What is the rule for WB owning MGM titles?

NeilEdwards

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What is the rule for WB owning MGM titles? I thought all MGM titles prior to 1959 are owned by WB. MGM titles afer 1959 are owned by MGM.
If this is the case, CRUISING and CARNY, both in 1980 are MGM titles.
 

Richard Kim

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During the mid 80's, Ted Turner bought all of MGM's film library, which means that virtually all MGM films made up to that point are owned by Turner Entertainment (now a part of AOL Time Warner). That means that post 1959 MGM films like 2001, Shaft, and Strange Brew belong to Warner. MGM movies made after the Turner buyout belong to MGM.
 

NeilEdwards

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So if he bought it in the 80's then why aren't MGM titles prior to the 80's owned by WB? I am confused.
 

Richard Kim

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To put it simply: All MGM titles made after the Turner buyout belong to MGM themselves. Any films before that time belong to AOL Time Warner.
 

Rollie

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Now I'm confused.
What about Casablanca? The first DVD was from MGM, now it's put out by Warner. Why did MGM have the rights to it on DVD at all if Turner bought the films in the 80's?
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Bruce Morrison

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I'm confused as well. What is the significance of the 1959 date in all this? And what is the position regarding United Artists films, since MGM took over UA at some point in the process?
 

Patrick McCart

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Here's how WB got all this film:
1956: WB sells all of their COLOR 1934-1948(up to August of '48) cartoons to a small company called, Associated Artists Productions. With the cartoons, they recieve ALL of the pre-August '48 WB movies.
1956: "AAP" buys all of Paramount's Popeye cartoons
1960's: United Artists buys AAP.
1981: UA merges with MGM
1986: Turner buys MGM/UA, keeps AAP and MGM catalog, sells back the UA catalog (and UA animation)
1998: Time-Warner merges with Turner.
Soo....
WB now owns all pre-1986 MGM, ALL of their original AAP WB catalog, and then some. WB sold back the AIP catalog to MGM...which is why some OLD early 1980's WHV tapes have AIP films.
WB actually owns 99.9% of their original catalog (a few choice titles are owned by other entities...such as Rope because of Hitchcock buying the rights back.)
WB's catalog is basically like having 2 HUGE ones. This is why it's taking so long for them to release classics...at least when they do, they'll usually do it right the first time.
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Douglas R

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Quote:
"What about Casablanca? The first DVD was from MGM, now it's put out by Warner".
I'm still puzzled about this as well. How come MGM had home video rights to the first DVD issue of Casablanca?
 

Dick

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There are actually several rules, Neil. I think of them more as commandments:
1) Thou shalt now possess the world's largest and best library of classic films in the world from the MGM, Warner Bros, RKO and other studios.
2) Thou shalt lock these thousands of great films in a vault somewhere and pretty much forget they exist, as far as DVD video release is concerned.
3) Thou shalt throw DVD collectors an occasional bone, just to stifle some of the criticism about not releasing catalog titles. Current case in point: CITIZEN KANE.
Certainly I am delighted by the CITIZEN KANE release and it shows what Warner can do when they put some effort in. I am also heartened by the decisions to release in widescreen several "family" titles originally announced as full screen or P&S only. But I, too, am wondering why the company can't begin turning out classics the way MGM is doing, without having to go through lengthly and costly restoration of every title. Restoration is a wonderful thing and it would be nice if every good/great film ever made could be properly restored, but this process, if it ever occurs, will take decades and decades while priorities are set. In the meantime, why not just inundate us with the likes of THE THIN MAN, THE HAUNTING, A TALE OF TWO CITIES, MY FAVORITE YEAR, FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS, and several hundred other MGM titles, to say nothing of an equal share of RKO classics and even Warner's own back catalog? Not all at once, obviously - none of us could afford it - but certainly on a more regular basis than three or four per year (KANE, LITTLE WOMEN & NOW VOYAGER this year).
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Jay E

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QUOTE:
"WB's catalog is basically like having 2 HUGE ones. This is why it's taking so long for them to release classics..."
Now I KNOW that you work for Warner!
 

NeilEdwards

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Now, since AOL/Time Warner has the greatest collection of classic movies in the universe, AND, since they don't have to pay anyone any royalties ... since most of them are so old, THEN, any DVD release is pure profit.
I cannot understand where a company cannot comprehend this. Release the no royalty DVD's and keep all the money.
 

Patrick McCart

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No, I don't work for WB. If I DID, I would be restoring their films 24/7!
This is why it's taking so long for their titles...
No one notices that almost every classic they release to DVD (excluding the DVD's originally made by MGM like the first 2001 DVD) is a really nice DVD.
Casablanca, Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, 2001 (restored edition), Superman, Key Largo, The Maltese Falcon, Arsenic and Old Lace, North By Northwest, The Time Machine, Ben-Hur, The Big Sleep, Gone With The Wind, Gypsy, 42nd Street, Strangers on a Train, and even the 2 Golddiggers movies are all great examples of Warner's treatment for classic films.
That's just a fraction of their library, but wouldn't you rather wait for an A+ transfer of a film or release a half-baked transfer now? We had to wait years for Citizen Kane...see how the wait made the DVD even sweeter?
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Mark Edward Heuck

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To add to the already very good breakdown of the rights situation:
The reason why MGM handled WB titles all the way to the late '90's is because when Ted Turner bought the pre-86 MGM library and the pre-48 WB library, there was existing contracts in place from MGM's buyout of UA (who had owned the pre-48 WB's) that gave them video rights. And since for that time it was easier to use an already established company than start a new one, Turner opted to let MGM handle their library on video. It was not until the merger of Turner with Time Warner that all parties negotiated to sever the relationship, and that is how all Turner titles now are handled by Warner Home Video.
As for Neil's first question, "If this is the case, CRUISING and CARNY, both in 1980 are MGM titles." No. At the dawn of video sales, MGM started their company in collaboration with CBS. CBS made a deal with Lorimar, who owned the rights to CRUISING and CARNY, and so those were initially released on the MGM label. CBS took those titles
with them when they switched to Fox for video distribution, and then the entire Lorimar/Telepictures/Allied Artists library became part of WB when they bought ought Lorimar.
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TedD

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"That's just a fraction of their library, but wouldn't you rather wait for an A+ transfer of a film or release a half-baked transfer now? We had to wait years for Citizen Kane...see how the wait made the DVD even sweeter?"
Not if I'll be dead before they get around to releasing the titles that I want to see.

Oh, yeah: they still screwed up the rain scene in "Citizen Kane" after making us wait and extra year or so for the "A+" transfer.

Ted
[Edited last by TedD on September 30, 2001 at 11:02 AM]
 

NeilEdwards

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Wouldn't it be nice to have a master list of all movies and who owns the rights to them. Then we would know who to pester for what.
 

Robert Crawford

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Members,
This link is to a thread I started back in January about Warner and the films they own. This thread is archived in the Software Archives for future reference.
Crawdaddy
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