While video streaming is the hot thing these days, not all studios, especially the big ones, are always keen on following the trend. Perhaps more than anything, they fear the likelihood of increased piracy. So when Paramount Pictures makes puts more than a hundred films up on YouTube and makes them available absolutely for free, you might think it’s some late/early April Fools’ prank. And yet that is exactly what the studio did on its verified The Paramount Vault, giving free access dozens of content on the world’s largest video streaming service.
To be clear, Paramount isn’t offering its latest and greatest films, so don’t expect to see Iron Man in there or World War Z. In fact, despite the 100+ number, the full list excludes blockbusters, both new and old, like the Titanic, Raiders of the Lost Ark, or even the highly contentious Transformers films.
The set does include a wide range of films, from black and white classics, to science fiction, to westerns, It’s a wild mix of titles, some of which have been labeled as bombs, while others more or less enjoyed some level of success. You’ll see titles like the 50s’ Dark City starring Charlton Heston, or Dolph Lundgren’s portrayal of He-Man in the Masters of the Universe, or the 1955 “modern day” horror flick Rumplestilstkin.
The Paramount Vault’s YouTube account is described as a place for showcasing a varied selection of the studio’s work. Rather than the best of the best, it is meant more to give viewers a sense of history of the world of cinematography, both the ups and even the downs.
The account is an official Paramount account and has been verified by YouTube, which lends credibility to this unexpected and perhaps risky move. That said, the films are viewable only in the US and there is no word yet if Paramount plans on expanding that coverage. Then again, some more “creative” people will always find a way around that restriction.