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MGM Titles Celebrate 90 Years of United Artists

29 Oct, 2007 By: Thomas K. Arnold

MGM Home Entertainment will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the United Artists studio with an 18-month worldwide catalog promotion that kicks off next month.

MGM will release at least two collector's or special-edition DVD titles each quarter, along with anniversary-branded gift sets in commemorative packaging, through March 2009. In addition, each quarter will focus on a particular aspect of UA's filmmaking history to honor the films, directors, actors and music that represent the studio's heritage.

To launch the promotion, MGM on Dec. 11 will release the United Artists 90th Anniversary Prestige Collection Gift Set, consisting of 90 classic UA films, including eight that won best picture Oscars: Marty, The Apartment, In the Heat of the Night, Annie Hall, Rocky, Rain Man, West Side Story and Midnight Cowboy.

Also out Dec. 11 is a 3-title Essential Collection gift set.

The fourth quarter also will see the release of Rocky: The Complete Saga, with all six films in the franchise; the 21-title James Bond Ultimate Collector's Set, and a 30th anniversary edition of New York, New York.

MGM also has released a three-volume Best of United Artists collection, with each volume containing four films as well as two free movie tickets for the theatrical release of the new UA's first film, Lions for Lambs, which was directed by Robert Redford and stars Redford, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise.

“We are very respectful of the United Artists tradition and look forward to continuing the studio's rich creative legacy,” said Paula Wagner, UA's CEO. “Lions for Lambs is the first in a wide range of films that will revitalize UA and enable the next generation of filmmakers to thrive and see their visions realized.”

Rick Sands, COO at MGM, added: “The rebirth of UA spurred the greater MGM family to look at the breadth of films and the tremendous legacy of the studio. Our home entertainment group at 20th Century Fox saw this as an opportunity to bring back to the consumer consciousness the impact that this library has had on pop culture, entertainment and the artistry of filmmaking.”

MGM is spending $20 million in marketing, promotions, publicity and advertising to fuel what it is calling the largest catalog event in home entertainment history. Highlights include partnerships with Panasonic Consumer Electronics and the American Film Institute.

Panasonic will cross-promote the UA anniversary with its own in a year-long partnership that includes a national sweepstakes and joint retail and marketing efforts focused on Panasonic Blu-ray products.

The AFM promotion includes the fourth-quarter 2007 launch of more than 50 UA films previously honored by the film advocacy group in its “AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Movies” series, branded accordingly. In addition, Lions for Lambs will premier as the Opening Night Gala presentation at AFI 2007, the AFI's Los Angeles International Film Festival, Nov. 1 at ArcLight Hollywood's Cinerama Dome Theater.

“The 90th anniversary campaign is designed to provide retailers around the world with all of the tools necessary to take part in this extraordinary celebration,” said Eric Doctorow, worldwide general manager of MGM Home Entertainment.

Upcoming UA 90th anniversary DVD titles to be released in 2008 include anniversary editions of such classic UA titles as In the Heat of the Night (40th), Last Tango in Paris (35th), Rain Man (20th), La Cage aux Folles (30th), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (30th), War Games (25th) and The Thomas Crown Affair (40th).

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