The thing is, what is considered successful (in terms of sales) by Criterion standards and what is considered successful by major studio standards are two different things. For Criterion, the Truffauts would be considered a major release. For MGM, they can make more money repackaging AMERICAN NINJA, so why devote time and money on THE GREEN ROOM? To the studios, the quality of a film is irrelevant; they only care if it will sell. Right now, DVD sales are in the toilet and nothing
is selling except big new releases, so at ALL the studios catalog titles are going to burn-on-demand, being sublicensed to other labels and/or being offered for download, which studios see as the wave of the future.
Nowadays, Criterion have led the way and shown how films can be released for the home and everyone knows exactly what sort of job MGM should be doing with these titles. It's scandalous, and it's upto us all to complain and let the bosses at MGM know what a complete load of crap they are. No wonder they're bankrupt and looking for a buyer.
And how many major studios are currently following Criterion's model of handling foreign/art house releases? None so far as I can see. MGM's financial trouble stems from the sale of the company to the Sony-led consortium at an inflated price, the collapse of the DVD market, and the failure to have enough new product in the marketplace. It has nothing to do with not releasing better DVDs of THE BRIDE WORE BLACK and MISSISSIPPI MERMAID; that would not have earned the company $4 billion. And if you still want to gripe about the DVDs, you have to go to Fox, because they're calling the shots now in terms of what gets released--and they fired the person they had in charge of catalog releases, so don't expect much sympathy from them.