There are ways to obtain rare film titles on the web. Ebay is a great place to start, but there is also Amazon.com and Netflix. It is harder, in fact, not to find a movie you’re looking for than actually locate one. Time Warner, Inc. has just made it easier to obtain their rare and vintage DVD titles with their online archive, warnerarchive.com.DVDs ordered and burned for $19.95 is what the Warner Archive is offering. Digital downloads can be purchased for $14.95, without the waiting period. Warners does it up for the top dollar clients, delivering a nicely packaged product for old film collectors. Warnerarchive.com currently holds 150 titles, with 20 more being added each month. At year’s end, the library should be up to 300. This was a way of dealing with the many requests by fans for Warners television and films, and it also enlivens DVD sales, which have been sagging overall of late. According to the Wall Street Journal, DVD sales will total $12.8 billion this year, down from $13.4 billion in 2008 and $14.4 billion in 2007. Among the titles currently online, The Citadel, Mr. Lucky, with Cary Grant, Joan Crawford in The Woman is Dangerous, The Ice Follies of 1939, Ah, Wilderness, Idiot’s Delight, The Little Drummer Girl, Wild Orchids, and even Emilio Estevez in Wisdom.While these titles aren’t exactly going to set the DVD world on fire, it is a smart business nonetheless, in the long tail fashion; this is something that can hold steady, at very little cost to Warners, for decades. And so begins the relationship between film libraries and users. There is no reason for archives not to be opened up to the public that wants them; what other purpose do they serve other than research?The only hold out so far is the Motion Picture Academy, which has yet to build a viable online archive of its materials for the public. Although some of their vintage clips from their Oscar telecasts are available on their site, it is not a thorough, usable archive. One has to visit their building to have access to their complete library.Much of this has to do with ownership. The Academy wants to own their films and clips for all time. Warners is in the DVD business and thus, selling their titles makes sense. Still, you can’t stop what’s coming and what is most definitely on its way is complete and total access online to all archival material, in one way or another.The Warners Archive has many film titles, but their television collection is just as appealing, like Alice, and Chips. They also have more modern shows like Smallville available for purchase. While it’s difficult to imagine anyone actually buying these, probably more than a few parents might head on over there to purchase episodes of Scooby-Doo.
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