Mr Finch wrote:
MoC's main market is the UK where there have been, to my knowledge, no releases of Dieterle's films at all so far. THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER may already be available via Criterion but even I, with my multi-region player, am still grateful to MoC that they release the film in Region 2 because, even with the weak dollar, a CC release is still more expensive than its MoC counterpart.
And, believe it or not, there are still plenty of people out there who are highly knowledgeable film buffs but who restrict their purchases to what's actually available in the shops.
And while this might seem even harder to believe, there are film buffs out there who have DVD players but who barely know anything about the Internet - my ex-girlfriend being a classic example. (She made her first ever online purchase a few weeks ago, and even that was from a UK source - and she needed a lot
of encouragement, as she was convinced that her credit card would be maxed out in seconds).
People round here - Web-savvy, prepared to shop around internationally - are a small minority when set against the market as a whole.
MoC's riskier choices always have to be offset by what they deem to be safe choices in terms of business: if the inclusion of Dieterle (i.e. classic American cinema) in the collection convinces Eureka to take risks in licencing lesser known films than Dieterle's, then so be it.
And if you don't like it, don't buy it! I've never understood this obsession with collecting every release by a single label
, as opposed to an individual director or actor - I've got a lot of MoC, Second Run and BFI releases, but I'd be surprised if it's more than half the catalogue in each case, as there are plenty of titles that I'm simply not interested in (Second Run's gay stuff, all eight of the BFI's British Transport Films volumes, etc.).
What if including films that have already been released by CC or any other publisher elsewhere in the world actually still means good business for MoC like it did with Grey Gardens and F for Fake, and in turn makes it more likely that you get to see obscure and hitherto unreleased titles in the series?
The fact that F For Fake
was a surprise bestseller completely vindicates the decision to release it. Profit categorically isn't (or shouldn't be) a dirty word in this business, since the bottom line is that you need
a handful of releases to be profitable in order to subsidise the loss-makers.
I do sympathise with the idealists, because I used to be one myself - but I absolutely guarantee that if you actually spent time in this business in a job where your continued tenure depended on the success or otherwise of particular titles, you'd change your mind very very quickly! Obviously, it's vitally important not to forget the earlier idealism altogether, but pragmatism has to come out on top if you're to stay in business.