Weekly Moviegoer - What Movies Do You Want Re-Released?
by Christopher Campbell
December 27, 2009
What if you missed Avatar? Say the snow kept falling, you got busy, had a business trip, family obligations, something unexpected happened, and/or anything else kept you from getting to the multiplex on time. And when you finally had three hours to spend on Pandora, the movie was out of theaters. What would you do? Settle for the DVD? It's doubtful even the new 3D televisions would provide a fair substitute for what you'd have experienced on the big screen -- especially the big, big IMAX screen.
Fortunately I saw that movie, and it's quite likely anyone who wants to see it can and will, unless they're extremely busy (though anyone who's that busy probably doesn't care about movies anyway). But surely there has been that movie every now and then that you really planned on seeing and really meant to see in the theater and just did not make it. For me, this year's most regrettable theatrical miss is the 3D re-release of Toy Story and Toy Story 2.
It's not surprising that it didn't happen. Long movies and special double features are more difficult to make time for. It's the reason I didn't get to see Steven Soderbergh's Che in the theater and it's the reason I failed with the Toy Story movies, which were shown together, back-to-back, for only a month. That limited release window hurt, as well. Somehow I guess I was actually that busy back in October that I couldn't fit them into my schedule, even after Disney extended what was initially supposed to only be a two-week run.
I can now only hope the studio puts the films out again in June to coincide more closely with Toy Story 3. But I wish for re-releases like this all the time. They're not extinct, as we saw a year ago with the return of The Dark Knight to cinemas, but they are rare, and they're certainly not the same as they were before VHS came along and ruined everything. Damn home video in all its forms for being so convenient and accessible yet poisonous to the general idea behind theatrical re-releases.
When I visited a similar subject earlier this year, I merely complained about missed opportunities. Now I want to propose that Hollywood get behind the re-release concept again. With 3D movies gaining popularity and clout, and people understanding that there are still (or again) great moviegoing experiences to be had that can't be matched at home, no matter how nice the home theater, there's good reason to at least re-release a few good 3D movies every few years. I'd love to see Monster House in 3D again, for instance.
Why not other kinds of movies, too, though? Let's not forget that the highest-grossing films of all time (adjusted for inflation) are mostly such thanks to constant re-releases. Just imagine if DVDs had existed fifty years earlier. Gone With the Wind would not have made so much money. Would the studios not like to see that kind of dough again?
All they need to do is make video, cable and other releases temporary for certain theatrically appropriate films so that it's feasible for them to re-release those films down the road. You know, like what Disney was doing with its home videos for a while. Or, did that not work out well for them?
I'd like to think people would go see re-releases of the Lord of the Rings movies and Matrix and The Dark Knight every few years. We don't need the excuse of special editions with added special effects or anniversary versions with corrected props. Just give us the original movies we love again!
What, are the multiplexes too full for such an idea? How about the studios make room by making fewer movies, preferably fewer bad movies. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have each studio put out only two films that they put a lot of time and thought into and also be able to see some older movies again on the big screen.
Yes, I live in a dream world, more fantastical than the one created by James Cameron for Avatar. But I have to assume at least that film will be given the occasional re-release, at least for as long as it takes for 3D TVs to be a commonality in American homes. Yet it just won't be the same. And revival houses aren't likely to ever be equipped with the technology to one day feature a retrospective of digital 3D films. So that Toy Story double feature may have been a once in a lifetime opportunity that I missed.
Just as I asked last year about missed movies of 2008, what movies did you miss in 2009 that you wish they'd re-release so you can see them properly on the big screen? Are there any other movies (from any time) you'd sacrifice the ability to rent if you could instead occasionally see them in the theater again?