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Internet Studios picks up classics to bow on DVD

13 Mar, 2003 By: Joan Villa

Online company Internet Studios will launch a new home video label to repackage and distribute roughly 1,500 classic films and TV shows that it recently acquired from the Trocadero Films library.

“With this boom in DVD, we're picking up a number of very well-known older films, but we're packaging them in a new way, with newsreels and trailers of the time so you get a feeling for what was going on when these films were released,” said Internet Studios vice chairman Mark Rutledge.

Internet Studios' primary business is to develop online platforms for managing digital film rights, but with the acquisition the company's goal is to build a niche-oriented DVD releasing and merchandising division focused on Hollywood's classic era, according to former Walt Disney Co. veteran Dominique Bigle, who will oversee distribution, acquisitions and new film production for the company. The new label will take its name from a second library that Internet Studios anticipates acquiring in the coming months, he added.

Bigle previously served as Disney's SVP, Europe and Middle East, and was responsible for launching the Disney and Buena Vista Home Entertainment labels in European markets. He also founded United Communications, which acquired and licensed TV, movie and character rights for distribution in French-speaking territories.

The Trocadero acquisition covers a wide variety of films primarily from the 1930s, '40s and '50s, with stars such as John Wayne, Marlon Brando, Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, Barbara Stanwyck, Danny Kaye, Jimmy Stewart and Errol Flynn. It includes classic movies, rare and restored footage, newsreel collections and archival material -- all packaged in DVD sets that in some cases will include interactive material linked to Internet Studios' Web site, Bigle said.

“What I'm intending to do is bring DVD, VOD and merchandising all together as a unique experience,” he said.

As a first step, the company plans to launch initial titles this summer, packaged in DVD six-pack collections titled “The Detective and Film Noir,” “Monsters,” “Sci-Fi,” “Westerns,” “Romance” and “Foreign Classics.” Each boxed set will include bonus material such as documentaries, newsreels, cartoons, vintage commercials and original theatrical trailers. Pricing has not yet been set, he said.

“We look forward to creating an exciting new brand of classic DVD product from the golden age of Hollywood, as well as classic European films,” said Internet Studios chairman Robert Maclean.

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