Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

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tenia
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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#76 Post by tenia » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:46 am

Ribs wrote:It appears there was a rather substantial print-size reduction decided on in build-up to release, for some reason, which looks very foolish if this has truly sold out (especially given they've opted for 1500 UK + 1500 US instead of 2000 each, considering that the Taisho set sold briskly with that run size).
It is interesting to remember that with all these release delays, the set is bordering on selling out after about 175 days, which is already quite a long time for a Arrow LE to sell out (in the UK). The Taisho trilogy took 9 months to sell out, which is about twice the median selling out time for an Arrow LE (which is about 130 days).

Within the 46 UK sold out LEs I monitored, the Taisho set is 10th slowest seller in terms of copies "sold" per day since its announcement. The Suzuki Vol. 1 is the 11th slowest.
Would the Suzuki Vol. 1 have remained at 2000 copies and sold out at roughly the same time, it would still have been the 17th slowest seller.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#77 Post by Ribs » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:41 am

I think there's a fairly substantial difference in demand for a title that's been announced for six months vs a title that was announced for three months, released, and out for three months, though. Just don't think "time since announcement" is necessarily the best measure for a title's relative success vis-a-vis selling out.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#78 Post by AidanKing » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:43 am

I think the work tenia has put into establishing how long it has taken for Arrow sets to sell out is very detailed and useful, but I would question including the time from the pre-order to the release date as part of this. If we were talking about a book or CD release, we would probably look at the start date as being the date the item actually becomes available in bricks-and-mortar shops or online stores.

It's obviously working for Arrow, but is planning for something to sell out completely before it has actually been released a sensible way for films to be made available, especially if you might want to introduce a particular director or film to new viewers, who are more likely to wait for the reviews before deciding to purchase a particular item?

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tenia
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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#79 Post by tenia » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:18 am

Ribs wrote:I think there's a fairly substantial difference in demand for a title that's been announced for six months vs a title that was announced for three months, released, and out for three months, though.
It's a bit more complicated than this since Arrow LEs system seems tailored to very quickly sells out, including before release date, so if the LE is still around 3 months after release date, well, that's already an outlier.
So there either is demand during pre-orders, or the LE is basically going to take months and months and months to sell out.

LE is a way to push early sales. These early sales are mostly performed when on pre-order. It thus seem legitimate to capture the figures since the opening of the pre-orders. It also makes sense from a customer point of view, because it means customers had X days to pass their (pre-)orders.
To get the Battles without Honor set, customers had about 172 days to pass an order. To get the Suzuki Vol. 1 set, they had about 174 days. If you don't use this but use instead the release date, people had 56 days to pass an order for the Battles set, but had -4 days for the Suzuki set. To me, this doesn't reflect properly the customer ordering window.

Including early sales through pre-orders might thus be the most important thing to do to properly capture the sales potential and pace. Out of the 46 UK sold out LEs I've monitored, the utmost majority of them spent more time being available for pre-order than for order post-release date, with 11 of them being sold out before or on release date. 12 were sold out within a month (31 days) after their release date. Only 15 were available longer after than before their release dates (and 9 of these are Arrow longest-to-sell-out LEs, most by a veeeeery long shot - we're talking about 2 to 3 years to sell out -).

So, since the time spent by the releases under their pre-order days is the dominant part of so many of these LEs, it seems fair to me to capture these sales that way (see again the Suzuki vs Battles example).

It's a question of when you can start reserve your product, and to me, it's at the announcement date when the pre-orders are opened. That's when I, as a customer, can start having some kind of access to the product, so it makes sense to use this as a Day 1.
AidanKing wrote:It's obviously working for Arrow, but is planning for something to sell out completely before it has actually been released a sensible way for films to be made available, especially if you might want to introduce a particular director or film to new viewers, who are more likely to wait for the reviews before deciding to purchase a particular item?
How much of the sales (or sales speed) are coming from the fact that they're limited editions, not because of scalpers etc, but as consumers, as not being that much interested in these but buying them for fear to miss out ? What if constraining batch sizes actually helped getting more customers, by pushing the sales sometimes at a higher point than the movies own potential ? How many releases are bought out of curiosity AND the fear of missing out ?

For instance, Arrow still has about 2000 copies of the Phantasm set. At the set average pace, it's going to take at least 3 months to shift them. But the pace actually is slower : it took them 7 months to sell 1000 copies !
What would have happened if the set was limited to less than 10 000, say 8 000 ? It would have been sold out months ago.

While it certainly limits the total amount of possible viewers, in some cases, it might actually help the total amount of copies to find a customer.
Last edited by tenia on Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#80 Post by Ribs » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:31 am

I didn't mean to attack your methods if that's how it came across! But there's always going to be a good chunk of people who don't like pre-ordering things months in advance and wait for the title to be very near release. The circumstances of delays and stuff make each release a little different for these kinds of metrics. I just think, as the Taisho set seemed to essentially sell out around 3-4 months after its release, that doing the same run-size would seem totally practical, as surely that's quick enough without causing people to miss out? Does Arrow really desperately need the warehouse space that they can't keep stock on the shelf for three months?

I'm really curious what their approach will be for the 4K Halloween restoration - I'd *imagine* that it'll sell out within 24 hours if it's the same run of 6,000 the Thing got, but would they try and print more? If anything were to sell out brisky with a 10,000 print run, you'd think it's be Halloween. I guess there's also a reasonable chance it'll be US/UK, which'd be another wrinkle.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#81 Post by tenia » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:48 am

No, no, I understand that, don't worry ! :D
I'm just explaining, through the figures I have and my understanding of them, why I feel it makes sense to track sales this way. To me, it's making sense because most sales actually happens before the release date.

(by the way, if anybody's interested in the Excel file, let me know by PM, I'm happy to share it)

However, it clear that I can only track what's available publicly, and I clearly can't fine tune my data enough to track the sales pace from early pre-orders to late pre-orders, etc (like : the impact of a stock warning). Hell, for some releases, I don't have data at all ! So yeah, it certainly is, after all, averaged data somehow.

Another thing : there's no public data about non LE sales figures, so we don't know how many copies of the non LE Deep Red, The Thing or Bride of Re-Animator have been sold.
Following the logic that part of the incentive of LE is precisely that they're limited, I'm wondering if these standard releases are selling better or not (in total) than their LE counterpart (and I suspect they actually are selling slower even).
Ribs wrote:Does Arrow really desperately need the warehouse space that they can't keep stock on the shelf for three months?
I suspect that there is some kind of chronological threshold when, seeing the LE is still around, you stop in your mind thinking it's something you're going to miss out. There are some releases that currently are selling less than 100 copies per month. There's no sense of urgency left.
So the label is paying for the storage, for the insurance, and these releases are going to be more and more sold at discounted prices, etc etc.
Take the Nikkatsu Vol. 2 : it sold 150 copies between June 17 and Feb 18 and still has about 600 copies to sell. At this pace, it's going to sell out in Feb 2020. Who is going now to feel any urgency about buying it while you could wait and get it for £8 or £10 ?
Ribs wrote:I'm really curious what their approach will be for the 4K Halloween restoration - I'd *imagine* that it'll sell out within 24 hours if it's the same run of 6,000 the Thing got, but would they try and print more? If anything were to sell out brisky with a 10,000 print run, you'd think it's be Halloween. I guess there's also a reasonable chance it'll be US/UK, which'd be another wrinkle.
I suspect they could do 8 or 10k per territory and a quick standard release after.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#82 Post by swo17 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:27 am

tenia, I think your methodology is sound, though it probably would make sense to weigh time a little differently before and after certain key events take place--the original announcement, original release date, delayed release date, and the day it's indicated that stock might soon be running out.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#83 Post by Drucker » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:30 am

And my god man would it kill you to add some visuals? Just kidding around.

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tenia
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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#84 Post by tenia » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:48 am

swo17 wrote:tenia, I think your methodology is sound, though it probably would make sense to weigh time a little differently before and after certain key events take place--the original announcement, original release date, delayed release date, and the day it's indicated that stock might soon be running out.
I created my spreadsheet quite late in the game, and originally had to dig around to find older selling out dates. This was long enough already, so I didn't want to have to find extra elements. I currently have the announcement dates, the actual release date, and can find back easily the original release date. However, I don't note so far the stock warnings date.
I probably now could track these extra elements as they go, and try and adapt my spreadsheet to accomodate them. The issue will just be how to write them down and then plot them without having a whale of an Excel file. :lol:
And also to be able to correlate them to a given stock level. Otherwise, all those dates might be pointless in regards to how sales are going.
Drucker wrote:And my god man would it kill you to add some visuals? Just kidding around.
I suppose I could do a boxplot or 2. :)

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#85 Post by swo17 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:55 am

This has gotten bigger than Excel. It's time to take it to R.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#86 Post by Orlac » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:17 pm

If Arrow is going to to limited editions, they should spread them out more. How am I supposed to cram 3-4 boxsets every month? It's not fair on people with less disposable income.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#87 Post by Ribs » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:33 pm

Arrow hasn't announced a new Academy box set since October

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#88 Post by Ashirg » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:51 pm

I contacted Deep Discount about my cancelled order after seeing they have box in stock. They told me it was cancelled in error and to call them to reorder for the same price. I just did and the order is placed with the same cyber discount.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#89 Post by AidanKing » Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:50 am

tenia wrote:After the Jia Zhang-ke book, this is another "thicker" booklet with an actual very low content of written material. With all the pictures and credits pages, the one article starts at the 25th page :shock: and is a bit longer than 12 pages, making the total of reading material 22% of the book. By the page the essay starts, there are already been more illustrated pages than the total length of the essay. Another much quicker read than expected. :|
I agree that this is more of an issue in this case because the Jia set had substantial context-setting extras on the discs while the Suzuki set has much more minimal on-disc extras. It might have been more honest for Arrow just to produce a smaller booklet that slid into one of the disc cases. Other Arrow booklets, such as the ones for One Eyed Jacks and Three Brothers, have had booklets in the actual disc cases containing considerable, excellent content.

I think to clarify about the amount of time before selling out issue, my main concern is simply that these LEs will not be around for some potential new viewer to come across in the future and, if availability declines, the visibility of, and hence interest in, older films will inevitably decline too. However, as MichaelB has pointed out, it is a business and we may have to hope that more films become available through streaming so that future generations might be able to access the works users of this forum tend to be interested in.
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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#90 Post by MichaelB » Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:55 am

It's worth noting that I was very very lucky with the Three Brothers content - so much so that I didn't even bother commissioning a new essay. The original plan certainly wasn't to go to 44 pages, but the two archival pieces that I found were so substantial (and so easy to clear) that this became necessary.

So please don't hold that release up as any kind of norm: for me it was very much an exception.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#91 Post by AidanKing » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:57 am

It was an excellent booklet, though, even if it was an exception, as was the booklet for One Eyed Jacks.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#92 Post by MichaelB » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:04 am

Another one that went way beyond the call of duty was the 100-pager in the Taviani box, for which I had the mad idea of commissioning new (and in some cases world premiere) translations of all six Pirandello stories that were used as the basis of their film Kaos.

Thankfully, I was able to claw back some of the budget by not commissioning a new essay (I'd already licensed 6,000 words of Pauline Kael raves, which did the same job more than adequately), but it's still comfortably one of the most expensive books I've ever personally overseen - second only to the 350-page Borowczyk blow-out.

(This is why I'm all over the extras, as I couldn't cut corners with the translation - 20,000 words of Pirandello needs an experienced literary translator charging professional rates - so I needed to save money elsewhere.)

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#93 Post by R0lf » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:22 am

There's a big difference comparing this release to those other limited editions though: the LE is (presumably) going to be the only release for these Suzuki movies.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#94 Post by tenia » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:55 am

R0lf wrote:There's a big difference comparing this release to those other limited editions though: the LE is (presumably) going to be the only release for these Suzuki movies.
The Kiju Yoshida set, Nikkastu Diamond Guys Vol. 1 and the Taisho set look so far like they're not going to be re-released either.
However, the Suzuki vol. 1 set has been clearly quicker to sell out in a way, so it'll be to see if Arrow estimates there might actually be more demand than this for them or not. Arrow re-released Pieces, My Darling Clementine, Blood Rage, Raising Cain and split the 6 Gothic Tales set, all selling at a slower pace their copies than the Yoshida or the 2 Suzuki sets, so there might be a possibility there.
However, looking at how long it took for the Nikkatsu Vol. 1 to sell out, I doubt it will ever be repressed.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#95 Post by Apperson » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:02 am

Copied from the Taisho Trilogy thread:
TonyleStephanois wrote:Stocks of The Taisho Trilogy are very low, it's not looking likely we'll re-issue this one, we're looking to make it available digitally only I am afraid. Our sales of standard editions of even major films following boxes just aren't selling unfortunately. This will be going for our Early Suzuki, Godard + Gorin, Sacha Guitry, Diamond Guys and Gangster VIP sets. We'll assess feedback and see if there is the right demand rather than just put them through the standard process so this isn't a guarantee that they will never come out but be warned it's unlikely as of writing.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#96 Post by Ribs » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:12 am

Judging on this speed of sales, it really wouldn’t surprise me to see the individual Amarays from this set come out non-LE, but they might hold off for a bit before then.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#97 Post by tenia » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:16 am

I know, but the Suzuki set just sold out probably more quickly than expected, even this probably partially was due to a lower batch size. As you can see in the message, Arrow "will assess feedback and see if there is the right demand rather than just put them through the standard process so this isn't a guarantee that they will never come out but be warned it's unlikely as of writing." so it's (as always with these things) not 100% ruled out, and as a whole, the Suzuki vol. 1 set probably looks like the best contender to be an exception to this.

However, if as a whole, selling out quickly isn't so much of a guidance as to what is re-released or not because of poor STD sales, that's another context to take into account.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#98 Post by Telstar » Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:47 pm

Just finished watching this and it seems to me like the best release from Arrow US in a very long time.
Newcomers to Suzuki may not be overly impressed (many of the films in the collection have relatively traditional and even cliched aspects not dissimilar to the Diamond Guys titles, and a far cry from the gonzo stylistics of Branded to Kill) but for fans of the director interested in getting an even richer, more complete sense of his work, this is an indispensible set. None of the five films featured here have apparently ever had home video releases anywhere in the world, including Japan (!), so it really is a pretty big deal.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#99 Post by DeprongMori » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:33 pm

My set should be arriving today. Can’t wait. Just watched Voice Without A Shadow the other night and realized that even when he was cranking out 5-6 genre films a year for Nikkatsu, every shot is beautifully composed and visually interesting regardless of the merit of the plot or the size of the budget.

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Re: Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years

#100 Post by R0lf » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:51 pm

tenia wrote:
R0lf wrote:There's a big difference comparing this release to those other limited editions though: the LE is (presumably) going to be the only release for these Suzuki movies.
The Kiju Yoshida set, Nikkastu Diamond Guys Vol. 1 and the Taisho set look so far like they're not going to be re-released either.
However, the Suzuki vol. 1 set has been clearly quicker to sell out in a way, so it'll be to see if Arrow estimates there might actually be more demand than this for them or not. Arrow re-released Pieces, My Darling Clementine, Blood Rage, Raising Cain and split the 6 Gothic Tales set, all selling at a slower pace their copies than the Yoshida or the 2 Suzuki sets, so there might be a possibility there.
However, looking at how long it took for the Nikkatsu Vol. 1 to sell out, I doubt it will ever be repressed.
The print run on those releases was double to the Suzuki?

It makes sense as an MO for a company to release the minor films from a popular director in a value for money pack with an edition large enough that it will be available for a few years - before going off the market completely.

You have to wonder how much effort vs margin it takes to put five movies out for it to even be worthwhile on such a small run. This might be our first indication that Arrow will start to push more toward streaming.

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