Sony launches innovative ‘Classics By Request’ program

By Sean O’Connell Have you ever wanted to raid a studio’s vault and order the movies you want on DVD, instead of waiting for execs to decide which titles they were going to release? Well, we’re a little closer to that dream becoming a reality.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment just opened the Columbia vault, offering to consumers a selection of films never before released on DVD. The studio’s new program, dubbed “Screen Classics by Request,” lets you purchase authentic, high-quality DVDs of more than 100 classic movie titles covering a 75-year span from the Columbia Film Library. Those who visit make their selection and, upon purchase, receive a made-to-order DVD showcased with original theatrical art, when available. It’s like custom-ordering the DVD you want … when you want it.

Additional titles will be made available monthly through the Web site, and will retail at $19.94, plus shipping.

Among the titles initially available will be 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.

“The launch of Screen Classics By Request is an important step in the evolution of our multiplatform distribution strategy,” said John Calkins, SPHE ’s Executive Vice President of Global Digital and Commercial Innovation. “We look forward to making the rich history of the Columbia archive available in new ways through a variety of retail and distribution partners that best serve the appetite of the discerning movie enthusiast.”

Consumers can also visit the Web site for “first looks” at upcoming Blu-ray and DVD releases from the studio, to view “behind the scenes” still photography from some of the initial film productions, and to request their favorite films for release.

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