The Warner Archive Collection (WAC) – the Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD) division dedicated to releasing on DVD previously unavailable films and television shows – today announced the launch of its first Blu-ray™ titles. The first two titles available, 'Deathtrap' and 'Gypsy,' will debut on Blu-ray on November 20. Beginning in February 2013, WAC expects to release a minimum of one to two Blu-ray titles per month. Future titles include 'The Hudsucker Proxy' and 'Fearless.'
WAC reports that the Blu-ray discs will be replicated in limited quantities and fulfilled on demand. All releases will leverage high quality 1080p masters. In many instances, as with 'Deathtrap,' the films will be available for the first time for home viewing in their original widescreen format.
Starting as a modest initiative, WAC has quickly grown to become a new business model for the studio and a recognized industry leader. Since launching in March 2009, WAC has released more than 1,500 films, short subjects, TV movies and mini-series that otherwise would not have been available, providing a valuable service to film lovers everywhere.
Now, WAC’s entry into the Blu-ray market is the latest example of its fast growth and increasing popularity with consumers who have embraced the technology as the standard for the highest quality home movie viewing on disc. This year, domestic sales of catalog titles on Blu-ray grew 22% in the third quarter from a year earlier. In fact, Blu-ray sales have shown impressive gains every quarter in 2012, continuing the trend set in 2011 over 2010 when sales were up 20%.
In making the Blu-ray announcement, WBDD President Thomas Gewecke said, “This is an important innovation that fulfills consumer demand for high definition releases that otherwise would not be available in physical formats. We’re excited to have the opportunity to further expand the Warner Archive Collection into the Blu-ray marketplace with an impressive slate of releases.”