What has happened with Anchor Bay?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Andrew_K, May 29, 2003.

  1. Andrew_K

    Andrew_K Stunt Coordinator

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    I read the interview with William Lustig

    http://www.dvdmaniacs.net/Features/bill_lustig.html

    He mentioned that Anchor Bay's parent company The Handleman Company had plans to either sell or shutter Anchor Bay by the end of 2003.

    I think that this explains why Anchor Bay almost stopped releasing very good movies and in the recent HTF talk they said that they have no interest at the moment in releasing more European films.

    I remember that 1-2 years ago I was buying every month 3-4 Anchor Bay releases. This year I haven't bought anything except their Wim Wenders DVDs.

    It is really a pity that such a good company almost stopped releasing high quality European films, and that these films are instead being released by companies who do not care much about quality of their releases (Chabrol box by Pathfinder is an example).
     
  2. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

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    Sad news if true. With the success (and still growing) of the DVD format, it's getting harder and harder for independent companies who don't have their own film libraries to make it unless they go the Criterion route and pass on their expenses to the consumer. Those Anchor Bay DVDs were bargains at their price considering the quality we got.
     
  3. Edward Schatz

    Edward Schatz Second Unit

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    Andrew, it's interesting you say you have stopped by Anchor Bay DVDs. I have also stopped buying their DVDs. Not because it's Anchor Bay, but because they've stopped releasing anything interesting. I was also buying 3-4 of their DVDs a month! I would have never seen movies like Suspira, Opera, Dawn of the Dead (when they released on VHS I found this treasure), Evil Dead, Bad Taste, etc. etc. etc! I started buying movies I had never heard of that appeared on the Anchor Bay label. In the past 6-9 months, they have released nothing interest. It would not suprise if they ceased to exist at the end of 2003 because their two biggest projects, it seems, are Day of the Dead SE and Dawn of the Dead SE. Those are both due before the close of the year. It will be a painful loss to the DVD community if they are shut down. I think a lot of the "creativity" (meaning, finding obscure films) went with Bill Lustig. Mr. Michael Felsher has contributed to their catalogue of course and I am not detracting from those contributions. But there has clearly been a change of direction at Anchor Bay.
     
  4. Nick Graham

    Nick Graham Screenwriter

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    I think the main issue wih Anchor Bay is that now that the studios know what a cash cow DVD is, they won't license out even their most obscure titles....they want to milk every title they own, but usually with the least amount of effort (Disney's cheap catalog releases are a big reflection of this..
    rehashing LD and VHS transfers).

    I would bet Anchor Bay has seen their title prospects whither away as DVD became more and more popular, so I can't blame them for a lack of releases.
     
  5. Jason Hennigan

    Jason Hennigan Stunt Coordinator

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    So, one would think that at the end of the year when (or if) Anchor Bay is closed, that all of their releases will go OOP?

    Does this mean that I need to prioritize buying the Anchor Bay DVDs on my acquisition list?
     
  6. Anthony Thorne

    Anthony Thorne Supporting Actor

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    Michael Felsher has responded to some of these queries elsewhere on that site's forum. Many of the titles (like the Argento's) aren't due to go OOP for a couple of years yet.

    Anchor Bay also has their big new HILLS HAVE EYES set coming out soon, and the remastered (very sleazy) CHEERLEADERS sets are titles that I'm keen to grab. Heck - I also need to pick up their EMMANUELLE and MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH packs, both of which came out recently. As for closing by the end of the year, their giant DAWN OF THE DEAD set is currently scheduled for February 2004, so I'd be surprised if they closed up shop beforehand. Michael Felsher mentioned in the HTF chat that he had some 'big announcements' due in the coming weeks. Assuming for the moment that his big news isn't the fact that Anchor Bay are about to close up shop, I personally supect that we'll be seeing good Anchor Bay cult titles on disc for a while yet.
     
  7. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Don't forget that they have big business plans for releases into 2004 of Xena, Hercules, Highlander, and other TV-on-DVD sets.

    Somehow I doubt that Anchor Bay would be shuttered. Sold maybe, renamed or intergrated perhaps, but why shuttered?
     
  8. Matthew Kiernan

    Matthew Kiernan Stunt Coordinator

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    Just because you didn't buy THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, THE THREE and FOUR MUSKETEERS, WINTER KILLS, the first season of XENA, the EMMANULLE Collection, the Peter Sellars Collection among many, many other discs, doesn't mean that others didn't. For crying out loud, they just put out DEAD OF NIGHT, one of the greatest horror films of all time! I don't see how a company that's been putting out this much great product can be going downhill. Just because they're not horror doesn't mean their not quality.

    Also, there's no way that Anchor Bay is losing money. They're the biggest producer/distributor of exercise videos (a VERY lucrative market) and own the video rights to THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE. They're doing just fine, I'm sure.
     
  9. Edward Schatz

    Edward Schatz Second Unit

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    Well, Matthew, I am glad you are so sure. Even though you don't work there (to the best of my knowledge) and have never worked there (again, to the best of my knowledge) unlike Bill Lustig, I am sure you are right. If Emmanuelle sketchiness does it for you, have fun.
     
  10. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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    Actually, in the interview he states that in July 2001 the plan was to close Anchor Bay by the end of 2003. I am sure it's possible that those plans have changed now, two years later.
     
  11. Matthew Kiernan

    Matthew Kiernan Stunt Coordinator

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    Edward,

    You're right. I don't work for Anchor Bay. All I have is common sense. I mean, if I were the buyer at oh, say, Best Buy or Walmart, and Anchor Bay was streeting XENA Season 1 and some Eurohorror title on the same day, which one would I buy more units of? The big hit TV show with a huge fan base or the unknown giallo film that only a few cult films fans have heard of? Which one am I going to stake my job and reputation on? Which one has the buyer already heard of?

    I've worked in home video distribution and I currently work in home video sales and I can tell you that when you're dealing with cult films, it's very difficult to get big chains to buy this product because a lot of these people don't know just what the hell it is. Anchor Bay's sales staff has done an excellent job in the past few years getting major chains to stock the SUSPIRIAs and such. Companies like AB need those bigger, better known and more commercial titles to survive. It also gives them the freedom to then go back to the well and do something like the CHEERLEADERS box set or THE HILLS HAVE EYES or re-do DAY OF THE DEAD. And quite frankly, as much as I love horror, I'm much more appreciative of the release of the Alec Guinness Collection because it put four of the great comedies of all time on DVD for the first time. If you don't want to pick up that or THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, hey, it's your loss, because you're missing some brilliant films. But don't count Anchor Bay out just because you don't like Alec Guinness.
     
  12. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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  13. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Anchor Bay is not going anywhere, I just talked with them, and they've been doing damage control all day. In fact they've just signed several new cool things that they'll hopefully be announcing shortly.
     
  14. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Thanks, Jeff. [​IMG]
     
  15. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Good Deal. Now perhaps an Admin could change this thread header to something like "False Rumor about Anchor Bay"?
     
  16. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Wasn't there another rumor a few months ago that Anchor Bay was in trouble, which proved to be false? They're one company I would NOT want to see go under; hope it happens to Di$ney first!
     

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