Here's something interesting... both Amazon.com and Amazon.ca are showing that Disney is going to be releasing The Rocketeer: 20th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray Disc on 12/13 (SRP $26.50). Both sites have posted cover art too, so we suspect this is the real deal. Color us surprised - The Rocketeer has LONG been one of the studio's most neglected titles. It's great to see that the recent D23/20th Anniversary event at the El Cap in Hollywood wasn't just for show. One would expect an official announcement sometime in the next few weeks, so stay tuned...
Just for kicks, we've posted the cover art for Disney's Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 on Blu-ray 3D as well (due 11/1 - we posted the cover for the first film last week).
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/1/11 - 12:01 AM PDT)
It's going to be a little bit quiet around here today, as it just so happens to Sarah and my 21st wedding anniversary. So Star Wars BD controversy aside, I have other priorities today as you can imagine!
We're also happy to kick off an AWESOME new Giveaway here at The Bits, giving each of you the chance to win one of TEN pairs of tickets to a genuine Hollywood premiere, complete with red carpet - the Thursday, September 15th debut screening of Image Entertainment's Chillerama at the legendary Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles! Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Monday, September 12th, and the winners will be notified by e-mail. Click here for instructions on how to enter and good luck!
Have a great day, and stay tuned...
All right... so, Star Wars. You guys hear any good rumors today?
Kidding. My e-mail box is full this afternoon, trust me.
As I said yesterday, we don't comment on posted screenshots from Blu-rays that we haven't seen yet. Yes, we know they seem to indicate more changes that George Lucas has made to the films. But as we don't yet actually have the discs in hand, and Lucasfilm has been a little slow to respond to inquiries over the last 24 hours or so, we haven't been able to confirm. However... Lucasfilm HAS apparently told the New York Times that at least one of the changes is true, which means they probably all are. To wit, the major reported changes are thus:
1. In Episode I, Yoda is now all-digital.
2. In Star Wars, the sound effect for Ben's eerie "dragon" call that frightens off the Sandpeople has apparently been changed.
3. At the end of Return of the Jedi, Vader now screams "Noooo!" as he throws the Emperor to his death.
There are numerous other changes as well, apparently, but they're all more minor (in Jedi, the Ewoks' eyes now blink, etc, etc). Again, we don't have the discs, so we can't confirm everything. But as Lucasfilm acknowledged at their press event, "new dialogue has been added" and there are indeed "new things to spot" when you watch these films.
Predictably, the online geek community is aflame today. Here's the thing: I'm really having a hard time getting worked up about it. We've just been through this too many times now. Every time these films are released, Lucas tweaks and changes them some more. And the tweaks and changes don't really improve the films, they just make them... different. The fact is, Star Wars stopped being what I loved and remembered a very LONG time ago. The combination of the prequels, repeated digital nips and tucks to the originals (Episode IV now reminds me more of Joan Rivers than a beloved classic film), the obvious BS about the original versions "no longer existing", etc, etc - it's all left me feeling fairly ambivalent about Star Wars.
I'll admit, I've been somewhat optimistic about these Blu-rays after attending the Lucasfilm preview. And I'm still looking forward to the discs. On a positive note, it sounds like the A/V quality of these discs is excellent on the whole (at least according to the guys in Europe and China who have apparently gotten their hands on factory-leaked discs. We wouldn't know - it'll probably be week or more before we get to see them.) As expected, numerous (though not all) picture and sound defects in these films have apparently been corrected. But while it's three steps forward in quality, it may be two and a half back for more changes. As for me, I'm just going to try to enjoy the films for what there are, as opposed to what they aren't at this point. The deleted scene material is the real draw for me in this Blu-ray release anyway.
Regardless, a lot of Bits readers have been e-mailing today expecting me to react with the same sort of outrage they're experiencing right now. But I've been there and done that, when the last round of DVDs came out in 2006. So while I can't say that I still share your pain, believe me I understand it. The thing is, this is just the reality of Star Wars. We go through this like every 5 or 6 years. Despite past experience, fans continue to expect miracles... and every time, the curtain gets pulled back and we see the guy yanking on the levers again. For better or worse. And you know, I don't hate him for it. Hell... when I was ten back in 1977, and my folks were going through an ugly divorce, I saw Star Wars one afternoon and suddenly life was pretty good. Maybe it's reaching middle age, but I really can't get tweaked about this stuff anymore. Fact is, George has been fiddling with these films for 34 years now. I know that because the second time I saw Star Wars in a theatre back in 1978 - okay fine, the tenth or fifteenth time - it suddenly had the words 'Episode IV' added to the front. George may NEVER consider these films finished to his satisfaction. So fans really need to come to grips with it at long last. Hell, the 501st Legion should start up a worldwide support group - a 12-step Star Wars PTSD recovery plan.
Anyway, to paraphrase a wise old wizard: Maybe these aren't the droids you're looking for anymore...
We'll be sure to post our full - and fair - review of the set as soon as we get the discs. Meanwhile, I find a good walk out in the fresh air helps restore your sense of perspective in times like these. Courage, friends!
By the way, this gave me a big laugh today: Lionsgate just sent over another well-timed press release for their 10/25 DVD release of The People vs. George Lucas documentary. From the text: "With all the recent uproar over the news of further changes to the original films in this new set, fans will feel in good company as the film devotes an entire section to the changes made to the 1997 re-releases, making this the perfect compliment to the Blu-ray Discs. But the film isn't all about the changes – it also features the fans and media expressing their love and admiration of him as well." Well played, Lionsgate. Well played.
In other news today, industry sources have confirmed to us that Paramount's Captain America: The First Avenger WILL arrive in stores on Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD Combo, Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD on 10/25 (SRP $54.99, $42.99 and $29.99). Extras on the Blu-ray will include audio commentary with the director, DP and editor, deleted scenes, in-depth featurettes and more. Here's what the packaging for all three versions will look like (all now available for pre-order on Amazon.com)...
Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox has set Water for Elephants for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 11/1.
Fox has also set director Wayne Wang's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan for Blu-ray and DVD release on 11/1.
Warner has set the Horrible Bosses: Totally Inappropriate Edition for release on BD/DVD Combo and DVD on 10/11 (SRP $35.99 and $27.87). Extras on the Blu-ray will include deleted scenes and 4 featurettes (My Least Favorite Career, Surviving a Horrible Boss, Being Mean Is So Much Fun and The Making of the Horrible Bosses Soundtrack). It will also include the UltraViolet Digital Copy option which allows you to steam the film via Flixster.
And in other news, our very own Tim Salmons would like you all to know that Subway - as in Jared's favorite restaurant - is sponsoring the release of The Lion King on Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D. Anybody that buys a Kids Pak will get a $5 coupon redeemable anywhere against either release. So there's an opportunity to save a buck or five. (Thanks, Tim!)
Here's some more cover art: Warner's Horrible Bosses and Sony's Zookeeper (10/11) on BD and... of course... Lionsgate's The People vs. George Lucas DVD...
For a nice palette cleanser, we'll be back tomorrow with a new High-Definition Matters column from Barrie Maxwell. Cheers!
All right, the big release news today is that 20th Century Fox has officially set Terrence Malick's Tree of Life for release exclusively in Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack format on 10/11. The Blu-ray "utilizes maximum bit rate encoding and 7.1 audio and a 2.0 stereo mix" for the best quality A/V presentation. The disc will also include a 30-minute documentary on the making of the film, Exploring The Tree of Life, featuring members of the cast and crew, as well as additional comments by directors Christopher Nolan and David Fincher on Malick's work.
Meanwhile, Lionsgate will release LeapFrog Phonics Farm on DVD only on 11/8, followed by the Evil Dead II: 25th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray Disc on 11/15. Evil Dead II (SRP $14.99) is reportedly "packed with all-new special features that revisit every aspect of the film's shoot with over 20 cast and crew members, plus tons of existing content and a thrilling new High-Definition 1080P transfer." This is the the second time the film has been released on Blu-ray in the States.
Also, Universal has set The Nutcracker: The Untold Story for Blu-ray and DVD release on 11/1.
And MYA Communication will release Tinto Brass's Italian erotic titles Snack Bar Budapest and Salon Massage on DVD on 9/13 (SRP $24.98 and $19.98 respectively).
Here at the site today, our own Russell Hammond has once again 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 portion of anything you order from Amazon through our links goes to help support our work here at the site and we appreciate it.
In other news today, The L.A. Times Hero Complex is hosting a 30th anniversary screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark in Los Angeles on 9/12, followed by live/in-person Q&A with director Steven Spielberg. The event is already sold out (believe it, tickets went quick) but you can reasonably expect that Spielberg will be asked about - or may offer - information on the Blu-ray Disc release of the original Raiders trilogy. Consider this Rumor Mill-worthy, but as we've reported before our industry sources tell us these films will be released on Blu-ray in 2012, as part of the 100th studio anniversary celebration for Paramount. Titanic is also reportedly part of the studio's BD release plans for next year.
And finally today, as we approach the 9/16 street date for the Star Wars Saga Blu-rays, we expect screencaps purporting to be taken from them to begin appearing in various places online. They may indeed be taken from the actual discs - or they may not for all we know. Regardless, after the silliness earlier this year regarding the Lord of the Rings Blu-rays (and specifically the over-reaction to screencaps posted online weeks before street), we want to make this completely clear: We don't comment on screencaps. We don't review or judge the quality of discs based on screencaps. We're not going to answer questions about screencaps. We choose instead to wait and see the actual final product for ourselves and judge it with our own eyes and ears, on our own properly calibrated equipment. When the discs arrive, we will of course post our full review of them as quickly as we can, and we'll be happy to talk about them then. No disrespect intended to anyone who does find screenshots useful in forming their opinions, but it's not how we prefer to approach things. Just so you know.
Now then... here's a look at the Blu-ray 3D Combo cover artwork for Disney's Toy Story (due on 11/1), along with BD cover art for Fox's Tree of Life and Lionsgate's Evil Dead II: 25th Anniversary Edition. All three are now available for pre-order at Amazon.com through the cover art links below...
To quote Gomer Pyle: "Surprise, surprise, surprise..."
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/29/11 - 1 PM PDT)
Disney has announced that The Lion King is going to return to theatres in 3D for two weeks starting on 9/16. This is part of the promotion for the Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D release of the film which is due to follow on 10/4.
Speaking of Disney, it appears that the studio is planning to release their Cinderalla: Diamond Edition on Blu-ray next year. Early word from Europe is that copies of The Lion King will include a preview trailer for the release, due sometime late in 2012. Thanks to Bits reader Bill M. for the heads-up.
And on the same note, Disney's new The Nightmare Before Christmas Blu-ray 3D release includes a preview trailer for a Lady and the Tramp: Diamond Edition on Blu-ray, likely due in early 2012 (we suspect just in time for Valentine's Day, based on the tone of the trailer - which suggests fans "Fall in love for the first time, all over again..." - but that's just a guess).
Meanwhile, Universal has set Law & Order: The Complete Series for DVD release on 11/8, followed by 30 Rock: Season 5 on 11/29.
Sony has announced Zookeeper for Blu-ray, DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo release on 10/11 (SRP $35.99, $30.99 and $40.99).
Paramount has released the final cover artwork for My Fair Lady Blu-ray (due in stores on 11/15). Extras will include audio commentary, vintage featurettes from 1963 and 1964, alternate Audrey Hepburn vocals, a gallery of poster art and lobby cards, Rex Harrision radio interview audio, trailers and more. Here's what it looks like...
As you can see, we've also included artwork for Miramax and Lionsgate's Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (due 11/1) and Vivendi's True Legend (9/13) on Blu-ray.
Speaking of Paramount... CBS will release Perry Mason: The Sixth Season - Volume Two on DVD on 11/22. That same day, you'll also get The L Word Complete Series on DVD from Showtime. Both are distributed by Paramount.
Don't forget, Miramax's Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, The Cider House Rules, Life is Beautiful, Cinema Paradiso and Dead Alive all street on Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate on 10/4 as well.
And Shout! Factory is releasing 10 Things I Hate About You: Season 1, Volume 2 on DVD only via their ShoutFactoryStore.com site.
Finally this afternoon, what with the Star Wars Blu-rays on the way to stores in a couple weeks, an anonymous Bits reader sent me this link over the weekend. I don't endorse the sentiment or anything, but I have to say it made me laugh! The link has obviously been around since 2008, so it's nothing new, but still. If I were George, I'd buy this, turn it into a coffee table and keep it in my living room! Pretty funny.
Okay... back with more later, but first we've got a couple of interesting items for your early morning coffee reading accompaniment...
First, there are rumors circulating that Criterion may be preparing new Blu-ray and DVD editions of Gojira (a.k.a. Godzilla). Criterion teased friends of their Facebook page the other day with a photo of film canister containing the film. Now we learn that the Collection has also located an original fine-grain print of the 1956 U.S. version of the 1954 classic (renamed Godzilla, King of the Monsters!). Very cool indeed. Let's hope for an official announcement soon! Thanks to Bits reader Jeremy C. for the heads-up!
The other thing we've got for you this morning is more detail on Lucasfilm's new Blu-ray restoration of the Star Wars Saga, thanks to the official Star Wars website. Those of you who have e-mailed me asking "Is Luke's lightsaber in Episode IV still that damn minty green color?" will be pleased to find the answer in the piece. Also revealed are a few additional fixes and corrections, including a tweak to a bit of CG creature animation in Episode I (repairing an error we never even noticed) as well as more Original Trilogy "garbage matte" removal, fixes to TIE Fighter laser blasts in Episode IV and more! It's well worth your time. I have to say, I'm getting more excited for these discs each day.
Back with more later. Stay tuned...
Afternoon, folks! Sorry about the lack of an update yesterday. We were doing a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff around here at the site, and time somehow got away from us.
Big news so far today: Kino-Lorber has OFFICIALLY announced the Blu-ray and DVD release of the 1984 Giorgio Moroder version of Fritz Lang's Metropolis on 11/15. This will be preceded by limited theatrical engagements in 20 markets around the States. The film will be released under the title Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis. It was scanned in high-definition from one of the few remaining prints available and will be accompanied by it's full pop music score in the original 2.0 as well as a new 5.1 mix. The score includes songs from the likes of Pat Benatar, Billy Squier, Freddie Mercury, Bonnie Tyler, Adam Ant, Jon Anderson and others. This is the exact version of the film as seen in theatres in 1984 (running time: 90 minutes). Both versions on disc will include Moroder's The Fading Image documentary on the restoration, the original theatrical trailer, an exclusive photo gallery and a special introduction by Moroder himself. According to the press release "The first pressing of the DVD will come with limited edition foil embossed packaging and the first pressing of the Blu-ray will come with a limited edition foil embossed slip case." Here's a look at the cover art for the Blu-ray version...
As you can see, we also included the Blu-ray art for Fox's Straw Dogs (9/6) and the official U.S. Blu-ray cover art for Warner's Green Lantern: Extended Cut, which is due to street here in the States on 10/14. Looks like there will be a Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (SRP $44.95), a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (SRP $35.99) and a DVD (SRP $28.98). We'll post additional details on the content and extras when the official press release arrives.
In other news, Image will release Giuseppe Tornatore's Baarìa on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/18 (SRP $29.97 and $27.97). If Tornatore's name sounds familiar to you, it's because he's also the director of Cinema Paradiso. Extras will include commentary by Tornatore, a behind-the-scenes featurette, red carpet coverage at the film's premiere, a conversation with Giuseppe Tornatore by Mario Sesti, deleted scenes, a photo gallery and a poster gallery.
Image will also release Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/4.
Lionsgate will release Infernal Affairs and the Spy Kids Triple Feature on Blu-ray 11/15.
HBO will release Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/4, along with In Treatment: The Complete Third Season on DVD only.
Summit Entertainment has set Last Exit to Brooklyn for first-time release on Blu-ray 10/11. The film will also be available in a new DVD edition for the first time on 10 years. SRP is $30.49 and $26.99. Extras will include audio commentary with director Uli Edel and The Making of Last Exit to Brooklyn featurette.
Anchor Bay has set Bereavement for Blu-ray and DVD release on 8/30.
Cinema Libre Studio will release Little Senegal on DVD only on 8/30 as well.
Microcinema International will release Great Artists: Series One with Tim Marlow, Last Happy Day with 4 Short Films, Wind in Our Hair, Gay Games 2011 and The Camera I: Autofiction by Francoise Romand, all on 9/27.
Indomina Releasing has set legendary director and choreographer Yuen Woo Ping's True Legend for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/13.
Barnholtz Entertainment is releasing American Loser on DVD only on 9/27.
FilmWorks Entertainment has set Green Guys for DVD only release on 11/22.
And in other news, Acorn Media has announced Acorn TV - a new online streaming service that will offer award-winning British mysteries and dramas for viewing online to American audiences. More here at acornonline.com/tv.
All right, let's catch you all up on new Blu-ray and DVD release news from the last couple of days...
First though, our own Russell Hammond has just posted the weekly update of our Release Dates & Artwork section featuring 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 (not just BDs and DVDs) goes to help support our work here at The Bits and it really does make a difference. It's much appreciated!
The big news is that the folks at Disney have officially announced the Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD release of Pixar's Cars 2 on 11/1. There will be a 5-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (SRP $49.99 - includes Blu-ray 3D, 2-disc Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy), a 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (SRP $39.99 - includes the Blu-ray and DVD - available in both Blu-ray and DVD packaging), DVD (SRP $29.99) and an 11-Disc/3-Movie Blu-ray Collector's Set (SRP $119.99 - includes Cars, Cars 2 and Mater's Tall Tales on Blu-ray and DVD - Cars 2 is also included in Blu-ray 3D). Got that? Extras on the Cars 2 Blu-ray will include the all-new Air Mater and Hawaiian Vacation animated shorts, and an interactive World Tour map that "takes viewers through nine different locations, including those featured in the film and more. A global thrill-ride, it allows viewers to go behind-the-scenes with the Pixar artists and filmmakers as they circle the globe finding inspiration for the most international of all Pixar films to date."
Disney has also announced the 4-Disc Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack release of Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 on 11/1 (SRP $49.99 each). Each Combo Pack will include Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy versions of the film.
A reminder: Disney will also release the Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray/DVD Combo and DVD on 9/20.
On the TV front, Disney has set Castle: The Third Season for DVD release on 9/20 (SRP $45.99).
And watch for official announcement Winnie the Pooh (2011) on Blu-ray and DVD in the coming weeks, as well as more details on DisneyToon Studios's CG-animated Planes coming in the Spring of 2013.
Meanwhile, Sony has set Steve Spielberg's Hook for release on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack on 11/1 (SRP $19.99). It doesn't appear as if there will be any extras included.
Sony has also set The Craigslist Killer for DVD only release on 11/1 (SRP $22.99).
Warner Home Video has announced that they're re-releasing all ten seasons of NBC's Friends on DVD in a line of five two-season packs on 8/30 (SRP $24.98 each).
Warner is also releasing Pure Country 2: The Gift on DVD only on 8/23 (SRP $19.96).
Universal has set The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus for DVD only release on 10/11, followed by Barbie: A Perfect Christmas and Beethoven's Christmas Adventure both on 11/8.
Paramount and Spelling Entertainment has set The Fugitive: The Complete Series - The Most Wanted Edition for release on DVD on 11/1.
CBS (via Paramount) will also release Rawhide: Season Four, Volume Two on DVD only on 11/1 as well.
And 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will release a Straw Dogs: 40th Anniversary - Unrated Version Blu-ray Disc on 9/6, a week or so before the theatrical remake arrives in theatres on 9/16. The disc will feature the restored film in HD with an all-new 5.1 sound mix, the original theatrical trailer and 3 original TV spots.
Here's a look at BD cover artwork for Image's Phantom of the Opera (due 1/1), Lionsgate's Cop Land (also due on 11/1), Sony's Hook, Paramount's Little Big Man (11/8) and both Blu-ray versions of Disney and Pixar's Cars 2...
All right... the last few days have been a little bit of a whirlwind here at The Bits, but I think it's been worth it. I'll be back later this afternoon to catch you up on the latest Blu-ray and DVD release announcements. But for the time being this morning, I can finally tell you why I had to post our Friday update so early (on Thursday afternoon to be specific)...
The reason is this: I spent Friday morning up at Lucasfilm in San Francisco, learning a lot more about - and actually seeing and hearing in person - some of the content you'll find the forthcoming Star Wars Saga Blu-ray release, due to arrive in stores on 9/16. And I'm pleased to share those insights with all of you this morning in my full report. The upshot is this: I'm actually cautiously optimistic and even a bit excited about this Blu-ray release now, whereas I'd been kind of dreading it before. Some of the bonus content (read: the deleted scenes and the Archive content in particular) is really very cool. And it appears that most - possibly all - of the A/V quality complaints that people had with the previous DVD releases of these films have FINALLY been addressed. But more on all that in the report. Here's it is...
So go pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy! And again, I'll be back later this afternoon with the usual daily news update.
[Editor's Note: I've updated the original report text over the course of the day with a few additional details in yellow text. As I've just spent the last several hours answering reader questions via e-mail (as I expected!) our next post on The Bits will be here tomorrow morning. Cheers!]
Okay... this is a little early but we're going to be pretty busy tomorrow with site business, so I wanted to go ahead and post Friday's update now...
The main thing today is, Amazon.co.uk has listed U.K. street dates for a few much-anticipated summer blockbuster titles on Blu-ray and DVD - titles that haven't yet been officially announced here in the States. According to the retailer, Warner Home Video is releasing Green Lantern in the U.K. in an Extended Edition on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD on 10/17. Paramount will release Transformers: Dark of the Moon on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD there on AC265B. Following on B7E62B from Paramount in the U.K. will be the Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD release of Captain America: The First Avenger. And rounding out the list, Paramount is also releasing Cowboys & Aliens on Blu-ray and DVD in the U.K. on BB1A7B. Note that Cowboys & Aliens will be a Universal title here in the States. Again, all these titles are as yet unannounced here in the States, but you can expect official word in the weeks ahead. U.S. street dates should fairly closely correspond to those listed here, but obviously all this should be considered Rumor Mill-worthy until the official announcements are made. [Editor's Note: Paramount has informed us that the U.K. street dates for Transformers, Cowboys & Aliens and Captain America posted my Amazon.co.uk are INACCURATE. Watch for official announcements in the coming weeks.] lnk
Here's a look at the posted U.K. BD artwork for three of the titles...
And in a couple of other TV-related DVD announcements...
CBS and Paramount are releasing Blue Bloods: Season 1 on DVD on 9/13. The series' second season begins airing on CBS on 9/23.
CBS and Paramount are also releasing Roswell: The Aliens Attack on DVD only on 11/1, along with Rawhide: The Fourth Season - Volume 2.
Showtime and Paramount are releasing Californication: The Fourth Season on DVD only on 11/1.
And on the classic Western feature film front, Paramount has officially confirmed that Little Big Man will street on Blu-ray and DVD on 11/8.
Finally, here's something that's potentially very cool and is certainly the biggest film news you'll hear break in a good while. We couldn't think of a better way, frankly, to close out the week than by posting it: Deadline Hollywood is reporting that director Ridley Scott has signed on to direct a new Blade Runner-related film project, though whether it will be a prequel or sequel is still TBD. But Scott has apparently agreed to do it with Alcon Entertainment, which now owns the franchise rights. The result will be distributed by Warner Bros, with which Alcon has an distribution deal. Absolutely fascinating. Yes, I know... in an ideal world, Blade Runner would be allowed to exist on its own, and there would never be a sequel. I get that. But Alcon announced many months ago (back in March to be exact) that they were going to be developing additional Blade Runner-related film projects, essentially with or without Scott's involvement. Given that, I'm VERY glad he's involved. My only personal disappointment here is that I wish Scott would turn his attention to directing a new, completely ORIGINAL science fiction property. Sadly, I've heard there's difficult finding studio/financial backing for one that isn't already at least something of a sure-bet (read: an established property). But still - the prospect of another Scott-helmed Blade Runner film is just too potentially cool a thing for me not to be at least a little excited about. One can only assume he's had such a great time directing Prometheus - a prequel to his own Alien - that this chance was too good to pass up. Well... so be it. You can certainly count OUR butts in the theater at least...
Don't forget, our Big Lebowski Blu-ray Giveaway runs through the weekend, so you have until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday to get your your entries in!
That's all for now. Have a great weekend and see you Monday...!
All right, we've got an early one for you today with a couple of interesting things...
First, we've got better quality cover art for the new Best Buy-exclusive titles from Paramount - Airplane!, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad, all of which arrive in Best Buy stores on 9/25. Yes, that's a Sunday. SRP is $19.99 each. The titles will be available more widely later this year or early next. Here's the cover art, and the links take you to the Best Buy.com pages for each title...
I've gotten some e-mails from people bemoaning the fact that these titles are retailer-exclusives, and I understand the frustration, especially for those who don't have local store for the particular retailer in question. However, I've personally had a bit of a change of heart about some of these titles. In some cases, retailers help subsidize the mastering and authoring costs for these exclusive titles, and if that helps more of these great catalog titles become available on Blu-ray, so much the better. Think about all the other titles that might benefit from this process, especially given the fact that the studios who own them don't seem all that interested in releasing them on Blu-ray otherwise. For example, think of titles like The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension from Fox, or The Rocketeer and The Black Hole from Disney. What about more of the Monty Python films from the various U.S. studios who own the rights - Holy Grail IS coming from Sony, but what about Meaning of Life and And Now for Something Completely Different? Or here's an idea - what if a retailer were to help convince Universal to FINALLY release the classic Universal Monster films on Blu-ray. I'm betting more than a few of you would be interested in seeing Dracula, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Mummy in remastered HD. There are still so many great films - including some very well loved cult films - that deserve to be released on the format. And at this rate, many of them will never get released on disc in HD. So whatever it takes to get these titles out on Blu, we're all for it.
All right, one other interesting piece of news: DirecTV is going to start making its exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket service available to the Sony PS3 (via the PlayStation Network) and also to PCs, Macs and a variety of Apple and Android mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones. If you're already a DirecTV subscriber with NFL Sunday Ticket, it's a $50 add-on to the service. However, if you're not a DirecTV subscriber, you can still get the service for a flat $340 for the season. That's about $20 cheaper than what it normally costs to DirecTV subscribers (although right now Sunday Ticket is being offered free for one year as an incentive to new DirecTV subscribers). It's a hefty cost, but still if you're a long-suffering NFL fan who lives outside your home team's market and you've been yearning for access to NFL Sunday Ticket but didn't want to subscribe to DirecTV... at least now you have an option. More here, here and here.
Finally, in a related note, Sony has just dropped the price on the PlayStation 3 game system $50 around the world. More here at Ars Technica.
That's all for now. Stay tuned...
All right, a couple more announcements today...
Warner Home Video has finally revealed the list of 50 shorts that you'll find on the Looney Tunes: Platinum Collection - Volume 1 Blu-ray on 11/15. Disc One will include Hare Tonic, Baseball Bugs, Buccaneer Bunny, The Old Grey Hare, Rabbit Hood, 8 Ball Bunny, Rabbit of Seville, What's Opera, Doc?, The Great Piggy Bank Robbery, A Pest in the House, The Scarlet Pumpernickel, Duck Amuck, Robin Hood Daffy, Baby Bottleneck, Kitty Kornered, Scaredy Cat, Porky Chops, Old Glory, A Tale of Two Kitties, Tweetie Pie, Fast and Furry-ous, Beep, Beep, Lovelorn Leghorn, For Scent-imental Reasons and Speedy Gonzales.
Disc Two will add One Froggy Evening, Three Little Bops, I Love to Singa, Katnip Kollege, The Dover Boys at Pimento University, Chow Hound, Haredevil Hare, The Hasty Hare, Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century, Hare-way to the Stars, Mad as a Mars Hare, Devil May Hare, Bedevilled Rabbit, Ducking the Devil, Bill of Hare, Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare, Bewitched Bunny, Broom-stick Bunny, A Witch's Tangled Hare, A-Haunting We Will Go, Feed the Kitty, Kiss Me Kat, Feline Frame-up, From A to Z-Z-Z-Z and Boyhood Daze.
MANY of these shorts will include audio commentary and alternate audio tracks. These two discs will also include 11 Behind the Tunes featurettes (Wagnerian Wabbit: The Making of What's Opera, Doc?, Twilight in Tunes: The Music of Raymond Scott, Powerhouse in Pictures, Putty Problems and Canary Rows, A Chuck Jones Tutorial: Tricks of the Cartoon Trade, The Charm of Stink: On the Scent of Pepé le Pew, It Hopped One Night: The Story Behind One Froggy Evening, Wacky Warner One-Shots, Mars Attacks! Life on the Red Planet with My Favorite Martian, Razzma-Taz: Giving the Tasmanian Devil His Due and The Ralph Phillips Story: Living the American Daydream).
Disc Three is all special features. It'll add A Greeting from Chuck Jones, Chuck Amuck: The Movie, Chuck Jones: Extremes & In-Betweens, A Life in Animation, Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood, 9 The Animated World of Chuck Jones cartoons (including Point Rationing of Foods, Hell-Bent for Election, So Much for So Little, Orange Blossoms for Violet, A Hitch in Time, 90 Day Wondering, Drafty, Isn't It?, The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics and The Bear That Wasn't), the pencil test for How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, The Door and 9 additional bonus cartoons (including Fright Before Christmas, Spaced-Out-Bunny, Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24½th Century, Another Froggy Evening, Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension, Superior Duck, From Hare to Eternity, Father of the Bird and Museum Scream).
Additionally, the book packaging will include "pages and pages of rare sketches and breathtaking images" as well as "insightful commentary by renowned animation historian Jerry Beck" and "a guide with synopses of the shorts featured in the collection." What's more, if you buy the Ultimate Collector's Edition version, you'll get a "framed Looney Tunes litho cel with a certificate of authenticity, souvenir tin sign magnet and character collectible glass featuring Bugs Bunny." Plus the set will be numbered. Whichever one you choose, that's a very nice package indeed!
Oh... but WHV isn't done yet: They've also released details on the shorts and content you can expect in Tom & Jerry: The Golden Collection - Volume 1, due on 10/25. There will be 37 shorts in all. Disc One will bring you Puss Gets the Boot, The Midnight Snack, The Night Before Christmas, Fraidy Cat, Dog Trouble, Puss N' Toots, The Bowling Alley-Cat, Fine Feathered Friend, Sufferin' Cats!, The Lonesome Mouse, The Yankee Doodle Mouse, Baby Puss, The Zoot Cat, The Million Dollar Cat, The Bodyguard, Puttin on the Dog, Mouse Trouble, The Mouse Comes to Dinner, Mouse in Manhattan and Tee for Two. Disc Two will add Flirty Birdy, Quiet Please!, Springtime for Thomas, The Milky Waif, Trap Happy, Solid Serenade, Cat Fishin', Part Time Pal, The Cat Concerto, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse, Salt Water Tabby, A Mouse in the House, The Invisible Mouse, Kitty Foiled, The Truce Hurts, Old Rockin' Chair Tom and Professor Tom. Finally, extras in the set will include the new featurette Vaudeville, Slapstick and Tom and Jerry, 2 vintage featurettes (How Bill and Joe Met Tom and Jerry and The Comedy Styling of Tom and Jerry), commentary on 9 of the shorts, and the Anchors Aweigh Dance Sequence with Jerry and Gene Kelly.
Also today, Fox has set How I Met Your Mother: Season 6 - The New Is Always Better Edition for DVD release on 9/27 (SRP $29.99). You'll get all 24 episodes along with deleted scenes, featurettes, a gag reel, commentaries, an extended performance of Stand By Me and more.
IFC Films has set Love Wedding Marriage for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/13, along with The Silent House on DVD only. Following on 9/20 is We Are the Night on DVD only, and on 9/27 you'll get The Ledge on both Blu-ray and DVD, and L'Amour Fou on DVD only.
Image has also set the romantic comedy 35 and Ticking for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/13 (SRP $29.97 and $27.97).
Don't forget that Anchor Bay will release the energy efficiency/auto carnage thriller Super Hybrid on both Blu-ray and DVD on 8/23.
And Shout! Factory will release Transformers: Beast Wars - Seasons 2 & 3 on DVD on 10/4.
Finally today, it appears that last night's Lebowski Fest cast reunion in NYC was a big success. You can watch clips from the event here on YouTube, and you can actually watch the ENTIRE Q&A event with the cast here at Livestream for the next week only. We're hoping Universal will preserve the entire event on YouTube or something after that point, but in the meantime, be sure to watch it soon if you really want to see it because it could go away. As you'd expect, it's pretty trippy, dude. Some far out, sonically-challenged audience participation, man. ABIDE!
Here's a look at the cover art for Questar's The Road to World War II DVD (due 10/18), and Blu-ray art for Sony's Bad Teacher: Unrated (10/18) and Paramount's latest edition of It's a Wonderful Life (11/1)...
All right, we've got more 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 artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from the retailer after clicking through to them through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we appreciate it.
Now then... it appears that we forgot one of Criterion's new November Blu-ray upgrades when we posted the list yesterday: Wes Anderson's Rushmore (#65) is getting the BD re-spiffing from The Collection on 11/22! Thanks to Bits reader Lucius C. for the heads-up. That ought to be a good one. I can't wait for The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou too, which I'm sure will get a BD upgrade sooner or later.
Here's some great news: Paramount has finally set Airplane!, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad for release on Blu-ray Disc on 9/25. [Editor's Note: These will be Best Buy-exclusive titles for a few months.] All of the DVD extras will carry over, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles comes with a brand new HD retrospective documentary on the work of the late director John Hughes. You'll find cover art below.
Paramount has also announced that they're re-issuing It's a Wonderful Life on Blu-ray as a 2-disc Collector's Set on 11/1 (SRP $29.99). There are no new extras on the discs, but as with the last release you also get the "beautifully colorized version" in addition to the original B&W. Also included with be an exclusive bell ornament and a commemorative book.
And Paramount has set Scrooged for Blu-ray release on 11/1 as well - this is the Billy Murray Christmas comedy at long last. Extras will include the film's theatrical trailer. SRP is $19.99.
In other release news, HBO has set both How to Make It in America: The Complete First Season and Hung: The Complete Second Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/27 (SRP $49.99 and $39.98).
Fox has set Bones: The Complete Season 6 for Blu-ray and DVD release on 10/11 (SRP $49.99 and $39.99).
Questar is releasing Reader's Digest: The Road to World War II as a 6-disc DVD set on 10/18 (SRP $49.99).
Anchor Bay will release Beautiful Boy on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/11.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has set Incendies for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/13.
Invincible Pictures is releasing Srdan Spasojevic's controversial A Serbian Film on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/25 (SRP $19.95 each).
RHI and Vivendi have set Secrets in the Walls for DVD release on 9/20.
Palisades Tartan will release the Asia Extreme gangster thriller Triad Underworld on DVD only on 9/6 (SRP $19.98).
And Vanguard has set EM, Works in Progress, Cut, Starlight & Superfish and My Queen Karo for DVD only release on 10/25 (SRP $19.95 each).
Don't forget that tonight is Universal's Big Lebowski cast reunion event at Lebowski Fest in NYC. It'll be streamed live on their Facebook page starting at 6:30 PM EDT with an interview with Jeff Dowd, followed by the full cast Q&A at 8 PM EDT.
Here's a look at the BD cover art for Criterion's Rushmore, Warner's Meet Me in St. Louis (12/23) and Paramount's Airplane!, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad and Scrooged...
(LATE UPDATE - 8/15/11 - 2 PM PDT)
All right, we've got more cool announcement news for you this afternoon!
Criterion has just announced an absolutely TERRIFIC slate of Blu-ray and DVD titles for November, including a new 5-disc Blu-ray and DVD upgrade of Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander (#261 - due 11/8 - that includes the theatrical version, the television version, Bergman's The Making of Fanny and Alexander documentary and lots of extras), the new Blu-ray and DVD upgrade of Jean Renoir's legendary Rules of the Game (#216 - due 11/15 - that was hinted at last week by Criterion), Krzysztof Kieslowski's stunning Three Colors Trilogy of Blue, White and Red (#587 - also due 11/15), Sidney Lumet's classic jury room drama 12 Angry Men (#591 - 11/22) and on DVD only Eclipse Series 30: Sabu! (11/29 - featuring the films Elephant Boy, The Drum and Jungle Book)! Now THAT'S a great batch of titles!
And here's official news on another Hollywood classic - Warner Home Video has set their beloved Technicolor musical Meet Me in St. Louis for release on Blu-ray (in book packaging) on 12/23 (SRP $35.99)! Extras will include an introduction by Liza Minnelli, audio commentary by Garland biographer John Fricke (with Margaret O'Brien, screenwriter Irving Brecher, songwriter Hugh Martin and daughter of producer Arthur Freed, Barbara Freed-Saltzman), 3 documentary specials (Meet Me in St. Louis: The Making of an American Classic, the 1972 new-to-home video Hollywood: The Dream Factory and 1996's Becoming Attractions: Judy Garland), the 1966 pilot for the Meet Me in St. Louis TV series (with Shelley Fabares and Celeste Holm), 2 vintage shorts (1930's Bubbles - featuring Judy Garland at age 7- and 1941's Skip to My Lou) and an Audio Vault featuring an outtake of the song Boys and Girls Like You and Me and a Lux Radio Theater broadcast (from 12/2/1946).
Also today... Lionsgate has listed Set Up for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/20, along with The Others, Scary Movie 2 and Scary Movie 3: Unrated on Blu-ray. They're followed on 11/1 by new Blu-ray versions the Cop Land: Collector's Series and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and on 11/8 by The Adventures of Sharkboy and LavaGirl on Blu-ray. Give Lionsgate credit - they sure aren't wasting their time with this Miramax BD product. I'd sure love to see a good new high-def transfer of The English Patient on Blu-ray soon...
Finally this afternoon, Sony has announced the Blu-ray/DVD Combo, Blu-ray and DVD release of the Bad Teacher: Unrated Cut on 10/18 (SRP $45.99, $35.99 and $30.99 respectively). Extras on all versions will include deleted scenes, outtakes and 2 featurettes. The Blu-ray will exclusively add a gag reel, 3 additional featurettes, a JAMS Yearbook-Hidden Moments interactive viewing option and movieIQ.
Here's a look at the cover art for Criterion's Rules of the Game, Three Colors Trilogy and Fanny and Alexander, all on Blu-ray...
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/15/11 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Morning, folks - hope you're well today! Thought we'd start the day with a quick early post...
We've got a good bit of news for you this morning that I didn't just want to drop on Friday for fear of it getting overlooked: Our friends at Kino Lorber have revealed that they've finally cleared the music rights to the Giorgio Moroder version of Metropolis! They'll be doing a very limited theatrical re-release starting on 10/14, followed by Blu-ray and DVD release later this year or in early 2012. It'll be pretty cool to finally have all the major versions of the film available on disc. Ain't it Cool has poster art for the theatrical screening here.
Meanwhile, Warner Home Video has announced (internationally at least) the Blu-ray release of New Line's complete Nightmare on Elm Street series. All 7 films are included - see this link at Amazon.co.uk. Unfortunately, only the
first 3 films are set for release on Blu-ray here in the States as singles at the moment. Strange. The good news for U.S. fans at least is that the U.K. box set should be region-free.
Also, Codeblack Entertainment will release Politics of Love on DVD only on 9/13 (SRP $19.97).
And Anchor Bay Entertainment has announced that they've acquired the distribution rights to The Wicker Tree, producer Peter Snell and director Robin Hardy's new follow-up to their original The Wicker Man. The film will be released theatrically in early 2012, followed by a Blu-ray and DVD release later next year.
On the Rumor Mill front this morning, these dates are subject to change until the titles are officially announced, but Walmart is reporting an 11/15 street date for My Fair Lady on Blu-ray (from Warner) and an 11/8 date for Little Big Man on BD (from Fox). Thanks to Bits reader Bill M. for the links.
Word out of Vegas is that there was noting official announced by CBS regarding Star Trek: TNG - Remastered, so the next opportunity would be the actual 45th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise on 9/8 (the day The Original Series first aired back in 1966), followed by the 24th anniversary of The Next Generation on 10/28 (TNG debuted on that day in 1987). We have little doubt you'll hear something from them in the next couple of months, when they're finally ready to reveal the project.
And finally this morning, Lucasfilm has released another trailer for the upcoming Star Wars Saga Blu-ray box set, including another peek or two at Original Trilogy deleted footage. Enjoy...
All right, it's a pretty quiet day here on the Western front...
In announcement news today, 20th Century Fox has set The Heart Specialist for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/4, along with Lie to Me: Season 3 on DVD only. Following on 10/11, they'll deliver Bones: Season 6, Terri and Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer all on both Blu-ray and DVD. Finally, on 10/25, look for Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings on Blu-ray and DVD.
Fox has also set Raising Hope: Season 1 for release on DVD only on 9/20.
By the way, retail sources tell us that Disney and Pixar are getting ready to announce the release of Cars 2 on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and DVD in November or early December. Watch for an official announcement sometime next week.
Finally, Image Entertainment has set Michael Feinstein: The Sinatra Legacy for release on Blu-ray on 12/6.
And in other news today, Deadline Hollywood is reporting IHS Screen Digest Cinema Intelligence research that shows that international theatre-goers seem to be more interested in 3D than audiences here in the States.
Also, it appears that the recent rioting in London has had a negative impact on the home video industry there - Sony's DADC Distribution Centre there was apparently set on fire. Yikes! More here.
All right, that's it for this week. Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday. Peace out!
We're kicking off a fun Giveaway here at The Bits today! It's no secret that we're all pretty big fans of the Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski around here at the site. Well, in honor of next week's Blu-ray release of the film, we're teaming up with the folks at Universal to give each of you a chance to take home a copy of the new Limited Edition Blu-ray! We've got TEN copies of the disc to give away in all - one for each bowling pin! And one of the lucky winners will also take home a copy of the I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski book, written by the guys who created Lebowski Fest, filled with cast interviews, trivia, behind-the-scenes stories on the making of the film, lists of all the filming locations and more. Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, 8/21. Winners will be selected at random from those entries and the winners will be announced the next day. Click here and follow the instructions to enter, and good luck Achievers!
In other news, Sony has officially announced that The Guns of Navarone: 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray (due on 10/18) features an extensive 4K digital restoration from the original camera negative! That's the same process Sony used for Dr. Strangelove, The Bridge on the River Kwai and Taxi Driver. I've very pleased to hear that J. Lee Thompson's classic will arrive in HD in such great quality. The Blu-ray will also feature something called The Resistance Dossier of Navarone, which is an interactive option that gives viewers "all new access to detailed information on THE GUNS OF NAVARONE, the real world history that inspired the film, and insights from film and military historians on the continuing effect the film has on popular culture."
Meanwhile, Lionsgate has set Blue Mountain State: Season Two for DVD only release on 9/13.
Anchor Bay Entertainment will release The Entitled on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/6.
Fox has set It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 6 for Blu-ray and DVD release on 9/13.
Entertainment One will release Babar: The Classic Series - Best Friends Forever and Babar: The Classic Series - School Days on DVD on 9/6.
Paramount and MTV have set Beavis and Butthead: Mike Judge's Most Wanted for DVD release on 10/4. This will include Judge's 20 all-time favorite shorts, including the original uncut Frog Baseball, plus scenes from the new seasons of Beavis and Butthead and more.
And Image Entertainment will release Ghost Hunters: Season 6 - Part 1 on Blu-ray and DVD on 9/13 (SRP $29.98 and $24.98).
Also today, Criterion has announced that they're soon going to be announcing newly updated Blu-ray and DVD versions of Jean Renoir's The Rules of the Game for release in November! Meanwhile, they're now offering
the original DVD edition (which will soon be out of print) at a 65% discount while supplies last. All you have to do is use the checkout code REGLE in their online store.
Finally today, the folks over at Home Media are giving away a Sony BDP-S580 3D Blu-ray player on their Facebook page. Just head on over there and give it a "like". And while you're at it, be sure to drop by The Digital Bits Facebook page as well.
Check back for a couple new disc reviews tomorrow. Cheers!
All right, we've got some good title announcements on Blu-ray and DVD for you today...
First, Warner and HBO have set Cannonball Run and Gia (Unrated) for release on Blu-ray Disc on 11/8 (SRP $14.98 each). And following on 11/22 is the ¡Three Amigos! 25th Anniversary Edition (SRP also $14.98). Also available on 11/1 will be the His Way documentary on DVD only, about the work of legendary Hollywood film producer Jerry Weintraub. From the press release, ¡Three Amigos! will feature "over 20 minutes of never-before-seen footage and a beautiful Blu-ray transfer overseen by director John Landis."
Warner and HBO have also announced a new Band of Brothers/The Pacific: Special Edition Gift Set for release on 11/8 in both Blu-ray and DVD formats (SRP $199.99 and $159.98). The box sets will include both series in your format of choice, along with a new exclusive Called to Service documentary disc featuring new interviews with surviving members of Easy Company and the 1st Marine Division. There may be additional paper materials or swag included in the box as well that are still TBA. Here's what the Blu-ray packaging looks like...
In other announcement news today, Shout! Factory has set a Killer Double Feature of Bad Dreams and Visiting Hours for release on DVD only on 9/13 (SRP $14.97).
20th Century Fox is launching a new Fox World Cinema label on 9/27, featuring mainstream and acclaimed festival circuit films from around the world. Wave One of this line will include China's The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman, India's Dum Maaro Dum and Italy's Angel of Evil on DVD only. A few films previously released by Fox that will be rebranded as part of the Fox World Cinema line include Slumdog Millionaire, La Misma Luna, Night Watch, Day Watch and My Name is Khan. Given the fact that a few of those were released on Blu-ray too, it's possible you'll see more new titles from this line on both Blu-ray and DVD in the future.
Fox has also announced the Blu-ray and DVD release of Modern Family: Season Two on 9/20 (SRP $49.99 and $39.99).
And here's something exciting for the Halloween season: Image Entertainment has announced a new Midnight Madness Series of DVD and BD titles licensed from Lakeshore Entertainment. On 9/6, look for Children of the Corn (BD, DVD), Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (DVD), Hellraiser (BD, DVD), Creepshow 2 (DVD), Return of the Killer Tomatoes (DVD), Vamp (BD, DVD), House & House II (DVD), Return to Horror High (DVD) and Transylvania 6-5000 (DVD). Following on 9/20 are Dead End Drive-In (DVD), Flowers in the Attic (DVD), Slugs (DVD), The Stuff (DVD) and C.H.U.D. (DVD). More titles will follow in the weeks and months ahead.
And in other news today, new s--t has come to light, man! Universal is joining forces with the gang at Lebowski Fest to celebrate the Blu-ray release of The Big Lebowski on 8/16. They're holding a big cast reunion at Lebowski Fest New York on 8/16, featuring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore and T. Bone Burnett. Unfortunately, the event is already sold out, but the studio has revealed that they're going to stream the proceedings live on their Big Lebowski Facebook page. So if you tune in there on 8/16 starting at 6:30 PM Eastern, you'll see a pre-show interview with Jeff Dowd (the real-live inspiration for the character of Jeff Lebowski, who once personally assured me that the Dude DOES, in fact, abide), followed by the full cast Q&A at 8 PM Eastern. Unless you're a total nihilist - which is just exhausting - it should be a lot of fun. So be sure to mix yourself up a White Russian, fire up the computer and dial in!
By the way, just a quick Universal/Conan BD update. The studio is currently investigating the reported audio errors on the new Blu-ray and will offer additional information as they have it. In the meantime, you can e-mail them at [email protected] if you have any specific concerns. And of course, we'll post a full update as soon as the studio determines the nature of the issue and what their corrective steps will be.
Finally today, a lot of you have been asking for updates on CBS's Star Trek: The Next Generation - Remastered Blu-ray project, which we first revealed was in the works MANY months ago (here and here - click and scroll down a bit for the relevant text). As we said after Comic-Con, our sources have confirmed that it's coming and that a demo disc of episodes was being prepared for release during the holiday season, but there's obviously been no official announcement made by CBS yet. We don't know if CBS is ready to make an official announcement yet or not, BUT... tomorrow in Las Vegas, Creation's big annual Star Trek convention opens to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Trek franchise. If CBS IS finally ready to official reveal the project to the world, that's the obvious place to do it if they want to get a buzz going in the geek/Trek community. It may or may not happen, but I would definitely keep your hailing frequencies open this weekend for any news that might break or leak out of Sin City. I'm sure our friends over at Trek Movie (who will be reporting from the Con) will be all over it if there's anything officially revealed.
All right, here's a bunch more cover art for you to check out: A&E's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series DVD (due 9/20), Sony's Guns of Navarone (10/18) BD, Paramount's "marketing" cover art for the yet-to-be-announced Transformers: Dark of the Moon BD (TBA), and Warner and HBO's BD art for Gia: Unrated, Cannonball Run and ¡Three Amigos!...
All right, first things first today... our own Russell Hammond has just 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 them through our links helps support our work at The Bits and we very much appreciate it.
Lionsgate has revealed the extras that will be included on their forthcoming Blu-ray edition of Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation (due 10/25 - SRP $24.99). You'll get audio commentary with Coppola, a second commentary with editor Walter Murch, all-new interviews with Coppola and composer David Shire, never-before-seen screen tests with Harrison Ford and Cindy Williams, never-before-heard archival audio of Coppola dictating the original script, a complete archival/on-set interview with Gene Hackman, the all-new Harry Caul's San Francisco featurette, the vintage Close up on The Conversation featurette, Coppola's No Cigar short film, a marketing gallery and the film's theatrical trailer. Sounds pretty damn awesome, if you ask us!
Also today, 20th Century Fox has set Monte Carlo for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/18. Deleted scenes and tons of behind-the-scenes featurettes will be included, as will a Digital Copy in the BD release.
DreamWorks appears to be making a trio of its recent CG-animated titles available on Blu-ray 3D format as retailer-exclusives. Starting in early September, look for BD3D versions How to Train Your Dragon, Megamind and Monsters vs. Aliens at your local Best Buy. All three have been previously available only to those who purchased Samsung 3D hardware.
Speaking of Best Buy-exclusives, Starz and Anchor Bay are making the first season of AMC's The Walking Dead available in a Limited Edition Collector's Tin on 10/4 (SRP $89.99). In addition to the discs, the package will include an exclusive Cryptozoic trading card and a wearable zombie mask designed by the show's effects make-up wizard, Greg Nicotero.
Meanwhile, Eagle Rock Entertainment has set The Hollies: Look Through Any Window 1963–1975 for DVD only release on 10/4 (SRP $14.98).
Sony has set Rescue Me: The Sixth Season and The Final Season for DVD only release on 9/13 (SRP $45.99). This will be a 5-disc set containing all 19 episodes, plus 4 featurettes, deleted scenes and a gag reel.
And A&E Home Entertainment has set Yes Sir! Jack Nickalus and His Historic 1986 Masters Win and Highlights of the 2011 Masters Tournament for DVD only release on 9/6. Following on 9/20 will be the Ridley and Tony Scott produced Gettysburg docudrama on Blu-ray and DVD, along with Lee and Grant and Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series on DVD only. Mike Hammer is the late-1950s series starring Darren McGavin. It'll be a 12-disc set (SRP $89.95).
Here's a look at the cover art for Shout! factory's The Adventures of Tintin: Season One (due 11/22) and Sony's Rescue Me: The Sixth Season and The Final Season on DVD, as well as Warner's Mortal Kombat: Legacy on Blu-ray (11/8)...
Afternoon, folks! Well, I haven't had the chance to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes yet, but a lot of people I respect say it's pretty damn great. So it looks like there's a Tuesday night screening in my plans. It's nice to have an occasionally good film to look forward to for a change, given all the crap Hollywood has been releasing in recent months.
All right, first things first today: There appears to be an audio problem with Universal's new Conan the Barbarian Blu-ray. Essentially, the film's "remastered" 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack is missing several pieces of choral music in Basil Poledouris' score and select instruments are apparently inaudible in the mix. It also appears there may be occasionally inaudible sound effects. And the disc doesn't include the original mono mix, so you've no other option. I've alerted Universal to this and am told that they're looking into it. Hopefully, they'll correct the problem and issue replacement discs, because this is the kind of thing that drives diehard fans of a film absolutely crazy. We'll let you know as soon as we hear more.
In announcement news today, Sony has revealed that The Guns of Navarone is finally coming to Blu-ray Disc on 10/18 (SRP $19.99). It will be LOADED with extras, many of which were included on the previous DVD release. Among them are commentary with director J. Lee Thompson, commentary with film historian Stephen J. Rubin, the narration-free prologue, the roadshow intermission, the Memories of Navarone retrospective documentary and tons of featurettes and vintage newsreels (including The Greek Resistance, The Old School Wizardry of The Guns of Navarone, World War II and the Greek Islands, The Real World of Guns of Navarone, The Navarone Effect, Military Fact or Fiction, Forging the Guns of Navarone: Notes from the Set, Ironic Epic of Heroism, Epic Restoration, A Heroic Score, Message from Carl Foreman, Great Guns, No Visitors, Honeymoon on Rhodes and Two Girls On The Town). If you've never seen it, this is a great WWII film by the late J. Lee Thompson, whom I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing at some length way back in 2000 when the film was first released on DVD. We talked for over two hours about Guns, his own Planet of the Apes sequels and many of his other films. What a wonderful fellow he was!
Also today, Shout! Factory has announced that they're releasing The Adventures of Tintin: Season One on DVD only on 11/22 (SRP $19.93). All 13 episodes will be included. These are the classic animated episodes adapted from the original graphic novels by the late artist Hergé. The episodes have never been released in the States before. As you'd expect, the release is timed to take advantage of the upcoming Tintin feature film from Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson.
Meanwhile, Synapse Films is going to be releasing James Glickenhaus' brutal The Exterminator: Director's Cut (104 minutes) on Blu-ray/DVD Combo on 9/13 (SRP $29.95). Extras will include a newly-discovered original stereo audio mix, audio commentary, the trailer and TV spots.
Salient Media will release the Sion Sono horror film Cold Fish on DVD on 8/23.
And MPI and Dark Sky Films will release Norwegian Ninja on DVD only on 8/30 (SRP $24.98). Extras will include featurettes, deleted scenes and more. Gotta say, I love the cover art...
As you can see, we also included the Blu-ray cover for Lionsgate's Red State (due 10/18) and Eagle Rock's Peter Gabriel: New Blood - Live in London. New Blood will be available on Blu-ray 3D Combo, Blu-ray and DVD formats on 10/25 (SRP $34.98, $19.98 and $14.98). There will also be a limited edition version with a photo book and a bonus CD.
In other news today, this is kind of cool: Fox is working with Seth MacFarlane and Carl Sagan's widow, Ann Druyan, to produce a new updated, 13-episode version of Cosmos that would star astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. And it would actually air on Fox. I give the network a lot of credit for trying this, given that it's something you'd typically find on Discovery Channel instead and so might be tough in the ratings. Credit to Seth MacFarlane too - this isn't usually his bailiwick either. I'm looking forward to it.
Here's something interesting: Samsung, Sony and Panasonic have finally decided to create a new "standard" for active shutter 3D glasses so that ALL the active 3D glasses are compatible across various manufacturers' 3DTV displays. Let me just say the obvious here. First, good. Second, about time! Maybe this is something they should have done right from the start? We've been saying since Day One of Blu-ray 3D and 3DTV that a big problem is that the glasses are way too fragile, way too expensive and when you buy a 3DTV display, you're stuck with whatever that company provides in the way of glasses. A cross-manufacturer standard from the get-go would have encouraged 3rd party accessory companies to jump in to help make the glasses cheaper, sturdier and better. File this in the category of 'Better Late Than Never' I guess.
Finally, I wanted acknowledge the passing of someone I've known in the home video industry for many years and liked a great deal. Her name is Maria La Magra. I first met Maria when she was the VP of home video publicity for MCA/Universal, a position she held for 11 years. She also worked with Trimark and Embassy Home Entertainment before that. Later she worked as an independent public relations consultant for Disney and other companies. I've spoken with Maria so many times (by phone and in person) over the years I can't even count them. Every time I saw her at various industry events and conferences, she made a point to come over and say hello... catch up on things. She passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer, with her family at her side. I want to send my very best to them and to her other friends. Maria was really a wonderful person and she'll be missed. T.K. over at Home Media has more here.
All right, we've got a couple of interesting things for you guys to chew on today.
First, the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) has just issued their Mid-Year 2011 Home Entertainment Report. Some of the highlights, quoted from their own materials:
"• Higher margin products like Blu-ray, electronic sell-through and VOD are all in growth modes, with spending on Blu-ray up more than 10 percent, electronic sell-through up four percent, and VOD up four percent over the same period last year. In total, digital transactions were up more than five percent over a year earlier.
• While first quarter 2011 home entertainment spending was down 6.4 percent, second quarter spending was down only 3.6 percent, which is an especially impressive improvement considering the absence of Avatar, and a further indication of stabilization.
• Meanwhile, with many Blu-ray Disc players now affordably priced at or below $100 and built for versatility so that they play existing DVDs and stream content, more homes than ever are now Blu-ray ready.
• In the second quarter, the number of Blu-ray homes grew 16 percent over 2010 (inclusive of BD set-tops, PS3s and HTiBs,) bringing the total household penetration of all Blu-ray compatible devices to more than 31.6 million U.S. homes. This makes Blu-ray one of the fastest-growing new technologies in the home entertainment industry.
• Further, 4.7 million HDTVs were sold to U.S. consumers in second quarter 2011. While flat over the first half last year, HDTV penetration to date is now at more than 66.8 million U.S. households.
• The industry continues to manage the changes occurring in the marketplace and consumers can expect to see a number of initiatives, including Ultra Violet and Disney Studio All Access, along with applications that have yet to be announced from retailers, etailers as well as other studios in the coming year designed to improve the digital experience and increase the value of ownership.
• With the enormous slate of theatrical blockbusters coming to home entertainment in the third and fourth quarters, including Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The Hangover Part II, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Fast Five, the industry is extremely optimistic about the second half of the year."
Interesting, at least for purposes of discussion. Clearly, the overall home video industry is still struggling, especially on the DVD front. However, it's worth nothing again something we reported post-Comic-Con from WHV's George Feltenstein, which is that while catalog sales are down, new release sales on Blu-ray are booming - some small silver lining in all this. In the end, the simple fact of the matter is that this is just a tough economic time, period, and that's impacting all sectors of the economy... including home media.
Some other release news today...
Shout! Factory will bow M.A.S.K.: The Complete Original Series for release as a 12-disc DVD box set next Tuesday (8/9), along with M.A.S.K. Volume One on DVD.
For those hardy few of you who are enjoying Blu-ray 3D, Disney has confirmed that they're releasing Bolt, Meet the Robinsons, Chicken Little and G-Force as Blu-ray 3D titles on 11/8. Also coming to Blu-ray 3D from the studio are Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (due 8/30), The Lion King: Diamond Edition and Beauty and the Beast (on 10/4) and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (on 10/18).
And Paramount and Comedy Central are releasing "Weird Al" Yankovic Live!: The Alpocalypse Tour on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/4.
That's really about it. Slow, slow news today in the Blu-ray/DVD world.
In any case, here's a little new cover art Paramount/C-Central's "Weird Al" Yankovic Live!: The Alpocalypse Tour, PBS's Ken Burns: Prohibition (due 10/4) and Disney's African Cats (also 10/4)...
Now then... go forth and enjoy some movies this weekend. Don't forget, Rise of the Planet of the Apes hits theatres today, and early reviews are that it's pretty good. Stay tuned!
Afternoon, folks! Hope you're all well today.
Matt and I had the chance to attend a live satellite-to-theatres event last night: A Q&A called Transcendent Man Live with futurist Ray Kurzweil. You can buy the Transcendent Man documentary on DVD now here, and you can actually purchase the film for streaming on the official website. It's pretty extraordinary. Both Matt and I were pretty floored by Ray's predictions for technology's impact on the human race over the next 30-50 years, but the guy's been right a LOT. And we both suspect he's right again now. Anyway, if you're interested in such things and you want to have your mind blown, I highly recommend watching the film. The singularity is near(er than ever)!
In news today, here's something exciting: A large portion of a believed lost Alfred Hitchcock feature film from 1923 has just been discovered in New Zealand! The New Zealand Film Archive (NZFA) and the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) have just revealed the discovery of The White Shadow - thought to be the earliest surviving feature film by Hitchcock. The first 3 reels of the 6-reel feature were found, and no other copy is known to exist. In addition: "More than 60 other titles were also identified, including the two-color Technicolor The Love Charm (1928), early narratives from pioneering woman directors Muriel Ostriche and Alice Guy, a 1920 dance demonstration by ballerina-choreographer Albertina Rasch, a tantalizing fragment from the Keystone Kops' lost slapstick comedy In the Clutches of the Gang (1914), and a number of other shorts and newsreel stories long unavailable in the United States. This final group of films will join the 75 discovered last year and now in the NFPF's preservation queue, thanks to private donations and the support of a Save America’s Treasures grant, funded by the National Park Service and the National Endowment for the Arts." Pretty cool. You can learn more here.
In other release news today, Warner Home Video and the BBC have set a Neverwhere: 15th Anniversary Edition DVD for release on 11/15 (SRP $19.98). Warner and the Cartoon Network have also set Thundercats: Season One - Book One for DVD release on 10/18 (SRP $19.97). This is new new animated series.
Well Go USA has set the Hong Kong action-thriller The Stool Pigeon for release as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and DVD on 9/27 (SRP $29.98 and $24.98).
Shout! Factory will release Webster: Season Three on DVD on 8/9.
Lionsgate will release Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Season 9 for DVD only release on 8/16.
Entertainment One will release Son of Morning (DVD), Born of Earth (DVD) and Sanctuary: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray and DVD) on 9/13.
Phase 4 Films will release House of Fallen on DVD only on 8/23.
And for U2 fans, the band has just revealed that a newly-remastered version of their Achtung Baby album will be released on CD on 10/31. There will be 5 different versions available, including two with 6 CDs and 4 DVDs (including the remastered Zooropa album as well), plus vinyl and more basic editions. Matt's got the whole scoop over at MusicTAP today.
For fans of legendary actress Lucille Ball, it will probably come as no surprise that this Saturday marks what would have been her 100th birthday.
Finally today, Warner Bros. has just released the first picture of Henry Cavill as Superman from the upcoming Zack Snyder reboot film. You can see it here on Yahoo Movies. Not sure how I personally feel about it, but it's sure to inspire discussion among fans.
Here's a look at the final cover art for Warner's Looney Tunes: Platinum Collection - Volume 1 (due 11/15), Criterion's Island of Lost Souls (10/25) and CBS/Paramount's Scrooge (10/11), all on Blu-ray...
All right, I said yesterday that we were going to post a few disc reviews here today, and so we have - 6 in all.
Enjoy... and back tomorrow with more news. Stay tuned!
First things first today: Our own Russell Hammond has posted the weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section, featuring all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and Video Game cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, you can help support our work here at The Bits by pre-ordering titles (or anything else) after clicking through to Amazon from our links, and we surely do appreciate it.
Now then, Universal has set Brett Ratner's The Family Man for Blu-ray/DVD Combo release (and DVD only re-release) on 10/11. All the previous DVD features will carry over. Also coming on 10/11 is the animated holiday title The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus on DVD only.
Warner and the BBC have set Doctor Who: The David Tennant Years for release as a massive, 26-disc DVD-only box set on 10/11 as well (SRP $199.98). Included will be Series Two, Three, Four, the Specials and the Animated Specials, plus all extras.
Sony has set Call Me Mrs. Miracle for DVD only release on 10/11 (SRP $22.99).
Fox has set The League: The Complete Season Two for Blu-ray and DVD release on 10/4 (SRP $29.98 and $34.99).
Here's cool news we've been waiting a while for: Lionsgate has revealed that Francis Ford Coppola's sonic thriller The Conversation will finally arrive on Blu-ray Disc on 10/25 (SRP $24.99). Extras will include "never-before-seen screen tests, an on-location retrospective featurette, archival audio, all-new interviews with Coppola and composer David Shire as well as archival footage, audio commentaries, a "making of" featurette, short film, marketing gallery and trailer." Count us in! This is a great film if you haven't seen it before.
Lionsgate has announced that they're releasing Kevin Smith's Red State on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/18 (SRP $29.99 and $27.98). Extras will include The Making of Red State documentary, audio commentary with director Kevin Smith, a "Sundance speech" with introduction by Smith, the Sundance ending, and deleted scenes and a poster gallery, both with introduction by Smith. Looking forward to seeing this one.
Lionsgate has also set The People vs. George Lucas for DVD release on 9/27 and Mothman for DVD release on 10/25.
Blue Underground has moved the street date for Torso on Blu-ray to 9/27. Also, The 10th Victim on Blu is now due on 9/13. Update your plans accordingly.
And Image Entertainment has announced more Blu-ray titles for release in November, including Phantom of the Opera (1925 - Silent) on 11/1, the Sony titles To Die For, The Fisher King, The Collector, Absence of Malice and The River Why on 11/8, and Chillerama: Unrated on 11/29.
Image has also set The Dick Van Dyke Show: 50th Anniversary Edition Fan Favorites for DVD release on 9/20, including 20 all-time favorite episodes, the original pilot, interviews with the cast and crew, a behind-the-scenes featurette, rare rehearsal footage and more.
Also today, Panasonic has just unveiled their first active shutter 3D home theatre projector, the PT-AE7000 3D (SRP $3,499), due in September. More here at EngadgetHD.
Here's a look at the BD cover artwork for Paramount's Footloose (due 9/27), Lionsgate's The Conversation, Kino Lorber's The Robber (10/18), Image's To Die For and The Fisher King and Lionsgate's The People vs. George Lucas on DVD...
Back tomorrow with some new disc reviews. Stay tuned...