How did Criterion get to do Blade Runner?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jon Robertson, Dec 27, 2002.

  1. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    I was just wondering how Criterion managed to produce a laserdisc of Blade Runner when it was a Warner Brothers-owned property?

    As far as I'm aware, it has never been Warner's policy to licence out titles to other companies.

    The only possible reason I can think of is that the Criterion's print contains the extra violence from the European version of the film, but there's no way it would have gotten anything above an 'R'.

    Does anyone know how this came to be?
     
  2. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    From FUTURE NOIR: The Making of Blade Runner...
    Blade Runner's tape and disc rights were first bought by Embassy Home Entertainment, an offshoot of producer Joseph E. Levine's now-defunct Avco-Embassy group.
    ...
    In 1986, Embassy again released the International Cut on video cassette, this time with CX encoding. In 1987 the third Embassy BR cassette was released, again sporting the International Cut; that same year heralded the arrival of the Nelson Entertainment Blade Runner International Cut tape, which was the first to feature Surround Sound (Nelson had bought the BR video rights from an out-of-business Embassy). And of course 1987 also marked the debut of Criterion's CAV/CLV International Cut discs.
    - Walter.
     
  3. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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    A lot of studios lent their titles to Criterion for LD. They just didn't see it as a lucrative business. But as DVD proved to be a hit format, the studios are keeping their titles for themselves.
     
  4. Patrick Mirza

    Patrick Mirza Supporting Actor

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    Ray's correct. For the studios Laserdisc was a negligible niche of the total home video market (around 1%), so they were only too happy to license titles out to Criterion and make a bit more money on a certain title. Criterion of course owned the rights to its supplements, which it rightly guards now that the "special edition" is made by every studio and known by every J6P in the world.
     
  5. Jean-Michel

    Jean-Michel Supporting Actor

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    Just to clarify things, both Ray and Walter are correct. Although big studios were more apt to license their stuff out to Criterion in the LD days, Blade Runner wasn't one of those cases, unless you consider Embassy a "big studio." AFAIK Warners have never licensed anything to Criterion.
     
  6. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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