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The company's 1985-1997 logo.

One of the most controversial early home video releasing companies to which The Rule of First Adopters didn't apply, Warner Home Video started out as the video releasing division of Warner-Elektra-Atlantic, dedicated to releasing the Warner Bros. library on videocassette. Under the name WCI Home Video (as in Warner Communications, Inc.), the company was founded in late 1979 and released its first tapes, including an independent's Chinese culinary how-to video, in January of the following year. The name was changed to its familiar form before the company was a year old; however, they still used the WCI name on the videograms until midway through 1981.

The company attracted controversy that year when they started a rental program which took effect on October 15. Starting on that day, all Warner tapes would be offered for rental only in selected markets. Texas was the first to sign on to the program, followed by San Francisco and Denver, then Oklahoma and Louisiana, among other territories. Many video dealers opposed the plan, and Queen was also a vocal opponent; the rental program caused Queen to gradually switch its American label affiliation from WEA to EMI, starting with the contested product, Queen: Greatest Flix. It was the first Queen product EMI would release in America. It was because of this opposition that Warner's rental program didn't last more than a year, and the damage had largely been done to rental-only for the foreseeable future; the year 1983 started with all the other rental programs, by Disney, MGM/UA, and 20th Century-Fox, having already been largely terminated.

Also of note is that early videograms were sometimes sped up to fit tapes of a certain length. Superman: The Movie is the poster child of this practice, though with all dialogue scenes presented at the correct speed, it was lucky compared to most of the other affected titles. Fortunately, the music was seldom, if ever, presented at a higher pitch as a result of the time compression going on, making Warner an early innovator in the art of efficient time compression (unfortunately, the same could not be said of its contemporaries, MGM/CBS Home Video and Walt Disney Telecommunications and Non-Theatrical Company).

Warner Bros. and WEA titles, of course, weren't the only product from Warner Home Video. There was also product from such entities as Orion Pictures (which had a joint venture with Warner Bros. that ran until 1982; most Orion product released before fall of that year is still owned by Warner to this day), Filmways Pictures, New World Pictures, The Ladd Company, New Line Cinema (over a decade before Warner's corporate parent Time Warner purchased the company, and just under three decades before it was merged into Warner Bros. itself), and NBC, among others. Warner Home Video currently releases DVDs and Blu-rays for outside companies including The BBC (North America only), Sesame Workshop, WWE (Wrestling content only, WWE Studios content is licensed by RLJ Entertainment), Viz Media, Mattel (most notably their American Girl made for TV and theatrical movies along with their Masters of the Universe theatrical movie), and select Paramount backlog titles, as well as sister WarnerMedia companies HBO, TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network.

In 1997, Warner became the first major studio to release motion pictures on DVD, with an initial batch of 33 titles (including MGM/UA Home Video titles, New Line titles, and a few music titles). For a time, certain early Warner DVDs were priced higher than retail at Best Buy locations due to a contract breach, according to the LaserRot fansite. They were also among the first, through sister studio WarnerVision Entertainment, to distribute the Power Rangers franchise on videocassette, taking over from PolyGram Video.

Pre-1986 product

    open/close all folders 

     1980 

     1981 

From this point onward, the stock numbers had five digits instead of four.

  • 11037 Cool Hand Luke (1967)

  • 11047 A Star Is Born (1954)
    General release version in its original pressing.

  • 11048 The Spirit Of St Louis (1957)

  • 11050 Rio Bravo (1959)

  • 22007 Simon (1980)
    Released during Orion Month in July 1981; one of the first releases to use the newer box art style, which Warner Home Video would continue to use for the first half of the decade

  • 24029 Devo: The Men Who Make the Music (1979)
    Released in June 1981; one of the last releases to use the old black box style

  • 24030 Dire Straits: Making Movies (1980)
    Released in June 1981; one of the last releases to use the old black box style

  • 24034 The Story Of Adele H (1975)

  • 34004 Queen: Greatest Flix (1981)
    Ultimately released by Thorn EMI Video due to a dispute between Queen and their North American label over how the release of this video would be handled.

     1982 
  • 11222 The Looney Tunes Video Show #3 (1982)
    Some of the Looney Tunes cartoons at this point were instead distributed on video by MGM/CBS Home Video.

    Contains the cartoons Quacker Tracker (1967), Double or Mutton (1955), Feline Frame-Up (1954), 8 Ball Bunny (1950), A Fractured Leghorn (1950), Scaredy Cat (1948) and Louvre Come Back to Me! (1962).

    Tape label incorrectly states the running time as 38 minutes. 1989 reissue gives the correct running time of 48 minutes.

  • 19217 Casablanca (1942)

    Only released in Canada and international territories; distributed by Magnetic Video in the United States.

    The 1982 UA logo's music plays over the warning scroll and the WHV logo.

  • 19226 The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
    Only released in Canada and international territories; distributed by Magnetic Video in the United States.

     1983 

Currently empty

     1984 

Currently empty

     1985 

     1986 

Currently empty

     1987 

Currently empty

     1988 

Currently empty

     1989 

  • Batman (1989)
    The screener, and some early retail copies, was printed at Rank Video Services America instead of at Technicolor Videocassette (Warner's usual duplication partner); some screener copies were recycled as retail copies of other Warner Home Video releases a bit later on, including Tango & Cash.

    This tape's program is as follows: a Batman Diet Coke commercial with Alfred, a Looney Tunes plug-in for the Warner Bros. catalog, the black-and-white F.B.I. warning screen, the 1985 Warner Home Video logo, and the film's Warner Bros. Pictures Vanity Plate, which goes into the opening credits.

     1999 

  • Pokemon The First Movie (1999)

    It starts off with the black-and-white F.B.I. warning screen, a preview for Warner Bros. Family Entertainment titles, a preview for "Switching Goals", a preview for "Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders", a preview for "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker", a soundtrack promo for "Pokemon The First Movie", a Kids' WB! plug in featuring various cartoons (including Pokemon, Tiny Toon Adventures, Men in Black the Series, Batman Beyond and Static Shock), the 1997 Warner Home Video logo, a aspect ratio screen, a introduction by Professor Oak, all 4 logos and a short cartoon.

     2001 

Currently empty

     2003 

Currently empty

     2004 

Currently empty

    International releases 
These titles were only released in the UK and other territories by Warner, or at least with this stock number or older style thereof. On five-digit stock numbers, international releases had the tendency to add 5 or 8 to the first digit, so Warner titles would start with a 6, Ladd Company titles with a 70, Orion titles with a 72, United Artists titles with a 99, and so on. Unless otherwise noted, United Artists releases were issued Stateside by Magnetic Video and its successor, CBS/Fox Video.

The first DVD releases

This section covers the first 61 DVD releases in North America by Warner Home Video and associated labels, including Warner Reprise Video, New Line Home Video, MGM/UA Home Video, and HBO Home Video.

    March 1997 
  • Batman (1989)
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • The Birdcage (1996)
    From United Artists Corporation
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • Blade Runner (1982)
    From The Ladd Company
    Released on March 25, 1997
    Director's cut
    Infamous on This Very Wiki for using the WB Shield as an excuse for a menu, which provides the page image for Vanilla Edition
  • The Bodyguard (1992)
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • The Bridges of Madison County (1995)
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • The Color Purple (1985)
    Released on March 25, 1997
    One of three films made with the involvement of Steven Spielberg, in this case as director, to be released on DVD during the early days of the format; Spielberg notoriously had an embargo in place for DVD releases of his films that remained in effect until late 1998
  • Eraser (1996)
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • Eric Clapton: Unplugged (1992)
    From Reprise Records
    Released on March 24, 1997
  • The Exorcist (1973)
    Released on March 25, 1997
    Theatrical version
    Original "Big W" logo that started the film is intact
  • The Fugitive (1993)
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • Get Shorty (1995)
    From Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • The Glimmer Man (1996)
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • GoldenEye (1995)
    From United Artists Corporation
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • Goodfellas (1990)
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • Interview with the Vampire (1994)
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • Lethal Weapon (1987)
    Released on March 25, 1997
    Theatrical version
  • Madonna Live Down Under: The Girlie Show (1994)
    From Reprise Records
    Released on March 24, 1997
  • The Mask (1994)
    From New Line Cinema
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • Mortal Kombat (1995)
    From New Line Cinema
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • R.E.M.: Road Movie (1996)
    From Reprise Records
    Released on March 24, 1997
  • The Road Warrior (1983)
    Released on March 25, 1997
    Original "Big W" logo that started the film is intact
    This release is generally accepted among videophiles to have the closest color grading out of any videodisc release to the original theatrical release
  • Rocky (1976)
    From United Artists Corporation
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • Seven (1997)
    From New Line Cinema
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • Space Jam (1996)
    Released on March 25, 1997
    The newest film in the initial launch slate from Warner Home Video
  • Species (1995)
    From Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
    Released on March 25, 1997
    Director's cut
  • A Time to Kill (1996)
    Released on March 25, 1997
    Its VHS counterpart was the first release to use the then-new logo for Warner Home Video, which would go on to appear on all of its DVD releases for two decades
  • Twister (1996)
    Released on March 25, 1997
    The first THX-certified DVD release
    One of three films made with the involvement of Steven Spielberg, in this case as executive producer, to be released on DVD during the early days of the format; Spielberg notoriously had an embargo in place for DVD releases of his films that remained in effect until late 1998
  • Unforgiven (1992)
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939)
    From Turner Entertainment
    Released on March 25, 1997
  • Woodstock (1970)
    Released on March 25, 1997
    Director's cut

    April 1997 
  • Batman Returns (1992)
    Released on April 29, 1997
  • Disclosure (1994)
    Released on April 29, 1997
  • Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
    Released on April 29, 1997
  • JFK (1991)
    Released on April 8, 1997
    Director's cut
  • The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
    From New Line Cinema
    Released on April 29, 1997
  • Michael Collins (1996)
    Released on April 8, 1997
  • Poltergeist (1982)
    From Turner Entertainment
    Released on April 8, 1997
    One of three films made with the involvement of Steven Spielberg, in this case as writer and producer (a contractual obligation prevented him from directing), to be released on DVD during the early days of the format; Spielberg notoriously had an embargo in place for DVD releases of his films that remained in effect until late 1998
  • Sleepers (1996)
    Released on April 1, 1997
  • Tin Cup (1996)
    Released on April 29, 1997

Warner Home Video provides an example

  • Copy Protection: For several years beginning in 1986, they used Macrovision to prevent most of their their home video media from making a bootleg copy.
  • Vanilla Edition: Their earliest DVD releases, particularly Blade Runner and Twister (the latter which at least had a theatrical trailer), were notorious for this.

Alternative Title(s): WCI Home Video

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