Hey, film nerds! Warner Bros. thinks it's Christmas!
The studio creates one of the most innovative ideas in DVD sales so far
As I sit here sorting through a week and a half of e-mail, physical mail, DVDs, BluRays, screening invites, and news I've missed while buried in festival land, trying to get organized enough for a Morning Read for today and a new DVD column this afternoon, there's one story that is absolutely worth discussing on its own before we get into anything else.
Yep, I'm talking about you, Warner Bros. Archive Collection.
It doesn't shock me at all that George Feltenstein is one of the big movers behind the deal. I met George when I was at Dave's Video almost 20 years ago, and he was a rabid buyer of laserdiscs. In particular, he was all about the vintage titles, and what was available and what wasn't was a topic that we had many, many conversations about over the two years I worked there. There were films he was desperate to get his hands on that he was convinced would never find their way out of the vault, and it used to drive him crazy. So when I read his quotes in an article about this new system, it makes perfect sense. "This news is going to make a lot of people really happy" is a bit of an understatement.
Look, ever since Feltenstein began to climb his way to senior vice president of theatrical catalog marketing at Warner Home Video, his influence has been evident on the catalog release schedule over there, but no matter how many films they release commercially each year on DVD, they're not going to put everything out. That's because they have almost 7,000 titles in their archives. Those are Warner titles, MGM titles, and anything else they've picked up as various catalogs have changed hands over the years. There are less than 1500 of those titles that are available right now.
[more after the jump]
So how does Warner Bros. ever expect to get those other 5000 titles into the hands of collectors who would want them? The reason many of them aren't available is because the studio isn't sure there's enough demand to justify the expense of mastering and pressing and marketing each and every one of those movies. But what if they only had to make a DVD when someone ordered it? What if they could press a single copy of a film instead of having to press thousands and thousands? At that point, there seems to be no reason to hold any title back.
That seems to be the idea behind The Warner Archive Collection, an online service where you will be able to pick any title from a list, and that title will be pressed onto a disc, put into a professional Warner cover, and sent directly to you. And eventually, the claim is that they'll put everything on that list... every single title they own. Normally, I would dismiss it as marketing speak when someone says something like, "I've always said it would be great if people could buy anything in our library, and now the time has come, because the technology finally exists," except Feltenstein really has always said that.
First things on my list? "Doc Savage: Man Of Bronze," "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing," "Private Lives," and Paul Simon's "One Trick Pony." I can order those for $80 as DVDs or for $60 if I'm content with digital downloads. It's not as cheap as I'd like, but the service is brand-new. I'm sure as it evolves, the price point will shift. If other studios start similar services, as I'm sure they will if this experiment works, then I think this is the beginning of the end for the grey market on "out-of-print" titles, where collectors routinely pay exorbitant fees for single titles. Even at the height of VHS, maybe 4000 titles were available altogether, so there are things coming that we've never had access to, and that's what makes this so exciting.
This may be a natural evolution of home video, but it's taken enough time to get to this step that it feels positively revolutionary to those of us who can remember a time when there was no home video at all. The words "on demand" have never been more true.
Okay... off to finish this morning's Morning Read...
Can't get enough of Motion/Captured? Don't miss a post with daily HitFix Blog Alerts. Sign up now.
Don't miss out. Add Motion/Captured to your iGoogle, My Yahoo or My MSN experience by clicking here.
Not part of the HitFix Nation yet? Take 90 seconds and sign up today.
News From Our Partners
- 'The World's End' Trailer: Pints, Pals, and Killer Robots! Francis Ford Coppola Directing New Italian-American Saga 'Don Jon' Trailer: Joseph-Gordon Levitt and Scarlett Johansson Go Jersey
- Justin Bieber's 'Baby' Is Highest-Certified Single in History, But His Monkey Is No Longer His Son Ho Young's Girlfriend Found Dead Listen to The-Dream Collaborate With Beyonce on 'Turnt'
- What to Watch Tonight: The Season Finales of SVU, The Middle, Modern Family, Chicago Fire, Nashville, and Criminal Minds The Critics Choice Awards Nominations Choose Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad The Weirdest, Grossest, Bestest Moments from Netflix's Hemlock Grove, in Pictures and GIFs
- 'Metallica Through the Never' Trailer: Angry Mobs and "Master of Puppets" 'Timecop' Being Remade, As All Movies Eventually Must 'We're The Millers' Red Band NSFW Trailer: Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis Smuggle Drugs
- The Telefile - Critics' Choice Television Awards 2013: Nominees Announced The Telefile - TV on DVD: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 The Telefile - Veep: The Episode's Best Insults
- Charlotte Robinson: Somer Bingham Talks LGBT Issues and Life After The Real L Word (AUDIO) PHOTOS: Has Ellen Had Enough Of LA? Jennifer Aniston On 'Friends' Reunion: 'We All Miss Working Together'
- Total Recall: Bradley Cooper's Best Movies Parental Guidance: Epic and Beautiful Creatures Comic Book Movies You Can Watch Online
- Hear This: You don’t have to know the words to have fun with this Stone Temple Pilots single Watch This: Ronin is a triumph of crime-flick economy Cannes Film Festival: Cannes, Day Seven: J.C. Chandor makes good, Nicolas Winding Refn goes bad, and Claire Denis gets ugly
One of the emotional lynchpins of the series discusses the newest filmWednesday, May 22, 2013
Two of the supporting characters from the trilogy weigh in on saying goodbyeWednesday, May 22, 2013
Simon Pegg is still jumping fencesWednesday, May 22, 2013
As the series shifts focus and winds down, we talk to the main trio about returning one last timeWednesday, May 22, 2013