Blu-ray Authority recently had the opportunity to speak with Nick Redman, one of the owners and creators of boutique film label Twilight Time. They release some of the best films that you can buy including works by Woody Allen, Oliver Stone, Sam Peckinpah, John Ford, and David Lynch. Nick is also an accomplished commentator and film historian with notable commentaries attached to Peckinpah’s films. He also directed the film Becoming John Ford, and produced the Oscar nominated short The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage.
Nick Redman: Very well thank you.
Blu-ray Authority: I am so excited you were willing to sit down with us for an interview today.
Nick Redman: Not at all. Thanks for asking. We appreciate anybody that is taking an interest.
Blu-ray Authority: : How did Twilight Time first begin?
Nick Redman: It’s a story that we have told a number of times. My partner in the company Brian Jamieson was a long term executive at Warner Brothers. I was a long time consultant at 20th Century Fox. Over the years I had done many projects with Brian at Warner Brothers, and around 2008 Brian was retiring from Warner Brothers. He said, “I don’t just want to retire and do nothing. What can we look into doing.” We decided that we would test the studios with whether or not they were willing to sublicense a whole raft of films for Blu-ray and DVD release that they were no longer interested in. We had seen in 2008 when the financial crash happened that they were backing away from the catalog, so we spent basically 2009 exploring the idea of whether or not it would be viable, and then, in 2010, Fox made a deal with us to give us one hundred films. That was the first wave of films that we had. We sort of began from there. We had one a month, then we went to two a month. Then we got Sony on board, and MGM/UA on board, and other studios. Then we started releasing three, four, five, and sometimes even six titles a month. It’s a big strain I can tell you now!
Blu-ray Authority: How many employees do you currently have working for you?
Nick Redman: We have zero employees, but we have what we call subcontractors. In other words, we subcontract Julie Kirgo to be our writer. We subcontract Louis Falzarano for our graphic designer. We subcontract companies to do our authoring and formatting of the DVDs. We contract the people we need in order to keep the machine running. We have a guy called Mike Finnegan who basically keeps the trains running for us every day. Effectively we are a very very small operation that just started with Brian and I, and it’s pretty amazing that within the last six years we have been able to put out about two hundred and eighty films.
Blu-ray Authority: You guys have been releasing Woody Allen films films on Blu-Ray. How did you land that gig? Has he been active in the process?
Nick Redman: He has not been active in the process. We have had no dealings with him at all. His office is involved in approving the packaging and whether or not we can include special features on the disks. We have about sixteen or seventeen Woody Allen films. We haven’t released them all yet, but I love the fact that we are kind of his label in America. If you wonder why we ended up with Woody Allen’s catalog, I don’t know if you know that MGM’s catalog is administered by Fox. Originally Fox had the right to put out any MGM titles on DVD and Blu-Ray that they wanted to. They started cautiously with a lot of the classics from MGM UA, including a few Woody Allens. They did Manhattan, Sleeper, Annie Hall, and Hannah and Her Sisters. Then they decided against releasing any more Woody Allen titles so it fell to us to sort of pick up the titles. We had all of the MGM/UA Woody’s, minus the four they released, and a couple of the Sony’s coming down the line.
Blu-ray Authority: That’s pretty fortunate for you guys. Those things are pretty hot items. I had to buy a copy of Crimes and Misdemeanors off of eBay.
Nick Redman: We may as well discuss the controversial elephant in the room that has dogged us since the beginning. People can’t seem to understand the limited edition concept, but it makes perfect sense to us. I have to tell you that I was baffled by the faux controversy at the beginning, because I had been working with 20th Century Fox for twenty years running the restoration division of their classic film music. We had done hundreds of limited edition soundtrack releases on compact disk with no controversy whatsoever at 20th Century Fox. So when we simply started doing DVDs and Blu-Rays the exact same way, I was not expecting that anyone would think anything strange about it. Limited editions have been part of the lexicon of niche marketing for decades. There is nothing wrong with it.
Now, when we released a film like Fright Night and Christine, the original run of 3,000 units obviously wasn’t enough, because for those kinds of genre horror films there was a wider market than our limited edition could accommodate which is why we released Fright Night again in a 5,000 unit run, which went quickly as well. You will have noticed that of our two hundred and eighty releases, only seventy or so have sold out. That should indicate to people that 3,000 units is really more than enough for classic film titles on Blu-Ray, because there isn’t a market for these things that goes beyond that. And just because Kino, and Olive, and Criterion don’t tell you how much they are pressing does not mean that they are pressing fifty thousand copies. It means that they are pressing a thousand copies or two thousand copies or three thousand just like we are, and if a title does better than they expect they just do another run of five hundred or a thousand and keep it in print for awhile. As you have noticed, they let their titles run out of print just like we do. The only difference between us and them is we say up front that we are doing 3,000 copies and that’s it.
Blu-ray Authority: What I think is hardest for people to understand is that there really may just be about 3,000 people out there that are seeking a Blu-Ray copy of a Woody Allen film like Another Woman. I think that is mind-boggling to film collectors that care about this stuff is that there are just not that many people that care about it as much as they do.
Nick Redman: People say when I have given the explanation that I have given to you – “If you were in the stores and every retail website, you would sell hundreds of thousands of copies of Crimes and Misdemeanors.” That is what people tell me. This is, of course, absolute nonsense.
We started out being at one site only because we did not want to do brick and mortar retail. Brick and mortar retail, as you know, is absolutely dead. The other bad thing about brick and mortar retail is that they have return privileges. That becomes an accounting nightmare, because let’s just say you ship a thousand copies of anything to Barnes and Noble, Barnes and Noble can ship you back nine hundred and ninety eight copies of them suddenly, without warning, two months later. Then they tell you that they are not paying for those and that they want you to take a credit against this loss and therefore you never know how much money you are going to receive on any given day. You wouldn’t be able to go forward and put more money, because everything that comes in on Twilight Time goes out on the next titles if you follow me. The money received is then plowed into the next set of releases. So, going the brick and mortar route would have been absolutely impractical for us. We made a deal with Screen Archives Entertainment, a company that I had been dealing with for twenty five years. For soundtracks they are the biggest soundtrack and Broadway show music retailer in the nation, so we gave them a Blu-Ray business to begin with operating on the same principal, which means that we ship the inventory to them and they pay us for every unit sold and they don’t pay us for units that they haven’t sold, but they don’t send them back to us. They keep them until they are sold, so every month we know what we are going to get from Screen Archives, and then we, in 2015, opened our own little portal twilighttimemovies.com, where we sell a reduced amount of inventory there just because when people Google Twilight Time it just made sense for a domain to come up that was ours for them to go to. But those are the only two places where are things can be purchased. Everything else that you see of people selling these things on eBay or Amazon are nothing to do with us, and the markups those people charge are nothing to do with us.
Blu-ray Authority: : I was so pleased to find some titles that I thought were out of print on Screen Archive Entertainment. That’s a good feeling.
Nick Redman: Screen Archives is a great company. They have been around for more than forty years. They started in 1976. They were originally based in Dallas, Texas as a retail store selling Vinyl soundtracks. The world has come full circle because Vinyl soundtracks are popular again. What they have done is expanded their business and made it online. They are the most successful online retailer for soundtracks and Broadway and now they have a reputation for Blu-Rays as well. Because, even though we started their Blu-Ray business for them, they now carry many of the other labels.
Blu-ray Authority: Your label has released several prominent musicals including Bye Bye Birdie and Funny Lady. With the recent success of La La Land and Pitch Perfect do you think we might be on the verge of a resurgence of these type of films?
Nick Redman: Well, I would like to think so, but I am also aware that most musicals don’t succeed. That’s the case for Broadway, I mean, as popular as there are musicals on Broadway, the majority of them don’t get off the ground. I would expect like anything, people to follow the trend. La La Land is a freak success. It’s an outlier. Then people with not much imagination whose job it is to green-light projects will think, “ Oh, well we can make the magic happen again,” and there will be three or more La La Land knockoffs down the line and that will be the end of it. That’s usually the trajectory of how these things go.
Blu-ray Authority: Twilight Time recently acquired and released Bullet Train starring the amazing Sonny Chiba. Do you plan on releasing any more Sonny Chiba films? I am particularly interested in Golgo 13, which I have on DVD but would love to see upgraded.
Nick Redman: I don’t think we’ve ever sort of particularly pursued Sonny Chiba, you know the reason that we have a little bit of a relationship with Japan is because when Brian Jamieson was at Warner Brothers he was the Senior Vice President for International Marketing and Asia was one of his territories. He knows a lot of people in Japan and in some of the other Asian markets, so he and I go to Japan and go to Toei. You know he was actually involved in the making of the film Harlock Space Pirate that came out a few years ago. So the producers of that film are friends with him and we made a deal to pick up some Toei movies and we also picked up some films from Shochiku and a couple of other Japanese companies. But I must tell you that the sales are very disappointing of Japanese films here, or at least the ones that we have put out. We would go broke if we do these type of movies too often! I know that we’ve got the Jackie Chan double bill coming of Drunken Master and Snake in Eagle’s Shadow. And we’ve got a film called The Emperor in August which is a new film, very good film actually. It was made in 2015, about what happened after the nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan. At the end of World War II the military did not want to surrender and were thinking about overthrowing their emperor and carrying on with the war despite the fact that they had been bombed. So this film is about that coup that failed. We are quite proud to have that. It’s a bit of a talk-a-thon, but its a very interesting. We also have another Ken Takakura film coming at the end of the year called The Yellow Handkerchief, which is the director of The Twilight Samurai and The Little House which we also put out.
Blu-ray Authority: You have released the occasional Encore edition of popular films that sold out, such as Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and The Train and a few others…
Nick Redman: We have done eight in total and we probably shouldn’t have. Initially, we did it because we felt that we had… we bought into the bullshit that we had deprived people of Fright Night and Journey To The Center of The Earth and others that we did, so when we reissued a few of the genre pictures like that we felt like we were giving people a second chance and those reissues sold well enough to make it worth our while. In reissuing Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and The Train and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia we probably should not have bothered, because we felt like we were pressured by MGM/UA to do it because they had sold out quickly and we kind of agreed. The studio got greedy and wanted more money for the reissues than they did for the first round and we sort of bought into it. So now we have a moratorium on reissuing titles. We are not going to do it any more.
Blu-ray Authority: One of my favorite films that you guys have released is Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. I just love that film.
Nick Redman: It’s a great great film. I am proud that we did it. We are big Sam Peckinpah fans. I don’t know if you are aware but we actually have an oscar nomination for a film we did about Peckinpah. So we are big aficionados of Sam Peckinpah and we went after every Sam Peckinpah film we could get. We were glad to get The Killer Elite and even more glad to get Noon Wine, which had never been released in any format. We put out Major Dundee from Sony. So we were glad to do anything Peckinpah related that we could. We even put out The Glory Guys which he wrote but did not direct.
Blu-ray Authority: I was curious, do you have any plans to release The Ballad of Cable Hogue, or Cross of Iron, or Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid?
Nick Redman: Well,The Ballad of Cable Hogue is Warner Bros. Warner Bros is off the radar as far as licensing. We know that they have a deal wit hCriterion for a handful of selected titles but they don’t like licensing to people. We did license Heaven and Earth from them, but that was only because Oliver Stone bullied them into doing it. They never would have done it if it was just us, but because we had put out some other Oliver Stone movies and he likes us and we get on well with him.He kind of forced Warner Bros. into giving us the film, but otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten it. Therefore anything that Warner Bros. owns like The Ballad of Cable Hogue and Ride The High Country…..
Blu-ray Authority: Which has a great commentary track by you by the way!
Nick Redman: We did that back in 2005. I produced the box set for Warner Bros, called Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns in the mid 2000s. So, all of the DVD releases I worked on for Warner Brothers, because that was part of Brian Jamieson’s jurisdiction when he was still there at the company.
Blu-ray Authority: I have always loved your commentary tracks – especially on the Peckinpah films because you are sitting there with David Weddle, Garner Simmons…
Nick Redman: And Paul Seydor. Those three guys are the principal authors of Peckinpah. If you have the three books that those guys have written on Peckinpah then you have the spectrum. They are the three best authorities that there are and all three knew Peckinpah. We feel that working with them is the closest you can get to really understanding what Peckinpah is all about. Just as a sidebar, if you recall when he died in 1984 he was almost a forgotten man. He died when his stock was really gone. He was a joke. A drunken old joke. But, thanks to the books that Paul Seydor, David Weddle, and Garner Simmons wrote in the early nineties there was a resurgence that we were kind of on the vanguard of. When we did our documentary that got an Oscar nomination it sort of keyed in to a complete reappraisal of Peckinpah. But now there are more books in the market place on Peckinpah than there are on John Ford or Orson Welles or anybody! I mean there has been a tsunami of things revolving around Sam Peckinpah.
Blu-ray Authority: I can thank you guys for your kindling that fire in me with Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia. That got me really interested in watching the rest of his films.
Nick Redman: Another quick side bar, Shout Factory has just released The Westerner the series that he wrote in 1960 that ran for thirteen episodes. They brought Garner, Paul, David and I back for the commentaries on the disks.
Blu-ray Authority: I love that you have acquired Our Man From Havana. Graham Greene and Carol Reed is always a great combination. How did you guys stumble upon that film originally?
Nick Redman: We stumble upon it only because what we do with the studios is that we, and certainly we do this with Sony, is we submit what we call wishlists. We might pick the fifty best Sony films that we love and they might write back that “you can’t have this one and you can’t have that one. Obviously we aren’t going to give you something like that,” or “these ones you can have” or as is most often the case “you can have these if and when Sony does a restoration.” Sony more than any of the other studios has very stringent quality control issues and they don’t want to release anything that doesn’t pass their QC. The only way that most things pass their QC is if their restoration team which you could argue is probably the best in the business have somehow done something to the master. So therefore, I have a very good relationship with Grover Crisp who is the man in charge of Sony’s restorations and he will let me know when something is coming up for restoration or something that they have just worked on. He will tell me that that title is now good enough to go in terms of Blu-Rays. At that point I go back to the marketing people and we make a deal to put it out.
Blu-ray Authority: I love Graham Greene anyway so it’s right up my alley.
Nick Redman: We love that type of thing. Obviously, I’m from England so we have put out quite a number of British and European flavored films. Not just because I’m from there but because we pay attention to international cinema. We know that when we put out these international films that we are probably going to take a bath on it. There is not the level of popularity for those films as there are for something that is much more genre oriented or from America. But we still feel it’s our duty to. In other words we aren’t that great at being business men. We aren’t business men. Brian is one of the most creative studio executives I’ve ever met. You know I worked with him from the mid-Nineties right up until he retired from Warners and I am proud to have him as my partner. Although we would like to make money out of this enterprise, it is really about making enough money to keep the thing going. As much time as we can do that, because he and I are getting on in years. We are not just starting out in this business. We are veterans and at the end of our cycle shall we say? At such point as we feel it is just too annoying or irritating or difficult to keep doing this we will just stop doing it. We started it on a whim and we will end it on a whim. So, at the moment, while there is still enough money coming in to keep putting things out we will keep doing it. When that mathematics no longer works we will stop doing it.
Nick Redman: Just to speak on that you are also releasing The Quiet American, another Graham Greene film…
Nick Redman: Yeah, and we went to Saigon or Ho-Chi-Minh city as it now is called and we loved it, and Brian and I were having a drink in the Intercontinental Hotel and he goes to me “oh, you know The Quiet American was shot here.” And we go, oh great, when we get home we will get that one as well. This is the type of deep thinking that goes into our titles. We’ve had a few beers and then we make a rash decision to put out a film.
Blu-ray Authority: That is right up my alley because that is how I decide to acquire films for my house. You were nominated for an Oscar for The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage. How did that all come together?
Nick Redman: I have been talking about my partner Brian a lot, but he had hired me because I had been working at Fox for more than twenty years working on classic music restoration and putting out many many soundtracks of vintage films over the years. Brian was at Warner Brothers and he knew what I was doing at Fox and he knew that The Wild Bunch was one of my favorite films. So he had said to me around 1995, “would you like to restore the music to The Wild Bunch” and of course to me that was like asking if I would like to go to heaven. So, I said of course. I’m there. So we did that soundtrack, but while we were there a very strange thing happened. He got a report from Warner Brothers vaults that some film had been found that just said “WILD BUNCH MEXICO 1968” and they were about to throw these cans away. And that may sound shocking to people that don’t work at studios but that is not uncommon due to storage needs. If they can’t find a compelling reason to keep something it just gets binned. So, Brian says “wait a minute. Don’t throw anything away. Let’s take a look at that stuff” So those cans made their way to Brian and turned out to be incredible 16mm black and white footage of Sam Peckinpah directing that film.All silent. So Brian looks at me and says “so this is what we found. This all looks great, so what should we do?” I said, wait a minute let me call my pal Paul Seydor because I think that we can do something with this. I called Paul and said, “You’ll never believe what just fell in my lap. Unbelievable footage of Peckinpah directing The Wild Bunch. Let’s try to make a little documentary about it, and Warner Bros. will probably pay for it because they will want to put it on the laserdisc and the DVD,” because even though there were no DVDs yet in 1995, Warren Lieberfarb who was then the president of Warner Home Video was teh guy who was leading the charge with DVD and we knew that The Wild Bunch was one of Waner’s perennial cash-cow movies. That it would be one of the first titles put out on the new format, which it was, it was one of the very first ten that they put out in May of 1997.
Brian said “let’s go” so Paul Seydor and I spent much of 1996 making that little documentary. Without the support of Brian Jamieson it never would have gone to the Oscars because in order to qualify for consideration you have to show the film theatrically a certain number of times. So Brian spent the extra money to make prints of our documentary and they were shown in a few cinemas across the country in order to qualify for consideration. Then amazingly it made its way through the documentary committees and ended up being one of the five short films that year. We didn’t win, but it was a great trip to go to the Oscars and have our names read out by Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, who were the Men In Black at that time. They were the people who read out that category on the night.
Blu-ray Authority: You can’t really beat that. That’s pretty awesome. You also directed the film Becoming John Ford that you worked on with Julie Kirgo. It was included in the Ford at Fox DVD box set – considered by many to be the best DVD set of all time. How did that project come together?
Nick Redman: We were getting a little reputation in the late nineties/ early 2000s for doing documentaries and it was a rather unusual thing when Becoming John Ford came up. I had a relationship with a guy who was running the catalog part for Fox and we were doing a number of small projects for Fox and he said that he wanted to do something big for that box set and asked if we could tackle doing a feature length film. We said okay and fortunately Fox backed us on that, and that film made it to the Venice Film Festival and played at a number of film festivals around the world so we were proud of it.
Blu-ray Authority: I saw that you guys were kind enough to put that as a special feature on your edition of Drums Along the Mohawk.
Nick Redman: Yes. We went to Fox and asked if we could. If it hadn’t been a film that we had made and my partner Julie Kirgo had written that. You know she had written Becoming John Ford. I’ve worked with Julie for fifteen or sixteen years on numerous projects and she is just the most invaluable component to any project as far as I’m concerned. Because Julie and I and Brian had been involved in the making of the film we just thought it would be nice to license it back from Fox and put it on our John Ford film Drums Along The Mohawk which was the only John Ford film that we had at the time. We subsequently have licensed a few more from Fox but we haven’t released them yet. So, it was nice to be able to include it. And Brian Jamieson himself after he retired and around the time that we were forming Twilight Time, he directed his own feature documentary on the life and times of Nancy Kwan which we also put on our release of Fate is the Hunter which also starred Nancy Kwan.
Rapid fire section!
Blu-ray Authority: Favorite actor?
Nick Redman: William Holden, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, and Robert Ryan.
Blu-ray Authority: Favorite film?
Nick Redman: Depending on which day you catch me is either going to be The Wild Bunch or Zulu. I saw them both when I was very very young and these were the kinds of films that made a huge impression upon me. Running a close second or third depending on how you look at it would be The Professionals, the Richard Brooks film with Lee Marvin. And Robert Ryan. And Burt Lancaster.
Blu-ray Authority: Favorite composer?
Nick Redman: Well, I’ve got to say, purely on the first name that comes into my head. Jerry Fielding. This is purely a sentimental choice. He’s not the greatest film composer, but because he was attached to so many films that I saw at a formative age he became important. Of course he scored The Wild Bunch which makes him doubly important. Over many many years now, he died before I came to America. He died in 1980, but over the years I have come to know his wife and daughters and become friends with his family. We have done several restorations of many of his scores over the years and I treasure my friendship with his family and all of the things that we have been able to do. If I were to say favorite film composer, like on Zulu and The Wild Bunch, I would oscillate back and forth between Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams probably.
Blu-ray Authority: Favorite director? My guess would be Peckinpah?
Nick Redman: Honestly, I would probably say Stanley Kubrick if I was really forced to pick. I think the reason that I would say Stanley Kubrick is because again when you are very young the things that you see are the things that stick with you the most. When I was about sixteen, at very first, I didn’t know what a film director was until I was fifteen or sixteen.
Honestly, I would probably say Stanley Kubrick if I was really forced to pick. I think the reason that I would say Stanley Kubrick is because again when you are very young the things that you see are the things that stick with you the most. When I was about sixteen, at very first, I didn’t know what a film director was until I was fifteen or sixteen. I didn’t know what a film director did and Alexander Walker who was a film critic in the UK wrote a book called Stanley Kubrick Directs and I read this book and it was the very first book I had ever read about a director and I had seen a couple of his films at the time. But from that moment on armed with all the sudden new knowledge that I had about film directors, I became a Kubrick expert and watched every film. Again, even though Sam Peckinpah is someone that I have hitched my wagon to over the decades, I think Stanley Kubrick is my sentimental favorite for that reason.
Blu-ray Authority: What is your guiltiest pleasure? I ask that knowing that your release Body Double is one of mine.
Nick Redman: Valley of the Dolls. A film I’ve just loved since childhood and just cant get enough of it. A movie that has beautiful women clawing at each other and tearing their wigs off, you can’t beat something like that. So I’m a fan of that genre although Twilight Time I don’t believe has any films come close, although we do have Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte. We’ve a got a couple of catfight-fests that we enjoy and I wish we had more, but I’m not sure how many people enjoy that genre. But, Criterion thinks enough of Valley Of The Dolls to put that out on Blu-Ray.
Blu-ray Authority: That and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.
Nick Redman: That’s one click too far for me (laughs)
Blu-ray Authority: As technology continues to improve does Twilight Time plan to do more 4K releases?
Nick Redman: Twilight Time is not in the position that a few of the other labels seem to be, which is to be able to pay for their own restorations. That is not something we can do. We can’t load that kind of a cost onto a 3000 unit run. We would have to have a title that…I don’t even know what a good selling title is anymore. I know that the studios have basically abandoned catalog Blu-Rays because even with all of their resources they can’t average ten to fifteen thousand. That would be sort of the very least that a studio would need to sell to make it worth while. They can’t recover their investment on anything less than that and I think there are perilously few titles that could sell ten to fifteen thousand copies in the marketplace as it is today. Given that basically the market is five thousand units or less, and that’s probably even for films like Fright Night, although we ourselves managed to sell eight thousand copies of Fright Night because we did a three thousand run and a five thousand run. I mean, I have to say that Fright Night is an outlier in that regard and I don’t honestly know why its so popular. I mean, it’s not a bad film, but I don’t know why its so popular. So that becomes an anomaly and unless you know that you have an anomaly like that I don’t know how you can budget for a restoration that you know that if you’re lucky you may sell three to five thousand copies.
Are we going to get into the UHD business? I don’t know if we are going to do that either/ I have made a half-hearted attempt with the studios to kind of say, we would like to do an experiment. Could we take out such-and-such title in UHD? And we’ve gone to Fox and we’ve asked them for one or two. I won’t say which ones they are, but they are quite popular titles where they have already put them out on Blu-ray, but they have done new 4K restorations on them since the Blu-Ray release and now those 4K restorations are sitting there unreleased. So, maybe we could help and test the market by saying that we’ll take it out as a 3000 unit run on UHD to see if there’s a market out there. But what Fox have told me to date is that because UHD is such an unknown quantity and no one knows whether or not this format is going to survive… I mean, they don’t know what is going to happen with it… they don’t do anything until they know.
Blu-ray Authority: The moment that happens you will have convinced me to get an UHD player. I have held off despite wanting one, but not needing it yet. You know what I mean?
Nick Redman: I don’t own one myself. I literally don’t own one myself. We made a deal with Fox to sell some of their UHD titles on our website, so at Twilightimemovies.com you can buy The Martian on UHD and The Revenant on UHD. Fox are letting us sell those on our website, but we are not selling them in any real quantity, so again it is impossible to make any determination about whether or not these things are viable. The biggest problem, and anybody who is honest will acknowledge it, about UHD is that the average person can not tell a difference between a Blu-Ray and a UHD. In other words if you took a focus group of fifty people and you showed them a movie in Blu-Ray or UHD and didn’t tell them which is which, they don’t know which is which. And if people who can’t tell, and you know there are people who can’t tell the difference between DVD and Blu-Ray, there are people who can not tell the difference. And that is why DVD is still sort of a viable market. At the big chain stores like Wal-Mart and places like that they sell far more DVDs than they do Blu-Rays. I mean they sell them extremely cheaply of course and put them in these bargain bins at the end of the checkout lines so the people have gotten their soap liquid and they’ve got their packet of this and that and they throw in a couple of DVDs as well. I mean that market is still bigger than Blu-Ray.
Blu-ay Authority: So earlier you mentioned that Oliver Stone was the one person that was able to bully them into releasing Heaven and Earth on Twilight Time. Have you developed a good relationship with him over the years?
Nick Redman: Brian had a relationship with him because of his position at Warner Brothers he was throwing the marketing junkets for new films for the Warner Brothers films that were popular that Oliver Stone directed like JFK and Natural Born Killers and Heaven and Earth. Part of it was that Brian would have been involved in the international marketing campaign for those films, so when you are involved at that level with big pictures like that you obviously get to know the directors. So Brian had a bit of a relationship with Oliver Stone that he just carried over. We put out Salvador and we licensed U-Turn directly from Mike Medavoy who was the great legendary producer from United Artists who had started his own company Phoenix and U-Turn was a feature that he owned. So with the Oliver Stone relationship we created a relationship with Mike Medavoy and git U-Turn. I even got Mike Medavoy to do a commentary on U-Turn, which we said at the time is in our opinion is the very first time to date that a legendary studio head from the golden era has ever done an audio commentary.
Because Oliver said Heaven and Earth was one of his favorites and asked if we could put it out. We explained that it’s Warner Brothers’ and they don’t license to anybody, they are not going to deal with us, but Brian had been at Warner for thirty five years. They still weren’t going to change their policy for us so that is when Oliver got involved and got on the phone to tell them that is what he would like to do. They reluctantly agreed. They made it very very difficult for us, I must say. It was one of the more unpleasant deals we ended up making, but we were happy to do it for Oliver, but that’s our one and only Warner Bros title we will ever have.
Blu-ray Authority: Even with the moratorium on Encore titles, is there any chance that you could put out Our Man Flint in an encore edition? I need it for my collection!
Nick Redman: No. Our Man Flint took more than three years to sell out. It wasn’t one that flew out the door. It was there a long time. In Like Flint took Longer! More like four years. We thought those things were fun and that they would be quite popular, and they were popular-ish. I would say that anything that sells out is popular, or has some level of popularity to it. But really and truly you can count on one hand the titles that flew out the door – Fright Night, Christine, Night of the Living Dead – you will notice a theme here. The fastest selling non-horror film that we did was Journey to the Center of the Earth or The Big Heat but they took over a year for sure. So, this thing about doing encore editions was we had to go back to the studios, and it’s very difficult for us to – you will notice we put out a lot of Sony titles where we were the only people putting out Sony titles in some cases world-wide. But now Sony has got a worldwide licensing policy where as you will see – in the UK for example Sony Picture films that we have put out are now coming out on Blu-Ray over there. It makes life even harder now in terms of reissues because something in the UK – after Brexit the pound crashed so therefore the currency exchange is very bad. For people who have dual region players, which is most of the hardcore collectors, they will say “Well Twilight Time is 29.95 here, unless we wait for a sale, or we can get it for five dollars less by importing from the UK or Australia or whatever it is.” So when there is that much worldwide competition it makes the possibility of putting something out that you have already released…. You now breath a sigh of relief when you’ve gone through the 3000 copies, especially when the majority of titles are taking far longer than three years to actually sell out. And then the thought of going back and relicensing when a company in the UK or a company in Australia or France or Germany or somebody else is putting out the same title as well, you are just making life so much more difficult for yourself. Because what was a moderately hard sell to begin with, now becomes a very hard sell.
Blu-ray Authority: How did you decide to name your company Twilight Time?
Nick Redman: Quite simply because the sun is setting on physical media.