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Warner – where are the many great MGM musicals still under lock and key for blu ray?
HIGH SOCIETY, SEVEN BRIDES, STUDENT PRINCE, ROSE MARIE – so many more. Why The Rounders? Why all the B grade schlock films that achieved neither critical nor box office success? And there are thousands more top MGM classics that remain locked away while second tier distributors continue to release.

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Josh Steinberg

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Warner Archive has a very active presence on their Facebook page - if you reach out them directly there, they may be able to shed some light on why certain titles have come before others. In the past, I have found them to be very forthcoming in their explanations when asked politely.

It generally comes down to a matter of budget and availability of elements, along with Warner's internal policies for standards. Warner currently has a policy of perfection or nothing - they won't release anything that's not absolutely flawless. A lot of the titles they've put out are films that technically are in good condition and do not require extensive or expensive restoration work. They're able to take existing elements, create a new master, and issue it on disc without spending a lot of money to make that happen. They're also targeting films that they believe will sell well. A lot of catalogue titles do not sell huge numbers in 2018, but there are certain genres and titles that are exceptions to that rule, horror being one of them. So that's why, for instance, Green Slime is out on Blu-ray, but other titles aren't. Green Slime as a horror film will sell well for them, and didn't require a lot of effort to be ready to be released in the quality that Warner insists on.
 

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Here we go again! It's called diversity. If the Archives did nothing but peddle old Joan Crawford movies and MGM musicals, their profits would be dim indeed. So for every Brigadoon, we get a The Green Slime, for every Les Girls, we get a The Black Scorpion. Thumb your nose up at the slime and scorpions but they're paying for Brigadoon and Les Girls.

And you know what? Some of us also have diverse tastes in film. We like both Brigadoon and The Green Slime. They're not mutually exclusive.
 
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Robin9

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Warner - where are the many great MGM musicals still under lock and key for blu ray?
HIGH SOCIETY, SEVEN BRIDES, STUDENT PRINCE, ROSE MARIE - so many more. Why The Rounders? Why all the B grade schlock films that achieved neither critical nor box office success? And there are thousands more top MGM classics that remain locked away while second tier distributors continue to releas
Is this some kind of joke? You've been a member since October 2009. Have you not seen over the years the large number of posts making exactly the same point you've just made and the various explanations why these titles have not been released?
 

Thomas T

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They should do a Vote. Ask the movie fans what would they like to see released on Bluray. The 1930's 1940's 1950's 1960's and 1970's. Fox did this a few years ago.
Yeah, an experiment never repeated. Why? I suspect it's because the movies that the "fans" voted for didn't sell as well as they expected. It's been my experience that "fans" love to make lists of all the films they "want" but when it comes to putting their money where their mouth is, sometimes it's another story.

Frankly, I think the Warner Archives should start a "fund me" page where the "fans" donate to the restoration fund for the films they want on blu ray. Warners funds 50% and the "fans" fund the other 50%. That way everyone's happy. Warners reduces their losses and "fans" get the movies they want. But don't be surprised if Teenagers From Outer Space and The Frozen Dead get funded faster than The Student Prince and Rose Marie.
 

Dick

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They should do a Vote. Ask the movie fans what would they like to see released on Bluray. The 1930's 1940's 1950's 1960's and 1970's. Fox did this a few years ago.
So did Warner Bros. Archives.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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How many times have we seen an announcement made for a long awaited classic title, only to be followed by series of posts stating that the author will wait for a sale before purchasing? How many times is the announcement greeted with comments expression disappointment about a lack of new bonus features, or saying that the old DVD version is good enough? It's human nature to say you want something that's not available, and then to show less urgency when it becomes available. I'm not trying to suggest we're bad people for that, but it can hurt the studio or label putting that disc out, that really had been counting on every "I'd buy that on Day One if it was available" turning into an actual sale.

For better or worse, horror catalog titles on disc still sell. (Same for fantasy and sci-do.) It's perhaps the most reliable genre for catalog sales. And, speaking generally, horror fans aren't waiting for sales when these titles get released, they're buying those discs right away and at or near full price.

I'm as guilty as the next guy. A couple years ago, I did a project here where I watched all 72 of Cary Grant's films. Only a small number of them have been released on Blu-ray. I said then that I'd buy any Grant movie on Blu immediately on release. While I still aspire to do that, I realize there is a little bit of hyperbole in that statement. I already own all of his movies on DVD. There are probably a dozen I didn't care for. Am I really going to run out instantly and buy 72 Blu-rays at full price if they came out tomorrow? Probably not. Can't afford to do it all at once, and would have to question whether or not I'd even rewatch them all. But I'd definitely vote for them if someone asked what I'd buy on Blu. And I'd probably get a small handful immediately, some more over the long run, and who knows about the rest. I don't think I was intentionally lying when I posted that I'd buy them all on Blu. It's just that the heart wrote that statement, and then the head came by for a quick discussion on frugality and practicality.

But a company like Warner Archive, they know what's selling and what's not. They know which titles they've had to order second and third printings for, and which ones are struggling to sell even the first batch. They know that releases from one genre generate X amount of revenue, while releases from a different genre generate Y amount. And if it's going to cost more to remaster that title to meet their very high disc standards than it could reasonably be expected to make, that's just not something they're doing right now.

None of that takes away from my disappointment when something I want isn't available. But I get that that's where the business is at these days. I'm not sure if Warner is being noble in saying "perfection, or nothing at all" while a studio like MGM/UA says, "if someone wants to buy it, we'll gladly sell it to them in whatever condition it's in." I'm not sure there is a right answer.
 

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Where is the love for GOODBYE MR CHIPS and LOCAL HERO?
I think Local Hero is hitting FilmStruck next month, which may mean something's in the works. 35th anniversary and all that, let's hope.

No complaints about the Archive and Archive Blus (and no desire to relitigate the Great MOD Wars here--just glad one of these programs still exists in active form, missing the MIA.) Happy to welcome The Black Scorpion and, soon, Dark of the Sun into my Blu collection.
 

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They should do a Vote. Ask the movie fans what would they like to see released on Bluray. The 1930's 1940's 1950's 1960's and 1970's. Fox did this a few years ago.
Yeah, & then they stopped releasing stuff! But at least they license titles out. There's a few very non-classics that I'd like Warner to release, but if they don't, well that's life, but when I think of all the genuine classic films that most likely won't see the light of day on Blu-ray I despair (& that's including titles that would never be on any of my lists). Anyway, my last Warner moan, I promise. From now on I'll just buy the titles I fancy & not buy the others.
 
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I'm not sure if Warner is being noble in saying "perfection, or nothing at all" while a studio like MGM/UA says, "if someone wants to buy it, we'll gladly sell it to them in whatever condition it's in." I'm not sure there is a right answer.
Josh I think you've hit on all the key points beautifully here. George Feltenstein and his team at Warner Archive have been the best of the bunch, Alas, catalog product direct from all the major studios has slowed to a relative trickle. Thank heavens for the indie labels like Olive, TT and especially Kino.

I suppose I'm that rare bird around these parts who feels the perfect shouldn't be the enemy of the good. I'm pining for a 3D blu of Phantom of the Rue Morgue but Warner doesn't seem to want to budge. Apparently they didn't make sufficient profit off their prior classic 3D blus because they insist on doing all the work -- quite expensively -- in house, likely due to a combination of quality-control and security concerns. I've suggested the team from 3D Film Archive should offer to let Warner outfit them with electronic ankle bracelets if that's what it takes to allow them on to the lot to get the job done properly and profitably. :):3dglasses:
 

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Now that it seems to be taking baby steps with Shout! Factory, perhaps the studio would reconsider a license for it.
Good point and you've also reminded me I absentmindedly excluded Shout/Scream from my above list of indie labels deserving of kudos.
 

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Josh I think you've hit on all the key points beautifully here. George Feltenstein and his team at Warner Archive have been the best of the bunch, Alas, catalog product direct from all the major studios has slowed to a relative trickle. Thank heavens for the indie labels like Olive, TT and especially Kino.

I suppose I'm that rare bird around these parts who feels the perfect shouldn't be the enemy of the good. I'm pining for a 3D blu of Phantom of the Rue Morgue but Warner doesn't seem to want to budge. Apparently they didn't make sufficient profit off their prior classic 3D blus because they insist on doing all the work -- quite expensively -- in house, likely due to a combination of quality-control and security concerns. I've suggested the team from 3D Film Archive should offer to let Warner outfit them with electronic ankle bracelets if that's what it takes to allow them on to the lot to get the job done properly and profitably. :):3dglasses:
I agree with the sentiments about the perfect not being the enemy of the good. This is probably why I am buying more titles from Kino than the rest of the distributors put together.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I'm very much with you on the "not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good" train as well.

On the one hand, there's no excuse for classics like Casablanca and The Wizard Of Oz being given anything less than top of the line treatment - and those titles do indeed receive top notch treatment.

But for the rarer, the more obscure, the less in demand by a wide audience, where a product of reasonably good quality that's 90% of perfection could be completed for a minimal expense on their part, my preference would probably be to go with that. Because Warner is sitting on far more titles than they'll ever be able to release, especially if it's only four titles per month.