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(Archived Posts 7/26/06 - 7/11/06)
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UPDATE - 7/26/06 - 1:15 PM PDT)
This is just a quick update to let you know that sources are telling us
20th Century Fox will release X-Men: The Last
Stand on DVD (and possibly Blu-ray format) on 10/3 (SRP
Also, Sony will debut Adam Sandler's Click
on DVD (and likely Blu-ray Disc as well) on 10/10.
Consider this information Rumor Mill-worthy
until the titles are officially announced, but we expect that to happen
(LATE UPDATE - 7/26/06 -
12:45 PM PDT)
We've got LOTS more new DVD release announcements to tell you about
today. The news just doesn't stop coming this week it seems.
First up, on the subject of Superman II: The
Richard Donner Cut (due 11/28), which we mentioned yesterday,
a number of readers have expressed reservations. Donner himself has
stated in many interviews that he did not intend to be personally
involved with the cutting of the new version. That's true, however he
did give his permission to Warner Home Video for the cut to be done.
What's more, I'm told that when he was later shown progress edits of the
new cut of the film, he began suggesting additional tweaks, edits and
changes... suggestions which were accommodated by the studio. In effect,
he had final say on the film's editing and special effects, so the
reality is that he DID eventually become involved. We hope that eases
Speaking of Warner, the studio has officially announced the re-release
of Blade Runner: The Director's Cut
on 9/12 (SRP $19.97). This is a single-disc release (dual-layered), with
no new extras, but you'll be pleased to know that the video has been
completely remastered with a brand new anamorphic widescreen film
transfer. The audio will be Dolby 2.0 Surround, like the original
release. Keep in mind that a much more elaborate multi-disc Blade
Runner: Ultimate Edition is currently in production for
release sometime in 2007 - that is CONFIRMED. This disc is really just
designed to update the original Snapper case release (one of Warner's
first EVER releases on DVD back in 1997) with better video in the
Also newly announced by Warner is the 4-disc Looney
Tunes: Golden Collection - Volume Four, for release on 11/14
(SRP $64.92). Additional details on the release will follow shortly.
In addition, Warner has set Beyond the
Poseidon Adventure to street on 8/22 (SRP $14.97). The film
sequel to the original Poseidon Adventure
will arrive on DVD with anamorphic widescreen video, additional scenes
not included in the theatrical version, plus the vintage Behind
the Scenes: Beyond the Poseidon Adventure featurette and a
gallery of disaster movie trailers.
In other studio news, Paramount and DreamWorks have announced the 10/17
DVD release of the animated Over the Hedge.
The disc will come with so-called "hibernating content" which
must be unlocked by visiting a website on 11/28 and entering a special
code you'll find there with your player's remote. Other extras will
include audio commentary with the filmmakers, the Behind
the Hedge featurette, a production documentary, cast
interviews, a virtual drawing lesson, a fake infomercial and more. SRP
Paramount is also releasing a new Grease:
Rockin' Rydell Special Edition on 9/19, featuring a simulated
leather jacket packaging (you'll find a picture of it below). Extras
will include a sing-along feature, 11 deleted/extended/alternate scenes,
video of the 25th anniversary DVD launch party, 3 featurettes (Grease
Memories from John and Olivia, The
Movies Behind the Music and Thunder
Roadsters) and more.
Better still, Paramount has announced the DVD release of Police
Squad: The Complete Series on 11/17! More details will
follow, but you'll find the cover art for that one below too.
Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox has set the DVD release of Garfield:
A Tale of Two Kitties for 10/10 (SRP $29.98). The disc will
include both anamorphic widescreen and full frame video, the Come
and Get It music video, an exclusive Garfield comic strip, 2
interactive games (Odie's Photo Album
and Garfield's Maze) and the Drawing
with Jim Davis featurette.
Also today, Universal has announced that its Brick
DVD, which had been slated for 7/11 but was later delayed indefinitely,
has finally been rescheduled for release on 8/8. Just FYI.
Okay... here's the cover artwork for a few of the DVD releases we just
mentioned, including Warner's Blade Runner:
The Director's Cut and Looney
Tunes: Golden Collection - Volume Four, Paramount's Police
Squad: The Complete Series, Grease:
Rockin' Rydell Special Edition and a yet-to-be-announced Black
Rain: Special Collector's Edition, and finally Disney's The
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - Four-Disc
Extended Edition (due 12/12)...
On the high-definition front today, remember how we mentioned a few
weeks back that the Samsung Blu-ray Disc player wasn't delivering all of
the fine image detail and color saturation that we expected,
particularly compared to Pioneer's forthcoming reference Blu-ray Disc
player? Yeah... turns out there's a reason for that. It seems that a
noise-reduction circuit in the BD-P1000's scaler chip was left enabled
as shipped from the factory, which results in a significantly softer
than normal image. It's not something that can be fixed by the consumer
- the player itself needs to be taken to a service center to be properly
reset. Ugh. I first heard about this last week, and Samsung has
apparently acknowledged the issue, but I haven't been able to follow up
on it while preparing for (and recovering from) Comic-Con. If anyone out
there has heard an update on how Samsung plans to handle the situation,
please let me know so
I can post the information here for our readers. Thanks!
By the way, I've learned that our very own Russell Hammond was at the
Star Wars panel at Comic-Con on
Friday, and his reaction was much like the others we've heard who saw
the DVD clips. Apparently, Lucasfilm went to a lot of trouble to first
show a doctored clip (supposedly from the DVDs) designed to look
deliberately bad - something that they'd spent money to actually create!
- in order to make light of the criticisms we at The
Bits and MANY others have leveled on the forthcoming DVDs'
quality shortcomings, and in order to make the actual DVD clips look
somewhat better by comparison. In fact, Russell says that Sansweet's
comments (that we posted earlier) were made right before showing the
deliberately bad looking clips, as a way of playing up the joke. THEN he
played the actual clips from the DVDs, and according to Russell,
"It looked like crap too!"
(Russell's exact words, spoken in an outraged tone to me this morning
over the phone.) In other words, it looked exactly like we figured it
would... soft, washed out, lacking in contrast and detail, etc...
exactly what you'd expect from 15-year-old, non-anamorphic laserdisc
transfers gussied up for DVD and blown up on a big screen. I'd like to
refer you all to
lengthy post we made here at The Bits in May, which
remains our definitive statement on this issue. In it, we
point-for-point refute every single argument that Lucasfilm has made as
to why this is the "best they can do." It was written by
myself, along with our own Robert A. Harris, who is one of the foremost
film restoration experts in the industry. I think you'll find it
interesting reading, and we stand by it 100%. By the way, you'll find
more fan complaints about the new DVDs
at OriginalTrilogy.com and a funny bit
Finally today, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge
passing of Japanese-American actor Mako at the age of 72. His face
should be familiar to many of you for his work in countless films and TV
series over the years, including The Sand
Pebbles (a role for which he was eventually nominated for an
Oscar). Most recently, however, it was his voice work that people are
likely to recognize: Mako was the voice of Aku in the animated Samurai
Jack. He'll certainly be missed.
Believe it or not, there's still MORE DVD release news that we're
working to gather and post for you, and tomorrow we're going to try to
blow out a number of new DVD reviews that have been stacking up from our
staffers as well. By the end of the week, we hope to be all caught up,
at which point I plan to personally focus on a ton of HD-DVD and Blu-ray
Disc reviews. As always, stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 7/26/06
- 1 AM PDT)
Coffee up, folks! We've got more DVD announcements to report this
First up, some Sony news. The studio has set Glass
House: The Good Mother, The Woods,
Forever Knight: The Trilogy - Part Three,
The Three Stooges: Stooges on the Run,
The Dark Backward: Special Edition,
a Body Double: Special Edition, a
Bugsy: Extended Cut, a Monty
Python and the Holy Grail: Extraordinarily Deluxe Edition and
a Stuart Little Movie Collection
box set, all for release on 10/3. Also due on that day from the studio
is a UMD version of Monty Python and the Holy
Grail for the PSP. According to our best information, the
Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
Extraordinarily Deluxe Edition is apparently the same DVD as
before, just repackaged.
Universal has officially announced Saturday
Night Live: The Best of Saturday TV Funhouse for release on
10/24 (SRP $19.98), featuring some of the infamous Robert Smigel shorts
that have been featured on SNL
over the years. Not sure if we've mentioned this before, but the studio
has also set a Lock, Stock and Two Smoking
Barrels: Locked 'N Loaded Unrated Director's Cut for release
on 10/3 (SRP $19.98), featuring 12 minutes of new footage.
predicted in The Rumor Mill, the animated Curious
George is officially due on 9/26. Also, just FYI, the
studio's previously announced HD-DVD release of The
Interpreter, which had been set for 8/22, has been delayed
Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox has announced the first titles of their
October DVD slate. Currently set for release on 10/3 are Thank
You for Smoking, the Return to the
Planet of the Apes animated TV series (previously available
only in The Ultimate DVD Collection
box set) and the Point Break: Pure Adrenaline
Edition. Following on 10/17 are Author!
Author!, Panic in Needle Park,
the Al Pacino Collection box set
(including Chinese Coffee, Looking
for Richard, Local Stigmatic
and the Babbelonia bonus disc), a
Barney: The Dino-Riffic Collection!
(including Let's Go to the Farm,
Just Imagine and The
Musical Scrapbook), a Bob the
Builder: Bob's Hard at Work Collection! (including Getting
the Job Done!, Help is on the Way
and Snowed Under), a Wiggles:
A Wiggle-tastic Collection! (including The
Wiggly, Wiggly World, The Wiggly
Safari and The Wiggle Bay),
a Big Black Comedy box set
(including all five volumes) and the previously announced Behind
Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil and Behind
Enemy Lines 2-pack (containing Axis
of Evil and the original film). Finally, on 10/24 you'll see
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: Season 2,
There's a bit of cool news for you Muppet
Show fans this morning. Buena Vista is preparing to release
Season Two of the series on DVD
early next year (Spring 2007 is what we're being told by the studio) and
they're giving you all the chance to vote on the cover art they'll use
on the set. Click
here and you'll get to choose your favorite from among three
possible Miss Piggy-themed options. We think it should keep the Season
One theme and have pink felt this time.
Oh... one other thing this morning. You know how we were complaining a
few months back that the original versions of the Star
Wars films (due on 9/12) were going to look less than stellar
in 15-year old, non-anamorphic, laserdisc-transfer quality video on DVD?
A few thousand fans finally got a look at them at the Lucasfilm
presentation at Comic-Con on Friday afternoon. Lucasfilm's Steve
Sansweet had this to say to the assemblage: "The
transfers from the bonus discs are absolutely incredible, because these
are pristine master tapes, and I have NEVER seen - despite what you may
have heard on Internet rumors - a better transfer of a movie."
The balls. THE BALLS.
Well... it seems that Steve's actual visual evidence wasn't quite as
compelling as his personal opinion might otherwise suggest. Or so says
it Cool News,
and others who were there to see the presentation (for the record, Todd,
Adam and I missed it as we were wrapping up our own post-panel business
on Friday afternoon). Scott Swan's Collider
report is particularly depressing. He's actually posted an MP3 audio
recording of the event, in which you can hear Sansweet addressing the
anamorphic controversy in such a way that it seems he doesn't even quite
understand what anamorphic enhancement is. For the record, Steve, the "little
black bars" are NOT the problem here (we refer you to
Anamorphic Guide for your edification). Anyway, we've told
Lucasfilm that we'd eat our hats if they can prove us wrong about how
the DVDs look, but they have yet to take us up on the offer. The offer
We don't make this stuff up, folks! We're totally serial.
More DVD news to follow later this morning. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 7/25/06 -
4 PM PDT)
Okay... continuing on with our report on DVD-related stuff that was
revealed at Comic-Con, Universal held a special preview event on Friday
afternoon, during which they screened exclusive footage from the
recently announced 3-disc Peter Jackson's
King Kong: Deluxe Extended Edition. The 11/14 release (SRP
$34.98) was revealed on Universal's home video press website last week,
but the details have since been pulled and so may be subject to change.
The Comic-Con preview was introduced by Jackson himself in a special
greeting for the fans. The preview showed a new scene in which the
rescue party is crossing a swamp in a makeshift raft, when they suddenly
encounter a massive fish-like creature that attacks the raft, sending
its occupants into the water to be eaten one by one. There's a whole
sequence in which Jack (Adrien Brody), dragged to the bottom of the
swamp by the weight of the equipment he's carrying, struggles to escape
the fish. Eventually, Jack and several of the company manage swim to
safety... and of course Carl (Jack Black) has been filming it all. The
new Extended Edition will feature
13 additional minutes of footage added back into the film, which also
includes some 200 new digital effects shots. It was also revealed that
Jackson has recorded feature-length audio commentary for the new
release, and there will be other new extras as well. We'll post
additional details when they're available.
Meanwhile, Buena Vista officially unveiled at Comic-Con plans to
release The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion,
the Witch and the Wardrobe - Four-Disc Extended Edition on
12/12 (SRP $42.99). The set will include an all-new 150-minute cut of
the film in anamorphic widescreen video, with both Dolby Digital and DTS
5.1 audio (for the record, the new cut is roughly 10 minutes longer than
the theatrical cut). This will be presented on Disc One of the set in
its entirety, along with a blooper reel, a Narnia
Fun Facts text trivia track, audio commentary with director
Andrew Adamson and the child stars of the film, and a second commentary
with Adamson and the film's producers. Disc Two will include the Two
World of Narnia documentary, broken into three segments. Each
segment is composed of its own featurettes as follows: Creating
Narnia (including Chronicle of a
Director and The Children's
Magical Journey), Evolution of an
Epic (including Anatomy of a
Scene: The Melting River, Cinematic
Storytellers, C.S. Lewis: From One
Man's Mind and Creating Creatures)
and Creatures, Lands & Legends
(including Creatures of the World,
the Explore Narnia 3-D map and a
Legends in Time timeline). Disc
Three will offer the all-new and C.S. Lewis:
The Dreamer of Narnia feature-length documentary. Finally,
Disc Four will include the Visualizing The
Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: The Complete Production Experience
documentary, the Anatomy of a Scene: Behind
the Battle featurette and the interactive Art
of Narnia Gallery featuring hundreds of production images
from the film.
FYI, the Narnia: Four-Disc Extended Edition
will also be available for a limited time in a special Gift
Set (SRP $79.99) packaged with a pair of collectible bookends
created by the artists at Weta Limited. As you may have guessed, both
the 4-disc DVD itself, and the Gift Set
package, are patterned directly after New Line's Lord
of the Rings: Extended Editions. We'll post cover art for
both versions of the new Narnia
DVDs when we have it.
Moving on this afternoon, here's something else that's very cool from
Comic-Con. File this as Rumor Mill-worthy,
but I learned while down in San Diego that not only is Paramount working
to release The Ultimate Star Trek Movie
Collection in high-definition on HD-DVD and (possibly)
Blu-ray Disc... the studio is quietly remastering all 79 episodes of
Star Trek: The Original Series for
eventual high-def disc release as well. Paramount also has sparkling
high-def masters of all 4 seasons of Star
Trek: Enterprise to release on disc. Can't wait to see all of
Speaking of Trek, Paramount did
reveal at Comic-Con a teaser poster for the soon-to-be-in-pre-production
J.J. Abrams Star Trek feature
film, which is expected in 2008. Here's what it looks like for those who
might be interested...
Finally this afternoon, we've kicked off FOUR new
today, giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's
Complete Fifth Season,
of Brisco County, Jr.: The Complete Series and
Tales from the
Crypt: The Complete Fourth Season, Lionsgate's
Season One, Paramount and Comedy Central's
Show: The Lost Episodes - Uncensored and New Line's
Destination 3: Thrill Ride Edition. All of these contests will
run until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, July 30th. Click on the links to get
started and good luck! And just FYI, we'll announce the winners of the
previous contests on
Winner's Circle shortly.
Never fear... we'll be back tomorrow with LOTS more new DVD
announcement news, more Comic-Con revelations, some HD news, disc
reviews and more. Stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 7/25/06 -
1:45 PM PDT)
We've got the first of several Comic-Con DVD news posts for you, so
let's get started...
First up, in an event at the Con, Warner officially announced the DVD
release of Forbidden Planet on
11/14. There will be a Forbidden Planet: 50th
Anniversary 2-Disc Special Edition (SRP $26.99) as well as a
Forbidden Planet: Ultimate Collector's
Edition (SRP $59.92). The 2-disc edition will feature
anamorphic widescreen video (mastered from newly restored film elements)
and newly-remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras on the 2-disc edition
will include additional scenes and rare "lost" footage (known
in select circles as The Saucer Footage"), excerpts from The
MGM Parade TV series, a pair of later programs that feature
Robbie the Robot (the 1958 MGM feature film The
Invisible Boy and the Robot Client
episode of MGM's The Thin Man TV
series), 3 documentaries on the making of the film (including TCM's
original Watch the Skies!: Science Fiction,
the 1950s and Us, and the all-new Amazing!
Exploring the Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet and Robby
the Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon), and a gallery of
Sci-Fi film theatrical trailers. The Ultimate
Collector's Edition will include the 2-disc SE DVD release in
a tin case, along with a collectible Robby the Robot replica with
moveable limbs, a reproduction lobby art card portfolio for Forbidden
Planet and The Invisible Boy,
and a Forbidden Planet original
theatrical poster mail-in offer. There MAY be HD-DVD and Blu-ray
versions of the release as well (we certainly hope so), but they're not
Also just officially announced by Warner at Comic-Con
is The Christopher Reeve Superman Collection
box set for release on 11/28 (SRP $79.92).
This 8-disc set begins with a Superman: The
Movie Four Disc Special Edition (SRP $39.92 if purchased
separately), which will include BOTH the original 1978 and 2000 DVD
versions of the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital
5.1 audio. Extras will include new audio commentary by producer Pierre
Spengler and executive producer Ilya Salkind on the theatrical version
and the previous commentary by director Richard Donner and creative
consultant Tom Mankiewicz on the 2000 DVD version, a music-only audio
track on the 2000 DVD version, original trailers and TV spots, 3
documentaries (Taking Flight: The Development
of Superman, Making Superman:
Filming the Legend and The Magic
Behind the Cape), restored scenes, screen tests, additional
music cues (audio only), the vintage The
Making of Superman: The Movie TV special, the 1951 Superman
and the Mole-Men feature film (starring George Reeves) and 9
of the original Fleischer Studios Superman
cartoons mastered from superior vault elements (including Superman,
The Mechanical Monsters, Billion
Dollar Limited, The Arctic Giant,
The Bulleteers, The
Magnetic Telescope, Electric
Earthquake, Volcano and
Terror on the Midway).
The set continues with the Superman II:
Two-Disc Special Edition (SRP $26.99 if purchased
separately), which includes the film in anamorphic widescreen video and
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary by executive producer Ilya
Salkind and producer Pierre Spengler, 2 vintage TV specials (The
Making of Superman II and Superman
50th Anniversary), the film's theatrical trailer, the First
Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series featurette and 8 more
of the original Fleischer Studios Superman
cartoons mastered from superior vault elements (including Japoteurs,
Hour, Destruction, Inc.,
The Mummy Strikes, Jungle
Drums, The Underground World
and Secret Agent).
So this means that if you purchase the new 8-disc box set, or just the
new DVD versions of the first two feature films, you'll be getting the
ENTIRE Fleischer Studios animated Superman
series - all 17 cartoons - looking better than you have EVER seen them,
believe me. You'll be amazed at the quality of these things. The
restoration work is spectacular.
Next up in the set is a Superman III: Deluxe
Edition (SRP $19.97 separately), which will include the film
in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio
commentary by executive producer Ilya Salkind and producer Pierre
Spengler, the vintage The Making of Superman
III TV special, additional scenes (not added back into the
film) and the theatrical trailer.
Finally, the set will include Superman IV:
The Quest for Peace (SRP $19.97 separately), which will
include the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1
audio, audio commentary by screenwriter Mark Rosenthal, additional
scenes (not added back into the film) and the theatrical trailer.
Now then... you might be wondering what the deal is with that Donner
cut of Superman II. It's NOT
included in the box set. Superman II: The
Richard Donner Cut will be available separately on 11/28 (SRP
$24.98). This will include an all new 122-minute cut of the film (in
anamorphic widescreen video) newly-created by its original director,
Richard Donner. According to Warner's press release:
"the Donner cut restores the
Marlon Brando role, filmed for, but not included in the final theatrical
release version of Superman II. The legendary Brando's
performance as Jor-El has finally been restored in key scenes that
amplify Superman lore and deepen the profound relationship between
father and son. With so many other changes, large and small, including a
variety of Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) schemes to unmask Clark Kent as
Superman, this Superman II will prove to be an eye-opening
experience and an important addition to film history." The
new cut also features newly finished special effects and more. Extras on
this DVD will include newly-recorded audio commentary by director
Richard Donner and creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz, the Superman
II: Restoring the Vision featurette and additional scenes not
added back into the film.
You might be surprised to know that the Superman
Returns DVD was NOT officially announced at Comic-Con,
however director Bryan Singer was on hand at the Con to offer additional
details about the release. First of all, it will not be part of the new
box set - you'll need to purchase it separately (we expect it to be
announced soon, for release around the same time as the set, in DVD,
HD-DVD and Blu-ray formats). The DVD release MAY include a gag-reel
(which was shown at the Con). It will NOT feature an extended edition of
the film, however it will include SOME of the deleted scenes from the
film separately. It will not include the infamous "Return to
Krypton" deleted opening sequence - Singer is saving that for a
special theatrical or DVD re-release at a later time.
Here's even more info that you might not be aware of. At our own DVD
Sneak Peek 2006 panel (coordinated and sponsored by us here
at The Digital Bits), DVD producer
Robert Meyer Burnett revealed that he's working on a new 3-part,
feature-length documentary on the making of the film for the DVD,
entitled Requiem for Krypton: Making Superman
Returns, which will run some two and a half hours. It's been
shot "fly-on-the-wall" style, a la the excellent The
Beginning documentary on the Star
Wars: Episode I DVD, so you're right there for every
important moment of the production (it's also in anamorphic widescreen
from start to finish!). Burnett showed a very cool clip from Requiem
for Krypton, specifically authorized and hand-picked to show
at our panel by director Bryan Singer, in which we see actor Brandon
Routh being prepped by wardrobe and make-up for his official screen test
for the film. With Singer supervising, Routh is trying on various
possible versions of Clark Kent's glasses and also having his hair cut
and styled with Superman's iconic curl. The cool thing is that Singer
had called Burnett in to videotape all this, telling him that Routh was
THE guy who was going to play the part... except that Routh hadn't yet
been told he'd gotten the role (and Singer wanted no one to tell him).
It was October 5th, 2004, and it would be two additional weeks before
Routh was told. So it's fun to see Routh and the others reacting to one
another, with everyone but Routh knowing that he's the guy. It's very
cool stuff. The documentary will include Routh's original screen test
footage as well, and much, much more. We'll post additional details on
the DVD release of Superman Returns
as soon as they're available.
FYI, we believe all of these Superman
titles will be available on HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc high-definition
formats as well as standard DVD, but they haven't yet been announced.
By the way, while it's not a Warner title per se (and it wasn't
announced at Comic-Con), New Line has just revealed that Robert Altman's
A Prairie Home Companion will
arrive on DVD on 10/10 (SRP $27.95). The film will be offered on disc in
anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will
include audio commentary with director Robert Altman and star Kevin
Kline, deleted scenes (with optional commentary), the Come
Play with Us: A Feature Companion featurette, the Onstage
at the Fitzgerald: A Music Companion featurette with extended
musical performances and advertisement segments, song selection and the
film's theatrical trailer.
Here's a look at the cover artwork for Warner's Forbidden
Planet, along with a better packaging shot of Paramount's
Star Trek: The Animated Series
(due 11/21), and new art for New Line's A
Prairie Home Companion...
Back later with more. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 7/25/06 -
9:30 AM PDT)
Okay... long time no see!
Sorry, folks... I had planned to make our big "back from Comic-Con"
post yesterday afternoon, but as luck would have it, I wasn't able to
make it happen due to circumstances out of my control. I went to drop
Doogan off at the airport for his return to Atlanta yesterday morning,
and as I was driving back to the house, I noticed that some of the
street lights were out in intersections around our neighborhood. So I'm
thinking, "Yeah... this can't be good." I get home and the
power's out. It's been like 100 degrees in the shade all weekend out
here in The OC, so you know... high electric demand in California means
The Man decides to screw us all again with rolling blackouts. Now I know
why guys like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees went all primitive on
people. I want to see the horror film where some guy buys one too many
tanks of $3.75 per gallon gas, then snaps after opening up his $500
electric bill for using the air conditioner for 2 days per month, and
offs a bunch of PG&E, Exxon and BP executives. Beyond Petroleum my
ass. That's the freaking horror film I want to see. I tell you, I am
THIS close to pulling the trigger on solar panels and taking my house
off the grid. THIS close.
Anyway, Comic-Con was a lot of fun this year. And we've got LOTS of
cool DVD news for you guys today, some of which you may have heard while
we were away in San Diego, and some you haven't. I'm going to post it
all in several installments today, so check back in a little bit for the
first of them.
Back shortly. Stay tuned...
All right, everyone. Todd's in the house all airline fresh from Atlanta
(GA), Adam's on his way and we're all a-headin' on down to San Diego
this morning for this year's Comic-Con. Just a reminder for those of you
attending, our DVD Sneak Peek 2006
panel is on Friday afternoon, from 2-3:30 PM in Room 6B of the San Diego
Convention Center. We've got some interesting things to talk about with
our panelists, and they're bringing cool stuff to show you, so we hope
to see you all down there.
As for the rest of you, we'll be dark here at The
Bits through the event, but we'll be back on Monday to catch
you up on all the latest DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc news. We'll have
plenty of interesting news to report from the show as well. So have a
great rest of your week, and a wonderful weekend, and we'll see you
First up today, our own Adam Jahnke has turned in another edition of
Shelf column, featuring new reviews of six standard DVD
releases - TV titles all - including Paramount's
Brady Bunch: The Complete First Season,
Brady Bunch: The Complete Final Season and
Andy Milonakis Show: The Complete First Season, Warner's
from the Crypt: The Complete Third Season, Anchor Bay's
The Complete Series and MGM's
Morris' First Person: The Complete Series.
I've also posted
trio of HD-DVD reviews from yours truly, including Universal's
Black: Unrated Director's Cut, as well as Warner's
Kiss Bang Bang. By the way, if any of the technical specs on
these reviews are inaccurate, please let me know. It's late, and there's
a LOT to keep straight when you're reviewing these new high-def formats,
much less comparing them to standard DVD! More HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc
reviews will follow soon.
While we're talking high-def, you should know that Warner is about to
officially announce the HD-DVD/Combo format release of Good
Night, and Good Luck. We don't have the exact street date and
price yet, but we expect that shortly. In the meantime, the studio has
confirmed that both the HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc versions of the film
will include the same extras that were on the DVD release, specifically
audio commentary with writer/director George Clooney and writer/producer
Grant Heslov, the Good Night, and Good Luck
Companion Piece featurette and the film's theatrical trailer.
Both high-def versions will also include 1080p video and English Dolby
Digital Plus 5.1 audio. We expect the video will be MPEG-2 on the
Blu-ray Disc and VC1 on the HD-DVD, but we'll have to confirm that to be
Also today, Lionsgate has officially announced their second wave of
Blu-ray Disc titles for 8/22 (SRP $29.99 each). The titles will include
Stir of Echoes, Stargate,
Total Recall and The
Devil's Rejects. Stir of Echoes
will include audio commentary with director David Koepp, the Sight
of Spirits: Channeling the Paranormal featurette and deleted
scenes. Stargate (the 128-minute
unrated version) will include audio commentary with writer/director
Roland Emmerich and writer/producer Dean Devlin. Total
Recall will include the Visions of
Mars featurette. Finally, The
Devil's Rejects (the 109-minute unrated version) will include
audio commentary with director Rob Zombie, audio commentary with actors
Sid Haig, Bill Moseley and Sheri Moon Zombie, and deleted scenes. All
will feature 1080p video with audio in "DTS HD High Resolution ES"
and "5.1 Dolby Digital Surround EX." We've updated the
Release List accordingly.
Here's some standard DVD news that's sure to come as no surprise:
Universal has just officially announced the release of Peter Jackson's
King Kong: Deluxe Extended Edition
on 11/14. There will be a 3-disc, anamorphic widescreen version (SRP
$34.98) and the same 3-disc version packaged in a gift box (presumably
with lots of as-yet-unrevealed swag items) for $79.98. We expect more
details soon. Also newly announced by Universal are Frankenstein:
The True Story for release on 9/26, and American
Dreamz for 10/17.
And we've updated
Rumor Mill this morning with some interesting standard DVD
release information. We've got tentative street date information for a
number of upcoming release, including Cars,
House, The Da Vinci Code,
Superman Returns and Pirates
of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Do check it out!
One last note this morning... our e-mail is down as we anticipated, so
if you're trying to get in contact with me for any reason, please know
that it might be day or two before I can read your e-mail. Just FYI.
FYI, we're doing some server work around The
Bits today, so if things get a little strange, please be
patient. Our e-mail may also be spotty for the next day or two, but
everything else should be back to normal in the next 24 hours or so.
In the meantime,
Trek.com has posted new details on the extras you'll find on
Star Trek: The Animated Series
when it arrives on DVD on 11/21. Look for 2 featurettes (Drawn
to the Final Frontier - The Making of Star Trek: The Animated Series
and What's the Star Trek Connection?),
a photo gallery, show history text, wallpapers and AIM icons (via
DVD-ROM), and finally text commentaries by Michael Okuda and Denise
Okuda on the episodes Yesteryear,
The Eye of the Beholder and The
Counter-Clock Incident. It's not much compared to the kinds
of cool bonus material BCI is giving their animated DVDs, but it's
better than nothing. Here's a look at the outer plastic case for the set
(a rough image, but this is it)...
We'll try to get better quality art soon. As you can see, we've also
posted artwork for Warner's Blu-ray Disc release of Good
Night, and Good Luck (8/1) along with their Justice
League Unlimited: Season One DVD (10/24).
Speaking of BCI, the company has just announced the DVD release of Defenders
of the Earth: Volume One on 10/10 (SRP $39.98). The 5-disc
set will contain the series' first 33 episodes, which feature the
animated adventures of Flash Gordon, The Phantom and Mandrake the
Magician. Extras will include new interviews with the producers and
voice cast, audio commentary for the first episode with the producers
and voice cast, an image gallery (of model sheets, sketches and
background artwork), the original presentation pilot for the series
(featuring alternate characters), detailed character profiles, 2
collectible postcards featuring artwork, trivia, and a complete set of
scripts and storyboards (via DVD-ROM).
In other news today, Mile Films is releasing The
Big Animal and The Clay Bird
on 9/26 (SRP $29.95 each). The Big Animal
was scripted by filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski (The
Decalogue, Three Colors Trilogy)
for those who might be interested.
Meanwhile, Universal will release the Flower
Drum Song: Special Edition on 11/7 (SRP $29.98).
Finally this morning, we've kicked off FOUR new
giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Image
Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock N' Roll - Ultimate Collector's Edition,
the Man and
Stimpy: The Lost Episodes, Shout! Factory's
Behind Bars and FIVE
custom intro animation DVDs from Bitstream Animation! All of these
contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, July 23rd. Click on
the links to get started and good luck!
We'll be back later with some reviews, so stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 7/17/06 -
12:15 PM PDT)
We have some additional standard DVD release news to report this
afternoon - some interesting titles we think.
First up, Universal has set Slither
for release on 10/24.
Sony has scheduled both Connors' War
and Riptide: The Complete First Season
New Line has announced the direct-to-DVD release of The
Butterfly Effect 2 on 10/10.
Criterion has just announced four new DVD titles for their October
slate, including Alfonso Cuarón's Sólo
con tu pareja (Cat #353), Francesco Rosi's Hands
Over the City (#355), Lodge Kerrigan's Shaven
Clean (#354) and Jane Campion's Sweetie
Paramount has announced some cool new titles today in addition to Star
Trek: The Animated Series, including Flavor
of Love: The Complete First Season on 8/29, both The
Andy Milonakis Show: The Complete Second Season and Wonder
Showzen: The Complete Second Season on 10/10, and Wings:
The Complete Third Season on 10/24. Also, be aware that the
studio's press site is indicating that the global warming documentary
An Inconvenient Truth is currently
set to debut on disc in October as well, but the specific street date is
Finally this afternoon, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers to include the complete month of
June. Our listings (above)
have been updated accordingly.
We expect to be back tomorrow with a bunch of new disc reviews, some
new contests and more, so stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 7/17/06
- 11 AM PDT)
There's some exciting standard DVD news today for you Star
Trek fans. After months (years!) of waiting and delay,
Paramount has finally, officially announced the release of Star
Trek: The Animated Series on 11/21 (SRP $35). The 4-disc set
will include all 22 episodes of the 1973-74 animated series in the
original full frame video with remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. As
some of you may know, the series featured much of the cast of the
original live-action series doing their character's voices. We had
expected the discs to include no extras, however industry sources are
telling us that there will be at least some newly produced features on
the set (they're still officially TBA). You can read more at
Media Retailing, and also here from our friends at
Shows on DVD.com.
Also, following in the wake of Buena Vista's Blu-ray announcement from
this morning, a few additional titles have been listed on
the Blu-ray Disc
camp's promotional website that we can expect to be announced for
release on the format in the months ahead (as was the
case on Friday with the Universal HD-DVDs). The
Release List has been updated with all the relevant details.
Finally this morning, there are new media reports (click
that Target has decided to no longer carry movies in Sony's UMD format
for the PSP. You can pretty much stick a fork in UMD, folks. It's on its
(EARLY UPDATE -
7/17/06 - 10 AM PDT)
Morning, all! Hope you had a great weekend.
We've got some breaking high-definition news to report this morning.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment, which has previously declared exclusive
support for Blu-ray Disc, has finally announced their first titles on
the format. They'll arrive in stores on 9/19, and will include Walt
Disney Pictures' Dinosaur and Eight
Below, and Miramax Films' Jay and
Silent Bob Strike Back and The
Great Raid. A second wave of titles will street on 10/17,
including Walt Disney Pictures' Glory Road
and Haunted Mansion, Touchstone
Pictures' Dark Water and Gone
in Sixty Seconds, and Dimension Films' The
Brothers Grimm. Most BVHE titles will carry an SRP of $34.99.
Like other high-def releases, these discs will feature full 1080p video
and menus with seamless animation that can be accessed while the movie
is playing. Other features on these discs will be announced soon. In
addition, from the studio's press release, Eight
Below, Dinosaur, Gone
in Sixty Seconds, Glory Road
and Haunted Mansion will feature
something called Blu-Scape, "exclusive
high-definition short films inspired by the movies available only on
BVHE Blu-ray Discs. These shorts are presented in 1080p and shot by
renowned cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg." Additional
extras are in development for future Blu-ray Disc releases. Says BVHE
president Bob Chapek, "The Blu-ray Disc
represents a major technological breakthrough in our industry, and just
as DVD revolutionized home entertainment, the Blu-ray Disc promises to
deliver a new and unparalleled consumer experience. The possibilities
are endless and we've just begun to bridge the future of this exciting
new paradigm. These are incredibly exciting times since we are in an era
where the consumer has growing control over the delivery of their
entertainment choices including packaged media. We are confident that
the Blu-ray Disc will be the high-definition choice for the home
We've updated the
Release List accordingly, and we expect additional BVHE title
announcements in the weeks ahead. Here's a look at the artwork for Dinosaur
and a menu shot from Eight Below
(we'll post additional artwork when it's available)...
Back with more in a bit. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 7/14/06
- 8 PM PDT)
This is just a last quick update for you. Bits
reader Harminder S. e-mailed us with a heads-up that
new HD-DVD promotional website has been updated with a TON of new
Universal titles. According to the update, the following HD-DVD releases
are "coming soon" from the studio: 2
Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and the
Furious, The Thing,
Out of Sight, Spartacus,
12 Monkeys, The
Blues Brothers, The Hulk,
the Grinch Stole Christmas, Meet
the Parents, The Mummy,
American Werewolf in London, Field
of Dreams, Miami Vice
(2006), Battlestar Galactica (70s
film or new TV series unknown, but probably the new series or
mini-series), Casino, The
Scorpion King, American Pie 5,
American Pie Unrated, The
Breakfast Club, The Deer Hunter,
Waist Deep, The
Break-Up, Scoop, Slither,
The Black Dahlia, Idlewild,
You, Me and Dupree, Accepted,
Jet Li's Fearless and The
Return. Not sure what The Return
is, but that's one helluva list.
By the way Universal... if you ARE doing The
Blues Brothers, someone call John Landis and get him to give
you the original audio recordings of those three deleted musical numbers
and throw 'em on the disc, will ya?
Anyway, none of these titles are OFFICIALLY announced yet, but they're
obviously in the planning stages. So there you go. We've updated our
Release List accordingly.
Okay... enjoy your weekend!
(EARLY UPDATE - 7/14/06 -
3:30 PM PDT)
We've got a bit of ground to cover today, including some new DVD
release news, so let's get to it.
First up, Sony has set Friends with Money
for release on 8/29. They've also set Sketches
of Frank Gehry for release on 8/22.
Warner has moved the release date for its Hollywood's
Legends of Horror box set from 10/3 to 10/10. Adjust your
BCI has just announced He-Man and the
Masters of the Universe: Season Two, Volume Two for release
on 9/19 (SRP $49.98), which will include the final 32 episodes of the
series (episodes 99-130). Extras on the set will include The
Stories of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Season Two, Part Two
and Animating He-Man and the Masters of the
Universe documentaries, a full-length animated storyboard
comparison for the episode The Problem with
Power, 2 original art cards, a trio of audio commentary
tracks, character profiles, trivia, Easter eggs, TV spots and 5 episode
scripts (via DVD-ROM).
BCI has also announced Groovie Goolies
for release on 10/24 (SRP $29.98), which will include the complete
series (all episodes), along with The
Definitive Groovie Goolies Documentary.
Meanwhile, Shout! Factory has set the release of its Shakespeare
Behind Bars documentary on DVD on 7/18.
This would normally go in The Rumor Mill,
so treat the information accordingly, but industry sources are telling
us to expect Paramount to release Nacho Libre
on DVD on 10/24.
We've mentioned it before, but you Bond fans will be excited to know
that MGM is preparing to release new Ultimate
Editions of all 20 of 007's big screen adventures, timed to
coincide with the theatrical and DVD release of the latest film, Casino
Royale. The new DVDs will be released as 2-disc sets, and
each of the films will include both Dolby Digital and DTS audio. Lowry
Digital has apparently given the films a frame by frame digital
polishing, and it's likely that they'll be released both in standard DVD
and high-definition Blu-ray Disc format as well. The DVD versions have
already been released in the U.K. and they're announced for release in
Australia on 8/16 (click
here to see pictures and details from the EzyDVD online store). We
expect U.S. announcements very soon.
Those of you attending Comic-Con next week might be interested to check
out Universal's brief preview of the extended edition DVD release of
Peter Jackson's King Kong. It'll
be in Hall H on Friday, 7/21, from 4-4:15 PM. The DVD itself is expected
to be released later this year, in time for the holidays. Just FYI.
There's not much high-def news today, but there are a couple
interesting articles on the subject around the Net. The first,
at Video Business, features the reactions of video
retailers at this week's VSDA convention in Las Vegas to HD-DVD and
Blu-ray Disc. The general consensus seems to be that retailers just
aren't ready for it yet, and consumers just aren't very interested in
the formats yet... probably something that should come as no surprise at
second piece, from Forbes magazine, is entitled The
Next Picture Show and examines the debut of the new high-def
formats in detail. It's a surprisingly good primer on both the formats
themselves and the current market situation, and it ultimately advises
readers to hold off on adopting HD-DVD and Blu-ray for now. Rather, the
author suggests that readers spend money to upgrade to good HDTV
displays in anticipation of diving into high-def discs in the future.
Note that you need to be a subscriber to read the full text. Thanks to
Bits reader Roger M. for the
heads-up on the piece.
I have to tell you, something we'd really like to see (and VERY soon)
from all of the studios supporting both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc, are
more announcements of really good "gee whiz" titles. You
know... A-List action and sci-fi titles - the kinds of titles that are
going to really dazzle the high-end home theater-philes who are
currently the only people buying into either format. The reality is, if
you REALLY want to grab the early adopters' attention, and jump-start
these format launches in the process, Hollywood needs to start giving
them the kinds of titles they can brag about, and use to show off their
home theaters to friends and family. I certainly recall that when DVD
was just a few months old, back in 1997, the first titles EVERYONE
wanted were eye candy... things like Batman
and Blade Runner. Of all the
studios supporting HD-DVD, you really have to give credit to Universal
for releasing titles like Serenity,
Pitch Black and Chronicles
of Riddick. Warner's offerings so far are... well, I'm sure
there are a few people out there thrilled to have Rumor
Has It on HD-DVD, but I'm not one of them. On the Blu-ray
Disc side, Sony and Lionsgate are trying to get eye candy titles out,
but many of the first offerings are a lot less impressive that fans
would have hoped (The Fifth Element
immediately comes to mind). While we feel confident now that BOTH
formats are capable of absolutely superb video and audio quality, where
are the killer ap titles that REALLY take advantage of that?
The problem, we suspect, is that some of the studios are holding back
their biggest titles in an effort to include more advanced interactive
features on them. Warner continues to delay releasing The
Matrix, Batman Begins
and Harry Potter for this very
reason. But the reality is, those interactive features just aren't ready
for prime time yet. The interactive specs are only just now being
tested, the authoring software isn't up to snuff yet and even if both of
those issues were fully resolved, the players can't handle much of the
new interactivity without firmware upgrades. So why not just release a
few of the great A-list, eye candy films already - even if all they
offer extras-wise is a port of the previous DVD's special features - and
then roll out the more advanced bonus features later, as they're ready?
The longer early adopters have to wait for the good titles... the titles
they REALLY want in high-def... the more impatient they'll get with both
formats. The bottom line is this: Nobody is buying HD-DVD and Blu-ray
Disc right now for the potential to offer John Madden-style telestrator
commentary or animated pop-up menus. What they care about are great
films with AMAZING video and audio. So Hollywood would do well to focus
a little more effort on satisfying those cravings first, and let the
gravy stuff follow naturally. Anyway, that's just a little free advice
to you studio types from your ol' pals at The
In other news today,
been an interesting court judgement from Japan. It seems that a
court there has ruled that movies released prior to 1953 fall into the
public domain. The decision came in response to a Paramount lawsuit
against a Japanese company, First Trading Corp., that's been releasing
older Paramount films at bargain-bin prices on DVDs. A new 2004 law was
intended to extend copyright on such films by 20 years, but the Japanese
court ruled that the law can't be applied retroactively, a decision
which is sure to cause both controversy and a flurry of follow-up legal
a bit of news from MSNBC that's sure to cause controversy as well,
at least among South Park fans. It
seems that Comedy Central and Paramount have decided that the image of
Muhammad seen in a recent episode of the show will probably be blanked
out on the upcoming DVD release, as it was in recent reruns on the cable
channel. Series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are, of course,
unhappy about this. They also comment in the piece on the issue of their
lampooning of Tom "Crooze" and Scientology in recent episodes.
It's interesting reading.
We also want to take a moment this afternoon to acknowledge the recent
passing of actors
Allyson, and longtime Hanna Barbara animator
Alex Toth (who
worked on such classic shows as The Challenge
of the Super Friends, Jonny Quest,
The Herculoids and Space
Ghost). All will be very much missed.
Okay... that's it for now, barring any major announcements. We'll be
back on Monday with HD-DVD and Blu-ray disc reviews, new standard DVD
reviews from Adam Jahnke and much more. We'll also have some very
interesting release news to report next week.
Before we go, one last note: The news today is obviously filled with
coverage of the turmoil going on in various places around the world, so
we wanted to say to all of you readers who might live (or have family,
or be serving) in the affected regions, please stay safe. Our thoughts
and best wishes are with you.
Back on Monday. Stay tuned...
Well, there's not much standard DVD news to report so far today, but we
do have a little more HD-DVD news for you... Warner Bros. has just
announced the release of ATL on
HD-DVD on 7/18 (SRP $39.99). The disc will include deleted scenes, the
In the Rink: A Director's Journey
documentary, T.I.'s What You Know
music video and the theatrical trailer (in other words, the same extras
as the DVD release). The
Release List has been updated accordingly.
Around the site this morning, however, we do have a trio of new
standard DVD reviews for you to enjoy from our own Peter Schorn,
including his take on Warner's
Blocks, and Sony's
Instinct 2: Unrated Extended Edition. More reviews will follow
And here's a bit of new cover art... Warner's ATL
on HD-DVD, along with their Poseidon: Special
Edition DVD (8/22) and Universal's Inside
Man DVD (also 8/22)...
(LATE UPDATE - 7/12/06 -
1:15 PM PDT)
We've got some breaking high-def format news to report this afternoon.
Warner Bros has just officially announced their first Blu-ray Disc
releases. Training Day, Good
Night, and Good Luck, Kiss, Kiss,
Bang, Bang and Rumor Has It
will all street on 8/1. All of these titles are already available on
HD-DVD except Good Night, and Good Luck
(but we expect that to change soon), so this will be the first really
good opportunity to directly compare the two formats. Training
Day and Good Night, and Good Luck
will carry an SRP of $28.99. The other two titles will sell for SRP
$34.99. There's no word yet on the extras to be included, but we expect
more on that shortly. Warner also says that they'll be announcing
additional waves of Blu-ray Disc titles soon.
Note that our
Release List has been updated with the details, along with new
HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc release announcements from a number of indie
While I'm on this subject, does anyone out there know who's going to be
releasing Shinobi (or SHINOB!),
True Blue, Virtual
Trip: Hawaii and Virtual Trip:
Tahiti on HD-DVD, as listed on the new format
(EARLY UPDATE - 7/12/06 -
12:15 PM PDT)
We've got some more interesting standard DVD news to report today,
starting with a follow-up on that French Star
Wars DVD controversy we mentioned the other day. We've gotten
a follow-up e-mail from our friend Arnaud at
in France. It turns out Fox France was wrong. Someone in marketing over
there apparently still doesn't know what anamorphic means. The special
edition versions of the films on Disc One of each set are anamorphic,
but the original theatrical editions on Disc Two of each are definitely
NOT anamorphic. They're just letterboxed widescreen as we expected. Fox
France has apparently apologized for the confusion, and we definitely
appreciate Arnaud's efforts in confirming the truth of the situation.
France is getting the same sub-par Star Wars
DVDs as the rest of us. 'Nuff said.
On a more upbeat note, Universal has announced some more TV DVDs today.
They've set The A Team: Season Five
and Simon & Simon: Season One
for 10/10, with Murder, She Wrote: The
Complete Fourth Season following on 10/17.
Buena Vista meanwhile has announced Scrubs:
The Complete Fourth Season for release on 10/10. They've also
got the feature film Goal! The Dream Begins
due on 9/12.
And Warner Bros. has announced a number of interesting new titles.
They've revealed that just yesterday (7/11) they released Sister
Wendy: The Complete Collection (SRP $79.98) for the BBC.
Coming on 10/24 are Batman Beyond: Season 2,
Justice League Unlimited: The Complete First
Season, The O.C.: The Complete
Third Season, a Nightmares &
Dreamscapes Collection (the mini-series is set to premiere
this summer on TNT), and Waking the Dead:
Season 1 & Pilot Episode and Jonathan
Creek: Season 1 for the BBC. Following on 10/31 is Tales
from the Crypt: The Complete Fifth Season. 11/7 will see the
release of a pair of new sports titles, NFL
History of the Colts and NFL History
of the Broncos (still no respect for the Vikings, I see...).
Finally, also on 11/7, the studio will release individual DVD volumes of
the BBC and Sci-Fi Channel's new Doctor Who
TV series, including Doctor Who: Series 1,
Volume 1 (Rose/The End of the World/Unquiet Dead), Doctor
Who: Series 1, Volume 2 (Aliens of London/World War Three/Dalek),
Doctor Who: Series 1, Volume 3 (Long
Game/Father's Day/Empty Child/The Doctor Dances) and Doctor
Who: Series 1, Volume 4 (Boom Town/Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways).
These are the same as the volumes already released individually on PSP
format - the DVDs will sell for SRP $19.98 each. Keep in mind that the
complete first season (or series, as they say in the U.K.) is already
available in one package on DVD for SRP $99.98.
Rumor Mill this afternoon with anticipated DVD street dates
from our industry sources for The Lake House,
Curious George and The
Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Just FYI.
Over at our MusicTAP.net site,
Matt's posted a
tribute to Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett, who passed away on
Friday. He's also posted a review of Capitol's
Miller Band: Fly Like An Eagle - 30th Anniversary Edition
Those of you interested in HD-DVD will be pleased to learn that the
format's supporting studios have just launched
new promotional website and media campaign, entitled "The
Look and Sound of Perfect." It's definitely worth checking out.
Most interesting is an apparent list of titles now available or "coming
soon" on the format, which includes Braveheart,
Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The
Ultimate Star Trek Movie Collection. Okay... it's probably
going to be months before some of these titles are actually announced,
but call me officially intrigued.
By the way,
has indicated now that their Batman
Begins and Harry Potter and the
Goblet of Fire will arrive on HD-DVD in the 3rd Qtr of this
year, so watch for announcements soon.
While on the HD topic, if any of you execs or marketing types for BCI,
Goldhil, Razor Digital, Live Nation, Eagle Rock, Kultur, HDNet, MTI and
other indies are reading this,
e-mail me the official
details of your upcoming high-def releases and we'll add them to our
And here's yet another format to bother with:
has just announced that they're going to be making movies
available on Memory Stick format for the PSP. Ugh. Not that this is a
bad idea in principle, but will this format-a-palooza never end? Initial
titles will include Hitch, S.W.A.T.,
The Grudge and xXx:
State of the Union. And no, we're not going to create a
special section to cover this side-show curiosity unless it explodes in
the marketplace as the best thing since sliced bread. Which it won't.
Come on, Sony! Do the words Betamax, MiniDisc and SACD mean anything to
you? Haven't you learned anything about consumers in the last 25 years?
UMD, Memory Stick or Blu-ray Disc... just pick one already and stick
with it for God's sake!
Okay... we're off to work on some of those DVD and high-def reviews
we've been promising. Watch for them to start appearing tomorrow.
(LATE UPDATE - 7/11/06 -
2 PM PDT)
Okay, we've got an update for you on Warner's Poseidon
HD-DVD street date. The title will apparently arrive on the 12/5 date as
indicated on the studio's press site, and not on the 8/22 DVD street
date. The delay is apparently due to Warner's desire to include more
advanced interactive features on the HD-DVD version that require
additional time to prepare and test.
In other news from VSDA,
Media Retailing says Lionsgate is projecting that by 2008,
"some 20 million U.S. households will have
either a Blu-ray Disc player, an HD DVD machine or both."
That's a pretty rosy projection in our opinion. A lot of it is going to
depend on how much the perception of a format war prevents average
consumers from buying into one format or the other. Then, even if there
are combo players that play both formats and many common titles on both
formats, the question consumers have to ask and answer is, which
format's discs should they buy? That's a question many early adopters
are still struggling with, and it has no easy answer as yet.
Also revealed in the story are a number of new Lionsgate DVD releases,
including the On Native Soil
documentary on 8/22, Akeelah and the Bee
on 8/29, Hard Candy on 9/19, a
Saw II: Special Edition sometime
before Halloween, An American Haunting
and a Reservoir Dogs: 15th Anniversary
Edition on 10/24, See No Evil
on 11/28, and a Dirty Dancing: 20th
Anniversary Edition for early in 2007.
Here at The Bits this afternoon,
we've just updated our mirror copy of Jim Taylor's
DVD FAQ to its latest version, dated 6/29.
Finally today, we've launched a pair of new
this week, giving you each the chance to take home copies of Warner's
Complete Fifth Season and Fantoma's
Archives: School Locker Box Set. Both contests will run until
Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, July 16th. That CeRT
DVD contest we mentioned last week will start this coming Monday, just
(EARLY UPDATE - 7/11/06 -
11 AM PDT)
Anyone see the World Cup final match this weekend between France and
Italy? I was out of town for the weekend, and so only caught it on TiVo
last night, somehow having managed to stay unspoiled as to the outcome
for two days. I love World Cup football - it's one of the only major
team sports in the world where the winners of the final game can
legitimately call themselves world champions. And it was an interesting
game too - congrats to both teams and their fans. One thing I hate about
World Cup football however, is the absurd theatrics that some of these
players put on. Man, if a player gets bumped or jostled in any way, they
collapse to the turf writhing in agony like their appendix just burst,
hoping to draw a foul on the other team. There needs to be a penalty for
that, 'cause it's just silly. Ah well. It's still a helluva lot of fun.
Anyway, the Video Software Dealers Association show (VSDA) is happening
this week in Las Vegas, so there's sure to be some interesting title
announcements over the next few days on all three formats - DVD, HD-DVD
and Blu-ray Disc. Indeed, we've got a few of them to report on today for
First up, 20th Century Fox has revealed that it will release its
computer animated Ice Age: The Meltdown
on 11/21 (SRP $29.98). Extras will include audio commentary by director
Carlos Saldanha, producer Lori Forte and members of the film's crew, new
character introductions, a trio of short films, multiple production
featurettes, a sound-effects lab, bloopers, interactive games, clips
involving the characters from Family Guy
and the original No Time for Nuts
Fox has also tentatively set The Devil Wears
Prada for release on 12/12.
And here's a little something that's very interesting: Our friend
Arnaud Calistri, who runs the DVDRama.com
website in France, e-mailed me yesterday to say that Fox France has
confirmed with him that the original versions of the Star
Wars films to be released on DVD there will be in anamorphic
widescreen (enhanced for widescreen 16x9 TVs). As many of you know, they
were announced for release here in the States and elsewhere in
non-anamorphic (letterboxed) widescreen only, causing a furor among fans
(and rightly so). This news, if true, means one of two things: Either
Lucasfilm quickly got their act together when fans complained and
created new anamorphic masters for the DVD release everywhere (and it
just hasn't been announced here in the States yet), or France is getting
better DVDs that the rest of the world. If they DID get their act
together, expect Lucasfilm's fan relations guru, Steve Sansweet, to make
a massive deal about it the company's Star
Wars panel at Comic-Con next week. If they DIDN'T get their
act together, and France IS getting better discs, expect fans to make a
massive deal about it. We'll ask all the right people to see if we can
find out the truth of the matter. Of course, we'll let you know.
Moving on, Universal has set Spike Lee's Inside
Man for release on 8/8 (SRP $29.98). The film will be
available in both anamorphic widescreen and full frame editions, with
audio in Dolby Digital 5.1. Extras are expected to include audio
commentary with Lee, deleted scenes, a pair of featurettes and The
Making of Inside Man documentary.
Lionsgate will release Mr. Jingles
on 7/18, with Komodo vs. Cobra,
La Mujer De Mi Hermano, Clifford's
Puppy Days: Puppy Sports Spectacular and Clifford
the Big Red Dog: Growing up with Clifford following on 7/25.
By the way, there's no word yet on Lionsgate's second wave of Blu-ray
Disc titles - the ones that were previously announced and then delayed.
Paramount has set a new Jackass the Movie:
Unrated Special Collector's Edition for release on 9/5. The
studio has also set their re-issues (for DreamWorks) of Madagascar,
The Prince of Egypt, Shrek,
Shrek 2 and Shark
Tale for release on 8/29.
Meanwhile, Warner has set Krypto the
Superdog, Volume 2 for release on 10/24.
Speaking of Warner, the studio has run full-page ads in some of the
industry trades this week promoting their support of both new high-def
disc formats. Presumably this means that they'll soon begin announcing
Blu-ray Disc titles in addition to HD-DVDs. Pictured in the ads (one
of which you can view here, courtesy of Bits
reader Ben Simon) are Blu-ray editions of 16
Blocks, The Perfect Storm,
Million Dollar Baby, Firewall
and Swordfish (which are already
available on HD-DVD).
By the way, Warner's retail site is currently indicating that the Poseidon
HD-DVD may street on 12/5, rather than day and date with the DVD
versions on 8/22. That doesn't make a great deal of sense, so we believe
it could be an error. We still expect the title will arrive day and date
with standard DVD, but we'll look into it and let you know.
Also today, you fans of Warner's Forbidden
Planet will be pleased to know that we've confirmed with the
studio that they'll finally reveal their 50th Anniversary DVD release
plans for the film next week, during their promotional event at
Comic-Con. We'll bring you all the details when they're available.
Around the site this morning, we've updated all of the DVD format stats
we track (above),
DVD Player Sales numbers for the first four weeks of June.
And finally, here's
a bit of news that isn't likely to end the HD format war, but MAY
make it cheaper for those hardware manufacturers who are willing to make
HD-DVD/Blu-ray Disc combo players available. It seems that Ricoh has
developed a laser pick-up system that's compatible with both format
specs. Thanks to several Bits
readers who e-mailed this in. You can also read more
Here's a re-post of the cover art for a trio of Paramount's first
HD-DVD releases, which were finally officially announced yesterday (click
here). More Paramount HD-DVD art should be available soon...
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