Bits BD Review – Bill takes a look at Universal's new Spartacus: Restored Edition http://t.co/Ms7prL0nTE
First up, Warner Home Video has finally revealed the packaging and contents of their forthcoming Batman: The Complete Television Series Limited Edition Blu-ray (SRP $269.97) and also the Batman: The Complete Television Series DVD (SRP $199.70), both due on 11/11. Both will include all 120 episodes of the classic series, fully remastered and uncut. Both will also feature more than three hours worth of special features content, including 6 featurettes (Hanging with Batman, Holy Memorabilia Batman!, Batmania Born!, the Bats of the Round Table discussion, Inventing Batman in the Words of Adam West (on Episodes 1 & 2), and Na Na Na Batman!). Both the Blu-ray and DVD sets will also include an exclusive Hot Wheels replica Batmobile, the Adam West Scrapbook hardcover (featuring never-before-seen photos from Adam’s own archives), 44 vintage Trading Cards, Ultraviolet Digital Copies of all 120 episodes, and an Episode Guide book (synopsis of all episodes, photos from the series and a personal letter from Adam West to the fans). Here’s what the Blu-ray set will look like...
You can click on the image there to pre-order the Blu-ray on Amazon. Note that Batman: The Complete First Season will also be available on DVD only (SRP $39.98) and the series will also be available for purchase in digital format only.
Next up today, Shout! Factory and Scream announced a really great new slate of catalog horror and sci-fi titles for release on Blu-ray and DVD at Comic-Con. Shout! kicks things off with word of a new UHF: 25th Anniversary Edition coming on both formats in November, along with an extras-loaded DVD box set called The Compleat Al. From the press release:
“The Compleat Al is the amazing, hilarious, and almost-true “life story” of “Weird Al” Yankovic, the Grammy award-winning master of musical parody and rock and roll comedy. The Compleat Al takes you behind the scenes, beginning with his early and somewhat formative childhood years; his high school and college days, up through his present-day bout with super-stardom. This concocted chronicle also contains some of the funniest moments from “AL-TV,” footage from his recent trip to Japan, and reveals for the first time the incredible story behind Eat It.”
Meanwhile, Scream Factory laid down the gauntlet with news of forthcoming releases of Dolls, The Dark Half, and Monkey Shines (due November – more in a minute), as well as Candyman II: Farewell to the Flesh, Scarecrows, Phantom of the Opera, New Year’s Evil (again, more in a minute), Invaders from Mars, a Max Mad: Collector’s Edition, and an Escape from New York: Collector’s Edition! Most will arrive in stores in 2015. Scream also provided release date updates on additional titles including The Doctor and the Devils (due 11/4), Dolls: Collector’s Edition (11/11), The Dark Half (11/18), Monkey Shines (11/18), Clive Barker’s Lord of Illusions: Collector’s Edition (due in December), New Year’s Evil (due early 2015), Hellhole (hopefully 2015), and Dog Soldiers (also 2015). They’ve also restarted pre-orders on Amazon for the Nightbreed: The Limited Edition (click this link for that).
20th Century Fox had their Planet of the Apes: Caesar Warrior Collection Blu-ray set on display at the show, along with the X-Men Cerebro Collection Comic-Con exclusive packaging, the custom reflective BD packaging for that slate of sci-fi and fantasy titles we mentioned last week. Pictures of all of these are available here on The Bits in a gallery in our Saturday morning update, along with the Shout’s Pee-wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series, and Anchor Bay/Scream’s Halloween: The Complete Collection and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Fox was also taking pre-orders on a number of upcoming TV BD and DVD titles, including FX’s Fargo: Season One (though street dates are still TBA).
What Fox did NOT announce unfortunately are the long-awaited anniversary Blu-ray releases of James Cameron’s True Lies and The Abyss. Nor did they say a peep about their just-completed HD restoration of The X-Files: The Complete Series. And thus we enter the realm of the Rumor Mill information gleaned from Comic-Con (so take what follows with the appropriate grain of salt)...
Our best industry sources tell us that the delay in announcing True Lies and The Abyss is once again all Cameron-related. The man simply works at his own pace, and he’s busy preparing for the start of filming on his Avatar sequels. Fox will have to announce these BDs soon if they hope to get them out this year (which marks major anniversaries for each film). The next likely opportunity to do so would be October, which is when Cameron is set to begin filming the Avatar sequels. That would also ensure pre-orders are open for Black Friday Week. But we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
As for The X-Files, the delay in announcing an official Blu-ray release might have a little something to do with this: As it’s been reported from Comic-Con, and frankly as we’ve suspected here at The Bits for a while now, series creator Chris Carter is in talks with Fox about returning to the franchise either with a reboot series, or a new feature film, or possibly both. (Read more here at Den of Geek). Waiting for any kind of official announcement about such a project before announcing a BD release of the series makes tons of sense from a studio marketing perspective, but again we’ll have to wait and see.
On the animation front, FUNimation has informed us that they’re still working to get the classic anime series Cowboy Bebop out on Blu-ray here in the States before the end of the year. Apparently it’s a complicated project to get right, but it’s definitely still coming.
In other Con-related news, Hobbit and Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has not only revealed the first teaser trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies today, he also revealed at the Con that he’s mulling adding still more extended footage back into The Lord of the Rings films for some kind of eventual Ultimate Middle-Earth Saga Blu-ray release of all 6 films. It would be just a few scenes, but still it’s interesting new nonetheless. Deadline Hollywood has more on that today and you can watch the new Hobbit trailer here…
Speaking of trailers, here’s your first look at the trailer for Warner’s upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road… to which the only appropriate reaction is: HOLY ****…
Moving on today, are any of you Star Trek fans? (As if we didn’t already know the answer to that question! How many times have we asked it now?) If so, we’ve got a trio of things for you today…
First, Varèse Sarabande has announced a 2-CD Star Trek into Darkness: The Deluxe Edition release of Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack music. Limited to 6,000 copies, the release sells for $26.98 and is now in stock here.
Also, our good friends Mark Altman and Robert Meyer Burnett have launched a Kickstarter to fun the production of The Free Enterprise TV Series. The original feature film starred William Shatner, as many of you know. Click the link for more on that.
Finally today, I’ve been mentioning a Kickstarter project over the past few weeks that has gotten funded and which is already finished, called Prelude to Axanar. This is a 20-minute documentary film set in the Trek universe, produced by our friend Alex Peters (of Propworx fame). I had the good fortune to attend the world premiere theatrical screening of the documentary down at Comic-Con on Saturday night, along with stars Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), Gary Graham (Star Trek: Enterprise) and many others. I think diehard Trek fans will really enjoy this project. The reason I mention it here, is that the complete Prelude to Axanar is going to be available for free viewing in full HD starting on Wednesday (7/30) here on the Kickstarter page for the next phase of the project, the full Star Trek: Axanar feature film. I’ll remind you again on Wednesday, but do visit the link and check it out.
Okay, that’s about all for now – certainly plenty of news for one day! We’ll be back tomorrow with more announcements and cover artwork, plus new columns and all the usual. Stay tuned!
- Bill Hunt