Studio opens vault to home viewers
Warner Bros. is opening its vault -- which contains more than 5,000 films
never made available on DVD -- to home viewers.
The studio's Home Entertainment Group is launching a branded
manufacturing-on-demand operation, offering films and TV titles whose limited
sales potential have prevented a traditional retail release.
Starting today, consumers can order 150 classic Warner movies for $19.95 each
at new studio site WarnerArchive.com. The studio will ship a made-to-order
DVD, in a shrink-wrapped case with cover art, to consumers within five days of
Some of the new-to-DVD titles listed at WarnerArchive.com include "Possessed,"
starring Clark Gable and Joan Crawford; "Once Upon a Honeymoon," with Cary Grant
and Ginger Rogers; and "All Fall Down," with Warren Beatty and Eva Marie Saint.
Others include "Sunrise at Campobello," "The Citadel" and "Mr. Lucky."
Warner intends to add 20 classic films and TV episodes each month to the MOD
service, dubbed Warner Archive Collection, and expects 300 titles will be
available by the end of the year.
Warner has long been one of the more aggressive studios in releasing its older
library titles on DVD, but thousands of films are still untapped for home
viewing. Warner houses 6,800 theatrical films, of which just 1,200 have so far
been released on DVD.
"We release a lot of first-time-to-DVDs -- there have been around 30-35 already
in this year's first quarter -- but we're not making a dent in getting all the
movies out to the people who want them," said George Feltenstein, senior VP of
theatrical catalog marketing at Warner Home Video. "And now, we are releasing
more new-to-DVD movies on Monday than we have released during all of last year."
Feltenstein said the launch titles were based on the volume of consumer requests
the studio has fielded over the years.
Likely upcoming TV additions to the MOD service, said Feltenstein, include
"Maverick," "77 Sunset Strip," "Bourbon Street Beat," "Bronco," "Lawman" and
Debbie Reynolds, whose "Mating Game" is among the MOD launch titles, will head
up a publicity blitz for the service. She will appear on the "Today" show and
"Access Hollywood" to tubthump its rollout.
Amazon.com has been backing MOD for some time with its CreateSpace service,
which filmmakers and program suppliers can use to custom manufacture DVDs as
they are ordered. However, Warner believes its own service represents the most
extensive MOD offering from a major studio to date.
"We are the first studio to lead the way on this," said Feltenstein. "We like to
be the ones who innovate."
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