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Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Warner Bros. Launches Direct-to-DVD Division

Warner Bros. film studio on Monday unveiled a new division to make and distribute movies directly to DVD consumers - a first for the company - and it put a veteran marketing executive in charge of the group.

The new division, called Warner Premiere, annually will produce up to 15 original titles made by well-known filmmakers, starring recognized actors and, in some cases, based on earlier feature films that played in movie houses.

Warner Premiere's first title, for instance, will be "Dukes of Hazzard II," a sequel to last year's film "Dukes of Hazzard" that was a moderate success at box offices. It is expected to be released in Spring 2007, Warner Bros. said in a statement.

Diane Nelson, who previously served as executive vice president of global brand management, has been named president of Warner Premiere. Warner Bros. is a unit of Time Warner Inc.

Other Hollywood film studios, particularly The Walt Disney Co. , have built strong businesses making original content for direct-to-video and DVD markets.

In the past, Warner Bros. home entertainment division had released original movies based on animated content such as its Looney Tunes cartoon characters.

The establishment of Warner Premiere marks the first time it has created a new division solely for original, direct-to-DVD production and distribution.

Warner Bros. said select titles from the new group may be distributed to movie theaters and possibly online.

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