Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #107: Making An Ash Out of Myself

Nikki Finke reports that although the original negatives were spared from the fire, most, if not all, of the archived 35mm prints of classic movies from Hollywood's Golden Age. Now while this might not sound disastrous, it does hurt art-house and rep theaters, as well as film societies who rely on those prints to fulfill their screening schedules. Now while some copies are believed to be out there, the damage is pretty bad.

Now it's expensive to make those prints, and there's no real direct economic reason to make fresh prints, at least not on the scale that interests studio execs, there are some indirect economic reasons to go through with it.

1. Art house patrons tend to be movie buffs. Movie buffs tend to collect classic movies. If they're enchanted by seeing a classic film on the big screen, they are more likely to buy that movie on DVD.

2. Audience goodwill. Perhaps one of the most important, but most overlooked features in the movie business. People are more likely to spend money on movies made by people and companies that they don't believe to be the spawn of Lucifer's rectum.

However, early reports show that someone at Universal, a company very aware of its own history, is thinking about this, and making plans to replace the lost prints as soon as possible.

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