happy. A few silent sets (like Chase) have been canceled so hopefully sales will be kind to these titles. A spokesman for Kino said their REEL BASEBALL 2-disc set was a "big hit" because of it being featured in Sport Illustrated. I was somewhat shocked that a mainstream mag would get so many to pick up a silent set but I guess some were willing to because of Babe Ruth.
Posted March 18 2009 - 03:19 PM
I'm not suggesting these discs should go for $9.99 online, but $32.05 (which I think is DD's standard price as of now) is a bit much in my opinion, especially for transfers that are nearly a decade old. If Criterion would simply allow discounting of older discs and reduce prices on multi-film sets and film-only discs, I doubt I would have any complaints.
Posted March 18 2009 - 06:07 PM
They do. Criterion created the "Essential Arthouse" line especially for poor film students and those not interested in supplements. They have an MSRP of $19.95, and routinely retail for under $15. There are only 18 titles so far, but more are being added all the time. This seems like the solution to your problem.
Posted March 19 2009 - 05:05 AM
Well, I have to jump on this bandwagon against Criterion. I have a couple of their titles and only a couple because it is against my better judgement to pay more than $15 for any title. My first was "Armageddon" and could not for the life of me figure out why they would release this on Criterion when it was just released by the studio as well? It is not perfect and not anamorphic 16:9 enhanced so doesn't play properly on newer HD sets. So... will Criterion offer a replacement if they correct these problems since I already spent an inflated price for a disc that is inferior from them? I also just received "The Blob" because it is the only official release and was also a disappointment. Though taken from the camera negative it still had a lot of grain, wasn't framed properly (opening shots and others sit too high and cropped on the top) and has damages. You would think if Criterion is charging these prices that the print you receive would be flawless in every respect - a service you are paying for over other versions? If Warner can restore a print with scratches and even breaks and stabilize gate jitters, why can't Criterion for the prices charged? I am expecting a frame-by-frame restoration. Some titles I understand are just plain trash like "Salo". The print used was in very poor condition and others releasing it has a better one - go figure. Eric
Posted March 19 2009 - 09:30 AM
The Armageddon Criterion Release was a big controversy at the time of the release and it sitll is to this day. This was released in 1999 a few month after the Di$ney release. It was big because of all the special features that it had on it compared to the Di$ney release. both releases are non-anamorphic and has not been reworked on since then. Now if Criterion still has the rights to re-release it is anybody's guess since Their version of The Rock is OOP Armageddon may be soon as well. I saw the Blob a few weeks ago. Another Early release from them (#91) and at the MSRP of $29.99. WHile it is not Blu-Ray quality i still believe that it is the best that we can get from an independent horror film from the 1950's. In my honest opinion, grain is good and while I don't know what type of film stock was used at the time of filming I would bet that it was not of the higest quality. Also in my opinion, I like the little scratches and glitches when watching a film at home. It makes me feel like I am watching it at a movie house. AS far as Salo...Who else released it? That is the most unobtainable film in recent history. I wasn't finally released in the states and still on the shelves until last October.
Posted March 19 2009 - 10:07 AM
The OCN on THE BLOB does not exist (destroyed in a flood). What was used for the Criterion transfer was dupe element that Jack Harris has. The framing is most certainly botched, though (the stars on the Paramount logo should not be cropped).
Posted March 19 2009 - 12:07 PM
Criterion charges more because they can. Why does Grey Goose charge more for their vodka than Aristocrat? Vodka is vodka (as long as it doesn't make you go blind). But the perception that somehow a brand of vodka is top shelf makes it top shelf. Criterion have developed themselves as a label of quality. They have their number system to make you think that every title they release counts. By keeping the price a little bit higher than the other distributors, it makes people think that these DVDs are worth paying extra. They move enough units that they don't have to snip the pricetag. Anyone who complains about the price of their DVDs never stared at the price of the John Woo's Hardboiled laserdisc.
Posted March 19 2009 - 01:59 PM
Nonsense, you apparently haven't been around long enough to recall when e-tailers became popular. The majority of my Anchor Bay Hammer collection was purchased during the real "Golden Age" of e-tailers, oh how I remember the internet coupons, when I would end up paying under $10 a pop for any DVD I wanted. Anyone remember Reel.com, or when DeepDiscount was DDDVD, and that was what they sold. AND I never shopped at Amazon cause their prices just couldn't compete. Ken Crane anyone? Those were the days!
Keep On Tolkien
Posted March 19 2009 - 03:49 PM
Yeah, back when about 99% of people were still buying their DVDs in stores.
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