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TOPIC: Costs/Requirements for old movies?

Re: Costs/Requirements for old movies? 16 Feb 2004 11:19 #7558

  • leeler
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I'll add another item to this list of add-ons. My (admittedly young) experience has led me to believe that classic films may not always be in the best shape either. I was allowed to play one on my platter system but it was dirty, full of poor splices, even tangled. I stayed up with that print for hours trying to get it show-worthy. It turned out all right but boy was it a lot of work. I'm not eager to repeat that night. Also, it was fairly expensive (see Roxy's note above) I know I can't make a living showing classic movies. I might show one here and there during the year (maybe Christmas?), but, I'll stick to the new films primarily.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Costs/Requirements for old movies? 18 Feb 2004 23:39 #7559

  • ross5300
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(1) There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of films currently in the Public Domain. You may legally show them without restriction if you are certain of this status. MY MAN GODFREY, THE JUNGLE BOOK (Sabu), many Roy Rogers westerns, Bela Lugosi chillers, several Ealing comedies, lots of '50s sci-fi, the early British Hitchcocks, and many, many others (including some foreign titles) fall into this category.

(2) The quality of DVD looks good only when compared with its predecessor, VHS, which was (and is) crap. A good, clean DVD image will present an image comparable to a projected Super 8 film print. It will be markedly inferior to a 16mm or 35mm print. To maximum the quality, you want the best possible DVD source, coupled with an excellent (extremely bright) projection system and a relatively short projection throw. Make sure you have a highly reflective screen.

(3) To the best of my knowledge, the major studios are not yet licensing their titles for subsequent DVD theatrical runs. This may change and I encourage you to contact them and press them for details.

(4) It is not true that showing classics is dead. I ran a repertory house for 20 years (I sold it two years ago) in a small town and showed many, many classics. The key to success is to maximize your income and minimize your expenditures. The main key to success: show what your audiences want to see and don't show what YOU want to see. I'm amazed at how many rep houses still ignore this advice. If you know what your audiences want, and if those wants fall within your (presumably public domain) sphere, you may very well succeed.

Good luck!
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Re: Costs/Requirements for old movies? 19 Feb 2004 19:50 #7560

  • Avco
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jimor wrote:

""The High and the Mighty", for example, John Wayne's son Patrick is said to have control of the film & for some reason will not release it to anyone."

Well Patrick is handling the family company Batjac on the rights to the films his father made. But on that film Warner owns some of the rights of that film too. The main battle between Batjac & Warner is that the film's negetive is in need of a full restoration. And Batjac does not want to pay the full amount and Warner does not want to pay the full amount either. So the film remains locked up. We handled some work for Michael before he passed away a few years ago. He gave me a one-sheet for that movie "The High and the Mighty".

[This message has been edited by Avco (edited February 19, 2004).]

[This message has been edited by Avco (edited February 19, 2004).]
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Re: Costs/Requirements for old movies? 23 Feb 2004 08:01 #7561

  • MS
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Thank you again everyone! You have all been very helpful! The advice is great. I see that if I want to pursue this further I will have to start making some phone calls to find out if the movies I am thinking of showing are available and just how much they're going to cost me. Then I can begin to calc some numbers to figure if they'll be worth the trouble. I'm sure that what I find out will bring up further questions so you'll probably be hearing from me again.
Thanks again to everyone! You've been a great help. Many kudos to whoever started this site!
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