my two cents 1000

Well, it’s a bit of a slow news day today.  Except of course for this: Deadline Hollywood and others are reporting that Star Trek Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams is officially signing a deal with Disney and Lucasfilm to direct Star Wars: Episode VII.  Fascinating news, and of course it’s setting the geek world abuzz today online.  We’ll have to see how everyone feels about this after seeing Into Darkness.

In Blu-ray and DVD news (speaking of J.J. Abrams), Warner has just confirmed that Fringe: The Complete Fifth Season will arrive on both formats on 5/7, the same day as The Complete Series which was revealed yesterday.  SRP for is $49.99 for the Blu-ray and $39.98 for DVD.  No word yet on extras.

Warner has also set LEGO Batman: The Movie for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/21 (SRP $24.98 and $19.98).

Anchor Bay Entertainment has set Escapee for Blu-ray and DVD release on 4/16.

PBS has set The Reagan Presidency and NOVA scienceNOW: How Smart Can We Get? for DVD only release on 2/26.

And Image Entertainment has set Fast Girls! coming on DVD on 2/26.

Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

All right, we’ve got more good release news for you guys today…

First up this afternoon, Warner Home Video has just set Fringe: The Complete Series for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/7 (SRP $197.50 and $159.96).  This includes the recently completed fifth and final season, which we expect to be released individually around the same time (and announced soon).

Warner has also set the 5-disc The Terminator Anthology Blu-ray set for wide release on 3/5 (SRP $49.99).  Until now it’s been a Best Buy-exclusive release.  Note that this will not include the newly-remastered Terminator Blu-ray - that must be purchased separately from MGM/Fox.

In addition, the studio has also set a National Lampoon’s Vacation: 30th Anniversary Edition and National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation for Blu-ray release on 5/21.  Vegas will include only a theatrical trailer, but Vacation will include a new A&E special Inside Story: National Lampoon’s Vacation, along with an introduction by Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid and Matty Simmons, commentary by Harold Ramis, Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron and Matty Simmons, and a trailer.

Other newly announced Warner titles including DCU: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2: Special Edition (DVD - 3/12), My Brother Jonathan (BBC - DVD - 3/19), The Great Barrier Reef (BBC - BD & DVD - 4/9), One Life (BBC - BD/DVD Combo - 4/9), Gilmore Girls: The Complete Series Collection (DVD - 4/16), Spies of Warsaw (BBC - BD & DVD - 4/16) and Merlin: The Complete Fifth Season (BBC - BD & DVD - 4/23).

Also today, Olive Films has announced a terrific slate of deep catalog Blu-rays for February and March.  Titles include Westward Ho, Ironweed, China Gate, Ruthless, McLintock, Wyoming Outlaw, Late Bloomers, A Man Betrayed, Sun Shines Bright, Lawless Nineties, Womb, Atomic Kid, Hell’s Half Acre and Devil & Miss Jones all on 3/26, A New Life, Plain Clothes, She Devil, Diary of a Chamber Maid, Monsieur Gangster, Lady for a Night, The Red Menace, Strangers in the Night and The Great Spy Chase all on 2/26, and The Running Man, Irreconcilable Differences, Julius Caesar (1970), Les Miserables (1958), Live Nude Girls, Don Giovanni, Innocent Bystanders, Highlander 2: Renegade Version, Night of the Demons, The Monster Squad and That Cold Day in the Park all on 2/19.

Sony has set Adventures in Zambezia for Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD release on 3/26.

Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox have set Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out for DVD only release on 3/26.

20th Century Fox has also set One Night with the King and The Marine 3: Homefront for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/5.  King will include an audio commentary with, while Marine 3 will include 5 featurettes (Shipwrecked: Breaking Down the Boat, The Miz Rocks the Boat, The Miz Declassified, Casting Call: Ready to Enlist and Miz Journal).

IFC Films has set Julia Loktev’s The Loneliest Planet for DVD only release on 2/26 (SRP $24.98).

Shout! Factory has set Woochi: The Demon Slayer on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/9.

Sony will release The Mob Doctor: The Complete Series on DVD on 3/12.

Anchor Bay Entertainment will release Shadow People on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/19 (SRP $24.99 and $22.98).

Anchor Bay and The Weinstein Company have This Must Be the Place due on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/12.

Time Life has Vietnam: The Ten Thousand Day War coming as a 4-disc DVD set on 4/9 (SRP $39.95).

Image will release the 5-disc Naked City: 20 Star-Filled Episodes series sampler on DVD on 2/19 (SRP $24.98).  Guest stars include Gene Hackman, Robert Redford, Leslie Nielsen, Peter Fonda, William Shatner, Dustin Hoffman, Telly Savalas, James Caan, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen Carroll O’Connor, Jean Stapleton, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Jack Klugman and more.

And finally today for you music fans, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release a Queen: Live at Wembley Stadium - 25th Anniversary Edition as a 2-disc DVD set on 3/12 (SRP $17.98).

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for all three Jurassic Park BD/DVD Combo packs announced yesterday (due on 3/26), along with Olive Films’ Julius Caesar, The Monster Squad and Highlander 2: Renegade Version

Jurassic Park (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)    The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)    Jurassic Park 3 (Blu-ray Disc)

Julius Ceasar (1970 - Blu-ray Disc)    Monster Squad (Blu-ray Disc)    Highlander 2: Renegade Version (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

Afternoon, folks!  We’ve got some great announcement news for you today, but first our own Russell Hammond has updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover artwork.  Do check it out.

Now then, Universal has just set Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park for release on Blu-ray 3D Combo format on 4/23 (see the cover artwork below).  The 3D-upgraded film arrives in theaters on 4/5.  Also newly announced is Continuum: Season One on Blu-ray and DVD and new Jurassic Park 1-3 BD combo packs all due on 3/26.

Universal is also reissuing the Stallone film Nighthawks on DVD on 4/2.  No sign of a Blu-ray release yet, but we’d sure love to see one.

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and MGM have set the 2012 remake of Red Dawn for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 3/5.  Extras are TBA.

Warner Home Video has set Sommersby for Blu-ray release on 5/21.

Sony has re-listed their long-delayed Ishtar Blu-ray and DVD release with a tentative street date of 8/6/2013.  It remains to be been seen if this holds, but you’ll find the BD cover artwork below.

Sony has also set Playing for Keeps for Blu-ray and DVD release on 3/5 (SRP $35.99 and $30.99).  The studio has additionally listed more MOD DVD-R releases for release on 3/5, including Anatomy of a Murder, The Hireling, Goya in Bordeaux, Adventure in Washington, The Big Gusher, The California Trail (1933), The Line-Up, 5 Against the House, Oklahoma City Dolls, Death Goes North, Party of Five: The Complete Fourth Season and Worst-Case Scenario: The Complete First Season.

Also today, Lionsgate has set the horror film The Collection for Blu-ray and DVD release on 3/26.

Paramount and DreamWorks have set Rise of the Guardians for release on Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 3/12, in a variety of configurations both with and without “egg” packaging. More details soon.

CBS will release Family Ties: The Sixth Season on DVD on 4/9.

Disney has set Private Practice: The Complete Sixth Season for DVD only release on 5/7, followed by Perception: The Complete First Season on DVD only on 5/21.

Finally, here’s something cool for you classic film fans: Cohen Media Group is releasing Douglas Fairbanks’ The Thief of Bagdad on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/19.  From the press release:

“Newly restored from two 35mm negatives and incorporating the color tints and tones of the original release prints, this definitive edition of The Thief of Bagdad features silent film score maestro Carl Davis (Napoleon) conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra, performing a magnificent score that intermingles Davis’ own music with the famous Orientalia of Rimsky-Korsakov.  The soundtrack is in 5.1 Dolby Digital for DVD and state-of-the-art DTS-HD Master Audio for Blu-ray.

Blu-ray and DVD extras include running audio commentary by Douglas Fairbanks biographer Jeffrey Vance and a featurette about the making of the film and its impact, including rare behind-the-scenes photographs.”

Sounds terrific – count us in!

We’ll leave you with a look at the Blu-ray cover art for Universal’s Jurassic Park 3D, Fox’s Red Dawn, Cohen’s The Thief of Bagdad, Sony’s Ishtar and Warner’s Sommersby and DreamWorks’ Rise of the Guardians.  Enjoy!

Jurassic Park (Blu-ray 3D)    Red Dawn (2012 - Blu-ray Disc)    The Thief of Bagdad (Blu-ray Disc)

Ishtar (Blu-ray Disc)    Sommersby (Blu-ray Disc)    Rise of the Guardians (Blu-ray 3D)

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

All right, today’s post is going to be quick, but it’s a good one…

First up, there’s more news regarding The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  As we reported last Thursday, word of the Blu-ray release of the film has begun to leak in Europe and in fact you can now pre-order the theatrical cut Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo and DVD versions in Germany and France.  Now images of a French retail sell sheet have leaked online, showing your choice of three different Steelbook covers for the 2D version, plus word that the discs will include over two hours worth of extras, including a “making of” featurette and 10 video blogs – presumably an archive of the same video blogs that director Peter Jackson has posted online here. It also appears that the 3D version of the film may be contained on a pair of Blu-rays, while the 2D version will appear on just one disc.  More here at Collider and here at Bleeding Cool.  Here’s the German cover art for the BD3D and DVD versions that we posted last Thursday (originally from Amazon.de) – we’ve added a look at the German BD Steelbook as well…

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (German Blu-ray 3D)    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (German Blu-ray Steelbook)     The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (German DVD)

By the way, the French sell sheet makes no mention of the Extended Edition release.  But we do know from our coverage of Warner’s 2013 release slate event that the studio is tentatively planning on releasing it later this year.  And Jackson and company have indicated in various interviews that they’re considering what deleted footage to include in longer cuts of the films.

Also today, we’ve got a follow-up on our CES 2013 coverage of 4K... and it’s definitely of interest to you Blu-ray fans.  Blu-ray Disc Association president Andy Parsons has revealed that the BDA created a task force within its member companies in late 2012 to begin investigating the notion of extending the Blu-ray spec to deliver 4K movie content – presumably to make Blu-ray Hollywood’s preferred medium for distributing 4K Ultra HD content to consumers with 4K displays.  (More here at TechHive.)  What’s interesting about this is that while Blu-ray has disc capacities of 25GB and 50GB (via single and dual-layer media), RED revealed at CES that their 4K streamed movies will have the same data rate as Blu-ray (20Mbps) so you could presumably included a .RED file on a Blu-ray with a file size of 15 to 20GB.  But .RED is obviously a proprietary format, and it’s just one of several being used to deliver films in 4K theatrically.

BDA president Andy Parsons says that the Blu-ray format is technically capable of delivering 4K content, but there are a number of factors that need to be considered.  The first is the cost of doing so: Can existing production and manufacturing pipelines be retooled to accommodate 4K Blu-rays so that discs are reasonably priced, or is it just easier to stream 4K to displays?  And then there’s demand: Sales of 4K displays are going to be extremely limited for the next few years until costs come down, so will demand for 4K discs justify the costs?  Other questions remain as well: Would the new 4K Blu-rays work on existing players?  Could at least some players be made compatible with 4K via firmware updates or would new players be required?  Obviously, 4K video would either require greater compression than Blu-ray currently employs or additional layers would have to be added to the discs – or both.

Finally, there’s an even bigger issue to overcome – rampant concern over piracy in the Hollywood community.  Are the studios even willing to release their best films in 4K?  Think of it this way: If someone pirates a current Blu-ray, they’ve got a great high-definition copy.  If someone pirates a 4K file, they’ve essentially got a duplicate of the studio master – 4K is effectively the equivalent resolution you get from a 35mm film print.  That’s not an appealing proposition for any senior studio executive.

So interesting though the idea of 4K Blu-ray is, there are a lot of hurdles yet to clear.  Nevertheless, we’ll keep you up to date on any new developments as we hear of them.

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

All right, more announcement news today…

The Weinstein Company and Anchor Bay have officially announced the Blu-ray Combo and DVD release of Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master on 2/26 (SRP $39.99 and $29.98).  Extras on the Blu-ray Combo version will include the Back Beyond featurette (outtakes and additional scenes set to music), the Unguided Message short film, John Huston’s 1946 documentary on World War II veterans Let There Be Light plus trailers and teasers.  You’ll find the cover artwork below.

In addition, Criterion has revealed their April Blu-ray and DVD release slate, which is set to include Lawrence Olivier’s Richard III (Cat #213 - BD and DVD - due 4/9), David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch (Cat #220 - BD and DVD - due 4/9), Teinosuke Kinugasa’s Gate of Hell (Cat #653 - BD and DVD - due 4/9), Alex Cox’s Repo Man (Cat #654 - BD and DVD - due 4/16) and a Pierre Etaix box set (Cat #655 - BD and DVD - due 4/23 – includes The Suitor, Yoyo, As Long As You’ve Got Your Health, Le Grand Amour and Land of Milk and Honey).  Also coming is Eclipse Series 38: Masaki Kobayashi Against the System on DVD on 4/16 (includes The Thick-Walled Room, I Will Buy You, Black River and The Inheritance).  In other words, it’s yet another great batch of titles from Criterion.

Also today, our own Jeff Kleist has turned in a review of Fox’s Taken 2 on Blu-ray, so enjoy!

Here’s the BD cover art for Weinstein’s The Master and Criterion’s Naked Lunch and Repo Man

The Master (Blu-ray Disc)    Naked Lunch (Criterion)    Repo Man (Criterion)

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you back here on Tuesday morning (following Monday’s MLK Jr. Day holiday).  Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

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