How do you find out who owns the rights to a film?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rain, Jun 9, 2002.

  1. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Well, I guess that's my question.
    I have noticed that many people around here seem to be very aware of which studios own which films. I never have a clue unless someone tells me.
    Is there a source for this info somewhere on the 'net?
    (If there is no source, then for the time being perhaps some wise HTF member might know who owns the rights to Powell and Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death)
    Thanks!
     
  2. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Rain,
    I suppose the simplest way is to check IMDb, search for the title, and click on 'Company Credits'.
    In the case of A Matter of Life and Death, this shows that the distributor in the U.S. was Universal Pictures. If the rights have changed hands over the years, I have no idea.
     
  3. Adam Tyner

    Adam Tyner Screenwriter

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    I can't say for certain, though Columbia/Tri-Star was the last company to issue the film on VHS (on October 14th, 1997) as part of their 'Columbia Classics' line.
     
  4. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    Go to IMDB.com look up the title then on the main page on the left click on company credits.
    BTW A matter of life and death is owned by Universal who has a working relationship with Criterion so we should see a Criterion version of this in the future. (I hope as this is my favorite Powell/Pressberger/Cardiff film).
     
  5. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Thanks for the info.
    According to the last email I received from Jon Mulvany, the only Powell/Pressburger films they are currently planning are The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (ETA: This fall) and Tales of Hoffman (ETA: Next year). Apparently, no other titles are in the works.
    I know that there have been many rumours surrounding a Criterion release of A Matter of Life and Death, but it looks like these are nothing more than rumours. During the last chat, Criterion also specifically mentioned that there are no plans for this title.
    In fact, this is the reason I was asking. I was wondering what studio did own it to see what the liklihood might be that they would release it themselves and what sort of quality we might expect from said release.
     
  6. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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    Well Rain, Criterion DID release A Matter of Life and Death...on Laser Disc.
    As for film ownership, the IMDb is good, but many don't seem to realize that distributing and owning films are NOT the same thing.
    Universal may have distributed this film in the US on it's original theatrical release, but they certainly don't own the film...that distribution deal expired a long time ago.
    BTW - Great film! [​IMG]
     
  7. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    Sad news about Criterion. I thought/was hoping they were pursuing the rights.
    The only thing for certain is according to IMDB (which is not always correct mind you) the distributor is Universal. However, Adam is right about the Columbia VHS release (It was actually released under the alternate US title of Stairway To Heaven)
    I wouldn't be too hopeful about a release with these 2 studios. At least Columbia can't screw up the OAR of this film. [​IMG]
    So in other words I can't help you. [​IMG]
    If you'd like to start a general request in the Studio Feedback forum I'll be more than happy to back you up.
     
  8. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    Ok, Bill, so who does own the film (ie. Who must we rely upon for a DVD release)?
    Criterion evidently has no plans, so I need to know who's door I should be knocking upon...
     
  9. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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    As far as I know, the true ownership of this film still belongs to the company that made it in the first place...the Rank Organization in Britain.
    There is no way that a US company such as Universal would OWN an entirely British financed and produced film.

    The real question at hand is...who currently owns US video rights to this film?
    The last we heard it was Columbia, based on their 1997 VHS release.
    For all we know, THAT video-rights deal may have expired since then...but I would focus on Columbia if you are making a request for a DVD release.

    Incidently, the film is currently available on a British Region 2 DVD, which I heard was very nice indeed!
     
  10. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    isn't this what was asked in the first place? [​IMG]
    There's no reason to go off on a semantics tirade. [​IMG]
     
  11. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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  12. Rain

    Rain Producer

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    The mystery has been solved on this particular title.

    The US home video rights are held by Columbia/Tristar.

    See the thread in the Studio and Manufacturer Feedback area (link above) for more on this as well as a link to an article about restoration done on the film.
     

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