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Warner Bros. offers video archives directly to consumer


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The other day I received an email that Warner Bros had reopened/opened an online store, but I also just noticed an article in Home Media Magazine that WB is starting to offer things from their library not yet on DVD (or possibly not outside of box sets) directly to the consumer. Accoriding to WB, you can buy them on DVD and have them shipped to you for around $19.95 or approximately $14.95 electronically.

 

Here are highlights from the article (and it looks like it is to start March 23) http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/questex/hom547114RED/index.php#/4 :

 

"Dubbed the 'Warner Archive Collection,' consumers can visit www.warnerarchive.com to browse title selections...

 

Movies earmarked for physical delivery are replicated via a third-party service (believed to be be Hewlett-Packard's MOD [manufacturing on demand] service), packaged in an Amaray case with custom artwork, shrink-wrapped and shipped.

 

 

Among the initial 150 movie selections, which also feature MGM and RKO titles, are Oscar nominees Sunrise at Campobello...The Citadel...Mr. Lucky...Possessed...Once Upon a Honeymoon...and All Fall Down...

 

All titles have been digitally remastered and include the original theatrical trailer...

 

George Feltenstein, SVP of catalog titles for WHV, said the two-and-a-half year project represented an expedited means to bring to market Warner's library of 6,800 films, of which only 1,200 have been released on DVD and 4,100 on VHS.

 

...Feltenstein said heretofore only titles with projected sales from 15,000 and 20,000 unites warranted a DVD production run. He said MOD removed those restrictions..."

 

I've taken a look at the site (http://www.wbshop.com/Warner-Archive/ARCHIVE,default,sc.html) and saw they had a number of titles for sale right now. (And you can also vote on a few others for future inclusion.) Some of the titles offered include

 

Abe Lincoln in Illinois,

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Beast of the City

Cain and Mabel

Chained

Dance, Fools, Dance

The D.I.

Idiot's Delight

Love

Rasputin and the Empress

Scaramouche (1923)

Strange Interlude

 

By going into individual titles, you can video preview the quality.

 

http://www.wbshop.com/Warner-Archive/ARCHIVE,default,sc.html?prefn1=format&prefv1=Warner%20Archive&psortb1=name-sort&psortd1=1&sz=150

 

(It seems to take awhile to show all 150 titles)

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This is great news!

In this economy this is a great way for the studio to open their vaults and yet make sure they make money at the same time.

Maybe we'll be able to get all of those old Cagney films that are not yet on DVD.

As for now, I'll be picking up

 

On Borrowed Time

Love

Strange Interlude

 

I hope the score for Love doesn't have that same annoying talking, laughing and coughing that was on the soundtrack when TCM showed it last summer.

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I went to the website; besides it's being formatter improperly, so that the left side of the frame is permanently, and irretrievably, off the screen, I saw no way to, or mention of, gaining access to the feature written about below.

 

Warner's needs to get some IT guy in there to fix the bloody thing.

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Cinny, the article is not on the website for WB. If you notice, I have posted several links in my post: one for the magazine, one for the first part of the WB archive site, and one for the major list.

 

For the article, click on the link where I indicate. That will then download the magazine. You will see a small part of the article on the magazine's page. Click on it and it will enlarge. Then after you have finished reading that first part, click on where it says "See WARNER, Page 23" and it will take you there (it is on the bottom half of page 23).

 

As for the WB site, give them a few days; they are probably still working on it getting it ready. As I mentioned in my post, and the article says the same, it starts March 23rd...so that is not until Tuesday.

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Excuse me for the long post, but that web address with the DVDs listed can be a bit unwieldy and error prone. Thus I thought I would list the complete 150 titles that the Warner Archives collection will be offering on demand for 19.95 each.

 

The Abdication

Abe Lincoln in Illinois

The Actress

Adventures of Huck Finn (1939)

Adventures of Mark Twain

Ah, Wilderness!

Al Capone

All Fall Down

Along the Great Divide

Angel Baby

The Baby Maker

The Bamboo Blonde

Barricade

Beast of the City

The Beggar's Opera

Betrayed

Bwohani Junction

The Big Circus

The Big House

Brainstorm (1965)

Cain and Mabel

Canyon River

Captain Nemo and the Underwater City

Captain Sinbad

Carbine Williams

Cattletown

Chained

The Church Mouse

The Citadel

Close to My Heart

The Command

El Condor

Convicts Four

Countdown

Crescendo

Crime and Punishment

Crisis

The Crowded Sky

The D.I.

Dance, Fools, Dance

Darby's Rangers

The Defector

The Devil Is a Sissy

A Distant Trumpet

Doc Savage: Man of Bronze

Dream Lover

A Dream of Kings

Dream Wife

Drums of Africa

Dude Goes West

Dusty and Sweets McGee

Edison the Man

Emma

Enemy of the People

Exit Smiling

Forsaking All Others

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Goodbye My Fancy

The Grasshopper

H.M. Pulham, Esquire

Heart Beat

Homecoming

**** Tonk

I Was A Communist for the FBI

I Was an American Spy

Ice Follies of 1939

Idiot's Delight

Interrupted Melody

The Invitation

John Loves Mary

Just the Way You Are

Kaleidoscope

Kidnapped

King of the Roaring 20's

The Kiss

Laughing Sinners

Lepke

A Lion in the Streets

Little Drummer Girl

Lost Boundaries

Love (1927)

Love on the Run

Made in Paris

The Magnificent Yankee

Malaya

Man from Galveston

Man from God's Country

Man Who Loved Cat Dancing

Mannequin (1937)

The Mating Game

Men in White

The Money Trap

The Moonlighters

Mr. Lucky(1943)

Mrs. Parkington

My Blood Runs Cold

The Oklahoman

On Borrowed Time

Once Upon a Honeymoon

One on One

One Trick Pony

Orphans

Outlaw Blues

Oxford Blues

Painting the Clouds with Sunshine

Payment on Demand

Possessed (1931)

Private Lives

Promises in the Dark

Purple Hearts

Quentin Durward (1955)

Rage

Rasputin and the Empress

The Red Lily

The Red Mill

Room for One More

Scaramouche (1923)

Scaramouche

The Sergeant

The Shining Hour

The Shopworn Angel

The Single Standard

Sins of Rachel Cade

The Smart Set

So This is Love

Somewhere I'll Find You

Souls for Sale

Spring Fever

Strange Interlude

Sunrise at Campobello

Sweet November (1968)

They Only Kill Their Masters

This Woman is Dangerous

Three Comrades

Three Sailors and a Girl

The Toast of New York

Too Hot to Handle (1938)

The Trail of '98

Voices

We Were Dancing

Westbound

When Ladies Meet

Wichita

Wild Orchids

Wisdom

Yes, Giorgio

Young Tom Edison

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I'm sorry to confess that I find Calvin's list to be the far easier method to navigate and, beyond lacking a small thumbnail pix, it offers as much info. Gag. WB's site has gone to the trouble to offer a generic pop-up but they could have put Year, Cast, and perhaps a sentence or two synopsis, but noooo. Don't tell me they don't have ALL of that data available... but instead, they short-change us, doing it 'on the cheap'.

 

I can only hope they don't provide the videos with this same attitude. I'll find out - I've got the Region-2 DVD of MR LUCKY, but I'll try WB's version, along with a few others.

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This is really cool!

 

Unfortunately for us up north in Canada, it looks like we are unable to purchase merchandise from this WBshop site. The Buy It Now pop-ups state "Ships to U.S. Destinations Only."

 

I wonder if this has to do with copyright issues. Though with commercial DVD's Canada usually has the same product on the shelves as the US. They usually say "Not for sale outside the US and Canada." A North American market so to speak. Not with WBshop it seems, at least not at the present time.

 

This is too bad because I would be a big customer for many of these classic film DVDs.

 

:(

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Ollie T said: "WB's site has gone to the trouble to offer a generic pop-up but they could have put Year, Cast, and perhaps a sentence or two synopsis, but noooo. Don't tell me they don't have ALL of that data available... but instead, they short-change us, doing it 'on the cheap'."

 

Ollie,

 

As I mentioned earlier, the site isn't supposed to start until the 23rd, so it is probably a work in progress. However, you say they don't provide a sentence or two synopsis, year, cast, etc., but I have tried a few and they do have those things, and even on occasion a video clip that shows the quality of the video you will get. Just look for the icons that say, "Full Description," etc. and click on them.

 

For example, I clicked on "Mating Game, The" and it went to a screen showing the cover art, plus:

Director: George Marshall

Cast: Debbie Reynolds, Paul Douglas, Tony Randall

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Run Time: 96 minutes

Available Date: 3/22/09

Rating: NR

 

When I click on "Full Decription," it shows:

 

Studio: MGM

Screen Aspect: 16 X 9 FULL FRAME

Packaging Type: Amaray Case

Synopsis:

Comedy about a tax agent who falls in love with a farm girl.

 

That one doesn't have a video clip or year, but some do. I'm sure they are working on it. Give them a chance to get it working right.

 

.

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> {quote:title=filmlover wrote:}{quote}

> Cinny, the article is not on the website for WB. If you notice, I have posted several links in my post: one for the magazine, one for the first part of the WB archive site, and one for the major list.

>

> For the article, click on the link where I indicate. That will then download the magazine. You will see a small part of the article on the magazine's page. Click on it and it will enlarge. Then after you have finished reading that first part, click on where it says "See WARNER, Page 23" and it will take you there (it is on the bottom half of page 23).

>

> As for the WB site, give them a few days; they are probably still working on it getting it ready. As I mentioned in my post, and the article says the same, it starts March 23rd...so that is not until Tuesday.

 

The site doesn't seem to work well with Internet Explorer, but is fine with Firefox.

 

The problem is that Warner's hasn't made anything available that merits the expense of $20; I'd rather record the few moderately interesting titles off TCM and settle for the slightly lower quality of DVD-R.

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Cinesage wrote:

"The problem is that Warner's hasn't made anything available that merits the expense of $20; I'd rather record the few moderately interesting titles off TCM and settle for the slightly lower quality of DVD-R."

 

I realize that the cost is high and that times are very hard right now. However, if it is not a financial hardship to purchase these I think people should support the effort and buy them legitimately through Warner Bros. Actually, the cost isn't high for the silent films at least. Kino and Image often charge more per disk for their silent releases than twenty dollars.

 

DVD-R quality is fine for me too. That's one reason I haven't bought into Blu-ray and probably won't until that is all that is offered. However, if everyone just recorded everything they wanted off of TCM, then Warner Bros. would probably stop putting out classic DVDs at all. Revenues would fall off and TCM could likely go off the air. In the end, Warner Bros. does what it does to make money, and if it does not make money it will do something that will make money, such as make nothing but superhero movies with lots of explosions that 14 year olds will open their wallets to own. And then where are we?

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> {quote:title=calvinnme wrote:}{quote}

>...if everyone just recorded everything they wanted off of TCM, then Warner Bros. would probably stop putting out classic DVDs at all. Revenues would fall off and TCM could likely go off the air.

 

You've actually got it backward. Early on, Warner's saw that TCM and its Home Video division would compliment each other: each would help sell the other's products and, in fact, the entire Warner Bros. brand, not the least of which is the studio's current theatrical releases. This is something that Fox has never understood; The Fox Movie Channel, with its limited, repetitious offerings, poor technical standards and crazy-quilt schedule has never been a force in pushing that studio's films, DVDs or brand.

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Here's another article on it:

 

Warner Bros. brings film vault into digital age

The Associated PressPublished: March 22, 2009

 

LOS ANGELES: Warner Bros. is reaching into its film vaults so it can sell old movies on made-to-order DVDs, in a move it hopes will goose sales of a vital product in a downturn.

 

Starting Monday, the studio will sell copies of 150 films from the silent era to the 1980s Brat Pack that have never been released on DVD. Internet downloads of the movies will cost $14.95, while DVDs sent in the mail are $19.95. Both can be ordered at http://www.warnerarchive.com.

 

The initiative, which Warner claims is the first of its kind for a major studio, is an effort by the Time Warner Inc. subsidiary to combat what could be a fundamental decline in demand for DVD purchases ? a falloff that can be blamed on market saturation as much as the recession.

 

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger warned of this shift last month when he noted that most U.S. households own 80 DVDs already, leading people to become "more selective" about what discs they buy.

 

U.S. DVD spending fell 7 percent last year, to $21.6 billion, according to The Digital Entertainment Group, an industry consortium. While high-definition Blu-ray disc spending nearly tripled, it represented a small slice of the market, at $750 million.

 

 

Now retailers are cutting back shelf space for DVDs. And digital downloads have come nowhere near to making up the difference, said Tom Adams, president of Adams Media Research, who doesn't predict overall growth in home video until 2010.

 

Home video revenues are a key profit driver for the studios ? in some cases, accounting for 60 percent more money than what a studio collects at the box office. So the recent decline has forced studios to do everything from lay off staff to pare back movie making.

 

Warner's decision to open up its vault "sounds like it's a risk-free way for them to generate a little money on some very old content," Adams said. By making the DVDs only when the movies are ordered by a customer, Warner doesn't have to worry about filling up a warehouse with inventory that struggles to sell.

 

Many of the titles Warner is releasing in the new venture have made the rounds on another Time Warner subsidiary, the Turner Classic Movies cable channel, and on VHS. But the studio will keep mining a 6,800-feature film library, amassed when Ted Turner bought Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's archive in 1986, which in turn was bought by Time Warner a decade later.

 

Twenty more films or TV shows will be added to the program of re-releases each month, with 300 expected by year's end. To put it in perspective, the studio has released only about 1,100 movies on DVD since the technology was spawned 12 years ago.

 

"There are still thousands of movies that we own that consumers haven't been able to get," said George Feltenstein, senior vice president of theatrical catalog marketing for Warner Home Video. "I expect that we'll be selling thousands of copies of every title over a period of time, and making a lot of people really happy."

 

Titles include "The Mating Game" (1959), starring Debbie Reynolds, and a string of Cary Grant flicks from "Mr. Lucky" (1943) to "Once Upon a Honeymoon" (1942). There's also "Wisdom," a modern-day Robin Hood tale from 1986 starring Emilio Estevez and Demi Moore.

 

Reynolds noted that in the past, the only way to watch some old films was to have a projector at home and obtain a bootleg copy. She said fans have been asking her to get some of her films on DVD, like "The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady" (1950), which is expected in a later batch of releases.

 

"I was a girl that was raised with radio and I had to go to the theater to see movies," said Reynolds, 76, during an interview in a screening room on the Warner lot. "Now you get to see everything at home on a DVD. It just seems like a miracle that it can be done this way."

 

Robert Crawford, a 53-year-old auto worker in Saginaw, Mich., expects to use the new Warner program to add to his 5,000-disc collection, a mix of Blu-ray discs and DVDs.

 

He bubbled at hearing of upcoming releases such as "Beast of the City" (1932) starring Walter Huston and Jean Harlow, or "Rasputin and the Empress" (1932), which features three Barrymore siblings, including modern "Charlie's Angels" actress Drew Barrymore's grandfather, John.

 

"Some of these films I've been waiting on for years," said Crawford. "Let's face it, Best Buy doesn't carry every title, neither does Wal-Mart. They don't have the shelf room."

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2009/03/22/america/Warner-Bros-Digital-Archives.php

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The first article I reference in the original post said the films were being done by a third party for WB. Since it is on a per request item, I suspect that is why it is on a DVD-R. Doing it on DVDs might require a full factory run in the thousands.

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I heard this from a friend of mine who also has his own website

*"According to someone in the know at Home Theater Forum, "The quality of these DVDs are what you would expect from a studio like WB. They are not DVD-Rs being slapped in an envelope. These are high quality releases in their proper aspect ratio and manufactured to normal studio standards." "*

With that being said I ordered one title and I need some advice on the others. A lot of these titles Ive never heard of or know nothing about.

Can anyone recommend any of the classics to me ?

I like Noir/Gangster/Pre-Code and some melodramas...

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> {quote:title=TripleHHH wrote:}{quote}> With that being said I ordered one title and I need some advice on the others. A lot of these titles Ive never heard of or know nothing about.

> Can anyone recommend any of the classics to me ?

> I like Noir/Gangster/Pre-Code and some melodramas...

 

Hi TripleHHH---from what I can see there is little to no film noir on this first

batch, but plenty of pre-code and melodrama with a smattering of lesser-known

gangster flicks. In that case, maybe you want to look for performers you kind

of like or throw out some specific titles for people to give you their opinions. I

have to confess there are many, many titles I don't recognize, which actually

is a good thing in my opinion. I'll be renting lots of them via Classicflix. You

may want to do that before you buy them, considering the cost.

 

Some have already mentioned BEAST OF THE CITY, you might like that one.

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I don't think "DVD-R" quality is necessarily bad - it usually means "Recorded From TV Broadcast", however, but technically, there shouldn't be a qualitative difference based on the optical disk itself.

 

The available bonuses can be fairly different - since these are WB's own prints, I'd expect them to be as high-quality as possible. I'm not sure about subtitle offerings, however, and I like having those available, preferably in at least 2 languages. But that's a minor issue.

 

When we get ours in, I'll know a bit more and can describe any 'additional features' - such as proper Chapter Marks. I could usually care less about the menus, too - just play the film and let me cycle thru Audio and/or Subtitle tracks from my remote control's buttons.

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Several other boards have found this opportunity, and sadly discovered they're not shipping outside of the USA. That's a shame. I didn't know these would contain state secrets or volatile explosive devices, or virulent forms of dormant DVD fungi or something that only US citizens should suffer from. But apparently so...

 

However, it should be noted that Europe is getting some rare American films released over there. And someone might consider alternatives for shipping purposes across those borders.

 

Paul Newman's first directed film SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION is getting a Europe-Only Region-2 release on April 27, 2009. This is the 1971 film with that apparently unknown Henry Fonda fella and that same Michael Sarrazin that never seems to get his films put onto DVD. At least not Stateside.

 

Or they might notice that John Garfield and Shelley Winters finally get their HE RAN ALL THE WAY released in Europe, too, the next week - May 5, 2009, also on Region-2 DVD only.

 

May 5th is also the re-packaging release of several TCM Classics' collections, and I think all of these have individual releases at least one other time:

 

AMERICAN MUSICALS: Band Wagon, Meet Me In St. Louis, Singin' In The Rain, Easter Parade

 

BROADWAY MUSICALS: Show Boat, Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me Kate, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers

 

JOHN WAYNE WESTERNS: Cowboys, Fort Apache, Rio Bravo, Searchers

 

WESTERN ADVENTURES: Wild Bunch (restored Dir Cut), McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Train Robbers

 

WWII ASIA: Bataan, Back To Bataan, Green Berets, Destination Tokyo

 

WWII EUROPE: Kelly's Heroes, Where Eagles Dare, Dirty Dozen, Battleground

 

This 'repackaging re-re-re-release' strategy must be money makers for someone - everyone seems to do it.

 

There are so many others that aren't available on DVD and I'd rather see those hit shelves first. That said, there's an argument that "If we don't buy re-releases, they can't afford to put out unreleased ones yet..." Yeah. Right. Of course, if we DO buy re-packaged after re-packaged ones, what incentive do they EVER have to seeking different titles to release?

 

Well, I hope TCM makes a huge profit off of these. They deserve every penny they can make. I will never begrudge them for that.

 

As for those Region-2s, we do purchase those and they're shipped to us routinely (sans any State secrets, infectious diseases and small pets). And with free software, the owner can make a legal DVD-R copy of the same video-and-audio quality that will play on your TV's DVD player.

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