Who owns the rights?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Martin Jeeves, Aug 20, 2001.

  1. Martin Jeeves

    Martin Jeeves Supporting Actor

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    Does anyone know who owns the DVD rights to the IRS Media indie hit 'MY NEW GUN'(1992)? Columbia did the VHS and Laser but they tell me that they do not have the DVD rights. Anyone?
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    M.J.
     
  2. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    It's odd that Columbia says they do not have DVD rights to MY NEW GUN, seeing that almost all the films Columbia released on tape from IRS Media were in fact financed by their home video division, with an agreement to theatrically release them by IRS. ONE FALSE MOVE, SHAKES THE CLOWN, these are both examples of this.
    The only exception I can think of is that some were financed by a third party, Cineville, who in turn licensed tape rights to Columbia and film rights to IRS -- GAS FOOD LODGING, DELUSION are two examples of this. There was also a coproduction of IRS and Trans Atlantic (the former holding company for the post-Corman New World Pictures library) for Philip Haas' THE MUSIC OF CHANCE that went to Columbia as well. I don't recall Cineville or any other third party being involved in the making of MY NEW GUN, but I suppose maybe this is the explanation for why Columbia cannot (or more likely, is not) releasing the film on DVD.
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    "As I looked back over my life, I realized that I enjoyed nothing--not art, not sex--more than going to the movies." -- Gore Vidal
     
  3. Martin Jeeves

    Martin Jeeves Supporting Actor

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    Mark, you certainly know your stuff! Very impressive.
    I have three more if you don't mind?
    BAD INFLUENCE
    THE BIG TOWN
    SPLIT IMAGE
    Again, I think the first two may be Columbia and SPLIT IMAGE I have no idea (Polygram/Filmways/Orion/MGM....)?
    Much appreciated,
    Martin.
    A fellow '.....STAINS' fan!
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    M.J.
     
  4. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    Oo-kay, here we go:
    BAD INFLUENCE was made by Epic Productions, one of the companies that went belly-up that became consumed by Polygram and then MGM. Although they had an output deal with Columbia for video (in fact, BAD INFLUENCE had been released in theatres by a low-budget arm of Columbia called Triumph), all rights now belong to MGM. In fact, they have already rereleased this on tape: DVD is not too far gone a possibility.
    THE BIG TOWN was a film apparently fully financed by producer Martin Ransohoff, the former founder of Filmways. It was released to theatres by Columbia, along with a Michael Crichton thriller called PHYSICAL EVIDENCE with Burt Reynolds that Ransohoff produced, but the video rights to both went to Vestron. I would think Artisan thus still has rights to these titles, but it's also possible the rights have reverted to Ransohoff and he'll shop for another deal. Perhaps Columbia will buy them back.
    SPLIT IMAGE, now here's a doozy. For this, we'll have to do a small history lesson.
    Polygram made their first attempt at the film business in the early '80's, out of the ashes of Casablanca Filmworks. David Puttnam even ran the company a while, I believe. Polygram's biggest three films -- ENDLESS LOVE, PURSUIT OF D.B. COOPER, and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON -- were theatrically released by Universal. Universal briefly held video rights to them, and then somehow they wound up with Vestron/Live/Artisan. Polygram made other small films -- KING OF THE MOUNTAIN at Universal, DEADLY BLESSING at United Artists, and SPLIT IMAGE at Filmways/Orion. In these cases, the video rights for them went to Embassy Video.
    Polygram did not do well this first time out in Hollywood. They folded a TV syndication arm and sold it to the Hearst corporation. As for theatrical and video rights, I have never known if they kept those rights. Meanwhile, after all those licensing deals expired, none of those titles have been rereleased by anyone on tape or DVD. The exception, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, has gone back to Universal because (I am speculating) this was a production John Landis and George Folsey produced themselves with some backing from Polygram and Universal, and as such the rights reverted to them, allowing them to sell directly back to Universal.
    To finish the answer to the question of who owns SPLIT IMAGE then, all roads lead to MGM. If Polygram did maintain rights to their earlier films, they go to MGM from their buyout. If Polygram defaulted to the studios who released the films (for example, FOXES was a Polygram film but UA owns all rights to it), that would mean Orion had it, and thus it belongs to MGM. See, the funny and oddly convenient thing about MGM buying both Polygram and Orion's libraries is that many films that had split rights situations (most Hemdale productions were theatrically released by Orion, but the video rights were in Polygram's package) were resolved by default.
    Whew.
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    "As I looked back over my life, I realized that I enjoyed nothing--not art, not sex--more than going to the movies." -- Gore Vidal
     
  5. Martin Jeeves

    Martin Jeeves Supporting Actor

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    Wow! That is impressive.
    No wonder these haven't been released on DVD yet with all these rights issues.
    I'll have to ask Artisan about 'The Big Town' at the Chat. Anyone know if the chat is still going ahead?
    Thanks for your help Mark. I wonder if Paramount have made a decision on '...STAINS' yet? I suspect that we'll hear one way or the other when Mr Blythe knows. It would be cool if you and Sarah Jacobson could work with Paramount on a DVD!
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    M.J.
     
  6. Martin Jeeves

    Martin Jeeves Supporting Actor

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    O.K. Some more...
    YOUNG AMERICANS (1993) (H Keitel)
    PRICELESS BEAUTY (1989) aka LOVE DREAM (C Lambert)
    A SMALL CIRCLE OF FRIENDS (1980) (Rob Cohen's)
    DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (1990) (Alien-esque film)
    THE DAWNING (1987) (A Hopkins)
    BACKFIRE (1988) (K Allen)
    Thanx!
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    M.J.
     
  7. Mark Edward Heuck

    Mark Edward Heuck Screenwriter

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    "Johnny, I think your audience member has stumped the band."
    So far, I can only come up with a few on your current list.
    Rob Cohen's A SMALL CIRCLE OF FRIENDS is a UA title owned by MGM. People forget he made films long before THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS. And it's got a great Jim Steinman score too.
    Danny Cannon's THE YOUNG AMERICANS was a co-venture by Polygram and Live Entertainment. As such it is controlled in the U.S. by Artisan.
    PRICELESS BEAUTY had been released on video by Republic. I would hold off on any requests on this until the situation regarding Viacom's acquistion and whether it will void Republic's deal with Artisan gets straightened out. Besides, their rights could have expired.
    DARK SIDE OF THE MOON had been an early Vidmark release. They of course morphed into Trimark, and have just reemerged as Lions Gate Home Entertainment here in America. But again, this was a pickup, so those rights may be expired too.
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    "As I looked back over my life, I realized that I enjoyed nothing--not art, not sex--more than going to the movies." -- Gore Vidal
     
  8. Martin Jeeves

    Martin Jeeves Supporting Actor

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    Thanks again Edward!
    Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't 'A SMALL CIRCLE OF FRIENDS' one of those unfortunate, highly acclaimed films that got caught-up in the UA / 'HEAVEN'S GATE' aftermath?
    A shame. Good little movie.
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    M.J.
     

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