What is the general process for getting a movie remastered?

I assume that first one has to find out what studio or production company has the original master prints and audio tracks. Hopefully the same company owns the rights to the movie. Then I presume you have to cut a deal with the company to make a new master, they loan you the prints and tapes and you go from there.

I notice that some movies have dozens of different deals like this. For example, Blade Runner (1982) has been distributed by more than 20 different companies. As one example, in 1989 the Criteria Collection published a LaserDisc version of Blade Runner, so they would have had to go through the process of negotiating the rights, getting the masters, and then remastering it for their medium (LaserDisc).

I understand the basic steps, but what are the details, how does this process work in detail? How do you even find out who has the masters and the rights, for example?

  • I would bet that there are infinite ways.... most of the time, the person doing the remastering already owns the film (or was hired by the person who owns it), anyway... The Criterion Edition wasn't actually created in 1989, though... According to the versions page on Wikipedia, it's identical to the international release of the film.
    – Catija
    Jan 8 '17 at 22:31
  • You're asking two questions here. How it's done, and who has the rights to do it. The question needs to be more specific.
    – Reactgular
    Jan 9 '17 at 1:38

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