Today's update is going to be a little light, because we know that most
of you (here in the States at least) have the day off in honor of the
long Independence Day weekend (and we don't mean the movie about alien
invasion). But we do have a few tidbits for you, so listen up.
In last week's issue of Video Store
magazine, Warner Bros. began their pre-VSDA advertising blitz, with a
small list of titles to expect from them on VHS and DVD in the coming
months. The list includes Any Given Sunday,
Battlefield Earth, Final
Love and Basketball and Ready
to Rumble. I don't know why anyone would want the god-awful
Battlefield Earth, but Frequency
was actually a pretty cool little B-movie. In any case, we've got a look
at the artwork for Ready to Rumble
for you today...
Speaking of VSDA, the annual Video Software Dealers Convention runs
this weekend in Las Vegas. Several months ago, your faithful editor was
asked to be a judge for the show's DVD Festival Awards and, as always,
The Digital Bits will be there to
cover the action. We'll run an update on the news developments following
the show, and we'll have our usual picture pages as well. So stay tuned
Some of the video industry trades are claiming that, in addition to the
2-disc and 3-disc versions which include the original Toy
Story, Toy Story 2 will
be available as a standard Gold Collection title on October 17th for an
SRP of $26.99. Makes sense to me. Expect the studio to finally crow
officially about this title at VSDA.
Artisan Entertainment is going to be debuting the first in a series of
Little Rascals DVDs on August 15th
(in conjunction with Hallmark and FHE). The first DVD will SRP for
$14.98 (very cool!) and will include eight episodes (basically the
complete contents of Volume 1 & 2 of their 10 volume VHS series).
Look for more episodes to follow. I can't wait - I'm a big fan.
Paramount's Nashville DVD has
been delayed until August 15th to allow more time for asset preparation.
We've been getting a lot of questions about Universal's upcoming DVD
releases of Jurassic Park and Jurassic
Park 2 (street date October 10th). Specifically, people want
to know if there will be DTS versions. The answer to that is YES. You'll
be able to buy the standard collector's editions of each, the
DTS-flavor collector's editions of each, the 2-disc set
(of the non-DTS versions) and finally, the Deluxe Oversized Limited
Collector's Edition (with the non-DTS DVDs, soundtracks CDs, a
Senitype and a certificate of authenticity). Make sense?
As many of you know, Buena Vista is going to be releasing a Scream
Trilogy DVD Boxed Set later this year. The 4 disc set will
include all three of the films in the series, including the previously
released Scream: Collector's Edition
and Scream 3: Collector's Edition.
But surprise - the set will also include a never-before-released Scream
2: Collector's Edition, which will be available exclusively
in this set. And the set's 4th disc will include lots more extras not
available elsewhere, such as outtakes from the original Scream,
"The Cutting Room" which allows viewers to edit their own
scenes together, screen test footage, Sunrise Studios trailers (of the
Stab films, as seen in the Scream
movies), a trivia game, screenplays and more. There's no word yet on a
street date or an SRP, but look for such to be announced soon.
Finally today, we've updated our
Top 100 Films on DVD list to include some new titles we've
been told are finally in production for DVD.
There will be no post tomorrow, due to the holiday. But we'll be back
Wednesday with some goodies, so stay tuned...!
(LATE UPDATE - 6/30/00 - 2:45 PM PDT)
Ahhhh... we couldn't resist. Here's a cool way to kick off the holiday
weekend - we've just posted our sneak peek review of Paramount's
Trek II: The Wrath of Khan DVD! Have any of you out there been
waiting for this disc as long as I have? Well, it isn't exactly loaded
edition, but I think you'll still be pretty happy. FYI, the disc streets
on July 11th. Shout it with me now: "KKHHAAANNNNN!!!"
Have a great weekend!
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/30/00 - 9:15 AM PDT)
Well, old man Doogan survived his birthday, and even managed to squeeze
in some time in his busy day to hang with our friend Lloyd Kaufman from
Troma. By the way - if you Troma guys are reading this, we're dying to
get a sneak peek at The Toxic Avenger 4:
Citizen Toxie. I mean... we do have
in the flick, after all. Well... hopefully. That is, if we didn't
get edited out or anything. Send us a VHS screener, would ya?!
We've got some cool news in today's edition of
Rumor Mill, including updates on The
Godfather, Star Trek: The Motion
Picture and Pitch Black.
We've also got word on the DVD release of a new favorite of ours, Six
Days in Roswell. Don't miss it!
Speaking of Star Trek,
Paramount's informed us that they will be holding a special disc signing
event with Ricardo Montalban himself - Kahn from Star
Trek II! The event will take place at Sam Goody in the
Universal City Walk (1000 Universal Center Drive, Universal City, CA) on
Tuesday, July 11th from 7-9 PM. That's the day Star
Trek II will arrive on DVD, so there will be plenty of copies
on hand for purchase. This should be a fun event, so if you're in the
area, you might want to drop on by.
Finally today, we figured you'd like a look at the DVD packaging for
Buena Vista's upcoming Mission to Mars.
And here's a look at the poster art for Six
Days in Roswell as well (the DVD may vary from this, but you
get the idea)...
Have a great holiday weekend, and stay tuned...!
Yes... it's our own Todd Doogan's birthday today, and you just might
see him spending it at DragonCon in Atlanta. Todd's damn near 30 now -
gettin' to be an old man like me. So if you're at the show, just look
for an old guy with a cane in one hand and a bootleg VHS copy of the "special
director's cut" of Killer Klowns from
Outer Space in the other. You can run up and say hello
(you'll have to shout though, so he can hear you), or... you can send
him a nice birthday e-mail:
Now then... we're hearing that Oliver Stone's Any
Given Sunday should hit DVD day-and-date on September 5th
according to this story on Stone by Variety's Army Archerd,
the director has been hard at work on that DVD boxed set of all his
films we mentioned
back in the Rumor Mill. Word is that Warren Lieberfarb
himself is responsible for the package, and that it will street on
November 21st. You definitely want to check the article out - it lists
some of the cool features that will be in the set.
Finally today, Image
Entertainment's updated their
News page again with more new titles, including High
Fidelity, Mission to Mars: SE,
the Toy Story discs, Brian's
Song, Titus: SE, Supernova:
SE and more. Don't miss it!
(LATE UPDATE - 6/28/00 - 1:45 PM PDT)
Has Buena Vista become the Most Puzzling Studio doing DVD today? Todd's
checked in with his research into this whole Princess
Mononoke DVD controversy, and you will absolutely want to
read what he has to say on the subject:
Well, this is a fine mess. Princess Mononoke
is one of those wacky DVD titles that got moved around, cancelled,
re-announced as a VHS rental title ONLY... and then only recently
re-announced for DVD on August 29th. Now, that's good news for anime and
general film fans. This Miramax/Buena Vista title is an eagerly awaited
masterpiece that a great many of us just WANT in our collections. But
anime fans are traditionally purists. We're never happy with dubbed
films - we want the original Japanese soundtrack and subtitles first and
dubbing last. Problem is, word on the street is there will be ONLY an
English dubbed (and also a bonus French dubbed) soundtrack.
Unbelievable! Traitorous! Off-with Disney's head! These are some of the
exclamations that have crossed our desks today. I say... hold on,
smokey! There's more to this story. So let's check this out. I called
Buena Vista today and found out that, although they do show an August
29th release date for the title, there has been no official announcement
on Mononoke. That could mean one
of three things. We could get an official announcement and the title
will come out, as what most of us will justifiably call a "half-assed"
disc. Or, it could get cancelled again, as it has been three or four
times prior to this furor. Or, Buena Vista could stand back and listen
to the fans, and go ahead and release the original Japanese track (and
all this will be moot). Let's take a look at why I think we're going to
get a half-assed release.
First, Princess Mononoke is a
licensed title from Studio Ghibli. The DVD has not been released yet in
Japan, and so this will be the first release of the film onto the format
anywhere. If it doesn't have a Japanese track, that will limit import
buying into Japan. If it does, then the Japanese licensor (in this case,
Buena Vista Japan) will loose a lot of money. So you've got that going
Second, Disney never negotiated for DVD rights for the films licensed
from Studio Ghibli. The deal for Mononoke
was signed when DVD (at least to Disney) was either at worst a flash in
the pan, or at best another laserdisc. It's only now that they are going
back and re-negotiating for the DVD rights to the Studio Ghibli films.
So it's not a guarantee that we'll see any more of these films on DVD
from them. We may just have to be happy with whatever we get.
There is hope though - Disney may be interested in hearing from you.
There's a message (off of the Nausicaa.net
site that broke this story and caused all the hub-bub) which lists the
steps you can take to tell Disney you don't want just the dubbed DVD,
but you also want a subtitled with original Japanese audio version.
here to this link and do what these guys say if you want to be heard.
You can make a difference. But if it doesn't work, don't let that deter
you from seeing Princess Mononoke
in the first place. It's a remarkable film.
I'm sort of torn here. Home video entertainment is a sticky thing. You
have to keep in mind that this film was theatrically released here in
the States in a dubbed form, so this non-Japanese DVD will represent the
true form of the film in Region 1. In the past, we would have been happy
with that, and then later gone to Japan and imported their DVD version
(that we know is forthcoming) so we can have the original Japanese
audio. This idea that "we get what we want, when we want it"
from movies on home video is a new one. Buena Vista IS doing a good
thing by even just exposing us to some of these films. Sure, I
absolutely want to enjoy the film in its original form, but I'm not
going to cry "Boycott Disney!" because I didn't get my way.
But as a purist, I can't help but be upset. It's a sticky issue.
But that ain't all of it. Hell... wait until you find out that the DVD
is going to have hardly any extras on it (compared to the Japanese
laserdisc). Unofficially announced are a trailer and an American "making-of"
featurette. But in Japan, there was a 7-hour, behind-the-scenes trilogy
of documentaries (The Making of Mononoke Hime)
on the film, that was separately released on video. That's not including
the 2 featurettes and a series of trailers and TV spots that were on the
laserdisc. And you wanna know the best part? That 7-hour,
behind-the-scenes thing? It was released by Buena Vista Japan. So when
you send those comments to Buena Vista, while you're asking for the
original soundtrack, be sure to ask 'em for The
Making of Mononoke Hime too (order number: VWSZ-8016).
It doesn't get to be much more of a mess than this...
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/28/00 - Noon PDT)
As promised, we've got something very special for you today. If you're
a fan of classic film, it's almost impossible not to admire the great
Lon Chaney. From his roles as the title characters in Phantom
of the Opera and The Hunchback on
Notre Dame to his work in Outside
the Law and Shadows
(just released on DVD by Image), Chaney was simply a master at changing
his appearance on film. A self-taught make-up expert as well as a truly
great actor, his talents allowed him to disappear into his roles with
ease. Our own Todd Doogan recently spoke with author and Chaney
historian Michael F. Blake, himself a talented make-up expert. In their
conversation, they talk about Chaney as an actor and make-up artist, and
also touch upon the subjects of film preservation and race controversies
in early Hollywood film. It's a great read. So with that, we give you
Man Behind the Man of 1,000 Faces: A Conversation with Lon Chaney
historian Michael F. Blake.
In other news today, we've got more upcoming title street dates listed
Rumor Mill. And The Digital Bits
has learned that Buena Vista and Miramax's upcoming DVD release of Princess
Mononoke, which streets on August 29th, is going to include
only a 5.1 English-dubbed soundtrack (instead of also including the
original Japanese track with optional English subtitles, as most anime
fans would prefer). We're doing some digging on this, and we'll probably
have more for you tomorrow.
(LATE UPDATE - 6/27/00 - Noon PDT)
Todd and I have been working on a series of special feature stories and
interviews over the last couple of weeks, and we're going to post the
first one tomorrow morning. It's a conversation with Michael F. Blake,
who happens to be the world's foremost scholar on screen great Lon
Chaney. Michael has written no less than three books on the man, his
make-up and his films. He's also a talented make-up artist in his own
right, with films like Star Trek VI
and ID4 to his credit. We think
you'll find it very interesting, and well worth reading. So look for
The Man Behind the Man of 1,000 Faces
And to get you primed for that, Todd's reviewed Image's new
the Law/Shadows double feature disc - a pair of classic, but
often overlooked, performances by Lon Chaney.
Remember that tip we posted in
Rumor Mill regarding Fantasia 2000
coming to DVD this fall? Well,
to Variety, the film is expected to return for a limited
engagement in IMAX theaters in August - our info is to look for the DVD
shortly after that.
So what do you do if you're a scientist and you've just mapped the
entire human genome? Well, you store it all on a DVD. At least you
could, anyway, according to Dr. Francis Collins, head of the U.S.
National Human Genome Research Institute. There's so much information in
the human genome that it would fill more than 300 telephone books, but
you could squeeze all the data onto a single DVD disc. Someday, we might
all find ourselves walking around with a disc containing our entire
personal DNA map.
can read the whole story here. That human genome thing, by the
way? That's huge. It's probably the biggest scientific achievement in
the history of medicine. You should look into it, cause it's gonna have
a major impact on health care in the next few years. See how I managed
to squeeze DVD in there?
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/27/00 - 2 AM PDT)
Last night we kicked off our new
with the theme of Movie Taglines. You've got to guess the name of the
film, based on one of its taglines - not so hard, is it? One winner will
take home 10 DVDs of their choice (up to $39.95 each) courtesy of
and eleven more will win a runner-up prize as well thanks to our friends
Displays! We'll run the contest until 7 PM PDT on Wednesday,
July 5th. You don't even have to guess ALL the taglines to win - just 10
of 17. So what are you waiting for?
In other news this morning, we thought you might like to know that
shooting on Star Wars: Episode II
began yesterday in Australia. And despite all the film work, DVD
apparently isn't far from director George Lucas' mind. Here's his quote
on the first day of filming: "It's hard for
me to remember if I'm still shooting Episode I, the Special Edition, the
DVD, or Episode II." Hhhmmmm... so that means he HAS been
working on the DVD. Not that we'll likely see it until 2001 at the
earliest, but still.... Anyway, you can click on over to
Wars.com for more on Day One of filming. Who's the cat that
won't cop out when there's Sith Lords all about? Mace! You damn right.
Now get yo ass in balance with the Force, punk!
Okay... bad Shaft reference.
Couldn't resist. Back later...
We've got more
DVD Artwork for you to take a gander at today, and we had to
add a 10th page to make room for it! Among the titles we'll show you are
Any Given Sunday, Time
Machine, Secret of Roan Inish,
Reindeer Games, Gia,
Room With a View, 7
Faces of Dr. Lao and more. We also figured you might enjoy a
look at the slipcase art for Fox's upcoming Planet
of the Apes: The Evolution and The
In other site news, we've updated our authorized mirror copy of
Official DVD FAQ to the most recent version (June 16th).
But be patient - it's a BIG file (400k), so it will take time to
We've also posted
official transcript of an online chat with New Line Home Video,
held recently over at the
Theater Forum. There's some word on a few upcoming titles, so you
should definitely give it a scan. Thanks to Ron Epstein for the text!
We'll be back with the start of our next Trivia
Contest in a few hours. Stay tuned!
Ahh... a rare Saturday update of the Bits!
I just wanted to sneak in here early in the AM to let you all know that
Buena Vista has made their September titles (or at least some of them)
known. Look for Alien Visitors,
East is East, The
Little Mermaid II, High Fidelity,
Mission to Mars and Stiff
Upper Lips (with more titles TBA).
Enjoy the weekend...!
DVD may have just gotten an inadvertent shot in the arm. Fox CEO Bill
Mechanic yesterday resigned from his position at the studio to start his
own production company. Mechanic hasn't exactly been a friend to our
favorite format, resisting the release of Fox titles on DVD from Day One
and often publicly saying that Digital VHS was "the future" of
home entertainment (as opposed to DVD). Some of you may remember early
on that Mechanic was often the guy on the other side of the DVD debate
with Warner's Warren Lieberfarb. And when Fox made an early move to
support Divx instead of DVD... that was Mechanic's doing. The staff of
The Digital Bits hopes the
executive has a bright and prosperous future in his new endeavors... and
has absolutely NOTHING to do with DVD again. And here's to hoping that
the terrific DVD work being done over at Fox now continues for a long
time to come.
can read the press release here.
Moving on (no pun intended), we get a lot of e-mails from readers who
are requesting the release of more television series on the DVD format.
Certainly, here in the States, consumers are getting a bit short-changed
in terms of TV on DVD. There's Star Trek
and The X-Files to be sure, as
well as episodes of The Twilight Zone.
The Simpsons is on the way, as is
Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And
there's one disc of Stargate: SG1
episodes from MGM. But there's not much else. Well, it may surprise you
to learn that in other regions (DVD regions that is), you can get quite
a lot of TV on DVD.
So what do I mean by quite a lot? Well, I personally have ordered
almost the first entire season of SciFi's Farscape
on DVD. Yes... I have an all region player, which will convert PAL
format for NTSC viewing. You can easily and affordably buy them on the
Net - both the discs and the players. I'm not going to start reviewing
non-Region 1 titles, but I'm sure glad I have access to them. I mean,
these Farscape discs are extremely
cool! Also available elsewhere in the world on DVD are seasons 1-5 of
Friends, more episodes of Stargate:
SG1 and other good (and much wanted) series.
The reason I mention this, is not so much because I'd like to see U.S.
consumers buying these discs, and all region players, en masse. On the
contrary, I'd like to see the American studios get off their butts and
release more TV on DVD here in the States. I don't know how many times
I've heard studio execs say, "Well... we just don't think TV stuff
is gonna sell on DVD right now." You won't know until you try,
folks. I mean, I don't expect people are gonna rush out to buy The
Six Million Dollar Man on DVD or anything, but what about
Babylon 5, Stargate:
SG1 and Futurama? There
are LOTS of shows that would sell well on disc if you released them
affordably and promoted them. Sure, if you charged $30 a disc for 2
episodes, nothing but Trek is
gonna sell. But I gladly paid about $30 a piece for 2-disc sets of Farscape
(with 4-5 episodes a set, and some extras). Screw these exclusive
syndication deals with cable companies (which is what I expect prevents
more TV from appearing on disc). The DVD audience is getting bigger and
much more diverse in their tastes. It's time to start expanding the
kinds of titles that are available to accommodate that fact.
Okay, that's my rant for today. But you studio types out there should
take heed (and I know you read these pages regularly) - there's an
opportunity here to make some money on some of these shows. And there's
nothing like selling stuff that's just sitting in the vaults... right?
So did you hear they
may have discovered water on Mars? Now THAT'S cool. Just had to
get that in there. ;-)
Have a great weekend - see you Monday!
We've got a couple of new disc reviews for you today. Brad Pilcher's
Heights a spin, and Greg Suarez checks in with a look at
another recent Warner title,
In other news today,
a good wire story up on the Toy Story films coming to DVD,
by Scott Hettrick of Variety. It's
got a little more in the way of details on the contents of the 2 and
3-disc sets. I really can't tell you how excited I am about this - I'm a
big fan of these movies. You should see the 12" talking Buzz
Lightyear action figure I've got sitting here on my desk. "Buzz
Lightyear to Star Command... why don't they answer!" How cool is it
gonna be to get BOTH films on disc at the same time? Very. This DVD
release should be a lot of fun.
also a wire story on Men In Black's forthcoming release -
check it out.
We've got more information in
Rumor Mill today on upcoming titles, including Transformers:
The Movie, The Muppet Movie
and Fantasia 2000, so do check it
We've also updated the
DVD Player sales chart to include the first two weeks of June -
218,920 players sold into retail in just 2 weeks! All charts have been
We've been getting a lot of e-mail complaints about
for Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
Lots of people, it seems, would rather have the films' original poster
artwork on the DVD covers. I have to say that while I agree to a certain
extent (I always think poster art is best), I also think these new
covers will look pretty snazzy. What you can't tell by the pictures
you've seen is that each will have a metallic foil appearance (a la Jaws),
Jurassic Park in gold and The
Lost World in silver. In case, don't expect 'em to change.
Remember the good old days of Divx? Well,
City has finally revealed the total financial hit they took for
the failed format - $130 million! Damn! And just think - if they'd
listened to us, they could have saved a LOT of bread.
Media has a set of 4 classic Beatles films coming to DVD as a
special collector's set: Help!,
Magical Mystery Tour, You
Can't Do That (The Making of A Hard Day's Night) and The
First U.S. Visit. Look for them on August 8th, with
fully-restored prints and an SRP of $79.98.
And here's a bit of ironic news for you - there's a new piece of
authorized, legal software from InterVideo that will allow users of the
Linux operating system to play DVD movies on their computers. As you may
remember, the lack of a Linux player is what resulted in the creation of
the DeCSS - the so-called DVD hack - and started the whole piracy
controversy, along with a myriad of legal battles. How's that for
shutting the barn door after the cow's strolled out?
can read the details here.
Finally today, we've got a little sneak peek at the menu screens for
Synapse's upcoming The Brain that Wouldn't
Die: Special Edition, which is expected on July 25th. We've
also got cover artwork for it too (below).
Have we got some cool stuff for you today! First of all, we've got
another pair of DVD reviews - Columbia TriStar's
Interrupted and Image's terrific release of Krzystof
Decalogue (now if we could just get his Three
Colors Trilogy: Blue, White
and Red from Buena Vista...).
But that ain't all, folks! We've also got a massive new
Mill update, with TONS of street dates on upcoming titles
(some you may know... and several you don't). Among the dates our
sources have managed to sniff out are Rocky
Horror Picture Show, The Time
Machine, Repo Man, American
Psycho, Tom Thumb, Batman
Beyond: Return of the Joker, The
Seven Faces of Dr. Lao and more. And we've officially
confirmed the street dates for those 2-disc and 3-disc versions of Toy
Story and Toy Story 2.
Just to make sure you understand, BOTH films will be available in each
set, with the more expensive set including a 3rd disc of extras. Anyway,
don't miss the update!
(LATE UPDATE - 6/19/00 - 10 PM PDT)
Congrats to all you Lakers fans out there - your team managed to squeak
out a Game 6 win to take the NBA Championship. I took some time out to
watch the game, and then it's back to work. I've just posted Todd
Doogan's reviews of the official bad-ass trilogy:
Big Score! and
in Africa. Can you dig it? And there's more to come in a few
hours, so stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/19/00 - Noon PDT)
Well, by now I hope you've all heard the great news about Toy
Story AND Toy Story 2
coming to DVD in October. There's been no official word, but if the
information pans out, they should be very cool releases. I must say
though, I'm getting more and more disappointed with Disney DVD. I
recently looked at their Pocahontas
disc, which definitely could have looked and sounded better. And the
1.66:1 widescreen film isn't anamorphic either. Judging by the level of
noise in the picture, I'd have to say that it's probably a recycled
laserdisc transfer. Plus there's the usual series of irritating
commercials leading in to the film. I'm surprised Disney isn't labeling
those as a feature on the back of the packaging: "Special Bonus
Feature: Commercials!" You know, it almost makes me wonder if
Disney isn't putting their best effort into their DVDs on purpose -
Michael Eisner's recent comments to Congress, in which he says the
studio may not release Snow White
on DVD in 2001 as planned due to the threat of digital piracy. You'd
like to think a studio would show a little more effort - it's quality,
not quantity, that counts. But even the studio's contacts with the media
have fallen by the wayside recently, as if they just have no interest in
promoting their product. Whatever the case is, the folks at Disney DVD
need to get their act together and fast.
Speaking of Disney's "quantity",
Entertainment has also posted another large update to their
News Page with upcoming title announcements, including The
Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, The
Black Cauldron, James and the
Giant Peach, Little Mermaid 2:
Return to the Sea, Reindeer Games:
Special Edition, The Tigger Movie,
The Naked Gun 1-3, The
Next Best Thing, Shane: Special
Edition, Jurassic Park
and The Lost World and more.
Finally this morning, we've been hearing from several people for whom
the memory increase to Mac Internet Explorer 5 didn't work, although for
some it did. We've confirmed that it's definitely a problem with the
browser, which just doesn't seem to like large gif files. In any case,
we're still working on it, rest assured.
We'll be back later with some reviews, so stay tuned...
Let's get the most interesting bit of information out of the way first.
We thought you might like to know that Express.com
has preorder pages setup for the following upcoming DVD title entries:
Story/Toy Story 2 (2-disc set) - SRP $39.99 - anamorphic
widescreen (1.77:1) & full frame, Dolby Digital 5.1, 2 dual-layered
discs, outtakes, scene access, interactive games, 173 minutes, street
date: October 17th
Story/Toy Story 2: The Ultimate Toy Box (3-disc Collector's Set)
- SRP $69.99 - anamorphic widescreen (1.77:1) & full frame, Dolby
Digital 5.1, 3 dual-layered discs, interviews, outtakes, scene access,
isolated film scores, deleted scenes, documentaries, audio commentary,
173 minutes, street date: October 17th
How's that for cool? Also today, I think we MAY have found a temporary
solution for those of you who are having problems with Internet Explorer
5 for Mac. As we reported yesterday, it appears that the browser has
trouble loading large gif files. But not everyone is having the problem.
This may be why - the default memory amount allocated to IE 5 upon
installation is 4096k. This is not enough for all applications, and will
occasionally cause browser crashes when loading large image files. What
you need to do, is to go into your browser's settings and change the
memory allocation to at least 8192k. This solution has been tested by a
number of readers, who have found it to work fairly well. It may not be
the final solution - there still seems to be a bug in the IE5 for Mac
software. But, this may work in the meantime.
Please try this solution, and let me know if it works. Thanks! And have
a great weekend!
(LATE UPDATE - 6/16/00 - 1:30 PM PDT)
Okay... first of all, let's announce the winners of our
Trivia Contest. This has been, by FAR, the most successful
contest we've run to date here at the Bits.
We had some 3,678 entries in all! Guess you people like your Bond.
Thanks to MGM and everyone who played. And congratulations to the
Grand Prize Winner:
Marc Hertzler - Tiverton, RI
Jim Gutierrez - Queens Village, NY
Robert Ruitenberg - Beuningen, The Netherlands
Kim Reiter - Goldsboro, NC
Antti Lehtinen - Espoo, Finland
You can click on over to the
to see the answers.
Now then... we seem to have located the Mac IE 5 problem, and it's
ENTIRELY a problem with the browser itself. It seems that it doesn't
like large .gif files. We've had a lot of people test the links below,
and only the test pages with the Button Bar image are causing problems.
In particular, BOTH of the first two test pages (the bar alone with no
fine. I can only surmise that the bigger the graphic is in size, the
more likely it is to piss of the browser. That would explain why The
Digital Bits has been having this problem while other sites
are less prone to it (although we have found a few other sites with the
problem too) - our entire button bar is one large transparent .gif. One
interesting thing that we've discovered, is that people report having
the problem with the crash on the Button Bar graphic, EVEN when they go
into their browser's preferences and turn the graphics off. I've created
a last series of test pages, with the Button Bar as a normal gif and one
with it as a transparent gif (in both progressive and non-progressive
scanning types) - let's see if we can see what aspect of the gif file
causes the problem. Try loading these pages and let me know what
Bar standard gif only
Bar standard gif only (progressively scanned)
Bar transparent gif only
Bar transparent gif only (progressively scanned)
As for the rest of you, thanks for your patience!
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/16/00 - 1:30 AM PDT)
Okay... we could use your help here today. As many of you know, SOME
readers who view this page using Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 for Mac
have been having problems with the site crashing their browser. Other
readers using the same browser say they're having no problems at all. So
for those of you who HAVE been experiencing problems, we need your help
getting to the bottom of things. We've been working for weeks to uncover
the cause of the trouble, which has definitely been determined to be an
issue with the browser. Apparently, it chokes on certain pieces of HTML
which bit of code in use here at the Bits
the browser doesn't like. We've set up some test pages, each with an
isolated "chunk" of code from this site. We'd appreciate it if
those of you who have been experiencing problems could try loading each
page, and then let us know which one crashes your browser. Please e-mail
me at this address with the information:
We're gonna get to the bottom of this if it kills us. Thanks for the
help. Here are the links:
Bar transparent gif only
Bar transparent gif only (progressively scanned)
Bar with client side image map only
Bar with server side image map only
Bar with client and server side image maps only
Bar with client and server side image maps only (alternate code)
script #1 only
script #2 only
transparent gif only
We'll have our usual update posted later this morning, including the
announcement of the contest winner. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 6/15/00 - 6 PM PDT)
We've got something fun for you today - lots of
DVD cover art. And I mean LOTS of it - we're talking close to 100
new scans. We've got both Jurassic Park
films, The Big Blue, Fail
Safe, we've got all the upcoming Universal Monster DVDs, we
got Platoon, we got Batman
Beyond: Return of the Joker.... Hell, we've got damn near
everything we could think of or find that's available, and even stuff
that isn't! There's so much new stuff that we had to add two new pages
just to hold it all. Trust us... you don't want to miss it.
In other news, it looks like Paramount is gonna make all you Peanuts
fans go... well, nuts... this fall. They're releasing a trio of classic
adventures, starring Charlie Brown and company, on DVD on September
12th. The titles include It's the Great
Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and
A Charlie Brown Christmas. It
doesn't get any better than that. Each disc will SRP for $19.99. Each
disc will also include a short feature. The
Great Pumpkin will include You're
Not Elected Charlie Brown, Charlie
Brown Thanksgiving will include The
Mayflower Voyagers, and Charlie
Brown Christmas will have It's
Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown. All three will be in
their original full frame aspect ratio with mono audio, and will be
closed captioned. All three titles will also be available in a
three-pack collection (SRP $57.97). But that's not all - on the same
day, Paramount will also release the latest Peanuts
feature, It's the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown.
The disc will also SRP for $19.99 and will include 5.1 and mono audio,
Spanish subs and will be closed captioned. Now see... that just makes me
All right... we're gonna shift right from 5th gear into Reverse now -
kiss your transmission goodbye. Todd's got a good rant going today, and
I think it's well worth a read. For the record, I agree with him
entirely. Here goes...
If anyone checks out the June 12, 2000 issue of Video
Business magazine, you'll find a blurb "promoting"
Synapse's upcoming release of Triumph of the
Will in the "Spotlight" section.
Although the article is light-hearted in tone, it does a great
disservice to Synapse by making the release look like exploitation
cinema. The article begins horribly enough: "Synapse Releases Nazi
Film" which is first of all insensitive and then very unnecessary.
Don and the guys over at Synapse have been very sensitive about the
release of this film, going as far as donating a portion of the proceeds
to National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. - that's not
The history of Triumph of the Will
is a tortuous and horrifying one, but the film remains one of the most
important films in which a moment in history was captured. If Synapse
was releasing this film for any reason other than preservation, I'd be
the first person calling them on the carpet. But that's what this disc
is all about - film preservation and historical documentation. Leading
film preservationist Robert Harris (restorer of Rear
Window, Vertigo and
Lawrence of Arabia) has donated
his personally-restored print of the film to Synapse, to enable the best
version of this film for DVD mastering. They are inviting a film
historian to provide the commentary for the release, to shed light on
the motivations of the time. And they are going out of their way to
guarantee we get the best video and audio quality on DVD by making this
their first dual-layered release. This is going to be a film about
heritage and history, and the farthest thing this disc is about is
exploitation. I for one applaud Don, Jerry, Bob and company for having
the courage to try and preserve this film on DVD. We all knew they'd
come under fire because of misinformation, and that's why I'm taking the
time to speak up for them.
I really hope that Video Business
updates their article with more information, because the Triumph
disc is more than just a "Nazi Film." It's a heavy club to the
head of every person who's ever had hate in their hearts - people who
are in no short supply to this day. It's a flashlight into a world where
people think things could be better if someone else just wasn't around
anymore. Look to this film, and you'll see how beauty and dreams of
utopia can mask a monster waiting to strike. No one wants these things
to happen again, and so we must look to our history to learn from our
past mistakes. If anything, that's what this DVD is about - don't be
short-sighted about the facts. Film is powerful enough without
misinformation being bandied around. And it's a shame when such
important issues get boiled down into misleading headline blurbs.
Thanks, Todd. Well said. I haven't seen Triumph
of the Will since college, and I'm looking forward to this
disc. It's a shocking and powerful experience - I mean, this stuff was
real. I think it should be required viewing. There's some lessons to be
Okay - back to 5th again. In other news,
Entertainment's updated their
News page again, to mention lots more upcoming titles, including
The Omen Trilogy, the original
Doctor Dolittle, The
Fly and Return of the Fly
as well as the 1980s remakes The Fly
and The Fly II, The
X-Files Season Two, Erin
Brockovich, 42nd Street,
The Unsinkable Molly Brown and
All right... reviews are on the way for tomorrow, including Warner's
Shaft. Can you dig it? And a last
reminder - you have until Midnight tonight to get your entries for the
in. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/15/00 - 12:30 AM PDT)
We'll have more to post later today, but before we do anything else, we
figured you'd appreciate this - your first look at the DVD cover art for
Universal's upcoming Jurassic Park
and The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Not a bad way to start the day, huh?
(LATE UPDATE - 6/14/00 - 11 PM PDT)
Da-dum... da-dum... wanna get an early look at your favorite shark
flick? Check out Todd Doogan's review of Universal's forthcoming
Anniversary Collector's Edition! The disc streets on July
11th, and we think you'll definitely want to add it to your movie shelf.
Isn't it great to have Spieberg on the DVD bandwagon? Jaws
coming out next month, Jurassic Park
on the way... all we need is Raiders,
Close Encounters and E.T.
and we'll really be set. Now if we could just get the guy to do a
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/14/00 - 3:30 PM PDT)
Boy... am I tired! I drove up to Dave's Video yesterday afternoon for
the Frank Darabont signing, thinking I would drop in and be home by 10
PM. Frank started signing at about 6:30 PM and he didn't finish until
well after Midnight... some 6 hours later! I have to tell you, though,
Frank was really terrific. He took the time to chat for a few minutes
with each person in line before he signed their DVDs and posters, giving
everyone there personal attention. And he refused to leave until
everyone in line had gotten an autograph.
When I had the chance to speak with him for a few minutes, I asked him
how he had met Steven King, and become involved in adapting his stories
for the screen. It turns out that, when he was 20, Darabont sent King a
letter asking for permission to adapt one of his short stories, The
Woman in the Room, as a film. King agreed and liked the
result so much that when Darabont asked to do Shawshank
Redemption, it took little convincing. King later came to
Darabont when it came time to do The Green
Mile, and is currently holding The
Mist for the director to do at some point in the future.
Peter Bracke from DVD
File was there and we hung out, talked with readers, chatted
with Warner & Dave's Video staffers at the event and basically
closed the joint down. That last group shot there was taken at 12:35 AM,
after the last disc had been signed. Do we look tired? Thanks to Frank,
Linda Lukas, Ronnie Sass and Carl Samrock and everyone at Dave's Video
for putting on a wonderful event. And on behalf of all of them, thanks
also to the many hundreds of fans who came out and waited patiently for
a chance to meet one of their favorite directors. It was truly a
Don't forget that we're down to one last day before the end of the
Contest - get your entries in quick! And while I was at Dave's
last night, I had Frank sign an extra DVD copy of The
Green Mile which we'll be giving away as a prize in an
Our Jaws review is coming later
this evening from Todd, and we've got lots more reviews done - just need
to be formatted and posted. Look for them over the next few days.
But today, we've got more
screen shots from upcoming Paramount discs, including Dead
Again, Shane, Harold
and Maude, Clue and
Where's Marlowe. We've also got
word that Fox may be getting into the DTS audio game soon - that's in
We've got a very special update for you today, folks! First of all,
we're very pleased to say that The Digital
Bits is now home to some 501 disc reviews. That's pretty
amazing, given how much other DVD coverage we do here at the site. We
crossed that number this morning, by posting reviews of
all 12 volumes of
Star Trek: The Original Series. And we've got more great
reviews in store for you tomorrow (including our look at Jaws).
We were planning to have Jaws up
today... but something cool came up that bumped it a day. So instead of
a shark, how about
exclusive first look at the menu screens from a whole mess of upcoming
Paramount DVDs? We've got Star Trek II,
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Searching
for Bobby Fischer, The Naked Gun
1-3 and Angela's Ashes!
And we'll have even more for you tomorrow!
The big DVD news for today is that Universal studios is finally
releasing Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park
and Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World
on DVD on October 10th. The discs will be available in Dolby Digital or
DTS 5.1 audio versions, and will SRP for $26.98 each. The discs will
also include access to a special live FX webcast (on location at ILM),
sneak previews of Jurassic Park III,
and a live webcast of JP III's
premiere. Jurassic Park will also
include The Making of Jurassic Park
documentary, video of pre-production meetings, Phil Tippett animatics,
storyboards and other photos, a dino encyclopedia and more. Jurassic
Park 2 will include the brand new Making
of the Lost World documentary, deleted scenes, production art
and more. There will also be 2 boxed sets of both DVDs, The
Jurassic Park/Lost World Deluxe Box Set (SRP $119.98
including the CD soundtracks, a senitype and certificate of
authenticity) and the Jurassic Park/Lost
World Collection (SRP $53.98, with both DVDs in a slipcase).
Can't wait to hear that T-Rex screaming in DTS sound in my home theater
- very cool!
It looks as if Reel.com's order fulfillment duties are going to be
taken over by Buy.com.
In fact, visitors to the Reel.com
website will be greeted by this pop-up message:
"Important message to Reel.com shoppers:
As of this week, Reel has entered into a strategic relationship with
Buy.com for the fulfillment of DVDs and videocassettes. Please feel free
to use the site as usual. You may notice reduced title availability for
the next few days, while we complete the transition. Reel will be
shipping all orders for movies that are available on June 12th,
including this week's pre-order titles. If you have ordered other movies
from Reel, you will be sent an e-mail further detailing your fulfillment
options which will be accomplished through our relationship with
Thank you for your patience and patronage! - The Reel.com Team"
Finally, we've got more upcoming DVD street dates listed in today's
Mill update, including Erin
Brockovich, Faraway, So Close
and the Stand By Me: Special Edition.
We've also got early word on Buckaroo Banzai
and Wings of Desire.
Our James Bond
Trivia Contest only has two days left - get those entries
in quick. We'll see some of you at Dave's Laser tonight for the Frank
Darabont signing. As for the rest of you... we'll catch you tomorrow.
You know... it's days like this that DVD-hounds like the staff here at
the Bits live for. ;-)
Well... it looks like Reel.com
is shutting down its online store. According to
newswire story over at Yahoo (via Reuters), the Reel.com website
will be maintained only as a content destination - you'll no longer be
able to buy movies from them. On the same day, a different note - Best
Buy has announced that they're getting into the e-commerce biz big time.
Yahoo (Reuters) report, you can now buy lots of cool items on
their site, Best
Buy.com, including DVDs, music CDs, digital cameras, TVs, DVD
players and other big ticket electronic devices. Ah, the ups and downs
of the Internet....
And now for a reminder - director Frank Darabont will be signing copies
of The Green Mile on DVD at Dave's
Video, The Laser Place in Studio City, CA tomorrow night. He'll be there
between 6:30 and 8:30 PM (PDT), and if you buy a copy of the disc
in-store, he'll sign it for you. A portion of the sales from the event
will go to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation. Dave's is
located at 12144 Ventura Blvd, in Studio City (just west of Laurel
Canyon). Some of the staff of The Digital
Bits will be on hand for the event, so we hope to see you
Finally, today happens to be Sarah's birthday. Sarah's our in-house
Trivia Contest guru and she's the
business end of the Bits too
(somebody's gotta mind the store while the rest of us get to review
movies and talk with directors and such!). In fact, if you dig her
contest work, drop her an e-mail
and let her know - she thrives on feedback. She also happens to be
married to the editor, and she's made me promise to take most of the day
off to celebrate with her. What... am I gonna say no? So from the rest
of the staff of the Bits, Happy
We'll be back tomorrow with some great reviews, including Jaws!