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Warner Home Video classics get slimmed-down treatment





conrutr
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070201/en_nm/classics_dc;_ylt=Av_r8akS5o...

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By Thomas K. Arnold

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Now that many of its most
celebrated movies have been released as lavish multidisc collector's
editions, Warner Home Video is going the minimalist route and
reissuing such classics as "Gone With the Wind," "The Wizard of Oz"
and "Ben Hur" in slim packs as part of its new "The Essential Classics
Collections" line.

Five DVD collections will be released April 24 as the first wave in
the new line, the studio said. Included are some of the most acclaimed
movies in Hollywood history.

The "Classic Romances" set includes "Wind," "Casablanca" and "Doctor
Zhivago." "Classic Dramas" consists of "The Maltese Falcon," "Citizen
Kane" and "Hur." "Oz," "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" and
"Goonies" are in the "Classic Family Films" collection. "Classic
Musicals" features "My Fair Lady," "Singin' in the Rain" and "Gigi,"
and "Classic American Musicals" has "The Music Man," "Meet Me in St.
Louis" and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."

Nearly all of these films have been released in pricey, multidisc
configurations. The most recent DVD incarnations of "Wind" and "Hur,"
for example, were four-disc collector's editions retailing for $39.98,
nearly $10 more than the $30.97 suggested list price of each
"Essential Classics Collection." "Oz" last came to DVD as a three-disc
collector's set priced at $49.98.

"We have our grandiose collector's editions out there, and that's a
business that continues to thrive, but those are for collectors," said
George Feltenstein, senior vp theatrical catalog marketing at Warner
Home Video. "These are for people who might not know anything about
classic movies, who might want to build their own home libraries of
classic movies but don't know where to start."

And because so many of these films already have been restored and
remastered for their collector's edition DVD release, the process is
relatively simple, Feltenstein said.

"We already happen to have these stunning transfers and new
commentaries, so it's easy to offer these neatly packaged and
reasonably priced collections with scaled-down versions of the Rolls
Royce editions that are already out there," he said.

Feltenstein envisions more themed "Essential Classics Collections" in
the future, though no films have been selected beyond the first wave.
"We're just going to continue to mine the library," he said. "Our goal
is an ongoing series of releases that will serve as a beautiful primer
to becoming a diehard DVD collector."

Warner isn't the only studio to bundle classics previously available
only as individual special editions. On Tuesday, Paramount Home
Entertainment will release a "Best Picture Collection" of Academy
Award winners the studio has produced during the past three decades,
consisting of "The Godfather," "Titanic," "Braveheart," "Terms of
Endearment," "Forrest Gump," "American Beauty" and "Gladiator." Each
film also comes in a slim pack. The collection retails for $69.98.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter
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