Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has just opened the Columbia vault, offering a selection of films never before released on DVD with the launch of Screen Classics by Request. Consumers will now be able to purchase authentic DVDs of more than 100 classic movie titles covering a 75 year span from the Columbia film library. Additional titles will be made available monthly through the new Screen Classics by Request website and will retail at $19.94, plus shipping.
In order to purchase movies, consumers visit Columbia-Classics.com, make their selection, and upon purchase, a manufacturing on demand system creates a made-to-order DVD showcased with original theatrical art when available. Among the titles initially available are The Pumpkin Eater (1964) with Anne Bancroft and Peter Finch, Footsteps in the Fog (1955) starring Stewart Granger and Jean Simmons, Sam Wanamaker's The Executioner (1970) with George Peppard, The Juggler (1953) starring Kirk Douglas, the Sherlock Holmes mystery A Study in Terror (1965), I Never Sang For My Father (1970) with Melvyn Douglas and Gene Hackman, Genghis Kahn (1965) with Omar Sharif, and Les Voleurs (Thieves, 1996) with Catherine Deneuve.
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With the launch of this service, Sony joins Warner Bros. in the DVD on demand market. Warner Bros. has their own service, Warner Archives, run through their wbshop.com website, which the studio began in March 2009. Both companies have opted to institute a very smart system to provide the consumer with films never before released in a way more cost effective and sensible than a traditional release, which might hurt the company as many of these titles are unknown to mass audiences.
Consumers can also visit the Columbia Classics website for first looks at upcoming Blu-ray and DVD releases from the studio, behind the scenes still photography from some of the initial film productions, and to request their favorite films for release.