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Disney downloads join Movielink’s list

'Chicago,' 'Frida,' 'Jungle Book 2,' 'Monsters' among pix

Online download service Movielink has added films from Disney and its related labels to offerings from its five studio owners, a big boost to the service’s efforts to become a one-stop center to watch legal copies of films via the Net.

Disney had held out from joining Movielink as it worked to develop its own service with Fox. But that initiative foundered several months ago. Now, Movielink has signed a deal with Buena Vista Pay TV to sell downloads of Disney films in the video-on-demand/pay-per-view release window, as well as some of the Mouse House’s back catalog.

Films from Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone, Miramax and Dimension will be carried, beefing up the roster of offerings on Movielink from about 360 pics to 400, said Movielink CEO Jim Ramo.

Among the titles to be available within the next couple of weeks are recent releases “Chicago,” “Gangs of New York,” “The Recruit,” “Frida,” “Jungle Book 2” and “The 25th Hour.” Catalog offerings initially will include “Monsters, Inc.,” “The Rookie” and “In the Bedroom.”

“It’s very important for us to add Disney,” Ramo said. “This is a major studio with great titles.”

The company is continuing to negotiate with Fox and hopes to sign a distribution deal with the last major studio not already aboard, Ramo said.

Movielink, launched about eight months ago, is the studios’ most tangible effort to provide a reasonably priced legal alternative to illegal downloads of pirated films.

The company has not released usage figures, but Ramo said, “Our numbers are still growing and we have good repeat usage. It’s fair to say that movie delivery on the Internet is in the developmental stage. It’s not quite at the takeoff stage where music is.”

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