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page updated: 8/16/05



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 8/5/05 - 7/21/05)


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(LATE UPDATE - 8/5/05 - 5 PM PDT)

A quick late update: Universal has just announced a trio of new DVD releases for 11/29. These include The Frighteners: Director's Cut (SRP $26.98 - 123 minutes, unrated, anamorphic widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio), The Mummy Collector's Set (SRP $26.98 - includes The Mummy, The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King, all in anamorphic widescreen) and a Tremors Attack Pack ($26.98 - includes Tremors, Tremors 2: Aftershocks, Tremors 3: Back to Perfection and Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, we believe all in anamorphic widescreen).

We'll post additional details on The Frightners: Director's Cut as soon as we can (all we know now is what we've posted above, and that it's a single-disc release). No doubt it's an attempt to capitalize on Peter Jackson's visibility with his forthcoming King Kong remake, due in theaters on 12/14 (also from Universal).

See you Monday.

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/5/05 - 2 PM PDT)

There's some big news today. The Hollywood Reporter has posted a feature story on Warner's new 2-disc King Kong DVD (yes, that's the classic 1933 Kong), which is at long last expected to street on 11/22. Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is helping to produce extras for the forthcoming edition, even as he works on his own theatrical remake. Specifically, Jackson is working on a new 2-hour/7-part documentary, RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World, that will be included on the set. Among other things, the documentary will include a segment on the infamous "spider pit" deleted scene (including a recreation of the lost footage). Other extras on the Kong release will include a documentary on director Merian C. Cooper, trailers for other films by Cooper, and audio commentary by legendary stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen, actress Terry Moore and special effects guru Ken Ralston. Warner's King Kong will be available in no less than THREE versions - a 2-disc special edition, a 2-disc collector's edition packaged in (according to the story) "a collectable tin and including a 20-page reproduction of the original souvenir program, postcard reproductions of the original one sheets, and a mail-in offer for a reproduction of a vintage 27-by-41-inch movie poster", and finally a 4-disc collector's box set which includes the 2-disc King Kong DVD along with The Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young. Each version will contain the same two Kong discs (just the packaging and the "in the box" extras differ). All I can say is it's about damn time. Very cool news indeed.

In other news today, 20th Century Fox has revealed that they're releasing an Alien Vs. Predator: Unrated Collector's Edition on 11/22 (SRP $26.98). The 2-disc set will include both the original theatrical version and a 115-minute unrated cut of the film on Disc One via seamless branching. Video will be anamorphic widescreen, with Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio. Extras will include audio commentary (by director Paul W.S. Anderson and stars Lance Henriksen and Sanaa Lathan) and a second audio commentary (by FX designers Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff Jr. and John Bruno) on Disc One, and the following on Disc Two: The Making of AVP documentary (including Pre-Production: AVP The Beginning, Production: AVP Production and Post-Production: Visual Effects Breakdown) with branching footage (including ADI Workshop, Miniature Whaling Station, Facehuggers & Eggs and Trouble at the Mouth of the Tunnel), a storyboard gallery, a concept art gallery, additional deleted scenes with optional commentary (including The Sister, Miller Gets Caught and Love Scene), the HBO First Look special, 2 featurettes (Licensing the Franchise: Aliens vs Predator the Comic Book and Monsters in Miniature by Todd McFarlane), 3 theatrical trailers and promos for the Alien Quadrilogy and Planet of the Apes: 35th Anniversary DVDs. FYI, the added/unrated footage on Disc One includes the following scenes: Antarctica 1904, Argument, Chamber of Skulls, Sacrifice, Weyland's Death and Predator Ritual.

Fox has also revealed some of the extras to be included on their Office Space: Special Edition (with More Flair) due on 11/1. In addition to a new anamorphic widescreen transfer and audio commentary with writer/director Mike Judge, look for the Out of the Office: An Office Space Retrospective with Mike Judge documentary, the film's theatrical trailer, deleted scenes (including Peter Lies to Lumbergh, Happy Hour and Chotchkies, Peter Goes off on Nina and Tom's Mixed Heritage Called into Question), DVD-ROM extras and more.

Meanwhile, HBO has announced the DVD release of the 3-disc Tracey Takes On: The Complete First Season for 11/22 (SRP $34.98).

Warner Home Video has also announced the animated Mission Hill: The Complete Series for 11/29 (SRP $29.98).

Around the site today, we've updated a number of the DVD format stats we track (above) including the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers for the second week of July (ending 7/15).

We're working on an update of the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section, which we'll post on Monday, so be sure to check back for that.

In the meantime, we'll leave you this week with a preview of more just-released cover art. Here's Fox's Kingdom of Heaven (10/11) and Millions (11/1), DreamWorks' Into the West mini-series (10/4), Warner's Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (10/11), MGM's 1989 version of Journey to the Center of the Earth (10/4) and Paramount's King Kong (1976 - 11/22 - See? TOLD you it was timed to Warner's release!)...

Kingdom of HeavenMillionsInto the West

Sisterhood of the Travelling PantsJourney to the Center of the EarthKing Kong (1976)

See you Monday!

(LATE UPDATE - 8/4/05 - 4 PM PDT)

As expected, we're back this afternoon with Barrie Maxwell's latest edition of Classic Coming Attractions. This time around, Barrie reviews some 14 new, recent and upcoming classic DVD releases, including Universal's The Gary Cooper Collection and The Front Page, Warner's The Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 2, Milestone's The Olive Thomas Collection, Reelclassicdvd's Pimpernel Smith, Home Vision's The Rocking Horse Winner and Victim, Respond2 Entertainment's This Is Your Life: The Ultimate Collection - Volume 1, Paramount's The High and the Mighty, It Started in Naples, The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Second Season and Waterhole #3, 20th Century Fox's The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit and Shanachie's The Wrong Arm of the Law. As always, Barrie runs down all the latest classic release announcement news as well. Enjoy!

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/4/05 - NOON PDT)

We've got more new DVD announcements for you today. 20th Century Fox has revealed that it will release Danny Boyle's Millions on 11/1 (SRP $27.98). The disc will be available in separate full frame and anamorphic widescreen editions, each with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include audio commentary by Boyle and Frank Cottrell Boyce, 10 deleted scenes, the film's theatrical trailer, a soundtrack TV spot, a BTS featurette and something called DVD Cutdown.

Also coming from Fox on 10/18 is an Elektra: Unrated Director's Cut (SRP $26.98). The new 100-minute version will be in anamorphic widescreen video, with DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (the original theatrical cut is 96 minutes long). Extras on the 2-disc set will include audio commentary with director Rob Bowman and Kevin Stitt, the film's theatrical and teaser trailers, 2 documentaries (including Relentless: The Making of Elektra - Part 1: Production and Relentless: The Making of Elektra - Part 2: Post-Production) the Showdown at the Well: Multi Angle Daileies featurette, deleted scenes (with optional commentary by Bowman and Stitt), alternate and extended scenes including an alternate opening (also with optional commentary), 4 photo and artwork galleries (including Costumes, Production Design, Weapons and Unit Photography), and a storyboard gallery (containing boards for 7 scenes).

Fox has announced a number of new TV DVD titles as well, including The Bob Newhart Show: The Complete Second Season (10/4), Remington Steele: Season Two (11/8), Murder One: Season Two (11/15) and That 70's Show: Season Three (also 11/15).

Fox has also announced the last of its new X-Files sets - The X-Files: Super Soldiers - 4-Disc Mythology Collection - for 11/22 (SRP $39.98). Video will be anamorphic widescreen with audio in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround. Extras will include commentary on Deadalive with Frank Spotnitz, commentary on Vienen with Rod Hardy, the Threads of the Mythology: Super Soldiers documentary and a preview of 24: Season Five.

There's cool news for you samurai cinema fans today. Criterion has officially announced some great titles for October, including Masaki Kobayashi's Samurai Rebellion (cat #310), Hideo Gosha's Sword of the Beast (#311), Masahiro Shinoda's Samurai Spy (#312) and Kihachi Okamoto's Kill! (#313). Also coming in October is Jean-Pierre Melville's Le samouraï (#306) and at long last, a more elaborate re-issue of an earlier Criterion DVD... Henri-Georges Clouzot's legendary The Wages of Fear (#36). That's a nice line-up by any measure.

Finally, Buena Vista has also announced new TV DVDs for November, including Scrubs: Season Two (11/15), The Golden Girls: Season Three, Home Improvement: Season Three and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (all on 11/22). The Extreme Makeover DVD will feature some of the best moments from the show's first season. Also coming on 11/19 is the recent Empire mini-series (11/29).

We'll be back in a few hours with Barrie's new Classic Coming Attractions column. Stay tuned!

8/3/05

Okay... we've got a few things for you today. Barrie's new column will be up in the morning. It's been a little crazy around here today - a lot of new information from our industry sources is coming in at the moment, and we have a lot of things we're looking into, so we appreciate your patience.

Let's get right into today's news. First up, 20th Century Fox will release Mr. & Mrs. Smith on DVD and UMD on 11/29. Extras on the DVD (available in both anamorphic widescreen and full frame) will include audio commentary by director Doug Liman, a second commentary by producers Lucas Foster and Akiva Goldsman, deleted scenes and the film's teaser and theatrical trailers.

Anyone remember TV's The White Shadow with fondness? Good news then... Fox will release The White Shadow: The Complete First Season on DVD on 10/18.

Woody Allen's recent Melinda & Melinda is expected to street from Fox on 10/25.

And here's news we've been waiting a long time for. Fox will release the Office Space: Special Edition (with More Flair) on 11/1. Look for the DVD to include a new anamorphic widescreen transfer, deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes documentary and audio commentary with writer/director Mike Judge. FYI, a UMD version of Office Space will also be available on 11/1.

While we're talking UMD, we might as well let you know that a number of additional Fox and Paramount titles have just been announced for the format. We've updated our UMD Movies for PSP Release List accordingly with all the details.

In other news, Universal and DreamWorks have announced the Into the West mini-series (recently broadcast on TNT) for release on 10/4 (SRP $49.99). The 4-disc set will contain video in anamorphic widescreen, with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio. Extras are TBA.

Universal will also release George Romero's Land of the Dead on 10/25. Additional details are also TBA.

Paramount has revealed that in addition to The War of the Worlds (1953): Special Collector's Edition they have planned for release on 11/1, you can look for the first season of the 1988 War of the Worlds TV series on that day as well.

Sony has announced several new titles for release on 10/11, including Me and You and Everyone We Know, The Jeffersons: The Complete Fourth Season, Soap: The Complete Fourth Season, Stephen King Presents Kingdom Hospital: Post Mortem, a 50 First Dates/Mr.Deeds 2-pack (widescreen) and a You Got Served/You Got Served: Take it to the Streets 2-pack (also widescreen). Look for the studio's recent Bewitched to follow on 10/25.

We've got a quick update for you on that The Police: Synchronicity Concert DVD release that we mentioned yesterday. According to P.R. rep for the title, the U.K. street date has been moved from 9/5 to 9/12. We hope to have a U.S. date for you soon. All of the other details we reported yesterday are correct except the street date.

Media Blasters has set Zatoichi: The TV Series - Volume 1 for release on 11/29 (SRP $29.95). The 2-disc set will include the first four episodes of the series in full frame video with Japanese Dolby Digital mono audio (with English subtitles). For the record, the episodes to be included are: A Challenge of Chance (original airdate 10/3/74, directed by Kazuo Mori), The Flower that Bloomed with the Lullaby (10/10/74, directed by Yoshiyuki Kuroda), A Memorial Day and The Bell of Life (10/17/74, directed by Shintaro Katsu) and The Kannon Statue That Was Tied (10/24/74, directed by Kenji Misumi). Given our obsession with all things Zatoichi around here, you can bet we're looking forward this release. Thanks to Bits reader Trent S. for the information.

One last thing this afternoon... the widescreen and full frame versions of Fox's Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (11/1 - for just $15.98 each!) and Paramount's 3-disc Titanic: Special Edition (10/25) are now available for pre-order on Amazon.com. Amazon also has a 6-pack of all SIX Star Wars films listed for $125.92 (we think this is the retailer selling the existing DVDs as a group - to our knowledge there's no new content). Clicking through our links when you do helps to support our work here at The Bits, so we appreciate it. Thanks!

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (widescreen)Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (full frame)Titanic: Special Edition (Paramount 3-disc Region 1)

We'll leave you with some more new cover art. Here's Universal's Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season One (10/4), Fox's The White Shadow: The Complete First Season and Warner's Friends: The Complete Tenth Season (11/15)....

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season OneThe White Shadow: The Complete First SeasonFriends: The Complete Tenth Season

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/2/05 - 12:30 PM PDT)

The big industry news today is that Image Entertainment has purchased Home Vision, and the Home Vision catalog. The deal also means that Image will be the exclusive distributor for The Criterion Collection for the next five years. You can read more here at Home Media Retailing.

In release news, Paramount has announced that The War of the Worlds (1953): Special Collector's Edition will hit DVD on 11/1. That means you can reasonably expect Steven Spielberg's new remake to street around that time as well. Following on 11/22 from Paramount is a new edition of John Guillermin's 1976 remake of King Kong (which is probably timed to coincide with Warner's as-yet-unannounced release of the 1933 original on DVD).

Also today, Universal Music is FINALLY going to release a title I've been waiting a long time for... The Police: Synchronicity Concert (shot in Atlanta, GA in 1983 and directed by famed 80s video makers Godley & Crème). The disc is currently set for DVD release on 9/5 in the U.K., and Billboard is reporting that a U.S. street date will be announced shortly for around that time. Video will be presented in the original full frame, with Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, Extras will include four tracks from the concert presented in multi-angle format (including Synchronicity II, Roxanne, Invisible Sun and Don't Stand So Close to Me), along with a trailer and a rare interview with the band recorded in Melbourne, Australia in 1984 at very last full Police concert ever. You can read more here and here.

Around the Net this afternoon, Investor's Business Daily has a good report up on the looming HD format war. Interesting in this piece is the first real acknowledgment from the industry that it's believed even most early adopters will wait to buy into HD on disc until a single format emerges (a very wise move in our opinion). If early adopters work together to send the industry a STRONG message that a format war will not be tolerated, you just might see some results (and sooner rather than later).

We've also got a few new music DVD reviews for you from Lindsay and Matt over at our MusicTAP site: John Lennon: Lennon Legend, MC5: Kick Out the Jams, Cat Stevens: Majikat - Earth Tour 1976, John Denver: A Song's Best Friend - John Denver Remembered and The Mamas & The Papas: California Dreamin' - The Songs of The Mamas and The Papas.

Here's some more new cover artwork for you: Universal Music's The Police: Synchronicity Concert (TBA - UK artwork), Paramount's decidedly unappealing art for The War of the Worlds (1953): Special Collector's Edition and the über-creepy foam packaging for Anchor Bay's Evil Dead 2: Book of the Dead 2 (due 9/7 and hand-crafted by Tom Sullivan himself - we have it on good authority that the book screams when you poke it in the eye!)...

The Police: Synchronicity ConcertThe War of the Worlds (1953): Special Collector's EditionEvil Dead 2: Book of the Dead 2

You know... I think that Book of the Dead 2 art is actually prettier than the War of the Worlds art. Go figure.

We're going to hold off on Barrie's column until tomorrow, given the Batman news that we posted last night. So check back in for that tomorrow. Stay tuned!

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/2/05 - 12:01 AM PDT)

There's big news for you caped crusader fans this morning. As we've reported in The Rumor Mill, Warner Home Video has finally announced the DVD release of Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology 1989-1997 on 10/18 (SRP $79.92). The box set will contain new 2-disc special editions of Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin (each 2-disc set will also be available separately for SRP $26.99). All four films on disc will feature new digital transfers (anamorphic widescreen video, of course), with audio in BOTH Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 surround sound. All four films are the original theatrical cuts. English and French audio options will be available, with English, French and Spanish subtitles (feature film only). Overall, the box set will include more than 18 hours of new bonus material. Let's run down the extras, film by film...

The Batman: Special Edition will feature audio commentary by director Tim Burton, 4 documentaries (some multi-part) including On the Set with Bob Kane, Legends of the Dark Knight: The History of Batman, Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight (featuring Part 1 - The Road to Gotham City, Part 2 - The Gathering Storm and Part 3 - The Legend Reborn) and Beyond Batman (featuring Visualizing Gotham: The Production Design of Batman, Building the Batmobile, Those Wonderful Toys: The Props and Gadgets of Batman, Designing the Batsuit, From Jack to the Joker and Nocturnal Overtures: The Music of Batman), 3 Prince music videos (for Batdance, Partyman and Scandalous), 2 profile galleries (The Heroes and The Villains), the Batman: The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence featurette, and the film's theatrical trailer.

The Batman Returns: Special Edition will feature audio commentary by director Tim Burton, 3 documentaries (some multi-part) including The Bat, the Cat and the Penguin, Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight (featuring Part 4 - The Dark Side of the Knight) and Beyond Batman (featuring Gotham City Revisited: The Production Design of Batman Returns, Sleek, Sexy and Sinister: The Costumes of Batman Returns, Making up the Penguin, Assembling the Arctic Army, Bats and Mattes and Dark Nights: The Visual Effects of Batman), Siouxsie and the Banshees' Face to Face music video, 2 more profile galleries (The Heroes and The Villains), and the film's theatrical trailer.

The Batman Forever: Special Edition will feature audio commentary by director Joel Schumacher, deleted scenes, 3 documentaries (some multi-part) including Riddle Me This: Why is Batman Forever?, Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight (featuring Part 5 - Reinventing a Hero) and Beyond Batman (featuring Out of the Shadows: The Production Design of Batman Forever, The Many Faces of Gotham City, Knight Moves: The Stunts of Batman Forever, Imaging Forever: The Visual Effects of Batman Forever and Scoring Forever: The Music of Batman Forever), Seal's Kiss from a Rose music video, 2 more profile galleries (The Heroes and The Villains), and the film's theatrical trailer.

Finally, the Batman & Robin: Special Edition will feature audio commentary by director Joel Schumacher, a deleted scene (Alfred's Lost Love), 2 documentaries (both multi-part) including Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight (featuring Part 6 - Batman Unbound) and Beyond Batman (featuring Bigger, Bolder, Brighter: The Production Design of Batman & Robin, Maximum Overdrive: The Vehicles of Batman & Robin, Dressed to Thrill: The Costumes of Batman & Robin, Frozen Freaks and Femme Fatales: The Makeup of Batman & Robin and Freeze Frame: The Visual Effects of Batman & Robin), 4 music videos (for the Smashing Pumpkins' The End is the Beginning is the End, Jewel's Foolish Games, R. Kelly's Gotham City and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's Look into My Eyes), 2 more profile galleries (The Heroes and The Villains), and the film's theatrical trailer.

No cover art for this collection (or the individual 2-disc special editions) is as yet available, but we'll post it as soon Warner finalizes it. FYI, watch for a Batman Begins announcement very soon.

For those who may be interested, also announced today by Warner is The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants for release on 10/11 (SRP $28.98). Separate anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions will be available. Extras will include 4 featurettes (Fun on the Set, Suckumentary, Sisters, Secrets, and the Traveling Pants: A Video Commentary and A Conversation with Author Ann Brashares), deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by director Ken Kwapis, and the film's theatrical trailer.

Back later with more, so stay tuned...

8/1/05

Wow, can you guys believe it's August already? Seems like we only just started this summer and now it's damn near over. Time does fly.

There's not a lot of news today, but we do have a nice big Rumor Mill update for you this afternoon, featuring word on some of the extras you can look forward to on Warner's forthcoming Batman Begins 2-disc set (TBA), as well as details on the branching content to be included on Fox and Paramount's 3-disc Titanic: Special Edition (10/25). Don't miss it.

Around the Net this afternoon, there's a press story on VSDA's having called for an end to the high-def format war last week. You can read more on that from E-Commerce Times. There's also a story at Home Media Retailing on how so many films are coming out in two versions on DVD these days.

We'll leave you this afternoon with a little bit of new cover art. Here's 20th Century Fox's Arrested Development: Season Two (10/11) and Point Pleasant: The Complete Series (10/25), along with Universal's Mallrats: 10th Anniversary Extended Edition (9/20)...

Arrested Development: Season TwoPoint Pleasant: The Complete SeriesMallrats: 10th Anniversary Extended Edition

Back tomorrow with a new Barrie Maxwell column. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/29/05 - 11:30 AM PDT)

Well, we promised you we'd check back in with any major breaking news this afternoon... and this is pretty major. We've been saying this was going to happen for many months now, so it should come as no surprise. However, 20th Century Fox today confirmed that it is supporting Blu-ray Disc, rather than HD-DVD, in the upcoming high-definition format war. The move has been expected for almost a year - last October the studio joined the Blu-ray Disc Association as an advisory member, but said they had yet to decide which format they would ultimately support (Fox is, of course, also a member of the DVD Forum). Now their preference for the format is official. With their decision, Fox joins Sony, MGM and Buena Vista as the major Blu-ray Disc supporting studios. By comparison, the HD-DVD camp includes Warner Bros., Universal and Paramount. You can read more on this here at Home Media Retailing and here at Video Business. You can also read Fox's official press release here.

In addition to its greater data storage capacity and features that Fox considers to be a greater technical innovation beyond the existing DVD spec, the main reason Fox ultimately decided to support Blu-ray Disc over HD-DVD is that the Blu-ray Disc spec calls for a particular form of renewable copy protection, which is considered more robust. Fox and other studios had called for the HD-DVD format to include the same renewable copy protection, but forces within the HD-DVD camp apparently believed that it was too expensive and unnecessary. Despite this announcement, there's no specific word yet as to which titles will be among Fox's initial Blu-ray Disc releases when the format officially launches early next year.

FYI, Video Business has also confirmed our Batman Begins and Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology 1989-1997 box set information from The Rumor Mill the last few days (click here, here and here for that), although Warner has officially declined to confirm Batman Begins yet. Regardless, both titles are expected to street on 10/18 as predicted (the box set will reportedly carry an SRP of $79.92).

Okay... THAT should be it for today. Have a great weekend, folks!

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/29/05 - 12:01 AM PDT)

20th Century Fox has finally revealed the details on their forthcoming DVD release of Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven (10/11 - SRP $29.98). The 2-disc set will be available in separate anamorphic widescreen and full frame editions. Each will include audio in English Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1, along with French and Spanish Dolby 2.0 Surround. Extras on Disc One will include The Pilgrim's Guide (a text commentary of both production and historical notes), and an Inside Look featurette on the forthcoming Tristan & Isolde. Disc Two will contain the 45-minute A&E Movie Real: Kingdom of Heaven documentary, the 48-minute History vs Hollywood: Kingdom of Heaven History Channel documentary, 4 behind-the-scenes featurettes (including Ridley Scott: Creating Worlds, Production, Wardrobe and Orlando Bloom: The Adventure of a Lifetime) and theatrical trailers. But easily the highlight of Disc Two is a new feature called an Interactive Production Grid, which offers you no less than 16 different ways to access some 125 minutes worth of additional behind-the-scenes material, by allowing you to choose the desired perspective (director, cast, crew) and timeframe (presumably pre-production, production, post-production, etc) you'd like to experience. If this feature is as interesting as it sounds, it may be worth the price of the disc by itself. We'll be sure to let you know our thoughts on the Grid as soon as we get a look at it.

No cover art is yet available for Kingdom of Heaven, but we'll post it when Fox releases it. One additional note: This isn't official, of course, but the fact that there's no Ridley Scott audio commentary on this release, and the fact that the film was heavily cut prior to its theatrical release (by well over an hour - you can read my review of the film and comments on the cut here), should tell you that a more elaborate multi-disc DVD version is likely to follow in 2006. So just be aware of this when making your purchase decision.

By the way, Fox is releasing Kingdom of Heaven on UMD format (for Sony's PSP) on 10/11 as well. We've been updating our UMD Movie Release List almost daily, so we might as well continue the trend.

Okay, that's it for today. If any major news breaks later this afternoon, we'll be back to report it. Otherwise, we'll see you back here on Monday. Have a great weekend!

7/28/05

Fans of classic Hanna Barbara animation are going to be happy with today's new announcements by Warner Home Video. The studio has made official those titles we told you about a couple of weeks ago, namely The Flintstones: The Complete Fourth Season, Huckleberry Hound: Volume One and The Yogi Bear Show: The Complete Series! Each will street on 11/15 (SRP $44.98 each). The Flintstones: The Complete Fourth Season will include 26 episodes on 4 discs, along with audio commentary by historians and animation on the episodes Ann Margrock Presents and Little Bamm-Bamm, The Legendary Music of Hoyt Curtin documentary and The Flintstones featurette. Huckleberry Hound: Volume One will feature 26 episodes on 4 discs (extras, if any, are TBA). The Yogi Bear Show: The Complete Series will feature all 35 episodes of the series on 4 discs (once again extras, if any, are TBA). Can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to Yogi. Haven't seen him pilfering pic-a-nic baskets in years. Here's a look at the cover art for each set...

The Flintstones: The Complete Fourth SeasonHuckleberry Hound: Volume OneThe Yogi Bear Show: The Complete Series

Other DVD news today... some of you are going to be pleased... or not... with this. Momentum Pictures in the U.K. is preparing a Flash Gordon: Silver Anniversary Edition DVD... for release in the U.K.. We're trying to find out if this will also be released in the States and, if so, who will handle the distribution (we understand that there's some confusion as to who owns the U.S. release rights - we've got questions into Universal, so hopefully we'll know more soon). The DVD will street on 10/10 in the U.K., featuring anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio, audio commentary by director Mike Hodges and an interview with him as well, a second audio commentary with actor Brian Blessed, a photo slideshow, the original Queen theatrical trailer, and the first episode of the original 1940s serial Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe. You can read more on the Queen Online and Bryan May websites (thanks to a number of Bits readers for the links). Here's a look at the cover art...

Flash Gordon: Silver Anniversary Edition (U.K.)The Amityville Horror: Special Edition (2005)The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D

As you may have guessed, that's also the art for MGM's The Amityville Horror (2005): Special Edition (street date 10/4) and Dimenson's The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D (9/20).

In still other news today, Anchor Bay Entertainment is going to be releasing a new Evil Dead 2: Book of the Dead 2 special edition on 9/27 (SRP $39.98). Expect another foul-smelling (but super-sweet) foamy package. The disc itself will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video (Divimax-rendered), with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 surround audio. Extras will include audio commentary (with writer/director Sam Raimi, star Bruce Campbell, co-writer Scott Spiegel and special make-up effects artist Greg Nicotero), the Evil Dead 2: Behind-the-Screams and The Gore, The Merrier documentaries, bios of Raimi and Campbell, a poster and still gallery and the film's theatrical trailer.

Universal has announced the release of Imagining Argentina for 10/11.

And 20th Century Fox has moved the DVD re-release of The Transporter (along with the UMD version) from 8/30 to 8/23. The UMD Movie Release List has been updated accordingly.

Around the Net today, film critic/historian Leonard Maltin has spoken on his website about his work on more upcoming Walt Disney Treasures releases. In his own words, the new DVDs will include: "The Chronological Donald Duck, Volume 2... Walt Disney Rarities, including all of Walt's one-shot cartoons and a handful of his silent Alice comedies... the complete first season of Spin and Marty, including the entire Mickey Mouse Club episode in which the serial was introduced... and Legendary Heroes: Elfego Baca and the Swamp Fox, taken from the Walt Disney Presents TV series." Very, very cool. By the way, Maltin also talks about Paramount's upcoming John Wayne releases, The High and the Mighty and Island in the Sky, both due on 8/2. Thanks to Bits reader Cameron M. for the heads-up.

Finally, we have a quick follow-up in The Rumor Mill today about the forthcoming 2-disc Batman Forever DVD. There's also a bit of info on Wedding Crashers and the new Dukes of Hazzard remake coming to DVD, as well as a bit of Muppet DVD news. Be sure to check it out.

Stay tuned...

7/27/05

Well... we've got a few interesting items for you today.

First of all, as some of you may know, the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) convention is underway in Las Vegas. And you've got to hand it to those retailers... they've issued a strong statement to Hollywood and the consumer electronics industry regarding the looming HD format war. VSDA president Bo Anderson called for compromise yesterday saying, "The launch of a single high-definition DVD format is unquestionably preferable to a 'format war' that could cause consumer confusion and lead to a reluctance to embrace either format." Paraphrasing Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Anderson continued, "Now we are engaged in a great format war, testing whether the next generation of packaged entertainment ... can long endure. We acknowledge that the great battlefield of that war is not here, but across the Pacific. ... Yet, retailers call for the elevation of compromise over conflict and a future for all behind a unified format. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this."

Tongue-in-cheek tone aside, the video retail industry MAY be in the best position to apply pressure to force a compromise. Can you imagine if major retailers like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Circuit City refused to carry titles in THREE separate formats (DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc)? In conjunction with their official statement, the VSDA has issued a position paper: Baseline Criteria for High Definition DVD Format (From the Retail Perspective). In it, they not only advocate a SINGLE high-definition disc format, but they also offer advice on features, dimensions, packaging and even how marketing materials for the format should be designed to be most effective in generating widespread consumer and retailer support. Click on the link above for an HTML version, or click here for a PDF version.

I'll tell you, it's nice to see that there are at least SOME people in our industry with a little common sense. I don't know if a format war can be averted at this point, and I rather doubt it can be. But I'm glad to see retailers turning up the pressure on Hollywood and the consumer electronics manufacturers, and I hope they CONTINUE to hold their feet to the fire on this.

As if the format war weren't bad enough, there's now some early indications that at least the HD-DVD format will only allow playback of full 1080 resolution video signals through HDMI connectors (or possibly adapted DVI connections - HDMI contains both digital video and audio, but can be adapted to connect with DVI, in which case only the video is carried digitally - the audio must be conveyed by separate cables). This would be a copy protection measure meant to insure that the best quality video is only available through digitally encrypted/protected outputs (rather than less protected or unprotected analog outputs). It's very possible that Blu-ray Disc will follow suit. What this would mean for consumers, is that if you've purchased your HDTV in the last year or two, you MIGHT be okay (as most new HDTVs sold on the market come equipped with HDMI or DVI inputs), but consumers with older HDTVs (pre-HDMI/DVI) are out of luck. That's a VERY large percentage of the HD market that is immediately unable to take full advantage of the new formats. Click here for more on this from the Digital Spy website. Of course, all of this information is as yet unconfirmed, because neither the HD-DVD or Blu-ray Disc camps have released their complete and final spec details. The confusion and aggravation with regard to these new formats is likely to continue...

How about some news about good old REGULAR DVD?

Dimension has officially announced the release of The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl for 9/20.

Universal will release The 12 Dogs of Christmas on 11/1.

For those of you who are interested, Paramount and Fox have launched a Titanic DVD website on what was the previous feature film site. It confirms that again, ONLY a 3-disc version of the film will be released on DVD, rather than the previously announced 2 and 4-disc editions. We expect the website to be updated in the weeks ahead with more details on the release.

Also today in The Rumor Mill, we have a bit of information on the upcoming Batman special editions, and also Warner's eventual Charlie and the Chocolate Factory DVD. Be sure to check it out.

Finally today, on the UMD front, HBO has announced that it will release its first titles on the format on 9/13. These will include Da Ali G Show: Da Compleet Second Seazon (also coming to DVD on 9/13) and Da Ali G Show: Da Compleet First Seazon. Additional UMD titles coming later in the 4th quarter will be Entourage: The Complete First Season, Todd McFarlane's Spawn 1, Chris Rock: Bigger & Blacker and Chris Rock: Never Scared. Our UMD Movie Release List has been updated accordingly.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/26/95 - 11 AM PDT)

A couple of quick updates this morning. First of all, Star Wars: Episode III (announced below). We've learned that the 11/1 street date should hold true for all regions around the world, so you international fans can look forward to watching the fall of Anakin on disc on or about that same date. We've also confirmed that the Star Wars Battlefront II playable demo on the DVD release will be for the Xbox as expected (FYI, the complete Star Wars Battlefront II videogame will also street on 11/1 in Xbox, PS2, PSP and Windows PC formats).

We've got a quick Battlestar Galactica: Season One (U.K. Version) update for you as well. The set is now available exclusively at Best Buy as of this morning. Keep in mind, however, that the only extra on the set is some 40 minutes of deleted scenes. If you can wait a couple of months, a much more elaborate release is coming from Universal (on 9/20) with significantly more bonus content (including featurettes, audio commentaries, etc). The 9/20 release will also be widely available in stores. Frankly, there are only TWO real reasons that some of you might want to purchase the U.K. version. First, it features the episodes as seen on Sky One in the U.K., which means that the opening title sequence for each episode is somewhat different than what viewers saw on SciFi here in the States. Second, the Best Buy-exclusive set includes a bonus disc that features a 13-minute preview of Joss Whedon's upcoming Serenity feature film. The preview featurette is in full frame only, and sadly it doesn't include the theatrical trailer for the film (which has recently begun appearing in theaters), but if you're a Firefly fan, that might be enough reason alone for you to want to get your hands on the set. We'll post more on this DVD release soon.

We've also posted another quick update to our UMD Movie Release List - Buena Vista has announced the release of Pulp Fiction on 9/13.

This has nothing to do with DVD, but did any of you see that amazing video from NASA's picture perfect space shuttle launch this morning? The agency had placed cameras on various parts of the shuttle to watch for falling debris that might strike the orbiter. A camera placed on the external tank captured a beautiful video image of the launch from the pad all the way into orbit, including shots of the shuttle separating from the external tank and firing its thrusters to move away from it. It was the first time those moments had ever been seen on video, and it was pretty extraordinary. I suspect the video will be available for online viewing on the NASA website later today, if it isn't already up. I'll tell you... it feels to me at least as if the sun's shining just a little bit brighter now that we're finally back in space again. Hats off to everyone at NASA for a great launch, and here's to a successful mission and a safe return home.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/26/95 - 12:01 AM PDT)

It will be a day long remembered... or something like that anyway. Lucasfilm has FINALLY officially announced the DVD release of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. The 2-disc set will hit store shelves on 11/1, as we expected. Both anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions will be available, each with video mastered directly from the film's original digital master files. Audio will be Dolby Digital 5.1 EX. Extras are not yet fully announced, but we do know that you can expect audio commentary with George Lucas and members of the production team, a new feature-length documentary on the making of the film, 2 behind-the-scenes featurettes (one looks at Anakin Skywalker as "the chosen one" and the other deals with the film's stunt work), the 15-part Making Episode III web documentary and a number of newly-completed deleted scenes. You'll also get two playable levels of the Star Wars Battlefront II videogame (for Xbox we assume). We expect additional extras to include trailers and TV spots, photo galleries, etc. As we learned at Comic-Con (click this link and scroll down a bit to the Star Wars paragraph), Lucasfilm has confirmed that a 6-film box set will be released eventually... but not in the immediate future (meaning not in 2005 or early 2006).

Here's a look at the cover art for both the anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions...

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (widescreen)Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (full frame)

In one other brief bit of news this morning, there's word that Robert Fiveson, the director of the 1979 film The Clonus Horror, has initiated legal action against Dreamworks over Michael Bay's The Island. I have to be honest, I haven't seen The Clonus Horror myself, but based on a description of the film's plot, it certainly seems as if The Island is well... a clone. Doh! You can read more here at The Seattle Times.

Speaking of The Island, our friends over at FromScripttoDVD.com have compiled a list of all the theaters known to be showing the film digitally. Just FYI.

Good luck to all you folks at NASA working to get Discovery into space this morning. Fingers crossed.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/25/05 - 5:15 PM PDT)

We've gotten official word from 20th Century Fox that Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven will street on 10/11, we as predicted in The Rumor Mill a few weeks ago. The 2-disc set (SRP $29.98) will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video (a separate full frame version will also be available), along with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include an "interactive production grid" that lets you experience the production process from the perspective of the director, the cast or the crew. Also included will be a text commentary with historical and production notes, several behind-the-scenes featurettes and more (additional features are TBA). The following information isn't official, but industry sources have informed us that a more elaborate 4-disc DVD release MAY follow in 2006, likely featuring an extended version of the film which was extensively cut for its initial theatrical release. Take that as Rumor Mill worthy until we tell you otherwise. We expect to have cover art and additional details on the 2-disc release in the next few weeks.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/25/05 - 1:30 PM PDT)

Afternoon, everyone! We've got some new announcements for you today, along with new artwork and an update for you on the Titanic DVD.

Let's start with Titanic, shall we? According to a new story at Home Media Retailing, Titanic will ONLY be released in a 3-disc DVD version. The original plan had been to release the film in 2-disc and 4-disc configurations, but the magazine is reporting that it was later decided (by Paramount and Fox presumably) simply to release a single 3-disc edition (presumably in all regions). Titanic will reportedly include a branching option that allows you to view deleted footage in the place it would have been included in the film (in lieu of an actual extended edition of the film). By the way, there are reports of 4-disc releases of the film in some places, but we're hearing that this is simply the 3-disc DVD set, plus the soundtrack CD. We're waiting for official confirmation from both Paramount and Fox, so stay tuned.

By the way, the same Home Media Retailing article also reports that Sony's new Oliver! gift set (due on 9/27) will include the long out-of-print soundtrack CD. Disney is reportedly planning new Tarzan and The Emperor's New Groove 2-disc special editions on 10/18. Meanwhile, Fox is reportedly planning a new 40th anniversary release of The Sound of Music, as well as a new 30th anniversary edition of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

In other news today, Universal has just announced Carlito's Way: Rise to Power for 9/27 (SRP $26.98) and My Summer of Love for 10/4 (SRP $29.98).

Disney will release Herbie: Fully Loaded in October and an Old Yeller: 2 Movie Collection in November (street dates TBA).

Finally, Sony has announced a large slate of MGM titles for release on 10/4. These include The Amityville Horror (2005) in both DVD and UMD format, the previously-delayed Jiminy Glick In La La Wood, Stargate SG-1: Season 8, The Fog: Special Edition (Remastered), Billion Dollar Brain, Cop, Dead Cert, The Girl Most Likely to..., Innocent Lies, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, The Man with Nine Lives, Monster High, Mortuary Academy, The New Kids, Pulse, Robot Jox, The Siege at Ruby Ridge, The Spiral Staircase, Torture Garden and a Wild Palms 2-disc set. We've updated the UMD release list to include The Amityville Horror (2005).

Around the site today, we've kicked off a whopping EIGHT new Contests, giving each of you the chance to win copies of Warner's Constantine: Deluxe Edition, IMAX Space Station and Gilligan's Island: The Complete Third Season, Paramount's Star Trek: Enterprise - The Complete Second Season, Universal's The Jerk: 26th Anniversary Edition, Anchor Bay's The Greatest American Hero: Season Three, 20th Century Fox's The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete Second Season, Over There and Remmington Steele: Season One, AnimEigo's Samurai Banners and Demon Spies, and Geneon's Gungrave: To the Grave - Volume 7, Cybuster the Dirty Plot: Volume 5 and Star Ocean Ex: Ruin Hopes - Volume 4. Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, August 6th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!

Here's that cover art I promised you: Fox's The Fly: Collector's Edition (10/4) and Lifeboat: Special Edition (10/18), Paramount's Star Trek: Enterprise - The Complete Fourth Season (11/1) and Bob Dylan: No Direction Home (9/20), Universal's My Summer of Love and Disney's Old Yeller: 2-Movie Collection (11/15)...

The Fly: Collector's EditionLifeboat: Special EditionStar Trek: Enterprise - The Complete Fourth Season

Bob Dylan: No Direction HomeMy Summer of LoveDisney's Old Yeller: 2-Movie Collection

Stay tuned...

7/22/05

Morning, everyone! We'll kick things off today with a post in The Rumor Mill that includes updated information on the expected street dates for a number of major upcoming titles, including Batman Begins, Kingdom of Heaven and Star Wars: Episode III. Definitely do not miss it.

In other news, Warner Bros. has announced its recent remake of House of Wax for release on 10/25 (SRP $28.98). The DVD will include 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras are yet to be revealed. House of Wax will also be available on 10/25 in a 2-pack with the original 1953 House of Wax (SRP $35.98), and also in a 2-pack with Gothika (SRP also $35.98).

Warner has announced the DVD release of Friends: The Complete Tenth Season as well for 11/15 (SRP $44.98). The 4-disc set will include all 18 episodes of the series' final season, each with never before seen footage, along with "extensive bonus features" (including audio commentaries, documentaries, featurettes, interviews a music video and a 45-minute gag reel). Additional details and art will follow soon. For those of you who haven't yet begun your foray into Friends on DVD, there's the 40-disc Friends: The One with All Ten Seasons Collector's Box Set, also due on 11/15 (SRP $299.98). Also coming on 11/15 is Friends: The One with All the Trivia (SRP $19.99). This is a set-top interactive trivia game with over 3,000 questions and some 600 video clips from the series.

Some Star Trek news for you today... Paramount has revealed the DVD specs for their upcoming Star Trek: Nemesis - Special Collector's Edition. The 2-disc set will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio, audio commentary with director Stuart Baird, audio commentary with producer Rick Berman, text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda, 7 Production featurettes (including Nemesis Revisited, New Frontiers: Stuart Baird on Directing Nemesis, Storyboarding the Action, Red Alert! Shooting the Action of Nemesis, Build and Rebuild, Four-Wheeling in the Final Frontier and Shinzon Screen Test), 3 Star Trek Universe featurettes (including A Star Trek Family's Final Journey, A Bold Vision of the Final Frontier and The Enterprise E), 5 Romulan Empire featurettes (including Romulan Lore, Shinzon & the Viceroy, Romulan Design, The Romulan Senate and The Scimitar), 7 deleted scenes (including Wesley's New Mission, Data and B-4, The Chance for Peace, A Loss of Self, Remember Him? (Extended Version), Cleaning out Data's Quarters and Crusher at Starfleet Medical), an Archives section (featuring storyboards, production and prop photos) and the film's teaser and theatrical trailers. We also expect the disc to include 3 Easter eggs featurettes. This re-release seems to include all of the featurettes from the previous DVD release, but at least some of the deleted scenes may be different, so it's possible that you'll have to keep the original release to retain all of the extras. We'll try to let you know as soon as we can whether or not this is true.

A follow-up on the Space Above and Beyond news we posted yesterday: We've learned that Best Buy's exclusive retail window on the title will last only a couple of months (it starts on 10/4). So in late November or December, you'll be able to purchase the Fox-released set widely at other retailers. It will, however, be the EXACT same DVD release as the Best Buy version (unlike Universal's Battlestar Galactica: Season One, don't look for any additional features to be included on the wider release). Just FYI.

Finally today, Universal has announced the DVD release of Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season One for 10/4 (SRP $39.98), the same day as the studio's Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection. The 3-disc set will include all of the season's episodes in the original full frame video with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio, along with the Alfred Hitchcock Presents: A Look Back featurette.

We'll leave you today with a bit of additional cover artwork. Here's Warner's House of Wax (2005) and Looney Tunes Movie Collection: Volume 3 (10/25), and New Line's 11:14 (10/11)...

House of Wax (2005)The Looney Tunes Movie Collection11:14

Okay, that's it for this week. Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday. Peace out.

7/21/05

We've got more news and cover art for you today.

First up, 20th Century Fox has announced a second edition of Fever Pitch in addition to the regular edition (9/13 - SRP $29.98). The Fever Pitch: Boston Red Sox Cursed Reversed Edition (also 9/13 - SRP $29.98), will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, includes all of the extras of the regular edition (audio commentary by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, 13 deleted scenes with optional commentary, a gag reel, the Love Triangle, Break the Curse and Fox Movie Channel Presents: Making a Scene - Fever Pitch featurettes, a "comedy" trailer, the theatrical trailer and an Inside Look preview), along with a seamlessly-branched, extended "Red Sox" ending to the film. Near as we can tell, the seamlessly-branched ending is the major difference. This edition will also only be available in widescreen, whereas the regular edition is available in both widescreen and full frame. Artwork for both editions can be found below.

Fans of Fox's Space Above and Beyond series will be surprised to learn that the complete series is going to be released as a Best Buy exclusive on 10/4 (SRP $41.99).

Universal has announced The Brat Pack Movies and Music Collection box set for release on 11/1 (SRP $39.98), which will include The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Weird Science (each in anamorphic widescreen video with both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio) and a music CD of classic 80s hits. This will all be packaged in a simulated 3-ring binder.

Our friends over at TV Shows on DVD have posted the complete list of shorts that will be included on the forthcoming Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 3 (10/25). Additional details are also available from Jerry Beck's Cartoon Brew.

Also, Access Hollywood tonight is expected to have a short feature on whether the DVD boom is negatively impacting theatrical ticket sales. It's probably the first and last time I'll ever encourage you to watch Access Hollywood ("Our top story... Brad and Angelina seen eating oatmeal together!!"), so there you go.

Around the site today, we've updated all of the DVD format stats we track, including the CEA DVD Player Sales numbers. All charts (above) have been updated accordingly. We've also updated our mirror copy of Jim Taylor's Official DVD FAQ.

Here's a look at the packaging for Paramount's revised Star Trek: The Motion Pictures DVD Collection (SRP $ 166.99), which includes the 2-disc special collector's editions of all the Trek feature films. Note that Amazon is still using the old artwork (which shows some of the discs as non-SEs)...

Star Trek: The Motion Pictures DVD Collection

Also, here's cover art for Fox's regular and "Red Sox Curse Reversed" editions of Fever Pitch (9/13), the final cover art for Disney and Pixar's Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Special Edition (9/6), New Line's The Bridge of San Luis Rey (10/11), Universal's Carlito's Way: Ultimate Edition (9/20) and Warner's Tales from the Crypt: The Complete Second Season (10/25)...

Fever Pitch (Regular Edition)Fever Pitch: Curse Reversed EditionToy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition (final art)

The Bridge of San Luis ReyCarlito's Way: Ultimate EditionTales from the Crypt: The Complete Second Season

Stay tuned...


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