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All right, we’re rounding out the week with a bit more announcement news…

First up, Lionsgate has officially announced the DVD only release of Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection on 4/30 (SRP $26.98), as well as the Blu-ray release of Strictly Ballroom the same day (SRP $14.99 – we posted the cover art for this one a couple days ago).  Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection will include audio commentary with director/co-writer James Plumb, director of photography/co-editor James Morrissey, 1st assistant director Victoria Rodway, sound recordist Paul Brookes and actress Mel Stevens.  Strictly Ballroom will include 2 featurettes (Strictly Ballroom: From Stage to Screen, Samba to Slow Fox Dance), a deleted scene, a design gallery and audio commentary with director Baz Luhrmann, production designer Catherine Martin and choreographer John “Cha Cha” O’Connell.

For you music fans, Eagle Rock Entertainment has set Pat Metheny Group: We Live Here – Live in Japan for DVD only release on 3/12 (SRP $14.98).

Disney will release Private Practice: The Complete Sixth Season on DVD on 5/7 (SRP $39.99).  Extras will include outtakes, deleted scenes and the Saying Our Goodbyes featurette.

Blue Underground has announced a 4-film Spaghetti Westerns Unchained DVD box set for release on 5/21 (SRP $29.98), set to include Django, Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot!, Keoma and Texas, Adios.  The set will include interview featurettes, commentary, trailers and still galleries.  Also coming on that day from Blue is director Giancarlo Santi’s Grand Duel on DVD, staring Lee Van Cleef (SRP $14.98).  It’s mastered from a new HD transfer of the original negative, and will include commentary, a trailer and a Spaghetti Westerns trailer reel.

Warner Home Video has announced a 5-film Hats Off to Dr. Seuss: Collector’s Edition for release on both Blu-ray and DVD on 2/19 (SRP $59.99 and $44.98).  The set will include The Lorax, Green Eggs and Ham and Other Stories, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, The Cat in the Hat and Horton Hears a Who!, along with new original bonus content and a booklet of rare Dr. Seuss artwork.

And Warner has also announced official release details for their forthcoming Tom and Jerry: The Golden Collection – Volume 2, which is due on Blu-ray and DVD on 6/11 (SRP $34.99 and $26.99 – we posted the BD cover art yesterday).  The 2-disc set will officially include 42 remastered shorts plus bonus content.  The shorts included are Polka-Dot Puss, Nit-Witty Kitty, The Little Orphan, Cat Napping, Hatch Up Your Troubles, The Flying Cat, Heavenly Puss, The Duck Doctor, The Cat and the Mermouse, The Two Mouseketeers, Love that Pup, Smitten Kitten, Jerry’s Diary, Triplet Trouble, Tennis Chumps, Little Runaway, Little Quacker, Fit to be Tied, Saturday Evening Puss, Push-Button Kitty, Texas Tom, Cruise Cat, Jerry and the Lion, The Dog House, Safety Second, The Missing Mouse, Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl, Jerry and Jumbo, The Framed Cat, Johann Mouse, Cue Ball Cat, That’s My Pup!, Jerry and the Goldfish, Just Ducky, Jerry’s Cousin, Two Little Indians, Sleepy-Time Tom, Life with Tom, His Mouse Friday, Puppy Tale, Slicked-Up Pup and Posse Cat.

Finally, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of legendary film make-up artist Stuart Freeborn, who passed away in London on Tuesday at the age of 98.  Freeborn is of course best known as the co-creator of Yoda of Star Wars fame, though he also crafted the look of key characters in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove , Fagin from David Lean’s version of Oliver Twist and the infamous “Dawn of Man” ape sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey.  He will surely be missed.  More here at The New York Times.

Stuart Freeborn with Yoda and Irvin Kershner

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

All right, we’re working on more BD reviews which we hope to have up over the next couple days.

Meanwhile, in announcement news today... Warner Home Video has officially set National Lampoon’s Vacation: 30th Anniversary Edition and National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation for Blu-ray Disc release on 5/21 (SRP $19.98 each).  We’ve mentioned extras details previously.

HBO has just set Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom: The Complete First Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 6/11 (SRP $79.98 and $59.99).  Extras on the Blu-ray will include episodic previews and recaps, deleted scenes, 2 featurettes  (The Rundown and Mission Control) and 5 audio commentaries with the cast and crew including Aaron Sorkin, Alan Poul, Jeff Daniels, Sam Waterston, Emily Mortimer and more.

HBO has also set the photojournalism documentary series Witness (produced by Michael Mann and directed by David Frankham) for DVD only release on 5/7 (SRP $19.98).

Shout! Factory has set Crimewave (1985) for Blu-ray Combo release on 5/14, followed by Captain America (1990) and The Burning (1981) on Blu-ray Combo on 5/21.

And Sony has set director Jonas Akerlund’s Small Apartments for Blu-ray and DVD release on 4/16.

Also today, CBS has just posted trailers for the Blu-ray release of Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Best of Both Worlds (due 4/30) and Star Trek: Enterprise – Season One (due 3/26) on YouTube.  Here’s a look (be sure to select 1080p for the best quality)…

Here’s a look at the Blu-ray cover art for both of Warner’s Vacation titles plus their Tom & Jerry: Golden Collection – Volume Two (due 6/11), HBO’s The Newsroom , Shout!’s Captain America and Paramount’s Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Best of Both Worlds (which is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com by clicking on the links)…

National Lampoon's Vacation: 30th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)    National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation (Blu-ray Disc)    Tom & Jerry: Golden Collection - Volume 2 (Blu-ray Disc)

The Newsroom: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Disc)    Captain America (1990 - Blu-ray Disc)    Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Best of Both Worlds (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

All right, our own Russell Hammond has once again posted the weekly update of the Release Dates and Artwork section chock full of all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links.  Don’t forget, anything at all (movies, books, electronics, whatever) that you order from Amazon after clicking through to them through our links helps to support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it.

Here at the site this afternoon, we’ve got a new disc review for you.  Tim Salmons has checked out Universal’s recent End of Watch on Blu-ray Combo, and has found it to be well worth your time.  It’s now available in stores, so do check it out.  And check back tomorrow for another BD review as well.

In announcement news today, some of you TV fans are going to go nuts over this news:  Time Life has revealed that they’re exclusively releasing China Beach: The Complete Series online as a 21-disc DVD collector’s set (SRP $199.95).  Pre-orders are now open only on the ChinaBeachonDVD.com website.  All 62 episodes will be included along with 10 hours worth of extras including cast reunion videos, interviews with the cast and crew, audio commentary tracks, featurettes and a 36-page book called Tales from the Five & Dime.  A special 25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition of the series will also be available (SRP $274.95) that adds 3 complete scripts signed by the entire cast, 4 8x10 cast photos and special packaging.  Here’s a look (click the image to visit the official site)...

China Beach: The Complete Series (DVD)

Meanwhile, Universal has set Hyde Park on Hudson for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 4/9.  The film stars Bill Murray (as President Franklin D. Roosevelt) and Laura Linney.

Universal has also set the documentary Planet Ocean for Blu-ray and DVD release on 4/9.  The discs will include a trio of bonus featurettes.

Here’s something exciting:  Magnet Releasing has officially obtained the rights to the recent science fiction/horror film Europa Report.  Looks like they’re planning a limited theatrical release followed by digital distribution, Blu-ray and DVD.  We’ll let you know when we hear more.

Warner Home Video has set Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures: Volume 4 for DVD only release on 5/28 (SRP $19.97).  It will include 16 more episodes of the series on 2 discs, including Flea for Your Life, The Return of Batduck, Toons Take Over, Toons from the Crypt, Two-Tone Town, Buster’s Directorial Debut, Washingtoon, Toon TV, Grandma’s Dead, Music Day, The Horror of Slumber Party Mountain, Sports Shorts, Weekday Afternoon Live, A Cat’s Eye View, Best of Buster Day and It’s a Wonderful Tiny Toon Christmas Special.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has set the Jack Palance classic Panic in the Streets for Blu-ray release on 3/26.

Paramount will release Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away on Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 3/12.

We’ve teased it before, but Shout! Factory has now officially set Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swan for Blu-ray release on 3/19.  Extras will audio commentary with director William Dear, interviews with producer Michael Nesmith and Dear, and a storyboard gallery.

Shout! has also set the documentary film Jackie Robinson: My Story for release on DVD only on 4/2.

Our friends at Hen’s Tooth Video have informed us that their upcoming DVD re-issue of The Navigator (1988) is finally presented in anamorphic widescreen (at the proper 1.85:1 ratio) and the film elements were sourced directly from the New Zealand Film Commission.  So the disc should finally present the film in the quality it deserves.  SRP is $19.95 and we’ll let you know the official street date as soon as we have it.  [Editor’s Note: The street date is officially 4/30.]

BBC Home Entertainment is releasing Africa: Eye to Eye with the Unknown on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/26.  It’s part of their BBC Earth line-up of documentary programs.

And Lionsgate has set A Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia for Blu-ray release on 4/16, followed by Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom on Blu-ray on 4/30.

Also today, if you happen to pick up a copy of Disney’s Peter Pan on Blu-ray (which hit stores on Tuesday), you’ll find a paper insert inside that teases the Spring 2014 release of The Jungle Book: Diamond Edition.  We’ve been waiting for that one for a while now.

Here’s a look at the cover artwork for Lionsgate’s The Impossible (due 4/2), Shout! Factory’s Timerider and Lionsgate’s Strictly Ballroom

The Impossible (Blu-ray Disc)    Timerider (Blu-ray Disc)    Strictly Ballroom (Blu-ray Disc)

By the way, it looks as if listings for all three versions of The Hobbit are now up on Amazon.com (see yesterday’s post – the linked cover art) but BD pre-orders aren’t quite running yet.  We’ll let you know.

Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

Warner Home Video has just officially announced the Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray Combo and DVD release of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on 3/19 (SRP $44.95, $35.99 and $22.97).  Extras on all three versions will include the New Zealand: Home of Middle Earth documentary, 10 behind-the-scenes video blogs (Start of Production, Location Scouting, Shooting Block One, Filming in 3D, Locations: Part 1, Locations: Part 2, Stone St. Studios Tour, Wrap of Principal Photography, Post-production Overview and Wellington World Premiere), 5 theatrical trailers (Dwarves, Letter Opener, Bilbo Contract, Gandalf Wagers and Gollum Paths) and 3 videogame trailers (for The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-Earth, Guardians of Middle-Earth and Lego The Lord of the Rings).  All three versions will also include UltraViolet.  Here’s a look at the official final cover artwork.  Amazon.com pre-orders are expected to start at any moment (we’ll update the cover links as soon as they go live)…

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

In addition, the film be available via digital streaming as early as 3/12.  Other important details: Warner Home Video has now officially confirmed that an Extended Edition will be available on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD “in time for the holidays.”  Also, director Peter Jackson will offer fans the first sneak peek at the second film in the trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, in a live streaming event on Sunday, March 24th (at 3:00 PM Eastern/Noon Pacific) on the official website.  The film is due in theatres around the world on 12/13/2013.

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

All right, just a very quick early update this morning to follow up on that Star Trek movie Blu-ray post from yesterday.  We’ve checked in with our sources – both officially and unofficially – and have confirmed that the classic Star Trek feature film Blu-rays that Paramount is reissuing on 4/30 are in fact the very same discs they’ve released previously.  These are just single-film editions of the same discs that were released in the 2009 box set.  None are new transfers and all are just the theatrical cuts only.  We know – Bones is grumpy about it too.  We had a feeling the press site was incorrect and that its indications that The Motion Picture was the Director’s Cut were too good to be true.  We’d hoped that the studio might take the opportunity afforded by the May theatrical release of Star Trek Into Darkness to re-issue the classic Trek films on Blu-ray with better HD transfers and maybe include the existing director’s cuts at some point, but that’s clearly not happening yet.  We’ll let you know if anything changes.

In the meantime, Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Three and Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Best of Both Worlds are definitely coming to Blu-ray on 4/30 (the latter isn’t available for pre-order yet from Amazon in the U.S. but we’ll let you know when it is).  And obviously, Star Trek: Enterprise – Season One is officially announced for Blu-ray release on 3/26.  Here’s a look at the cover art for each of those confirmed releases…

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Three (Blu-ray Disc)    Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Best of Both Worlds (Blu-ray Disc)    Star Trek: Enterprise - Season One (Blu-ray Disc)

One other quick bit of release news today: Holy Motors is set for Blu-ray and DVD release on 2/26 from Indomina Releasing.

More as it comes in.  Stay tuned…

- Bill Hunt

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In 50 years or so, the @Criterion edition of The Interview will make a nice bookend with The Great Dictator.

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