Originally Posted by jdee28
Another reason the article gives for the decline of classic movies on DVD is poor choice in the movies that were released:
If this is true, I would point to Warners as a contributor to these "irresponsible releases." Take their box sets; stuff like The Busby Berkeley set Volume 2, or those 4 box sets devoted to "camp classics." Even with box sets devoted to stars, Warner would never release all the great films associated with that star. For each set, they'd keep it to at the most 2 or 3 great films, with the rest being lesser entries, more obscure. Hence, in the Cagney set, we got "The West Point Story" over "The Strawberry Blonde." Warner also seemed to be using these sets as a way to combat the bootlegger, by trying to include some films that had never been released before on video, but were popular on the bootleg market, films like "Old Acquaintance," "A Slight Case of Murder," "Torrid Zone," "Picture Snatcher." All this was fine, but often times, it took the place of a more deserving film that had been released on video, a film now, years later, ends up in the Archive, unrestored, available only from a 20 + year old video master; a film that, if included, might have increased sales.
Well, if there was a Vol. 2 of something that means Vol. 1 sold well enough to make it possible, so that's tough to categorize as an "irresponsible release". As for the inclusion of certain titles in a box, Warner has often said that the state of existing materials was a factor. I wouldn't necessarily chalk it up to holding back more notable titles to fill out a box or holding something back for future use. Of course now, except for certain cases, that's no longer a worry.
Originally Posted by Simon Howson
Well, I disagree with this point too. What constitutes a good or bad film is in the eye of the viewer, but more to the point, the article is supposedly lamenting the fact that lesser old films aren't being released. Well, the Fox Studio Classics Joan Collins collection is a perfect example of classic films properly released with excellent quality transfers and some nice extras. It wasn't expensive at all, the cost for me was AUD$10.50 per film (about US$8) including postage! I think that Stopover Tokyo and The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing are excellent films, and Rally 'Round the Flag Boys and Seven Thieves are very good, the only one I didn't really like was Sea Wife.
I do appreciate the over all point though that Fox probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars making this DVD set, even though it most likely had a small potential market.
What constitutes a good business decision, however, is not in the eye of the beholder as it is right there on a balance sheet. What is implied here is that Fox did not get its return on the Joan Collins collection, irrespective of the films' quality, and probably for the reasons you cite as making it well worth it to you. Multiply that a few times and Feltenstein's point stands. I'm reminded of Fox putting millions into THE BLACK SWAN, which I purchased right after its release for $8. They have my gratitude and my money, but I don't know how happy the bean counters were with that.
Originally Posted by Marcel H.
The easiest way to proof those guys wrong is: buy the stuff that's being released on standard DVD because all those Home Entertainment reps will recognize this and that's what I'm doing. I'll be buying nearly all of Sony's upcoming titles, some are already preordered and I'll be buying Universal's Backlot titles and I'll continue buying Warner's standard releases and I'm looking forward to the next Flynn set for example and I really hope, some of the big names like Bogart or Davis will get another set.
It will be interesting to see what Sony and Universal are doing beyond this year. If they're still in the business of classics in 2010 we should be very grateful.
Originally Posted by Brandon Conway
It's not impossible for someone 30 or under (like myself) to find a great interest in classic films despite not seeing them on TV growing up. However, the general audience is definitely shrinking, and the older the film gets the less it will be revisited. The 80s is "old" to most of the target media purchasing demographic of teenager and young adults.
Not impossible, but highly, highly, highly improbable. And while the demographic is shrinking, money can always be made off a targeted, niche audience. I don't see why there can't be room in these studio empires for a small, but money-making, operation.
I would just add one small tweak to Paul Penna's point; older films have more awareness today than, say, 15 years ago, no (TCM, DVD, etc.)? So at some point the market did grow and there is perhaps a larger market now being ignored than in 1994. And the bigger the market is, the less sense it makes to ignore it.