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  #1  
Old 04-28-2009, 10:29 AM
joebuck20 joebuck20 is offline
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What was the first movie (or movies) released on videotape?

Not just on VHS but on whatever formats preceded it, be it BETA, U-Matic, Cartrivision, etc. And when were they released, how much did they cost and how could you get them (could you just buy them in a store or did you have to special order them)?
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  #2  
Old 04-28-2009, 11:02 AM
BurnMeUp BurnMeUp is offline
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I remember when our family first bought our VHS back around 84 or so there weren't a lot of movies for sale, mostly for rent. There was a big amazing video store with a few hundred selections but they charged people $100 a year to join. We chose a smaller place that was still quite a drive for us, and they had milited quantities. I remember most of the James Bond movies were out as well as a lot of disney live action stuff. Also some of the more recent movies like Splash and such.
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Old 04-28-2009, 11:16 AM
Nom_de_Plume Nom_de_Plume is offline
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I remember "M*A*S*H" being the first movie I remember seeing for sale on pre-recorded videotape. (I didn't have a machine to play it at the time, so I was only marginally interested.)

I do, however, remember that when I did get a VHS machine, pre-recorded movies were very expensive because they were mainly priced for rental places to buy them. That was until "Beverly Hills Cop" came out for less than $20 which, I believe, was the first affordable (and well-selling) home video title..
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:01 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Originally Posted by Nom_de_Plume View Post
I remember "M*A*S*H" being the first movie I remember seeing for sale on pre-recorded videotape. (I didn't have a machine to play it at the time, so I was only marginally interested.)
When I was in 8th grade (this would have been 1978), a friend's family had a VCR, which was a pretty rare thing at that time. And, "M*A*S*H" was one of the few movies (if not the only movie) that they had purchased on tape.
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  #5  
Old 04-28-2009, 12:26 PM
BubbaDog BubbaDog is offline
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Most of my Beta movies were recorded off the cable signal or direct transfer when I could borrow or rent another player.

The first packaged movie I bought was Night Shift

My friend owned a video store in the early 80's and bought most of his titles for $60 to $80.

And yep, Beverly Hills Cop made a bit of a stir when it came out at a price under $30.
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:35 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Originally Posted by BubbaDog View Post
My friend owned a video store in the early 80's and bought most of his titles for $60 to $80.
I distinctly recall seeing an ad in our local paper when I was in college, for the neighborhood video store, announcing that they had the horrible Tanya Roberts vehicle Sheena for sale, for the low price of $79.95.



In all fairness, at that time, the business model for the video industry was that most people rented movies, rather than purchasing them. So, the video stores were largely the only people actually purchasing movies from the studios (and, at that time, many video stores still had paid membership, as well).
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:46 PM
mobo85 mobo85 is offline
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The very first commercial releases of films on home video were released by Magnetic Video in 1977, consisting of 50 titles on VHS and Betamax licensed from a near-bankrupt 20th Century Fox. I am unsure of the cost, but the first video rental store- founded the same year and offering all of Magnetic's titles in both formats- would let you rent them for $10 a night (plus a $50 annual membership fee).
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Old 04-28-2009, 05:04 PM
gaffa gaffa is online now
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Originally Posted by mobo85 View Post
The very first commercial releases of films on home video were released by Magnetic Video in 1977, consisting of 50 titles on VHS and Betamax licensed from a near-bankrupt 20th Century Fox. I am unsure of the cost, but the first video rental store- founded the same year and offering all of Magnetic's titles in both formats- would let you rent them for $10 a night (plus a $50 annual membership fee).
I've seen titles that were commercially released on 3/4", as well as the 1/2" systems that pre-dated both VHS and Beta. the Quasar Great Time Machine and Great Time Machine II systems, the Panasonic stacked reel system and even 1/2" B&W open reel systems had pre-recorded tapes well before Magnetic Video.

I only know this because I had to move a friend who had been a video retailer starting in the "porta-pack" era, and I helped him box all of his stuff and put it in storage. These weren't Hollywood movies, but they were full-length films.
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  #9  
Old 04-28-2009, 06:35 PM
Blank Slate Blank Slate is offline
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The first time I rented a movie was around 1984, and I rented the vcr too, just for a night. I'm ashamed to say the first title was Star 80.
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  #10  
Old 04-28-2009, 09:26 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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I remember going into a video store in 1982. They had a pretty random selection of titles, including a very cut-down version of the 1980 TV miniseries Shogun (I didn't see the uncut series available on VHS until almost ten years later). There were some Disney tapes, IIRC, but I'm not sure which ones. A couple of years later they were LOTS of tapes available.

At first they were incredibly expensive, and the home versions came out many months or years after the store versions, with tapes running $80 or so (as noted above). The first VHS tape that came out for under $20 within about a year of the movie was Top Gun, which Pepsi co-sponsored the release of. They made a very big deal at the time, which was March 1987:

http://promomagazine.com/entertainme...ng_high_flyer/

Quote:
At this point, a voiceover announced Pepsi's offer of a $5 rebate on a Top Gun VHS cassette when mailed with the movie proof of purchase and Pepsi proofs of purchase, together with certificates available at participating stores.

An outstanding commercial, combined with an offer on the video of the previous year's most popular film, was too much to resist. Retailers ran ads featuring the Top Gun video with the rebate built-in to their price, resulting in deep price cuts. Many retailers were sold on featuring this $26.95 video at $16.95 with rebate, simply because of the strength of Pepsi's considerable promotional support.

Consumers were agog. The spot drove more retail traffic than any other video promotion offered since. Initial revenue from VHS sales of Top Gun exceeded $30 million, according to Jan Sexton, VP of Adams Media Research. This made Top Gun one of the best-sellers in early video history, until 20th Century Fox's 1990 VHS release of Home Alone, which did a whopping $185 million in initial video revenue, according to Adams. (Home Alone set its video records by riding the coattails of another monster promotional effort from Pepsi.)
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  #11  
Old 04-28-2009, 10:21 PM
Tapioca Dextrin Tapioca Dextrin is offline
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It was possible to rent a video tape for the Cartrivision back in 1972 (before they went tits up in 1973). Apparently, the initial catalog had 111 titles including The Sands of Iwo Jima, Bridge Over the Bridge Kwai and High Noon. The cost was $5 and there are two stories I have found as to how the rental worked. Either you had to order the tape from a catalog and it would be sent to you via UPS; or tapes were available to be rented directly through Sears. The only way to rewind the tape was by using a special machine that only the Cartrivision folks owned.


Here's the only picture of a cartivision cassette that I could find.

There was an unsuccessful attempt to rent out tapes back in 1968 through a company called Ampex. If you bought a $4000 tape player, they offered tapes at $1500 (for a two week rental). I guess the late fees killed them
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  #12  
Old 04-28-2009, 10:31 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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The first movie released on VHS was The Young Teacher in 1976, a Korean movie. (VHS was introduced in Asia and Europe before the United States.)

The last movie released on VHS was A History of Violence in 2006, although obviously future movies could be released. (However the last company that distributed new VHS movies went out of the business in 2008 so a theoretical future release would have a hard time being distributed.)

Last edited by Little Nemo; 04-28-2009 at 10:33 PM..
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  #13  
Old 04-28-2009, 11:51 PM
commasense commasense is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapioca Dextrin View Post
There was an unsuccessful attempt to rent out tapes back in 1968 through a company called Ampex. If you bought a $4000 tape player, they offered tapes at $1500 (for a two week rental). I guess the late fees killed them
The book you linked to doesn't say exactly that: it says that early VTRs cost between $1,000 and $4,000 (without citing a price for Ampex's in particular), and that Ampex rented a whole series of films for $1,500 (not just one).

However, I have my doubts about the accuracy of the book's assertions on that point. At a time when you could buy a new car for $1,500, I don't believe that any company thought that renting movies, even a bunch, for that price was a viable business model. (Unless it was porn! )
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  #14  
Old 04-29-2009, 12:27 AM
mobo85 mobo85 is offline
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The book excerpt states that the Ampex $1,500 rental set was meant "for educational purposes only." Seeing as media meant for educational institutions usually costs a pretty penny, I don't see it being unusual.
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  #15  
Old 04-29-2009, 08:57 AM
Stormcrow Stormcrow is offline
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I can see macines for the educational market costing $1500 and up - IIRC my school (in the mid-70's) had a 3/4" machine and they'd certainly have cost that much at the time. I wonder what format that Ampex system was.

For what its worth, Ampex was (is?) a major manufacturer of pro video equipment. I used to work in video duplication from 1989 to 1994 or so, and production houses of the time typically used either Ampex or Sony gear. Ampex had an especially large portion of the 1" videotape market.
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