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Note To Independent Labels: Stop Crying Poverty


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#1 of 16 cineMANIAC

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Posted July 28 2009 - 01:01 AM

I get a real kick out of these small distributors always crying about people not buying their stuff, lamenting the economy and so on...give it a rest already! How come you never hear Criterion whining about poor sales and threatening to close down? They've been around a long time and they'll still be around for years to come, you know why? Its not because they sell a million copies of Wages of Fear or some other obscure foreign film. Its because they actually care about movies and don't put out a compromised product for the sake of cutting costs and then hope that someone will buy it. People are actually willing to pay a premium price for a quality product. Criterion's DVDs are absolutely worth every penny. I also get the sense that they don't do it for the money. Making money is good and this is a business after all, but the main thing should be to make these films available for us film lovers to enjoy the way the director meant us to enjoy them. I'm tired of all these small labels repeatedly delaying stuff, not including subtitles, passing 8-minute fluff pieces off as "documentaries" and giving us generally mediocre product and expecting us to pay $20 for it. Most of this garbage isn't worth even $10.
 

 


#2 of 16 James 'Tiger' Lee

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Posted July 28 2009 - 03:08 AM

Not entirely fair to be honest. I've seen several companies do everything right, charge fair prices and still go under. Case Negra, BCI, Subversive, etc.


#3 of 16 soop.spoon

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Posted July 28 2009 - 03:58 AM

Who, specifically, are you talking about?  Can you cite examples?  Raging against generalities isn't going to win a lot of support.


#4 of 16 Malcolm R

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Posted July 28 2009 - 05:19 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Luisito34 

How come you never hear Criterion whining about poor sales and threatening to close down? They've been around a long time and they'll still be around for years to come, you know why? Its not because they sell a million copies of Wages of Fear or some other obscure foreign film. Its because they actually care about movies and don't put out a compromised product for the sake of cutting costs and then hope that someone will buy it. People are actually willing to pay a premium price for a quality product. Criterion's DVDs are absolutely worth every penny.
Barnes & Noble is currently running 50% off all Criterion DVD and Blu-Ray titles. They must be getting some kind of discount from Criterion, as I'm sure they're not running the sale at a loss. Criterion is a great outfit, but they are not above trying to boost sales of their catalog with sales and discounts.


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#5 of 16 cineMANIAC

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Posted July 28 2009 - 05:28 AM

Mya Communication - pushed their latest titles back three times
Code Red - postponed/delayed numerous titles. Lack of information on announcements made years ago pisses me off to no end.
Synapse - the guy who owns this company is always predicting doom and gloom. If you can't make it, maybe its time to close.
Media Blasters - they have a knack for starting sub-labels and not doing anything with them. (Remember the Guilty Pleasures line?)

Please don't announce anything unless its coming out next week


 

 


#6 of 16 DeWilson

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Posted July 28 2009 - 08:10 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Luisito34 View Post

I get a real kick out of these small distributors always crying about people not buying their stuff, lamenting the economy and so on...give it a rest already! How come you never hear Criterion whining about poor sales and threatening to close down?

 
Becuase Criterian is in a different Class of "indie" than ALL of these SMALLER ones.
 
A perfect example can come from Hollywood studios of the 30's and 40's. UNITED ARTISTS  was the top independent outside of "The Majors" (MGM, WB, FOX, UNI,RKO,PAR and COLPIX) while PRC was the lowest independent turning out lesser quality films.  (Goldwyn, REPUBLIC and MONOGRAM would fall between UA and PRC) 

Guess whos films could end up in "A" theaters while the other ended up as filler on the lower-half of double bills? 

If you think you can do better - start your own lable, then you can see the obsticals these smaller guys face.
Edited by DeWilson - 7/28/2009 at 08:28 pm GMT
Edited by DeWilson - 7/29/2009 at 09:42 am GMT

#7 of 16 Michael Elliott

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Posted July 28 2009 - 09:17 AM


Quote:
Originally Posted by Luisito34 View Post

Mya Communication - pushed their latest titles back three times
Code Red - postponed/delayed numerous titles. Lack of information on announcements made years ago pisses me off to no end.
Synapse - the guy who owns this company is always predicting doom and gloom. If you can't make it, maybe its time to close.
Media Blasters - they have a knack for starting sub-labels and not doing anything with them. (Remember the Guilty Pleasures line?)

Please don't announce anything unless its coming out next week


The business doesn't work as easy as "don't announce it until it's ready to come out".  Several titles have been pulled because there weren't enough pre-orders.  Several DVD producer's want to know what type of numbers they're going to get before going forward with a release. 

As far as Criterion is concerned, they release, for the most part, "A" director's and their "A" films that are constantly being discussed, written about, studied and so on.  They have plenty of publicity on those titles, which isn't the case with Mya and various other companies you've mentioned. 

BTW, Mya's latest titles are already out because I've already reviewed one.  I don't see them in stock at several online sites but perhaps this is due to them being sold out?  I'm not sure on that but I have seen them in a couple stores.  I'd question if they are a legit company before even wondering about their release dates (and I know they just released six more for Nov.).

#8 of 16 Corey3rd

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Posted July 28 2009 - 09:45 AM

Criterion cries poverty to the filmmakers and people controlling bonus feature elements they desire. More accurately they cry "charity" when they come knocking. Once they called up an an archive I worked at looking for the American opening to The Third Man. They wanted us to pay to ship the reel to them and they weren't even willing to give us a copy of the DVD afterward. When my boss gave them the least amount of resistance at forking up all the cash and getting nothing back, Criterion went with a damaged 16mm print instead of our pristine 35mm. So they have compromised.

A classmate who had a deal for his film with them was told he could provide all the bonus features he wanted, as long as he paid for them. They're a better alternative to major studios which rarely request input from filmmakers on their DVD releases. They aren't forking out the dough to make bonus features as found on the Alien and Bond boxsets.

Far as BCI crying poverty - they proved to be so non-money making that their parent company pulled the plug on them.  So there are companies that vanish because they over projected sales.

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#9 of 16 Cees Alons

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Posted July 28 2009 - 11:46 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Luisito34 View Post

(....). Criterion's DVDs are absolutely worth every penny. I also get the sense that they don't do it for the money. (.....)

I can't agree. Criterion were valuable in the LaserDisc era and they have issued many valuable titles on DVD as well. But the quality of those DVDs didn't always warrant the price, IMO. Too often the picture tended to be a bit on the soft side, edges were cropped, audio tame, etc.

Their late start in HD wasn't too valiant either and their current MSRP of many BD releases is close to outrageous. They have a monopoly on certain titles - and they let us pay for it.

They do it for the money (nothing wrong with that, but true).


Cees

#10 of 16 iDarren

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Posted July 28 2009 - 11:51 PM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey3rd View Post

Once they called up an an archive I worked at looking for the American opening to The Third Man. They wanted us to pay to ship the reel to them and they weren't even willing to give us a copy of the DVD afterward. When my boss gave them the least amount of resistance at forking up all the cash and getting nothing back, Criterion went with a damaged 16mm print instead of our pristine 35mm.

 
Are you talking about their current DVD and Blu ray release?



#11 of 16 Corey3rd

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Posted July 29 2009 - 04:13 AM

 The original DVD of The Third Man. 
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#12 of 16 Brandon Conway

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Posted July 29 2009 - 08:12 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Cees Alons 

Their late start in HD wasn't too valiant either and their current MSRP of many BD releases is close to outrageous. They have a monopoly on certain titles - and they let us pay for it.

They do it for the money (nothing wrong with that, but true).
The current MSRP of their BDs are the same as their DVD counterparts. If anything, their DVDs are overpriced, and their BDs are spot on.

As for their late start in HD - they jumped in as soon as the format war was over. How many people on this very same forum made the same sentiment?

Sure, as any business they need to be profitable, but not too many major studios would release a title like Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé.

 




"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


#13 of 16 Bryan^H

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Posted July 29 2009 - 08:21 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey3rd 

Criterion cries poverty to the filmmakers and people controlling bonus feature elements they desire. More accurately they cry "charity" when they come knocking. Once they called up an an archive I worked at looking for the American opening to The Third Man. They wanted us to pay to ship the reel to them and they weren't even willing to give us a copy of the DVD afterward. When my boss gave them the least amount of resistance at forking up all the cash and getting nothing back, Criterion went with a damaged 16mm print instead of our pristine 35mm. So they have compromised.
 
YIKES!!!
That's pretty lousy.


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#14 of 16 Brandon Conway

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Posted July 29 2009 - 08:23 AM

While a pretty lousy specific situation, one anecdotal account from a decade ago should not be necessarily taken as policy across the board.

"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


#15 of 16 Cees Alons

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Posted July 30 2009 - 11:54 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Conway ">


The current MSRP of their BDs are the same as their DVD counterparts. If anything, their DVDs are overpriced, and their BDs are spot on.

 

Hmmm. Or both overpriced.



Quote:
As for their late start in HD - they jumped in as soon as the format war was over. How many people on this very same forum made the same sentiment?

 

No-one implied that those people were extremely valiant either.  <br /></span>
And "as soon as" is too flattering.<br />
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#16 of 16 newcastleboy

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Posted August 29 2009 - 06:24 PM

Hi

I'm a film student major, and am thankful for Criterion for releasing important films which I love such as 'Last Year At Marienbad' - this was my favourite film last semester, I wrote my major paper on it.  If I do have a criticism of Criterion, it is they adopted a practice a number of years' back of fiddling with the OAR i.e letterboxing their product, so they looked funny on HD TVs. Now I don't have a HD TV as of yet, and I'm not sure if Criterion are still letterboxing, but I really hope they have stopped.  

Overall, I'm very happy with Criterion for releasing movies that many other companies wouldn't. The price can be a bit high at times, but if it has been transferred to DVD correctly with a nice transfer and excellent extras I'm a happy lad. I have also found that sometimes the Criterion package has been licensed (with complete extras) for use to a dvd company in Australia and sold in Australia - The Blob, Fiend Without a Face for less than $10.. mind you the transfer for The Blob here has a serious audio sync problem, which probably isn't found on the original Criterion.

Peter