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Offbeat films sell better online

The best-selling movies on the Net are not summer blockbusters, but offbeat films, cult classics, and "oldies but goodies," a survey says.

The best-selling movies on the Internet are not summer blockbusters or even classics, but a mix of the offbeat, cult classics, and "oldies but goodies," according to a survey released today.

The top ten selling movies online last year at, a leading Web movie store, were as follows: In the Realm of the Senses, Better Off Dead, A Clockwork Orange, Blade Runner, Clerks, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, The Manchurian Candidate, Poison Ivy 2: Lily, Pink Flamingos, and Brazil.

"While we certainly offer mainstream movies, our customers are coming to us to find the long-list favorites that they've been searching for unsuccessfully in the physical world," said Reel chief executive Stuart Skorman, whose company offers 85,000 film titles.

This taste in online shopping is not limited to movies, either. Many music sites also report that older CDs are their best-sellers. In the bookselling arena,'s best-sellers for 1996 largely consisted of technical books, such as Creating Killer Web sites: The Art of Third-Generation Site Design.

Although the tastes of many online shoppers are not mainstream, analysts remain confident that this nascent industry is poised for growth. The main reason: it's quick and easy. As with all e-commerce, hurdles exist, such as persuading consumers that their transactions will be secure. In addition, some consumers prefer browsing in stores for something to catch their eye to the Net's more direct search-and-retrieve method for finding goods.

In that case, there are always stores such as Blockbuster, where the release of titles such as Speed 2, George of the Jungle, and Men in Black are being heavily touted.

Reel also has a walk-in store in Berkeley, California.