HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Warner Brothers Archives: A Revolutionary New Service For Classic Film Fans

Warner Brothers recently announced the start of their new Warner Borthers Archives program (the full press release is at the end of this post). Warner Brothers has developed a system that will allow users in the US (and shortly worldwide) the ability to order a custom made DVD-R of films available from the service. Warner claims that the DVD-Rs are made using a proprietary system that will separate the quality of there discs from a standard burnt DVD-R that one might buy off the Internet.

This will be a way for fans to get access to films that previously could only be seen on a rare TV screening or through bootleggers who would make copies transferred from their own private prints or who had copies that come from VHS tapes copied from other VHS tapes, which caused quality to be atrocious. This allows fans a chance to get quality versions of titles that otherwise might not come out on DVD/BR because they would not sell the requisite amount of units at retail. This service however, will allow titles to be released, with unit sales no longer being as large a concern.

At the moment 150 titles are available for 19.95 plus shipping for each of them. Download for 14.95 will be available soon. Warner Brothers plans to add 20 titles a month and will have 300 titles in place by the end of 2009. The titles will be in their original aspect ration and anamorphically enhanced when proper. The titles will have cover art and cases.

The early reports have been fairly positive with reports of extremely short shipping time as people are already getting their orders. Some feel that the masters being used are older ones from previous TV or Laserdiscs masters. However, others are saying that the picture quality is fine. One most keep in mind that not all films are going to be remastered a second time, the masters used are existing masters that where used for VHS/LD/TV transfers and a new transfer may greatly increase costs.

Still, considering the unavailability of these titles for many years, I feel most fans will be willing to accept this conditions, though they still should let Warner know that they as consumers have feedback.

The one big hope is that with Warner Brothers leading that way in this new digital system, other studios will follow suit, with fans being able to buy Shadow on the Window form Sony, Mad Doctor of Market Street from Universal, The Maze from Paramount, and many other obscure titles we love, but may not get a normal retail release otherwise.

I look forward to making my first purchase soon and posting my feedback. I think readers should give it a try. When was the last time you got to see all three Barrymore's? Well, now you can order up Rasputin and the Empress and see all three!


Offers Movies Never Before Available on DVD; 150 Titles at Launch Including “Abe Lincoln in Illinois,” “The Citadel” and “All Fall Down”

Burbank, Calif., March 23, 2009 – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group (WBHEG), today announced the debut of the “Warner Archive Collection” (, a selection of movies spanning more than 60 years of filmmaking never before available on DVD. The world’s largest film and television vault is finally open to consumers who can now purchase authentic DVD and digital downloads of more than 150 classic titles for the first time drawn from Warner Bros. Entertainment’s unparalleled film library consisting of pre-1986 MGM, RKO Radio Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures films. They include Academy Award® nominee “Sunrise at Campobello,” “The Citadel,” “Mr. Lucky,” and many others from the Golden Age of Hollywood and beyond.

To order their movies, fans visit, select their titles, and upon purchase, a state-of-the-art manufacturing on demand (MOD) system creates a made-to-order DVD indistinguishable in quality from a standard pressed DVD. The system places the DVD into a hard plastic Amaray case featuring custom artwork; shrink wraps it and ships the finished package to the customer which arrives in approximately five days. The cost per title is $19.95, plus shipping. Alternatively, movie fans can purchase digital downloads of these classic films to enjoy immediately on their PC. The cost for a digital download is $14.95 per title.

Initially the Warner Archive Collection offers 150 sought after titles including “Possessed” starring Clark Gable and Joan Crawford; “Once Upon a Honeymoon” starring Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers; and “All Fall Down” starring Warren Beatty and Eva Marie Saint. Every month approximately 20 classic films and television programs will be added and by year’s end more than 300 titles will be available online. For a complete list of current titles visit

“With a cinematic legacy as rich and varied as that found within our library, the challenge has been to meet the voracious demand of consumers who are seeking their favorite films on DVD,” said George Feltenstein, senior vice president, Theatrical Catalog Marketing, Warner Home Video. “Whether it’s an Academy Award® -winning classic from Hollywood’s Golden Age, a Sci-Fi cult favorite from the ‘70s, or a silent rediscovery from the ‘20s, the Warner Archive Collection has something for everyone. This unprecedented initiative represents a tremendous effort from Warner Home Video and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and is representative of the company’s continued dedication to film preservation.”

As a companion to the Warner Archive Collection, WBHEG will launch an exciting new podcast series titled the “Golden History of Hollywood.” Available in late March on iTunes ( as well as numerous online sites for free, the “Golden History of Hollywood” features captivating archival recordings from the studio’s vault including behind-the-scenes interviews with stars, radio editions of movies and much more.

Classic movie fans are invited to offer their input on future titles they would like to see in the Warner Archive Collection. Visit and vote for a number of the next 20 titles that will be offered in April.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I won't even CONSIDER buying any of these until some of those long-missing Golden Harvest titles WB bought show up in the mix. (And aren't screwed up.)