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page updated: 1/18/11



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 1/12/11 - 12/16/10)


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1/12/11

All right... we've got some great news to report for you guys today, specifically that MGM and EON Productions have finally gotten their ducks lined up straight and have just announced that the 23rd James Bond film will arrive in theatres on 11/9/2012, and will once again star Daniel Craig in the title role. Sam Mendes will direct a script by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan. More here at Deadline Hollywood. Here's the other good thing about that: Sometime between now and the holidays next year, MGM will start releasing the rest of the classic Bond films that are as-yet-unavailable on Blu-ray. For those of you wondering why they've been so long delayed, it's because MGM Home Entertainment has been waiting to tie them into the release of the next new film.

Here's another fun bit of news for you Lord of the Rings fans: Actors Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Christopher Lee and Cate Blanchett have all signed on for parts in the upcoming two Hobbit films, soon to be directed by Peter Jackson. Tell you what, there's no future film releases I'm looking forward to more than these. Can't wait! More here and thanks to our own Russell Hammond for the link!

In release news this morning, Universal has added another catalog title to its upcoming BD release slate. Look for Daylight on 4/26.

Warner Home Video will release The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Complete Sixth Season on 3-disc DVD on 4/19 (SRP $29.98).

Paramount has set a Peanuts double feature of Snoopy Come Home/A Boy Named Charlie Brown for DVD release on 3/15. Paramount and PBS are re-issuing Ken Burns' The Civil War on DVD on 3/29 in a new edition that commemorates the 150th anniversary of the original conflict. The set will include an hour of previously unreleased interviews and a commemorative booklet. That same day, Paramount is also releasing Star Trek double features of Star Trek II/Star Trek IV and Star Trek VI/Star Trek VIII on both Blu-ray and DVD, and you'll see a line of re-issued Audrey Hepburn titles on DVD only too: Sabrina, Roman Holiday, Paris When It Sizzles and Funny Face.

Speaking of Paramount, a number of you have wondered why the studio isn't releasing Jackass 3D on Blu-ray 3D format on 3/8 with the Jackass 3 "2D version" on Blu-ray and DVD. Well... as it turns out, they might be after all. Sources have suggested to us that the Blu-ray 3D version IS coming but may be tied up as a Best Buy exclusive for the first few months after street date. So you'll be able to get it day and date, just not everywhere.

Meanwhile, Lionsgate has set Paul Haggis' The Next Three Days for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/8, starring Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks and Liam Neeson. Extras will include featurettes on the making of the film, the cast and real prison escape stories, along with deleted and extended scenes. That will be followed by Bratz: Good Vibes on DVD only on 3/22, and After Dark Originals: Husk and Prowl on DVD only on 3/29.

This is exciting too: Entertainment One is releasing Federico Fellini's The Clowns (1970) on DVD on 2/22. The film has never been seen on DVD in the U.S., and will include a rare and exclusive short film by Fellini, a video essay on the genesis of the film and a 40-page booklet with Fellini drawings. Also coming to DVD from E1 is The Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection, a 4-disc set that features Di Leo's Milieu Trilogy (Caliber 9, The Italian Connection and The Boss) along with Rulers of the City (1976) and documentaries on each film. Look for both titles on 2/22.

A&E Home Entertainment is releasing the History Channel's Jefferson on DVD on 2/15, followed by Ice Road Truckers: The Complete Season Four on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/22. How the Earth Was Made: Season Two also arrives on Blu-ray on 2/22, along with I Am Alive: Surviving the Andes Plane Crash on DVD only.

PBS is releasing Pioneers of Television: Season Two on DVD on 3/1.

Kino Lorber has announced a pair of great new releases on both Blu-ray and DVD for March, including Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould on 3/1 and Buster Keaton in the Our Hospitality: Ultimate Edition on 3/22. SRP for the Blu-ray versions is $34.95 and the DVDs are $29.95. For you classic film fans, Our Hospitality will include music composed and conducted by Carl Davis and performed by The Thames Silents Orchestra (in 5.1 and 2.0), another musical score compiled by Donald Hunsberger (2.0), the 1925 film The Iron Mule with music by Ben Model, an original documentary on the making of the film, the 49-minute Hospitality alternate cut of the film with an explanatory introduction and an organ score by Lee Erwin, and 2 image galleries.

Image Entertainment will release the Ultimate Jordan: Deluxe Limited Edition box set on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/8 (SRP $69.98 and $59.98). You'll get all 5 of his films (Come Fly with Me, Michael Jordan's Playground, Airtime, Above and Beyond and His Airness) along with 5 of his greatest games in their entirety (1986 Playoffs: Chicago vs. Boston, 1990 Playoffs: Chicago vs. Cleveland, 1993 Finals Game 4: Chicago vs. Phoenix, 1997 Finals Game 5: Chicago vs. Utah and 1998 Finals Game 6: Chicago vs. Utah) and the acceptance speech from his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

And Disney is releasing Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Minnie's Masquerade on DVD on 2/8.

By the way, I mentioned yesterday that Shout! Factory is releasing The Ernie Kovacs Collection on DVD on 4/19. Well, it seems that if you order from them directly via their website, you'll get an exclusive 7th disc as a bonus called Ernie Kovacs: Buried Treasures that includes more rare TV appearances. Pretty cool stuff if you're a fan of his work.

Stay tuned!

1/11/11

Morning folks. We've got more great release news for you all today, including word on a few titles some of you guys have been waiting a while for...

First though, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we surely do appreciate it.

Now then...

Quick title update: As many of you know, Sony had been expected to release Ishtar on Blu-ray Disc on 1/4, but the date came and went with no disc, no word and pre-orders unfulfilled. Well, I just heard back from the studio on this, and the official word is that the title is still coming, but it's been delayed to an as-yet-undetermined new street date. As soon as we have the new official date, we'll let you know.

Here's something exciting: Paramount has just announced the 1956 classic The Ten Commandments for release on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on 3/29, in celebration of the film's 55th anniversary. The film will be fully restored and will be released in 2-disc Blu-ray (SRP $24.99) and 2-disc DVD ($14.99) versions, as well as a 6-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Gift Set ($59.99) that also includes the 1926 version. The 2-disc versions will include the 1956 film split over two discs, audio commentary by Katherine Orrison (author of Written in Stone: Making Cecil B. DeMille's Epic The Ten Commandments), The Ten Commandments Premiere in New York newsreel and theatrical trailers. The 6-disc Gift Set will include BOTH the Blu-ray and DVD versions and will add the 1923 film with commentary by Orrison, hand-tinted footage of the "Exodus" and "Parting of the Red Sea" sequences from the 1923 film, photo galleries for the 1923 and 1956 films and the 75-minute The Ten Commandments: Making Miracles documentary. The packaging will feature an image of the Red Sea that parts when opened to reveal the two tablets. The box will also include a commemorative photo and archive book, featuring international premiere photos, production notes from Cecil B. DeMille, correspondence from Charlton Heston and more.

Also coming to Blu-ray on 3/29 from Paramount are Charlotte's Web and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.

Paramount has also set Morning Glory for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/8 (SRP $29.99 and $19.99). Extras will include audio commentary by director Roger Michell and writer Aline Brosh McKenna, and a deleted scene.

And Paramount and Nickelodeon will release Big Time Rush: Season One, Volume One on DVD on 3/29.

Yesterday, we mentioned Fox's Unstoppable coming to BD and DVD on 2/15. Well, it's official. Extras on the Blu-ray will include audio commentary with director Tony Scott, 5 documentary featurettes (The Fastest Track: Unleashing Unstoppable, Derailed: Anatomy of a Scene, Hanging Off the Train: Stunt Work, On the Rails with the Director and Cast and Tracking the Story: Unstoppable Script Development) and a Digital Copy.

This one actually inspires a certain depression in me: Universal will release the brainless (pun intended) alien invasion film Skyline on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/15. The Blu-ray will include commentary by directors Greg and Colin Strause, a second commentary with co-writer/producer Liam O'Donnell and co-writer Joshua Cordes, deleted and extended scenes, alternate scenes, pre-viz clips, trailers and Universal's usual BD-J and BD-Live interactive options. Matt and I saw this lame duck in theatres and by the time we walked out, I'd almost completely lost my affection for film. Seriously, it almost made me want to go into another line of work. No offense to anyone intended. If you liked Skyline, more power to you. As for me... well, it was a low point in an all too lean year for good films.

Meanwhile, retail sources have informed us that Disney is soon to announce the release of their hit animated film Tangled on Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo, Blu-ray/DVD Combo/Digital Copy and DVD (SRP $56.99, $44.99 and $35.99). Extras will include the original storybook openings, deleted scenes, extended song numbers and the Untangled: The Making of a Fairy Tale documentary. You can pre-order all three versions now on Amazon.com.

Speaking of Disney, consider this Rumor Mill-worthy, but our industry sources tell us that the studio is currently preparing to release TRON Legacy in multiple configurations: A Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo, a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo, a Blu-ray 2-pack of TRON Legacy packed with the long-awaited TRON: The Original Classic, as well as standard DVD versions (all TBA). We'll post all the details as soon as they're officially announced. In any case, rest assured that classic TRON IS coming to BD with TRON Legacy in some form (though no word yet on whether or not it will be available by itself).

While we're talking Rumor Mill-worthy developments, our sources are also telling us that 20th Century Fox and MGM are preparing new Blu-ray versions of Platoon and Midnight Cowboy. Platoon is currently slated for release in the U.K. on 5/16, with Midnight Cowboy due on 5/2. Expect U.S. street dates to be announced soon for a similar release timeframe.

In other title news, Sony will release the direct-to-video S.W.A.T.: Firefight on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/1.

Our friends at Blue Underground will release Dario Argento's Deep Red on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/26 (SRP $29.98 and $14.98). Extras will include both the uncensored English version and the full-length Italian Director's Cut, interviews with the director and writer, trailers and music videos.

Shout! Factory has announced the DVD release of The Ernie Kovacs Collection on 4/19 as a 6-disc set (SRP $69.97). The set will include classic episodes from his various TV shows, 5 ABC specials, a rare color version of his silent show Eugene, classic bits and sketches, rare commercials, home movies, specials and interviews, and a 44-page booklet.

Olive Films will release Paul Newman's WUSA (1970), Riot and The Girl on DVD on 2/8.

A&E will release the Family Channel series Zorro: The Complete Series on DVD on 1/25 (SRP $99.95). The set will include all 88 episodes on 15 discs, along with the original classic The Mark of Zorro starring Douglas Fairbanks, Chapter 1 of the 1939 theatrical serial Zorro's Fighting Legion, trailers for the serials Zorro's Fighting Legion, Zorro's Black Whip and Zorro Rides Again, the original, never-before-released pilot for the New World Zorro and a photo gallery for New World Zorro. Individual season sets will also be available for SRP $29.95 (Seasons 1-3) and $19.95 (Season 4).

And Entertainment One has set Skin, Giulia Doesn't Date at Night, Everyday Black Man and The Abbott and Costello Show: Who's On First? for DVD release on 2/1, followed by Glorious 39 (Blu-ray and DVD) and Around the World in 80 Days (the Pierce Brosnan version) on 2/15.

Whew!

Okay, that's it for now. More tomorrow. Stay tuned...

1/10/11

Morning, folks! How's about an early post to start the new week? We've got some good Blu-ray and DVD release news and updates for you, including word of upcoming releases, TV titles and even some catalog news. Amazon.com is going to be a little bit of a theme here today, as the retailer has leaked information on a number of upcoming and as-yet-unannounced titles by putting them up for pre-order. Let's get to talking about them, shall we?

First, the big news today is that 20th Century Fox will be releasing Unstoppable on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/15 (SRP $39.99 and $29.99). We expect more details on the release shortly. Fox has also set a 2-pack of Big Momma's House and Big Momma's House 2 for release on Blu-ray on 2/1. Both titles are now available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

Warner Home Video has already informed retailers that Fringe: The Complete Third Season, Smallville: The Complete Tenth Season and The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Second Season are coming to Blu-ray and DVD in the months ahead. No street dates are yet available, but they're already up on Amazon.com for pre-order (click on the links for the BD pages). Also up on Amazon.com is Life Unexpected: The Complete First and Second Seasons on DVD, due on 4/5 (SRP $59.98). We presume a Blu-ray will be released as well.

Warner is also re-issuing all of the previous Harry Potter films on Blu-ray on 3/15, so you can bet that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 is soon to be announced for Blu-ray and DVD release. Keep checking back for all the official details.

Meanwhile, Universal is releasing Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - Season Two on DVD on 3/29, along with Xena: Warrior Princess - Season Two.

Universal is also releasing a number of deep catalog Gregory Peck films on DVD on 4/5, including Arabesque, Captain Newman M.D., Mirage (1965) and The World in His Arms. We know that Universal is also working to release Peck's classic To Kill a Mockingbird on Blu-ray soon. It's not yet officially announced, but Amazon.com is already taking pre-orders. My guess is you'll see it on 4/5 as well, or shortly before or after.

Speaking of catalog films on Blu-ray, Universal will release Barb Wire, Flipper (1996), Uncle Buck, The River Wild and Waist Deep on Blu-ray on 2/8.

Disney is re-releasing the Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy 7-Disc Set on Blu-ray on 3/1 (SRP $72.99). Those of you who own the previous Blu-rays might find this irritating: According to the sell sheet the set includes a new bonus disc with never-before-seen deleted scenes. It also includes a free movie ticket offer to see the forthcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in theatres.

Disney is also re-releasing Pixar's Cars on Blu-ray on 4/12, the same day Pixar's The Incredibles arrives on the format. The Cars re-issue is no doubt timed to help promote the theatrical release of Cars 2 later this year.

Disney has also set Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure for Blu-ray Combo and DVD release on 4/19.

And here's a nice catalog release: Sony has set Stand By Me for Blu-ray release on 3/22. Meanwhile, The Cable Guy has already been announced for release on 3/1. Both are now available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

In other news today, 20th Century Fox sponsored a Director's Panel on Friday night at CES, in which filmmakers Baz Luhrmann, Michael Mann and Oliver Stone extolled the virtues of Blu-ray and bemoaned the future of digital delivery. Some interesting things were said, and you can read more about it here at Home Media.

That's all for now. Stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 1/7/11 - 11:59 PM PST)

All right... let's start our CES 2011 wrap-up with some new format stats for the past year...

First, some stats from our friends over at the Blu-ray Disc Association:

2010 BD/DVD software sales increased by 75% over 2009 sales. (Adams Media Research)

The number of Blu-ray capable households grew by 57% during the past year, and some households have more than one Blu-ray capable player. (FutureSource)

The number of set-top BD players now exceeds the number of PS3s in homes. (BDA)

In terms of video content distribution (physical and electronic sell-through and rental), packaged media accounted for 88% of consumer content consumption in 2010. Moreover, Blu-ray Disc was the fastest growing segment of all distribution. (Screen Digest)

BD sales were up 64.2% in 2010 versus 2009, while BD rentals were up 105.5% in 2010. (Screen Digest)

On the 3D front, it seems that while sales are still slow, 3DTV has been adopted a faster rate than regular HDTV has been. Comparing the first nine months of 3D TV sales to the first full year of HDTV sales, 3D TV has adoption has outpaced HDTV by four hundred percent. (Adams Media Research)

Blu-ray 3d players now account for more than 20% of the Blu-ray set-top players currently in households. If you include PS3S, which are firmware-upgradable to be 3D capable, the percentage of 3D capable players in the installed base jumps to over 60%. (BDA internal number, backed by FutureSource data)

FutureSource projects that by 2015, 3D TVs will be in more than 60% of U.S. households and Blu-ray 3D players will be in more than 75% of U.S. households.

Now here's some additional home video data from the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG):

The adoption rate of Blu-ray Disc has increased dramatically over the last two years, resulting in a current Blu-ray installed base in the U.S. of 28.5 million players, 11.25 million in the 4th quarter alone.

Meanwhile, the number of U.S. DVD households has topped 90 million. (CEA)

Nearly 1.25 billion Blu-ray and DVD discs were shipped in 2010. (Swicker & Associates)

Spending on Blu-ray Disc software increased 68% in 2010, with digital distribution up 19%.

Total U.S. home entertainment spending hit $18.8 in 2010, down slightly from 2009 (reflecting continued aggressive sales and discounts at retail), but the number of consumer home entertainment transactions was up. (DEG)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment sold 15.3 million copies of Avatar in North America alone, with five million of those on Blu-ray, making it the #1 Blu-ray title of all time.

A number of movie titles saw initial sales on Blu-ray in excess of 30% of total sales in 2010, including Despicable Me (Universal), The Expendables (Lionsgate), Iron Man 2 (Paramount), Salt (Sony), The Town (Warner Home Video) and A Christmas Carol (Disney).

Many key top-selling Blu-ray titles in 2010 were animated films such as How to Train Your Dragon (DreamWorks Animation) and Toy Story 3 (Disney/Pixar) - a further indication that the format is mainstream and that - like DVD 10 years ago - significant growth will come from the family audience.

Blu-ray Disc catalog sales are up 52% year over year, showing that Blu-ray is no longer to be considered for new release only.

Looking ahead to 2011, the DEG estimates that more than 100 Blu-ray 3D titles will be available at retail by the end of 2011.

Now then... let's get to other interesting product announcements at CES...

For those of you interested in 3D... and portable Blu-ray players... Sony had your back at CES by revealing that they're working on a portable Blu-ray 3D player with a 10-inch screen that doesn't require glasses. The viewing angle is limited, with with such a small screen size that really doesn't matter. Now, they were only showing a prototype at the show (see more here at engadget) and they said nothing about price or availability, but still... glasses-free BD3D! At least kind of cool. (Note that this is not the same as Sony's newly-announced BDP-SX1000 portable player, which is due later this Spring for about $300.)

Meanwhile, VIZIO announced a new line-up of more than 40 new LED LCD HDTVs, including 3DTV models AND... get this... a pair of "Cinema Ultra-Widescreen" models with a whopping 21:9 aspect ratio. Their 3DTVs use a circular polarized filter which puts the 3D processing burden on the TV itself. This means the 3D glasses are of the passive/polarized variety, which are MUCH cheaper, aren't fragile and require no batteries. They're also better for those of you who are sensitive to active shutter glasses. [Editor's Note: It appears that a number of manufacturers seem to have gotten the message that a lot of you hate the current active shutter glasses the first generations of 3DTVs shipped with, as a number are adding them to their 3DTV line-ups this year, including LG. More on LG in a minute, and you can read more on the year ahead in 3DTV here at CNN. I should note that while some industry observers are calling 3DTV a failure in 2010, my prediction was always that 3D would be a VERY slow-growing addition to HDTV, that more people would prefer the passive glasses to active ones, and that 3D market share probably wouldn't really grow dramatically until the next round of game systems arrives, and when the technology evolves enough to no longer require any glasses, likely a decade from now. After CES 2011, I STILL think this is the case. 3D is here to stay, but it's going to continue to grow very slowly.]

Speaking of VIZIO's Ultra-Wide HDTVs, they're specifically designed to display 2.35:1 "scope" films without the need for black bars. From their press release:

"Most HDTVs have an aspect ratio of 16:9, or 1.78:1, and a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 often referred to as 1080p Full HD. This aspect ratio was a compromise between the more square formatting of older televisions (4:3 or 1.33:1) and the wider 1.85:1 aspect of many movies. A 1.85:1 movie on a 16:9 HDTV will still show some black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. Big-budget Hollywood blockbusters, though, are usually filmed in the much wider 2.35:1 or 2.39:1 aspect ratio. VIZIO's new Cinema HDTVs slot in between these "CinemaScope" aspect ratios perfectly with a 2.37:1 (21:9) aspect ratio. So whether you're watching 2001, Lord of the Rings, Kill Bill, Toy Story 3, or countless other movies, you can watch them in their original aspect ratio and without black bars."

Of course, this means that 1.85:1 films, 1.78:1 HDTV and 1.33: analog TV and classic film content will require large vertical bars on either side on these displays. But whatever - if you REALLY hate the bars on 2.35 films, here you go. 50 and 58-inch Cinema displays will be available later this year, and a 71-inch prototype was also on display at CES.

VIZIO's Ultra-Wide HDTV

Meanwhile, LG announced a new Blu-ray 3D player model, the BD690, which plays Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, CD and digital content from your local computer network or via online streaming. It works with LG's Smart TV line-up to offer digital content and access to the LG app store, has a built-in 250GB hard drive and Wi-Fi (in fact, it's the first Blu-ray player certified for Wi-Fi Direct), and can archive your photos and audio CD content. Unfortunately, there's no word yet on price or availability, but here's a photo...

LG BD690

As I mentioned a few minutes ago, LG also announced the 65-inch LW6500 "Cinema 3D" HDTV display, that use the same passive/polarized glasses found in theatres. Looks like... well, a flat-panel HDTV...

LG 65-inch LW6500

LG also announced the 72-inch LZ9700, the "world's largest FULL LED-backlight LCD 3D TV (FULL LED 3D TV) at CES, which will be available sometime in early 2011 for an as-yet-undisclosed price. It's equipped with something called 3D Light Boost, which is apparently a thin film covering the screen that "ensures 3D images are shown at maximum brightness."

And finally, Philips has announced a number of new Blu-ray Disc players, including the Blu-ray 3D compatible BDP7506 (due in April for about $220), BDP5506 (due in March for $200) and BDP3506 (due in February for $170), and the 2D-only BDP3306 (also Feb, $150) and BDP3006 (also Feb, $130). Philips has also released their own Cinema 21:9 HDTV, the 58PFL9955, though it's currently only available in Europe.

All right, that wraps up the interesting Blu-ray related product highlights at CES. For you Star Wars fans, here's a few more pictures from Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox and Panasonic's Star Wars Saga BD announcement event at CES (special thanks to our good friend Ed P. for the first one and Fox for other two)...

Star Wars BD announcement event at CES

Star Wars BD announcement event at CES

Star Wars BD announcement event at CES

For those of you REALLY dying for a closer look, here's video of the presentation from Fox (via YouTube). Here also is Lucasfilm's official teaser trailer for the Blu-ray release (be sure to select 720p after you start playing to see it in the best quality)...



And speaking of Star Wars, this has little to do with CES, but Plinkett over at Red Letter Media has finally posted his lengthy video review of Star Wars: Episode III. All the usual disclaimers for misogyny and other offensive content apply, but it's amusing as were his reviews of Episodes I and II before it.

All right, that's it for CES 2011!

And that's it for the week as well. Hope you all have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday with the usual release news and announcements. Meanwhile, I'm going to sleep for the next 48 hours...

Peace out!

(EARLY UPDATE - 1/7/11 - 9 PM PST)

All right... sorry this is so late. It's taken me a while to get my ducks in a row and sort through all the CES news, as well as some major new release updates today. I'm going to do a couple updates here:

First, the latest Blu-ray and DVD release announcements...

Lionsgate has announced the Blu-ray and DVD release of Mad Men: Season Four on 3/29 (SRP $49.99 and $49.98 respectively - that's right, a one penny difference). Extras on both versions will include the 3-part Divorce: Circa 1960s documentary, 3 featurettes (How to Succeed in Business Draper Style, Marketing the Mustang: An American Icon and 1964 Presidential Campaign) plus cast and crew audio commentary on all 13 episodes.

Here's another good one: Disney has revealed that Pixar's The Incredibles will finally arrive on Blu-ray Disc/DVD/Digital Copy Combo on 4/12 (SRP $45.99). Extras will include 4 all-new featurettes (The Incredibles Revisited: Filmmaker's Roundtable, Paths to Pixar: Story Artists, Studio Stories: Gary's Birthday and Ending with a Bang!: Making the End Credits), along with The New Nomansian "interactive redevelopment plan" option and many of the classic DVD features as well.

Meanwhile, Warner Home Video has set the road comedy Due Date for Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo and DVD release on 2/22 (SRP $35.99 and $28.98). Extras on both will include the complete Two and a Half Men scene (featuring Ethan Tremblay), additional scenes, an Action Mash-Up, a gag reel and a Too Many Questions Mash-Up.

Also, Sony will release Tamara Drewe on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/8 (SRP $38.96 and $28.95).

Well Go USA will release Ten Shimoyama's Japanese horror film Blood on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/15.

CBS and Paramount will release VEGA$: The Second Season, Volume 2 on DVD only on 3/29.

Meanwhile, Nickelodeon and Paramount have set SpongeBob SquarePants: The Great Patty Caper for DVD-only release on 3/8.

CAV Distributing will release Jess Franco's The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff and Paula-Paula on DVD only on 2/8. Following on 3/8 will be Transgression and Sexy Pirates, also on DVD only.

IFC Films will release Heartbreaker and Happy Ever Afters on DVD only on 1/11. Enter the Void will follow on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/25, as will DVD only versions of Inspector Bellamy, Inhale and Primal.

FilmWorks Entertainment has set the documentary One Week Job for DVD release on 2/22.

And MPI and Dark Sky Films will release Adam Green's Hatchet II on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/1. Extras on both versions will include the Hatchet II: Behind the Screams featurette, a Production audio commentary track (featuring writer/director Adam Green, cinematographer Will Barratt and make-up effects supervisor Robert Pendergraft), a Cast audio commentary (featuring writer/director Adam Green and actors Kane Hodder and Tony Todd), trailers, teasers, a TV spot and a radio spot. To this, the Blu-ray will add 2 more featurettes (First Look: Hatchet II and Meet the FX Team).

From news around the Net, Criterion recently offered a visual hint of some of their upcoming 2011 Blu-ray and DVD releases. Based on the image they provided, lots of guesses have been floated as to which titles they suggest, but the best seem to be that Criterion may be working on The Great Dictator, White Material, Carlos, Kiss Me Deadly, BD upgrades of Wild Strawberries, Diabolique and Solaris, Cul De Sac, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Kuroneko, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Zero for Conduct and L'Atlante. David Fincher's The Game and D.A. Pennebaker's The War Room and Return of the War Room are also possible. If even half of those pan out, 2011 is sure to be another grand year for The Collection!

Here's a look at the Blu-ray cover artwork for Lionsgate's Mad Men: Season Four, Disney and Pixar's The Incredibles and Warner's Due Date on Blu-ray...

Mad Men: Season Four (Blu-ray)The Incredibles (Blu-ray Disc)Due Date (Blu-ray Disc)

Back in a little while with our CES 2011 wrap-up coverage. Stay tuned!

(LATE UPDATE - 1/6/11 - 11:45 AM PST)

Well, folks... it's official. Though strangely, the press event at CES was not up to the hype. And it contained few details other than these: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and Lucasfilm will release The Star Wars Saga on Blu-ray Disc this September (street date is TBA). The set will include all 6 films with exclusive new bonus material. After Vader and his Stormtroopers arrived on stage, Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn told the crowd that the films will be offered on BD-50s with a bit rate of up to 40mpbs. The project is being personally supervised by George Lucas himself. And that's about it for the event itself.

The good news is that their official press release contains MUCH more information. Here are all the details:

"Pre-order Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray Now!

January 6, 2011

The most anticipated Blu-ray release ever -- the Star Wars Saga -- emerges from light speed this September 2011. For the first time, all six of George Lucas' epic films (Episodes I-VI) are united in one complete set. Fans worldwide are able to pre-order now with online retailers.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release Star Wars in three distinct sets to meet the needs of every Star Wars fan:

Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray (9-disc Set includes all six films)
Star Wars: Prequel Blu-ray Trilogy (3-disc set includes Episodes I-III)
Star Wars: Original Blu-ray Trilogy (3-disc set includes Episodes IV-VI)

Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray will feature all six live-action Star Wars feature films utilizing the highest possible picture and audio presentation, along with three additional discs and more than 30 hours of extensive special features including never-before-seen deleted and alternate scenes, an exploration of the exclusive Star Wars archives, and much more.

Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray will be available for $139.99 US/$179.99 CAN and the Star Wars: Trilogy Sets for $69.99 US/89.99 CAN. Pricing for each set will vary by international territory.

Flanked by a legion of his finest Imperial stormtroopers, Darth Vader himself joined Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment President Mike Dunn at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to announce the release, vowing "The forces of the Empire will be at your disposal to assure the success of this endeavor."

"The Star Wars Saga is the most anticipated Blu-ray collection since the launch of the high-def format," Dunn said. "The epic franchise pioneered sound and visual presentation in theaters and is perfectly suited to do it again in the home, with a viewing experience only possible with Blu-ray."

"With all six episodes available for the first time in one collection, this is a great way for families and home audiences to experience the complete Saga from start to finish," said Doug Yates, Vice President of Marketing, Online, Distribution, Lucasfilm Ltd. "And with the quality of high-definition, Blu-ray provides the most immersive home experience possible."

"The Star Wars franchise has been the most anticipated Blu-ray release by Amazon's customers," said Bill Carr, Vice President of Music and Video at Amazon.com. "We think that Star Wars will be incredibly popular with our customers, and we expect pre-orders to be very strong."

Pre-order Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray and the Star Wars: Trilogy Sets at Amazon.com today!"


So there you go! Here are the official Amazon.com pre-order links (just click on the cover art below - we'd surely appreciate your support if you pre-order the sets through our links). The artwork we suspect is TEMP, but it's definitely official...

Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI - Blu-ray)Star Wars: The Prequel Trilogy (Episodes I - III - Blu-ray Disc)Star Wars: Original Trilogy (Episodes IV - VI - Blu-ray Disc)

Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI - Blu-ray)

Star Wars.com has the official teaser video here (looks cool, but no other details). Rest assured, we'll post any additional Star Wars Blu-ray information that we might get our hands on here over the course of the day. And be sure to check back early tomorrow morning for lots more Digital Bits coverage from CES 2011!

Stay tuned...

[Editor's Note: Panasonic just sent out this picture of the event. We might post a couple additional pics if possible later today.]

Panasonic photo of CES announce event.

(EARLY UPDATE - 1/6/11 - 5 AM PST)

All right... while we wait for news of Star Wars on Blu-ray later this morning, let's cover a few other new title announcements...

Starz and Anchor Bay have announced more details about the release of The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season. Look for the Blu-ray and DVD versions to be released on 3/8 (SRP $49.99 and $39.98 respectively). Each will be a 2-disc set containing all 6 episodes, along with 5 behind-the-scenes featurettes (The Making of The Walking Dead, Inside The Walking Dead: Episodes 1-6, A Sneak Peek with Robert Kirkman, Behind the Scenes Zombie Make-Up Tips and Convention Panel with Producers), 6 Extra Footage clips (Zombie School, Bicycle Girl, On Set with Robert Kirkman, Hanging with Steven Yeun, Inside Dale's RV and On Set with Andrew Lincoln) and a trailer.

Paramount will release Jackass 3 on unrated Blu-ray and DVD on 3/8... though strangely no actual Blu-ray 3D version has been announced - odd given that the film's ACTUAL title is Jackass 3D. Anyway, the versions you WILL have access to on 3/8 include a single-disc DVD (SRP $19.99), a 2-disc DVD Limited Edition ($24.99) and a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo ($29.99). The single-disc DVD will include both the theatrical and unrated cuts, 11 deleted scenes, 29 outtakes, a trailer and an MTV Making of Special. The 2-disc DVD and Blu-ray will add a second DVD disc that features an old-style anaglyph 3D version of the theatrical cut. WTF?! Paramount? Are you KIDDING with this?! One wonders if the actual Blu-ray 3D version is already locked up as a hardware exclusive, or the studio just wants to delay it until later in the year. Either way... ugh.

Moving on, Warner Home Video has set the Ronald Reagan Centennial Collection for release on DVD only on 1/15, in honor of what would have been his 100th birthday (on 2/6 - SRP $59.92). Films will include Dark Victory, Knute Rockne All-American, Kings Row, Desperate Journey, This is the Army, The Hasty Heart, Storm Warning and The Winning Team.

Lionsgate has set For Colored Girls for Blu-ray and DVD release on 2/3, along with The Last Play at Shea, Care Bears to the Rescue and Tyler Perry's House of Payne: Volume Six on DVD. Bjørn Lomborg's Cool It documentary on global warming follows on DVD only on 3/29.

Vivendi Entertainment has announced their February release slate, including Hurricane (Blu-ray, due 2/1), Only Love (2/8), Hoodwinked (2/15), Clover (2/22) and Killshot (Blu-ray, also 2/22).

Pathfinder has set the French films Just Before Nightfall and Mado for DVD only release on 3/1 (SRP $24.98 each).

Entertainment One has set Shake Hands with the Devil, Love Hurts, Psychosis and The Narnia Code for DVD release on 1/11, followed by Eichmann, King of Paper Chasin', Andrew Dice Clay: One Night with Dice and Nite Tales: The Series on 1/18.

Vanguard will release Tiny Little Lies, Becoming Eduardo, Waterhole, Afterlife and Bureaucracy on DVD only all on 3/29.

Just a reminder: 20th Century Fox will release the classic Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: Season 4, Volume 2 on DVD only on 1/11 (SRP $39.98). Extras will include the original un-aired pilot, the 1964 aired pilot (with original broadcast commercials) and a still gallery.

And finally, Paramount, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner and Lionsgate have all just announced their support for the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem's (DECE) new UltraViolet service, and will all start offering their films through it later this year. Through the cloud-based UltraViolet service, you'll be able to create a free user account that includes a "Digital Rights Locker". Whenever you purchase a movie title on disc or as a download from a participating studio, you can register that title with the service. Then you'll be able to access that title on any movie playback-capable device you have (up to 12 per account), including your TV, PC, portable media player, laptop, tablet device, smart phone, etc. Learn more here at the UltraViolet website.

Okay, that's all for now. Check back around 11:30 AM (Pacific) for Lucasfilm and Fox's official Star Wars Blu-ray announcement! And don't forget to check out our coverage of CES: Day One from last night here on The Bits, in case you missed it.

Stay tuned...

1/5/11

Okay... let's kick off our coverage of Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and DVD news at CES 2011, shall we?

First though, file this in the Rumor Mill category, but multiple early leaks we're receiving from retail sources today would seem to indicate that Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox will be releasing all 6 Star Wars films on Blu-ray in October (street dates of 10/18 or 10/25 are being reported), as a Star Wars: The Complete Saga - 35th Anniversary Collection (2012 being the 35th anniversary of the theatrical release of the original film). We're told by studio sources that we WILL get an official Blu-ray announcement from Fox and Lucasfilm tomorrow morning, when Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers invade Panasonic's booth at CES 2011, so be sure to check back here at The Bits around 11:30 AM for all the details. Rest assured we'll have all the official information here as soon as it's available. [Editor's Note: I suspect we'll get a first look at box art, details on the street date, SRP and SOME content information, and possibly a little talk of the eventual 3D theatrical re-release of the films in 2012, given Panasonic's involvement. This is speculation, but it wouldn't surprise me if the BD set has some kind of short BD3D preview for the theatrical re-issues and Panny MAY even have some kind of exclusive BD3D demo disc available with their 3D hardware later in 2011.] Here's a scan from the announcement event invitation that's been floating around the show today...

Star Wars Blu-ray Announcement

Now then... speaking of Panasonic, the company has just announced the expansion of its Blu-ray player line with three new full 3D models - the DMP-BDT310, DMP-BDT210 and DMP-BDT110 – and a new 2D-only model - the DMP-BD75. Here's something interesting: the DMP-BDT310, DMP-BDT210 and DMP-BDT110 will all be equipped to convert standard 2D content from Blu-rays and DVDs into 3D with natural depth perception. [Note that 2D to 3D conversion seems to be a big new feature that many of the major BD player manufacturers are touting this year as a way to get around the current dearth or really great BD3D content.] Users can adjust this effect with the built-in 3D Effect Controller to adjust "the leaping effects of 3D images, as well as allowing one to adjust the amount of depth." Fascinating. Other new features from the press release include a "new UniPhier chip, which, simultaneously lowers power consumption. Vertical color reference process has also been increased by 1.5 times, to express fine details and nuances in movie scenes with the Adaptive Chroma Processing. The HDMI Pure Audio improves sound quality, delivering pure and robust bass sound reproduction with minimal noise compared to previous models." Each model also includes the usual VIERA CAST Internet options (Netflix, Amazon VOD, You Tube, Pandora, twitter, Bloomberg News and weather info), which now feature Skype (a Skype button has now been added to the players' remotes). All have ultra-quick playback and the two two models, the DMP-BDT310 and DMP-BDT210, have built-in WiFi and a Touch-Free sensor to open and close the disc tray in a dark room. All four models will be available "Spring 2011" for prices TBA. By the way, the DMP-BDT210 has also picked-up 2 CES Innovations 2011 Design and Engineering Awards at the show. We'll post pictures soon. Here's what the DMP-BDT210 (top) and DMP-BDT110 look like...

Panasonic DMP-BDT210

Panasonic DMP-BDT110

Sony has announced a new Blu-ray 3D player, the BDP-S780, which works with Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD, CD and SACD software. It has built-in WiFi (802.11n), can also convert 2D content to simulated 3D and features Sony's IP Content Noise Reduction technology, Precision Cinema HS Upscaling and Super Bit Mapping technology (which delivers smoother color reproduction when connected via HDMI). The BDP-S780 is due to ship in April for around $250. Sony has also announced a new line-up of Blu-ray players including the BDP-S780, BDP-S580, BDP-S480 and BDP-S380. Of these, the BDP-S480 is also a 3D compatible model which should be available in March for around $180. Sony has also announced its first portable Blu-ray player, the BDP-SX1000, which has a 10-inch screen and a reported 5-hour battery life (availability Spring for around $300). Here's a closer look at the BDP-S780....

Sony BDP-S780

Speaking of Sony... Sony Corporation, Discovery Communications and IMAX Corporation today unveiled the logo and name for their new joint 24/7 3D network, 3net, which debuts early this year. Among the programming you can look forward to are the Experience 3D original series, as well as such films as Hubble 3D, In the Qube 3D, Wildebeest Migration, African Wild, Attack of the Giant Jellyfish, Bullproof, China Revealed, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Ghost Lab, High Octane, Into the Deep 3D, Jewels of the World, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D, Making the Brand, Monster House, Open Season, Space Station 3D and The Haunted.

3net 3D network logo

Meanwhile, Samsung has announced some new Blu-ray players too, as you might expect. First up, the BD-D7500 is supposed to be the "worlds slimmest" BD player, with a depth of just .9 inches. It's 3D compatible, can convert 2D to 3D and offers built-in WiFi. No word yet on price, but it's due sometime in the first half of the year. Samsung has also revealed a new "ultra-small" BD player, the BD-D7000. It offers the same features as the BD-D7500, and will be available sometime in the first half of the year for an as yet undisclosed price. Here's a look...

Samsung BD-D7500

Samsung BD-D7000

For those of you looking for normally-sized Samsung Blu-ray players, you have two new options: The BD-D6700 and BD-D6500 (again pricing is TBA, due first-half 2011). Both will allow you to play Blu-ray 3D content and the BD-D6700 will offer 2D to 3D conversion as well. Here's the BD-D6700....

Samsung BD-D6700

Samsung has also announced a new A/V Receiver/Blu-ray 3D player combo unit, the HW-D7000, for those of you looking for an all-in-one, space-saver solution. And here's something odd: Samsung has revealed a literal Blu-ray Home Theatre in a Box system (2.1)... the cube-shaped HT-D7100, which features a BD3D player, a pair of 110-watt main speakers and a subwoofer. We'll post a good photo here soon.

Here's interesting news: THX is now certifying 3D projectors and HD displays. JVC's recently-released Procision Series DLA-X9 and DLA-X7 were the first home theatre 3D projectors to receive the certification, and JVC has two more models due in 2011 which will also be certified. Meanwhile, several models of LG 3DTV display have also received THX 3D certification, including the new 50- and 60-inch displays from its 2011 Infinia PZ750 and PZ950 plasma series, newly unveiled at CES.

We've mentioned previously that Pioneer has already shipped their new Blu-ray 3D player line-up, including the BDP-430 and two Elite models, the BDP-41FD and BDP-43FD (SRP $299, $399 and $499 respectively). All models are WiFi ready (with an optional adaptor), feature HDMI 1.4a connections and will feature a new Continue Mode that allows you to resume BDs where you stopped them (even most BD-J titles). Here's the BDP-41FD...

Pioneer BDP-41FD

Also today, Audiovox has revealed "the industry's first automotive Blu-ray Disc player that plays any Blu-ray Discs as well as traditional DVDs and CD Audio Discs": the WiFi-capable AVDBR1, due some time this Spring (MSRP $349.99).

Back with more from CES 2011 tomorrow morning, including the Star Wars Blu-ray announcement. Be sure to check back here around 11:30 AM Pacific...

Stay tuned!

1/4/11

All right, there's more title announcement news to report today, and then most of the rest of the week is going to be dedicated to CES coverage...

First though, our own Dr. Jahnke has just posted a new installment of his Jahnke's Electric Theatre that includes his picks for the Best and Worst Films of 2010. Knowing Jahnke, it should be pretty entertaining, so do check it out.

Also, Russell Hammond has posted the weekly update of the Release Dates and Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover art and Amazon.com 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 really do appreciate it.

Speaking of Amazon, are any of you guys Farscape fans? If so, Amazon is running a great "Deal of the Day" on Farscape: The Complete Series on DVD. It's just $49.99, which is a whopping 67% off the regular retail price. Act fast!

And before we get to the title announcement news, here's the big story today: Starz has sold a 25% equity stake in Starz Media to The Weinstein Company, in exchange for which Weinstein and Starz' Anchor Bay have entered into a multi-year agreement to for DVD, Blu-ray and digital distribution of Weinstein catalog films. This will include up to 20 Weinstein and Dimension titles per year, including new films like The King's Speech, Blue Valentine and Company Men. Other films to be released include Sarah's Key, the Scream, Spy Kids and Scary Movie franchises, and new installments of the Halloween, Hellraiser and Children of the Corn series, among other titles. Very good news indeed!

Now then...

Warner Home Video has just set Clint Eastwood's Hereafter for Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo and DVD release on 3/15 (SRP $35.99 and $28.98). Both versions will include 3 Focus Points featurettes (Tsunami! Recreating a Disaster, Hereafter's Locations: Casting the Silent Characters and The Eastwood Experience). To this, the Blu-ray will add 6 more Focus Points featurettes (Is There Life After Death?, Clint on Casting, Delving into the Hereafter, Twin Bonding, French Speaking French and Why the White Light?), a Digital Copy and the 90-minute The Eastwood Factor documentary in HD.

Warner has also finally issued the official press release for their new TCM Greatest Classic Films and Greatest Classic Legends DVD sets that we've mentioned before. Due on 4/5 (SRP $27.92) each, you'll get TCM Greatest Classic Legends: Bette Davis (Now, Voyager, Dark Victory, Old Acquaintance and Jezebel), TCM Greatest Classic Legends: Marlon Brando (A Street Car Named Desire: The Original Director's Version, Julius Caesar, The Teahouse of The August Moon and Reflections in a Golden Eye), TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan, Volume One (Tarzan the Ape Man, Tarzan Escapes, Tarzan and His Mate and Tarzan Finds a Son!) and TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan, Volume Two (Tarzan’s Secret Treasure, Tarzan’s New York Adventure, Tarzan and the Amazons and Tarzan and the Leopard Woman).

Meanwhile, Universal has added Les Miserables to its February Blu-ray and DVD release slate. Look for it on 2/22. This is a video presentation of the recent Broadway stage performance, honoring the show's 25th anniversary.

20th Century Fox and MGM will release Rain Man and Moonstruck on Blu-ray on 2/15 (SRP $19.99).

IFC Films and MPI Media have set Enter the Void for Blu-ray and DVD release on 1/25 (SRP $29.98 and $24.98)

Well Go USA has announced that they'll be releasing the South Korean film The Man from Nowhere on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/8.

The Cinema Guild has set Jacques Rivette's Around a Small Mountain for DVD only release on 3/8 as well.

Finally, Music Box Films will release Mesrine: Killer Instinct on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/22.

And here's a bit of interesting news (thanks to Bits reader Jeremy C. for the link): Hackers in Europe have apparently compromised the digital security of Sony's PS3 game system, which leaves the BD AACS keys exposed as well. Fascinating. More here.

Here's a look at the cover art for DreamWorks' Megamind on Blu-ray and DVD (due 2/15), along with a sneak peek at Disney's The Lion King Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD cover art (TBA for later in 2011). You can also see BD cover art for MGM's Rain Man and Moonstruck Blu-rays, as well as the DVD art for Warner's Hereafter...

Megamind (DVD)Megamind (Blu-ray Disc)The Lion King (Blu-ray 3D)

Hereafter (DVD)Rain Man (Blu-ray Disc)Moonstruck (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned!

1/3/10

Afternoon, everyone! Welcome to the New Year!

Well... with the first week of 2011 comes the prospect of this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. And with CES comes news - hardware news and Blu-ray release news. CES itself doesn't start until later this week, but the BD release news has already started. So let's get right to it...

The big news today is that Disney has announced plans to release at least 15 titles on Blu-ray 3D in 2011. And you'll find that there are a few surprises. The obvious titles include Bolt, TRON Legacy, Tangled, Meet the Robinsons, Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, G-Force and Chicken Little (with more TBA). But you'll also get the animated Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King in BD3D, the latter day-and-date with its 2D counterpart later this year. We'll get you the additional titles as they're named by the studio.

Also, Disney has set Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure for release on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack on 4/19.

Meanwhile, DreamWorks Animation and Paramount have announced the DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo release of Megamind on 2/25 (SRP $19.99 and $24.99 respectively). Extras will include on both will include filmmaker commentary, a deleted scene, 7 featurettes (Meet the Cast of Megamind, Inside Megamind's Lair, AnimatorMan, You Can Draw Megamind, Mega Rap, The Reign of Megamind video comic book, Spot the Difference), the World of DreamWorks Animation previews section, a Minion's Zone (DVD-ROM features) and the all-new Megamind: The Button of Doom animated short. To this, the Blu-ray will add The Animators' Corner viewing option, a trivia track and 2 more features: Comic Creator and Behind the Mind.

Sony has set Tamara Drewe for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/8 (SRP $38.96 and $28.95). Also coming on DVD only is Walking on Water on 3/1 (SRP $14.94).

And Sony's revealed some details on the extras you'll find on their 2/1 Blu-ray and DVD release of A Woman, A Gun and a Noodle Shop. It amount to a whole bunch of featurettes - 19 in all - including Styling the Actors, Workaholic Director Zhang Yimou, Casting the Film, Director Zhang Yimou discusses the Look of the Film, Director Zhang Yimou discusses the Script, Actors Who Like to Sing, The Filming Starts, Actors Falling, Actors Joking Around, Behind the Scenes Antics, In the Makeup Trailer, The Actors Discuss their Roles, The Actors Discuss Zhang Yimou, Zhang Yimou Directs the Cast, Actor's Features, First Day of Shooting, Time to Dance!, Actors Trying New Things and Actors in their Roles.

Finally, Anchor Bay will release Stone on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/18.

In other news today, Home Media has a story on the outlook for BD3D in 2011, and the focus is - and should definitely be - the continued lack of good BD3D titles, and the excess of marquee titles tied up with hardware as exclusives. This situation SHOULD improve a little in 2011, but it really needs to improve a LOT to spur significant consumer adoption of BD3D. Remember guys, if it continues to be mostly kids titles, that's not really a big motivator for early adopters. Home Media also has a story up today on some of what you'll find at CES later this week, so do check it out. Look for at least three big things: Lots more 3D, more connected devices and LOTS of new tablet computers.

Also, Panasonic has just revealed its first exclusive offer to make Avatar BD3D available to owners of its BD3D players. (Previously, it had only been available to those who purchased Panasonic 3DTV hardware.) The catch is that it's currently open ONLY to those who purchase the new DMP-BDT100 player before 3/26. There's no word yet on whether or not legacy Panny BD3D player owners will be able to get their hands on it. We'll let you know if this changes. More details are available here at Amazon.com.

Speaking of Panasonic, Lucasfilm has revealed that Darth Vader and a platoon of Stormtroopers are going to be visiting Panasonic's booth at CES on Thursday, which would SEEM to indicate that we might get Star Wars Blu-ray or (theatrical) 3D news this week. More here and rest assured we'll give you all the details as they're announced.

Finally today, we have sad news to report. Actor Pete Postlethwaite has died at the age of 64 after a battle with cancer. Postlethwaite appeared in such films as Inception, The Usual Suspects, In the Name of the Father, Amistad and more recently The Town. Also, Forbidden Planet actress Anne Francis has passed away as well at the age of 80. In addition to Forbidden Planet, she also appeared in Bad Day at Black Rock, Blackboard Jungle and many other films. Both will be missed.

Stay tuned...

12/30/10

Well, folks... I've gone around the horn today and there really isn't a lot of news to report. Most folks up at the studios are still off for the holidays, and with New Year's Eve in the offing, well... there's just not a lot of announcement news to report this afternoon. If fact, there really isn't any.

In general news, however, we're sorry to have to report the death of visual effects legend Grant McCune today at the age of 67. That name will be familiar to Star Wars fans, as he shared the 1978 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects with John Dykstra and worked on many other films as well.

Also, here's something odd: Nintendo is warning parents not to let kids under the age of 6 play 3D games on their forthcoming Nintendo 3DS handheld game system, due in stores in the States in March. Apparently, it might stunt the proper development of their eyesight. Yikes! I'd hate to be the PR guy who has to spin that bit of news with the press. More here.

I do have one other interesting thing for you today: The trailer for Kevin Smith's new horror film, Red State, is up on YouTube. Looks pretty interesting. It's a little more stylish that the usual from him. Sure hope it's a good film. Kevin's a good guy and we'd really like to see him hit one out of the park. Thanks to our old friend Don May Jr for turning me on to that link.

All right... that's it for this week.

From all of us here at The Digital Bits, a very Happy and Safe New Year to you and your family and friends! We'll see you back here in 2011, as usual (read: Monday). Go Badgers and peace out to all!

12/29/10

We've got a little bit more announcement news for you today...

Lionsgate and Barnholtz Entertainment will release My Girlfriend's Back on DVD on 3/1.

Disney has set Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Minnie's Masquerade for DVD release on 2/8, followed by Hannah Montana Forever: Final Season on 3/8.

Warner Home Video has set Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown for DVD only release on 3/29.

VCI will release the 13-chapter serial Brenda Starr, Reporter on DVD on 3/1, along with a Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde: 35th Anniversary Edition and Noah's Castle: The Complete Series. VCI has previously announced a Green Hornet: Movie Edition and a Green Hornet: Collector's Set (includes the Green Hornet and The Green Hornet Strikes Again serials) for DVD release on 1/11, followed by Flockton Flyer: Season One, a Pre-Code Hollywood Double Feature (includes Hell Harbor and Jungle Bride), The Prowler, Rhineland and a Scream Theater 12-film set (includes Alice, Sweet Alice, Beast of the Yellow Night, Beyond Atlantis, Death Game, Don't Open the Door, House of the Living Dead, The Night Creature, Scream Bloody Murder, Sisters of Death, Twilight People and Young Hannah: Queen of the Vampires) on 2/1.

E1 will release Love Hurts, Psychosis, Shake Hands with the Devil and The Narnia Code on DVD on 1/11.

Image Entertainment has set an Alfred Hitchcock: The Master of the Macabre 3-film DVD set for release on 2/8, including Murder!, Sabotage and Jamaica Inn.

Kino Lorber has set the French film Army of Crime for DVD release on 1/18, followed by Classic Educational Shorts #3: Safe... Not Sorry and Classic Educational Shorts #4: The Celluloid Salesman on 2/8, Time for Drunken Horses on 2/15 and the French film Two in the Wave on 2/22.

Mill Creek will release Best of C.O.P.S. (10 episodes), C.O.P.S.: Volume 1 (32 episodes), He-Man & the Masters of the Universe: Season One (65 episodes), He-Man & the Masters of the Universe #1 (20 episodes), He-Man & the Masters of the Universe #2 (20 episodes), Johnny Test: Super Smarty Pants (10 episodes), Johnny Test: The Complete First and Second Seasons (26 episodes), Paddington Bear: Marmalade Madness (28 episodes), Paddington Bear: The Complete Classic Series (56 episodes plus 3 specials), Sabrina: The Animated Series - A Touch of Magic (10 episode set) and Sabrina: The Animated Series (32 episodes) all on 2/15.

Zeitgeist Films will release Promised Lands on DVD on 2/15, with Last Train Home following on 2/22 and Windmill Movie following on 3/22.

And 20th Century Fox will release Like Dandelion Dust on 1/25, followed by Conviction on 2/1.

By the way, if you get the chance to go see the Coens' True Grit, I highly recommend it. Great performances, great writing. Matt and I caught a screening this morning, and it's certainly one of the best films I've seen in the past year. Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon both deliver the goods, and this young new girl who stars in the film, Hailee Steinfeld, is really wonderful. She might have a pretty good acting career ahead of her. Do check it out.

Stay tuned...

12/28/10

Morning, everyone! Let's get to some news updates...

First though, our own Russell Hammond has just turned in the weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Games cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, anytime you order stuff from Amazon after clicking to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits. We REALLY do appreciate that form of support.

Now then, Warner and the BBC will release The Alan Bennett Collection (includes An Englishman Abroad, A Day Out, Sunset Across the Bay, A Visit from Miss Prothero, Our Winnie, A Woman of No Importance, The Insurance Man, Dinner at Noon, 102 Boulevard Haussman, A Question of Attribution and Portrait or Bust) on 3/29 (SRP $54.98).

Paramount is releasing a Road Trip Trilogy: Unrated set on DVD only on 3/1. Daniel Tosh: Happy Thoughts, Spongebob Squarepants: The Great Patty Caper and The Backyardigans: We Arrrr Pirates follow on DVD on 3/8 (for Comedy Central and Nickelodeon).

Also, I think we've mentioned this before, but Universal will release a Western Movie Marathon DVD set on 3/29, including Into the Badlands and Dead Man's Revenge.

And we have an update for you on Image Entertainment's 2011 Blu-ray plans. Here's what's been announced so far: Gun (1/4), Kathleen Madigan: Gone Madigan (1/11), Cold Dog Soup and Checking Out (both 1/18), White Wedding (1/25), Chain Letter (2/1), A Private Function, Beauty and the Briefcase, Five Corners, Ultimate Jordan: Deluxe Limited Edition, America the Beautiful, Rediscover the Ancient Mysteries of Egypt, When Weather Changed History, Magnificent Italia, Discover Planet Ocean, Ocean Odyssey: The Blue Realm and Air Show Extreme: The Sky's the Limit (all 2/8), The Twilight Zone: Season 3 and Kites (both 2/15), Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia (IMAX BD3D) and Ultimate Wave: Tahiti (IMAX BD3D) (both 3/1), Every Day (on 3/8), Against All Odds, Random Hearts and Awakenings (on 3/22), Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D (BD3D), Ultimate G's: Zac's Flying Dream (IMAX BD3D), Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs (IMAX BD3D) and The Resident (all on 3/29), Jawbreaker, The People vs. Larry Flynt, And Justice for All and The Inheritance (all 4/5), Highwater (4/12), Short Circuit 2 (4/19) and Sons of the City: New York (4/26).

In other tech news from around the Net today, Amazon is reporting that the Kindle 3 (3rd generation) eBook reader is its best-selling product ever. At just $139 for the WiFi only model, it's hard to go wrong with it. I have to tell you, I purchased one myself a few months ago and really love it - more that I expected to. It's small, easy to hold, use and read, and books are available at a significant discount over their printed counterparts. (There are lots of older free titles too.) Sure, the E-ink screen is black and white only and yes, there's no backlight. But it's a lot easier on the eyes for both of those reasons, and I've gone as long as 90 days without having to recharge it. I've gone through some 6 books now in the last couple of months, so it turns out I'm actually reading more than before. (I usually average a couple books a month.) I'm still buying physical books - there are books (especially more deluxe titles, like Taschen's Stanley Kubrick Archives or IDW's Complete Bloom County) that you just want to own physical copies of. I find that my Kindle reading tends to replace paperback and impulse purchases more than anything else. But I really love it. By the way, if you're looking for a great light option for the Kindle 3, I highly recommend the Octovo Solis. It clips on securely, and with a quick flip of the light bar you've got nice, even light without having to bend a flexible neck into position. The Solis runs about $30. Anyway, more on Kindle 3 sales here at Information Week. (The same article also reports that Apple has shipped over 47 million iPads this year.) (Editor's Update: Bloomberg is reporting that Amazon Kindle sales for 2010 will exceed 8 million units - 3 million above projections.)

Also, there's word that Vizio is about to start shipping a 65-inch 3DTV that uses passive glasses. (It will be available initially at Costco and Sam's Club outlets.) It's pricey at $3400, but you get 4 sets of the glasses, which no need charging. Our guess is that Vizio and other companies will start making more passive 3DTVs available in other sizes at lower prices in the year ahead. Watch for more news at CES late next week.

Here's a look at some new Blu-ray cover art: Warner's Soylent Green (due 3/29), Paramount's Waiting for "Superman" (2/15), Sony's Get Low (2/22), Open Season 3 (1/25) and The Tillman Story (2/1), and HBO's Treme: The Complete First Season (3/29)...

Soylent Green (Blu-ray Disc)Waiting for Superman (Blu-ray Disc)Get Low (Blu-ray Disc)

Open Season 3 (Blu-ray Disc)The Tillman Story (Blu-ray Disc)Treme: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

12/27/10

Afternoon, folks! Hope you all had a swell Christmas. I imagine a LOT of you that traveled are dealing weather-related snafus. On the West Coast, we had rain, and now you Easterners are getting socked with blizzards. It's always something! Best to just stay home and watch movies on disc, right?

Anyway, we've got some announcement news to cover for you...

Paramount has set the documentary Waiting for "Superman" on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/15. Extras will include deleted scenes, multiple featurettes and commentary by director Davis Guggenheim and producer Lesley Chilcott.

Meanwhile, CBS and Paramount has just released a Shogun: 30th Anniversary Edition on DVD only. (This appears to be a repackaging of the 2003 DVD release.) The 5-disc set (SRP $54.99) includes a bonus disc with making-of documentaries and featurettes. You'll also get commentary on select scenes with director Jerry London.

Lionsgate has set Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls for Blu-ray and DVD release on 2/8. Lionsgate will also release The Miracle Maker on Blu-ray/DVD Combo on 3/8, followed by Siren on DVD only on 3/22.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has set Wild Target for Blu-ray and DVD release on 2/8.

Sony will release Get Low on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/22.

Warner Home Video will release Soylent Green on Blu-ray Disc on 3/29. Warner has also announced the DVD only release of Scarecrow & Mrs. King: The Complete Second Season on 3/22, followed by Dallas: The Movie Collection on 4/12 (includes The Early Years, J.R. Returns, The War of the Ewings and Return to Southfork) and Growing Pains: The Complete Second Season on 4/26. Not done yet: Warner is also releasing TCM Greatest Classic Films: Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan, Volume 1 (Tarzan the Ape Man, Tarzan Escapes, Tarzan and His Mate and Tarzan Finds a Son!) and TCM Greatest Classic Films: Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan, Volume 2 (Tarzan's Secret Treasure, Tarzan's New York Adventure, Tarzan and the Amazons and Tarzan and the Leopard Woman) on DVD only on 4/5.

Virgil Films & Entertainment is releasing Orson Welles' 1946 The Stranger on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack on 2/15. Also coming on 2/15 from Virgil on Blu-ray/DVD Combo is the 1952 film noir classic Kansas City Confidential. Pretty cool to see these older gems being released in HD. Let's hope the quality is good.

Vivendi Entertainment and RHI will release Mama Flora's Family on DVD on 1/4.

Troma and CAV are releasing Bazaar Bizarre and Grim on DVD on 3/8. CAV will also release Repo Chick on Blu-ray and DVD on 2/8.

I think we've mentioned this before, but HBO (via Warner) will release Treme: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/26.

Image Entertainment is releasing a little stand-up on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/11: Kathleen Madigan: Gone Madigan. Image has also set White Wedding for both formats on 1/25, followed by Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood: Two Man Group on DVD only on 3/8.

Cinema Libre will release the documentary The End of Poverty? on Blu-ray on 3/22.

And Well Go USA will release Blood: The Ultimate Death on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/15.

In other news, Shout! Factory has announced the winners of the Ultimate ReBoot Fan Art Contest: Mike Rieger of Calgary, Alberta (for a portrait of AndrAIa), Jimmy Xu of Toronto, Ontario (for images of villains Megabyte and Gigabyte), Erin Nagy of London, Ontario (for her interpretation of all the main characters in a group) and Maxwell McQuinn of Toronto, Ontario (for a Hexadecimal T-shirt design). These winners will have their artwork showcased in the first edition booklet accompanying Shout!'s ReBoot: The Definitive Mainframe Edition Complete Series collectors DVD box set due sometime next year, and they'll also get a free copy of the set. Congrats to all!

Also, Pioneer has just shipped it's debut line of Blu-ray 3D-compatible players, including the BDP-430 and two Elite models, the BDP-41FD and BDP-43FD (SRP $299, $399 and $499 respectively). All models are WiFi ready (with an optional adaptor), feature HDMI 1.4a connections and will feature a new Continue Mode that allows you to resume BDs where you stopped them (even most BD-J titles). More details are available here.

And here's an interesting story (thanks to James F. for the link): The Wall Street Journal has a story up on how the growth of the Blu-ray format is starting to sooth the home video business concerns of the major Hollywood studios. BD sales are strong this holiday season, and the growth of the format is finally starting to offset more of the sales loss from the slumping DVD format.

Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned!

12/22/10

Morning, folks! Hope your holiday prep or travel plans aren't being rained or snowed upon today, though I know that's probably wishful thinking. We've had so much rain here in Southern California this week that I think my neighbor has started building an ark in his backyard.

Anyway, as promised today, we've got a brand new Classic Coming Attractions column for you from Barrie - his last of 2010. This time around, Barrie reviews 13 new and recent classic film titles, including Olive Films' Dark City, Appointment with Danger and Union Station, Universal's The Bing Crosby Collection, Infinity's The Legendary Bing Crosby and Bing Crosby: The Television Specials - Volume Two, VCI's Cuban Rebel Girls/Untamed Women, Disney's Waking Sleeping Beauty, Shout! Factory's The Lemon Drop Kid and Paramount and CBS' Gunsmoke: The Fourth Season, Volume 2 and Have Gun, Will Travel: The Fifth Season, Volume One all on DVD, as well as Criterion's The Night of the Hunter and Disney's Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 on Blu-ray. Barrie also runs down the latest classic release announcements as well. There's lots of great titles in there, so give it a read and enjoy!

In announcement news this morning, here's something we forgot to mention the other day: Criterion will be upgrading a couple of its previous DVD titles to Blu-ray on 3/15 - Edward Yang's Yi Yi (Catalog #339) and Louis Malle's Au Revoir Les Enfants (#330). SRP is $39.95 each.

Also, Warner Home Video has set Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster for Blu-ray and DVD release on 3/1. Following on 3/29 are Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown, Antony and Cleopatra and Mother Lode.

Lionsgate has confirmed that its March release slate will include Michael Jordan to the Max (Blu-ray), My Girlfriend's Back and Thomas & Friends: Pop Goes Thomas on 3/1, followed by The Miracle Maker (Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack) and Jonah: A Veggietales Movie (Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack) on 3/8, and Step Off on 3/15.

And Universal has set Xena: Warrior Princess - Season Two for DVD release on 3/29.

Here's cover art for DreamWorks' Paranormal Activity 2 (due 2/8), Sony's A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2/1 - a Chinese remake of the Coen Brothers' Blood Simple), Lionsgate's Michael Jordan to the MAX (3/1), Fox's Glee: Season 2, Volume 1 (DVD only - 1/25) and Criterion's Yi Yi and Au Revoir Les Enfants...

Paranormal Activity 2 (Blu-ray Disc)A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (Blu-ray Disc)Michael Jordan to the MAX (Blu-ray Disc)

Glee: Season 2, Volume 1 (DVD)Yi Yi (Blu-ray Disc)Au Revoir Les Enfants (Blu-ray Disc)

In other news today, the FCC has approved new Net Neutrality rules designed to keep major Internet and media companies from restricting access or bandwidth to smaller companies, and also to ensure that they don't favor their own content over that of their competition. In principle, it's a good thing, intended to preserve fair and equal Internet access for everyone. A common example being given today is that it means Comcast can't selectively throttle down its Internet customers' bandwidth and access to Netflix, say, while boosting their access to its own Hulu service (owned through NBC/Universal). Naturally, some folks think the new rules go too far in restricting the free market, while others think it doesn't go far enough in protecting the little guy. In other words, everyone hates the compromise rules that emerged from the negotiations. The truth lies somewhere in between, as it usually does, so we'll have to wait and see how it all unfolds. In any case, you can read more here at Wired and ars technica.

Also, here's something interesting for you Terry Gilliam fans: Variety is reporting that Gilliam is involved in a new retro Steampunk-ish animated film called 1884. Sounds pretty fascinating from the description. Thanks to our own Russell Hammond for the link.

All right... that's it for this week. It's time for us to get our own holiday celebrations underway. We'll return again on Monday (12/27) with the usual Blu-ray/DVD news and whathaveyou. In the meantime, from the whole Digital Bits crew, we wish you all safe travels, a very Merry Christmas and an all-around wonderful holiday week with your family and friends. Peace out!

12/21/10

Morning, folks. Got a couple things for you today...

As promised, the good Dr. Jahnke has checked in with a new installment of his Bottom Shelf column, this time running down his picks for The Best Discs of 2010. It's sort of a mini-Bitsys to hold you over until the big ones return. There's some good titles in there, so do check it out.

Also today, Jeff Kleist has turned in a couple more Blu-ray 3D reviews for his 3rd Dimension column: Sony's Monster House and DreamWorks' Monsters vs. Aliens. (Monsters vs. Aliens is currently a Samsung hardware-exclusive title.) Enjoy!

And as always, our own Russell Hammond has updated the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover scans and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a small portion of ANYTHING you order from Amazon after clicking to them through our links goes to help support our continuing work here at The Bits and we really, truly do appreciate it. It makes a difference. So if you've got any last minute Christmas shopping to do, off you go!

The only major industry news today is that MGM has finally finished its financial restructuring and has emerged from bankruptcy. Unfortunately, there's still no official word yet on the status of its in-the-can Red Dawn remake or future James Bond films, though one would hope such news will appear soon. More here at Deadline Hollywood.

Finally this morning, there's a bit of sad news to report: Actor Steve Landesberg has passed away. Landesberg has had minor roles in a few films over the years, including Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Wild Hogs. His TV work was much more extensive, as he appeared in everything from The Rockford Files to The Cleaner. But it's for his portrayal of Detective Dietrich on ABC's Barney Miller that he'll be best remembered. Landesberg was 65.

Stay tuned...

12/20/10

Afternoon, folks! Hope the day finds you all well. I know the weather is pretty messed up so if you're traveling for the holidays, be safe.

The Hollywood studios are pretty much shut down for Christmas now, but we DO still have some good announcement news for you today...

First, Sony has set The Cable Guy for Blu-ray release on 3/1. Also newly announced for Blu-ray and DVD is You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger on 2/15. Just announced for DVD only by the studio are Robert Kennedy and His Times and Walking on Water on 3/1.

Paramount has set Paranormal Activity 2 for Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and DVD release on 2/8. You'll get both the theatrical cut and a new, unrated director's cut of the film, plus Found Footage, a teaser trailer and a Digital Copy.

On the catalog front, Paramount has also set 48 Hours for Blu-ray release on 2/22.

You fans of Glee will be pleased to learn that 20th Century Fox will release Glee: Season 2, Volume 1 on DVD only on 1/25 (SRP $39.98). You'll get the season's first 10 episodes, along with a Glee Music Jukebox, 3 featurettes (Getting Waxed with Jane Lynch, The Wit of Brittany and Glee at Comic-Con 2010) and a bonus song from The Rocky Horror Glee Show episode recorded exclusively for the DVD. Rest assured, a Complete Season 2 Blu-ray will be released later in 2011, along with the Season 2, Volume 2 DVD.

Meanwhile, Image Entertainment will release How to Get Ahead in Advertising on DVD on 1/11.

And Lionsgate will deliver SAW: The Final Chapter on Blu-ray Combo Pack, 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on 1/25 (SRP $39.99, $49.99 and $29.95). The studio will also release Hemingway's Garden of Eden and Step Off on DVD only on 3/15.

In other matters, have any of you gone out to see TRON Legacy yet? Well... if you have - or if you're old enough to remember the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special - you'll probably get a big kick out of this: The kids over at Funny or Die have "unearthed" a "long-lost" TRON Holiday Special from 1982. Just watch and laugh. The Burt Reynolds/Dom DeLuise bit had me rolling pretty good. You can blame Dr. Jahnke for sending me the link today. ;)

And this isn't the first supercomputer created using Sony PS3s, but it's surely the most powerful: According to Home Media, the Air Force has strung together 1700 PlayStation 3 systems to create the "Condor Cluster". Scientists say they're trying to teach it to think. The SkyNet cometh!

All right, we're going to have a couple more updates for you this week, including one tomorrow with a little something from Dr. Jahnke and another Wednesday with a new Classic Coming Attractions column from Barrie. Then we'll be off starting on Thursday for the Christmas weekend.

So stay warm/dry in the meantime and we'll see you tomorrow!

12/17/10

All right, we've got a little bit more announcement news and updates for you today...

Warner has announced the Blu-ray Combo and DVD release of Life as We Know It on 2/8 (SRP $35.99 and $28.98).

Universal has announced some good new catalog titles on both Blu-ray and DVD. Starting with the Blu-rays, look for Babe and Peter Pan on 4/5, along with a 3-disc Riddick Blu-ray Collection on 3/22 that includes Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick and The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury. The studio will also release a series of Blu-ray Double Feature sets on 3/22, including Alpha Dog/Assault on Precinct 13, Elizabeth/Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Friday Night Lights/The Express, Jet Li's Fearless/Unleashed, Mercury Rising/The Jackal and Spy Game/State of Play.

On the standard DVD front, Universal will release Emergency! The Final Rescues, In Plain Sight: Season Three, a Midnight Run: 4-Movie Marathon (includes Midnight Run, Another Midnight Run, Midnight Runaround and Midnight Run for Your Life) and a Western Movie Marathon (includes Into the Badlands and Dead Man's Revenge), all on 3/29.

Meanwhile, Anchor Bay has added the small-town thriller Meskada to its DVD plans for 3/22. The studio has also confirmed the Blu-ray and DVD release of Dead Space: Aftermath on 1/25.

A&E has announced some good Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and DVD titles for release in January. On 1/11 look for The Universe 3D: 7 Wonders of the Solar System on Blu-ray 3D, Lennon NYC on standard Blu-ray and The Universe: The Complete Season Five on Blu-ray and DVD. On 1/18, you'll get Top Shot: Season One, The Greening of Southie and Chris Angel Mindfreak: The Complete Season Six on DVD.

A number of you have asked what additional catalog titles we might see released on Blu-ray from MGM next year. As you know, the studio just officially unveiled the U.S. BD release of a Thelma & Louise: 20th Anniversary Edition (due on 2/8) and Last Tango in Paris (due 2/15). Well... sources tell us that among the titles likely for release in high-def in early 2011 are Blue Velvet, Rain Man, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Dead Man Walking. All four titles are already announced for Blu-ray release in France by MGM in February. So it's likely you'll see them follow in the States in the coming months as well.

Speaking of MGM, several of you have also asked for an update on the status of MGM's new catalog DVD Manufacturing on Demand (MOD) program, which was announced last month - the deal with Allied Vaughn that should see over 400 MGM film and TV titles released on DVD over the next 18 months. We're working to get an update on when and where those discs will be available for sale, so we'll let you know as soon as we hear anything official.

Meanwhile, retail sources are also telling us to expect Fox's Unstoppable to be released on Blu-ray and DVD sometime in March.

And here's a bit of clarification about Lionsgate's forthcoming Blu-ray Combo release of The Last Unicorn on 2/22 (SRP $19.98). When the film was released on DVD a few years ago, the audio was censored to remove a couple of mild profanities and one image in the film was briefly blurred. The new Blu-ray will be offer the film completely uncensored, but it will also include the edited "family friendly" audio track for those who prefer it. Both the censored and uncensored audio tracks will be DTS-MA 5.1. That comes directly from studio sources (and thank you to those sources!), so fans can rest easy.

Don't forget that TRON Legacy is now in theatres. Early reviews have been pretty positive, and not just about the 3D effect either, so do check it out if you're interested. I also recommend Darren Aronofsky's The Black Swan. Matt and I took in a screening last night, and it's a pretty good film. Arguably Natalie Portman's best and most daring performance since The Professional, and that's saying something.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

12/16/10

Well... I guess we shouldn't be surprised. In fact, we even guessed it might happen last week. But it's now official: Miramax (as owned by Filmyard Holdings) has partnered with The Weinstein Company for new content creation and also distribution of its catalog of more than 700 films on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download. Hopefully that means a whole range of eagerly-awaited and long-neglected films will finally see the light of day on Blu-ray. From the piece at Home Media: "Part of the agreement has Miramax and Weinstein creating new material for Blu-ray releases of Miramax films, including roundtables featuring cast and directors." Well, it's about damn time! Here's a suggestion, guys: How's about starting with Pulp Fiction, The English Patient, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Trainspotting and The Crow? As part of the deal, the two companies are also planning on working together to produce sequels to many of the key titles in the Miramax catalog. No doubt we'll hear more in the coming weeks.

In other news today comes word from FutureSource consulting that Blu-ray title production topped 400 million units in 2010. The format looks to be making strong gains in the next couple of years, as the prediction for 2014 is that production could approach 2 billion discs globally. More here.

In announcement news this afternoon, Cartoon Network (and Warner Home Video) will release Firebreather on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/12 (SRP $28.99 and $19.97).

Also, Warner Home Video has also set those Charlton Heston Presents The Bible titles for DVD release on 3/29. You'll be able to buy the 4 individual films by themselves - Genesis, Jesus of Nazareth, The Passion and The Story of Moses (SRP $12.97 each) - along with a 4-pack of all of them together (SRP $34.92).

And there's unfortunately some sad news to report today: Director Blake Edwards has died. Edwards helmed some 46 films during his long career, including such classics as 10, Victor/Victoria, Micki + Maude and S.O.B. and The Great Race. But it's for his partnership with actor Peter Sellers on The Pink Panther films that he's best remembered. Edwards was 88.

Stay tuned...


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