Criterion loses rights to all Merchant Ivory titles

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Mark-P, Jun 25, 2013.

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  1. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    This just posted on Criterion's Facebook page:
    Looks like I'll have to grab a copy of Howards End on Blu-ray before it's gone, since it's the only BD of Howards End that will play in region A.
     
  2. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    Well I guess that'll make that guy who keeps complaining about the grain on Howards' End happy.
     
  3. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Oh lordy, here we go again.

    Is there a quick and dirty list of their Merchant Ivory titles somewhere?
     
  4. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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  5. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    Apparently its due to a dispute between Ivory and his bond company, not Studio Canal.
     
  6. seangood79

    seangood79 Stunt Coordinator

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    Well since Howard's End on Blu was a result of a poll by Criterion, maybe it's time for another one. Or maybe I had voted for Picnic at Hanging Rock and am still bitter that it hasn't been released yet.
     
  7. Cinescott

    Cinescott Supporting Actor

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    Glad I bought "Howards End" when I did.
     
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  8. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    At a glance, I don't know how many of those titles I know enough or care enough about to go crazy acquiring them right now. I'll do some checking today.
     
  9. jimmyjet

    jimmyjet Producer

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    does criterion get a license that allows them to make only so much of a title ?
     
  10. Derrick King

    Derrick King Supporting Actor

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    No, Criterion licenses titles for a set amount of time, usually a number of years. These are going OOP because of this.

    Janus' rights to HOWARDS END was supposed to end March 13, 2014. I guess the early termination was part of the settlement.
     
  11. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    So...fire sale on all the unsold discs????
     
  12. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    My understanding of the dispute is that it's a money/distribution rights matter.

    Criterion's license was renewed through a third party company, which Criterion understood to have the authority to negotiate it. Turns out that Merchant Ivory had a different idea about that. So Merchant Ivory sued both Janus and the third party, essentially saying "these guys didn't have that authority and you shouldn't have worked through them." I note that Merchant Ivory had no complaint to speak of about the QUALITY of the discs. It was simply a matter of who negotiated the rights to release them. The fact that the matter settled with both sides paying their own costs tells me this was not a huge matter.

    In the end here, Criterion's license lapses and these titles go out of print. Merchant Ivory is free to try another distributor if they believe this will get them a better situation. Frankly, I think they would have been better off staying with Criterion. But licenses lapse all the time.
     
  13. Derrick King

    Derrick King Supporting Actor

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    So true, especially in this market, I'm not sure any other distributor will treat those films as well as Janus/Criterion did.
     
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  14. Escapay

    Escapay Stunt Coordinator

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    Could this be why Warner/BBC's Blu-Ray for A Room with a View went OOP a few years ago? Or did that licence just expire and they couldn't renew it?

    It's my favorite Merchant Ivory film (granted, I've only seen a few of their films), I was always hoping Criterion would pick it up for their line.

    I guess I'll have to order Jane Austen in Manhattan, Heat and Dust, Maurice, and Howards End sooner rather than later.
     
  15. Ken Volok

    Ken Volok Stunt Coordinator

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    I wouldn't bother with "Jane Austen in Manhattan" unless you're an absolute completist.
     
  16. Derrick King

    Derrick King Supporting Actor

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    This doesn't have anything to do with that. I imagine the second scenario you mention is right. The license expired and, for whatever reason, it wasn't renewed.
     
  17. Steve Tannehill

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    Got my order in for Maurice. I already have Howards End.
     
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  18. Cinescott

    Cinescott Supporting Actor

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    It's a shame these Merchant Ivory films are getting so hard to find on Blu-ray, since they seem ideally suited for the format. I have A Room With a View and Howards End and both are tremendously detailed.

    I coincidentally happened to be in London during the original theatrical release of Howards End and saw it on an enormous screen in Mayfair. Great experience.
     
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  19. battlebeast

    battlebeast Screenwriter

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    I'm confused as to what Ivory alleges Criterion did.
     
  20. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    They say they renewed the deal with a third party who criterion was told controlled the rights but didnt.M/I were always incredibly difficult to deal with, even to the point of insisting on their own branding rather than being included in the collection. The CC branded Howard's end only came much later than the original deal
     

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