Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Archives > Archives > DVD Talk Archive
Reload this Page >

Criterion Is A Business, Not A Museum

Criterion Is A Business, Not A Museum

 
Old 04-04-04, 04:13 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
Thread Starter
 
ProfessorEcho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Middle, Nowhere
Posts: 2,016
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Criterion Is A Business, Not A Museum

Admin note: if you disagree with the thread, post a reasoned reply as to why, if you want. If you think the thread is pointless, show your lack of support by not posting in it, instead of making a comment that doesn't add to the discussion. Thanks! - Static

I respect Criterion to a certain degree. I think they put a lot of effort into their releases and though some things bother me about them, overall they are a decent company who actually cares about the product they manufacture. I don't like many of their over and under-stylized covers, I don't believe that RSDL Dual Layer or Close Captioning deserve to be called "EXTRAS," etc. etc. None of that matters if the film is good and the transfer is up to their usual superior quality, worthy of the higher prices they charge. But it's important, I think, to remember they are a company, a BUSINESS, not a museum. Does this mean they are a bottom line oriented, anonymous corporate entity only interested in separating you from your dollar? Of course not. Their selection of titles are impressive enough to dissuade any cynic from that idea. However, I do sometimes think they try too hard to preserve a reputation based on elitism, disguising the fact that they are something more noble than a business and I believe there are too many DVD fanatics willing to believe the hype.

Why do I think this? Because of a radio interview broadcast here in Los Angeles with the top guy at Criterion. He attempted, at great length, to defend why Michael Bay's films deserve the Criterion treatment . He explained how knowledgeable Bay is on the subject of film history, what a great guy he is, how his audio commentaries are so interesting to listen to. But never once did he say the movies had any merit and never once did he acknowledge the REAL reason they have his movies: TO MAKE MONEY! Perish the thought that Criterion should ever soil their hands doing something just for the buck. I lost a lot of respect for the company after that interview. The guy acted like a little weasel instead of owning up to the fact that they need commercial films like Bay's in order to afford producing more obscure titles. That's all he had to say, he wouldn't have even been knocking the films or saying they weren't worth buying, but instead he chose to hide behind double-speak, like every other corporate flunky.

So I no longer see Criterion as anything other than what they are: A business. But when I see a great release from KINO or IMAGE or even WARNER BROTHERS, I no longer think they are not in Criterion's class, because they are.
ProfessorEcho is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 06:52 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,141
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
.. .and so disillusionment sets in...
slowcloud is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 07:31 AM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
Sid Ceaser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Nashua NH
Posts: 719
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think going over their extensive list of titles, that they need a few mainstream titles so they can saturate the common market (and common buyer) a little more. Things like Royal Tennenbaums and Armageddon help them make a little more cash as far as sales, and they bring in audiences that don't normally buy Criterion label titles.

I don't see anything wrong with it. More power to them. I'm not going to let what one guy who works at the company ruin my outlook on them as a whole.
Sid Ceaser is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 09:42 AM
  #4  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: In my Home Theater- Foley, AL
Posts: 3,503
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree with Sid Ceaser. If we would be willing to pay $79.95 apiece for the Criterion DVD's, then they would be willing to only produce the obscure titles that collectors and true film historians crave.

It IS a business and they have done an amazing job of fufilling the niche market with quality titles.

They have been in business for quite a long time. Look back at the Laserdisc days, they offered WAY more mainstream titles. Why? To reach a larger audience.

Sonicflood
Sonicflood is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 09:47 AM
  #5  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
rocket1312's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 3,852
Likes: 0
Received 216 Likes on 155 Posts
wow...Criterion is a business...did you break this exclusive all by yourself?

And all this time I've been writing off my Criterion purchases as charitable donations. It's a good thing I haven't done my taxes yet this year. I could get in a lot of trouble!!!
rocket1312 is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 09:56 AM
  #6  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: 11.5 Miles from the Strip
Posts: 2,353
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would be willing to bet nearly anything that The Rock and Armageddon are CC best selling titles, bar none.

No need for apology there, business is business.

When CC was into LD they were much more mainstream, remember?

The advent of DVDs (no longer a niche market), has made studios retain rights much more often then releasing them to CC (and rightfully so, since they can make their own money from it).

I think people forget that CC didn't choose to become museum-like artsy in film selection, they were forced to.
LasVegasMichael is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 09:59 AM
  #7  
Keeper of the Comfy Chair
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 204
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In the interview, was he supposed to rip Bay? I mean, he is a business partner and all....

"Yeah, we all know that Bay is the suck, but man, does he bring in some coin!"
Cardinal Fang is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 11:15 AM
  #8  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Flava-Country!
Posts: 3,964
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Criterion Is A Business, Not A Museum

Originally posted by ProfessorEcho
He attempted, at great length, to defend why Michael Bay's films deserve the Criterion treatment . He explained how knowledgeable Bay is on the subject of film history, what a great guy he is, how his audio commentaries are so interesting to listen to.
Criterion is all about putting out movies from the people that are best in their field. Like it or not, Michael Bay is one of the *BEST* at making Event Movies. Big, Loud, Exciting, Action packed movies that put butts in the seats.

'sides, Criterion has put out Non-Movie Snob films before. As far back as their laserdisc days, in fact - Doctor No and Goldfinger can hardly considered 'art' films. Or how about Ghostbusters? Great film, but hardly 'Movie Snob' quality.
El-Kabong is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 11:33 AM
  #9  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Times Square
Posts: 12,135
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 2 Posts
Re: Criterion Is A Business, Not A Museum

Originally posted by ProfessorEcho
..... overall they are a decent company who actually cares about the product they manufacture..... it's important, I think, to remember they are a company, a BUSINESS, not a museum. Does this mean they are a bottom line oriented, anonymous corporate entity only interested in separating you from your dollar? Of course not. Their selection of titles are impressive enough to dissuade any cynic from that idea....
As has been pointed out a thousand times in a thousand different threads: not everyone likes every title from any company. I have no problem (or criticism) of a company that finds it can finance the more esoteric titles by dipping into the "best-seller" products, which, incidentally, are presented in an excellent manner.

We keep hearing about how expensive the laserdiscs were - precicely because laserdisc remained a niche market. Having titles like Armageddon and The Rock most likely helps keep the prices on their other products at abot half of what their laserdisc counterparts cost - even before you consider inflation.
marty888 is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 11:42 AM
  #10  
Moderator
 
Groucho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 71,379
Received 114 Likes on 76 Posts
"Gotta Catch 'Em All!"
Groucho is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 12:21 PM
  #11  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 661
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
rock and armeggedon are the best selling of all time?

I doubt that- royal tennebaums by far, it's in every store,retail and rental- because it's the only version of the film out there, so any rental stores wanted to rent out the film, had to get the criterion.

that being said, it wasn't that great, and every pawn shop, used store , always has at least 1 copy of it, sometimes 3-5 copies, so no one is buying it.
lcnickell is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 12:54 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Daytona Beach, FL
Posts: 22,639
Received 70 Likes on 54 Posts
Royal Tennenbaums was a great movie, what are you talking about?
Dr. DVD is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 12:59 PM
  #13  
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 11,974
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
The fact that Criterion doesn't do more mainstream titles like they did in their laserdisc days has to do with the fact that companies like Universal, MGM, WB, Artisan, etc., have gone themselves into the business of doing special editions of their films and do not use a middleman like Criterion to distribute them. Criterion has been open about doing more mainstream movies like they did with Robocop, Silence of the Lambs, Traffic, The Rock, Armagedon, etc., but companies aren't willing anymore to give big title that they can produce themsleves.
dx23 is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 02:17 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 7,466
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Re: Re: Criterion Is A Business, Not A Museum

Originally posted by El-Kabong
Criterion is all about putting out movies from the people that are best in their field. Like it or not, Michael Bay is one of the *BEST* at making Event Movies. Big, Loud, Exciting, Action packed movies that put butts in the seats.
Thanks fot saying this, El-Kabong . . . I get tired of typing it in over and over . . .
talemyn is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 02:24 PM
  #15  
MrN
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: B.W.I.
Posts: 3,699
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
So, let me get this straight - your impression of Criterion was diminished by some employee interview? As you yourself said:

None of that matters if the film is good
Its not like other companies don't release their share of bad movies but they're not going to come out and say 'some of our stuff sucks.'
MrN is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 02:26 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: City of the lakers.. riots.. and drug dealing cops.. los(t) Angel(e)s. ca.
Posts: 54,199
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
I would figure that CHASING AMY would have been up there on the sales chart. being the only version of the film out there and it's very low price.
Jackskeleton is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 02:38 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,340
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Re: Re: Criterion Is A Business, Not A Museum

Originally posted by El-Kabong
Criterion is all about putting out movies from the people that are best in their field. Like it or not, Michael Bay is one of the *BEST* at making Event Movies. Big, Loud, Exciting, Action packed movies that put butts in the seats.
Absolutely. That is the reason I always give my friends when they knock these CC selections. Not to mention, while I can't comment on the Armageddon disc, the extras on The Rock:CC are really good, and IMHO worth the extra $.
drjay is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 03:12 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
Thread Starter
 
ProfessorEcho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Middle, Nowhere
Posts: 2,016
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally posted by MrN
So, let me get this straight - your impression of Criterion was diminished by some employee interview?
Its not like other companies don't release their share of bad movies but they're not going to come out and say 'some of our stuff sucks.'
It was indeed diminished and the person being interviewed was not just "some employee," but the head of the company. I didn't expect him to knock the movies, but I think he should have been a little more frank about their inclusion in the "coveted" Criteriion Collection. Unfortunately I can't reproduce here the tone in which he delivered his evasive spiel regarding Bay's films, but he was arrogantly defensive that the subject even came up and throughout the interview perpetuated the notion that the company was some kind of noble shrine. To me there is hypocrisy there, but perhaps he genuinely believes that the Bay films are equivalent to the best of Kurosawa and Hitchcock.

Some replies here have already misinterpreted my point: It's not so much that I mind them doing more commercial stuff for the money; after all, as I said originally, it does increase their ability to do more obscure titles. I just didn't like this person's attempted justification for it in order to protect the myth that they are better than other home video companies.

This post was mostly written in response to the silly thread about some guy going into the Criterion offices and everyone drooling over it, hence the title that they are a business, not a museum. After hearing that interview with the president of the company I no longer thought of them as being separate from the pack.
ProfessorEcho is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 03:50 PM
  #19  
MrN
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: B.W.I.
Posts: 3,699
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Whether he genuinely believes Bay films are as good as Kurosawa's is besides the point. (That is a purely subjective opinion as others in this thread have pointed out.) He's doing the interview as a representative of the company and He's not going to come out and say Bay doesn't belong in the collection because according to Criterion's "Mission" he does.

It should be a given that Criterion is a business - out to make a profit. If you thought they weren't then you were disillusioned. And this fact has no bearing on the quality of their product.
MrN is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 04:19 PM
  #20  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Times Square
Posts: 12,135
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 2 Posts
Originally posted by ProfessorEcho

This post was mostly written in response to the silly thread about some guy going into the Criterion offices and everyone drooling over it, hence the title that they are a business, not a museum.

I guess one silly thread deserves another.... whatever point was originally intended seems to diminish wih each layer of justification.

Anone who didn't know they were a business must have been been napping.
marty888 is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 04:49 PM
  #21  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
Thread Starter
 
ProfessorEcho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Middle, Nowhere
Posts: 2,016
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally posted by marty888
I guess one silly thread deserves another.... whatever point was originally intended seems to diminish wih each layer of justification. Anone who didn't know they were a business must have been been napping.
I suggest you go read the post "So I Stumbled Into The Criterion Offices Today" or whatever it's called to see that some people did indeed think it was more than a business.

As for the layers of justification in this post, well, read some of the responses already left here and see if I don't have to sometimes use blocks to explain my original intention.
ProfessorEcho is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 05:26 PM
  #22  
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Santa Babylon
Posts: 143
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What interview is being referenced here? The old KCRW one? The point about Bay movies being released for revenue purposes has been conceded in other interviews.

As I think was said before, they release (what they consider to be) the best of what's available to them. I don't think that qualifies as elitist.

But what does make Criterion a generally better company than most is that they _consistently_ do a good job on their releases. Or maybe I should say they're monotonically improving since many of the early releases were lacking. Other companies continue to be at best hit or miss. And that's ok since I don't expect a company like MGM or Warners to go all out on every release. They've got so many.
thawtz is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 05:33 PM
  #23  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: My chair
Posts: 2,156
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally posted by ProfessorEcho
Unfortunately I can't reproduce here the tone in which he delivered his evasive spiel regarding Bay's films...
Well I think I can (if this is the right radio show or not).
Click on the link, you need RealAudioPlayer to hear it:

Elvis Mitchell the hosts The Criterion Collection's director Peter Becker, the man responsible for the DVD versions of "This Is Spinal Tap,"The Third Man," "Gimme Shelter" and many others.

http://kcrw.com/cgi-bin/ram_wrap.cgi...23Peter_Becker
darqleo is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 06:16 PM
  #24  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: You have moved into a dark place. It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
Posts: 4,533
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"You might remember something from the 90s called 'laserdiscs.' Your kids are probably serving drinks on those now."

Thanks for the link. Great interview.
jough is offline  
Old 04-04-04, 06:22 PM
  #25  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: You have moved into a dark place. It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
Posts: 4,533
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Here's another interesting (print) interview with Becker from March 2000:

http://dir.salon.com/ent/col/srag/20...ion/index.html
jough is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:29 AM.


Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.