Friday, August 13, 2010

Dealin' in '81-'82

1981 was a little kinder to Avco Embassy than '82, despite the presence of Vice Squad and Time Bandits.

This makes it readily apparent that the end was near for Filmways:

If they'd been able to hold on to some more of these, history might have been a little different:

Quite a banner year that Universal had for itself in '81-'82. Not all of these are classics, but there are only a few duds (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas stands out in this regard) or completely forgotten films (Green Ice; Evil Under the Sun). Most of the non-classics are cult items today and / or boast notable directors.

I'd say Columbia went 3 for 5 in the Summer of '81:


Rupert Pupkin said...

You a HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME fan? I know I am.

Marc Edward Heuck said...

A lot of the movies on Universal's ad came from their acquisition of Associated Film Distribution, a company that had been set up as a joint venture between the two biggest UK film producers of the time, ITC and EMI. Consequently, many of those movies got buried by the studio in tiny releases (SECOND THOUGHTS, BARBAROSA), or on some occasions not released at all by them: BRITTANIA HOSPITAL was ultimately put out in America by United Artists Classics, and THE LAST UNICORN was put out by Jensen Farley Pictures, the Utah-based outfit that also released PRIVATE LESSONS, THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN INVINCIBLE, and JOYSTICKS.

Unknown said...

Great vintage ad campaign/promotional material! Wow... takes me back. Cool to see the logo for ESCAPE FROM NY in there too!

Ned Merrill said...


I've never actually sat thru the entire film, but I included it as a hit for Columbia along with STRIPES and HEAVY METAL...obviously these are the titles from their '81 campaign that stuck around and still have fans today.


Thanks. I was familiar with the AFD deal, but couldn't recall which titles belonged to that deal aside from FRANCES and, later on, BAD BOYS. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Universal end up putting out PRIVATE LESSONS on home video in its initial home video incarnation? I know rights have gone to a different outfit since then.


Glad you got a kick out of these. ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK is the rare film whose original logo seems to have survived intact on every home video iteration.

Phantom of Pulp said...

Jensen Farley also released THE BOOGENS.

I love Universal's line-up. Sad to see that so many good ones such as RAGGEDY MAN, VIDEODROME, and BARBAROSA failed miserably at the box office.

Ned Merrill said...

Phantom of Pulp,

Yes, THE BOOGENS. Now controlled by Paramount...hopefully, we'll see a DVD soon. Shout Factory! is said to be trying to pry it from Paramount.

Some damned impressive films on that Universal slate, aren't there? At least, of the titles you mentioned, VIDEODROME has found its rightful acclaim and then some.