John Sayles Update

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Mark Cappelletty, Sep 15, 2004.

  1. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    Got to meet John Sayles at an event for "Silver City" yesterday and asked him what's going on with the "City of Hope" DVD. Apparently, Sony/Columbia no longer has video rights to this and he's trying to get back the rights to it from Samuel Goldwyn Pictures himself so they can release a proper version of it. Unfortunately, he says it's taking forever as these kinds of things tend to be significantly more complicated than initially expected.

    He said "Matewan" is in the same boat. I mentioned that Artisan put out a full-frame, no-frills DVD version of it and he didn't realize that it had ever come out. But he's working to get the rights to it back.

    I didn't ask about "Baby, It's You," but would assume that Paramount still owns the rights.

    Super nice guy, too-- I haven't seen "Silver City" yet, but read the script last year and really liked it, so I'm looking forward to this release.
     
  2. RonWilson

    RonWilson Extra

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    I rented the 'Matewan' DVD a few weeks ago and it was widescreen. The only extra I can recall was the theatrical trailer.
     
  3. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    That's awful confusing to hear. As I had understood, Columbia's video division had fully financed CITY OF HOPE and had used Goldwyn to release it to theatres. They had done the same thing with Miramax on PASSION FISH: Miramax put it out, but Columbia owned it for video. I didn't think Goldwyn owned any sort of equity stake in the movie.

    As for MATEWAN, here's some background. MATEWAN was released by the defunct Cinecom company. For a short time, October Films got homevideo rights to exploit the Cinecom library, and made a deal with Hallmark Entertainment to put it on tape and discs. It was that existing deal that Artisan inherited when they became the exclusive handler for all Hallmark product, and put out their bare bones DVD of the movie.
    MATEWAN became part of the reissue package that IFC Films ran on the arthouse circuit a couple years ago with LIANNA, BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET, and RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS 7. Those other three titles were sold to MGM as part of their ongoing deal with IFC, but MATEWAN was left out at the time because of that previous Artisan/Hallmark deal. However, the Cinecom library is now completely owned by MGM. Confused yet?

    It would appear to me that following either the Cinecom or IFC chains, MGM should now have dibs on MATEWAN.
     
  4. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    You got me, Mark. I don't know what the situation with Goldwyn's library is, other than it seems to be split up between a number of studios. Plus, didn't "Much Ado About Nothing," another Goldwyn title, start off with Columbia/Sony for video, only to have the rights somehow switch over to MGM?

    Sayles somehow didn't seem to remember Matewan being on DVD at all-- he mentioned VHS only and it didn't seem the right moment to try and correct him. But he was adamant that he and his partner and wife, Maggie Renzi, are trying to get the rights to "City Of Hope" themselves. With other Sayles titles having been released by Columbia/Sony -- such as "The Secret of Roan Inish" -- it's strange that they haven't put out this more mainstream title.
     
  5. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    Well, up until their buyout by Orion and then MGM, the Samuel Goldwyn company just sold batches of their films to whatever video company wanted to buy them. As such, almost every indie label at one time had a few Goldwyn titles for release. In the case of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, they sold that title for a limited time to Columbia for video. Most, if not all, of the films Goldwyn produced or purchased have reverted to MGM by now, though old DVD copies from other studios may still float around.

    But in the '90's, a trend developed where home video divisions of studios would finance movies that their sister studios chose to pass on, and as such indie releasing companies handled servicing them to theatres. And Columbia TriStar video was one of the most agressive suppliers of product. A lot was released through Miles Copeland's I.R.S. company (ONE FALSE MOVE, SHAKES THE CLOWN, MY NEW GUN) some by Goldwyn (CITY OF HOPE, THE WATERDANCE), and some by Miramax (PASSION FISH, SEX LIES AND VIDEOTAPE). As such, rights for those titles on DVD should be retained by Columbia.

    I suspect that, regardless of who now owns it, CITY OF HOPE has been held up by music rights (there are a couple Neville Brothers songs in there), or by lack of a 16x9 Panavision master (even the original Columbia TriStar laserdisc was panscanned), or by the lack of a marketable star (it's full of great character actors that, unfortunately, aren't headliners), or the blatantly liberal political tone of the film. Maybe a combination of all these elements.

    As long as Sayles is fighting the good fight, I'm not too worried.
     
  6. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the update Mark. Would love to have City of Hope on DVD as well as Baby, It's You.
     

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