Sting in the Tale of Sky’s ‘New’ Movies Channel

Sky’s squandered another opportunity to improve its HD service by rebranding its MGM channel to offer more vintage classics – but only in SD.

MGM will relaunch as Sky Movies Classics on June 1.

Hopefully, the programming will be more imaginative than the new ID, which opens up the channel to vintage and modern classics from other studios, including Paramount, Universal, Warner Bros and Sony Pictures.

Some top titles have been confirmed, including the original Cape Fear, Easy Rider, American Graffiti, All the President’s Men, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Big Lebowski, The Devils, Bonnie & Clyde and The King of Comedy.

The western range will be expanded with Once Upon a Time in the West, Jeremiah Johnson, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Searchers and Rio Bravo while Hitchcock fans can look forward to To Catch a Thief, Psycho, Marnie and The Birds.

“When Sky Movies Classics launches in June, we humbly believe that it will offer a more varied movie experience,” Sky’s director of entertainment programming, Travis Dunbar, said in the press release.

“In many cases there will be films that have never played on New Zealand television or haven’t for decades including content from legendary filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick, Sam Peckinpah, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford and John Boorman.”

He believes the changes will add “significant value” to Sky Movies subscribers – but that’s questionable given none of the attractions will screen in HD when many already are for sale on Blu-ray as budget titles!

Sky’s charging of a premium monthly HD fee when it continues to screen most of its movie channels in SD is outrageously bad value for subscribers.

Look at the service movie fans get for their $10 HD Ticket each month compared to sports fans: only two movie channels in HD compared to five full-time sports channels and occasional “pop-ups” like those used for Sky’s Formula 1 and Masters golf coverage.

Moreover, if you want to watch indie/art house movies on Sky, you have to pay extra on top of the Hollywood channels to receive the Rialto Channel in all its SD glory.

Rialto rivals SoHo as Sky’s best channel but at least in the case of SoHo’s double-pay wall, you get HD for your extra bucks.

Increasingly, Sky’s movie subscription deals echo the title of another classic that will be new to its post-MGM stable: The Sting.

Here are the movies so far confirmed for the new channel plus Sky’s press release:

SKY TELEVISION TO REBRAND MGM TO SKY MOVIES CLASSICS

New line up offers a wider range of movies from the same beloved era.

Sky’s MGM channel will be renamed Sky Movies Classics on June 1 with significant enhancements to the channel’s movie line up.

As well as continuing to screen great movies from the MGM library, the move allows the channel to expand their offering to show quality classic movies from studios such as Paramount, Universal, Warner’s and Sony Pictures, offering Sky Movies subscribers a much wider range of films from the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and early ‘90s.

For more than 13 years Sky has programmed the MGM-branded channel with movies chosen solely from the MGM Studios library. Recently MGM Studios decided to sell its global branded-channel business to a third party, Chello Media, who took over the licensing and at this point the decision to rebrand MGM was made.

Sky’s Director of Entertainment Programming, Travis Dunbar, said the changes will add significant value to Sky Movies subscribers.

“When Sky Movies Classics launches in June, we humbly believe that it will offer a more varied movie experience. In many cases there will be films that have never played on New Zealand television or haven’t for decades including content from legendary filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick, Sam Peckinpah, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford and John Boorman,” he said.

The programming team, led by Sky’s Head of Movies Chrissy Henderson, has worked hard to ensure that Sky Movies Classics will offer films for all generations and preferences.

“We have worked alongside MGM for many years and with their blessing will now work in with other studios to keep the channel looking fresh without compromising what we know our audience loves,” she said.

“We know our viewers enjoy a variety of genres and we are delighted to be able to draw on hundreds of new classic titles. Westerns are a perennial favourite and the rebrand means we can add Ride Vaquero, Rio Bravo, The Searchers and Gunfight at the OK Corral to our great Western stable, and the inclusion of deals from a few independent studios has enabled us to include titles such as LA Confidential, Natural Born Killers and Heat to our film library,” she said.

Over the next few years viewer can look forward to:

  • The Warriors
  • Airplane
  • Arthur
  • Heaven Can Wait
  • Paper Moon
  • Witness
  • Pretty Baby
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Halloween (the original)
  • Logan’s Run
  • Spartacus
  • Day of the Jackal (original)
  • Scarface
  • Easy Rider
  • The Man Who Would Be King
  • Dirty Harry
  • Enter The Dragon
  • Mad Max 2
  • The Goonies
  • Breakfast at Tiffanys
  • Once Upon a Time in the West
  • Cat Ballou
  • The Searchers
  • Jeremiah Johnson
  • Blazing Saddles
  • The Naked Gun
  • King of Comedy
  • American Graffiti
  • The Sting
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Lost in America
  • Defending Your Life
  • Best in Show
  • To Catch a Thief
  • Psycho
  • Marnie
  • The Birds
  • Marathon Man
  • Once Upon a Time in America
  • Brazil
  • JFK
  • The Killing Fields
  • Room With a View
  • Cape Fear (1962)
  • Bonnie & Clyde
  • Cool Hand Luke
  • Ken Russell’s The Devils
  • Get Carter (1972)
  • Dog Day Afternoon
  • Being There
  • The Right Stuff
  • Dangerous Liaisons
  • Boogie Nights
  • Willy Wonka
  • Rosemary’s Baby
  • The Exorcist
  • War Of The Worlds (1953)
  • Fight Club
  • Farewell My Lovely
  • Bullitt
  • The Last of Sheila
  • All the President’s Men
  • Frantic
  • Zulu
  • The Big Red One (reconstruction)
  • Gunfight at the OK Corral
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  • Star Trek
  • Superman
  • The Nutty Professor (1963)
  • The Bellboy
  • The Patsy
  • Cinderfella
  • Natural Born Killers
  • Heat.
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One Response to “Sting in the Tale of Sky’s ‘New’ Movies Channel”

  1. They should get rid of the old movie channel and replace it with an HD movie channel 🙂

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