Block­buster is busted

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

Not­ing the rise of in­ter­net­based mail-or­der DVD rental and the loom­ing threat of dig­i­tal movie down­loads, it re­mains some­what sur­pris­ing that Block­buster, the king of video rental chains, still keeps its metaphor­i­cal head above wa­ter. Now it has emerged that the com­pany is sad­dled with debts of $975 mil­lion and, squeezed by colos­sal in­ter­est re­pay­ments, is, in­deed, fac­ing a real strug­gle to sur­vive.

Last week Block­buster’s bosses swal­lowed hard and is­sued a bank­ruptcy warn­ing. It looks like the end of an era. de­spite MGM’s own­er­ship of the James Bond fran­chise and its fi­nan­cial in­ter­est in the up­com­ing adap­ta­tion of The Hob­bit. the cre­ator and Mor­gan O’Sul­li­van, long­time stal­wart of Ir­ish film, is to be one of the pro­duc­ers.

Martin Cullen, out­go­ing Min­is­ter for Arts, Sports and Tourism, seemed de­lighted by the news.

“Land­ing a se­ries of this scale is in­dica­tive of the qual­ity of Ir­ish film tal­ent both in front of and be­hind the cam­era,” he said. “The ad­just­ments made to the Sec­tion 481 tax re­lief for those wish­ing to in­vest in film and tele­vi­sion in Ire­land have also been a cat­a­lyst for se­cur­ing this in­ter­na­tional pro­duc­tion for Ire­land.”

The Camelot se­ries should, all go­ing well, get to pun­ters be­fore Guy Ritchie’s re­cently an­nounced film ver­sion of the leg­end. Tues­day. At the time of his death in 1998, there were mut­ter­ings from some posh crit­ics that the di­rec­tor of The Seven Samu­rai, Rashomon, Throne of Blood and a dozen other clas­sics may have been “over­rated”. Yet his rep­u­ta­tion has, if any­thing, grown over the in­ter­ven­ing years.

Check out the nicely pre­sented BFI edi­tions of Yo­jimbo and Stray Dog to dis­cover why.

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