Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

The scuttlebutt on Criterion, Eclipse, and Janus Films. Lists and polls are STRONGLY discouraged.
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AisleSeat
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Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#1 Post by AisleSeat » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:25 pm

The times are changing. It's getting harder to make a buck in the DVD business. Five years ago I would never have imagined the Breakfast Club in the Collection, but it films like that that bring in the necessary revenue. Sadly, the more esoteric foreign movies do not. We can go back and forth on this, but Criterion may struggle to be viable if it continues with its current business plan. Ferris Bueller's Day Off will outsell a film by Naruse 10 to 1, maybe even 25 to 1. Criterion needs Bueller's revenue to cover the cost of releasing a Naruse. And yet with online steaming, on demand, the Bueller release may not be the cash cow that it once was.

What to do? Should Criterion transition to a nonprofit?
Last edited by AisleSeat on Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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knives
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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#2 Post by knives » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:30 pm

Image

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CSM126
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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#3 Post by CSM126 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:52 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, the 2018 Richard Cranium award winner.

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Mungo
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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#4 Post by Mungo » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:57 pm

"Well, silly me, I've posed on the wrong forum. Mods, would you please move this to the Newbie Discussion section on blu-ray.com."

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#5 Post by CSM126 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:02 pm

We should establish a hall of fame just to immortalize this post. I mean, wow.

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soundchaser
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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#6 Post by soundchaser » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:08 pm

You’ve been on this board since 2008. How could you not realize that this post would get a thorough drubbing?

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Big Ben
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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#7 Post by Big Ben » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:10 pm

Oh my God Alan Clarke had a second account and was in the house the whole time.

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domino harvey
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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#8 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:17 pm

I can't believe I'm the one that's going to come into this thread to be nice. It would be great if preservation, restoration, and release of in-need films were non-profit certifiable, but as far as I know it isn't in this country.

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#9 Post by dekadetia » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:22 pm

I've been on here since before the crash. These reactions are shortsighted and rude. Anyone who doesn't think nonprofit status isn't one of many quite realistic futures for the Criterion Collection is kidding themselves.

Some of the restorations they release are already being handled by 501(c)(3)s (Night of the Living Dead, for example).
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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#10 Post by knives » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:27 pm

Just to be clear my post wasn't teasing the idea of non-profit film preservation and DVD labels so much the way the post was constructed.

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#11 Post by dekadetia » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:32 pm

knives wrote:Just to be clear my post wasn't teasing the idea of non-profit film preservation and DVD labels so much the way the post was constructed.
Ugh. This is somehow better? I'm back to lurking. Goodnight.

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#12 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:35 pm

So film restoration is non-profit certifiable in the states? I didn't know that! Any additional info people can share, I legit didn't think we had that kind of thing in place here

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#13 Post by StevenJ0001 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:41 pm

domino harvey wrote:So film restoration is non-profit certifiable in the states? I didn't know that! Any additional info people can share, I legit didn't think we had that kind of thing in place here
UCLA’s film archive and screening program is nonprofit, I believe.
Last edited by StevenJ0001 on Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#14 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:44 pm

StevenJ0001 wrote:
domino harvey wrote:So film restoration is non-profit certifiable in the states? I didn't know that! Any additional info people can share, I legit didn't think we had that kind of thing in place here
UCLA’s film archive and screening program is nonprofit, I imagine.
But they don't have a releasing arm, right? Those restorations have to be licensed by for-profit labels for release?

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#15 Post by soundchaser » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:47 pm

knives wrote:Just to be clear my post wasn't teasing the idea of non-profit film preservation and DVD labels so much the way the post was constructed.
This is what bothered me as well. Yes, I suspect most people here would be thrilled if Criterion would take on some aspects of non-profit companies. But they're probably releasing The Breakfast Club because they think it's an important film that warrants a release. I doubt their acquisitions would change much even if they were a non-profit. Especially given the fact that Janus is not, as far as I know, a non-profit.

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#16 Post by StevenJ0001 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:47 pm

domino harvey wrote:
StevenJ0001 wrote:
domino harvey wrote:So film restoration is non-profit certifiable in the states? I didn't know that! Any additional info people can share, I legit didn't think we had that kind of thing in place here
UCLA’s film archive and screening program is nonprofit, I imagine.
But they don't have a releasing arm, right? Those restorations have to be licensed by for-profit labels for release?
Well, they seem to have released some DVDs:

https://www.cinema.ucla.edu/support/our-store

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#17 Post by Ribs » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:50 pm

I believe the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences is also a nonprofit, and they conduct a lot of restoration work as well. I don't think there's such harsh limitations on what kind of work a nonprofit does.

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#18 Post by AisleSeat » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:03 pm

CSM126 wrote:We should establish a hall of fame just to immortalize this post. I mean, wow.
Wait, what!? It appears I've committed a transgression of sorts. Exactly what I've done, I'm not sure.

We have the British Film Institute, do we not? That's a nonprofit organization, right? Right. The BFI has put out a very substantial number of films on DVD, and continues to do so. At some point in the future, Criterion might have to transition to something similar to the BFI to stay viable.

Now, what say you all? Is it plausible for Criterion to transition to a nonprofit if their current business model begins to fail?

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#19 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:04 pm

I can think of one huge difference between the BFI and Criterion, though

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#20 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:13 pm

I can think of several, although the colossal film archive and government funding are two of the bigger ones.

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#21 Post by starmanof51 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:16 pm

Possibly not too relevant, but Scarecrow Video (disc rentals and sales) successfully transitioned to a nonprofit

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#22 Post by Mungo » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:21 pm

StevenJ0001 wrote:
domino harvey wrote: But they don't have a releasing arm, right? Those restorations have to be licensed by for-profit labels for release?
Well, they seem to have released some DVDs:

https://www.cinema.ucla.edu/support/our-store
All of those are either released through a for-profit label (Criterion, VCI Entertainment) or only distributed free to other non-profits and educators. I don't think UCLA itself is selling DVDs.

Would you, domino, happen to be familiar with the way the latter kind of discs are distributed?
starmanof51 wrote:Possibly not too relevant, but Scarecrow Video (disc rentals and sales) successfully transitioned to a nonprofit
Did they themselves do restorations and release them as a nonprofit?

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#23 Post by Minkin » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:30 pm

What about the National Film Preservation Foundation and their Treasures from the American Film Archive series (which it seems like all of those DVDs are OOP now)?

Not sure why everyone went on the attack, sheesh - and you wonder why we're losing membership! I've thought about this same thing as well. Criterion already do a lot of educational programming - with that University Janus Films study program thing (don't make me try and remember the exact details!). Their website also seems to contribute quite a lot to this end - with constant stream of articles on films + filmmakers, history, etc.

I suppose its just a matter of finding the right loophole to turn the company into an education-based entity that sells DVDs to help their end goal of broadening film studies. It could perhaps work, but I'd hate to think of the idea of Criterion sending us annoying letters with dimes glued to the front - saying "a dime a day like this can help us save Kurosawa's last treasure"

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#24 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:31 pm

Those Treasures... DVDs were put out by Image, I believe

Mungo, I'm afraid I don't know much about those educational releases

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Re: Should Criterion become a nonprofit?

#25 Post by soundchaser » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:35 pm

At the risk of moving this thread to the infighting section, I’m going to apologize. In hindsight, my qualms with the original post could have been laid out more clearly (Murphy’s Law in action), and I could have taken a much more generous and open-minded tone.

I still think Criterion would have serious difficulties transitioning to a non-profit company, especially in the licensing department. But I should have just said that in the first place.

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