Afternoon, folks! Hope you all had a fine weekend. Sarah and I, joined by the Doctors Jahnke and the Rowes, took a little time out to attend the Orange County fair on Sunday. Lotta friend food there, I'll tell you! I enjoyed my annual roasted turkey leg (at the end of which I usually don't want another until the following year's fair) and the verdict on the fried food from the collected experts was that the deep fried brownie was the clear winner!
All right, as promised, we're VERY pleased today to bring you a new Classic Coming Attractions column by our own Barrie Maxwell, who continues to watch films and work on his columns even as he undergoes radiation and chemo treatments in follow up of his recently removed brain tumor. Now THAT'S dedication! Barrie's back at home, reports that he's doing very well even with the treatments and that he really appreciates all the support you guys have extended him. Our thanks to all of you for that!
In announcement news today, Kino Lorber has set The Red Chapel and The Juche Idea for DVD only release on 10/4. Following on 10/11 is the Great Italian Directors Collection on DVD (includes Boccaccio '70, Casanova '70 and the 2-disc Story of a Love Affair: Special Edition). Boccaccio '70 and Casanova '70 will both also be available on Blu-ray on 10/11. Following on 10/18 is Armadillo on DVD only and The Robber on both Blu-ray and DVD. Finally, City of Life and Death will be available as a 2-disc Special Edition on both DVD and Blu-ray on 10/25.
Lionsgate has set Everything Must Go and 40 Days and 40 Nights for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/6, along with the DVD only releases of Denise Austin: Sculpt & Burn Body Blitz, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition - The Workout, No Ordinary Family: The Complete First Season and Care Bears: Share Bear Shines Movie.
Also, Sony has set Arena for DVD only release on 10/11.
Warner Home Video has Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur set for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/6.
And here's a little bit of disappointing news: Universal has told me that they currently have no plans to release Caprica: The Complete Series on Blu-ray Disc here in the States. Let's hope that changes in the new year. Here's what the cover art for the already announced French version looks like (due 10/25)...
As you can see, we've also included DVD cover art for Universal's Friday Night Lights: The Complete Series (due 10/4) as well as Kino's Strike on Blu-ray (8/30).
All right, there's been a lot of talk lately about MOD releases. It seems that just today, Universal has announced another batch of MOD titles including William Friedkin's The Brink's Job. So our own Dr. Jahnke took it upon himself to compile a list of all the Universal Vault Series titles currently available on Amazon.com. (You've done a man's work, sir!) Here's the complete list, which we though you might like to get a good look at (you can also find it on his Electric Theatre Facebook page):
40 Pounds Of Trouble (1962 - Dir: Norman Jewison, with Tony Curtis) The Ballad Of Josie (1967 - Dir: Andrew V. McLaglen, with Doris Day) The Black Shield Of Falworth (1954 - Dir: Rudolph Mate, with Tony Curtis) Blonde Venus (1932 - Dir: Josef von Sternberg, with Marlene Dietrich) Blue Collar (1978 - Dir: Paul Schrader, with Richard Pryor & Harvey Keitel) Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938 - Dir: Ernst Lubitsch, with Claudette Colbert) The Brass Bottle (1964 - Dir: Harry Keller, with Tony Randall) The Brink's Job (1978 - Dir: William Friedkin, with Peter Falk) A Bronx Tale (1993 - Dir: Robert De Niro, with De Niro & Chazz Palminteri) The Cat And The Canary (1939 - Dir: Elliott Nugent, with Bob Hope) The Chalk Garden (1964 - Dir: Ronald Neame, with Deborah Kerr) Cobra Woman (1944 - Dir: Robert Siodmak, with Maria Montez) Cool As Ice (1991 - Dir: David Kellogg, with Vanilla Ice) Crackers (1984 - Dir: Louis Malle, with Donald Sutherland & Sean Penn) Death Of A Gunfighter (1969 - Dir: Alan Smithee/Don Siegel/Robert Totten) Death Takes A Holiday (1934 - Dir: Mitchell Leisen, with Fredric March) Dragnet (1954 - Dir/Star: Jack Webb) Eddie Macon's Run (1983 - Dir: Jeff Kanew, with Kirk Douglas & John Schneider) Gambit (1966 - Dir: Ronald Neame, with Michael Caine & Shirley MacLaine) Games (1967 - Dir: Curtis Harrington, with Simone Signoret & James Caan) Gold Diggers: The Secret Of Bear Mountain (1995 - Dir: Kevin James Dobson) A Good Man In Africa (1994 - Dir: Bruce Beresford, with Sean Connery) Gun For A Coward (1957 - Dir: Abner Biberman, with Fred MacMurray) Here Come The Waves (1944 - Dir: Mark Sandrich, with Bing Crosby) The House Of The Seven Gables (1940 - Dir: Joe May, with George Sanders) The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981 - Dir: Joel Schumacher, with Lily Tomlin) The Island (1980 - Dir: Michael Ritchie, with Michael Caine) It Ain't Hay (1943 - Dir: Erle C. Kenton, with Abbott & Costello) Kitten With A Whip (1964 - Dir: Douglas Heyes, with Ann-Margret) Lady In A Jam (1942 - Dir: Gregory La Cava, with Irene Dunne) The Last Remake Of Beau Geste (1977 - Dir/Star: Marty Feldman) Leaving Normal (1992 - Dir: Edward Zwick, with Christine Lahti & Meg Tilly) The List Of Adrian Messenger (1963 - Dir: John Huston, with George C. Scott) A Lovely Way To Die (1968 - Dir: David Lowell Rich, with Kirk Douglas) Man In The Shadow (1957 - Dir: Jack Arnold, with Jeff Chandler & Orson Welles) Mass Appeal (1984 - Dir: Glenn Jordan, with Jack Lemmon) McHale's Navy (1964 - Dir: Edward Montagne, with Ernest Borgnine) Morocco (1930 - Dir: Josef von Sternberg, with Marlene Dietrich) The Other Side Of The Mountain (1975 - Dir: Larry Peerce, with Beau Bridges) The Other Side Of The Mountain Part 2 (1978 - Dir: Larry Peerce) The Perfect Furlough (1958 - Dir: Blake Edwards, with Tony Curtis) Pete 'n' Tillie (1972 - Dir: Martin Ritt, with Walter Matthau & Carol Burnett) Pittsburgh (1942 - Dir: Lewis Seiler, with Marlene Dietrich & John Wayne) The Public Eye (1992 - Dir: Howard Franklin, with Joe Pesci) Pure Luck (1991 - Dir: Nadia Tass, with Martin Short & Danny Glover) Quantez (1957 - Dir: Harry Keller, with Fred MacMurray) Raid On Rommel (1971 - Dir: Henry Hathaway, with Richard Burton) Resurrection (1980 - Dir: Daniel Petrie, with Ellen Burstyn) Rough Night In Jericho (1967 - Dir: Arnold Laven, with Dean Martin) Ruggles Of Red Gap (1935 - Dir: Leo McCarey, with Charles Laughton) Scott Joplin (1977 - Dir: Jeremy Kagan, with Billy Dee Williams) The Secret War Of Harry Frigg (1968 - Dir: Jack Smight, with Paul Newman) The Seduction Of Joe Tynan (1979 - Dir: Jerry Schatzberg, with Alan Alda) The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976 - Dir: Herbert Ross, with Nicol Williamson & Alan Arkin) Seven Sinners (1940 - Dir: Tay Garnett, with Marlene Dietrich & John Wayne) Shoot Out (1971 - Dir: Henry Hathaway, with Gregory Peck) Shout (1991 - Dir: Jeffrey Hornaday, with John Travolta) Sometimes A Great Notion (1971 - Dir: Paul Newman, with Newman & Henry Fonda) Spawn Of The North (1938 - Dir: Henry Hathaway, with George Raft & Henry Fonda) Stick (1985 - Dir: Burt Reynolds, with Reynolds & Candice Bergen) Tarantula (1955 - Dir: Jack Arnold, with John Agar) Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969 - Dir: Abraham Polonsky, with Robert Redford) Tomahawk (1951 - Dir: George Sherman, with Yvonne De Carlo) Ulzana's Raid (1972 - Dir: Robert Aldrich, with Burt Lancaster) The Virginian (1946 - Dir: Stuart Gilmore, with Joel McCrea) We're Not Dressing (1934 - Dir: Norman Taurog, with Bing Crosby & Carole Lombard) You Gotta Stay Happy (1948 - Dir: H.C. Potter, with Joan Fontaine & James Stewart)
In other news today, Magnolia and Magnet have set The Perfect Host, staring David Hyde Pierce, for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/30 (SRP $29.98 and $26.98).
Sony has announced The Grace Card for DVD only release on 8/16 (SRP $26.99).
Here's something interesting: Universal in France has unveiled a Blu-ray Disc release of Caprica: The Complete Series set to street there on 10/25. We've asked Universal here in the States for any information on a U.S. release and will let you know as soon as we hear back.
On the music front, Image Entertainment has set Steve Windwood: Live and Chicago: Live in Concert for Blu-ray release on 11/1 (SRP $17.97 each).
In other news, you might have seen this when it first went public last week: A Samsung-funded study published in Journal of Vision has revealed that certain kinds of 3D display viewing do indeed cause eye-strain and fatigue. The good news about the study is it found that the level of fatigue and strain was related to the viewer's proximity to the screen and to the depth in the 3D image, which might allow display designers (and 3D cinematographers) to make adjustments to the way their images are displayed to reduce strain.
And here's something cool - Lucasfilm and Fox have at long last finished that Red Tails film Lucas has been talking about for more than a decade now. In fact, as I recall back when we visited the Skywalker Ranch for the Episode I DVD release back in late 2001, Lucas was meeting with veteran pilots about the project. The film tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Looks like it's finally set for release in January 2012. And the trailer actually looks pretty damn good. Fingers crossed. You can watch the trailer here on Yahoo.
We'll be back on Monday with a new column from our very own Barrie Maxwell and more. In the meantime, have a great weekend (don't forget to check out Cowboys & Aliens, which arrives in theatres today) and stay tuned!
All right, Lionsgate has revealed more details about their Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown Blu-rays, due on 10/4 (SRP $19.99 each). Pulp Fiction will include 2 new featurettes (Retrospective Cast Interviews and Critics Corner: Then and Now), along with previously released special features including deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes montages, 2 featurettes (Pulp Fiction: The Facts and Production Design), Siskel and Ebert's At the Movies: The Tarantino Generation special, footage from the Independent Spirit Awards, footage of the Cannes Film Festival Palm d'Or Acceptance speech, a Charlie Rose Show interview with Quentin Tarantino, a stills gallery and trailers and TV spots. Meanwhile, Jackie Brown includes a new Critic's Corner: Then and Now featurette, as well as 4 vintage featurettes (Jackie Brown: How It Went Down, A Look Back at Jackie Brown, Chicks with Guns and Jackie Brown on MTV), Siskel and Ebert's At the Movies review of the film, a stills gallery and trailers and TV spots.
Universal has announced a new Alfred Hitchcock: The Essentials Collection DVD box set for release on 10/4, due to include Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho and The Birds.
The studio has also set The Bionic Woman: Season 3 for DVD only release on 10/4. The 5-disc set will include 22 episodes of the show's final season.
And on the Blu-ray front, Universal has set the 1991 remake of Cape Fear for HD release on 10/18. Extras will include everything that was on the original DVD release.
Meanwhile, Fox has announced the musical comedy Brand New Day for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/13. The film stars Geoffrey Rush.
Summit Entertainment is releasing Jodie Foster's The Beaver on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/23 (SRP $30.49 and $26.99). Extras will include audio commentary with Foster, deleted scenes and the Everything is Going to Be O.K. featurette.
Be advised that Warner has moved the street date for their Willy Wonka: 40th Anniversary: Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-ray/DVD box set from 10/4 to 10/18.
Warner has also set Gossip Girl: The Complete Fourth Season for DVD only release on 8/23 (SRP $59.98), including all 22 episodes, 2 featurettes, deleted scenes and a gag reel.
Magnolia Home Entertainment has set the marital arts action film BKO: Bangkok Knockout for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/30 (SRP $29.98 and $26.98).
Shout! Factory and Marvel have set Marvel Knights Animation's Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers for DVD only release on 9/13 (SRP $14.97).
Also Revolver Entertainment will release United on DVD only on 8/8.
Image has set ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2 for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/20 (SRP $27.97 each).
Harry Shearer's feature-length documentary The Big Uneasy streets on DVD on 8/16 from FilmBuff.
And finally today, Warner and Turner Classic Movies are launching a trio of new DVD film collections on 11/1 (SRP $27.92 each), including TCM Greatest Classic Legends: Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland (includes Girl Crazy, Strike Up the Band, Babes in Arms and Babes on Broadway), TCM Greatest Classic Films: Astaire and Rogers - Volume Two (includes Flying Down to Rio, Follow the Fleet, The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle and Roberta) and TCM Greatest Classic Films: The Thin Man (includes The Thin Man, After the Thin Man, Another Thin Man and Shadow of the Thin Man). All have at least some features including newsreels, trailers, cartoon shorts and more.
Here's a look at the cover artwork for Universal's The Bionic Woman: Season 3 on DVD, and Fox's Brand New Day and Summit's The Beaver on Blu-ray...
All right... more release news today...
Warner Home Video has set Smallville: The Complete Series for release on DVD only on 11/29 (SRP $339.88). All 10 seasons will be included on 62 DVD discs, as well as some 28 hours' worth of bonus content previously released on DVD. You'll also get 5 hours of all-new content including "a never-before seen Superboy pilot from 1961, a 90-minute series retrospective with all-new interviews, the 2010 final Comic-Con panel, the Aquaman pilot and Paley Festival featurette." No Blu-ray set is currently planned, though one may be possible at a later date. Apparently, the first few seasons of the series weren't finished in HD, so the studio is considering options.
Meanwhile, you'll also be able to get Smallville: The Complete Tenth Season for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 11/29 as well (SRP $69.97 and $59.98). Extras will include audio commentaries on 2 episodes, deleted scenes, 5 featurettes (Smallville: Coming Home, My Fathers, My Son, Kneel Before Zod, Justice for All and Smallville Creatives) and the How Do We Do music video.
Warner has also set Pee-Wee's Big Adventure for Blu-ray release on 10/4 (SRP $19.98). Extras will include commentary with Paul Rubins and director Tim Burton, additional scenes, a gallery of production sketches and storyboard, the theatrical trailer and a music-only track with commentary by composer Danny Elfman.
Warner and the BBC have also announced the Blu-ray and DVD release of the 6-part British series The Hour on 9/27 (SRP $39.98 and $34.98).
Sony has set ABC's Happy Endings: Season One for DVD only release on 9/20 (SRP $35.99). Extras will include featurettes, music videos and outtakes.
Sony has also set NBC's Community: Season Two for DVD only release on 9/6 (SRP $45.99). TONS of extras will be offered, including episode commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes, storyboard animatics, outtakes and more.
Paramount has announced that they're release a Friday the 13th: The Ultimate Collection box set on DVD only on 10/4 (SRP $39.99). The set will include Deluxe Edition DVDs of all the films in the series up to Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. The set comes with a collector's book and a replica hockey mask, and is limited and numbered to just 50,000 units. No word on a Blu-ray version.
CBS and Paramount have set Scrooge for release on Blu-ray on 10/11 - this is the musical starring Albert Finney and Sir Alec Guiness.
IGN has just revealed that Lionsgate will be releasing Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown on Blu-ray on 10/4 (SRP $19.98 each). They've also reported that Transformers: Dark of the Moon may street on Blu-ray and DVD from Paramount on 11/15.
Finally, here's more very cool Star Wars Blu-ray news. We've finally learned that when the Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray set streets on 9/16, in addition to the previously released audio commentaries with Lucas and members of the production crew, each film will include a second commentary as well culled together from archival interviews with cast and crew members. What's more, you'll get 45 deleted and extended scenes in all (!), plus new cast and crew interviews and packed interactive galleries featuring images of matte paintings and concept art, as well as "turnarounds" of props, maquettes, models and costumes. Interesting. The 45 deleted/extended scenes look to be the real treasure trove. Should be some interesting stuff in there.
Here's a look at BD cover art for Warner's Smallville: The Complete Tenth Season and Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Universal's Bridesmaids (due 9/20) and Lionsgate's Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, as well as DVD art for Paramount's Friday the 13th: The Ultimate Collection...
All right, let's move on to some other news from Comic-Con week...
While we were down at the Con, I happened to drop by Lucasfilm's booth on the show floor, where they'd created an A/V experience to promote the upcoming Star Wars Saga Blu-rays. It was basically a large room, that replicated the Rebel temple control center from A New Hope. As you watched, HD footage - presumably from the same source as the Blu-rays - played on the screen showing the battle for the Death Star. C3P0 and R2D2 were on hand for you to take pictures with. And there were also displays of the Blu-ray packaging as well. Here's a shot I took of the booth, all three BD boxes and the opened Saga box, showing what the inside looks like...
And of course, there's the iPhone/iPad app that allows you to sample some of the extra content that will be on the discs when they street on 9/16. These include storyboards, image galleries and 3D fly-around of the various spaceships - on the Blu-ray you'll use your remote to navigate around them and focus in on various details.
Lucasfilm has also sent us a short teaser video of some of the Original Trilogy deleted scenes that will be included on the set, which to me is the real draw. Take a look...
All that should be pretty amazing to see. That's about all we learned on the subject of Star Wars at the Con, though we certainly expect more to be revealed in the weeks ahead.
Meanwhile, I heard from folks at the BBC booth that Torchwood: Miracle Day will be released on Blu-ray and DVD before the end of this year (likely in the 4th quarter), as soon as the show finished airing on Starz. So if you've been waiting for news on that, just know that it IS coming.
Multiple sources I spoke with at Comic-Con have also confirmed our report from earlier this year that CBS is hard at work on Star Trek: The Next Generation - Remastered for Blu-ray release starting sometime in 2012. The latest word is that 4 test episodes are currently being worked on for release as a sampler/demo BD disc of the project, and that sampler disc will somehow be available to fans by the end of this year. Watch for additional news in the months ahead.
And here's a surprise - I've confirmed with sources that A&E and New Video are going to be releasing Farscape on Blu-ray Disc on 11/15! The Complete Series will be available that day (SRP $199.95), along with Seasons 1-4 individually (SRP $69.95 each). All the extras from A&E's previous DVD version will apparently carry over, and there's a new Farscape: A Look Back retrospective documentary as well. All are up on Amazon.com for pre-order now. I've asked for information on specifically what this means - did they re-scan the negatives or just upconvert the original standard definition masters? If I'm not mistaken, only the last season was produced in full HD. I love the idea of Farscape on Blu-ray... I just hope the quality lives up to expectation. Here's a look at the cover art for the Complete Series...
And in a bit of new release news today (as you can see by the cover art above), Universal has just revealed that Fast Five will street on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/4 (SRP $39.98 and $29.98). Both will include the theatrical and extended editions of the film, audio commentary with director Justin Lin, deleted scenes, a gag reel and 3 featurettes (Dom's Journey, Enter Federal Agent Hobbs and Brian O'Connor: From Fed to Con). The Blu-ray will add to this 4 more featurettes (Dom vs. Hobbs, On Set with Director Justin Lin, Inside the Vault Chase and Tyrese TV) as well as new Universal's Second Screen option for Apple and Android tables, as well as PCs and Macs. Second Screen features will include Take Control 2.0, Virtual Car Garage, Scene Explorer, Picture in Picture and The Music of Fast Five. You'll also get a digital copy and all the usual Blu-ray interactive features via BD-Live and BD-Java. The official press release came in this morning, but thanks to Bits reader Neil K. for the early heads-up!
By the way, is anyone out there a fan of WHV's The American President and Dave? We've learned that both films are apparently planned for release on Blu-ray sometime in 2012.
Speaking of Warner, I mistakenly noted in yesterday's post that the studio's House of Wax and Dial M for Murder were released in 3D back in the 1950s via the old anaglyph 3D process. It was of course polarized, as several readers were quick to note. Corrected! What can I tell you - it was a long weekend. ;)
Also today, Lionsgate has set Miramax's The Crow for Blu-ray release on 10/18 (SRP $19.99). Extras will include audio commentary with producer Jeff Most and screenwriter John Shirley, a behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted/extended scenes and galleries of storyboards and photos.
And finally, our own Russell Hammond has once again 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 through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really appreciate it.
Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned...!
All right, morning folks! The Digital Bits crew is back from this year's Comic-Con and in full recovery mode. Naturally, I seem to have caught some kind of head cold during the event, which is almost inevitable. Comic-Con is the perfect storm of very little sleep, eating really lousy and over-priced food and exhausting yourself for days straight. You mix in the combined germs of a few hundred thousand movie geeks and I'll tell you... if there's ever a real life zombie plague, that's where it's going to start. More than once some guy near me sneezed without covering his mouth and I did my best to hold my breath, duck and dodge, but apparently not fast enough. Curse you, geeks!
Thanks with your patience while we were away. If you checked into our Digital Bits Facebook page, you'll know that we tried to make a few posts with news and photos from the Con floor, but they were spotty. This might be the 21st Century, but one thing has proven true: When you cram something like 350,000 tech and movie geeks, not to mention Hollywood types, into the San Diego Convention Center, every last one of them uses their phone every few minutes to send text and pictures and just to find one another on the floor, and the whole network struggles. But we got a few good updates done during the last few days and we'll recap everything here. I expect to make several posts over the next couple days to catch y'all up.
First, our panel went extremely well. We had a pretty full room, we gave away LOTS of great stuff - including Superman Anthology and Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition Blu-ray sets (thanks to Warner Home Video) and Blade Runner: 4-Disc Limited Edition DVDs sets (thanks to our friend and the producer of the set, Charles de Lauzirika). We took lots of questions from the audience. And there was great discussion with our panelists, including our own Adam Jahnke and Todd Doogan (who was our audience roving microphone man during the Q&A), SE producers Charlie and Cliff Stephenson, and Warner's George Feltenstein, who had a great time on what was his very first Comic-Con experience! Here's a few images from the panel - special thanks to
our friends Sean Wicks, Winston Walker and John Latchem for taking them...
We talked about the state of the Blu-ray format which, even though the economy is troubled, is still moving into a period that we all feel could eventually be consider the format's "golden age". While catalog sales are down, the list of titles coming in the next 12 to 24 months is astonishing - we've published it here before (see this link) but it's an amazing list of BIG catalog films. George also told us that even though catalog sales are down, new release Blu-ray titles are selling better than they've ever done. And studio DVD MOD (Manufacturing On Demand) programs are gaining traction as well. Warner alone is approaching 1,000 vintage titles available in their Warner Archive MOD program, which is significant, because if you total up all their store-released DVD catalog titles those amount just 1,200 in all over 14 years. 3D (theatrical and Blu-ray) seems to be facing a backlash right now, but it's certainly here to stay. My own feeling has always been that Blu-ray 3D was going to remain an extreme niche market, but one that would hang on until the next generation gaming systems really start doing the heavy-lifting on 3D. And eventually - 10 to 30 years from now - a higher-resolution/higher-refresh rate video system (something like the 4K system being tested in Japan right now) will make 3D possible without the need for annoying glasses, at which point 3D will just start to become standard, as color did back in the late 1960s and early 70s. But that takes time. I'll admit - I'm not even personally really into 3D at the moment, except in very rare cases. And while streaming rentals are growing as well, streaming faces serious challenges in the future here in the States. First, the U.S. still has slower and spottier broadband service than many other parts of the world do, and infrastructure upgrades are taking time. Second, and more importantly, a lot of the Internet service providers are likely to start capping bandwidth and "net metering" - charging you for the real amount of bandwidth you use each month. Some are doing this already. There was a recent study that indicated that some 37% of all the Internet bandwidth used in this country during peak hours is from streaming Netflix movies. Somebody is going to have to pay the real cost of that bandwidth eventually. And that's just with Netflix and Youtube. Wait until these "cloud services" really take off. And sooner or later, all the studios will start launching their own movie streaming services too - it's the next logical evolution of their growing MOD programs. Throw in the continuing impact of the economic slowdown, and the result is that it's a very interesting time for not just Blu-ray, but the home video industry in general.
We did have some cool Blu-ray release news news revealed during the day. As many of you know, Warner Home Video has now officially announced the 11/15 release of its Looney Tunes: Platinum Collection - Vol. 1 on Blu-ray (SRP $59.96). There will also be an Ultimate Collector's Edition box set version of this Blu-ray with swag (SRP $79.98). We'll have more on this as soon as the official press release goes out, but here a look below...
This is going to be the first of many such releases on BD and will include new shorts not released on DVD. For those of you wondering, I confirmed with George that the Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry shorts will all be uncut. I also asked George about the status of The Complete Tex Avery shorts, the Fleischer Brothers' Superman shorts and the infamous Censored 11 shorts, and there's a bit of good news. Warner is now looking at all of these properties. Here's the critical thing you all need to know: Whether or not they're possible is going to largely depend on how well the Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry Blu-rays sell. If they do well, all of those others may become possible. If sales are mediocre, forget it. So if you want more non-Disney, classic animation on Blu-ray, get out your wallets and prove in the months ahead. By the way, George told our panel that the studio IS becoming open to releasing the Censored 11 in the proper context in some form, possibly on MOD DVD. So again, if you want more classic animation, be sure to support these releases as they street.
The good news is that George reports that WHV has some 40-50 catalog titles planned for release on Blu-ray in 2012 alone. By the way, George also told us that he's been quietly working on converting House of Wax and Dial M for Murder for true Blu-ray 3D release probably in 2013! As you may know, both of these films were released in 3D theatrically back in the day via a version of the polarized process.
All right, you saw the pictures we posted above. But for those of you who couldn't be there in person, we're very pleased to reveal that our friends at Gamespot have posted video of the complete panel, which we've shared with us below! So now you can all watch the complete 49-minute panel for yourself, right here below! (Thank you, Gamespot!) And our friend John Latchem over at Home Media has written up his own report on our panel at HM, so you can check that out as well. (When you watch virtually, know that a few times during the panel we pause to give away stuff to the audience on hand.) Thanks to Gamespot and HM for that, thanks to all those who took pictures, thanks to everyone who attended live and very SPECIAL thanks to all our panelists for joining us!
Okay... so enjoy the panel video, and we'll be back tomorrow morning with LOTS more news updates, announcements and catch-ups from Comic-Con week. Believe me, there's a lot to cover. Cheers!
All right, ONE last update before we switch over to Facebook posts from the Con...
Universal has announced that the comedy Bridesmaids will street on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/20.
Magnolia has set Trollhunter for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/23.
For you classic TV fans, Shout! Factory has announced a whopping 25-disc Barney Miller: The Complete Series DVD box set that's due on 10/25 (SRP $159.99), including all 168 episodes plus TONS of extras, including the original pilot, interviews, commentaries, a commemorative booklet AND the complete first season of the spin-off series Fish. That's a lotta Abe Vigoda, baby!
Finally, for you Star Wars fans, Fox and Lucasfilm have just launched a new Star Wars Blu-ray Early Access App for the iPhone and iPad. It's free, it's available now and its where you'll get your first sneak peek of some of the special features to be included on the upcoming Blu-ray box sets, due in stores on 9/16. You'll find it here.
Oh... and we should quickly note a Worthy Moment in Geek History this fine day: 42 years ago today, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon.
All right, that's it for now. We'll post an update here on the site this weekend to wrap up the news from Comic-Con week, and as I said yesterday we'll be posting occasional updates on Facebook as well. Cheers!
Afternoon, folks! Boy it's been a little nuts around here so far this week. In fact, it's been a LOT nuts. As Dr. Jahnke says, "our distinguished visitor from the East" (Doogan) is here in town, so we've been taking him around. That, plus Comic-Con prep has kept be a lot busier than expected. So time to catch up on the latest news so far this week...
First though, as always our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Release Dates & 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 to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits, and we truly appreciate it.
Now then, as we expected, there's some big news today ahead of Comic-Con...
20th Century Fox has set X-Men: First Class for release on Blu-ray and DVD on "First Class Friday", 9/9. Yes, that's a Friday. Each format will be available with packaging in two versions: one featuring Professor X on the cover and one with Magneto instead. The Blu-ray will include 10 Marvel X-Men digital comics including an exclusive backstory to the film, deleted and extended scenes, an isolated score, the 8-part documentary Children of the Atom, an interactive Cerebro Mutant Tracker database and the X Marks the Spot interactive viewing option. Here's a look at all the packaging versions...
Here's more big news (as you can see by the art above), though not of the superhero type: RHI Entertainment and Vivendi Entertainment have announced an amazing 10-disc box set, Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection, for DVD release on 10/25 (SRP $99.98, but Amazon has it for just $69.98 if you click on the image link above). Included will be a whopping 58 classic Laurel & Hardy shorts and feature films produced by Roach from 1929 to 1940, including Helpmates, Hog Wild, Another Fine Mess, Sons of the Desert, Way Out West and The Music Box to name but a few. They'll be offered in "book' packaging that includes a detail film guide. You'll also get extras, including never-before-seen interviews with Dick Van Dyke, Jerry Lewis, Tim Conway and more. Sounds pretty awesome!
Meanwhile, Lionsgate has set Miramax's Swingers, Hostage and Rounders for Blu-ray release on 8/23 (SRP $14.99 each). Also coming that day is Tracker on DVD only (SRP $26.98).
Universal has set the Ma & Pa Kettle: Complete Comedy Collection for DVD only release on 9/27. All 10 of their classic films will be included in the set on 5 DVD discs.
Universal has also set Jane Eyre for Blu-ray and DVD release on 8/16. Extras will include commentary with director Cary Fukunaga, deleted scenes and 3 featurettes (A Look Inside Jane Eyre, To Score Jane Eyre and The Mysterious Light of Jane Eyre).
Warner Home Video has set The Smurfs Holiday Celebration for DVD only release on 10/4, no doubt tied in to help promote their feature film release (SRP $14.97).
Sony has set King of Queens: The Complete Series for DVD release on 9/27, along with Married... with Children: The Complete Series and Dawson's Creek: The Complete Series (SRP $65.99 each).
Sony has also announced Incendies for Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD release on 9/13 (SRP $45.99 for the Blu-ray).
Paramount and PBS have set Ken Burns' new documentary film, Prohibition, for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/4. Extras will include interview outtakes and deleted scenes.
Paramount has also set the Bill Murray holiday comedy Scrooged for Blu-ray release on 10/11.
And Paramount will release Soapdish as a new DVD edition in honor of the film's 20th anniversary on 10/4 (SRP $9.99). Extras will include a behind-the-scenes featurette and the original theatrical trailer.
Image will release Just Peck on DVD only on 9/13 (SRP $27.97).
Synapse Films has set Wide Open and Frat House Massacre! for DVD release on 8/9 (SRP $24.95 and $19.95 respectively).
By the way, when Anchor Bay and Starz' Spartacus: Gods of the Arena comes to Blu-ray and DVD on 9/13 (SRP $49.98 and $39.98), the Blu-ray will include an exclusive bonus feature in 3D: the "Rings of Fire" battle sequence. The Blu-ray will also include exclusive audio commentaries on all the episodes and extended versions of the episodes. Both the Blu-ray and DVD will include 10 featurettes (Starz Studios: Gods of the Arena, Weapons of Mass Disruption, Battle Royale: Anatomy of a Scene, On Set with Lucy Lawless, 10 Easy Steps to Dismemberment, Post Production: The Final Execution, Enter the Arena: Production Design, Dressed to Kill, Convention Panel and Arena Bloopers).
Finally, Shout! Factory has officially set JEM and The Holograms: The Truly Outrageous Complete Series for DVD release on 10/11. You'll also be able to buy just a Season One set that same day. Shout! has also announced a new deal with filmmaker Kevin Smith and SModCo to distribute Smith's Too Fat for 40 on Blu-ray and DVD later this year, as well as the first season of their new animated SModimations. Street dates and details on extras will be announced later.
Now then, this is probably the last update we're going to post this week here at The Digital Bits, as we head on down to Comic-Con tomorrow. But if you're attending the Con, be sure to check out some of the great panels down at the show, including including our own on Thursday afternoon:
2011-2012: The Golden Age of Blu-ray? (this is our annual The Digital Bits panel) - Thursday, 5-6 PM, Room 5AB - Panelists will include Bill Hunt, Adam Jahnke and Todd Doogan from The Digital Bits, special edition producers Charles de Lauzirika (Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Amazing Spider-Man, Prometheus, Crave) and Cliff Stephenson (Rambo, The Expendables, Crank 2, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance), and Warner Home Video's Senior Vice President for Theatrical Catalog Marketing George Feltenstein. We'll be doing lots of Q&A and we'll have giveaways too (including some GREAT new Blu-ray box sets). You can bet we'll be asking George lots of questions about Looney Tunes animation coming in HD on Blu-ray later this year, and YOU can ask him and all our panelists questions of your own too! Best of all, there's no big Hall H panels conflicting with our event this year. It's right at the end of the program schedule on Thursday, so be sure to drop on by and don't miss it!
And if you're attending our Bits panel, you may also wish to check out another panel I'm participating in in the same room just a couple hours earlier:
State of the Geek Report: From Avatar to Zardoz - Thursday, 3-4 PM, Room 5AB - Panelists will include screenwriter Ashley E. Miller (Thor, X-Men: First Class), director Robert Meyer Burnett (Free Enterprise, The Hills Run Red), writer Steve Melching (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Transformers: The Series), Bill Hunt of The Digital Bits and Mark A. Altman (Free Enterprise, DOA: Dead or Alive).
In between the two panels in the same room, there's also the Masters of the Web panel, so there's lots to see and enjoy. Come early, get a good seat and let us all entertain you!
So stay tuned, and we'll see some of you down in San Diego!
Morning, folks! Hope 'yours' weekend was swell.
Slow news day so far this morning (as of 6 AM Pacific), but we expect at least a couple of announcements today ahead of Comic-Con later this week.
As it happens, El Doogan's just arrived in SoCal for the Con, so the good Dr. Jahnke and I are going to be showing him around town all day and getting ready for our panel on Thursday afternoon down in San Diego. As such, I just wanted to check in now with a quick note, to let you all know that I'll drop in again later this evening to catch you all up on any major announcements that happen over the course of the day.
So check back later, and stay tuned...!
All right... sounds like Harry Potter is the big news this weekend. Sounds like it's breaking records left and right in theatres so far.
The news next week, we suspect, will be dominated by Comic-Con. At the very least, we expect a few interesting announcements to happen early in the week, leading up to the Con. So be sure to stay tuned then.
The big announcement today is that Universal has set the action film Hanna for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/6. Extras on both versions will include an alternate ending, deleted scenes, audio commentary with director Joe Wright and the Anatomy of a Scene: The Escape from Camp G featurette. To this, the Blu-ray will exclusively add 4 featurettes (Adapt or Die, Central Intelligence Allegory, Chemical Reaction and The Wide World of Hanna), a Hanna promo and the usual BD-Live, pocket Blu and other interactive options. Here's a look at the DVD cover art (we'll post the Blu-ray art when it's available)...
As you can see, we've also posted artwork for Starz' Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, due on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/13 (SRP $49.99 and $39.99), as well as Sony's POM Wonderful presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold on Blu-ray (due 8/23).
In other news, Warner Home Video has changed the release date for Chuck: The Complete Fourth Season on Blu-ray and DVD from 9/6 to 10/11. Adjust your plans accordingly.
The Cinema Guild has set Manoel De Oliveira's The Strange Case of Angelica for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/20 (SRP $34.95 and $29.95). Extras will include audio commentary by film critic James Quandt, the director's first film Douro, Faina Fluvial, 2 documentary featurettes (Oliveira L'Architecte and Absoluto), the trailer and a booklet featuring an essay by Haden Guest, director of the Harvard Film Archive.
Image will release Clash of Empires on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/6 (SRP $29.97 and $27.97).
Millennium Entertainment has set Blitz for Blu-ray and DVD release on 8/23.
And CreateSpace DVD on Demand and Amazon will soon be selling a new MOD documentary DVD called Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good, which follows actor Gary Senise as he and his band tour around the Middle East entertaining and supporting the troops. The DVD will be available on Amazon.com starting on 7/29.
Finally today, Robert Harris e-mailed me this morning with an interesting bit of news... TCM's Classic Film Union website has just announced that Kevin Brownlow's restoration of Abel Gance's Napoleon (1927) is coming to the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in March, 2012. Let's hope it shows elsewhere too, and makes an appearance on disc as well. Details here.
Have a great weekend, everyone. And for you L.A.-area readers... beware Carmageddon!
There's more good release news today, both new and catalog. Let's start with the catalog first...
Warner Home Video has officially set the Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory: 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo box set for release on 10/4 (SRP $64.99). The 3-disc set (2 BDs and a DVD) will come in "double-wide" packaging that contains a 144-page book featuring production photos and notes, archival letters, a Wonka Bar-shaped tin box with scented pencils and eraser and "a limited time Golden Ticket Instant Win Game piece for a chance to enter and win a trip for 2 to Los Angeles." (Replicas of the film's Wonka Bar, Everlasting Gobstopper and Golden Ticket props might have been cooler, in our humble opinion, but so be it.) Disc-based extras include the previous Pure Imagination: The Story of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory documentary, commentary with the Wonka kids and sing-a-longs, as well as 2 new featurettes (Mel Stuart's Wonkavision and A World of Pure Imagination). A new single-disc DVD with limited content will also be available for $12.97. Keep in mind, this film has already been released on Blu-ray in a single-disc "book" edition, without the new content. Here's a look at the box set packaging...
Also today, Disney has officially set Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides for release on 10/18 in a 5-Disc 3D Limited Edition Combo Pack (SRP $49.99 - includes 1 BD3d, 2 BDs, a DVD and a Digital Copy disc), a 2-disc Combo (SRP $39.99 - 1 BD and 1 DVD) and a 15-disc Four Movie Collection (SRP $169.99) containing all the films in the series. The 2-disc Combo Blu-ray will include audio commentary by director Rob Marshall, Disney's Second Screen option and 2 video shorts (Bloopers of the Caribbean and LEGO Animated Shorts: Captain Jack's Brick Tales). To this, the 5-disc Limited Edition will add deleted and extended scenes with director intro and 4 featurettes (Legends of On Stranger Tides, In Search of the Fountain, Last Sail/First Voyage and Under the Scene: Bringing Mermaids to Life). The 15-disc Four Movie Collection will add a BD bonus disc containing the all-new Wedlocked short film, and will come in a replica pirate's chest with a collectible map and a skull case for the discs. We've posted the pictures before, but here they are again...
Back to Warner for a moment: WHV has also set the direct-to-video animated Batman: Year One for release on Blu-ray Combo and DVD on 10/18 (SRP $24.98 and $19.98). The film is based on the well-known 1987 DC Comics titles written by Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli. Extras on the Blu-ray Combo will include a sneak peek at Justice League: Doom, the animated Catwoman short, 2 featurettes (Heart of Vengeance: Returning Batman to His Roots and Conversations with DC Comics), audio commentary with Alan Burnett, Sam Liu, Mike Carlin and Andrea Romano, the Batman: Year One, Chapter 1 digital comic book, 2 bonus episodes from Batman: The Animated Series, a DVD version and a Digital Copy.
Warner is also releasing Final Destination 2 and Final Destination 3 as Blu-ray singles on 8/30 (SRP $19.98 each).
Shout! Factory has set a Roger Corman's Cult Classics Sword and Sorcery Collection 2-disc DVD for release on 8/23, that includes Deathstalker, Deathstalker II: Duel of the Titans, Barbarian Queen and The Warrior and the Sorceress (SRP $24.97). Both Deathstalker films feature new anamorphic widescreen transfer, as well as audio commentary by the filmmakers and a theatrical trailer. The original Deathstalker also includes a photo gallery.
Universal has set The Office: Season Seven for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/6. Extras will include select episode commentaries, featurettes, PSAs, webisodes, a gag reel and more.
Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company will release the Richard Ayoade coming of age comedy Submarine on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/4 (SRP $39.99 and $29.98). Extras will include The Making of Submarine featurette and more (TBA).
Image has set The Ideal Husband for DVD only release on 8/30.
Green Apple Entertainment will release Citizen Jane on DVD on 8/23.
And in other film news, it looks like the trailer for Warner's new The Dark Knight Rises will be attached to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, which opens theatrically tonight. Also, Universal has announced that its new trailer for The Thing has just debuted on MSN and on the Zune Marketplace on the Xbox 360. Click the link to see it.
Here's a look at the Blu-ray cover art for Anchor Bay's Submarine, Warner's Batman: Year One and Fox's Donnie Darko: 10th Anniversary Edition (due 7/26)...
All right, we've got a few more interesting release news announcements to report today.
First though, Russell has updated the Release Dates & 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 after clicking to Amazon through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and, again as always, we surely do appreciate it.
Warner Home Video has set V: The Complete Second Season for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/18 (SRP $49.99 and $39.98). Extras will include deleted scenes, select episode commentary and 3 featurettes (The Visual FX of V, The Actor's Journey and An Alien in Human Skin: The Makeup FX of V). The Blu-ray will also add 2 exclusive featurettes (The Arc of the Story: Mining the Human Emotion and A Visual Masterpiece for the Small Screen) along with a gag reel.
Here's more good Miramax catalog news: Lionsgate has set Scary Movie 2 and Scary Movie 3: Unrated for Blu-ray release on 9/20 (SRP $14.99 each), followed by The Cider House Rules, Life Is Beautiful and Cinema Paradiso on Blu-ray on 10/4 (SRP $14.99 each). Peter Jackson's Dead Alive is also set for Blu-ray release by Lionsgate on 10/4 (SRP $19.98).
Also today, Universal has just announced the DVD release of Friday Night Lights: The Complete Series on 10/4. All 5 previously-released seasons will be included in the new set, along with all existing extras, but it appears that no new extras will be added. According to the studio's press release, the discs will come packaged "in a beautiful book filled with striking photography from the series." I have to say, Friday Night Lights was - start to finish - just a fantastic series. It's got great writing, well-textured characters, an outstanding cast and a ton of heart. Sarah and I both really loved it. It's definitely one of my all-time favorites - so much so that I really wish the show were being released on Blu-ray too. In any case, Friday Night Lights is well worth a look on DVD. And I understand that ESPN is now re-running the entire series in HD, so do check it out if you can.
20th Century Fox has set a Donnie Darko: 10th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Combo for release on 7/26 (SRP $24.99) that includes both the theatrical cut and director's cut, along with DVD and Digital Copy discs. Also coming that day are Dylan Dog: Dead of Night on Blu-ray and DVD (SRP $29.99 and $22.98), Mao's Last Dancer (formerly a Target exclusive) on both formats (SRP $29.99 and $19.98) and a Blu-ray edition of S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale (SRP $24.99).
Anchor Bay has set VLOG! for DVD release on 10/11 (SRP $22.98).
And Vivendi Entertainment has set Roadkill for DVD only release on 8/16 (SRP $14.93).
And in news from around the Net today, it appears that Netflix has just outraged a lot of its customer base with a sudden 60% increase in user fees. Basically, if you're a subscriber, you now have to choose between getting physical DVD discs in the mail or streaming titles instead. Those who had been paying $9.99 must now pay $15.98 for essentially the same service. I'm sure the company feels they have valid financial reasons for doing it from their end, but still, that's an awfully large fee hike to take in one shot. And the larger problem is that while people are still willing to pay for entertainment these days, they're tired of the constant price increases - especially during an extended recession, when budgets have only grown tighter. These are strange times we live in indeed. Our own Adam Jahnke has written about it over at The Morton Report here.
Here's also an interesting recent story from Wired: Panasonic (we think rightly) is blaming Hollywood for some of the woes of 3DTV sales. They don't deserve all the blame, but definitely some for making such a long run of crappy 3D movies. Blame also theatre chains for jacking up 3D screening prices and the TV manufacturers themselves for choosing 3D display options that require expensive and fragile glasses that no one likes to wear anyway.
Finally, we give a Bits nod in honor of the passing of TV producer Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island. He was 94.
All right, here's a look at the Blu-ray cover art for Warner's V: The Complete Second Season, Robot Chicken: Season Five (due 10/25) and Mutiny on the Bounty (1962 - due 11/8)...
All right, we've got a better line on the specific bonus features to look for on the upcoming Thor Blu-rays (due 9/13). You'll get audio commentary by director Kenneth Branagh, featurettes (including Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant, Road to the Avengers and additional behind-the-scenes featurettes TBA), 11 deleted scenes with optional commentary and theatrical trailers. The DVD will include only the commentary, 4 deleted scenes and the Road to the Avengers featurette. All video features will be in full HD on the Blu-rays.
Meanwhile today, Warner and Adult Swim have set Robot Chicken: Season Five for Blu-ray and DVD release on 10/25 (SRP $39.99 and $29.98). These 20 episodes are being released on disc BEFORE the last 9 actually air on Adult Swim. Extras will include 7 fully-animated deleted scenes, over 50 deleted animatics with video introductions, episode commentary with celebrity guests, behind-the-scenes featurettes and on-air promos.
Summit Entertainment has set Last Exit to Brooklyn for Blu-ray and DVD release on 10/10.
Indomina Releasing has set Clash for DVD only release on 8/9.
Our friends at Bloody Disgusting and The Collective are releasing Cold Fish on DVD on 8/23.
And this made me pretty happy today: A&E Home Video and Major League Baseball just made official the 8/2 DVD release of the 7-disc The Minnesota Twins 1991 World Series: Collector's Edition box set and the retrospective Magic in Minnesota: Remembering The Minnesota Twins 1991 World Series Championship DVD (SRP $69.95 and $19.95). The 1991 World Series is widely regarded by sports writers as one of the best ever played. The box set includes all 7 games in full, plus bonus content. The Magic in Minnesota DVD includes "extensive game highlights and interviews with two-time World Champions manager Tom Kelly, Kent Hrbek, Gene Larkin, Dan Gladden, and John Gordon. As an exclusive bonus, the DVD also includes footage such as the final outs from four Twins 1991 ALCS victories plus the celebration footage after winning the 1991 American League Pennant; a vintage 1991 Minnesota Twins commercial; the footage of the '91 Twins meeting the President at the White House and Kirby Puckett’s Hall of Fame induction speech." Can't wait.
Finally today, a couple items from the Rumor Mill category...
First, retail sources have informed us that 20th Century Fox is planning the Blu-ray and DVD release of X-Men: First Class on or around 9/20. We would expect an official announcement in the next couple of weeks - possibly even coinciding with Comic-Con.
Also, some of you MAY have missed this, but eagle-eyed readers who've combed through the Comic-Con catalog might have noticed evidence that Warner Home Video is getting ready to bring the classic Looney Tunes animated shorts to Blu-ray. Warner's George Feltenstein (who's participating in our Bits panel at the Con on Thursday, 7/21) is also involved in an animation panel earlier that same day. The topic? Warner's new Tom & Jerry and Looney Tunes Blu-rays! Tom & Jerry has already been announced, but the panel listing reveals forthcoming Looney Tunes: Platinum Collections that are TBA. We'd guess they'll be fully revealed on the panel. You can bet we'll talk about these with George during our panel as well so watch for more details in a couple weeks.
Afternoon, folks! Hope you all had a great weekend. My old friend Weatherman Dave came down for a relaxing time of movie and baseball-watching, so I can hardly complain.
Before we get to today's release news, our own Barrie Maxwell sent over a personal message that he wanted me to share with all of you:
I just want to thank you all so much for the many hundreds of messages of good wishes, affection, and love that have come my way and continue to do so, from literally around the world since Bill made you all aware of my health difficulties. I, and my wife Sue, have read every one and they have boosted my spirits immeasurably. It has been a humbling experience to realize how much my efforts on The Bits are appreciated by so many wonderful people everywhere. Of course, at The Bits we do know that there is a vast audience for what we do, but to realize how deeply we touch individuals at times as has been obvious from your response is truly remarkable. I have been fortunate to make a very positive recovery so far during this first week since my surgery on July 4th. There is still a long road to travel, but I feel positive about it and I am definitely planning for my column work on The Bits to continue. Thanks again to you all so very, very much.
Let me also add my personal thanks to Barrie's - we really do appreciate having such great readers. Thanks for your support over the years, and especially your support for Barrie and his family now!
All right, release news...
Warner Home Video has announced the Blu-ray debut of the 1962 classic Mutiny on the Bounty, starring Marlon Brando, on 11/8 (SRP $19.98). Extras will include an alternate prologue and epilogue, 5 featurettes (After the Cameras Stopped Rolling: The Journey of the Bounty, 1964 New York World's Fair Promo, Story of the HMS Bounty, Tour of the Bounty and Voyage of the Bounty to St. Petersburg) and the film's theatrical trailer.
warner and the BBC have also announced new versions of their Planet Earth documentary series on both Blu-ray and DVD. First there's a new Planet Earth: Special Edition (SRP $79.98 and $59.98). All the previous DVD special features will carry over to both formats, plus there are new extras including audio commentary on select episodes, 4 featurettes (Great Planet Earth Moments, Snow Leopard: Beyond the Myth, Secrets of the Maya Underworld and Elephant Nomads of the Namib Desert), a music only viewing options and a sneak peek at executive producer Alastair Fothergill's forthcoming next project: Frozen Planet. Plus there's a new Limited Edition on both formats (SRP $99.98 and $79.98) that includes the Special Edition discs in a "globe" package along with exclusive art cards.
Here's a look at the packaging for both versions...
Meanwhile, Paramount will release Thor on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD on 9/13. You'll be able to get a 3-disc Ultimate Edition that includes all three versions, a Blu-ray/DVD Combo and a DVD only version. Extras will include documentaries and featurettes on the making of the film, the Marvel Universe, a preview of The Avengers and more - 80 minutes' worth in all. More here at IGN.
Lionsgate has announced Mimic: The Director's Cut for release on Blu-ray on 9/27 (SRP $19.99), featuring 7 minutes of restored footage. Extras will include a video prologue and audio commentary by director Guillermo del Toro, 3 all-new featurettes (Reclaiming Mimic, A Leap in Evolution: The Creatures of Mimic and Back Into the Tunnels: Shooting Mimic), deleted scenes, storyboard animatics, a gag reel and the film's trailer.
20th Century Fox has also announced Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD and Digital Copy Combo versions of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Rio on 8/30 (SRP $49.99 each).
Here's a surprise, as I don't think it's really been promoted much: Disney has announced a new Disney Generations Collection of MOD DVD titles that's available on their website and Amazon.com. These appear to be live action catalog titles, including Amy (1981), Student Exchange (1987) and Goldrush: A Real Life Alaskan Adventure (1998). Let's hope they follow these with a lot more. Thanks to Bits reader Jason S. for the link.
HBO will release In Treatment: The Complete Third Season on DVD on 10/4 (SRP $59.99).
Sony has set Jumping the Broom for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/9 (SRP $35.99 and $30.99). Extras will include audio commentary and 2 featurettes.
Sony also has Quarantine 2: Terminal set for DVD only release on 8/2, followed by The River Murders on DVD only on 9/20 (SRP $26.99 each).
And on the TV front, Sony has set Happy Endings: Season 1 for release on DVD only on 9/20 (SRP $35.99). Extras will include interview, a number of featurettes and outtakes.
Vivendi Entertainment has announced that it's releasing the classic Sigmund and the Sea Monsters: Season 1 on DVD as a 3-disc set on 9/6 (SRP $29.93). Extras will include video of last year's H.R. Pufnstuf American Cinematheque event in Los Angeles, MP3 downloads of all the songs performed by Johnny Whitaker on the series and episode commentary by Whitaker and Scott Kolden. And to promote the release, here's a surprise: Supermodel Angie Everhart is hosting a panel discussion down at Comic-Con (on Friday, 7/22 - Room 23ABC) with series creators Sid and Marty Krofft.
MPI is releasing Stake Land on Blu-ray, DVD Special Edition and single-disc DVD on 8/2.
And don't forget: Anchor Bay is releasing Roger Corman's Dinocroc vs. Supergator on Blu-ray and DVD on 7/12.
Here's a look at the cover art for all three versions of Paramount's Thor, as well as Lionsgate's Mimic: Director's Cut Blu-ray and Fox's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs BD Combos...
All right, thanks to all those of you who have e-mailed well wishes to Barrie, who (as we revealed yesterday) is recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor earlier this week. Barrie e-mailed me himself yesterday to say that he's already gotten over a 100 messages of support from readers, and it really means a lot to him. So thank you!
Now then, the big announcement news to report this morning is that MGM has officially set their long-awaited West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition for release on Blu-ray on 11/15. We first reported that the title was coming later this year back in April. You'll be able to buy the film as a 4-Disc Limited Edition Gift Set (which includes the 2-Disc Collector's Edition Blu-ray, a DVD, CD and swag), as well as the 2-Disc Collector's Edition Blu-ray by itself (SRP $49.99 and $19.99). The film has been extensively restored and will feature a new 7.1 DTS-HD audio mix. Disc-based extras will include the all-new, multi-part Pow! The Dances of West Side Story documentary (includes Prologue, Dance at the Gym, Tony and Maria's Cha Cha, America, The Rumble, Maria's Roof Dance and Cool), the all-new A Place for Us: West Side Story's Legacy documentary (includes Creation and Innovation and A Timeless Vision), song-specific commentary by lyricist Stephen Sondheim, a Music Machine song-access option, the West Side Memories featurette, a Storyboard to Film Comparison Montage and 4 theatrical trailers for the film. Additional content in the Gift Set will include a tribute CD (which includes covers by Julie Andrews), a 40-page collector's photo book, the original animated title sequence and postcard one-sheet reproductions. Here's what the set will look like...
Speaking of MGM, the studio has revealed to Variety that The Pink Panther, Rocky and the Bond series will all get "anniversary relaunches" starting next year. Guess that means you can finally expect to see the rest of the classic Bond films on Blu-ray then.
In other release news, 20th Century Fox has set Henry's Crime for Blu-ray and DVD release on 8/23. The film stars Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga and James Caan.
Lionsgate has set the heist film Set Up for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/20.
And Entertainment One has set The Bang Bang Club for Blu-ray and DVD release on 8/16 (SRP $29.98 and $24.98).
In other news today, there's apparently been some confusion about the audio configuration on Sony's new Das Boot: 2-Disc Collector's Set Blu-ray Disc (which is now available in stores). The set includes TWO versions of the film: The Theatrical Cut and the longer Director's Cut (but not the Original Uncut Version). The Theatrical Cut includes the original stereo theatrical audio mix in 2.0 DTS-HD MA, while Director's Cut includes remixed audio in 5.1 DTS-HD MA. Just so you all know - the Theatrical Cut doesn't have 5.1 audio (and isn't meant to).
Finally today, the folks down at Comic-Con have officially begun announcing the daily event schedule for the convention, starting with Thursday. As our annual Bits panel is on Thursday afternoon, that means we can now reveal more details. Here's the description you'll find online, and in the catalog at the show later this month:
"5:00-6:00 2011-2012: The Golden Age of Blu-ray? - With such titles as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Ben-Hur, Jurassic Park, Jaws, Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia, Titanic and Raiders of the Lost Ark on the way, could this be Blu-ray's Golden Age? Panelists Bill Hunt, Adam Jahnke and Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits.com, BD producers Charles de Lauzirika (Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Amazing Spider-Man, Prometheus, Crave) and Cliff Stephenson (Rambo, The Expendables, Crank 2, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance), Warner Home Video's George Feltenstein (Senior Vice President, Theatrical Catalog Marketing) and others will discuss the subject, hold Q&A and offer giveaways. Room 5AB"
Our panel is going to be a little different this year, but we think a lot of fun. The idea came when we were recently compiling a list of some of the MAJOR catalog titles that have been announced, or that we know are coming, over the next 12-24 months. The list is really about as heavy-duty as they come. And it got us thinking: A decade from now, could we look back on the next couple of years as the Blu-ray format's "golden age"? When you think back, it was really Years 4 and 5 of the DVD format when you began to see the catalog floodgates open up. That's when Lucas finally released the first Star Wars film (The Phantom Menace) on DVD. So here we are at nearly the same point in Blu-ray's lifecycle... and sure enough, the Star Wars films are coming, all the other titles in the list above are coming and many, many more are on the way as well. I suspect it'll be a topic worth talking about. Plus, we plan on doing LOTS of audience Q&A and we'll give away some cool stuff too. So we hope to see you there!
Don't forget, the Space Shuttle Atlantis is expected to lift off later this morning on the final mission of NASA's Shuttle program (though there may be a weather delay that could bump the launch to Saturday or Sunday). Good luck to everyone at NASA. And you're lucky enough to be down there at the Cape to view the launch in person, trust me... you're in for a real treat! Sarah and I saw the STS-95 launch in person back in 1998, and it's something neither of us will EVER forget.
So have a great weekend and we'll be back here on Monday with new disc reviews. Stay tuned!
Afternoon, folks! All right, as you can see by today's modified site logo above, NASA is just about to launch its final Space Shuttle mission. If all goes well, the Shuttle Atlantis launches tomorrow morning on the STS-135 mission to the International Space Station. The countdown has already begun (you can watch it at Spaceflight Now, NASA.gov, Spacevidcast.com and the launch will be on all the major news networks tomorrow too, I'm sure), though it appears there's currently about a 70% chance that weather at the Cape will scrub the launch for tomorrow at least. Still, if you're into the history of NASA space flight, the Science Channel is running an all-day marathon of NASA-related documentaries starting tomorrow morning with the complete Moon Machines series, followed by the complete When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions series and culminating in the hour-long Last Shuttle: Our Journey special. As for our tribute Bits logo, we're keeping it up until Atlantis safely touches down back at the Kennedy Space Center later this month.
Back on Blu-ray and DVD...
Warner Home Video has set the Rankin Bass holiday special Twas the Night Before Christmas for release as a Deluxe Edition Blu-ray on 10/4 (SRP $24.98).
Warner Home Video has announced Mike & Molly: The Complete First Season for Blu-ray and DVD release as well on 9/20 (SRP $54.97 and $44.98). Extras will include a gag reel, deleted scenes and 2 featurettes.
Warner has also set The Looney Tunes Show: Volume One for DVD release on 9/27 (SRP $14.97). This is the new Cartoon Network series. It includes 9 all-new shorts.
Meanwhile, HBO has set In Treatment: The Complete Third Season for DVD only release on 11/1 (SRP $59.99).
Lionsgate has set the dance-themed Go For it! for DVD only release on 9/20.
CBS and Paramount have set CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The Eleventh Season, CSI: Miami: The Ninth Season and CSI: NY: The Seventh Season for DVD only release on 9/27. Hawaii Five-O: The Eleventh Season also streets on DVD on 9/20.
Sony will release In a Better World on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack on 8/30 (SRP $45.99).
The Cinema Guild is releasing Pedro Costa's Ne change rien on DVD on 8/30.
Bigfoot Entertainment is releasing the thriller Within on DVD only on 7/25.
MPI Home Video has set The Girls Next Door: Season Six for DVD only release on 7/19.
And for you mixed martial arts fans, Anchor Bay is releasing UFC: Bad Blood - Liddell vs. Ortiz on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/30.
Finally today, I wanted to take a moment to make you all aware of something that's been going on behind-the-scenes here at The Digital Bits this past week. Last Wednesday, Barrie Maxwell (who writes our popular Classic Coming Attractions, High-Definition Matters and The British Beat columns here at The Bits) told me that he'd been having some issues with headaches and balance recently, and that he was going in to the doctor for tests and a CAT scan. Within a couple days, the doctors unfortunately discovered that Barrie had a brain tumor. Now... I know that there's been some less than positive talk in the last couple years here in the States about the Canadian medical system, but here's proof otherwise: Barrie (who is Canadian) was diagnosed on Thursday or Friday, and by Monday he was having surgery to remove the tumor! That it was very quickly diagnosed and removed is the first bit of good news. The additional good news is this: The tumor was apparently small, and it was located in a spot where it was very easy to get at and remove. What's more, Barrie's suffering very few side-effects from the surgery other than fatigue, and he was even released from the hospital yesterday! His lovely wife Sue tells me that he's in excellent spirits. They're currently staying with family in Toronto, so that Barrie can recover more fully from the surgery and undergo further treatment in the weeks ahead.
Speaking personally, Barrie's just one of the finest people I've ever had the privilege of knowing. It goes without saying that he's an indispensable member of our family here at The Digital Bits, and we expect that to continue for many years to come. Anyway, we were obviously on pins and needles earlier this week as we waited to hear the outcome of his surgery. I know that many of you enjoy Barrie's work here at The Bits and have been enjoying it for more than a decade now. I don't think Barrie would have wanted to worry anyone before this, but now that he's recovering he's agreed to let me tell you all what's been happening with him this past week. So if you'd like to send Barrie a personal message via e-mail (to: [email protected]) to extend your best wishes for his recovery, I'm sure it would lift his spirits. Keep Barrie and Sue in your thoughts and prayers, and we'll be sure to keep you up to date on his progress. Thanks to all of you, in advance, for your support of Barrie and his family.
That's all for now. Stay tuned...
All right, we've got some good announcement news for you today...
First though, our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the Release Dates & 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 purchase from Amazon after clicking through to them from our links goes to help support our work here at the site and we greatly appreciate it.
Now then... as expected, Paramount has just officially announced the Blu-ray Disc release of the Breakfast at Tiffany's: 50th Anniversary Edition on 9/20 (SRP $29.99)! The film has been fully remastered for this release, and the disc will contain some 90 minutes worth of bonus content. You'll get audio commentary by producer Richard Shepherd, 8 featurettes (A Golightly Gathering, Henry Mancini: More Than Music, Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective, The Making of a Classic, It's So Audrey: A Style Icon, Behind the Gates: The Tour, Brilliance in a Blue Box and Audrey's Letter to Tiffany), photo galleries dedicated to the film, the production and publicity, and the film's theatrical trailer. Audio will be English 5.1 DTS-HD, along with restored English mono in Dolby Digital. French, Spanish and Portuguese mono will also be included, along with English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.
Paramount's not done yet today, however: They're also releasing Footloose on Blu-ray and as a new Deluxe Edition DVD on 9/27 (SRP $24.99 and $14.99). This of course is designed to take advantage of the forthcoming theatrical release of the 2011 remake. Both versions will include audio commentary with star Kevin Bacon, and a second commentary with producer Craig Zadan and writer Dean Pitchford. Both will also include 5 all-NEW featurettes (Let's Dance! Kevin Bacon on Footloose, From Bomont to the Big Apple: An Interview with Sarah Jessica Parker, Remembering Willard, Kevin Bacon's Screen Test and Kevin Bacon Costume Montage). To all this, the Blu-ray will add legacy special features from the previous DVD release, including 3 featurettes (Footloose: A Modern Musical - Part 1, Footloose: A Modern Musical - Part 2 and Footloose: Songs That Tell a Story) and the film's theatrical trailer. Note that the Blu-ray will include audio in English 6.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 2.0 Dolby Surround, Spanish mono and Portuguese mono with English, as well as English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The previous DVD has a fantastic audio mix, and we have little doubt the new Blu-ray will sound even better in full lossless. Can't wait to hear it.
Also, just a quick heads-up: Some of you might recall that a while back we mentioned that the Foo Fighters: Back and Forth documentary is going to be released on DVD and Blu-ray. Well, the Blu-ray is now available from RCA exclusively at Best Buy stores for just $24.98. It goes wide to all retailers on 7/12 (including Amazon.com). The DVD only version is already available at Best Buy, Amazon and elsewhere for just $18.98 SRP. Just so you know. If you're a fan of the band, the doc is well worth your time.
Here's a look at the new cover art for Paramount's Breakfast at Tiffany's, Anchor Bay's Scream 4 (due 10/4) and RCA's Foo Fighters: Back and Forth documentary all on Blu-ray...
In anime news today, FUNimation has announced that they're bringing Deadman Wonderland to DVD in the U.S. in 2012. They'll also release the series B Gata H Kei: Yamada's First Time and Cat Planet Cuties (a.k.a. Asobi ni Ikuyo!), along with the second season (and OVAs) of Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts, on Blu-ray and DVD in 2012. They've also acquired the U.S. rights to [C] Control: The Money and Soul of Possibility, though release plans are still TBA.
Meanwhile, Nasser Entertainment and Vivendi Entertainment will release Tactical Force on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/9. The film stars Steve Austin.
Hen's Tooth Video will release Adam on DVD on 9/20 (SRP $19.95)
Palisades Tartan will release Outside the Law on Blu-ray and DVD on 8/2 (SRP $27.98 and $24.98).
Well Go USA will release Brother's Justice on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and DVD next week on 7/12 (SRP $29.98 and $24.98).
On the TV front, Shout! Factory will release Police Story: Season One on DVD on 9/6 (SRP $39.97).
Shout! Factory has also announced a new partnership with Mel Brooks to distribute The History of Mel Brooks, Part 1 - a multi-disc DVD box set containing "vintage Mel Brooks performances, extensive interviews, film clips and rare archival television footage, as well as photos, critical appreciation and special tributes." The set will street sometime in Spring 2012. To quote Brooks himself on the release: "As I so boldly wrote in The Producers, 'When you got it, flaunt it!' Well I got it, and Shout Factory's going to flaunt it!"
Back on the TV front, Universal has set NBC's Law & Order: Los Angeles - The Complete Series for DVD only release on 9/20.
And finally today, Image Entertainment has announced that they've acquired the distribution rights to the horror anthology film Chillerama. They'll be releasing it in theatres this fall (which may include a limited "road show" release), and then distribute the title on DVD in the 4th quarter.
All right, hope you American readers all had a fine long holiday weekend. As for me, it was relaxing for a change. But I'd barely rolled out of bed this morning and had my coffee when the phone started ringing and e-mail started pouring in. Guess that's what happens when you have a long holiday weekend!
Anyway, first up today... we've have officially confirmed with Universal that the Terror in the Aisles documentary to be included on their forthcoming Halloween II: 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray (due 9/13) is indeed the 1984 trailer/clips film hosted by Donald Pleasence and Nancy Allen. We're not sure if any changes have been made to the theatrical version (given that some of the films referenced in the piece are owned by other studios), but just know that, yes, it IS the same film. Which I know will be good news to many of you. Dr. Jahnke was certainly excited about it.
Also today, there have been a few questions from our South American readers about the subtitle options on the Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition Blu-rays. I've checked my Rings Extended BD set and looked at all the Fellowship discs and found the following: In addition to the English options, the Blu-rays feature audio and subtitles in Portuguese, and additional subtitles in Spanish. The Appendices DVDs feature English audio only, but subtitles in English, Spanish and Portuguese. The Costa Botes DVD features English audio and subtitles in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean and Chinese. In all cases, it appears that the Portuguese is Brazilian. I assume this configuration continues on all discs in the set on the U.S. release version.
And for you German readers, WHV has apparently confirmed that there is a problem with the German dubbed audio on the German LOTR: EE BD edition - a pitch correction issue that results in the track running too slow. The original English audio is unaffected. Corrected discs will be available starting on 8/1. If you have a copy of that version, you'll be able to send in your receipt to get the corrected discs, or simply wait until after 8/1 to purchase the set at which time the fixed version should be available. Thanks to Bits reader Johann H. for the heads-up. Details on the exchange program are available here at the fine Area DVD German site.
In announcement news, Sony has set Priest for release on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD on 8/16 (SRP $45.99, $35.99 and $30.99). It appears that the DVD will be the theatrical cut, while the Blu-ray versions will include a new unrated cut. Extras on the Blu-ray versions will include the Bullets and Crucifixes Picture-in-Picture viewing mode, commentary (with director Scott Stewart, writer Cory Goodman, and actors Paul Bettany and Maggie Q), deleted and extended scenes, 2 featurettes (The Bloody Frontier: Creating the World of Priest and Tools of the Trade: The Weapons and Vehicles of Priest), the uncut trailer for the Twisted Metal PS3 game, a PS3 theme and movieIQ. The Blu-ray 3D version also adds a Weapons and Vehicle Exploration option that's in 3D. The DVD only version includes just the commentary, the deleted and extended scenes and the 2 featurettes. Here's the cover artwork for all three...
Meanwhile, Image Entertainment has set The Hollywood Knights, Baaria, Tomcats, Under Suspicion and Darkness Falls for release on Blu-ray Disc on 10/18. All are SRP $17.97 except Baaria, which is $29.97.
Our friends at Blue Underground have set Lucio Fulci's Zombie for release on Blu-ray and DVD as a 2-Disc Ultimate Edition on 10/25 (SRP $39.98 and $29.98). Disc One will include audio commentary with star Ian McCulloch and Diabolik magazine Editor Jason J. Slater, theatrical trailers, TV and radio spots and a poster and still gallery. Disc Two will feature 7 retrospective interview featurettes (including Zombie Wasteland, Flesh Eaters on Film, Deadtime Stories, World of the Dead, Zombi Italiano, Notes on a Headstone and All in the Family). We also understand that Blue Underground has shot a new introduction to the film and interview with Zombie fan and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro that will be included on the set. Very cool news!
Lionsgate has set The Last Godfather and Camp Hell for release on DVD only on 8/9.
Anchor Bay and Dimension Films have set Scream 4 for release on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and DVD on 10/4 (SRP $39.99 and $29.98). Extras will include The Making of Scream 4 featurette, an alternate opening and an extended ending, additional deleted and extended scenes and a gag reel.
Finally, Warner Home Video has set Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/13 (SRP $69.97 and $59.98). You'll get 2 featurettes (Jensen Ackles: A Director's Journey and Supernatural and the Quest for the Soul), audio commentary on 2 episodes (Clap Your Hands if you Believe and The French Mistake), alternate takes and outtakes from the episode The French Mistake, a gag reel, an Easter egg and 2 bonus episodes from Supernatural: The Anime Series (All Hell Breaks Loose, Parts 1 & 2). The Blu-ray version will exclusively add A Hunter's Guide to Season 6 and and a pop-up trivia track on The French Mistake.
More tomorrow. Stay tuned...
All right, with most of Hollywood already "out of the office" for the long Fourth of July holiday weekend, today is a decidedly slow day news-wise here at The Bits. But there are a couple of interesting things worth pointing out...
First, for those of you who like your Blu-rays via subscription, Columbia House has just kicked off a new Blu-ray Club, whereby you can get up to 2 catalog titles a month for just $5.99 each and then "titles of the month" are sent to you and billed automatically or some such. More here at Home Media.
Next... it looks like TV manufacturers are feeling a little low about the slow uptake of 3DTVs (more at CNN). Don't worry guys - 3D will catch on... over the next 10-20 years. But I wouldn't expect sales to be brisk in the meantime, until the glasses are no longer necessary (that will take some time - as will organic LED and 4K resolution) or they're at least provided free of charge for a family of four.
It doesn't help that there's a bit of a backlash going on right now over 3D in general. I asked friends on my Facebook page the other day how best to see Michael Bay's new Transformers: Dark of the Moon and I was surprised how many people who had seen it told me to skip 3D for 2D. Personally, I have no specific dislike of 3D, I just really dislike the higher cost of 3D movie tickets and the occasionally too-dark projection - especially given that the array of 3D films leaves something to be desired if you're not in the mood to see superhero stories, explosion films or kids' animation.
Instead, many of my family and friends have started going to regular 2D films more often. Here in Orange County, CA, there's a great local theatre (a Starlight Cinemas) that offers first-run films for just $4 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in full digital projection and with comfortable, newly-updated seating too. Heck, Matt and I took our wives to see Super 8 there, and we were even impressed to see that the manager kicked a group of unruly, cell-phone using teens out of the screening for causing a disruption. The theatre has certainly earned our loyalty, I'll tell you.
Back on the subject of 3D for a moment: If you're up for a laugh, here's a pretty good indicator of the 3D backlash even in the "geek" community. So let's say your friends are all excited about seeing the latest 3D movie, and they arm-twist you into going along, but you just really hate the 3D experience. Maybe it gives you headaches, whatever. And yet you don't want to suffer the embarrassment of admitting it to your friends. No problem! The excellent ThinkGeek website has just what you need to save face. They're now offering a pair of "2D glasses" for just $8.99 that convert RealD 3D cinema presentations into standard 2D for "more pleasurable movie viewing" (they essentially let both of your eyes see only the "right eye" image)! Now that's funny. I may have to get a pair of these just for the sheer joke value. Brilliant!
Finally today, we've learned that the folks at Criterion and Tr!ckster are going to be holding an art gallery tribute to the work of filmmaker Akira Kurosawa down in San Diego later this month, during Comic-Con (on Friday, 7/22):
"This intimate show, curated by Criterion designer Eric Skillman, will feature original pieces by artists from the worlds of comics, animation, and illustration, including: Mike Allred, Scott C., Josh Cochran, Francesco Francavilla, Robert Goodin, Victor Kerlow, Ted Mathot, Scott Morse, Sho Murase, Yuko Shimizu, Bill Presing, Jim Rugg, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Connor Willumsen. Though the gallery show will be free to enter and enjoy for the general public, all proceeds from sales of these works will be donated to the Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund."
NICE. You can bet The Bits crew - huge Kurosawa fans that we are - will be there to check it out. Thanks to Bits reader Ben T. for the heads-up on this.
All right, folks... that's it for this week. We'll be off Monday for the July 4th holiday, but we'll check back in on Tuesday with all the latest Blu-ray/DVD news and more. There's lots of good (or at least interesting) movies in theatres for you to check out this weekend. Or maybe you've got that big Lord of the Rings Blu-ray marathon planned. There's also the usual food, fireworks and whatnot. Whatever you choose, we wish you all a very happy and safe weekend with your family and friends.