Warner Home Video has informed that the Blu-ray release of the Spike Lee movie Malcolm X (which had been announced for January 25), has been cancelled due to a rights issue regarding the music cues used in the movie. WHV has noted that all parties involved are working to resolve this issue.
@GuyOfOwnage - It sounds like basically one of the rights holders noticed it was coming out, called to complain, and they had to pull it at the last minute. It happens.
What is strange is that this should not happen for movies. The reason it happens for TV shows on home media is because when they wanted to use a song in a TV show in the past, they only paid for broadcast rights. Those rights did not cover home media.
However, this should not be an issue for a film soundtrack, which is contracted in an entirely different way, especially for a modern title like this. The only way I can see it happening is if there is a new rights holder and perhaps the person who granted the original license somehow later lost them or somehow the initial permissions were invalidated.
It does sound like a delay, though - those discs are already in warehouses, they will pay whatever it takes. It's likely there is only one song holding it up and once it's resolved a release will come immediately after.
How does something like that even happen? It happened with Heavy Metal (the movie) back in the day when rights to songs were lost but I've never heard of it happening to a major film from a big studio like WB. Shouldn't they anticipate something like this and get the proper contracts signed while they are making the movie and releasing it so nothing like this happens in the future? If this were a movie from the 60s or 70s, I could understand but this is a movie from the 1990s at a time when studios knew better and the video format was well established. What other movies will fall prey to rights issues next??
If this digibook is waiting in some warehouse and the studio is waiting to clear up (or compensate) for the use of the song I do wonder if it'll raise the price of the film when it is available to purchase.
They say that it has been cancelled, but does anything think we may get something similar to the Sony release of Robocop? I mean, the 25th is next week, so I would imagine that the stores would have their stock by now.
I knew when I worked in retail, 90% of the time the distributors sent the stuff out early but with a "Do Not Sell Until xx/xx/xxxx" sticker on it.
It is part of the master but the the music, dialogue, sounds, are all separate just like studio album recording, the drums, guitar, vocals, etc., are all played individually this is why albums sound better than concert performances, and plus this way for future references they can crop individual sounds without cropping the whole thing.
If you ask for my opinion I'm really skeptic that the original movie will makes its way into BLURAY like we had hoped simply because the owner of these music rights wants more royalties from the publicist in charge of this BLURAY release, the publicist wont negotiate at any means unless he personally wanted to get the movie in its original state.
@ibeetle (and anyone else interested): Check out Alex North's 2001. Alex North (best known for his score for SPARTACUS, 1960) was actually commissioned by Kubrick to compose a score for 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, which he did. In the end, Kubrick went with his "temp track" musical selections. North's 2001 cues actually fit the edited sequences of the finished film. I have the version conducted by Jerry Goldsmith and performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra, but there's apparently another CD featuring music "judiciously assembled from [the] sole surviving mono mixdown safety master made by engineer Eric Tomlinson for [the] composer during recording sessions." I haven't heard those cues (check out that price!). If you have the means, it's very interesting, and quite a different experience, to watch the sequences with North's score played over them. And even though it wasn't used in the film at all, North composed some wonderful music for 2001, and it's worth a listen.
The only way this could happen AFAIK is if the contracts for distribution and music rights very specifically mentioned stuff like DVD, TV syndication, etc... but didn't leave the wording vague enough to include additional future formats (BD, streaming, etc.)
I don't understand how such a thing would be possible in this day and age (especially given the 'music rights' issues with other properties that studios have been well aware of for a couple of decades now)...
Oh well, I'm sure it'll get resolved soon. Anyone have a list of what songs are used in the movie? That may give some insight.
-----"alphadec: This is great news because Blu-ray needs quality movies not more political movies about a man who was a "black hitler".
Hope this film never will be released."-----
Oh, so you're a moron who thinks that the only art and film that should be available is the stuff that you like and/or align with spiritually/politically. You want to limit the availably of movies oyu disagree with and have the audacity to call someone else "hitler" in the same sentence? Is that trolling 101 or are you really this oblivious?
If I had to wager a guess, I'd say the hold up might involve Arrested Development's "Revolution", since it was, I believe, the only original song composed for the film, which means its rights would likely have been negotiated differently than the rest of the songs in the film, which were all old jazz songs and standards. Another possibility could be Terence Blanchard's score. To my understanding, music that is composed specifically for a film can fall under a couple of different rights categories, which could be affected by future releases on new formats. All of the other old blues and jazz songs used in the film are pretty standard movie fare, and likely wouldn't involve a last minute, unexpected rights issue like this, aside from maybe two or three songs which are a bit obscure and could have had their copyrights unknowingly change hands. All of this is just speculation though. Rights issues and clearances can be complicated, messy issues. Hopefully they get it all sorted out soon. With the discs surely already manufactured and ready for sale, I can't imagine Warner not getting this problem resolved as quickly as possible. I think we'll see a new release date very soon.
alphadec: You're an idiot. To compare someone to Hitler, who committed none of the atrocities that madman did is beyond disgusting. You don't want to own Malcolm X? Fine. Don't buy it. It's as simple as that. Everyone else has a right to.
As far as the Blu Ray goes...it's a shame it isn't coming out right away and hopefully the matter will be resolved.
I bet this is the same reason why Heavy Metal was cancelled from Sony Pictures, due to difficulties of obtaining the music copyrights of the soundtrack for the Blu-ray release. Previous home video formats (Lasedisc, VHS, and DVD) experienced exact dilemmas with the soundtrack as well prior to their initial releases after settlements, which didn't include future video media as for Blu-ray. Each new home video developments, requires legal re-negotiations for copyright licensing.
It's probably the same sort of situation that happened with "300" (http://www.300ondvd.com/300.html) where the score had sections or elements plagiarised from another source. In the case of "300" it was Elliot Goldenthal's "Titus" score. Perhaps someone is making a claim that Terence Blanchard plagiarised music from another composer. If so it'll take a little bit to resolve, Warner Bros will probably pay some money and then the release will end up with a sticker on the front with a website link where the situation is explained. That's what happened for "300".
"Despite its acclaim, legal troubles have haunted the single since its release. A dispute between Cooke's music publisher, ABKCO, and record company, RCA Records, made the recording unavailable for much of the four decades since its release. Though the song was featured prominently in the 1992 film Malcolm X, it could not be included in the film's soundtrack. By 2003, however, the disputes had been settled in time for the song to be included on the remastered version of Ain't That Good News, as well as the Cooke anthology Portrait of a Legend."
Wow, yeah that could very well be the problem. That song was missing from Sam Cooke compilations for many years. One of the greatest songs ever recorded, from one of the greatest singers who ever lived. Its use in the film is absolutely, undeniably essential.
To all those who wonder how this can happen, I consult for a company that develops rights management software (and we have competitors) and I can tell you that it happens every day.
What can happen is that either the original contract didn't account for home video at all or it may have explicitly stated DVD. Some lawyer gets wise and claims that DVD doesn't include Blu-ray. Or it could be that the license for the music tracks were not purchased in perpetuity. That happens also. (These are called underlying rights.)
Or, as I see wallendo just posted, it's a dispute between the record label and the music publisher. When you license a track, there are two rights: there's the publishing rights, in which the writers get paid via their publishing company and there's the sync rights, which you get from the label. If you don't get both rights, you don't get the track. When a producer can only get the publishing rights, they have to have another band re-record the track, usually emulating the original arrangement and mix as closely as possible.
As for TV shows in which the music was changed for home video release (like "WKRP In Cincinnati" and Michael Mann's "Crime Story"), it's not that the producers don't want to pay again for the music rights, it's that the cost for the music rights for hit songs has skyrocketed. Sometimes, a track that cost them $200 30 years ago could cost them $250,000 today. Thirty years ago, labels used to frequently give away their tracks for use in movies because it drove record sales. Now, licensing for movies and TV is a very big business.
The non-original music in Crime Story was chosen by musician Al Kooper (Blues Project; Blood, Sweat & Tears, Dylan session musician, Lynrd Skynrd producer), who was phenomenal at picking the best tracks. It's too bad they're gone.
When VHS first came out there were tons of lawsuits. There was always some sax player who played on some soundtrack who sued because he felt he wasn't compensated for home video use.
According to your post, it fully explains why the movie: Looking For Mr Goodbar was never released on DVD, a soundtrack which featured numerous pre- recorded disco songs in the late 1970 era from various major artists. Some of those copyrighted materials, may no longer be available, which completely hindered the DVD release.
"This is great news because Blu-ray needs quality movies not more political movies about a man who was a "black hitler". Hope this film never will be released. "
I hope they have seen the film.
I didn't really know much about Malcolm X before I saw the film, but Spike Lee's film tells the story of a man's discovery of his world and a personal transformation. It's a powerful story I've benefited from viewing and viewing again. And now I feel like I know something about Malcolm X and my world.
@ Uncontrol & ChadFL
What's the connection? MLK had nothing in common with this guy besides skin color.
@ Post Prod
I also don't like propaganda pieces that falsely portray or glorify historical figures for political purposes.
That guy's comparison to hitler was over the top, but he was a murderer and racial supremecist true enough.
I'm guessing you're also a fan of "Che"?
@Tom: Who did Malcolm murder? And his views on a lot of things evolved, race included.
"In the past, yes, I have made sweeping indictments of all white people. I will never be guilty of that again — as I know now that some white people are truly sincere, that some truly are capable of being brotherly toward a black man. The true Islam has shown me that a blanket indictment of all white people is as wrong as when whites make blanket indictments against blacks."
@Tom Servo MLK and X were 2 sides of a coin really they both fought for the same thing in different ways but if it wasn't for Xs side of the Coin MLK wouldn't have been heard. No one listens to the reasonable unless there's the threat/appearance of the unreasonable. X ultimately moved to the same side of the coin as MLK but unfortunately we know what happened with that.
@Tom: Your views on Malcom X the figure are just that, your views. and if you think there is ANY film based on historical figures NOT filled with some variety of propaganda, I have some Enron stock to sell you. To single this film out says more about your own political slantings than it does Spike Lee's.
I said nothing about my views of Malcom X the man or the film. So get a grasp on that before you attempt to marginalize me with comments like "you're also a fan of Che".
Frankly this is not the place to debate politics or historical figures, there are countless other forums for that purpose. This is a blu-ray forum, for fans of blu-ray. and unless you're a fan of living under fascist regime, you have to be on the side of wanting all movies available to the consumer, not just the ones who have propaganda you like/agree with. Granted I did not notice you saying it shouldn't come out. But my responses were to those celebrating the fact that it might not come out.
So yeah, if you hate the movie, hate Spike Lee and/or hate Malcom X, fine. But what also is fine is that not everyone here agrees with you, and they should be allowed to have whatever movies they want to have on blu-ray. Repeat after me "It's only a movie, it's only a movie".
I'm not going to defend Tom because I disagree with what he says, but there's an element of truth in it. Malcolm X was a racist who advocated violence, but he should get credit for changing his tune. It's interesting that a religious pilgramage is what it took. (Richard Pryor had a similar epiphany on a trip to Africa.) What I dislike about the movie is how Lee dodges the issue of who killed Malcolm X and why. The Nation of Islam seems to be on the same level as Scientology where people are afraid to say what's what.
I hope the rights issues work out. I'm really looking forward to seeing this on Blu, as it is one of the best of the 90s hands-down. One of the few movies from that time period that approaches the sweep and grandeur of a David Lean epic. Regardless of how you feel about the subject (I, for one, find him absolutely fascinating), the movie itself is worth celebrating.
Inserting stir-the-pot comment here:
Now when is Birth of a Nation going to be on Blu?
(historically significant movies are sometimes the ones that are the most polarizing, and the ones most worth preserving)
@ ALPHADICK... HOW IN THE HELL CAN U COMPARE BROTHER MINISTER MALCOLM X TO LIKES OF SOMEONE AS "HITLER"!!?? DID MALCOLM EVER KILL A PEOPLE DUE TO THEIR RACIAL MAKE UP ..NO!!,..DID HE TRY TO TAKE OVER AND EXTINGUISH A GROUP OF PEOPLE BECAUSE OF THEIR RACE, COLOR OR CREED..NO!!...THE ONLY THING HE DID WAS TO ENLIGHTEN THE BLACK PEOPLE OF THAT DAY TO THE EXSISTANCE OF INDIVIDUALS SUCH AS YOURSELF ..AND HOW THEY ARE NOTHING MORE THAN AN IGNORANT SLOW KILLING CANCER TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF ALL PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY....YOU MORON !!!
Does anybody see the irony in this? A WB title having music rights issues? Warner Brothers, or Warner Music Group is the same company that puts up such a stink with their music rights on YouTube. So, I kind of see this as WB getting a taste of their own medicine, and a bit of reeping what they sew.