Criterion and Warner Bros.

The scuttlebutt on Criterion, Eclipse, and Janus Films. Lists and polls are STRONGLY discouraged.
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Noiradelic
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Re: Criterion and Warner Bros.

#801 Post by Noiradelic » Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:40 am

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 11:51 pm
I'm surprised they kept it. New Line practically buried it in the original US theatrical release, delaying it several months and very little promotion in the States at all.
Yeah, Ted Turner temporarily suppressed it (as you presumably already know):
NYT wrote:The film's United States opening has also been delayed. ''Crash'' was given an NC-17 rating and was to have been released in New York on Oct. 4, the same day as in Toronto. But its distributor in the United States, Fine Line Features, pushed back the opening date several months, saying that it could not find enough theaters. In November, Ted Turner admitted that he had put pressure on Fine Line, a division of New Line Cinema, which he heads, to withhold the film.

''It disturbs me; people with warped minds are going to like it though,'' Mr. Turner said during a forum at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York. ''Imagine the first teen-agers that decide to have sex while driving 100 miles an hour, and probably the movie will get them to do that, I mean, mimic it.'' Mr. Turner eventually relented. ''God help us, but at any rate, it's going to roll,'' he said.
When British censors demanded cuts, Cronenberg refused, and it took even longer to come out in England.

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: Criterion and Warner Bros.

#802 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:32 am

Cronenberg said something in response years later about how he'd heard that Billionaire Ted liked to nudge his boat into Jane Fonda's when he was in some boat race while they were married. It's still a wonder it got released at all here, as I can't imagine any other studio/distributor would have been as eager to release it during such a relatively conservative time towards a story that treats sex as Crash does.

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MichaelB
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Re: Criterion and Warner Bros.

#803 Post by MichaelB » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:46 am

Noiradelic wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 2:40 am
When British censors demanded cuts, Cronenberg refused, and it took even longer to come out in England.
The only part of that sentence that's true is that the release was delayed by a few months - but the reason for the delay was that the BBFC was firmly on Cronenberg's side, and did not request cuts. But BBFC head James Ferman deliberately delayed the announcement until Parliament had been dissolved prior to the 1997 general election, thus neutralising one of the three groups who'd been calling for a ban. (Ferman was notorious for pulling stunts like that.)

The other two were harder to get around, and in fact Westminster Council ended up banning the film from their cinemas - somewhat ineffectively, since Columbia TriStar simply opened it in the central London cinemas nearest the Westminster border on the other side. And the third was the Daily Mail, which ranted and raved about the film throughout this entire process, including trying to whip up a boycott of Sony products ("What YOU can do to keep this revolting film off our screens"), but which had no direct input into whether or not it was released.

Also, even if the BBFC had demanded cuts, Cronenberg wouldn't have been in a position to refuse: the distribution rights had already been sold, and there was nothing in the contract that demanded director approval of the version that was released (which would have been highly unusual, and it's hard to imagine a distributor of a potentially controversial film agreeing to such a clause).

I suspect you've mixed the the BBFC up with Westminster Council, which like all local authorities had the final say in what could be screened in cinemas within its jurisdiction, but they're not film censors. Granted, John Bull, the splendidly-named head of Westminster's Licensing Sub-Committee publicly asked for cuts to be made, but this was greeted with derision, not least from Cronenberg himself. But this absolutely shouldn't be confused with the formal classification process.

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: Criterion and Warner Bros.

#804 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:43 am

Even years after the fact, Mark Kermode went on a pretty passionate tear about the stupidity of it all.

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Dr Amicus
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Re: Criterion and Warner Bros.

#805 Post by Dr Amicus » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:16 pm

I've recommended it before, but The Crash Controversy by Martin Barker, Jane Arthurs and Ramaswami Harindranath is excellent covering both the controversy and some audience / viewer research.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: Criterion and Warner Bros.

#806 Post by FrauBlucher » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:56 pm

Was there any indication that Criterion will release Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, or just guessing?

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: Criterion and Warner Bros.

#807 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 3:09 am

My guess is that they will, and that The Wild Bunch will get a UHD release by WB when/if Mel Gibson's remake comes out.

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colinr0380
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Re: Criterion and Warner Bros.

#808 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 3:59 am

MichaelB wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:46 am
(Ferman was notorious for pulling stunts like that.)
Didn't something similar occur with Natural Born Killers too with the video release not being rejected outright but rather stalled on by the BBFC for years after events like Dunblane occurred, so the film was not banned but effectively suppressed on video because it would have made easy fodder for the tabloid press and/or politicians to use in their articles. (Which is why Channel 5 ended up being able to premiere it on UK television before it had a home video release)

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MichaelB
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Re: Criterion and Warner Bros.

#809 Post by MichaelB » Tue Sep 22, 2020 5:13 am

Not quite - it was passed uncut by the BBFC, but it was Warner Bros themselves who took the decision to postpone the video release. The sale to Channel 5 had already happened by then, so they couldn't do anything about it, although they weren't expecting it to be the UK's small-screen premiere.

The Tarantino-related BBFC stalling involved Reservoir Dogs, much to the annoyance of its distributor. In fact, when James Ferman retired in 1998 (or, more accurately, was retired), one of his successor's first promises was that decisions would be swift regardless of any controversy - a promise that he kept.

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colinr0380
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Re: Criterion and Warner Bros.

#810 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:03 pm

Thanks for clarifying the Natural Born Killers situation. I knew that there was some caution about the release that held up the distribution but had mixed up the parties who were doing the holding up!

beamish14
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 3:07 pm

Re: Criterion and Warner Bros.

#811 Post by beamish14 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:26 pm

colinr0380 wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 3:59 am
MichaelB wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:46 am
(Ferman was notorious for pulling stunts like that.)
Didn't something similar occur with Natural Born Killers too with the video release not being rejected outright but rather stalled on by the BBFC for years after events like Dunblane occurred, so the film was not banned but effectively suppressed on video because it would have made easy fodder for the tabloid press and/or politicians to use in their articles. (Which is why Channel 5 ended up being able to premiere it on UK television before it had a home video release)
Interestingly, at a 25th anniversary screening of Natural Born Killers at the American Cinematheque last year, Oliver Stone
railed against WB for not allowing the extended cut of it to be screened. I imagine it is to WB as Kundun or Blood In, Blood Out
are to Disney nowadays.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: Criterion and Warner Bros.

#812 Post by FrauBlucher » Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:38 pm

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 3:09 am
My guess is that they will, and that The Wild Bunch will get a UHD release by WB when/if Mel Gibson's remake comes out.
It sounds like Passion of the Christ sequel may be coming before the The Wild Bunch remake. I always thought once a WB/Criterion deal was struck that The Wild Bunch was a no brainer to go to CC

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Blutarsky
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Re: Criterion and Warner Bros.

#813 Post by Blutarsky » Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:01 pm

I finally snagged The Cameraman this B&N sale and I remember the days when TCM would release combo packs with screen icons. The Cameraman was in the Keaton set, now OOP. I am wondering, with the Garbo set now OOP, could we see Criterion releasing The Flesh and the Devil?

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What A Disgrace
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Re: Criterion and Warner Bros.

#814 Post by What A Disgrace » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:35 pm

Personally, I'd love to see a great big Lon Chaney at MGM box. Unlike with Keaton, there's more than just two good movies and at least four which are widely beloved silent classics.

Orlac
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Re: Criterion and Warner Bros.

#815 Post by Orlac » Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:30 am

What A Disgrace wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:35 pm
Personally, I'd love to see a great big Lon Chaney at MGM box. Unlike with Keaton, there's more than just two good movies and at least four which are widely beloved silent classics.
Yes please!

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