Posts Tagged ‘000’

Metropolis for Sale

March 22, 2012

Would you believe that a German 3 sheet of Metropolis, the classic 1927 silent sci-fi film by director Fritz Lang is up for auction? Yes, it is true. It is being sold at Movie Poster Exchange.Com. You can click on the website name to go to the page where the poster is being sold. How much is it being sold for? Would you believe $850,000?

Darn, these things always have to go on sale before the Powerball hits $75 million. Kidding aside, I know, this entry seems more than a bit ironic considering last week’s entry dealt with not falling for the hype that surrounds the news of pop culture items being auctioned off for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Metropolis auction shows another side of the issue. Namely, if you are going to buy a pop culture or movie related item with the hopes it will appreciate in value, you need to get something with a track record of increasing auction and sale prices.

Metropolis is a good example of this.  The last time a Metropolis poster when up for auction was 2005 and it sold for $690,000.  Before the 2005 auction, a Metropolis poster sold on eBay for $200,000. As you can see, Metropolis prices have gone up each time it sold. Yet, before you run off to buy a Metropolis movie poster, there are three important things you should know:

1)    These were original theatrical posters that were sold. Meaning that these were posters that hung in movie theaters and survived all these years.

2)    Metropolis is a very rare movie poster. There are only 4 known to exist.

3)    Don’t expect to find an original Metropolis movie poster at a flea market or in an older relative’s closet.

While Metropolis has a history of increasing sale prices, the only person who got this poster for a steal was the theater employee in 1927 who decided to take the poster home, instead of throwing it out, after the movie’s initial run. Think about, if a movie poster sells for $690,000 in 2005, wouldn’t it make sense that it would sell for more than that in 2012.  Yet, as great as it is that Metropolis has appreciated in value, it is important to note that movie posters that sell for six figures and up are out of reach of the average person.

“Well what about the movie posters from today’s films?” You must be asking. “They are available at a reasonable price. Won’t they sell for big bucks 20 years from now?” That’s hard to say. Case in point, the film Citizen Kane is considered one of the gems of American cinema and it is listed at number one on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) Top 100 Movies list. When it was released in 1941, it bombed. Now imagine you are a teenage movie theater usher in 1941. The manager tells you to get rid of the movie poster for Citizen Kane because its run is over. You throw it out without thinking twice about it. Fast forward to 2006, a one-sheet movie poster (27 x 41 inches) for Citizen Kane sold at auction for $60,000. Who would have guessed in 1941 that a film that bombed would be so revered and its poster so valuable? The answer is few to none. So, don’t go picking up movie posters for Cowboys and Aliens thinking it will become the Citizen Kane of the 21st Century.

Still, if you like Cowboys and Aliens and get a movie poster from the film, don’t let the idea that you may not be able to trade it in for a mansion and a yacht take away from your enjoyment of the poster. After all, space and the American West are both frontiers, so it was only a matter of time before someone put them together. Too bad it didn’t do well in theaters. Also, Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig are kind of cool looking. (But not as cool as Matt Damon!)

Sources:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/metropolis-poster-record-leonardo-dicaprio-298114

http://movieposterexchange.com/buy.php?mode=key_search&keyword=metropolis

http://www.afi.com/100Years/movies10.aspx

Heritage Magazine Fall 2008 “Remember When…1941” Pg. 8

“Filmed” with Whatever

March 31, 2011

Do wonders never cease? Not only can the iPhone™ let you surf the web, take photos and has loads of cool apps that lets you do anything from find the nearest coffeeshop to listen to your favorite radio station, you can also make a movie with it.

I’m not talking about something high school kids make in a few minutes and upload to YouTube to so that others can laugh at their sophomoric hijinx (i.e. burp and fart jokes). What I am talking about is South Korean director, Park Chan-wook who was given $130,000 by a South Korean cell phone company to make a movie with an iPhone™. While this has the feel of a promotional venture, Park isn’t the first director to use tools that weren’t exactly high end in order to make a movie.

Christopher Nolan, of Batman and Inception fame, made his first film, Following with limited equipment and a ‘crew’ of people who had day jobs. While it didn’t become a blockbuster, it is respected among the cult film aficionados. Independent director Lena Dunham shot Tiny Furniture on a Canon EOS 7D, a still camera that sells for $1500 and she got a nomination for Best Cinematography from the Independent Spirit Award.  Robert Rodriguez’s budget for El Mariachi was only $7,000 and the movie was financially and critically successful.

So, will the next Scorsese, Lucas or Cameron use off-the-shelf equipment and work with a budget of thousands, maybe tens of thousands of he or she is lucky enough to get that much money. Most likely yes. Still, it is important to remember that in the end it isn’t so much the equipment that makes a good movie, rather it is good storytelling. After all films like Star Wars, Love Story, Avatar, Gone With The Wind, and When Harry Met Sally captured the popular imagination the way that they did because films had a good story to tell and each of them told it well. Pyrotechnics, animation and 3D will have the audience saying “Wow”, but without a good story, it is just an exercise in visuals.

So, who knows what the tech heads will dream up. It could be something that you hold in the palm of your hand, use to order pizza on a Friday night and inspire a future Oscar winning director. Something to think about the next time you make a phone call on your smart phone or happen upon a bunch of teenagers filming fart jokes on an iPhone™.

Sources:
http://www.ebertpresents.com/episodes/episode-108/videos/88

http://blog.koldcast.tv/2010/koldcast-news/the-15-cheapest-movies-that-went-on-to-become-cult-classics/

What Lurks In Your Walls Or Some People Have All The Luck

October 20, 2010

As I have stated many times before, I love the Antiques Roadshow[1].  I especially love hearing the stories of how people happened to find their treasures. Usually people find things at yard sales, estate sales, tucked away in an attic, a basement, a closet or even curbside. Well, not too long ago there were two people who found treasures in their home that would astound the appraisers at the Antiques Roadshow.

First there’s Blair Pitre of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. He bought a turn of the century bungalow and started work on renovating it.  As he was tearing down the walls, he found movie posters from the late 1920’s/early 1930’s featuring actors such as Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin and Joan Crawford. This is an important period in the history of motion pictures because the industry was transitioning from silent to talkies. The previous owner, an 80-year-old woman who died in 2009, was the granddaughter of an early twentieth century movie theater owner in Pitre’s town. As to why the posters were in the wall, most likely she used them as insulation and never thought that they would be worth anything. Pitre had the posters auctioned off to help pay for renovation of his house. One poster, Bulldog Drummond, a drama from 1929 sold for $9,000. Pitre hopes to find more posters in his home. In particular, he is hoping to find Metropolis, since that poster is worth a million dollars.

Next there’s retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Martin Kober. For as long as he could remember, a painting of the Virgin Mary crying over the crucified Jesus has been in his family.  Family lore said that the painting was a Michelangelo. The item hung over the sofa of his parents home, until the day when the younger Kober threw a tennis ball and knocked it off the wall. His parents then wrapped it up and kept it behind the sofa. When Kober retired in 2003, he decided to research the history of this painting. One expert, Antonio Forcellino says that the painting is a actual Michelangelo painting, another expert, William Wallace says that it isn’t. Forcellino bases his claims on his expertise as a restorer, as well as the painting’s similarity to a drawing Michelangelo did that is now at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Wallace states that while the piece is impressive, it was not done by Michelangelo. So, who’s right? Time and more examination by experts will tell.

Still, what I want to know is why are Pitre and Kober so lucky? How come their treasures were right under their noses and all that’s in my walls is insulation and all that is behind my sofa are dust bunnies? This inquiring mind wants to know.

Sources:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/movie-guide/Lost+found+Vintage+movie+posters+fetch/3300921/story.html

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/10/12/new.york.painting


[1] Antiques Roadshow is the American version of the BBC television show of the same name that airs on PBS. This show has people bringing their antique and collectible items to appraisers and the appraisers tell them if their items are worth anything. Sometimes the items are worth something and sometimes they aren’t.