Monday, May 11, 2015

A Classic Returns: Will There Be an 'Iron Giant' Re-release?


Brad Bird continues to talk and spill some details on things he's been working on...

Today, Collider got a very juicy piece of information regarding Bird's first animated feature, The Iron Giant...

The Iron Giant is, to me and many others out there, one of feature animation's greatest triumphs. A critically acclaimed and beloved film, it unfortunately didn't find an audience back in the summer of 1999 due to distributor Warner Bros.' disastrous marketing campaign. 6-year-old me, however, was one of the few who saw it in the theater back then. Went with my father and sister, and I remember really liking it back then. When I revisited it, I loved it even more. It's one of the best...

But the film hasn't been released on DVD for a while, and a Blu-ray release apparently wasn't going to happen as of last year. Bird said on twitter that he wanted a special release for the film, while Warner Home Video pretty much wanted a barebones disc. Seriously, how does one even think of putting The Iron Giant and "barebones disc" in the same sentence?

Apparently WB was/is unaware of how loved this film is, even with how well it did on home media in the past. They just kind of buried it... It's like the greatest animated feature you'll never hear about unless you are friends with film buffs...

Well, it looks like the film could possibly return in a big way...

Bird himself said in a video interview...

"Listen, Warner Bros. and I have danced on and off for the last decade. There was going to be a 5-year-thing; there was talk about it being in 3D at one point. Then there was talk about reformatting it for IMAX or whatever. Discussions keep happening, but I think something will happen fairly soon. They know that people have a fondness for it. They don’t know exactly how to deal with that beyond maybe a Blu-ray or something like that. And I keep saying, “You know, you did it for Wizard of Oz and you did it for Blade Runner. I think you actually can do it.” And I think they’re kind of coming around to that idea. I’m trying to find the best way to support something like that."

Well that's good to know, though it doesn't necessarily mean that WB will re-release the film to theaters, though I feel that a big screen re-release of some form needs to happen. Even in this day and age of home media and streaming and whatnot...

Collider's own Steve "Frosty" Weintraub "tried to push a little harder on the release strategy for the film and inferred that a small re-release would come this year before a Blu-ray."

Bird responded with "I wouldn’t say ‘later this year’ because people might hold you to it. These things take a little more time—They will happen in good time. Just say that things are looking up for Iron Giant."

Excellent!

He then detailed the alternate ways to re-release it if a full-blown theatrical re-release ends up being rejected by WB...

"Going back into the movie theater can mean a lot of things. It could mean a studio re-release. It could mean a smaller re-release like Wizard of Oz 3D. It could mean as small a release as a Fathom Event where they show it one night only. So that whole arena is changing and becoming a much more flexible arena. So when it becomes that flexible, it becomes less scary to a studio because they’re hemmed into one, super-expensive, risky thing. They can try it a number of different ways. I think the main thing Warner Bros. has to hear is that there’s an audience for it.

"When people went back and saw Lion King because it was in 3D, I think the 3D was just a thing to throw them a bone. I think actually a lot of people just wanted to see it in a theater again and be around other people while they saw it. Part of the attraction of movies is not just a big screen. It’s being with strangers and sharing a dream at the same moment. Anything that kind of bolsters the confidence in the theatrical experience I think is good. I would love to see Iron Giant get back into theaters even if only for a week."

I agree with Mr. Bird there, The Lion King 3D did so well because it was The Lion King... On the big screen, plain and simple. The 3D was just the cherry on top, plus Lion King had been sitting in the vault for six years until the re-release came about. There was a real incentive to see it, but for other 3D re-releases, not so much...

At the same time, I feel that The Iron Giant deserves a full-blown theatrical re-release or a very good Blu-ray release. Maybe they can do Fathom screenings or a limited re-release to test the waters, to see if people will turn up for the film. Like Bird said, WB needs to hear that there is an "audience for it", because there definitely can be. Those who missed it would probably really like it, and if you sold it to them properly, who knows... It could be something of a hit!

Maybe the time is right, maybe it's got something in it that'll appeal to audiences today, who knows! What if... What if... This film was re-released today, given a full-blown re-release and almost treated kind of like a new event film? How many non-film fans out there know about The Iron Giant? The previous home media edition - the DVD - came out in 2004. I have no idea how many units it sold, but there are probably a lot of kids out there who haven't heard of it. Again... How much of the general public knows this film exists?

If they can somehow get Bird's first film back to the big screen, we'll certainly all be happy campers. With a re-release, it can certainly find a new audience and be a bigger success than it ever was. Sometimes that happens, as Bird pointed out when he mention the likes of The Wizard of Oz and Blade Runner. Sometimes some films are meant to shine during their second, non-theatrical life...

However, I'm not going to jump the gun just yet... I'll simply go by what Bird said: "Just say that things are looking up for Iron Giant"...

1 comment:

  1. And really, with Warner Bros seemingly in the process of finally becoming a major producer of animated films, the timing couldn't be better for this. Just one thing. . .
    PLEASE, GOD, NO REMAKE!

    ReplyDelete