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page updated: 2/16/09



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 2/11/09 - 1/14/09)


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2/11/09

Another quick update today... Warner has just officially announced the release of Yes Man on 4/7. You'll be able to purchase the film in single-disc DVD (SRP $28.98), 2-disc DVD Special Edition ($34.99) and Blu-ray ($35.99) configurations. Details on the extras are TBA, but you'll find the cover art below.

Meanwhile, Warner has also announced a series of double feature DVDs due on 5/19, including Telefon/St. Ives, Bloodsport/Timecop, Bullitt/Papillon, A Clockwork Orange/O Lucky Man and The Great Bank Hoax/The Great Bank Robbery. Also newly announced by the studio are an Ultimate WWII Collection: Deluxe Edition box set and an Ultimate Factories Collection: Deluxe Edition box set (both for National Geographic), as well as My Family: Season Four, My Family: Season Three and Open All Hours: Complete Series (all for the BBC), all set to street on 6/9.

We've made a quick update to our early post from yesterday on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Blu-ray box set that's coming from Warner in August. It's apparently the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Turtles franchise as a whole, not the release of the first film. The Turtles first appeared in comic-book form back in 1984, which is 25 years ago. Just FYI.

Finally this afternoon, we've got a nice update of The Rumor Mill with word on upcoming Warner TV DVD and Blu-ray releases, as well as new catalog Blu-ray product from Paramount and Buena Vista. There's even a little Star Trek artwork in there. Don't miss it!

Speaking of art, here's the cover art for both versions of Warner's Yes Man, along with temp art for DreamWorks' Galaxy Quest: Deluxe Edition DVD (due on 5/12)...

Yes Man (Blu-ray Disc)Yes Man: Special EditionGalaxy Quest: Deluxe Edition

Stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 2/10/09 - 6 PM PST)

We've got some more interesting new title announcements for you this afternoon...

First though, we've updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section per usual with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover art and Amazon.com pre-order links. Don't forget that you can sort these titles in a variety of ways to make it easier to find what you're looking for (use the Show and Sort By options right above the first covers), and that a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking to them through our links helps support our work here at The Bits.

All right... the announcements: Buena Vista has just revealed the next wave of their Disney Animation Collection series. Due on 5/12 will be Disney Animation Collection: Volume 4 - The Tortoise and the Hare, Disney Animation Collection: Volume 5 - Wind in the Willows and Disney Animation Collection: Volume 6 - The Reluctant Dragon.

Consider this Rumor Mill-worthy, but industry sources are telling us that Buena Vista will release Doubt on both DVD and Blu-ray on 4/7. Watch for an official announcement soon.

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox has set the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still for DVD and Blu-ray Disc release on 4/7. A 2-disc DVD edition will be available that contains both the 1951 and 2008 versions (SRP $29.98). There will also be 3-disc DVD and Blu-ray editions (SRP $34.98 and $39.99) that contain both versions of the film, as well as a Digital Copy version of the 2008 remake. Other extras on the DVD versions will include audio commentary by writer David Scarpa, deleted scenes, 4 featurettes (Re-Imagining The Day, Unleashing GORT, Watching the Skies: In Search of Extraterrestrial Life and The Day the Earth Was Green) and still galleries featuring concept art, storyboards and production photos. To this, the Blu-ray will add the Klaatu's Unseen Artifacts: The Day the Earth Stood Still PiP track and the Build Your Own GORT BD-Java game.

Fox has also just announced the DVD and Blu-ray release of Marley and Me on 3/31. You'll be able to purchase a single-disc DVD (SRP $29.98), a 2-Disc Bad Boy Special Edition DVD ($34.98) and 3-Disc Bad Boy Blu-ray (SRP $39.99). The single-disc DVD will include 19 deleted scenes with optional director commentary and a gag reel. The 2-disc DVD will add 5 featurettes (Finding Marley, Breaking the Golden Rule, On Set with Marley: Dog of All Trades, Animal Adoption and When Not to Pee), something called Purina Dog Chow Marley & Me Video Contest Finalists and Purina Dog Chow Video Hall of Fame, and a Digital Copy version of the film. To all that, the 3-disc Blu-ray will add a Dog Training trivia track, the Dog Training 101 BonusView featurette and the single-disc DVD. So to sum up, the 3-disc Blu-ray will include the Blu-ray, the DVD and a Digital Copy disc.

In other release news today, Universal has announced that they'll issue Land of the Lost: The Complete Series on DVD on 5/26, presumably tied to the 6/5 theatrical release of the new feature film starring will Farrell. The series has previously been released on DVD by Rhino Video.

And Warner Home Video has revealed another pair of catalog Blu-ray titles, also due on 5/26, including True Romance: Unrated and the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - Extended Cut.

Finally, Genius Products has announced the DVD release of its newest Dragon Dynasty title, Protégé, on 2/24 (SRP $19.97). Extras will include audio commentary by Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan, The Making of Protégé featurette, 3 interview featurettes (Undercover & Over the Edge: An Exclusive interview with Leading Man Daniel Wu, Chasing the Dragon: An Exclusive interview with Leading Lady Zhang Jing-chu and The Dealer: An Exclusive Interview with Producer Peter Cha) and the film's theatrical trailer.

One quick correction: We noted yesterday that Paramount and CBS would release CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The First Season on 5/12. This is the Blu-ray Disc version, as the DVD is obviously already available.

Here's a little bit of cover art... Warner's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - Extended Cut and Sony's Winged Migration (4/7) on Blu-ray, as well as Universal's Friday Night Lights: The Third Season on DVD (5/19 - note that Amazon seems to have the title wrong, but they have the correct street date)...

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - Extended Cut (Blu-ray Disc)Winged Migration (Blu-ray Disc)Friday Night Lights: The Third Season

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 2/10/09 - 12:01 AM PST)

This is just a quick early post with a little something for you pizza-snarfing TMNT fans: Warner Home Video is releasing all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films in DVD and Blu-ray Disc 25th Anniversary Collector's Sets in August (8/2 to be exact). It's hard to believe it's really been 25 years. [Editor's Note: This 25th Anniversary label is a little misleading. The original film came out in 1990, which is only 19 years ago. However, it turns out that the Turtles first appeared in comic-book form back in 1984, which IS 25 years ago. So this appears to be not the 25th Anniversary of the original film, but of the Turtles franchise in general. Just FYI.] Anyway, the sets haven't been officially announced yet but they will be soon enough. And here's your proof: Warner's official promotional website.

Back later with more. Stay tuned...

2/9/09

Afternoon, folks! Boy, it's just raining like crazy here in Southern California. I can hear it beating down on the roof as I write this. That's fine though - we need the rain. I hope you guys all had a good weekend. I've gotta tell you... I REALLY enjoyed Friday night's episode of Battlestar Galactica... Blood on the Scales. It ranks right up there as one of the best eps of the series, I think. Just six more to go, and though I've said it before many times, I'll say it again: I'm really going to miss this show.

Anyway, here's a quick post to tide you over while we work to finish formatting Rob's new Golden Hollywood column...

Universal, as expected today, has just officially announced the Blu-ray Disc release of The Chronicles of Riddick and Pitch Black on 3/31. You'll be able to buy the films individually, or in a 2-pack. Additional details are still TBA, but we expect all the standard DVD features at least to be included. We'll post more as it comes in, and you'll find the cover art below.

Universal has also announced the DVD release of Friday Night Lights: The Third Season on 5/19 (SRP $29.98).

Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox has announced the DVD and Blu-ray release of Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy on 4/21, followed by S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale on both formats on 4/28. Also, There's Something About Mary is currently set for Blu-ray release on 5/5 (the title is already available on DVD).

Also, Paramount has set Dexter: The Complete Second Season for release on Blu-ray on 5/5 (for Showtime), along with a How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: Deluxe Edition and Jake and the Fatman: The Second Season, both on DVD. Following on 5/12 are CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The First Season (for CBS), a Galaxy Quest: Deluxe Edition (for DreamWorks) and Penn & Teller: Bullshit!: The Complete Sixth Season (for Showtime), also on DVD. It's unfortunate that Galaxy Quest is only due on DVD, but we presume a Blu-ray will be available at a later date. We suspect that with all the Trek Blu-ray product expected to be released around the same time, the studio is reluctant to have a Galaxy Quest Blu-ray compete with them.

In other release news, Sony has set The Poker Club, Stuart Little: The Animated Series - A Little Family Fun, Stuart Little: The Animated Series - Going for the Gold and a Last Picture Show/Nickelodeon double feature, all on DVD, for release on 4/21.

And Lionsgate will release Transporter 3 on DVD and Blu-ray on 3/10, followed by Punisher: War Zone on both formats on 3/17.

On the Rumor Mill-worthy front, our friends at Blu-ray.com have reported that MGM is currently working on a new Blu-ray Disc edition of The Terminator Blu-ray. We've been hearing the same thing from our industry sources - the title is expected to be released timed to coincide with the theatrical debut of Warner's forthcoming Terminator: Salvation in May.

Also today, in news around the net, there's word that Disney has inked a new distribution deal with DreamWorks. Our understanding is that Disney will distribute all DreamWorks films going into production from now on, while catalog films will stay with Paramount. You can read more here at Video Business.

Let's see... what else? That guy who won NBC's America's Got Talent (Terry Fator) just inked a distribution deal with Image Entertainment, including home video, digital, television, non-theatrical and audio rights. Fator's performance at the Mirage in Vegas later this month will be filmed in high definition (and released on disc) as part of the deal.

And this is interesting: Amazon.com just announced their new Kindle 2.0 digital book reader. It'll be available on 2/24. I've been curious about the Kindle for a while now, but haven't taken the plunge yet. I'm intrigued by the technology, but there just aren't enough older books yet - most of the titles I want and search for just aren't yet available in Kindle format. Also, the $360 price tag is still a little too steep for me to take a risk on. But as I said, I'm intrigued. Has anyone out there joined the Kindle community? Let me know what you think of it, will you?

Okay, here's a look a more new cover art... Universal's Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick, along with Lionsgate's Punisher: War Zone, all on Blu-ray...

Pitch Black (Blu-ray Disc)The Chronicles of Riddick (Blu-ray Disc)Punisher: War Zone (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

2/6/09

We've got a few more new announcements for you to close out the week...

First up, Warner has set The Jetsons: Season Two, Volume One for DVD release on 6/2 (SRP $34.98). According to the studio's press site, the 3-disc set will include 21 episodes.

Warner has also announced New Line's The Fox and the Child, due on DVD on 4/7 (SRP $27.95).

Meanwhile, HBO (via Warner) will release True Blood: The Complete First Season on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 5/19 (SRP $59.99 and $79.98). Each will be a 5-disc set with extras TBA. Here's a look at the cover art (along with some other stuff)...

True Blood: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Disc)True Blood: The Complete First SeasonWonder Woman (Blu-ray Disc)

Assault on Precinct 13: Restored Collector's Edition (Blu-ray Disc)Assault on Precinct 13: Restored Collector's EditionBattle in Seattle

As you can see, we've also posted the DVD cover art for a title that somehow slipped under the radar here, but that we're REALLY excited to see: Image Entertainment's new Assault on Precinct 13: Restored Collector's Edition! It streeted on both DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday (2/3 - SRP $19.99 and $29.98). It features a newly remastered HD transfer in the original 2.35 aspect ratio, a new 5.1 mix, an isolated music score, audio commentary by director John Carpenter, an interview with Carpenter and actor Austin Stokes, radio spots, a production photo gallery and the film's theatrical trailer. Very, very cool. We can't wait to get our hands on the Blu-ray...

By the way, this would normally go in The Rumor Mill, so salt it accordingly, but industry sources have confirmed that Universal will likely announce the Blu-ray Disc versions of Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick sometime next week. Amazon.com already has them available for pre-order on 3/31 (see the links provided).

Don't forget: There's a new episode of Battlestar Galactica tonight on Sci-Fi. Counting down the final 10 episodes, this is number #7. Just 6 more to go.

By the way, if anyone is interested in seeing the video for the new U2 single, Get on Your Boots, you'll find it here. It looks a lot like the stuff Peter Gabriel used to do back in the 80s. I'm really looking forward to hearing the band's full new album, which hits stores on 3/3.

We'll be back on Monday with a new Golden Hollywood column from our own Rob Siegel, as well as another release news update. Have a great weekend and stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 2/5/09 - 3:30 PM PST)

Just a quick late update... we've got the individual Blu-ray art for Fox's X-Men, X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand (all 4/21), as well as the X-Men Trilogy Blu-ray box set (also due on 4/21). You'll also note the covers for Warner's Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter on DVD (3/24) and Universal's Battle in Seattle on Blu-ray (3/10). ALL of these titles are now available for pre-order on Amazon.com by clicking on the covers...

X-Men (Blu-ray Disc)X2: X-Men United (Blu-ray Disc)X-Men: The Last Stand (Blu-ray Disc)

X-Men Trilogy (Blu-ray Disc)Watchmen: Tales of the Black FreighterBattle in Seattle (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 2/5/09 - 1:30 PM PST)

Okay... we've got a couple of big title announcements for you today...

First, here's something interesting for you Battlestar fans. Universal has just issued a press release indicating that the Caprica prequel pilot film "will enjoy its world premiere exclusively on DVD" on 4/21 (SRP $26.98). According to the press release: "In a groundbreaking move sure to delight fans of the long-running television phenomenon, the feature-length prequel will be available on DVD as a limited-edition uncut and unrated version before the series' broadcast premiere on the SCI-FI Channel in 2010." The DVD version will include feature commentary with director Jeffrey Reiner, executive producer/writer Ronald D. Moore and executive producer David Eick, deleted scenes and 4 video blogs (What the Frak is Caprica?, The Director's Process, The V Club and The Birth of a Cylon). There's even an official promo website. One presumes a Blu-ray version will be available in 2010, with the broadcast and home video debut of the show's first season. FYI, there's no official word yet on the DVD or Blu-ray release of Battlestar Galactica, or the forthcoming movie Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, though we suspect as we get closer to the show's March finale we'll hear more.

Next up, 20th Century Fox has finally announced the Blu-ray Disc release of The X-Men Trilogy on 4/21. All three films (X-Men, X2: X-Men United and X3: The Last Stand) will be included in a box set for SRP $79.99. Each will also be available individually for SRP $34.99. Each is a 3-disc set (2 BDs and a Digital Copy disc) and is loaded with new special features. Each will also "allow fans to purchase advance tickets and gain access to exciting never-before-scene footage to the highly anticipated upcoming film X-Men Origins: Wolverine debuting in theatres May 1st" via BD-Live. The special features are as follows...

X-Men - Disc One - commentary by Bryan Singer and Brian Peck, behind-the-scenes footage (Poland Prison Camp, Senate Chamber, Cage Fight, Battle in the Snow, Xavier's Office, Logan, Jean & Scott/Classroom (extended scene with optional commentary), Mystique/Senator Kelly, Magneto's Lair, Bedroom, Senator Kelly Dangles, Cerebro, Train Attack, Magneto vs. Cops, Map of New York, X-Jet, Storm vs. Toad/Wolverine Battles Mystique, Statue of Liberty, Sabretooth vs. Wolverine and Plastic Prison), 6 deleted/extended scenes with optional commentary by Singer and Peck (Storm Teaching Class, Logan Notices Jean and Scott/Rogue, Scott and Storm in Classroom, Extended Bedroom Scene with Logan, Jean and Scott, Bobby Walks Rogue to Dorm/Xavier and Jean in Cerebro, Xavier and Jean in Office and Ready Room), an Easter egg blooper, the Fox Special The Mutant Watch, Bryan Singer interviews (Why He Made X-Men, Bringing X-Men from Comic Book to the Big Screen, Directing Actors, Learning from Actors and The Challenges of Making a Studio Film), 2 animatics (Liberty Head and Train Station), 2 art galleries (Character Design and Production Design), 3 TV spots, a music promo, D-Box enhancement, BD-Live Wolverine Exclusive and HD Marvel Universe trailers.

X-Men - Disc Two - Disc Intro by Bryan Singer, 3 The Uncanny Suspects featurettes (Hugh Jackman's First Reading, Hugh Jackman's Screen Test and Character Still Gallery), 3 X-Factor: The Look of the X-Men featurettes (Cyclops Costume Test and Visor, Storm Costume Test and Toad Makeup Test), 4 image galleries (Hardware, Locations, Magneto and Xavier's School), 3 Production Documentary Scrapbooks (Multi-Angle Train Splitting, Multi-Angle Fight Rehearsal and The Prime Minister of Canada), 5 The Special Effects of the X-Men animatic/film featurettes (Senator Kelly Effects Breakdown, Liberty Head, Toad vs. Jean Grey, Wolverine vs. Mystique and Wolverine vs. Sabretooth), 2 Reflection of the X-Men featurettes (Ellis Island Premiere and Premieres Around the World), 3 trailers (in HD), 9 TV spots and 12 Internet Interstitials.

X-Men - Disc Three - Digital Copy

X2: X-Men United - Disc One - commentary by Bryan Singer and Tom Sigel, commentary by Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris and David Hayter, Generation X: Comic Book History featurette, D-Box enhancement, BD-Live Wolverine Exclusive and HD Marvel Universe trailers.

X2: X-Men United - Disc Two - 2 History of the X-Men featurettes (The Secret Origin of X-Men and Nightcrawler Reborn), 3 Pre-Production featurettes (Nightcrawler Attack: Multi-Angle Study, Evolution in the Details: Designing X2 and United Colors of X), 6 Production featurettes (Wolverine/Deathstrike Fight Rehearsal, The Second Uncanny Issue of X-Men: Making X2, Introducing the Incredible Nightcrawler!, Nightcrawler Stunt Rehearsal, Nightcrawler Time-lapse and FX2: Visual Effects), 2 Post-Production featurettes (Requiem for Mutants: The Score of X2 and X2 Global Webcast Highlights), 11 deleted scenes (Extended Wolverine/Deathstrike Fight, Wolverine Kills the Intruder, Mystique in Stryker's Files, Nightcrawler BAMF to Save the Students, Jean and Storm in the X-Jet, Jubilee at the Museum, Pyro Starts the Campfire, One of the Children is Sick After BAMFing, Rogue Helps the Children Escape, Professor X and Cyclops Escape and Arriving to an Empty School), a Characters gallery, 14 Locations and Sets galleries (Alkali Lake Dam, Cerebro, Dark Cerebro, Deathstrike's Office, Drake Residence, Museum, Mystique & Laurio, Plastic Prison, Stryker's Base, White House, X-Jet, X-Mansion, Mutant X-Rays and Nightcrawler Circus Posters), 6 On-Camera Graphics galleries (Museum, Plastic Prison, Ronny's Room Posters, Stryker's Base, X-Jet and X-Mansion), 5 The Unseen X2 galleries (Angel (Archangel), Danger Room Set Construction, Danger Room Set Design, Danger Room Storyboards and Sentinels) and 3 HD trailers.

X2: X-Men United - Disc Three - Digital Copy

X3: The Last Stand - Disc One - director and writer commentary by Brett Ratner, Zack Penn and Simon Kinberg, producer commentary by Avi Arad, Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter, 24 HD deleted scenes with optional commentary (Xavier Voice-Over for Main Titles, Jimmy in Laboratory, Alternate Version: Beast Meets Logan, Pyro Tells Magneto About the Cure Announcement - Clean Shaven Version, Pyro Tells Magneto About the Cure Announcement - Bearded Version, Alternate Version: Guard Yells at the President, Extended Fight Sequence at Jean Grey's House, "Psychic Battle" Voices, Alternate Version: Bobby & Kitty Skate, Original Version: Jean Displays Her Power at the Encampment, Plastic Weapons Manufacturing, Hank Warns Trask of Magneto's Plan, Original Version: X-Men Board the Jet, Jean Senses a Scared Little Girl, Magneto Asks Jean to Help in the Battle, Storm Creates a Wave, Beast Breaks a Neck, Bobby Freezes Phat, Alternate Version: Here's Juggy, Magneto Tortures Logan, Extended Dark Phoenix Destruction, Alternate Ending: New School Year Begins, Alternate Ending: Rogue Returns and Alternate Ending: Logan Returns to Alberta, Canada), 2 HD Easter eggs (Beast Recites Shakespeare and X-Jet Lands in D.C.), D-Box enhancement, BD-Live Wolverine Exclusive and HD Marvel Universe trailers.

X3: The Last Stand - Disc Two - Brett Ratner's Production Diary, X-Men: Evolution of a Trilogy, X-Men Up Close interactive gallery with stills and video, Generation X: Comic Book History, Fox Movie Channel Presents: Life After Film School, Fox Movie Channel Presents: Casting Session X3: The Excitement Continues (HD), Anatomy of a Scene: Golden Gate Bridge (HD), 7 HD Vignettes (Prophecies, X-Men Politics, Clothing vs. Costume, Make-up Chair Confessions, Weapons of Choice, On Set Effects and Learning to Fly), 4 HD Blogs (Production Teaser, Live from the Danger Room, MARVELous Cameos and Editing Magic), 20 Previz Animatics (Young Jean Grey, The Danger Room, Mystique's Interrogation, Jean Rises from the Lake, Logan and Storm Look for Scott, Jimmy Meets Mutant Playmate, Angel Escapes, Mystique's Prison Break, Jean Kills Xavier, Angel Lands at School, Magneto Talks to Jean in the Woods, Logan Fights with Spike, Multiple Man Decoy, Magneto Moves Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Joins the Battle, Angel Saves His Dad, Ash Burns Soldiers, Omega Muties Break into Lab, Juggernaut Chases Kitty and Dark Phoenix Finale), 2 galleries (Character Stills and Concept Art, Storyboards & Models), 1 Easter egg (Colossus Throws Logan Into the Camera) and 2 HD trailers.

X3: The Last Stand - Disc Three - Digital Copy

Whew! So basically it looks like everything that's ever been released on DVD special features-wise will be on this set, along with a lot of new material as well. I'll update this post with the cover art as soon as it's available.

Finally, Anchor Bay is releasing the Hellraiser: Limited Edition Box Set on DVD on 4/21 (SRP $59.97). Packaged in a box that resembles the infamous Lament Configuration, you'll get the 20th Anniversary DVD special editions of both Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II, along with the new Blu-ray version of Hellraiser. The Blu-ray will also be available on its own for SRP $29.97.

More to come tomorrow, so stay tuned...

2/4/09

Well... it's officially OFFICIAL: The DTV Transition has been delayed until June 12th. After a bill to that affect was proposed and passed by the Senate, then kaboshed by the House, it's apparently now been passed in the House and is expected to be signed by the President. The idea behind the delay is that 6.5 million people are still unprepared for analog broadcasting to be discontinued here in the States, while 1.8 million of those are still on a waiting list for converter box coupons from the Government. You can read more here at CNN and here at Twice. And remember, you're ready for the transition if: 1) you already have a DTV, or 2) you get your TV signals from a cable or satellite provider. Those of you with rabbit ears, though, will be out of luck in June if you don't take action to address the issue. So mark 6/12 on you calendars, folks.

In other news today, there's a new report by industry market research firm SNL Kagan, which predicts that Blu-ray will reach 74% share of the home video market by 2017. By comparison, DVD is at about 97%. As it happens, 2017 will be (roughly) the Blu-ray format's 10 year mark. Not bad. You can read more here at Home Media. The same report predicts that VOD will really start to take off after 2017 as technology improves and broadband reaches more homes. Both predictions, I think, are pretty fair and reasonable. It's nice to see a little common sense in these market assessments for a change.

Here's a little bit more cover art... Sony's The One and Ghosts of Mars (both 3/31), as well as Miramax's Rounders: 10th Anniversary Edition (4/14) on Blu-ray...

The One (Blu-ray Disc)Ghosts of Mars (Blu-ray Disc)Rounders: 10th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 2/3/09 - 5:45 PM PST)

Evening, folks! As promised, we're back with Barrie Maxwell's new Classic Coming Attractions column, featuring a look ahead at classic release plans from the various studios for 2009, as well as reviews of EIGHT new classic DVD titles. Included are Flicker Alley's Douglas Fairbanks: A Modern Musketeer, TCM's The Lost & Found RKO Collection, Sony's The Films of Michael Powell, Paramount's Breakfast at Tiffany's: Centennial Collection, Mill Creek's Howdy Doody: 40 Complete Episodes, Buena Vista's Walt Disney Treasures: Dr. Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, VCI's British Cinema Classic B Film Collection: Volume 1 and Seville's Tell No One (a.k.a. Ne le dis à personne) (a Canadian release - the title is coming out on DVD here in the States on 3/31 from Music Box). Enjoy!

Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned!

(EARLY UPDATE - 2/3/09 - 2:45 PM PST)

There's some major breaking release news to report today, so Barrie's column will be up later this evening. We'll get it out as quickly as we can, but first there's this...

Fans of The Da Vinci Code will be pleased to know that Sony's revealed that The Da Vinci Code: Extended Cut will be released on Blu-ray Disc on 4/28. So says Sony's official website for the sequel film, Angels and Demons. Thanks to Bits reader Tan H. for the heads-up.

We've just gotten the official specs for MGM's The Princess Bride Blu-ray due on 3/17 (SRP $34.99). Extras will include audio commentary by Rob Reiner, audio commentary by William Goldman, 8 featurettes (As You Wish: The Story of The Princess Bride, Cary Elwes Video Diary, Miraculous Makeup, The Dread Pirate Roberts: Greatest Pirate of the Seven Seas, Love is Like a Storybook, The Princess Bride: The Untold Tales, The Art of Fencing and Fairytales and Folklore), the original theatrical trailer and a number of Easter eggs. Audio will be 5.1 DTS-HD.

Also today, Universal has announced some major new DVD and Blu-ray titles and release dates, as follows...

First up, Brokeback Mountain has been set for Blu-ray release on 3/10. The Fast and the Furious Trilogy will follow on Blu-ray on 3/24. Special features have yet to be announced, but we believe that these discs will contain everything that was on the previous DVD versions, along with new BD-specific options.

As we mentioned the other day, Milk will street on both DVD and Blu-ray on 3/10. The DVD (SRP $29.98) will include deleted scenes and 3 featurettes (Remembering Harvey, Hollywood Comes to San Francisco and Marching for Equality). The Blu-ray ($39.98) will add BD-Live connectivity.

Also coming on 3/10 is Battle in Seattle on both formats.

In terms of standard DVD, Universal has announced a large slate of new and catalog releases, including Lake City on 3/3, The Starter Wife: Season One and Woody Woodpecker Favorites on 3/10, Barbie Presents Thumbelina on 3/17, The Cake Eaters, The Fast and the Furious: Limited Edition singles and The Very Best of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan on 3/24, In Plain Sight: Season One and Pokemon: Giratina and The Sky Warrior on 3/31, a Cecil B. Demille's Cleopatra: 75th Anniversary Edition (Universal Backlot Series - the 1934 film, SRP and other details are still TBA) and Pre-Code Hollywood Collection (Universal Backlot Series) on 4/7 (includes the films The Cheat, Merrily We Go to Hell, Hot Saturday, Torch Singer, Murder at the Vanities and Search for Beauty - SRP also TBA), Exosquad: Season One on 4/14, My Own Worst Enemy: The Complete Series on 4/21, Jetsons: The Movie on 4/28, and Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict - Season One and Lipstick Jungle: Season Two on 5/5.

Here's a look at more new cover art... Universal's Milk on DVD and Blu-ray, The Fast and the Furious Trilogy and Brokeback Mountain on Blu-ray, and the Cecil B. Demille's Cleopatra: 75th Anniversary Edition and Pre-Code Hollywood Collection on DVD...

MilkMilk (Blu-ray Disc)The Fast and the Furious Trilogy (Blu-ray Disc)

Brokeback Mountain (Blu-ray Disc)Cecil B. Demille's Cleopatra: 75th Anniversary EditionPre-Code Hollywood Collection

FYI, our own Russell Hammond has also updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section today (listed as Release Dates & Art above and in the navigation bar on the left side of the page), with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover scans and Amazon pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we greatly appreciate it!

Back later... stay tuned...

2/2/09

Afternoon, folks! Hope you're all doing well on this fine Monday. Congrats to you Steelers fans for the Super Bowl win, and hats off to you Cardinals fans too for your team making it a great game. Man, you guys really rallied there. As a Vikings fan, I feel your pain. But that catch by Santonio Holmes - holey moley! If you're gonna get beat in the Super Bowl in the last 30 seconds, I know it doesn't take the sting away, but there's no shame in getting beat like that.

Before we get started, I wanted to offer a big shout-out to our old friend Paul Prischman, who celebrated his birthday on Saturday. I'm pleased to report that Paul and his family are doing well - we'll be posting an update on the Brain Trust website in the next week or two with all the details. Thanks to everyone that's asked us about Paul in recent months, by the way. Paul and his family - and all of us involved with the Brain Trust - appreciate your kind words on his behalf!

Okay, let's get down to business. We've got a bunch of announcement news for you today...

First though, check out The Rumor Mill for word that should make you Indy fans happy, as well as information on a few more catalog BD titles and Oscar film releases that you can look forward to from Paramount, Buena Vista, Genius and other studios in the coming months.

Now for those announcements...

Lionsgate has officially announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of The Spirit on 4/14. You'll be able to buy the film in single-disc DVD (SRP $29.95), 2-disc DVD Special Edition ($34.99) and Blu-ray Disc versions ($39.99). The single-disc DVD will include both the widescreen and full frame versions of the film, along with the theatrical trailer. The 2-disc DVD will include audio commentary by Frank Miller and Deborah Del Prete, an alternate storyboard ending (with voiceovers by Samuel L. Jackson and Gabriel Macht), 2 featurettes (Green World and Miller on Miller) and the theatrical trailer, all on Disc One (as well as the anamorphic widescreen film). Disc Two is a Digital Copy version of the film. The Blu-ray Disc will include everything on the 2-disc DVD set, and will add an additional featurette (History Repeats), MoLog enhancement and Lionsgate Live (BD-Live) connectivity. As with the DVD, Disc Two of the Blu-ray will also be a Digital Copy version. Audio on the Blu-ray will include 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. As many of you know, 7.1 audio mixes have been relatively rare on Blu-ray thus far, so it's cool to see this.

Next up, Sony has set Seven Pounds for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 3/17 (SRP $28.96 and $39.95). Extras on both versions will include commentary with director Gabriele Muccino, 4 featurettes (Seven Views on Seven Pounds, Creating the Perfect Ensemble, Emily's Passion: The Art of the Printing Press and The Box Jellyfish: World's Deadliest Co-Star) and deleted scenes.

Sony has also announced the Blu-ray Disc release of two more catalog titles, The Thirteenth Floor and Universal Soldier: The Return, on 4/14. Both are already available on DVD.

Universal has just set the CG-animated The Tale of Despereaux for release on DVD and Blu-ray on 3/17.

And Buena Vista has just announced a few cool new titles as well. First up is a No Country for Old Men: Collector's Edition from Miramax on both DVD and Blu-ray on 4/7. The DVD will be 3-disc (SRP $32.98) while the Blu-ray is 2-disc (SRP $39.98). Both will include the 3 featurettes on the current DVD/Blu-ray editions (The Making of No Country for Old Men, Working with the Coens and The Diary of a Country Sheriff) along with substantial new material - 5 hours worth in all. You'll get Josh Brolin's Unauthorized Behind-the-Scenes, Q & A with Joel and Ethan Coen, Roger Deakins and the sound and production design teams, a Charlie Rose interview with the Coens, Brolin and Javier Bardem, EW.com's Just a Minute... with Javier Bardem, a Q & A from the Variety Screening series, footage of an in-store appearance with Bardem and Brolin, ABC's Popcorn video, a Channel 4 News appearance with the Coens, a Lunch with David Poland interview with Bardem and Brolin, a WNBC Reel Talk interview with Brolin, a WGA West Q & A panel and 6 additional interviews. Both versions will also include a Digital Copy of the film.

Also newly announced by Buena Vista for DVD only release are Disney Animation Collection: Volume 1 - Mickey and the Beanstalk, Disney Animation Collection: Volume 2 - The Three Little Pigs and Disney Animation Collection: Volume 3 - The Prince and the Pauper on 4/7 (SRP $19.99 each), and Enchanted April and October Road: The Complete Second Season on 5/5. The Disney Animation Collection series seems to be about putting a release spotlight on some of the studio's more interesting animated short film material.

We've also got a quick bit of interesting Blu-ray news from down under for you today: It looks as if the format is starting to take off down in Australia, thanks to recent hardware price drops over the holidays. So says The Sydney Morning Herald.

We'll leave you with a look at more new cover art. Here's Lionsgate's The Spirit on DVD (we believe this is the single-disc art, we'll post the other versions soon), Sony's Seven Pounds and Synecdoche, NY (3/10) on both DVD and Blu-ray, and Miramax's No Country for Old Men: Collector's Edition on Blu-ray (the DVD art is virtually identical - we'll post it when we can get it)...

The SpiritSeven Pounds (Blu-ray Disc)Seven Pounds

Synecdoche, NY (Blu-ray Disc)Synecdoche, NYNo Country for Old Men: Collector's Edition (Blu-ray Disc)

Back tomorrow with a new Classic Coming Attractions column from Barrie. Stay tuned!

1/30/09

Morning, folks! Today, we've a quickie but goodie for you to close out the week...

We recommend you start your reading in The Rumor Mill today, which has some news you Indy fans will be interested in. There's also details on a few other catalog titles you can look forward to in 2009, so do check it out.

We also wanted to remind you of our regular columns in Geek Monthly magazine, which is on your finer newsstands everywhere. Doogan and I contribute new installments of GeekBits to each issue, and Jahnke's been known to toss in his two cents occasionally as well. The January issue (Janeane Garofalo cover) featured our picks for the best Blu-rays of the past year. February (Zach Braff cover) featured our no-holds-barred take on what we loved and hated about 2008. And in March, look for an in-depth interview with Criterion's Peter Becker on their recent foray in to high-definition. Geek is a great mag, so give it a look when you're next at your local bookstore.

A couple big title announcements today: Universal has set the DVD and Blu-ray release of Gus Van Sant's Milk for 3/10. Additional details will follow next week.

Buena Vista has just revealed the U.S. Blu-ray Disc release of Frank Miller's Sin City: Recut, Extended and Unrated on 4/21 (SRP $35.99 - the title is already available on DVD). Look also for a Rounders: 10th Anniversary Edition on both DVD and Blu-ray on 4/14. Sin City will be a 2-disc set including BOTH the theatrical and unrated cuts of the film, all of the extras from the previous Recut DVD release AND two new features exclusive to Blu-ray: The Kill 'Em Good interactive comic book and a Cine Explore visual commentary. Note that Sin City has been available on Blu-ray for a few months in other countries, but as a movie-only release.

Warner has just officially announced that other Watchmen title we first revealed in The Rumor Mill a while back: Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood. Look for it on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 3/24 (SRP $27.95 and $35.99). The release includes a pair of stories that were in the original graphic novel, but are not included in the upcoming feature film. One is animated and the other is a live-action piece staring some of the film's cast.

In other news today, Netflix has just hit a milestone with 700K Blu-ray subscribers as of the end of December. You can read more here at Home Media.

Also at Home Media today is word that Blu-ray software sales in 2009 are expected $2.9 billion - double sales of digital downloads.

Don't forget about tonight's new episode of Battlestar, as if that's possible for you fans. Looks like things really hit the fan this evening about the good ship Galactica. I'm taking it all in with friends at a so-called "Frak party" - should be a hoot! After tonight, there's just 7 more eps to go...

And we'll leave you with a couple more pieces of cover art. Here's a look at Sony's The Grudge (3/24), Warner's Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood and Buena Vista's Frank Miller's Sin City: Recut, Extended and Unrated, all on Blu-ray...

The Grudge (Blu-ray Disc)Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood (Blu-ray Disc)Frank Miller's Sin City: Recut, Extended and Unrated (Blu-ray Disc)

Back next week with new columns from Barrie and Rob, along with more reviews. Enjoy the SuperBowl and have a great weekend!

1/29/09

Well, it looks like the DTV transition may still happen on 2/17 as originally planned. After the Senate voted to approve a bill that would have delayed the switch-over until June, the House promptly defeated it. Let the hand-wringing commence. This reminds me of something Churchill once said: "No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government... except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." Wise chap, Sir Winston. Anyway, you can read more here at ars technica.

More "news around the Net" in a minute. First, a couple of quick announcements...

Not sure how this one slipped past me, but Anchor Bay Entertainment has announced the release of the original Hellraiser on Blu-ray Disc on 4/21 (SRP $29.97).

Also, Image Entertainment has set In the Electric Mist for release on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 3/3 (SRP $27.98 and $35.98 respectively).

Okay... back to other news: Space.com is reporting that researchers at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth are using a home-built supercomputer to model the vibration of black holes in space. Here's the interesting part: the device is called the PS3 Gravity Grid, built by networking 16 Sony PlayStation 3 consoles into a coordinated cluster to run simulations, all for just $6,000! Now that's some badass science, right there. Tell you what: Sony should build and market a version of the PS3 to universities and other research institutions for just this sort of purpose - that would take care of their sales problems right there. I'll bet you anything there's a TON of money to be made on that front.

Also today, columnist Dave Naranjo has an interesting update on the development of a 3-D standard for HDTV displays and Blu-ray players over at Twice. Our friend Chris Tribbey has just posted a good piece on this subject at Home Media as well, so do check it out.

Back with more in the morning. Stay tuned!

1/28/09

We've got a couple more new announcements to report today...

Warner has just announced National Geographic's Direct from the Moon for release on DVD on 5/26 (SRP $19.98). The program features video from the Japanese Kaguya probe, which was shot in HD, making it disappointing that no Blu-ray version has yet been announced.

Warner has, however, officially announced the Blu-ray Disc release of Falling Down on 5/26 (the title has already been released on DVD).

Also, this would normally go in The Rumor Mill (so salt accordingly), but our industry sources are telling us that Fox and MGM are getting ready to announce more new catalog Blu-ray titles in the weeks ahead, including The Princess Bride (reportedly due on 3/17), along with Big and There's Something About Mary (expected in May).

We've also learned that Paramount is working on new Blu-ray versions of Grease, Saturday Night Fever and Ferris Bueller's Day Off for release here in the States later this spring. (Again, salt accordingly.) Release.no reports that Grease and Saturday Night Fever have already been announced for release in Norway on Blu-ray in May.

Here at the site today, we've kicked off TWO new Giveaways, offering each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner and the BBC's Skin: Volume 1 on DVD, as well as new Digital Bits T-shirts. Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, February 8th. Good luck!

We'll leave you with some more new cover art... here's Warner's Falling Down and MGM's The Princess Bride on Blu-ray, along with Sony's Rachel Getting Married on DVD (due 3/10)...

Falling Down (Blu-ray Disc)The Princess Bride (Blu-ray Disc)Rachel Getting Married

Stay tuned...

1/27/09

All right... this is just a quick update to let you all know that our own Russell Hammond has just finished the weekly update of the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section, featuring all the latest DVD and Blu-ray cover scans and Amazon.com pre-order links. There's lots of new titles for you to see, so do check it out. Don't forget that the section lets you sort the titles by format, bestselling, alphabetically (etc) for your convenience, and that a portion of anything you order though our links helps to support our work here at the site (we appreciate it!).

Also today, we have a very quick update in The Rumor Mill with word on a few new Paramount catalog Blu-ray titles you can expect to be announced in the next few weeks.

We have a quick L.A.-area event announcement as well this evening: The Dark Delicacies Bookstore in Burbank is going to be hosting a special "Jason Voorhees Reunion" DVD signing event to celebrate the release of Anchor Bay's His Name Was Jason: 2-Disc Splatter Edition DVD (due in stores on 2/3). The event will take place on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009 at 7:00 PM Pacific. All of the actors who played Jason in the Friday the 13th films will be on hand, including Warrington Gillette (Part 2), Richard Brooker (Part 3), Ted White (Part 4), Dick Weiand (Part 5), CJ Graham (Part 6), Kane Hodder (Parts 7-10) and Derek Mears (2009 remake). Also on hand will be Daniel Farrands and Anthony Masi, the director and producer of the His Name Was Jason documentary, along with actors, writers and directors from all ten films in the series. If you're a fan of these movies, it should be a great time, so be sure to drop on by.

And one quick title update: Sony has just informed us that the SLP for their Ghostbusters Blu-ray (due 6/16) has been lowered to $28.95 (from $38.96). Revise your plans accordingly.

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 1/26/09 - 12:15 PM PST)

We've got a BUNCH more release news for you today, and some of it's very cool...

First up, Sony has announced a Dr. Strangelove: 45th Anniversary Edition for Blu-ray Disc release on 6/16 (SRP TBA - the title is already available on DVD). Extras will include 6 featurettes (including An Interview with Robert McNamara, Best Sellers: Peter Sellers Remembered, Inside the Making of Dr. Strangelove, No Fighting in the War Room or: Dr. Strangelove and the Nuclear Threat and The Art of Stanley Kubrick: From Short Films to Strangelove). Also included will be the BD-exclusive The Cold Facts Graphics-in-Picture/Picture-in-Picture Track.

Sony has also set Jonathan Demme's Rachel Getting Married for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 3/10 (SRP $28.96 and $39.95). Extras will include deleted scenes, audio commentary with the cast and director, 2 featurettes (Behind the Scenes and The Wedding Band) and video of a cast and crew Q & A panel.

Also newly set for Blu-ray release on 4/7 by Sony (they're already available on DVD) are Winged Migration and Fly Away Home (SLP $28.95).

The horror film Vinyan has been announced by Sony for DVD only release on 4/7 as well (SRP $24.96).

Meanwhile, Paramount has set Beverly Hills 90210: The Seventh Season and Dynasty: Season Four for DVD release on 4/7, followed by Wings: The Final Season and a Wings: The Complete Series pack on 4/14. Paramount has also set Arctic Take for Blu-ray release on 4/21.

Universal has finally officially acknowledged the Howard the Duck: Special Edition they have due on DVD only on 3/10 (SRP $29.98). Extras will include the A Look Back at Howard the Duck featurette, multiple archival featurettes (on the stunts, effects and music) "and so much more."

Warner has finally announced the Blu-ray Disc release of An American in Paris and Gigi on 3/31 (SRP $28.99 each). All the extras from the DVD versions will be included. Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comics (which we first revealed here last week) has also been announced for both DVD and Blu-ray Disc release on 3/3 (SRP $29.98 and $35.99). This is a semi-animated version of the original graphic novel, supervised by original illustrator Dave Gibbons, which features "limited motion, voice and sound" for all 12 chapters of the book's panels (nearly 5 hours worth of content in all). We're also told that the Blu-ray will feature BD-Live connectivity.

Other newly announced titles for DVD release from Warner include Billy Jack, Catlow, Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1960's Volume One and Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1970's Volume One on 5/19 (both are Hanna-Barbera 'toon samplers), as well as Two and a Half Men: The Complete Fifth Season on 5/12.

Finally, Criterion has announced Akira Kurosawa's Dodes'ka-den (#465) for DVD release on 3/17, followed by Roberto Rossellini's Il Generale Della Rovere (#463) and Andrzej Wajda's Danton (#464) on 3/31, followed by Science is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé (#467) on 4/21, Stephen Frears' The Hit (#466) and Nagisa Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses (#469) and Empire of Passion (#468) on 4/28. Of these, only In the Realm of the Senses is also announced for Blu-ray release at this time (set to street with the DVD on 4/28). Here's hoping some Kurosawa Blu titles are in the offing.

We'll leave you with some new cover art... here's both the DVD and Blu-ray versions of Warner's Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comics, along with the studio's Gigi and An American in Paris Blu-rays, as well as Criterion's Dodes'ka-den and Universal's Howard the Duck on DVD. ALL OF THESE TITLES are now available for pre-order from Amazon.com by clicking the links provided...

Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comics (Blu-ray Disc)Watchmen: The Complete Motion ComicsGigi (Blu-ray Disc)

An American in Paris (Blu-ray Disc)Dodes'ka-denHoward the Duck

Stay tuned!

(EARLY UPDATE - 1/26/09 - 12:01 AM PST)

Morning, everyone! I thought we'd check in early today to offer you some DVD and Blu-ray reviews to read over your morning coffee...

First up, we've got a new Bottom Shelf column from Adam Jahnke, featuring reviews of Sony's The Films of Budd Boetticher and The Films of Michael Powell, as well as KOCH Vision's Studio One Anthology, all on standard DVD.

Also today, we've got four new Blu-ray Disc reviews from Jeff, including Paramount's Election, Without a Paddle: Nature's Calling and Into the Wild, as well as DreamWorks' Old School: Unrated. Enjoy!

The big news today is that the U.S. Senate has apparently reached a bipartisan compromise (supported by the Obama administration) on a bill that would delay the DTV transition from 2/17 to 6/12, in order to allow consumers a little more time to prepare for the discontinuation of analog TV broadcasting. A vote is expected as early as today. The news comes in the wake of a Nielsen report that some 6.5 million U.S. homes are still unprepared for the switch.

In other industry news, you've likely now heard that Circuit City is closing its doors after failed bid by the retailer to find a buyer. You can read more about that here at Home Media.

There's also word from Home Media that Warner and other studios have begun to trim their workforce to address the demands of a worsening economy.

Despite said economy, MSNBC is reporting on the Blu-ray format's strong start to the new year.

Meanwhile, Newsweek has an interesting report you might want to check out on Hollywood's efforts to bring audiences back to the theatres with 3-D films.

Also, Pioneer has just announced the end of an era for video enthusiasts: The company is about to stop producing Laserdisc players for good. You can read more on that here at Home Theater magazine. It's been a long time since I last spun up my LD machine, but I'm still a bit sad to see the format finally passing completely into the great beyond. We humbly doff our caps in its honor. Thanks to Bits reader Bob M. for the heads-up.

In other news for you Battlestar fans, our old friend Mark Rivera has a new interview with series guru Ron Moore at Genre Online. Do give it a look.

And while we're talking Battlestar, those of you craving updates on the show's final episodes can find them a-plenty thanks to the good folks over at Galactica Sitrep. Our old friend Darth Mojo recently had something to say about his last day working on the show's CG effects as well.

Okay... that's all for now. Have a good Monday. (So say we all!)

1/23/09

Just FYI, this report is cross-posted today both here at The Bits and at Trek Movie.com

Okay, we've got a major Star Trek Blu-ray update for you this morning. As you know, select release details and cover art images have leaked from European studio sources this week (see our post from yesterday), but there's been conflicting information as to what exactly the release will entail here in the States. In order to answer these questions, we've checked in repeatedly with Digital Bits and Trek Movie industry sources and we're now able to bring you accurate, updated details. Keep in mind that none of this is official until actual studio announcements are made, and these details are still subject to change. But here's the latest...

As originally reported back in November on The Digital Bits, Star Trek I-VI will be released on Blu-ray in the U.S. in May in a 6-film "Kirk/Spock" box set, each with remastered picture and sound. This set will include Star Trek V here in the States, though other regions may offer different disc configurations/packaging options. Star Trek I, II and VI will each be the original theatrical versions. (If I'm not mistaken, this would mark the first time that The Undiscovered Country has EVER been available on home video in its theatrical version - even on VHS - and the first time that The Motion Picture has been available in its theatrical version since its VHS and Laserdisc release. Note that we also expect the remaining Next Generation films to be released in a 4-film Blu-ray box set at a later date.) At least some new extras have been created for this release, including "famous fan" commentary tracks for each film, as well as a featurette offering select scenes from a Klingon performance of Hamlet by the Commedia Beauregard (filmed in St. Paul, Minnesota - see the group's original press release and this previous report at Trek Movie). It's unknown yet whether these will be BD-exclusive, or if there will be a simultaneous standard DVD release. What's more, we've learned that CBS will finally release Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One on Blu-ray on the same street date in May as the movies. The release is currently planned to include BOTH the original broadcast versions as well as the new Remastered versions of each episode. If this happens as planned, it's obviously very cool news, though we're still waiting to hear whether the Blu-rays will include all of the special features that were offered with the previous DVD and HD-DVD/DVD Combo releases of the series.

May is still far enough away that it could be a month or more before we see official announcements, but The Digital Bits and Trek Movie.com are in contact with the studio and we hope to have more to report from them very soon.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 1/22/09 - 6:30 PM PST)

We've got one last quick post for you this evening...

As you may have seen, the Academy Award nominations were announced this morning in Hollywood, for those of you who care about them. Wow, you can almost hear the crickets. I'll confess, I don't have a lot of interest in the Oscars or the Golden Globes or any of these entertainment industry award shows anymore. It's all political, and it doesn't help that Hollywood is really out of touch and way too in love with itself these days. If I never see another self-important actor talking about some issue as if anyone outside of Hollywood really gives a damn what they think, it'll be too soon. Anyway, I guess it's cool that Slumdog's up for Best Picture. I really have a ton of respect for Danny Boyle as a director. And no doubt Heath Ledger is a strong favorite for Best Supporting Actor in The Dark Knight, which deserved at least a Best Picture nomination but (not surprisingly) failed to get one. As far as I'm concerned, though, the real injustice is that Speed Racer got passed over for Art Direction, Cinematography and Visual Effects. Seriously, are you kidding me? See... this is why I don't care about the Oscars anymore. I'll bet you the ratings are in the toilet this year. Again. Ahhhh... whatever.

Also, we have a winner in our Lost quick Giveaway! The lucky reader is Jay Kranz, who correctly guessed that the answer to the question asked early this afternoon was Earth II. Congrats, Jay! And thanks to everyone who entered.

Back tomorrow, so stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 1/22/09 - 12:45 PM PST)

Okay Trek fans... here's something that will get you guys excited. As often seems to be the case with Paramount news, word has leaked out of Europe (Norway, this time) that the studio is releasing a number of Trek titles on Blu-ray there at least on 5/13. According to the RELEASE.no website (if I'm reading the translation correctly), a Star Trek: The Motion Picture Trilogy box set is coming there containing the first three films - Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Those three films will also be available individually, as will be Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. No Next Generation films are planned yet for release on Blu-ray, and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier seems to be MIA. Also coming to Norway on 5/13 is a Star Trek: The Original Series - Season 1 Remastered set. This is all obviously timed to promote the theatrical release of the new J.J. Abrams Star Trek feature film, due in theatres here in the States on 5/8. Generally, Paramount's European plans match up well with their U.S. release plans, at least in the case of a major franchise like this. So it's pretty reasonable to expect that some configuration of these titles will street here in the States in May as well. We'd originally heard back in November that a Kirk and Spock Blu-ray Box Set was planned, containing the first SIX films in the series (including The Final Frontier) - it could be that it's still coming or that plans have changed slightly. In any case, here's what the Norwegian cover art looks like for the Star Trek: The Motion Picture Trilogy and Star Trek: The Original Series - Season 1 Remastered sets on Blu-ray...

Star Trek: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Blu-ray Disc)Star Trek: The Original Series - Season 1 Remastered (Blu-ray Disc)Changeling (Blu-ray Disc)

As you can see, we've also included Universal's U.S. art for Changeling on Blu-ray (2/17).

For the record, the Trek Blu-ray release information above should be considered Rumor Mill-worthy until Paramount and CBS make official announcements here in the States.

We've got one other fun thing for you early this afternoon: A quick new Giveaway, in celebration of the debut of the new season of Lost. This one is easy to enter, and you have until 5 PM (Pacific) TODAY to do so. All you have to do is e-mail our own Jeff Kleist with the answer to this question: "What other show featured Terry O'Quinn, and a mysterious new place that housed miracle cures for the crippled?" The winner will be drawn at random (from those that answer correctly) shortly after the contest closes, and we'll announce his or her name here on The Bits later this evening. The winner will be sent a cool Japan-exclusive Lost Kubrick (lego-style) figure, like the ones pictured here. It'll be a random figure - you won't know which you've got until you open the box. Start e-mailing and good luck! [Editor's Note: This contest is now closed. It was run for a few hours only by design. The winner has been announced in the 6:30 PM post above.]

Stay tuned...!

1/21/09

We've got a couple more new announcements for you today...

First, Sony has set Synecdoche, New York for release on both DVD and Blu-ray on 3/10 (SRP $28.96 and $39.95). Extras will include 4 featurettes (In and Around Synecdoche, NY, The Story of Caden Cotard, Infectious Diseases in Cattle: Bloggers Roundtable and NFTS/Script Factory Masterclass with Charlie Kaufman).

Next, Disney has set Bolt for DVD and Blu-ray release on... well, this one's a little different. The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital File Combo pack will street on 3/22 (a Sunday - SRP $39.99) while single-disc and two-disc Deluxe Edition DVDs will follow two days later on 3/24 (SRP $29.99 and $32.99 respectively). The single-disc DVD will include the bonus short, Super Rhino. The two-disc Deluxe Edition DVD will add 4 featurettes (In Session with John Travolta and Miley Cyrus, A New Breed of Directors: A Filmmakers' Journey, Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt and Creating the World of Bolt), deleted scenes with optional introduction, the I Thought I Lost You music video and a DisneyFile Digital Copy of the film. To all this, the Blu-ray will add Bolt's Be-Awesome Mission interactive game, a Bolt Art Gallery and BD-Live features.

And Magnolia has set Chocolate for DVD and Blu-ray release on 2/10.

We've also got a little bit of information in The Rumor Mill today on upcoming Warner and HBO Blu-rays you can expect in the first half of 2009, so do check it out. Think Watchmen, a new 300, and recent HBO miniseries.

Here's a look at the Blu-ray and Deluxe Edition DVD cover art for Disney's Bolt, as well as MGM's Never Say Never Again: Collector's Edition on Blu-ray (3/24)...

Bolt (Blu-ray Disc)BOlt: Two-Disc Deluxe EditionNever Say Never Again (Blu-ray Disc)

Back with some reviews shortly. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 1/20/09 - 3:30 PM PST)

Here's a first look at the cover art for three of the new Bond BD titles (3/24)... Goldfinger, Moonraker and The World is Not Enough, as well as the art for the Volume Three box set, Sony's I've Loved You So Long on Blu-ray (3/3) and Paramount's Son of Rambow (2/2) on DVD...

Goldfinger (Blu-ray Disc)Moonraker (Blu-ray Disc)The World is Not Enough (Blu-ray Disc)

James Bond Blu-ray Volume Three (Blu-ray Disc)I've Loved You So Long (Blu-ray Disc)Son of Rambow

Stay tuned!

(EARLY UPDATE - 1/20/09 - 2:45 PM PST)

Good afternoon, folks! My what a truly beautiful day. It's really hard to find the words, but I'm sure many of you feel it too, so I won't bother. I just hope it finds you all well.

There's been a bit of a surprise announcement-wise this afternoon. MGM has announced the second wave of James Bond Blu-ray Discs as we anticipated, including a trio of titles we expected and one we didn't. Due on 3/24 with Quantum of Solace are Goldfinger, Moonraker and The World is Not Enough (SRP $34.99 individually, or $89.98 in a Volume Three collection box set). Each will include all of the special features from the previous DVD Special Editions, some of which have been upgraded to high-def as was the case on the previous Blu-rays. Three other Bond films we'd heard were coming, GoldenEye, License to Kill and Diamonds Are Forever were not announced, and are apparently being saved for a Volume Four set later in 2009.

Also newly announced by MGM for Blu-ray release - and this was a bit of a surprise, but a welcome one - is the Never Say Never Again: Collector's Edition (SRP also $34.99). Extras will include commentary with director Irvin Kershner and James Bond historian Steven Jay Rubin, 3 featurettes (The Big Gamble, Sean is Back and The Girls of Never Say Never Again), the film's theatrical trailer and a photo gallery. Never Say Never Again, of course, is a Bond film staring Sean Connery, but is not considered an official part of the Bond cannon.

In other announcement news this afternoon, Sony has set Cadillac Records for DVD and Blu-ray release on 3/10 (SLP $27.96). Extras will include deleted scenes, commentary with writer/director Darnell Martin, 2 featurettes (The Making of Cadillac Records and Once Upon a Blues: Cadillac Records by Design) and - exclusive to the Blu-ray - an interactive song playlist feature via BD-Live.

Also newly announced by Sony for Blu-ray are The One and Ghosts of Mars, each due on 3/31 (SLP $28.95 each). Both titles are already available on DVD. All of the special features from the previous DVD editions will be included.

Around The Bits today, our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Upcoming DVD Cover Art section with all the latest DVD and Blu-ray Disc cover art and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order via Amazon after clicking to them though our links will go to support our work here at The Bits, and we greatly appreciate it.

Finally, I had a blast on Friday checking out many of the props, set pieces and costumes from Sci-Fi's Battlestar Galactica that were auctioned in Pasadena this weekend, and I thought some of you might enjoy getting a better look at them. The highlight for me was the chance to sit in the cockpit of the full-side Raptor spacecraft. I'll tell you, it's very hard to put a cool (or geek) quotient on that! Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pix. And no, I didn't buy anything, though I did have my auction catalog signed by show creator Ron Moore. Most of this stuff sold for WAY past my pay grade. Sure was cool to see it though. ;)

We'll be back later tonight or early tomorrow with some new reviews, so stay tuned!

1/19/09

Hey guys... hope you all had a great weekend. I just wanted to jump in here to let you know that we moved The Bits to a new server this weekend, so I'm going to wait and start making new posts until tomorrow to make sure all the bugs have been worked out. Just know that if you've been having any trouble with the site this weekend, that's why.

In the meantime, are any of you guys U2 fans? You can now check out the first single from their upcoming new album, No Line on the Horizon (due 3/2). It's called Get On Your Boots. I'll tell you, this band continues to surprise me. Note that the link has been getting a lot of traffic this afternoon, so it might take time to load. Just keep checking back and it will work eventually.

See you tomorrow!

1/16/09

Okay... first things first. A number of Bits readers have informed me that tonight's Battlestar premiere on SciFi, Sometimes a Great Notion, is going to run 3 1/2 minutes long (see this story at SciFi Wire). So if you're setting your TiVos to record it, make sure you pad the stop time a little. Thanks for the heads-up, guys!

Also, we've gotten confirmation that Fox and MGM are very soon to announce the second wave of catalog James Bond Blu-ray Disc titles, due in stores around the same time as the new Quantum of Solace streets (3/24), so stay tuned for all the official details. Our information from early December was that they'll include Goldfinger, GoldenEye, License to Kill, The World Is Not Enough, Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker.

Finally, also on the Fox front, our industry sources have checked in with word that the studio is getting ready to debut all three X-Men feature films on Blu-ray in April (X-Men, X2: X-Men United and X3: The Last Stand - likely 4/21). X3 has been available on Blu-ray since late 2006 as a single-disc release, but we're told that these will each be new 2-disc Special Editions. Early word is they'll include all of the previous DVD special features, plus new material, and will also allow you to view a short preview scene from Wolverine via BD-Live.

Per usual, the info above should be considered Rumor Mill-worthly until official announcements are made.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

1/15/09

I've been getting a lot of nice e-mails today about our CES Blu-ray coverage, so thanks to all of you for your kind words.

Speaking of Blu-ray, this is good enough that I wanted to let you all know about it right up front: Several readers e-mailed me this CNET story overnight: 9 Reasons Why Blu-ray Will Succeed, by David Carnoy. Hats off to David for a thoughtful and, I believe, well reasoned piece of writing. You should all read it ASAP and pass it on to your friends. Of course, just because guys like David and myself, who actually understand a little something about the industry and the consumer marketplace, believe that Blu-ray's got a bright future... that doesn't mean the format's naysayers will crawl under a rock. No, I'm sure they'll continue predicting Blu-ray's death to every reporter who will listen, completely ignoring actual facts, like hardware and software sales data. I'm also sure they'll still be predicting Blu-ray's death, say... five, six, seven years from now. Hey, if they do it long enough, EVENTUALLY they'll be correct, right? ;)

By the way, there's another great Blu-ray post from CNET from back in August that I apparently missed then - basically it looks back at all the reasons the DVD naysayers gave to predict that DVD would never take off back in the day... and darned if they sound an awful lot like what the Blu-ray boo-birds are parroting now. Pretty funny stuff.

There's one other quick Blu-ray comment I wanted to make this afternoon: I've gotten a couple e-mails in the last week or so from readers complaining about the fact that all we do is talk about Blu-ray. "What aren't you talking about DVD anymore?" asked one reader. Well the fact is, we ARE still talking about DVD. We report on every major DVD announcement in addition to the Blu-ray news, and if you look back at our recent disc reviews, you'll see that we're still reviewing more titles on DVD than Blu-ray. The fact is, there is no one - no website, NOBODY PERIOD - that's been a stronger advocate for DVD over the years than those of us here at The Digital Bits. And if you've been reading this site since the early days back in 1997, you'll know what I'm talking about. But the reality is, DVD is a bit old hat. It's not as exciting anymore. MOST of our favorite movies have been released on DVD already, some multiple times. Our goal here at The Bits has always been to celebrate film on disc in the best quality possible. For a long time, the best quality was DVD. Now, it's Blu-ray. Regardless of what anyone may tell you, BLU-RAY IS HERE TO STAY, and it's getting cheaper all the time. (Players were just $149 this past holiday season, and we'll lay odds that they'll crack $100 by next Christmas.) The format is worth your time and worth a look. The big news, the key happenings - they're all with Blu-ray now. That doesn't mean we don't still love DVD and we won't still cover it. We do and we will. But when a title is available on both formats, we'll tend to cover the Blu-ray version more. You standard DVD hold-outs will still benefit from it though - generally, the quality of the DVD transfer is going to be better for having been mastered in HD for Blu-ray. And the Blu-ray usually includes most (if not all) the same extras as the DVD, so reading our Blu-ray reviews will still benefit you DVD guys too. The fact is, we love seeing films in the best quality we can. As such, Blu-ray Disc has us all excited again - excited in the same way we were back in the early days of DVD. If you've already tried Blu-ray, you know what I mean. If you haven't yet, well... one of these days, you're in for a treat. Rest assured, however, that we'll continue to talk about (and review) good old DVD titles too, for as long as they keep making them. (Read: A LONG time.) 'Nuff said.

All right... moving on, Sarah's CES 2009 Photo Gallery is now live. Which completes our in-depth coverage of Blu-ray at the event. Whew - just in time to start planning for CES 2010! I may add some captions later this weekend, but most of the photos are pretty self-explanatory. (The people in the DEG and BDA photos are identified in my CES Report #2, just FYI.) So enjoy!

The big title news today is that Warner and Lucasfilm have officially announced the DVD release of Star Wars: The Clone Wars - A Galaxy Divided on 3/24 (SRP $19.98). Here's the bad news: It's only a "best of" disc, offering just four key episodes (Ambush, Rising Malevolence, Shadow of Malevolence and Destroy Malevolence). But don't fret, 'cause here's the good news: Lucasfilm has confirmed that a complete season DVD box set is coming later in 2009, and (the best news) it will be released on Blu-ray Disc as well. Here's the relevant text from Star Wars.com:

"Meanwhile, for fans eager to own the entire first season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Lucasfilm is in the midst of producing a multi-disc boxed set that is expected to debut later in 2009. Full details of the first-season DVD boxed set, which is also planned to mark the first Blu-Ray appearance of the series, will be announced later this year. The collection will include substantial bonus material that is currently in production at Lucasfilm, including explorations of the behind-the-scenes creation of the hit series."

Props to the folks at Lucasfilm for letting everyone know this in advance. Not so very long ago, they might not have given fans this kind of advanced word, and it's a nice (and very much appreciated) touch.

Speaking of Star Wars, our old friend Mojo as been blogging again of late, and he recently posted a link to a funny piece on Vanity Fair looking back at the Star Wars Holiday Special. Seriously, it's well worth reading. You'll roll out of your chair laughing. And Mojo's recent columns are worth checking out too if you're a Battlestar fan. Mojo's always a hoot - now there's a brother geek after our own hearts. Do give it all a look.

Also today, MGM has finally announced that Silence of the Lambs Blu-ray Disc release we first told you about a while back. Due on 3/3 (SRP $34.99), the disc will include the film in 1080p video with DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio, the Inside the Labyrinth: Making The Silence of the Lambs documentary, the 2-part The Silence of the Lambs: Page to Screen documentary (includes A Wealth of Talent and Preparation and Authenticity), 4 featurettes (Breaking the Silence, Understanding the Madness, Scoring the Silence featurette and the original 1991 "making of" featurette), 22 deleted scenes, an outtake reel, 8 TV spots, the theatrical and teaser trailers, and the Anthony Hopkins Phone Message (audio only). In short, it looks like nearly everything from MGM's last Special Edition DVD is included here.

In other release news, Universal has set Role Models: Unrated for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 3/10 (SRP $29.98 and $39.98). Extras on both will include deleted scenes and alternate takes, bloopers, commentary with director/co-writer David Wain and 3 featurettes (On the Set of Role Models, Game On: Creating a Role Playing World and In Character and Off Script). The Blu-ray will add 20 minutes of additional deleted scenes, U-control and Picture-in-Picture, as well as BD-Live features (My Scenes Sharing, Inside Sturdy Wings and Ye Old Crest Maker).

So crazy is as crazy does, apparently. Of what am I speaking, you ask? Well... we've heard from a retail friend who tells us that Summit Home Entertainment may only making the Blu-ray Disc release of Twilight available via Best Buy and Target stores. No kidding. And while there will be a single-disc DVD edition too (along with the Two-Disc DVD Special Edition that will be widely available), it's apparently only going to be limited sale item. Strange indeed. We've got inquiries into Summit, so hopefully we'll learn more shortly.

Speaking of Summit, the studio has Sex Drive on its way to DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 2/24. Both will be Unrated, and the DVD will be a 2-Disc Special Edition. The Blu-ray will include everything on the DVD, plus 3 additional featurettes.

Here's some cover art... Universal's Role Models: Unrated and Warner's Star Wars: The Clone Wars - A Galaxy Divided on DVD, as well as Fox's Australia on Blu-ray Disc (3/3)...

Role Models: UnratedStar Wars: The Clone Wars - A Galaxy DividedAustralia (Blu-ray Disc)

Finally today, a couple viewing reminders: First, Friday Night Lights returns to NBC tomorrow night. That's, again, the good news. The GREAT news is that tomorrow is also the return of Battlestar Galactica on SciFi Channel! The first of the show's FINAL TEN EPISODES is called Sometimes a Great Notion, and it's on at 10 PM (9 Central) so set your TiVos accordingly. Man, am I excited. There's just so much yet to be revealed on the show! What's the deal with Earth? What are Adama and company going to do next? Where will they find a home? What are the Cylons up to - the sort-of good ones and the bad ones? Whatever happened to Boxy? Who is the Final Cylon? I don't know, man. Could be you. Could be me. Could be that goofy little robot dog from the 1970s show. Well, maybe not that. It could still be you though. Or me. We'll have to wait and see.

One last note: Tonight on SciFi, during the broadcast of Pitch Black, the network is running all 10 of the Battlestar Galactica: The Face of the Enemy webisodes. So again, set your TiVos if you're interested. Also, starting tomorrow morning on SciFi, they'll be re-running all of Season 4.0 in a single day, leading up to the new episode tomorrow night. So if you're itching to catch up and you have SciFi HD on your cable or satellite provider, you can do it in 1080 rez. Nice!

Boy, I was talky today, wasn't I? Go figure. It happens. Stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 1/14/09 - 10 PM PST)

Here you go, folks! At long last, my third and final report on Blu-ray Disc at CES 2009 is now live. You'll find it here. It includes a look at all of the major Blu-ray Disc player announcements made at the show this year, complete with product photos and specs as available. You know, the reason it took so long to get the damn report finished, is that it turns out there were MANY more Blu-ray player models announced than I expected. The BDA officially listed some 19 new models announced at the show, but when all was said and done, I counted some 32 new models including standalone players, HTiB systems (Home Theatre in a Box) and players integrated into LCD displays! 23 of them are fully BD-Live compatible, and a couple of them are expected to be priced well under $200. There's some very cool players in the report, so do check them all out.

For the record, I've created an official The Bits @ CES 2009 section here at the site, and I've reposted (from this column) both of my previous show reports. My second report (covering the DEG and BDA events, as well detailed format sales data) has also been updated and enhanced with photos from the events. Sarah's CES 2009 Photo Gallery will also be up tomorrow afternoon, featuring nearly 90 shots from the show. She's putting the final touches on it now.

Speaking of CES, our friend Greg Robinson has also covered the event for E-Gear, and he's got some more general reporting on non-Blu-ray products and announcements at the show, so give it a look. And there's other great coverage at Engadget and elsewhere, so be sure to check it out.

I'll be back tomorrow afternoon with Sarah's gallery, and some more new DVD and Blu-ray title announcements. Stay tuned!

(EARLY UPDATE - 1/14/09 - 2 PM PST)

As promised, the rest of our CES 2009 coverage is going up today, a little later this afternoon. First though, there's seriously sad news to report...

Actor Ricardo Montalban has apparently passed away at the age of 88. Montalban was a longtime film and TV actor (just look at his lengthy list of credits on IMDB!), but most know him for his starring role in TV's Fantasy Island in the 1970s... or the luxurious delight of a Chrysler Cordoba's sort Corinthian leather. For me personally, however, Montalban will always be Khan Noonien Singh... a character that only appeared in a single episode of Star Trek: The Original Series (the infamous Space Seed) and one Trek feature film (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)... but who became the greatest villain Star Trek ever had, not to mention one of the best all time science fiction bad guys EVER. Montalban will surely be missed by me. If there's any sliver lining, it's that Star Trek II is soon to be announced for release on Blu-ray Disc, in gloriously remastered 1080p. In the meantime, here's a moment to remember him by...

KIRK: Khan... Khan, you've got Genesis, but you don't have me. You were going to kill me, Khan. You're going to have to come down here. You're going to have to come down here!

KHAN: I've done far worse than kill you, Admiral. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her; marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet... buried alive. Buried alive!

KIRK: KHAAAANNNNN! KHAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNN!


If that doesn't get your warm geek heart pumping, I do not know what will.

Unfortunately, the death of Montalban isn't all of the bad news today. Actor Patrick McGoohan has just passed away as well at the age of 80. Anyone who EVER watched an episode of Secret Agent or The Prisoner knows how good he was. McGoohan later won Emmys for appearing on Columbo... and of course fans of Braveheart will know him as the sinister King Edward I, alias "The Longshanks." He utters one of my favorite lines in that whole film...

LONGSHANKS: The trouble with Scotland... is that it's full of Scots!

We've heard that film is in the works for Blu-ray release as well, and hopefully sooner than later.

Ugh... what a terrible day for film and TV fans. Rest in piece, gentlemen.

Back later. Stay tuned...


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