Friday, January 13, 2012

Rerelease, Rental, and (Old) Industry News

Let me start with some new news before I mention two belated pieces from the middle of last year.

Time Warner is distancing itself from Netflix. Thanks to AV Club for pointing out the news to me. In essence, The Hollywood Reporter was first to reveal that the media super-giant will make (a) Netflix buy HBO DVD (to rent out) from a 3rd-party source for a higher fee and (b) will make Netflix, Redbox, et al, wait 56 days before they get their hands on any Warner Bros. movies.

This latest development is another sign of the market pushing back against what may be the most profitable player in the video biz. As more people decide to forgo cable and simply rent or watch online, the companies that make, carry, and subsidize the actual movies are going to want to protect and improve their own profits. If I could really connect this to Netflix's price-hike last year, I'd have a snarky "greed begets greed" line to throw out.

Universal Studios, in a move that's sure to be copied, is restoring and rereleasing some of its classic films, among them - To Kill A Mockingbird, Jaws, The Birds, All Quiet On The Western Front, Out Of Africa, and The Sting. It's a weird list, as it includes 4 horror movies (involving Dracula & Frankenstein), as well as a super-weird pick: Schindler’s List. Should it be back in theaters? Sure. Is it a complete mismatch to the rest? Also sure.

Schindler's List would've been less scary if they were the villains.

I support re-releases, by and large. Some movies really need to be seen in a theater. I also can't begrudge the studio's choices, as Uni was the home of horror for a long time. I just hope that their rivals use similar taste and discretion when they follow suit. I haven't seen most of these pictures, and I think it'll be fun to catch at least two of these.

And now, the old news:

Remember when I first posted about NBC-Universal merging with Comcast? Neither do I, that was back in June 2010. But I'm really annoyed with myself for not posting a follow-up in May 2011 - see, the FCC Commissioner who approved that deal got herself a job at... Comcast.

I felt even more foolish for never posting this tidbit: there was a reunion for the kids who played the major roles in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. They talked about the film and revealing some unknown tidbits about their experiences on the set. I love that movie, and everyone wants to know what happened to Veruca Salt (did she start or simply inspire the band with that name?)

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