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Warner Archives in 2015, Take A Shot!

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Frank Soyke, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. smithbrad

    smithbrad Screenwriter

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    And as we already know, the farther down the list we go of potential shows that remain unreleased the more obscure the shows becomes from a name recognition standpoint. From an industry perspective most of what probably remains are either titles harder to clear, titles with lower marketability, and titles probably too expensive to transfer based on return on investment. So yes, it is what it is, the slowdown was inevitable.


    As for B/W shows I can see Warner's still working to clear the detective series and releasing a few other lost gems here and there, but like every one else there is probably more marketability for Warner's left in the 70's and 80's then what remains in the 50's and 60's, so I would expect more future releases to go that route. I, like I'm sure many others, are probably still very surprised about what we did manage to get more than what remains to be had. I wouldn't be surprised if TV releases have actually done better in the long run that classic B/W movie releases when you consider the number of B/W movies that still remain unreleased between the 20's through 50's.


    I know this year I have picked up probably 9 new releases, and back filled another 6 or 8 releases from Warner's.
     
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  2. FanCollector

    FanCollector Producer

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    I think a concern that has arisen with the Warner Archive is that, contrary to the initial proposal, they are doing cleanup work on each title they release. That choice has improved the product to be sure, but it has increased their upfront costs and has consequently made marketability a bigger factor than it was supposed to be. Instead of manufacture-on-demand titles from almost anywhere in their deep catalog, the program has evolved into a kind of Twilight Time limited release collector's model. They are still putting out a lot of great stuff, but it isn't the free access to the vault we all may have been seeking.
     
  3. HenryDuBrow

    HenryDuBrow Screenwriter

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    I agree, they should dig deeper. That's what the MOD thing is for I thought, to release only lesser known stuff that normally wouldn't come out on WHV and thus be a service expected to sell less than the bigger hits. Things like The FBI and other crime shows, surely are well known enough titles to have been WHV rather than WAC.
     
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  4. smithbrad

    smithbrad Screenwriter

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    I'd have to disagree. I think WB, unlike any other studios, has a solid grasp on what it takes to make the MOD program concept successful. They know exactly what has sold in the past and at what quantities. If not for them starting the MOD concept, I'm betting we would be complaining about WB stalling/dropping shows in the same way as we do about other studios. Unfortunately, what many on here would call "bigger hits" really are just "lesser known stuff" from a sales perspective in the real world. At least based on the costs associated with clearing rights and preparing releases for distribution versus revenue generated. I've never been a big fan of DVD-R distribution or the generally higher than average costs per release. However, I commend WB for coming up with the MOD approach to release the titles that they have. I think they have already dug deeper than any other studio when it comes to one seasons shows. If not for the MOD program they probably would have already done a CBS and started licensing out the remainder of their catalog. A few more surprises, yes, but the resurrection of long forgotten shows that haven't seen syndication in over 50 years or that few would know outside this forum, I wouldn't count on it. For those shows, the best bet would probably be if they did eventually license out.
     
  5. HenryDuBrow

    HenryDuBrow Screenwriter

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    The point was not to bash MODs I'm all for the program, it's really not Warner I'm criticizing it's all the other studios not doing this because they only care about their big sellers. The MOD idea is good for the rarity titles, the point however is studios shouldn't expect big sellers with those like standard DVD releases. They should be cranking them out (on MOD) and take what they can get.
     
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  6. Frank Soyke

    Frank Soyke Screenwriter

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    Or they could be like Fox, and not even care about their bigger classic titles.
     
  7. smithbrad

    smithbrad Screenwriter

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    But it is a Warner Archive thread and you did reference WAC and WHV, and suggest they dig deeper and that FBI and other crime shows should have been WHV instead of WAC with no mention of other studios, so it came off as a WB criticism, at least to me. And there is only so deep they can dig and still make it worth their while.


    Going MOD doesn't solve all the risk issues of a release, there are similar upfront costs that are the same regardless, And studio's are big business and not necessarily into "take what they can get" ventures. That is why I think studios will only take it but so far. It is up to the smaller independents to do the more obscure titles it they can work out the licensing deals and gain access to prints. Even then independents with a much lower overhead still appear to lose money on releases when sales expectations are not met.
     
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  8. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    WHV was never going to dig deep into the catalog. You can count almost on one hand the number of vintage titles they handled and in some instances started and then passed off to Warner Archive. If anything, whenever WHV has put a hold on a title they want to do that means it's going to come out later than if Warner Archive did it.

    "The FBI" in fact was the very first title I hoped Warner Archive would tackle once I head of the program's existence because it was a Grail title of mine that I thought would never make it to DVD given how bad Warner was before the Archive program was announced. Since then, the Archive has taken care of all of the key titles from my standpoint (FBI, Girl From UNCLE, Tarzan, Maverick, Dr. Kildare) and combined with what else has been done the results have been outstanding.
     
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  9. HenryDuBrow

    HenryDuBrow Screenwriter

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    WAC should dig deeper, I never suggested WHV should because that's exactly what they won't do. None of the studios will. I'm all in favor of MOD programs, the whole point of such programs is digging into the vaults and let say WHV deal with the more known or popular stuff. The likes of The Yellow Rose most likely never would've come from WHV, despite the stallar cast it wasn't a huge success thus dealing with the lesser successes is ideal for a MOD archive line.
     
  10. HenryDuBrow

    HenryDuBrow Screenwriter

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    Who cares about Fox really, they're nothing but a sad bunch not releasing anything worth mentioning. Hardly worth mentioning them... :eek:
     
  11. smithbrad

    smithbrad Screenwriter

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    From a consumer perspective, sure. However, from a business perspective I just can't see them going too much deeper. I just don't think there just is a strong enough market to justify the costs.
     
  12. JayHink

    JayHink Stunt Coordinator

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    I wish Warner Archive would give us super obscure single-season shows nobody's heard of like Knots Landing.

    Kidding. ;)

    I love the WAC program. They're in a catch-22: Release these titles on MOD with no overhead & minimal prep cost. But then we demanded more ... "give us remastered/cleaned up transfers! Give us pressed discs!"

    I was happy with taking whatever they were serving up, so it's commendable what they've done & continue to do.
     
  13. HenryDuBrow

    HenryDuBrow Screenwriter

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    Yes, I just want them to continue with lesser known stuff and their minor hits which a MOD program is the perfect platform for. The likes of Bronk, Then Came Bronson, etc.
     
  14. JamesSmith

    JamesSmith Screenwriter

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    Okay, what long running WB or MGM series haven't been released yet?
    Trapper John MD, 77 Sunset Strip, Surfside Six.. . I'm going to guess that in a year's time WB Archives will be releasing mostly short lived series.

    James
     
  15. Frank Soyke

    Frank Soyke Screenwriter

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    Trapper John is a Fox show I believe
     
  16. Jack P

    Jack P Producer

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    Yes, it's Fox.
     
  17. HenryDuBrow

    HenryDuBrow Screenwriter

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    Taking on the short-lived series sounds like a good thing, if rights can be solved here's hoping for the likes of Kaz, Flamingo Road, King's Crossing, The Mississippi, etc. Some of these are Lorimar and may be MGM.
     
  18. Neil Brock

    Neil Brock Producer

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    Surfside 6 ran 2 seasons, not exactly what I would call "long-running".
     
  19. Frank Soyke

    Frank Soyke Screenwriter

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    I'm really developing mixed feelings about these guys. They've done great for a long time, but I have really started to see the drop-off recently. Only 1 vintage release since the end of June (Lawman Season 2). When it comes to their shorter lived deep catalog stuff, they talk a lot about "we are remastering this" or "working on the rights on that" but where is all that stuff? They have only come through with a very small handful of that stuff over the past 3 years (Jericho,Dakotas, Lieutenant, Maya). And as far as the detective shows go, I'm beyond sick of hearing their party line with the music clearances. Either pay the money or tell we fans it's not happening cause it's to expensive so we can move on from it. Every year their are fewer people around who will buy these shows, so if they want any return on their investment with this stuff, you have to believe we are soon entering now or never territory.

    Bottom line, they have become a lot of talk and less action. I hear a lot about things like Sam Benedict and working out to rights to things like Mr. Novak and Hawaiian Eye, but all I'm seeing is a lot of George Lopez, Spenser, and Growing Pains. No offense to fans of those shows. Actually kinda like Lopez myself. You get the point though.
     
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  20. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Screenwriter

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    Personal opinion, of course, but I would really love the Blu-ray division of WAC to take a 'whack' at some very deep catalog in hi-def. I absolutely champion the work they've done so far, but just wish they'd be a little more selective in what gets the juicy ultra-clean-up. I mean, don't get me wrong. Personally, I think 'Thank Your Lucky Stars' is a hoot. But realistically, I would have preferred Irving Berlin's This Is The Army, Hollywood Canteen or even Thousands Cheer to this title, if we were going for the patriotic wartime flag waver. I also am a huge fan of Joan Crawford's Possessed on Blu-ray, which WAC took the time to meticulously restore and clean up before transposing to Blu-ray. But realistically, I think they would have sold a lot more copy if they had gone for Mildred Pierce instead. I'm rather shocked that Bette Davis hasn't warranted at least one hi-def release (apart from Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?); either, The Letter, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Jezebel, Now Voyager, or, All This And Heaven Too.


    There's too many great films to list and I won't bore anyone here with a lengthy one of personal favs. But there are certain films of social significance that have yet to see the light of day on Bluray: These, in no particular order, should at least be up for grabs via WAC: (and also excluding titles already discussed): Marie Antoinette, Broadway Melody of 1940, Random Harvest, The Philadelphia Story, High Society, The Student Prince, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Holiday in Mexico, Bathing Beauty, Babes on Broadway, Bad Day at Black Rock, The Big Sleep, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939), Around the World in 80 Days, The Swan, That Midnight Kiss, Till The Clouds Roll By, The Bad and the Beautiful, and, Executive Suite.


    Finally, it strikes me that Warner has not done right by their vast television holdings. It is one thing to pump out their catalog to DVD in whatever condition it currently sustains, but quite another to do quality work as Paramount has done with their catalog releases. Take Paramount's releases of the complete Cheers, The Odd Couple or Lavern and Shirley as prime examples and compare them to, say WB's Dallas, Dukes of Hazzard, Scarecrow & Mrs. King, or (choke!) Falcon Crest releases and you can see where and how the money is being spent - correctly on the mountain. In all fairness, Paramount's catalog is a heck of a lot smaller and therefore more manageable than the present holdings under the WB umbrella. And no aspersions herein are ascribed to the likes of George Feltenstein, Ned Price or others, diligently toiling to give us more good stuff coming down the pipeline.


    But Falcon Crest on DVD in particular is a grotesque mess; sourced from I don't know what elements - certainly not the original film-based stock on which it was photographed, and, suffering from interminable chroma bleeding, fuzzy colors and a chronic blurriness that I would not have expected from an old analog broadcast put out by a fly-by-night third party distributor, much less the current disc format, under the umbrella of a major Hollywood heavy hitter. I understand Warner's expansive archives are chocked full of goodies and the studio has, at least in the past, focused on quantity - occasionally at the sacrifice of quality.


    And while many have championed Fox's current Blu-ray release of Lost in Space, I would equally remind them that Fox had little to zero interest in going back to revisit their tired old DVD releases, because they do not own the rights to this show but act as mere distributors - ergo, profit margin is minimal. No, this release was the result of Kevin Burns being passionate about the show, orchestrating a detente with Fox and a considerable stipend from the Irwin Allen Foundation - Allen's wife, Sheila and the trustees of that foundation getting together and coughing up the necessary funds to do this one up in a bow. The results speak for themselves. But Fox would not have given us Lost in Space in hi-def on their own. Something to consider. And wouldn't it be prudent if some private collectors would get together to do the same for such iconic shows as Dallas and Falcon Crest? Hmmmm.
     
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