Has Anyone A Clue As To the Fate of the Remaining Val Lewton Films?

Robert Crawford

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There's only 5 movies left at this point. My hope is that Criterion has I Walked With A Zombie and maybe after Shout Factory exhausts their Universal Horror Collection releases (they probably want to spread out their B&W horror movie sets), they do a similarly priced Lewton box with The Seventh Victim, The Ghost Ship, Isle Of The Dead and Bedlam.
I would be surprise if any of those except Zombie makes it to Blu-ray. I just got a feeling the sales for Shout were disappointing.
 

Dick

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Constantine over at Classic Horror Film Board recently posted this in another thread I started:

Hello all.
The truth is poor sales. Plain and simple. The standards for the transfers is high, the cost is high, and the licensing is high. Sales did not translate. I can’t say more, but I produced these releases, and I’ve been working with the Lewton films since 2003. I’m terribly disappointed, as work was in progress on a number of titles when it was all halted. I wish it were otherwise. I appreciate all the support given and all the purchases made. Hopefully something will jumpstart their heartbeat in the future.
Thanks.
Constantine


This appears to be a rather definitive answer at long last. My next question is: Although I do not engage in petitions often, I am wondering if starting one to get the remaining Lewton stuff out on Blu. This could go to both Shout!/Scream and to WAC.

Any opinions?
 
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Robert Crawford

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Petitions aren't enough because the sales as indicated by what you quoted just isn't there whether for Warner or Shout.
 

Thomas T

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Petitions aren't enough because the sales as indicated by what you quoted just isn't there whether for Warner or Shout.
Exactly! As much as we love these films and would love to see them released, the fact is, it's harder for these labels to turn a profit on catalog titles. It's telling that rather than releasing the Lewton titles themselves, Warners siphoned them off to Criterion and Shout. A petition? Really? "Dear Shout/Warners, we realize you're losing money releasing these titles, but please release them anyway because we collectors want them."

I'll be upfront. I love those Lewton films but I never upgraded them to blu ray. The DVDs are good enough for me. I suspect that might be true for many collectors like myself which may be why sales were disappointing.
 

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This is such a shame. I love this body of films, but they should not have treated hour-long B movies to the same individual, premium-priced releases you'd accord A-list studio product. That they'd turn a profit in the current physical media market was hopelessly optimistic at best, misguided at worst.

They should have been twofers or even threefers with the old extras or better still, just one three or four-disc box set replicating the contents of the DVD set. At least that way, they'd have been a perennial seller and we'd have the whole lot. And, though they're even more expensive to import, I would have bought them.
 

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May sound like heresy,
but pairing the RKO Lewton “I Walked With a Zombie” with the RKO comedy “Zombies on Broadway” might be a good sell --

One a classic horror film and the other a Bela Lugosi film that features the same Zombie (Darby Jones) and the same Calypso Singer (Sir Lancelot) in both movies.
 
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Dick

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A petition? Really? "Dear Shout/Warners, we realize you're losing money releasing these titles, but please release them anyway because we collectors want them."
Could do without the sarcasm, Tom.
 

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Constantine over at Classic Horror Film Board recently posted this in another thread I started:

Hello all.
The truth is poor sales. Plain and simple. The standards for the transfers is high, the cost is high, and the licensing is high. Sales did not translate. I can’t say more, but I produced these releases, and I’ve been working with the Lewton films since 2003. I’m terribly disappointed, as work was in progress on a number of titles when it was all halted. I wish it were otherwise. I appreciate all the support given and all the purchases made. Hopefully something will jumpstart their heartbeat in the future.
Thanks.
Constantine


This appears to be a rather definitive answer at long last. My next question is: Although I do not engage in petitions often, I am wondering if starting one to get the remaining Lewton stuff out on Blu. This could go to both Shout!/Scream and to WAC.

Any opinions?
Its the same answer they have been giving on Facebook for at least 8 months but yes it sounds definitive.
 
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TheSteig

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Scream factory should release what they have anyway even if the sales are not great, collectors would be happy to have them. Maybe a Lewton set with whatever they have would be great!
 

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Scream factory should release what they have anyway even if the sales are not great, collectors would be happy to have them. Maybe a Lewton set with whatever they have would be great!
Collectors were the only buying the ones that have been released so relying on them to buy more when they didn't the other times seems foolhardy.
 

TheSteig

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Collectors were the only buying the ones that have been released so relying on them to buy more when they didn't the other times seems foolhardy.
Maybe they were and it wasn't enough. I know I did. Id rather them be released on Blu-ray than rotting on DVD.
 
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TravisR

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Maybe they were and it wasn't enough. I know I did. Id rather them be released on Blu-ray than rotting on DVD.
I pre-ordered each of the three of them (more an accident of pricing than a show of solidarity but it all ends up the same for Shout) but if something changes and they release any others, I'll definitely pre-order them too.
 
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I have to confess that I was disappointed that Criterion didn't include Curse of the Cat People as an "extra" on their Cat People release. It was nice to see it come out from Scream Factory, but still... I think Curse is my favorite of the Lewton films. Not so much horror as a really nice fantasy film. And, fortunately, they followed it up with my next two favorites.

I would have to agree that -- especially given that Criterion did the first film, leaving an even number -- Scream Factory would've been better off doing the rest as 2-film releases. Has anyone heard any whispers of maybe Warner Archive picking up the slack?
 
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I'd much rather see Warner Archive release the two non-horror Lewtons (YOUTH RUNS WILD and MADEMOISELLE FIFI), which have never come out in any format. I inquired, and they replied that the materials need a ton of work and they're doubtful they would make the money back. But I'd still rather have them on DVD than Blu-Rays of titles I already own in perfectly fine standard form.
 

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I'd much rather see Warner Archive release the two non-horror Lewtons (YOUTH RUNS WILD and MADEMOISELLE FIFI), which have never come out in any format. I inquired, and they replied that the materials need a ton of work and they're doubtful they would make the money back. But I'd still rather have them on DVD than Blu-Rays of titles I already own in perfectly fine standard form.
"which have never come out in any format"

Not quite.

https://www.lddb.com/laserdisc/03434/ID7066TU/Mademoiselle-Fifi

Oddly (but not surprisingly) enough, the film's entry at Wikipedia doesn't mention this release, but says: "Mademoiselle Fifi has so far only seen two official releases: a US VHS video by Warner Home Video and a French region 2 PAL DVD by Editions Montparnasse. It has also been issued on an authorised DVD by Manga Films, a Spanish pirate company."

I must confess to confusion on how the Spanish DVD can be "authorised" and yet not an "official" release.
 
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TheSteig

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I'd much rather see Warner Archive release the two non-horror Lewtons (YOUTH RUNS WILD and MADEMOISELLE FIFI), which have never come out in any format. I inquired, and they replied that the materials need a ton of work and they're doubtful they would make the money back. But I'd still rather have them on DVD than Blu-Rays of titles I already own in perfectly fine standard form.
The non-horrors would not sell as well as their horrors. Apparently the Lewton films didnt sell well for Scream Factory hence the ones they have left are on the back burner. However since WAC releases movies that hardly anyone requests, those two non-horrors might be likely! :D
 
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