WB to sell DVD pix in Japan

Warner Home Video said Monday it would begin selling digital videodisc movies in Japan this month.

A Warners spokeswoman said the firstfour titles would be “Assassins,” “Eraser,” “The Fugitive” and the director’s cut of “Blade Runner.”

Though a number of vidgame companies have announced DVD-ROM titles for use with personal computers, the Warner Home Video announcement marks the first time a studio has come forward with feature film releases for DVD set-top boxes.

Japanese electronic manufacturers including Toshiba and Matsushita launched DVD players there last month, but lack of movie titles slowed hardware sales.

The players are slated to launch in the U.S. early next year. According to the Warner Home Video spokeswoman, the company hopes to release more than four titles when the gear bows Stateside. She didn’t rule out, however, the possibility that the four titles shipping in Japan may be among initial U.S. releases.

The discs, on which the film is compressed, allow users to switch between dubbed or subtitled versions, and offer “making of” clips, information on the film’s stars and other material.

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