Paramount -- ever considered relicensing titles you've relinquished?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Mark Edward Heuck, May 4, 2003.

  1. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    Watching NBC's Bob Hope 100th birthday special a couple weeks ago, I was struck by realizing that so many of his better and more interesting outings were released by Paramount, but no longer owned by the studio. I know that many of these -- LEMON DROP KID, SEVEN LITTLE FOYS, ROAD TO RIO -- are now owned by Hope Enterprises, and have been licensed in the past to other video companies. However (and correct me if I am wrong) I have not seen any of these titles pop up on DVD, and while the original Columbia Pictures tapes of these were decent, subsequent budget releases on other labels (usually with a Pearson Television or Fremantle Media copyright) have paled by comparison.

    This is emblematic of a larger question that I'm posing. Has Paramount ever entertained the idea of striking deals with the owners of movies that were former Paramount properties, such as Bob Hope or Jerry Lewis or Hal Wallis? It seems to me that when these entities have gone out on their own to make video/DVD deals, the end product is rather shoddy. Whereas even though the rights have lapsed, surely superior materials would likely be found in the Paramount vaults. (Robert Harris has gone to Paramount numerous times for help in restoring the lapsed Hitchcock films now owned by Universal). I think the money it would take would be worth it to have some great films back under the mountain (albeit for video only -- let Lewis keep his copyrights) with the quality guarantee we've come to expect from the studio. (Witness the terrific work done on the acquisitions from CBS -- LE MANS, LITTLE BIG MAN, A MAN CALLED HORSE)

    At least if buybacks are out, would you consider DVD releases on some of your public domain titles. I'm tired of seeing crummy PD DVD's of ROAD TO BALI, AT WAR WITH THE ARMY, or ONE EYED JACKS. It may seem that you've lost to the bootleggers, but I still feel that you beat them at their own game by issuing superior materials on your own label.

    Would anyone agree these are good ideas?
     
  2. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    "LEMON DROP KID" is available from Brentwood Home Video.
     
  3. Martin Blythe

    Martin Blythe Second Unit

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    All in good time, Mark.
     
  4. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    Brentwood is one of the least trustworthy names in the business, Jeff. While some may like them because of their extremely cheap 8-10 movie DVD superpacks, they are notorious for hijacking transfers of what they claim are PD films (using New Line's letterboxed laserdiscs of the STREET FIGHTER quadrant), using substandard or even edited TV prints in other circumstances, and generally skating on a razor-thin edge of what is legal and what is bootlegging. Synapse recently had to threaten legal action when Brentwood included one of their movies in a horror 10-pack.
    Now, I have seen that disc on the shelves, and it does appear to have a license from Hope Enterprises. Can you tell me though that you honestly think they spent more than ten minutes on quality control when they pressed that disc? I'd bet bucks they just sourced an old VHS to make it.

    Martin's positive reply signifies, dare I say it, a lot of hope on this matter.
     
  5. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    A Paramount release would be really nice. I simply named Brentwood as a source for the DVD. Whether someone decides to buy from them is another matter. I have the film on LD.
     
  6. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    I'm reviving this thread in anticipation of the upcoming wave of Jerry Lewis DVDs from Paramount. Many of the releases are indeed movies that were released by the studio but now owned by Lewis himself, and the fact that they have united to put them out on DVD is a wonderful thing.

    If these DVDs do as well as we Lewis fans anticipate, I hope that Paramount will consider this strategy with the other lapsed properties from their history, especially some of the earlier Martin and Lewis comedies and the Bob Hope films.
     
  7. Bruce Morrison

    Bruce Morrison Supporting Actor

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    Martin Blythe's "all in good time" reply, although somewhat cryptic and made over a year ago, gave me some hope that Paramount might indeed be planning to release their own DVDs of films such as 'One Eyed Jacks'. But it would be good if Martin could give us an update on this - that's if he's still reading this forum.
     

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