Lions Gate: "no plans" for "The Return of the Pink Panther" SE

Michael Allred

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So it was Artisan Home Entertainment that origially released "The Return of the Pink Panther" on DVD as a non-anamorphic widescreen, bare bones disc (with a fairly crappy transfer to boot.)

As we all know, MGM released a fantastic box set of "Pink Panther" films just last month with new 16x9 transfers, 5.1 audio and some decent supplements.

With Lions Gate Entertainment buying Artisan, I thought I'd give them a call and ask if they were thinking of re-issuing "The Return of the Pink Panther" as a special edition DVD in the near future (it really does need a new transfer.)

I heard back from them today and I was informed that there are currently "no plans" for a special edition but that "you never know" as future plans may change.

Anyway, I just thought you guys would like to know.

If you would like a SE, I'd suggest writing to Lions Gate and letting them know.
 

Will K

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I can understand why it might not necessarily get a SE, but they could at least give us a new anamorphic transfer. The present disc is abhorrent.
 

Ric Bagoly

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That sux.
 

Jo_C

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I must also add that "Return" is now in rights litigation, so it is possible MGM could pick up the rights for future DVD release.

There was a hint that MGM would eventually release ALL nine Pink Panther films in a definitive DVD collection in conjunction with the upcoming Steve Martin remake next year.
 

Bill GrandPre

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What address did you use to e-mail them? I'd like to ask them about the "Reservoir Dogs" "repair" that was supposed to be done by last December but never materialized.
 

Will*B

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I'd love to see a RETURN OF... special edition. I never bought the DVD, but I have the old Live Entertainment LBX laserdisc, which is pretty crappy. The aspect ratio is off (it looks about 2.1:1) and so there is image cropping at the sides. Ugh.

A new 16:9 transfer and a couple of trailers would be fine. If they want to throw in a documentary or something, even better!
 

Mike_Richardson

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I'm not surprised at all. This PANTHER box set was hardly comprehensive minus several installments of the series. One could sense them releasing this set this year, then asking consumers to do it all over again a year later. What else is new?
 

Jim_K

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Thats a shame.
Return is my favorite of the series.
 

Michael Allred

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Firstly, I didn't e-mail Lions Gate, I'm somewhat friendly with the personal assistant of LG's Home Entertainment president Steve Beeks so it was done via telephone.

Second, if there was an issue over the rights, they would've told me that's the reason (as they've done in the past in reference to other titles.)

Third, RE: missing films from MGM's box set. I believe the only titles missing are "Return..", "Curse of the Pink Panther" and "Son of the Pink Panther." The last two have NO Peter Sellers so I can see why they'd exclude them.
 

Mark Edward Heuck

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Well, Artisan got the rights as part of a large package deal they made with the former ITC company back in the early '90's. During that time ITC merged with Polygram, then the library was sold off to Carlton Communications when MGM bought Polygram, then of course the DVD revolution came about, and now Lions Gate acquired Artisan.

What I'm trying to say in all this is that any one of these changes could have an effect on the rights situation with RETURN. Licensing deals often go for even periods like 10 years, so maybe Lions Gate's existing contract with Carlton could be up for renegotiation soon. (It would explain why Artisan spent time on doing spiffy DVDs for ON GOLDEN POND but didn't expend any time on ITC "B" titles they had rights to)

I think the "ninth" title referred to if one were doing a complete Pink Panther set is another non-Sellers entry, INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU starring Alan Arkin in his place.
 

Mark Oates

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I may be wrong, but I think the rights issues around "Return" might be more convoluted than we think. Program content on the R1 Artisan issue is "copyright United Artists 1975". However, Carlton owns the movie through the ITC library. Even more confusing, Universal (UK) (formerly the Polygram label) issued the R2 version of the movie (a pan&scam horror that makes the Artisan release look like a Criterion version). Then of course there's the question where Mirisch-Geoffrey come into the equation as they've a copyright notice on the R2 issue.

I think UA/MGM only had the theatrical rights for the US (in exchange for licensing Clouseau and the PP for the movie). ITC as the owners of the movie disposed of the video rights in the early 1980s (via their Precision Video label, which was bought up by Polygram). I think everybody's lost track of where the rights have wound up, and they're waiting for the current agreements to lapse (like the Carry On rights). MGM will probably buy the movie up lock stock and barrel (or pull a Casino Royale type deal to secure the rights). Carlton seem reluctant to exploit their catalogue properly, with most of their R2 releases being done on the cheap.
 

BBbrowd

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"Return of the Pink Panther" is deserving of a quality DVD release. I finally purchased the current DVD of it, and I agree that the picture and sound are terrible.

I'm sure at some point we'll get a better release of it. It is one of the best Panther films with a brilliant score. The CD soundtrack, available as an import, is great.
 

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