Friday, July 12, 2013

May the Wicked Witch Unleash Hell Upon Warner Bros.

By Steve Evans

If there was one indisputably great year for American cinema, it was 1939. That year saw the release of such classics as Gone with the Wind, Stagecoach, Wuthering Heights, the greatest film version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Garbo in Ninotchka, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Dark Victory, Of Mice and Men, and that perennial favorite of the young at heart, The Wizard of Oz.

Through the years the copyright to Oz has come to be owned by Warner Bros. via Ted Turner, who bought the old MGM catalog in 1986 -- nine years before his own company was acquired and became a subsidiary of Time Warner. Now Warner Bros. has decided to do what all good Hollywood studios like to do on any movie-related anniversary date: make complete whores of themselves in slavish obsession with making a buck. And so, on the upcoming 75th anniversary of one of the greatest films, we can now expect...

“The Wizard of Oz IMAX® 3D Experience" coming soon to a screen near you.

From the Warner Bros. press release:

“Following the IMAX® theatrical release, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) will release a limited and numbered The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition on October 1, 2013, featuring the 3D version of the film and more."

To which I say, "Jesus H. Christ. Leave it alone."

And if Warner Bros. can’t do that, please dear people, deny them that which they desperately seek: more of your disposable income. This will be at least the sixth home-video edition of Oz.

Here's some more gibberish from the Warner press release (I suggest you put down any sharp objects or projectile weapons, because this is just going to agitate my fellow cinephiles):

"In support of the 75th anniversary of the film, Warner Bros. Consumer Products’ extensive licensing program of more than 80 top-tier licensees will expand with new partnerships. Leading the way is master toy partner Jazwares, along with Mattel, Rubies, Lionel, Steiff, USAopoly, Thomas Kinkade, and many more that will be taking part in the celebration. Special commemorative anniversary product will be available across a wide array of categories including apparel, jewelry, collectibles, publishing, stationery and paper goods, toys and games, slot machines and personal care."

And finally, this choice bit of news: "(A) Wizard of Oz themed competition will also be featured on an upcoming episode of Food Network’s 'Cupcake Wars' to be aired later this year."

Good God.

We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto. We're in the land of big business run by low-rent bastards with MBAs and less sense than the man in the moon, all resolved to bleed every last nickel from anything of value.

How long will studios continue to cheapen the few remaining quality films in their vaults? How many times will studios try to sell us the same movie? Hell, I'll go for broke: why would anyone idly support Warner Bros. as they trivialize and pollute our cultural iconography with this drivel? Cupcake Wars? Commemorative anniversary product?

Fuck you, Warner Bros. And your little dog too.

Your cinematic schilling must stop.

Cinema Uprising copyright © 2013 by Steve Evans. All rights reserved.

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