Warner Bros. Shuts Down Its Direct-to-DVD Label Warner Premiere

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Warner Bros. Logo

For years, Warner Bros., in partnership with D.C. Comics, had been releasing quite a bit of direct-to-DVD titles under their Warner Premiere label. Most of the titles were sequels for moderately successful films, like “Ace Ventura”, “Dukes of Hazzard”, “Lost Boys”, and “House on Haunted Hill”. Basically, films that you probably never saw, or didn’t want to see in the first place. Unless, of course, you were one of the few people waiting with bated breath for “Ace Ventura Jr: Pet Detective”.

Batman The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 (2012) Movie Blu-ray CoverBut more important to comic book fans is the fact that Warner Premiere is also the label that Warner and D.C. uses to release their original animated titles based on D.C.’s superhero properties like Superman and Batman. The two superheroes have combined for quite a large number of titles over the years, with Batman’s two-parter “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” set for later this year. Since both titles were already completed before this announcement, it’s unlikely their releases will be impacted by the closure. Of course, I could be wrong. The second part is scheduled for 2013, though it would be somewhat silly not to release it if it’s already completed, which was the impression I got.

In a statement to The Wrap, Warner explains their reasoning for shutting down Warner Premiere thusly:

Given the continuing decline in the direct-to-video film market and shifting business models in the production of digital series, the decision was made to close Warner Premiere.

The division, though, will continue to complete productions of remaining films and other projects that were scheduled for up to the Fall. After that, it’s kaput.

I’ve always wondered if the money studios sunk into these barely-sequels to moderate hits (in some cases, not even hits) were worth the investment. In most cases, these films can’t even be call sequels, but are mostly just retreads of the original with a subtitle tacked onto the title and new actors cast in the familiar roles.

Author: Nix

Editor/Writer at BeyondHollywood.com. Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at) beyondhollywood.com.
  • ErickKwon

    I wondered how the shift toward digital distribution would affect direct-to-video/B-titles. I’ve spent time as a register monkey at a couple of places and whenever the week’s big releases were all checked out, you’d see folks renting alternates or asking for suggestions. I’d imagine someone like Andy Sidaris or Charles Band wouldn’t be able to make it in today’s market, not to mention video and cable cult hits like “Eddie and the Cruisers” and “Escape From L.A.” Weep for a world that’ll never know the guilty pleasures of “The Puppet Master” series or Albert Pyun’s “Nemesis”

  • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

    Well this kinda sucks! But i doubt they will stop doing these all together, just won’t have it’s own seperate division. “The Dark knight Returns” is listed as a DC Universe Animated Original Movie, while all the previous were DC Warner Premiere. I don’t want these to end,but if they do, TDKR is the way to go.

  • Lou811

    these animated movies are great,dont stop now,maybe if you advertise more ,more people would buy the releases,Hell,i just so happen to be at Best buy when i say TDKR on the shelves.I didnt even know it was out yet