Warner Bros. celebrates 90 years with huge boxed sets
05:00 AM, Feb 02, 2013
The Warner brothers Albert, Sam, Harry and Jack got their start in the film industry in the early 1900s, traveling about Pennsylvania and Ohio mining towns to show movies on their portable projector. They soon branched out into owning theaters, distributing films and ultimately, making films themselves. By 1918, they had opened a studio in Hollywood, and five years later Warner Bros. Pictures was incorporated.
Ninety years later, the company is kicking off its year-long celebration of its anniversary in a big way with a pair of massive boxed sets that encompass its storied legacy out this week. The Best of Warner Bros. 100 Film DVD Collection (1927-2010, 55 discs) and The Best of Warner Bros. 50 Film Blu-ray Collection (1932-2010, 52 discs), both $598, represent the largest collection of films ever released in their respective formats.
The DVD collection, which kicks off with 1927’s groundbreaking The Jazz Singer (it ushered in the talkie era) and includes all 22 Academy Award best picture winners in the company’s vast 6,800-film archives. A wide variety of genres and classics from every decade are presented. Among the films are Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane, The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, An American in Paris, East of Eden, The Searchers, Ben-Hur, The Wild Bunch, The Dirty Dozen, Batman, The Matrix, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The Blu-ray set’s earliest film is 1932’s Grand Hotel, which is one of the 16 best picture winners included and one of several films (Mrs. Miniver and Driving Miss Daisy are among others) that are on Blu-ray for the first time. The most recent film in both sets in 2010’s Inception.
Both collections are limited and numbered, and each includes a poster and series of art cards featuring movie poster designs created by legendary American graphic designer Bill Gold. Two new documentaries created for the anniversary are also part of the package. The full-length feature Tales from the Warner Bros. Lot gives an inside look at the studio’s history with interviews by such stars as Clint Eastwood, Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, Martin Sheen, along with current and former studio executives Barry Meyer, Alan Horn, Bob Daly and Terry Semel. The Warner Bros. Lot Tour gives viewers a virtual trip around the property, which gets 200,000 visitors annually, to see the back-lot streets soundstages, sets and craft shops.
In addition to the big boxes, several smaller, more genre-specific 20-film sets ($99) are to be released throughout the year.The Best Picturesis out this week with Musicalsto follow Feb. 12. There will be others onRomance, Comedyand Thrillers. There will also be three animation collections Hanna-Barbera, Looney Tunes and DC Comics and The Best of Warner Bros. Superman TV Collection(nine live-action and animated TV shows).