The Best And Worst Of Times

Sunday, February 9 2014
The Best And Worst Of Times

It’s taken a while to get this up to view and 2013 may be receding in the rear-view mirror, but, as 2014 kicked off we asked the industry, from some of our regular contributors, friends and contacts, for their highlights of the past year and their hopes and fears for 2014.

We got some interesting answers, ranging from leftfield world cinema releases through to mainstream blockbusters, with the industry’s overriding concern for both hmv and Blockbuster and their woes uniting many. What’s more they also take in a variety of individuals, from retail through to marketing, acquisitions, industry veterans with years of experience and the trade press too.

The importance of industry-wide events such as the BVA awards is also clear, while ensuring a future for the physical business is one of the biggest challenges facing the business in the coming months…
So here then, is a snapshot of where the business has been and where it’s going, according to those at the coalface.

Favourite three releases of the year
One. Two. One. (Second Run DVD): (In addition to everything from Second Run – I eagerly await catching up with The White Dove). Simply brilliant, films from Iran always astonish me, it’s a tragedy more are not available.
The complete (existing) films of Sadao Yamanaka (Eureka Masters Of Cinema): The packaging claims that had Yamanaka lived through the war he would be the equal of Ozu and Mizoguchi but after watching his brilliant, heartbreaking films I wondered if he would have been better.
Chronicle of a Summer (BFI): Possibly my favourite documentary, funny, thought provoking and always beautiful to look at.
Highlights of 2013
Re-starting our Academy label with a bang in the shape of Night Of The Hunter on Blu-ray. Smashing our sales record with Big Trouble In Little China. Winning Label Of The Year awards from many sites and publications including The Guardian. Winning four major awards from Home Cinema Choice, including Best Label. Raising 130 per cent of our £20,000 kickstarter project for our latest restoration. Generally achieving top notch reviews all year.
Low Points of 2013
A menu snafu on Night of the Hunter. Material for Rabid Dogs being unusable and the release having to be delayed.
Event of the Year
L’immagine Ritrovata, Bologna
Biggest Challenge in 2014
Expanding Arrow Video into other markets.
What I’m looking forward to in 2014
Q4, Awards Season, expanding AV, Bologna, Cannes
Francesco Simeoni, Arrow Video

Favourite three releases of the year
Non-Metrodome answers – Cloud Atlas, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger. For realz…
Highlights of 2013
The marketing and press team knocking it out of the park with Frances Ha and being amply rewarded for their efforts with two Screen Marketing awards.
Lowpoint of 2013
Focus Features disbanding is pretty seismic stuff.
Event of the year
For me, as always, TIFF. The best film festival in the world.
Biggest challenge in 2014
Getting to the great films before the guys with the deeper pockets. Again.
What I’m looking forward to in 2014
Seeing Metrodome’s first in-house productions hit shelves and launching production on the next batch.
Giles Edwards, Metrodome

Favourite three releases of the year
Much Ado About Nothing, Despicable Me 2, Iron Man 3.
Highlights of 2013
The increase in Blu Ray and Digital business. The competition that Netflix, Sky and Lovefilm have brought into the Pay TV market. The increase in digital business and documentaries that people love.
Lowpoint of 2013
HMV going bust and Blockbuster going bust (twice!).
Event of the year
The BVA awards. No ambulances for my guests this year.
Biggest challenge in 2014
Finding the next big thing. Continuing growth in a changing market.
What I’m looking forward to in 2014
Finding the next big thing. Continuing growth in a changing market!
Spencer Pollard, Kaleidoscope

Favourite three releases of the year
Breaking Bad – Final Season, Sense And Sensibility on Bluray, Heaven’s Gate.
Highlights of 2013
hmv coming out of administration in April.
Lowpoint of 2013
Redundancy Day at hmv.
Event of the year
Skyfall release.
Biggest challenge in 2014
Keeping customers interested in physical product all year round.
What I’m looking forward to in 2014
Inbetweeners 2 – lets hope its great. I’m especially looking forward to the Q4 home ent release.
Andy Anderson HMV

Favourite three releases of the year
Nebraska, The Great Beauty, Only God Forgives.
Highlights of 2013
TIFF, Rocket From The Crypt reunion gig, London Koko.
Lowpoint of 2013
None. It’s been a great year. But we did lose many fine, talented people.
Event of the year
Not much of one for ‘events’ per se.
Biggest challenge in 2014
Earning that elusive third degree blackbelt in jong wang kung fu.
What I’m looking forward to in 2014
Creating and marketing great releases for my new employer, Union Square Music. Spending time with my kids. TIFF. Travelling with my gal.
Ian Gilchrist, Raygun contributor

Favourite three releases of the year
Vendetta, Olympus Has Fallen, Good Vibrations.
Highlights of 2013
For me it has to be Vendetta, resurrecting Danny Dyer and having the best selling short theatrical/DTV release of the year was a great way to end the year.
Lowpoint of 2013
hmv’s woes, I only hope 2014 can see some stability and growth from them, the industry would be much poorer without them.
Event of the year
Becoming a shareholder in Portsmouth FC and playing a small part in my teams survival. A club for the fans run by fans.
Biggest challenge in 2014
Maintaining distribution channels for independent content. It’s not the public that are stop buying DVDs, it’s the shops that have stopped selling them.
What I’m looking forward to in 2014
Seduced And Abandoned, a brilliant documentary starring Alec Baldwin about getting funding for a film project while attending the Cannes Film Festival, It’s a must see for anyone in the industry. Released by Soda in February.
Rod Smith, Anchor Bay

Favourite three releases of the year
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Breaking Bad, Skyfall.
Highlights of 2013
The Hunger Games drafting success.
Lowpoint of 2013
hmv in administration.
Event of the year
The Boozy BVAs.
Biggest challenge in 2014
Maximising TV and catalogue in a tough market.
What I’m looking forward to in 2014
The new Godzilla movie.
Ben Grunbaum, Lionsgate

Favourite three releases of the year
You’re Next, The Way Way Back, Frances Ha.
Highlights of 2013
Joining Team Lionsgate!
Lowpoint of 2013
AB deadlines.
Event of the year
My desk being DROWNED in balloons for my 30th birthday.
Biggest challenge in 2014
The best type of challenge – having too many awesome films to work on and not QUITE enough time.
What I’m looking forward to in 2014
The release of Filth and everyone seeing the neon packaging on shelf.
Susie Bould, Lionsgate

Favourite three releases of the year
The Way Way Back, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Django Unchained.
Highlight of 2013
Sales of Stolen, Machete Kills Steelbook artwork competition.
Lowpoint of 2013
Seeing hmv nearly go under, as it would be a sad day if there were no hmv stores on the high street.
Event of the year
Lionsgate Bandeoke.
What I’m looking forward to in 2014
Working on plenty more exciting titles!
Grace Alexander, Lionsgate

Favourite three releases of the year
Those gorgeous Doctor Who box sets from BBC Worldwide.
Momentum’s VHS cassette for V/H/S at the start of the year.
Anything on the Arrow Video label, especially Blow Out.
Highlight of 2013
Appearing on an Industry Trust panel as part of the London Film Festival.
Record open rates for the newsletter, seeing stats for The Raygun website rise and rise.
Lowpoint of 2013
That sick feeling in the pit of your stomach at the start of the year when you realised that hmv was increasingly likely to go into administration.
Popping out for half an hour and getting back to realise Blockbuster had gone into administration.
Event of the year
The Filth premiere – a proper, old-fashioned party
LFF press screenings.
Death Waltz Recording Company’s Frizzi Vs Fulci night.
Anything that gets the industry together, from the BVAs to that Lionsgate charity do.
Biggest Challenge In 2014
Trying to prove that physical isn’t dead and that there’s more to digital and vod than Netflix .
What I’m looking forward to in 2014
A more settled business.
The Weatherall festival.
New additions to The Raygun stable, in the form of a sister publication and a major event… Watch this space…
Tim Murray, The Raygun