SPHE Press Release: Ishtar (Blu-ray)

Ronald Epstein

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“Undeniable hilarity.” – Mike Clark, USA TODAY

“One of the most underrated and quietly subversive American comedies of the past thirty years.”
- Nathan Rabin, THE A.V. CLUB
ISHTAR
Oscar® Winners Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman Star in the
Legendary Comedy Available on Blu-ray™ For the First Time August 6th


CULVER CITY, CALIF. (May 8, 2013) – Academy Award® winners Warren Beatty (Best Director, Reds, 1981) and Dustin Hoffman (Best Actor, Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979; Rain Man, 1988) star in writer/director Elaine May’s Director’s Cut of the legendary comedy ISHTAR, debuting for the first time on Blu-ray™ August 6th from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Two terrible lounge singers get booked to play a gig in a Moroccan hotel but somehow become pawns in an international power play between the CIA, the Emir of Ishtar, and the rebels trying to overthrow his regime. The film also stars two-time Oscar® nominee Isabelle Adjani (Best Actress, The Story of Adele H, 1975; Camille Claudel, 1988), Charles Grodin (Rosemary's Baby, The Heartbreak Kid), Jack Weston (Wait Until Dark, Cactus Flower), Oscar nominee Tess Harper (Best Supporting Actress, Crimes of the Heart, 1986) and Oscar nominee Carol Kane (Best Actress, Hester Street, 1975).

Synopsis:
Rogers and Clarke (Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman) are two inept songwriters, down on their luck and desperate for money. Taking the advice of their shifty agent, the duo are whisked off on a tour of the mystical republic of Ishtar. On their arrival, our heroes are separately recruited into spying for opposing sides of a planned revolution, while simultaneously vying for the attention of a gorgeous female freedom fighter (Isabelle Adjani). But Clarke and Rogers make worse spies than they do songwriters, and soon they’re left stranded in the desert with only a blind camel and several CIA assassins for company.

Written and directed by Elaine May, ISHTAR was produced by Warren Beatty. It has a running time of 107 minutes and is rated PG-13.


“Academy Award®” and “Oscar®” are the registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Rob, I feel your pain.

Sony has been very careful about what they release,
meticulously calculating what will sell for them and what
may not.

To release ISHTAR before Oliver? Before 1776? Before
Murder By Death?

We all have particular favorites and I bet all of them are
more worthy than this title.
 

JoHud

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So this finally has a locked release date? I think this was first announced back in 2011.

An unusual release for sure, but I'm glad it's getting released nonetheless.
 

Steve Tannehill

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I rented the VHS when it first came out. There was one funny joke about a blind camel, but that's it. I remember the movie posters for this... Two one-sheets side by side with Hoffman and Beatty in one pulling the camel by a rope in another. I'll consider the blu-ray if it streets for $10.
 

schan1269

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Persianimmortal

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I'm starting to think blu-ray releases are determined by which movies are the personal favorites of studio execs, rather than any measure of rationality....
 

Ronald Epstein

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I'm starting to think blu-ray releases are determined by which movies are the personal favorites of studio execs, rather than any measure of rationality....
Oh my goodness...you have no idea how true that is. It happens.(and I am not using Sony as an example)
 

Persianimmortal

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I recall reading something about it in the Nick Redman Twilight Time interview here, but I figured that in most cases the execs had to make at least some token business case for a BD release. I can't for the life of me imagine what the business case for Ishtar was like. Perhaps it went something like this:

Studio Exec: I think we should release Ishtar on Blu-ray because - hey everyone, I brought some cake, you can all have a piece!
Quick, release Ishtar on blu while they're all distracted....
 

JohnMor

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This is what they're releasing??? Really? I got sucked into seeing it in the theater thinking "how bad can it really be?" Not the absolute worst movie I've ever seen, but not a good one by a long shot. Sigh. But on the positive side, I'm glad it'll be out there for its fans. Just wish I could say that for a lot more high-profile, award-winning films still unreleased on blu.
 

Christian Preischl

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Rob_Ray said:
Sony releases Ishtar themselves but gives Oliver! to Twilight Time. Whatever.
Replace "Oliver!" with "Christine", and you have my first thought on reading the subject line... verbatim! :)
 

Billy Batson

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JoHud said:
So this finally has a locked release date? I think this was first announced back in 2011.

An unusual release for sure, but I'm glad it's getting released nonetheless.
Oh well, I suppose there's hope for Bad Boys 2 then!
 

OliverK

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Rob_Ray said:
Sony releases Ishtar themselves but gives Oliver! to Twilight Time. Whatever.
Rob, they HAD to release Ishtar themselves as Twilight Time wouldn't touch it with a ten feet pole :lol:

Kidding aside I am certain there are a few who like this movie but with so desperately few classic releases by Sony this one leaves me speechless. If they had the output of Warner it would be different but Sony is releasing about 3 to 5 older catalog titles per year and one of them is Ishtar????
 

Rob_Ray

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OliverK said:
Rob, they HAD to release Ishtar themselves as Twilight Time wouldn't touch it with a ten feet pole :lol:

Kidding aside I am certain there are a few who like this movie but with so desperately few classic releases by Sony this one leaves me speechless. If they had the output of Warner it would be different but Sony is releasing about 3 to 5 older catalog titles per year and one of them is Ishtar????
Which title would be hard-pressed to sell 3000 copies? As sad as it is for me to type this, it may be Oliver!. Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman are still recognizable names in Hollywood, but does anyone under 50 know who Ron Moody, Mark Lester, Shani Wallis and Oliver Reed are? Or even Sir Carol Reed for that matter? One can only hope they've heard of Mr. Dickens.
 

Brandon Conway

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I seem to remember that a handful of copies made it to consumers through retailers back in 2011 before the title was canceled. If that's true then the production costs are already over and done with, and the discs have been stored in a warehouse since then awaiting release. Which means that the choice to release this outright via Sony rather than via a sublicensed label is an outdated one from Sony 2011 and reflects little on home video strategy for Sony 2013.
 

OliverK

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Rob_Ray said:
Which title would be hard-pressed to sell 3000 copies? As sad as it is for me to type this, it may be Oliver!. Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman are still recognizable names in Hollywood, but does anyone under 50 know who Ron Moody, Mark Lester, Shani Wallis and Oliver Reed are? Or even Sir Carol Reed for that matter? One can only hope they've heard of Mr. Dickens.
TT has a niche customerbase that is not really comparable to the average customer outside. Look at their release of As Good as it Gets - probably would have easily sold more than 3000 in wide distribution through Sony but as it is now still not sold out.
 

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