Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

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buskeat

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Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostThu Dec 14, 2017 9:58 am

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/business/dealbook/disney-fox-deal.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Sort of Ironic that the William Fox biography has been released just in time for the last vestiges of his old company get swallowed up.

What will this mean for the mammoth Fox film library? One would hope Disney would utilize the library in its new streaming service in 2019, and perhaps pay a little more attention to it than Fox did. Which, in the last few years, was none. Some have conjectured the new streaming service would be a relaunched Hulu, now that Disney's purchase of Fox gives it the controlling interest.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostThu Dec 14, 2017 10:25 am

My old friend John Boardman referred to this as toads devouring toads, and would reference it with woodcuts from incunabula -- a sort of Ouroboros image. Such buying and selling always takes place, but the scale is telling and strikes of a sort of safety-in-big-numbers mindset by the Murdochs.

Several trends in the industry, including massive spending by Netflix, Amazon and Hulu for startups in original programming, make me think we're pretty close to the endgame in what is called "content"; I am strongly of the opinion that the downfall of various former high-fliers such as Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein et al. is because they are no longer performing financially, and so are no longer worth protecting. Mike Gebert has talked about the forthcoming downfall of movie theaters -- Regal has just accepted an offer (glad to hear it; it will be a nice profit for me when it goes through). It, along with the obvious bubble about cryptocurrencies, is making me very nervous.

Bob
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostThu Dec 14, 2017 11:49 am

Fox did so little with the Fox library beyond a dozen titles-- and the freak miracles of the Ford and Murnau/Borzage sets-- that I suspect they can only get more use from Disneyfox. Good news for Shirley Temple, anyway. (And for Vanda Krefft!)

Beyond that, who knows. I read a Hollywood newsletter called The Ankler and one thing he points out is how little product is being created by these supposed giants-- where each was good for a couple of dozen films a year just a decade ago, they often literally only have 4-6 films in the pipeline, mostly comic book films, where Amazon and Netflix seem to have new series every week and lots of independent producers make the bulk of what we consider "the movies." It's one of those moments, like sound or the arrival of TV, that will reshape the industry into whatever comes next.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostThu Dec 14, 2017 1:22 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:Fox did so little with the Fox library beyond a dozen titles-- and the freak miracles of the Ford and Murnau/Borzage sets-- that I suspect they can only get more use from Disneyfox. Good news for Shirley Temple, anyway. (And for Vanda Krefft!)

Beyond that, who knows. I read a Hollywood newsletter called The Ankler and one thing he points out is how little product is being created by these supposed giants-- where each was good for a couple of dozen films a year just a decade ago, they often literally only have 4-6 films in the pipeline, mostly comic book films, where Amazon and Netflix seem to have new series every week and lots of independent producers make the bulk of what we consider "the movies." It's one of those moments, like sound or the arrival of TV, that will reshape the industry into whatever comes next.


The Netflix acquisition budget this year was somewhere between 5 and 6 billion.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostThu Dec 14, 2017 8:55 pm

Not only did Fox bugger-up the Shirley Temple film library (by colourizing almost everything) and NEVER releasing her films on restored blu-rays. They also mishandled their Betty Grable film library. I think there are only a couple of Grable's film on blu-ray, and the rest are either on VHS or DVD.

Having said all of that they gave Marilyn Monroe the ROYAL treatment by restoring ALL of her films -- and releasing them on Blu-ray. The trouble is is that some of her films are just dire. "River Of No Return" (1954) and "There's No Business Like Show Business" (1954) spring to mind. Both are just dreadful and not really worthy of such expensive restorations. Its just her name that sells.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostFri Dec 15, 2017 5:12 am

I'm a regular borrower of Fox Classic DVD titles from my statewide library system, and their selection of well known and obscure Fox titles from the 30s, 40s and early 50s has been very good. This line of made to order DVDs similar to Warner Archive has greatly improved in the last few years and transfer quality is now very good.

Let's hope Disney can expand on this line of classics with more titles and Blu-Rays.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostFri Dec 15, 2017 7:56 am

When one beast swallows another beast, you know what's going to come out of it.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostFri Dec 15, 2017 9:51 am

BT will now be on SKY here.Effectively competitors joining.Possibly a knock on effect from the deal.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostFri Dec 15, 2017 9:55 am

BT?

Bob
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostFri Dec 15, 2017 1:45 pm

boblipton wrote:BT?

Bob


Bath Time?

So, what's the new outfit going to be called? - "20th Century Disney Fox"? "Foxy Disney's 20th Century"? "Disney's 20th Century Fox"? ....
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostFri Dec 15, 2017 1:58 pm

British Telecom.
They are a rival to SKY(Murdoch).So the implication is that they might get together,rather than oppose each other,when negotiations start for the TV rights for Premereship football soon.Disneys ESPN did have some games but don't have them now.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostFri Dec 15, 2017 2:14 pm

wingate wrote:British Telecom.
They are a rival to SKY(Murdoch).So the implication is that they might get together,rather than oppose each other,when negotiations start for the TV rights for Premereship football soon.Disneys ESPN did have some games but don't have them now.


Thanks.

Bob
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostMon Dec 18, 2017 12:13 pm

I'm one of the folks who likes River of No Return, with Robert Mitchum co-starring and Otto Preminger directing it's right up my alley.

Fox Home Video also did a great series of film noir reissues on DVD, FWTW, and got Preminger's Laura and Kazan's Wild River out on blu-ray, but it definitely feels like they've been slacking off in more recent years. Hopefully their surviving pre-codes don't wind up buried in the vault with Song of the South.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostThu Dec 21, 2017 7:59 am

As for the swallowing up the remainder of the Fox company, I've seen references in the old film magazines to a news service that Fox started by 1919 called Fox News. I think that's still around somewhere.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 9:30 am

linquist wrote:As for the swallowing up the remainder of the Fox company, I've seen references in the old film magazines to a news service that Fox started by 1919 called Fox News. I think that's still around somewhere.


Morphed into Fox Movietone News and shut down production in 1963, although foreign divisions continued to shoot and distribute newsreels, particularly in Britain and Australia. The British operation became independent of 20th Century Fox and is mining its archives. Surprising to me, it moved its headquarters to Australia not that long ago.

American Fox Movietone and Fox silent news counted a hoard of some 75 million feet of newsreels and outtakes, most of it still on "silver" nitrate 35 MM stock; massive amounts of outtakes -- they seemingly never threw away anything.

In the great tradition of stock swindler William Fox, the successor company, circa 1980, looked for a non-profit organization to donate the hoard to, as long as 20th was able to take a then-massive $100 million tax deduction for the donation.

The apparent mark was the University of South Carolina, because 75 million feet of flammable film is a lot of fire-risk and quite expensive to convert in a short period. The UofSC was promised 20th would do the conversions, but of the first 11 million feet of film they received, about seven million feet were that dangerous nitrate stock.

At that point, the deal blew up, but luckily not the film, as the Internal Revenue Service ruled there could be no tax-deductable donation because Fox and later 20th Century-Fox had already written off the costs of the film, the prints and the labor involved in shooting it. So then-20th bossman Marvin Davis broke the deal with the UofSC.

Since then, 20th has made it very expensive, difficult and a gamble to seek out footage from the remaining hoard. They use a third-party converter to turn the nitrate stock into digital or whatever, and you pay whether there's any emulsion left on the film or not. And you pay for the search...and they've let the selling newsfilm venture stagnate. There's a website they created about ten years ago, with a button for a list/index of content. But they never did post any content and the website is useless for searching.

Fox television news in theory handles the merchandising of the footage. They still claim to have 75 million feet, either having forgotten 11 million feet of the hoard is gone, or they have a problem with math.

Here's some rare digitized footage of Mrs. William Fox, who looks like my long-deceased grandmother (but the Fox clan is not related to me). Who the fellow identified as "Aaron Fox" is I don't know. Mr. and Mrs. Fox had no sons. The other woman could be one of the Fox daughters, or not. No date for this silent film's creation and no location given but that certainly doesn't look like Los Angeles in the silent-film era:

https://mirc.sc.edu/islandora/object/usc%3A25165

Ken
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 10:36 am

Why would any classic movie fan think this is a good thing? Disney barely does anything with its own classic film library, does anyone really think the Fox library will be treated any better in their hands?
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 11:13 am

Ken Viewer wrote:Here's some rare digitized footage of Mrs. William Fox, who looks like my long-deceased grandmother (but the Fox clan is not related to me). Who the fellow identified as "Aaron Fox" is I don't know. Mr. and Mrs. Fox had no sons. The other woman could be one of the Fox daughters, or not. No date for this silent film's creation and no location given but that certainly doesn't look like Los Angeles in the silent-film era:

https://mirc.sc.edu/islandora/object/usc%3A25165" target="_blank" target="_blank

Ken


I’m taking a break from other reading with Aubrey Solomon’s book on the Fox Film Corporation (less expensive than Ms. Krefft’s, which I hope to borrow eventually from the NYPL). According to him, one of William Fox’ brothers was named Aaron and was, for a while, in charge of the company’s film lab.

Bob
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 12:23 pm

boblipton wrote:
Ken Viewer wrote:Here's some rare digitized footage of Mrs. William Fox, who looks like my long-deceased grandmother (but the Fox clan is not related to me). Who the fellow identified as "Aaron Fox" is I don't know. Mr. and Mrs. Fox had no sons. The other woman could be one of the Fox daughters, or not. No date for this silent film's creation and no location given but that certainly doesn't look like Los Angeles in the silent-film era:

https://mirc.sc.edu/islandora/object/usc%3A25165" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

Ken


I’m taking a break from other reading with Aubrey Solomon’s book on the Fox Film Corporation (less expensive than Ms. Krefft’s, which I hope to borrow eventually from the NYPL). According to him, one of William Fox’ brothers was named Aaron and was, for a while, in charge of the company’s film lab.

Bob


Thanks for the information, Bob. I, too, bought the Solomon book but haven't gotten to much of it yet.

Took me a while to track down the McCord book, which I didn't know had been privately published and I edited my post in the Fox book(s) thread to reflect some information on it.

Ken
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 12:36 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:I'm one of the folks who likes River of No Return, with Robert Mitchum co-starring and Otto Preminger directing it's right up my alley.

Fox Home Video also did a great series of film noir reissues on DVD, FWTW, and got Preminger's Laura and Kazan's Wild River out on blu-ray, but it definitely feels like they've been slacking off in more recent years. Hopefully their surviving pre-codes don't wind up buried in the vault with Song of the South.

I also like RIVER OF NO RETURN. I pay no attention to the person who believes his opinions are the be all and end all of filmdom.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 6:22 pm

Ken Viewer wrote:
boblipton wrote:
Ken Viewer wrote:Here's some rare digitized footage of Mrs. William Fox, who looks like my long-deceased grandmother (but the Fox clan is not related to me). Who the fellow identified as "Aaron Fox" is I don't know. Mr. and Mrs. Fox had no sons. The other woman could be one of the Fox daughters, or not. No date for this silent film's creation and no location given but that certainly doesn't look like Los Angeles in the silent-film era:

https://mirc.sc.edu/islandora/object/usc%3A25165" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

Ken


Actually, that is not "Mrs. William Fox" but William Fox's mother. Aaron Fox is her son and William Fox's brother. As explained in my Fox biography, The Man Who Made the Movies, Aaron was the black sheep of the family. The location for this footage is Chicago.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 6:30 pm

I’m taking a break from other reading with Aubrey Solomon’s book on the Fox Film Corporation (less expensive than Ms. Krefft’s, which I hope to borrow eventually from the NYPL). According to him, one of William Fox’ brothers was named Aaron and was, for a while, in charge of the company’s film lab.

Bob


Bob--Aaron Fox was William Fox's brother and the black sheep of the family. In a disturbing sign of things about to go wrong at Fox Film, Aaron became the company treasurer in the late 1920s. Later on, Aaron caused trouble by trying to start his own movie studio, and Fox had him stashed away in a country club-like mental institution. Quite a family!

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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 6:41 pm

buskeat wrote:https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/business/dealbook/disney-fox-deal.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Sort of Ironic that the William Fox biography has been released just in time for the last vestiges of his old company get swallowed up.

What will this mean for the mammoth Fox film library? One would hope Disney would utilize the library in its new streaming service in 2019, and perhaps pay a little more attention to it than Fox did. Which, in the last few years, was none. Some have conjectured the new streaming service would be a relaunched Hulu, now that Disney's purchase of Fox gives it the controlling interest.


As the author of the Fox biography, The Man Who Made the Movies, I, too, find the timing rather ironic. However, the Disney acquisition is not necessarily a fait accompli--the Justice Department could object on antitrust grounds. That was what happened after William Fox bought a controlling block of stock in Loews, Inc., parent company of MGM, in early 1929. The deal was widely celebrated as a stroke of genius, until later in the year when the government filed a lawsuit to block the merger.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostSat Dec 30, 2017 8:20 pm

(Have to make a few alterations here due to the board's limit on three embedded quotes per-post.)

-- Here's some rare digitized footage of Mrs. William Fox, who looks like my long-deceased grandmother (but the Fox clan is not related to me). Who the fellow identified as "Aaron Fox" is I don't know. Mr. and Mrs. Fox had no sons. The other woman could be one of the Fox daughters, or not. No date for this silent film's creation and no location given but that certainly doesn't look like Los Angeles in the silent-film era:

https://mirc.sc.edu/islandora/object/usc%3A25165

Ken
--

Actually, that is not "Mrs. William Fox" but William Fox's mother. Aaron Fox is her son and William Fox's brother. As explained in my Fox biography, The Man Who Made the Movies, Aaron was the black sheep of the family. The location for this footage is Chicago.[/quote]

Ms. Krefft,

Thanks for the providing the proper identification of William Fox's mother, a bit of Aaron Fox's story, and providing the location of the filming. The source for the identification I provided is, of course, the UofSC's archives, as inherited from 20th Century-Fox's donation.

Do you know who the younger couple is? And if you will, and know, given Fox's minimal schooling before he went to work full-time in an era when child labor was standard among impoverished imigrants, how adept at reading and writing was he? Did he have a grasp of the famous public-domain tales popular, including of the U.S. founding fathers such as George Washington, at the turn of the 20th century?

Thanks.

Ken
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostSun Dec 31, 2017 12:17 am

Ken Viewer wrote:(Have to make a few alterations here due to the board's limit on three embedded quotes per-post.)

-- Here's some rare digitized footage of Mrs. William Fox, who looks like my long-deceased grandmother (but the Fox clan is not related to me). Who the fellow identified as "Aaron Fox" is I don't know. Mr. and Mrs. Fox had no sons. The other woman could be one of the Fox daughters, or not. No date for this silent film's creation and no location given but that certainly doesn't look like Los Angeles in the silent-film era:

https://mirc.sc.edu/islandora/object/usc%3A25165" target="_blank" target="_blank

Ken
--

Actually, that is not "Mrs. William Fox" but William Fox's mother. Aaron Fox is her son and William Fox's brother. As explained in my Fox biography, The Man Who Made the Movies, Aaron was the black sheep of the family. The location for this footage is Chicago.


Ms. Krefft,

Thanks for the providing the proper identification of William Fox's mother, a bit of Aaron Fox's story, and providing the location of the filming. The source for the identification I provided is, of course, the UofSC's archives, as inherited from 20th Century-Fox's donation.

Do you know who the younger couple is? And if you will, and know, given Fox's minimal schooling before he went to work full-time in an era when child labor was standard among impoverished imigrants, how adept at reading and writing was he? Did he have a grasp of the famous public-domain tales popular, including of the U.S. founding fathers such as George Washington, at the turn of the 20th century?

Thanks.

Ken[/quote]

Dear Ken,

No, I don't know who the younger couple is. Despite his lack of formal schooling, Fox made an effort to educate himself and evidently became quite adept at reading and writing. In my book, I quote his speech from unedited transcripts, so you can see for yourself and make your own judgments. I don't know how familiar Fox was with specific popular legends, such as that of George Washington.

Wishing you a happy new year,

Vanda
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostTue Jan 09, 2018 9:16 am

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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostTue Jan 16, 2018 6:02 am

With this amalgamation of Disney and Fox, I am hoping that the new management will make better use of Fox and Disney archives. Perhaps create a new TCM like channel which would be broadcast around the world unlike TCM itself. Create just one channel for everybody. This is all technically possible just timings will have to be sorted out.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostTue Jan 16, 2018 6:50 am

Cinephile59 wrote:With this amalgamation of Disney and Fox, I am hoping that the new management will make better use of Fox and Disney archives. Perhaps create a new TCM like channel which would be broadcast around the world unlike TCM itself. Create just one channel for everybody. This is all technically possible just timings will have to be sorted out.


The problem with that is that ownership rights are different in different parts of the world and often different countries. Disney would have less problems with that but I would guess that there's titles in the Fox archives that are owned by different entities in different parts of the world. Not sure such a channel would be a big money maker anyway. TCM holds most of the market for baby boomers watching classic films. You dilute that and both channels would suffer.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostTue Jan 16, 2018 10:59 am

Fox does operate a classic film cable channel in Australia, and I'm led to understand that they signed a deal to license some of TCM Australia's content when that channel closed down. Such deals might be signed elsewhere, but as Jim says, it depends on the territory. It helps that Australia's main cable company is itself owned by Fox.

Interesting to note the long-lasting ties between Fox and Australia. Fox became the first American company to buy directly into the Australian market when it bought a 50% stake in the locally owned Hoyts distribution chain in 1930, and produced an Australian version of the Fox Movietone newsreel for decades.

And of course, the company was later purchased by a (former) Australian, though some of us aren't especially fond of claiming him as a local son ... :?
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostTue Jan 16, 2018 11:49 am

Fox has "outsourced" some of its classic titles to Twilight Time, Kino Lorber, Criterion, etc., for Blu-ray releases, and this Disney acquisition probably won't change that. One concern is will Disney support film restoration? Less money put into restoration = fewer movies get restored = fewer get released for home video. Bob Furmanek of 3-D Film Archive has said that Fox offered no financial help at all in restoring the 1953 3D film "Inferno." (I'm not making this up. It says so right there on the liner notes of the UK 3D BD release of "Inferno.") Some studios would just give you the film elements in whatever poor shape they are in and expect independent parties to foot the bill (or most of the cost) in restoring them.
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Re: Disney Swallows 20th Century Fox

PostTue Jan 16, 2018 2:08 pm

Brooksie said "Fox does operate a classic film cable channel in Australia, and I'm led to understand that they signed a deal to license some of TCM Australia's content when that channel closed down. Such deals might be signed elsewhere, but as Jim says, it depends on the territory. It helps that Australia's main cable company is itself owned by Fox."

The problem that TCM Australia - or more correctly TCM Asia had - and will probably be inherited by the Fox Classic channel is that they both broadcast into about 8 to 10 countries in the Asia/Oceanic region by satellite and therefore - as Jim has pointed out - require rights clearances for all of those countries to be cleared before they can broadcast a film. (This was the reason given to me when I complained at one time for the lack of repertoire on TCM.)
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