North Carolina-based film archivist and HE loyalist Joe Corey tells me that he’s confirmed the validity of an e-mail, posted today by Home Theatre Forum subscriber Stephen Bowie, that “was apparently sent out in an e-mail to theaters with upcoming Universal repertory bookings, and appears to contradict what Uni [has been] telling the press,” to wit:
“It is with great sadness that I must inform you that yesterday’s [Universal Studios] fire destroyed nearly 100% of the archive prints kept here on the lot.
“Due to this we will be unable to honor any film bookings of prints that were set to ship from here. Over the next few weeks and months we will be able to try and piece together what material we do have and if any prints exist elsewhere. For the time being please check your rental confirmations and look under shipping instructions. If the print was set to ship from the studio then you date is now canceled. If the shipping instructions say ‘ship from Deluxe’ then those dates are still good.”
I haven’t heard anything definitive, but apparently this is a burned-print situation — not negatives. The archival material was at Deluxe. What was destroyed, apparently, were prints that were skedded to sent to repertory showings.