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Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jun 9, 2012.
It means they have to maintain facilities to store a bunch of product for a long time (read: $$).
TT has a low overhead operation that allows a significant amount of the sales dollars to go to the copyright owner. This in turn motivates the studios to make the titles available to them, and justifies the whole low-volume nature of the model.
Yes ,it would be nice to be able to buy these titles for $9.99 at Frys or Amazon, but that is exactly the situation that brings the studios a loss on the titles.
As to whether or not TT's approach hurts sales, resulting in fewer people getting the titles who might have wanted them, that is perhaps the case. We don't have the data to allow us to say that. Of course, people have grown accustomed to using the Internet for various things. In particular, every one I know who cares about film frequently consults the Internet for answers to questions such as availability.
I do find it very unlikely that there are avid film collectors out there desperately waiting to buy Picnic or other TT titles who have not checked the availability on Amazon! If there are, well, all but one of the TT Blu-rays are still available, now is their chance.
Hi all, as you know we don't often directly respond to all of the various analysis / speculation / criticism / praise that is heaped upon us on a daily basis, but this one is worth a comment. With regard to the question of sales, obviously limiting our releases to one online retailer, who is also the same third-party administrator handling the Amazon sales, does "hurt sales" in the conventional sense -- but our model is unconventional in that we chose to deliberately eschew other forms of retail. It was very hard at first, when TT was an unknown quantity, but in just over a year, some would say very quickly in such a competitive market, TT is punching well above its weight. The number of people who know about us now has grown exponentially, and we are reaching that point of "critical mass" when the numbers are at a tipping point and the dominoes (ie number of titles entering a pre-sell-out phase) are beginning to fall. As the poster above asks, why is it important if a sell-out happens immediately? Answer: it isn't--and a steady 2 year sell-out of every title would render TT's experimental model very successful. We have outlined numerous times why it is that the studios are in favor of our way of handling things--they receive a revenue stream without complex accounting, and they watch the numbers carefully on each title. We regularly attend meetings and share the data. We aren't operating in a vacuum of secrecy--the studios are always looking for ways to better develop niche marketing strategies targeting small but dedicated groups...we were recently informed that there is virtually no catalog marketing meeting now at the studios where the TT model isn't invoked and discussed. We understand completely that the higher prices / limited quantities idea is unpopular with consumers on the lookout for bargain-bin availability, but they aren't the demographic target for this model. We knew it would be difficult and we would endure the brickbats--we have, and we will continue to do so. The model isn't changing. As of right now, we are slipping below the 500 units remaining on 2 more titles: Mysterious Island and Journey to the...and we are also getting low on a number of others...our title selection as should be obvious to everyone by now is a something for everybody approach, and for those who fail to "comprehend" why we put out things like Fright Night or Night of the Living Dead...it is simple--they pay for The Wayward Bus and Swamp Water, etc. The poster I'm quoting here suggests we should not have abandoned The Incident and Shock Treatment...and yet, how is this logical? We released Violent Saturday on standard DVD in a 4x3 non-anamorphic letter-boxed transfer from 1995, and told everybody upfront that is what it was...and, we were excoriated for doing it. Fox witnessed the excoriation. Now, this poster suggests that Fox should subject themselves to the same excoriation...by putting out TI and ST, which are both identically formatted as VS, in the MOD program.They are unlikely to do so...is that comprehensible?
In closing, there is no science to any of this, there are no rules. We are in the dying dog days of physical media and everyone is working frantically both inside, and outside, the studios, to prolong what life is left...to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, who once said: "Those that can, do, those that can't, teach.." the words should perhaps be amended for armchair Blu-ray critics to "(T)hose that, can't, *preach* ....
And that's when the studios start getting a lot less revenue from me as my downloading habits are such that if I'm not going to watch it immediately or shortly there after, I'm not going to download it. That's quite different than my habit of purchasing physical software for viewing now, but more likely a viewing at a much later time frame.
Can add my girlfriend to those who "can't tell the difference" and always wonders why I prefer the bluray over standard DVD.
Didn't mean to sound like I was knocking Twilight Time's sales/distribution method. Just inferring that most of their product moves at a more modest rate compared to a similarly classic, lesser known title released by a company like Criterion due to their wider net of distribution. Twilight Time is obviously a smaller outfit, so it's a necessary concession.
I recall that being mentioned a a year ago (on the Facebook page?) but its good to get confirmation that Twilight Times goals are a long-term investment. Although, as you point out, some titles are slated to sell out within a year of their release, which is all the better.
Non-anamorphic letterboxed films are generally shunned no matter what format they are released on these days, including MOD. Twilight Time softened the blow by flat-out stating it before the first pre-order (and the transfer itself was actually pretty good otherwise) unlike a certain Univeral DVD set released this month "surprising" consumers with a dull washed-out non-anamorphic transfer of one film. I agree with the last statement in that it makes no sense and is unlikely to happen. MOD product is often heavily scrutinized if they try and shuffle in a non-anamorphic transfer. Out of thousands of WAC discs, not one is non-anamorphic. MGM's MOD line initially had a significant amount of letterboxed titles released during its first year that were eventually replaced by anamorphic transfers a year later.
Nick - thanks for offering your thoughts, always interesting and informative to hear from someone who is actually in the "business" of producing these discs. Another quote that applies to the current situation, as least from where I type, goes something like, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times" in that my taste is being much better served (once we got by the release of the studio's major library films) by the current producers of MODs, as well as folks like you, the people who run Olive, and all of the other boutique companies. I never thought I would be able to gather together so many "B" films by people like Joseph H. Lewis, Jacques Tourneur, have a wonderful presentation of an obscure studio film like SWAMP WATER (I'm screening this one for some friends this week), early work by Oscar Boetticher, Jr. (way back before he was "Budd"), Nick Ray, Andre De Toth, Fritz Lang's two RKO films from the WA, and now another Lang is on the way from Olive - well I could go on and on. These probably are "the dying dog days" of this excellent technology as everything does die sooner or later, however, if things just hang in there for a few more years, hopefully until you release MAJOR DUNDEE and (another hopefully!) the long vanished NO DOWN PAYMENT (I've only seen this one once in 1957 when I was 14, it made quite an impression on me), I will have a collection I can keep watching for as long as someone continues to produce a DVD/Blu-ray machine; I suspect they will as I have friends who still spin LP records.
I liked Enemy Mine when i saw it back in the early nineties, long time ago, that's one i think i will buy.
As for not seeing the difference between Blu ray and DVD, much depends on screen size vs seating distance, if your screen is 42 inch you need to sit no more than five feet away to take in 1080p detail, it's worth noting that some titles ( Hitchcock's Spellbound as an example ) will have a more film like look, as in better grain retention, better contrast levels and less artifacts in the Blu ray encode but the overall detail levels may not seem to be hugely different over the DVD after the image is upscaled to that brand new 1080p and this is due to many factors, i'd still opt for the Blu ray version of Spellbound but i can see how some people might not think it's worthwhile.
Good link below for recommended seating distances vs your screen size.
Thanks, Wade--just to allay your worries: Major Dundee will be out in 2012, it has just been pushed for a bit to allow some extra tweaking at Sony...and No Down Payment is on our radar although not scheduled yet. There is a hi-def master, but we haven't seen it (and to put things in perspective we had licensed Blue Denim, then put up the hi-def master in a viewing room and found it to be "formatted" for syndicated television--a kind of hybrid ratio close to 1.85:1, but hardly the 2.35:1 it needs to be so back to the drawing board...unfortunately things aren't always as advertised...!)
Will this be the 136 minute version of Major Dundee. ?
What's the story behind the unreleased 152 minute directors cut, was the footage lost or destroyed back in the sixties. ?
Ah - the dreaded 16:9 1.78 cropping - the 21st century "Full Frame".
I'm very happy to hear this, especially regarding Major Dundee.
Is there any update on the status of April Love? Or is that title no longer being considered since the move to blu-ray?
Re: Major Dundee. That squarely puts it into the Nov/Dec Sony title release schedule. Wonder what the other Sony and 2 Fox titles will be for Nov/Dec....
Absolutely, and I despise it. I want to throttle the folks at HBO every time one of these "adapted" widescreen movies airs.
All though I'm no fan of high priced bare bones BDs, I did shell out for "Fright Night" and I will do so again for the 1990 "Night of the Living Dead."
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Keep the great titles coming on Blu-Ray.
I have a suggestion for a film that has never been released on dvd:
-Conrack(1974) from Fox.
It would be a shame for this great film to never see a proper release on home video.
Whatever is for November and December I hope its titles that were released previously on DVD with no extras that way I feel like I am upgrading more than just a transfer and not downgrading the extras.
So far I've ordered all the Twilight Time titles, and it will kill me to fork out for a premium-priced blu-ray of junk like STEEL MAGNOLIAS, but if that, and titles like AS GOOD AS GETS, help ensure that SWAMP WATER, RAPTURE and THE SOUND AND THE FURY get blu-ray releases, my customer loyalty will continue. Titles like THE EGYPTIAN, PICNIC and JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH make a few 30-buck catalog klinkers insubstantial to me. I'm hooked.
I await the Fox TODD-AO Collection. How about a box set at a special price for us loyal customers for Christmas?
Good, Fox deserved to be excoriated for it. Non anamorphic 'scope DVD's in this day & age are just not on (& at a premium price). Should people not complain about a sub-standard product & just feel lucky that they have it? I haven't seen it on other titles on this site, My Fair Lady, & The Color Of Money.