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page updated: 2/5/99

Studio News -
Buena Vista (Disney)

Buena Vista has released a basic list of the features that will be included on their March DVDs (street date 3/16). They are as follows:

The Waterboy - letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), Dolby Digital 5.1, French track, theatrical trailer, TRT 90 minutes

The Parent Trap (1998) - letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), Dolby Digital 5.1, French track, theatrical trailer, TRT 128 minutes

Splash - letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), Dolby Surround, French track, TRT 110 minutes

Mother's Boys - letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), Dolby Surround, TRT 96 minutes

Also, the studio officially released the disc specs which will be included the Criterion Collection Armageddon DVD (street date 4/20), but the Criterion web site has a MUCH more detailed and accurate list, so we won't bother to repeat it (click here for the full list from Criterion).


Here's the full text of Buena Vista's official press release, announcing the DVD version of A Bug's Life and Mighty Joe Young:


Walt Disney Pictures presents
A Pixar Animation Studios Film


Marches to Video April 20

Buena Vista Home Entertainment's 1999 Sell-through Slate also Includes:

Mighty Joe Young - Roars into March
The Rescuers - Re-issues in March
Madeline: Lost In Paris - Skips into August
Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas - Jingles into November
- and more -

Burbank, CA - February 1, 1999 - Buena Vista Home Entertainment (BVHE) unveils some of the highlights of its exciting 1999 sellthrough release slate, led off by the #1 Family Film of 1998, A Bug's Life, debuting on home video on April 20. Day-and-date on VHS, VHS widescreen and DVD, A Bug's Life is from the team that produced the phenomenally successful Toy Story: Academy Award winning director John Lasseter, Disney and Pixar. Backed by one of Disney's biggest video campaigns ever, consumers will have a choice of four different A Bug's Life video box covers, featuring Flik, Heimlich, Dot and Francis. All VHS versions feature identical contents, including both celebrated sets of outtakes from the theatrical release, along with the Academy Award winning Pixar short Geri's Game. A Bug's Life is priced to own at $26.99 (SRP) for the VHS and $34.99 for the DVD. Prebook for all formats is March 9.

BVHE will support the A Bug's Life home video release with extensive marketing campaigns, including national print, TV and radio advertising, plus promotions with the nation's leading companies, including Lever 2000, Kid Cuisine, Sea & Ski, Nintendo 64 and Disney Interactive. (Please see title-specific one-sheets for complete details on marketing and promotional activities.)

In an industry first, A Bug's Life will become the first film to be digitally transferred directly from the original computer imagery rather than through the standard film-to-videotape process. Since A Bug's Life was created entirely in a digital format, this process presents the movie with the most pristine images possible, and also allows the full frame VHS and DVD versions to be electronically reformatted to ensure that no picture imagery is lost in the reduction from widescreen to full frame.

Embraced by audiences and critics alike, A Bug's Life has received many accolades including "Two thumbs up!" from Siskel & Ebert. An imaginative story full of humor, adventure and memorable characters, A Bug's Life will "delight everyone - young, old or six-legged," People magazine exclaims.

A Bug's Life tells the spectacular story of a young misfit ant named Flik, as he attempts to save his colony from a greedy band of grasshoppers and their evil leader Hopper. A delightful story for all movie lovers alike, A Bug's Life features the outstanding vocal talents of Dave Foley (News Radio), Phyllis Diller, Julia Louise-Dreyfus (Seinfeld), Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects), John Ratzenberger (Cheers), David Hyde Pierce (Frasier), Madeline Kahn (Young Frankenstein) and Dennis Leary (Operation Dumbo Drop).

Disney's heartwarming Mighty Joe Young, featuring Bill Paxton (A Simple Plan, Twister) and rising star Charlize Theron, charms its way onto video March 23rd, day-and-date on VHS and DVD (prebook is February 9). Mighty Joe Young is collectibly priced at $24.99 for the VHS and $29.99 for the DVD. The film tells the incredible story of zoologist Greg O'Hara (Paxton) who discovers a 15-foot gorilla in a remote area of Africa. Fearsome and dangerous when provoked, the gorilla is tame in the hands of Jill, a 21-year-old orphan (Theron) who raised him and named him Joe. With Joe's life threatened by poachers, Greg and Jill move him to an animal preserve in Los Angeles. But when Joe escapes, it's a race against time for Greg and Jill to capture Joe before the authorities do.

A comprehensive slate of Disney Video Premiere titles follows later in the year, including Madeline: Lost in Paris, Madeline's first-ever, feature-length animated film, with star voices by Lauren Bacall, Jason Alexander and Christopher Plummer on August 3 and Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas in November. The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue, the final chapter in the successful franchise, pops up on video May 25, the same day as the 50th Anniversary release of Disney's 11th animated classic, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, consisting of two classic tales The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Wind in the Willows, featured together for the first time since their theatrical release in 1949. Finally, March 23 will see the re-issue of The Rescuers, while Alice in Wonderland and Robin Hood will be reissued on July 13.

All BVHE releases are closed-captioned for the hearing impaired. Running lengths and MPAA ratings vary. Buena Vista Home Entertainment is the recognized industry leader for 11 consecutive years.

PREVIOUS NEWS (11/12/98)

Here's a look at the cover artwork for Buena Vista's January DVD releases (you'll find the art for the standard version of Good Will Hunting below). Enjoy!


Buena Vista just issued their official press release announcing their forthcoming Armageddon DVD. Here's the full text:



First Available on DVD

With TERMINAL VELOCITY, EMMA and DON'T BE A MENACE..., and a standard version of GOOD WILL HUNTING

Burbank, CA - October 30, 1998 - Buena Vista Home Entertainment is proud to announce the DVD release of ARMAGEDDON beginning January 5, 1999. The $200 million box office smash will include the Aerosmith music video "I Don't Want to Miss A Thing" and two theatrical trailers. Starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, Ben Affleck and Steve Buscemi, ARMAGEDDON is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Michael Bay.

Also available on January 5: a standard version of GOOD WILL HUNTING (not to be confused with the Special Collector's Edition debuting December 8, 1998), which includes the "Miss Misey" music video; the action-thriller TERMINAL VELOCITY, starring Charlie Sheen; the romantic comedy EMMA, with a dazzling Gwyneth Paltrow as the well intentioned, but blundering, matchmaker; and the Wayans Brothers' hilarious "Boyz in the Hood" and "Menace II Society" send-up, DON'T BE A MENACE TO SOUTH CENTRAL WHILE DRINKING YOUR JUICE IN THE HOOD. All the January titles are widescreen and are available for $29.99 (S.R.P.).

Armageddon - DD 5.1, French track, trailer

Terminal Velocity - DD 5.1 French track, trailer

Emma - DD 2.0, trailer

Don't Be A Menace... - DD 2.0

Good Will Hunting - DD 5.1, trailer

PREVIOUS NEWS (10/23/98)

When Buena Vista's new Collector's Series DVDs begin appearing on store shelves in December, you'll be able to distinguish them from the studio's regular DVD offerings, by looking for one of the following markings on the front of the keep case packaging (at the top). You'll find it in place of the 'Widescreen' band that appears on all the current DVDs (so that Good Will Hunting image in the previous update isn't quite accurate).


Buena Vista sent me slides of the cover artwork for Good Will Hunting, so here's what it will look like. This disc at least will have some nice features (11 deleted scenes!), but the lack of anamorphic is a real shame.


Here's the full text of Buena Vista's press release regarding their December DVD releases:



Launch the New Miramax & Dimension DVD Collector's Series


Burbank, CA - October 6, 1998

Buena Vista Home Entertainment is proud to announce the launch, on December 8, of an exciting new line of Miramax and Dimension Collectors Series DVDs, kicking off with GOOD WILL HUNTING and SCREAM. Boasting never-before-seen deleted scenes, audio commentaries and other treats, the Collectors Series represents a new way to enjoy movies with additional features that redefine the DVD experience. Both titles are available for $39.99 (SRP).

Two additional titles will debut on DVD on December 8: the hilarious, romantic comedy SIX DAYS, SEVEN NIGHTS, starring Harrison Ford and Anne Heche, which will be day-and-date with VHS, and THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, the chilling thriller in which Rebecca DeMornay stars as the famous psycho nanny. Both titles are available for $29.99 (SRP).

GOOD WILL HUNTING starring Robin Williams, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in the Academy Award-winning box office smash is the inaugural release of Miramax's DVD Collector's Series. Its special features include 11 never-before-seen deleted scenes, audio commentary by director Gus Van Sant, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, a production featurette, TV spots, and Academy Award Best Picture montage, Miss Misery music video and behind-the-scenes footage.

The original SCREAM, starring Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, Matthew Lillard, Skeet Ulrich and directed by the master of horror films Wes Craven, is the premiere release for the Dimension Collector's Series. Its special features include audio commentary by Wes Craven, a production featurette, two theatrical trailers, TV spots, behind-the-scenes footage, Q&A with cast and crew, special effects gallery, cast and crew profiles and film facts.

Good Will Hunting - DD 5.1, trailer, 1.85:1, TRT 126

Scream - DD 5.1, trailer, 2.35:1, TRT 111

Six Days, Seven Nights - DD 5.1, French track, trailer, 2.35:1, TRT 102

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle - Dolby Surround, French track, trailer, 1.85:1, TRT 110


Buena Vista has officially confirmed their disc features for the November DVD line-up:

The Horse Whisperer - DD 5.1, French language track, trailer, 2.35:1, 169 minutes

He Got Game - DD 5.1, trailer, 1.85:1, 136 minutes

Dead Poet's Society - DD 2.0, French language track, no trailer, 1.85:1, 129 minutes

Good Morning Vietnam - DD 5.1, French language track, trailer, 1.85:1, 121 minutes


OK, here are the details of Buena Vista's October DVD line-up, direct from their press release:

October 13th

Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas - DD 5.1, French language track, no trailer, 1.33:1, 71 minutes

Deep Rising - DD 5.1, French language track, trailer, 2.35:1, 106 minutes

The Santa Clause - DD 5.1, French language track, trailer, 1.85:1, 97 minutes

Kundun - DD 5.1, theatrical trailer, 2.35:1, 135 minutes


I was faxed the following press release this morning from Buena Vista Home Video. It is now also available on the various newswire services. Buena Vista is partnering with Warner Bros. for distribution of their DVD product in Europe. More importantly, it confirms Buena Vista's intention to release animated classic titles to DVD soon!

Note: the mention of Air Force One and Face/Off below, indicates that Buena Vista owns the foreign release rights to these titles. Here's the full text:

Buena Vista Home Entertainment Partners with Warner Home Video for DVD Distribution in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Former Soviet Union


Buena Vista Home Entertainment (BVHE) and Warner Home Video Monday announced a distribution agreement for BVHE product in the DVD Format in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the former Soviet Union.

The agreement, encompassing more than 100 titles from Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures and various acquired motion pictures, commences this fall and runs through the year 2000. Under the terms of the agreement, Warner Home Video will distribute and market BVHE films on DVD in more than 30 regional territories. Each of the films will be released simultaneously with VHS.

"We are very enthusiastic about the DVD format and our signing of this deal marks our commitment to ensuring that it becomes a thriving business,'' commented Stuart Warrener, president, BVHE Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

"By unifying with Warner Home Video, we are creating a real benefit for the current and potential DVD retail base. By adding Touchstone, Hollywood and Disney titles to Warner's already-outstanding lineup of DVD product, retailers will have immediate and efficient access to an extraordinary portfolio of new and catalog 'must-have' films, enabling them to satisfy and grow consumer demand.''

The DVD rollout for BVHE product will include a powerful slate of live-action blockbusters. Releases during the first two months of the agreement include some of the Walt Disney Co.'s top performing films at the box office and on video, including Con Air, Air Force One, The Rock, Face/Off, Ransom, Crimson Tide, Phenomenon, While You Were Sleeping, 101 Dalmatians (live action), Pretty Woman and Dead Poet's Society.

Future releases will include Walt Disney Video Premiere films (Beauty and the Beast: the Enchanted Christmas, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride) and a wide selection of classics from the Disney library (Alice in Wonderland, Dumbo).

"Disney's expansion in the global DVD marketplace is a major step in the international development and growth of the format,'' said Warren Lieberfarb, president, Warner Home Video. "We anticipate significant strides in DVD's worldwide acceptance as a result of this collaboration.''

"This is our next major step in showing our commitment to this exciting new format,'' stated Greg Probert, executive vice president, Worldwide BVHE. "Following our successful DVD launches in the U.S. and Japan over the past six months, the European rollout with Warner Bros. continues our strategy of making DVD titles available worldwide.''

DVD's immense storage capacity offers a performance feature uniquely important to European movie viewers. DVD technology enables multiple language versions of the same film on a single disc -- up to eight different soundtracks, with subtitles in up to 32 languages.

All titles released in Europe will include both the local language and the language from the original theatrical release and will be copy protected with Macrovision and CSS Encryption.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment is a subsidiary of Disney Enterprises Inc. Warner Home Video is a Time Warner Entertainment company.

Contact: Buena Vista Home Entertainment Joel Binder, 818/295-4681 or Warner Home Video Gail Becker, 818/954-2732


I've been informed that there will be only 4 DVD titles released by Buena Vista in June, and only 4 more in July as well. The reason is apparently seasonal, and reportedly should not be considered a lessening of Buena Vista's commitment to open DVD. Titles for June have already been announced, but the July titles (which street 7/21) are officially:

An American Wereworf in Paris - 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround, French track, theatrical trailer, letterboxed widescreen 1.85:1

Mr. Magoo - 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround, Spanish subtitles, theatrical trailer, letterboxed widescreen 1.85:1

Swingers - Dolby Prologic Surround, Spanish subtitles, theatrical trailer, letterboxed widescreen 1.85:1

Scream 2 - 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround, theatrical trailer, letterboxed widescreen 2.35:1

Stay tuned...


Buena Vista has sent me a list of 10 titles to be released in May and June. There are a few new titles on the list. Titles and features are as follows:

April 21

G.I. Jane - letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), theatrical trailer, 5.1 Surround
101 Dalmations (live) - letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), theatrical trailer, 5.1 Surround
Nothing to Lose - letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), theatrical trailer, 5.1 Surround
Mimic - letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), theatrical trailer, 5.1 Surround
A Thousand Acres - letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), theatrical trailer, 5.1 Surround
Supercop - letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 5.1 Surround

May 16

Tron - letterboxed widescreen (2.20:1), theatrical trailer, 5.1 Surround
Cop Land - letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), theatrical trailer, 5.1 Surround
Pulp Fiction - letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), RSDL dual-layer, 5.1 Surround
Dead Presidents - letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 5.1 Surround
Grosse Pointe Blank - letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), theatrical trailer, 5.1 Surround
Pretty Woman - letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), sound information unavailable

June 16

Playing God - letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), theatrical trailer, 5.1 Surround
Flubber - letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), theatrical trailer, 5.1 Surround
From Dusk Till Dawn - letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), theatrical trailer, sound information unavailable
Highlander III: The Final Dimension - Director's Cut, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), theatrical trailer, sound information unavailable

Additional June titles (and some disc features) have yet to be finalized. Stay tuned...


Specific features (trailers, etc...) have yet to be finalized for Buena Vista's April titles, but you can expect all to be letterboxed and have 5.1 surround sound. In the meantime, a tentative rundown of their May titles is now available. Look for: Copland, Dead Presidents, Grosse Point Blank, Pretty Woman, Pulp Fiction, and Tron.


All right, I've received the official word from Buena Vista on their March and April release waves. The news is curious, both good and bad again. According to Buena Vista, these are the disc features for the March titles:

Evita - letterboxed widescreen, no trailer, 5.1 Surround

The English Patient - letterboxed widescreen, no trailer, 5.1 Surround, and RSDL (This is confirmed! It WILL be their first dual-layered disc.)

Con Air - letterboxed widescreen, teaser trailer and theatrical trailer, 5.1 Surround

Trainspotting - letterboxed widescreen, no trailer, 5.1 Surround

Metro - letterboxed widescreen, theatrical trailer, 5.1 Surround

Mary Poppins - letterboxed widescreen, no trailer (I was unable to get the sound info at this time, but it will fit on a single side.)

Here's where it gets interesting. The official release line-up for April is as follows: G.I. Jane, Mimmic, A Thousand Acres, 101 Dalmations (live action), SuperCop and Nothing to Lose. There is no mention of either The Black Cauldron, Jungle to Jungle or Toy Story.

Unofficially, I have been told by another source at Buena Vista, that Jungle to Jungle, Pretty Woman, Pulp Fiction, Tron, Grosse Point Blank, Dead Presidents and Copland are all currently in the works. It is true that they are not doing anamorphic 16x9 transfers now, and have no plans to do them anytime soon. I have heard that this is due to concerns that downcompression from anamorphic to letterbox for use on 4:3 TVs may cause artifacts in the picture. I infromed my official source that this is incorrect to my knowledge, using Contact as an example. I also reiterated the large demand I've been hearding for 16x9 from all of you.

On another note, I was also told unofficially that Disney IS considering animated title releases for the end of the year. I will press for more official information on 16x9 and the animated titles, so stay tuned....


Well, I've got good news and bad news. Bad news first: none of the March Buena Vista titles are 16x9 enhanced, and they've apparently decided to postpone the use of 16x9 indefinitely. This will no doubt have major repercussions for serious, high-end home theater-philes, for whom 16x9 is the sole advantage of DVD over existing formats like laserdisc.

On the positive side, comes word that Buena Vista's April release line up should include G. I. Jane, and Jungle to Jungle. There will be seven titles in all.


Alas, poor SuperCop... we hardly knew ya. Well folks, as announced here first, Disney will be releasing Evita, Con Air, Trainspotting, Metro and Mary Poppins on March 24th. So what happened to SuperCop? Well, to my great surprise (and delight) it has been replaced with last year's Best Picture, The English Patient! It's release date makes it day-and-date with its sell-through VHS version. The Mouse clearly must have heard my plea for The English Patient at the end of last month's news! Now let's just all cross our fingers that the 162 minute film is released as an RSDL dual-layered disc. Anything less would be a very grave injustice. Thank you, Disney!


As you all know, Buena Vista has announced its second wave of DVD releases. The titles scheduled for 1/6 release are:

Sling Blade, Crimson Tide, The Crow, The Crow: City of Angels, Air Bud and While You Were Sleeping

Prices will be comparable to their December releases ($29.99 each). As before, Disney titles will be packaged in a special DVD version of their familiar VHS 'Clam Shell' case, and non-Disney titles will be released in the Columbia Keep case. Sling Blade's release to DVD is timed to coincide with its release to sell-through VHS. It will feature 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, as will Crimson Tide, The Crow and The Crow: City of Angles. The Crow: City of Angles will also include the director's cut.

Want some even more exciting news? Tania Moloney (BVHV's ever helpful VP of Publicity and Event Marketing) has given me a sneak peak at the line-up for Buena Vista's February DVD releases! So (drum roll) here they are:

Evita, Con Air, Trainspotting, Super Cop, Metro and Mary Poppins

As far as P&S, letterbox and 16x9 enhancement becoming standard on future Buena Vista DVD releases, apparently nothing has yet been determined. However, I have been told that they are looking into the possible use of at least 16x9. And as for the big question ("When will Disney's animated titles appear on open DVD?"), Tania tells me that this has also yet to be determined.

I suspect that a great deal will depend on the success of George of the Jungle, Air Bud, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Mary Poppins. Some on the Internet have speculated that Disney's animated films will appear first on Divx discs. But with Divx nothing but vaporware at the moment (and now not expected to roll-out widely until late Summer or Fall 1998, according to recent articles), I suspect that it has more to do with waiting until DVD players appear in enough living rooms to guarantee a high volume of sales for titles like The Lion King and Aladdin. Keep in mind that Michael Johnson, the President of Buena Vista Home Video, has been quoted as saying that no Disney titles will be Divx exclusive.

All and all, I must say that I'm certainly excited about Buena Vista's upcoming DVD titles. I've already picked up Tombstone and The Rock, and I'm very pleased with the overall quality of both discs. The 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack on The Rock is excellent (the sound of the missile blasting over Candlestick Park is absolutely thunderous on my system!). I may yet have to buy Ransom, and Sling Blade, Crimson Tide and Trainspotting are definitely on my purchase list. And with titles like Con Air and Mary Poppins just around the corner, I think The Mouse's commitment to open DVD is clear. Can't wait for The English Patient! You're off to a great start Disney!

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