Question about RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Dick, Aug 1, 2004.

  1. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    Does anyone know the story of why this one film, right in the middle of the original 5-film franchise, was released by ITC and wasn't the property of United Artists? This of course led to the DVD of RETURN being released by Artisan, and it looks absolutely abysmal - lousy color, aliasing everywhere, etc. Is MGM trying to gain the rights to this one renegade Panther title?
     
  2. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Ive heard another box-set will be released nect year with this included, I hope it's true.

    PS - when are we getting the animated box sets?

    R2 Japan just got a 5 disc set with 40 shorts and another due out in a couple of months... I hope there's an upcoming chat with MGM cause this better be hitting our continent too!
     
  3. Jo_C

    Jo_C Second Unit

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    I have explained this before, but here it goes again...United Artists did indeed release this film, but at the time of its release UA wasn't interested in being totally involved with another Panther film, so they sold their film rights to ITC (which had intended to do a television miniseries of "Return"). UA retained distribution rights when "Return" became a feature film. Since UA already owned the Panther trademark and characters, they also owned the film's copyright (I don't know whether or not they renewed it).

    When it was decided to make an immediate follow-up the following year ("Pink Panther Strikes Again"), UA bought up the remaining ancilliary rights to the Panther franchise and thus UA became solely responsible for the remaining Panther films.

    Meanwhile, ITC got all other rights (home video and television) to "Return", which is why ITC and its output home video partners (here in the U.S. it is currently Artisan/Lions Gate) are currently totally responsible for "Return". This is why "Return" was not included in MGM's new box set of Panther films.

    As a result, the film is now in litigation (MGM/UA is trying hard to get back all rights to "Return"). It has been rumored that "Return" may be a part of a more definitive Panther DVD collection next year to coincide with the new Steve Martin remake.

    Curiously, MGM/UA has retained worldwide theatrical distribution rights to "Return" all this time...this is because MGM has domestic theatrical distribution rights to the ITC/Carlton film library (so, for instance, a revival screening of "On Golden Pond" would be the responsibility of MGM).

    Whew!
     
  4. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    Actually, MGM's contract for the Carlton library only covers titles from the former Rank Organisation, a deal that Rank made with the former Samuel Goldwyn Company before MGM's and Carlton's mutual buyouts of each company.

    ITC had merged with Polygram, so MGM could have had all rights to that whole collection if they wanted to, but they chose to sell off that part of the Polygram library to pare down the debt they incurred from the purchase.

    Basically, if we're talking theatrical booking, the ITC library is in a limbo of sorts. Titles that had gone out in the late '70's-early '80's through the Associated Film Distribution joint venture ITC had with EMI (SOPHIE'S CHOICE, ON GOLDEN POND) are likely still at Universal, which bought out AFD. (This is how Universal ended up releasing their remaining films like THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER and THE DARK CRYSTAL) ITC made a lot of one-off deals with other companies before and after AFD, I don't know if any of those still hold now for revival play.
     
  5. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    Thanks for the info, guys.
     

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