What was the first movie released on DVD?

What was the first movie released on DVD?

DVDs revolutionized physical media, changing home entertainment distribution forever — but what was the first movie released on the format?

VHS may have won the battle against Betamax, but the home video war had just begun. Tapes, while clunky and lo-fi compared to the 4K UHD wonders of today, were well-loved; they were affordable (mostly), you could rewind and fast-forward them, and you could even share them with your friends.

In 1997, a new product arrived on the market and spread like wildfire: the Digital Versatile Disc, better known as the DVD. They were smaller and slicker, boasted far superior video and audio quality, and their increased storage space allowed for extra stuff, like interactive menus and behind-the-scenes special features.

In just a few years, VHS was phased out and DVD reigned supreme (until the streaming service boom). So, you may be wondering: what movie launched the format?

What was the first movie on DVD?

The Assassin, Blade Runner, Eraser, and The Fugitive were the first movies on DVD, released exclusively in Japan on December 20, 1996. Many have claimed Twister was the first, but this isn’t accurate.

The format initially launched in Japan in November 1996, predominantly focused on music video releases. The four above movies kicked off its feature film line just before Christmas, but after several delays, DVDs didn’t make it to the US until March 1997.

A total of 32 movies were available on launch day (March 25, 1997 — although some retailers broke the street date and sold them earlier), as per Video Discovery, all of which are listed below:

  1. Batman
  2. The Birdcage
  3. Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut
  4. The Bodyguard
  5. The Bridges of Madison County
  6. Bonnie and Clyde
  7. Casablanca
  8. The Color Purple
  9. Doctor Zhivago
  10. Eraser
  11. The Exorcist
  12. The Fugitive
  13. The Glimmer Man
  14. Gone with the Wind
  15. GoodFellas
  16. Interview with the Vampire
  17. JFK: Special Edition Director’s Cut
  18. Lethal Weapon
  19. The Mask
  20. Midnight Cowboy
  21. Mortal Kombat
  22. The Road Warrior
  23. Rocky
  24. Seven
  25. Singin’ in the Rain
  26. Space Jam
  27. Species
  28. A Streetcar Named Desire: The Director’s Cut
  29. A Time to Kill
  30. Twister
  31. Unforgiven
  32. Woodstock: The Director’s Cut

Over the next two months, many more movies were given the DVD treatment, including Batman Returns, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Blazing Saddles, Chariots of Fire, and The Wild Bunch.

In the meantime, you can find out what new movies you should be streaming this month.

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