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Universal Adds a 'Legacy' Series For Its Classic Titles

7 Jul, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold

With its new “Legacy Series,” Universal Studios Home Entertainment (USHE) has joined the growing number of studios seeking to make the true classics in their vast movie libraries stand out.

The branded line is scheduled to launch officially Sept. 6 with three titles, all of them multiple Oscar winners: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Sting and The Deer Hunter.

These and future “Legacy Series” titles will be prepared as elaborate two-disc special editions. The films themselves are being digitally remastered, and the audio tracks are being cleaned up as well. But the real signature of “Legacy” titles, USHE president Craig Kornblau said, is an unprecedented amount of extras designed to appeal to collectors.

“The ‘Legacy Series' falls under the category of ‘must haves' for both the avid and the new DVD collector,” Kornblau said.

The new version of To Kill a Mockingbird, for example, will include a new documentary about star Gregory Peck produced by his daughter, Cecilia; Peck's best actor acceptance speech at the 1963 Academy Awards; and an interview with Mary Badham, who played Scout, about her experience working with Peck.

One of the first studios to launch a branded catalog line is Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, whose “Studio Classics” series now consists of more than 30 titles, from Anastasia to The Razor's Edge. Many of the titles are Academy Award winners, and the DVDs come in numbered packaging to encourage diehard movie fans to collect them all.

Paramount Home Entertainment for the past two years has been releasing dozens of catalog titles a year under the “Widescreen Collection” banner. Upcoming entries, generally bare-bones DVDs priced at $14.99, include Another Time, Another Place and It Started in Naples, both coming July 12.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has a “Special Platinum Edition” line reserved exclusively for its animated classics. The most recent release was Bambi, with Cinderella slated to follow Oct. 4. Disney's Special Platinum Editions are only on the market for a limited amount of time, in keeping with the studio's successful “moratorium” strategy, developed in the late 1980s, that front loads demand.

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