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I am worried about Criterion


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It just seems that there have been less crowd pleasing titles in the past couple of years, which are the titles that keep the lights on.  There has been lots of competition for the kinds of titles that Criterion goes after. First there is Paramount clawing back every Criterion title that belonged to them only to release them in their own underwhelming presentation. Then there is Kino hoovering up every classic title that Universal controls plus the MGM/UA classic titles.  

I just wondered if anybody else has the same concerns. 

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6 hours ago, LsDoorMat said:

It just seems that there have been less crowd pleasing titles in the past couple of years, which are the titles that keep the lights on.  There has been lots of competition for the kinds of titles that Criterion goes after. First there is Paramount clawing back every Criterion title that belonged to them only to release them in their own underwhelming presentation. Then there is Kino hoovering up every classic title that Universal controls plus the MGM/UA classic titles.  

I just wondered if anybody else has the same concerns. 

I'm not worried, although I'm not sure exactly what your concerns are. Are you worried about how successful their sales will be for their recent releases? Or is it more a question of there not being things that appeal to you personally?

If we look at what's been released in 2022, there are quite a few "bigger" titles: The PianoMiller's CrossingLove AffairThe Last WaltzDouble IndemnityShaftPink FlamingosThe Worst Person in the WorldRaging BullDrive My CarArsenic and Old LaceLost Highway, Eve's BayouMalcolm X. All of those have been (or should be) good sellers.

Plus they seem to have a deal with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to release some of their films on physical media exclusively: One Night in MiamiThe Power of the DogSound of Metal, Okja, etc. Plus with the upcoming release of The Velvet Underground documentary, they seem to have a deal with Apple+, too, which means they could release CODA sometime in the future.

They also started this year to release in 4K format, and several older titles are getting rereleased. That doesn't appeal to me necessarily, as I don't have 4k TV's, but I know many collectors do, and at this point those are the primary buyers of physical media. 

Yeah, there have been a lot of obscure things getting releases, too, but there always have been weirder arthouse titles featured prominently in the collection. There have also been many titles released this year that are an attempt to "make up" for the previous paucity in black filmmakers in the collection. Stuff like Deep CoverCooley High, and Buck and the Preacher might not be things I'm interested in, but they all have their fans, and I understand why they're featuring them.

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3 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

I'm not worried, although I'm not sure exactly what your concerns are. Are you worried about how successful their sales will be for their recent releases? Or is it more a question of there not being things that appeal to you personally?

If we look at what's been released in 2022, there are quite a few "bigger" titles: The PianoMiller's CrossingLove AffairThe Last WaltzDouble IndemnityShaftPink FlamingosThe Worst Person in the WorldRaging BullDrive My CarArsenic and Old LaceLost Highway, Eve's BayouMalcolm X. All of those have been (or should be) good sellers.

Plus they seem to have a deal with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to release some of their films on physical media exclusively: One Night in MiamiThe Power of the DogSound of Metal, Okja, etc. Plus with the upcoming release of The Velvet Underground documentary, they seem to have a deal with Apple+, too, which means they could release CODA sometime in the future.

They also started this year to release in 4K format, and several older titles are getting rereleased. That doesn't appeal to me necessarily, as I don't have 4k TV's, but I know many collectors do, and at this point those are the primary buyers of physical media. 

Yeah, there have been a lot of obscure things getting releases, too, but there always have been weirder arthouse titles featured prominently in the collection. There have also been many titles released this year that are an attempt to "make up" for the previous paucity in black filmmakers in the collection. Stuff like Deep CoverCooley High, and Buck and the Preacher might not be things I'm interested in, but they all have their fans, and I understand why they're featuring them.

My concern is more along the lines of how successful their sales will be for the recent releases.  I actually enjoy exploring some of the more obscure titles. 

I have heard that Criterion got in some financial trouble during the transition from the VHS to DVD era. They had been releasing laserdiscs since 1984, and I believe the story goes that they transitioned to DVD rather late and had problems because laserdisc sales fell off of a cliff. I believe I remember that Michael Bay gave Criterion the rights to distribute Armageddon on DVD as a way of keeping the lights on during this transitional period. 

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17 hours ago, LsDoorMat said:

My concern is more along the lines of how successful their sales will be for the recent releases.  I actually enjoy exploring some of the more obscure titles. 

I have heard that Criterion got in some financial trouble during the transition from the VHS to DVD era. They had been releasing laserdiscs since 1984, and I believe the story goes that they transitioned to DVD rather late and had problems because laserdisc sales fell off of a cliff. I believe I remember that Michael Bay gave Criterion the rights to distribute Armageddon on DVD as a way of keeping the lights on during this transitional period. 

Yeah, Armageddon and The Rock were their best selling titles for years. They may still hold that distinction. 

And that's why I don't mind too much when they release things like Citizen Kane and Raging Bull and Lost Highway that already have multiple releases on several formats, because I know those better-known titles will sell a lot, and in turn help subsidize lesser known things like Frownland or Take Out or Faya dayi.

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