UPDATE - 9/18/00 - 3:15 PM PDT)
Okay... we've heard from Fox about their upcoming X-Men
DVD and the DTS issue. First of all, be assured that their position has
always been that video and audio quality supercedes any other
considerations when it comes to releasing their films on DVD. At the
same time, they also know that it's important to include supplemental
material on a DVD of a film as big as X-Men.
As we mentioned earlier this morning, the decision to drop the DTS
soundtrack was based upon the review of check discs to ensure quality.
With the two soundtracks included on the same special edition disc, the
video quality was noticably compromised, particularly in the darker
action sequences. Keep in mind that this is a single-disc release (this
is NOT a 2-disc set) and there's only so much room on a disc. The studio
regrets the need to omit the DTS track - they are aware that a lot of
you were looking forward to it, and they want you to know that the
decision wasn't made lightly. But the good news is that the final disc
will feature excellent quality anamorphic video and Dolby Digital 5.1
sound. Now then... here's the final, approved list of the disc's
contents, direct from Fox:
Feature - Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Enhanced for Widescreen TV's
Running time 104:16 (Theatrical length including credits).
Extended Branching version - Six additional scenes (two of which
are extensions of existing scenes) are included on the disc. They can
either be viewed individually, or viewed within the context of the movie
using a "White Rabbit" feature which can be activated from the
features menu. The scenes were not put back in via seamless branching
per director Bryan Singer, who wanted this disc to reflect the movie
that he released.
Fox Mutant Watch - 30 minute "making of" documentary.
Bryan Singer interview - Director Bryan Singer talking on The
Charlie Rose Show about X-Men
and the making of a "studio film".
Hugh Jackman's Screen test
Theatrical trailers and TV Spots
Art Gallery - Featuring both production design stills and
character design and development stills, including several characters
that were ultimately not included in this film.
Animated storyboards - Two CGI animated storyboards used to
visualize the look of scenes before shooting (for the Train Station &
Statue of Liberty fight scenes).
And Finally... could it be that Spiderman makes a very brief
appearance somewhere on this disc? Hhhhmmmm...
Anyway, hopefully this information will ease some of the rumors
circulating around about the contents and specs of this disc. You can
expect an official statement from Fox sometime in the next few days, and
we should have official DVD cover artwork to show you very soon.
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/18/00 - 11:30 AM PDT)
A few interesting pieces of DVD news have come in today, but first
we've got an important update from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
on their forthcoming X-Men DVD. As
all of you know, the disc will street on November 21st for an SRP of
$29.95. It will include the film in anamorphic widescreen with Dolby
Digital 5.1 surround sound. Also included will be about 10 minutes of
deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette, screen test footage, the
trailer, animatics, a gallery of conceptual artwork, a "Spidey"
Easter egg and excerpts of director Bryan Singer on The
Charlie Rose Show. Note that the studio HAD originally
planned to include both Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks on the disc,
but for quality reasons, they've decided against including the DTS.
Apparently, when they viewed the check discs with both Dolby Digital and
DTS sound on them, the studio noticed a significant degradation in video
quality. It was therefore decided to drop DTS at this time to allow for
a higher video bit rate. As they say... there's only so much room on the
disc. It's too bad that there will be not DTS, but you have to at least
appreciate the integrity of Fox's difficult decision - quality must come
first. We expect to have an official comment on this situation from Fox
this afternoon, and we'll post it as soon as it comes in.
Now then... it's true what you've heard - Survivor
is coming to DVD (aaarrggh!). Apparently Paramount is hard at work on
the disc, which is expected to debut early next year, complete with "exclusive,
never-before-seen footage". Hopefully, it isn't more of Richard
sans clothing. Anyway,
can read the story here. Frankly, I'd rather eat a dead rat than
sit through that celebration of greed-as-entertainment again. But I must
say, I did find Susan's "Black Bart" speech worth a laugh. And
I do like the show's creator's new idea for a contest where the winner
gets a real trip into space. But would a trip to the Russian Mir space
station be a prize or the banishment?
magazine's got an interesting article online about the DeCSS decision,
which forbids websites from linking to the DeCSS code online. But these
sites have already cleverly gotten around the ruling by removing the
actual, clickable link and instead posting the URL (which you can then
copy & paste into your browser and off you go). The writer also
talks about loopholes in the ruling. I tell you... these clever kids...
CNet has a pair of stories (click
about the pricing troubles Amazon.com's had with their DVD product in
the last few weeks - troubles that had people paying different prices
for the same discs. Picture Homer Simpson as I say this... "Doh!"
Finally today, Image
Entertainment has updated their
News page again to include the details on many more upcoming
discs, including (finally!) Buena Vista's terrific The
Straight Story, Columbia TriStar's Three
Stooges: Nutty But Nice and Running
Free, DreamWorks' Chicken Run,
Fox's Ed Burns Box Set: Stories From Long
Island, X-Men, Wall
Street and Romper Stomper,
Warner's Pokemon 2000, Bataan
and Viva Las Vegas and lots more.
Well, how do like that? No sooner do we and other websites begin
posting DVD cover artwork for Gladiator,
we come to learn that this artwork is NOT the final approved cover.
We've received word from both DreamWorks and Scott Free that the true
cover will be slightly different in appearance from the art we posted
yesterday. What we have was apparently an early design that wasn't
finalized (we saw something similar to this with early artwork for the
Toy Story discs). In any case,
I've been told that the studio expects to announce the disc officially
early this coming week, and we'll have the final artwork then. So stay
tuned, and we hope you're enjoying your weekend!
(LATE UPDATE - 9/15/00 - 11 PM PDT)
Time for another late evening update. We've got a look at the DVD cover
artwork for DreamWorks' Gladiator
2-disc set, along with word that the disc will street on November 21st,
as expected. Look, Ma - no spoilers on the cover!
And speaking of spoilers, did we EVER touch a nerve with our rant on
DVD cover artwork this morning! It seems that not only do you agree with
our point... a LOT of you agree. I've received a total of 463 e-mails on
the subject as of 10 PM this evening. We got lots of great reminders
about other real DVD covers that ruin the ending of the films, as well
as a lot of suggestions for more of our "custom" spoiler
covers. Our little exercise in Photoshop doctoring appears to have been
a big hit. Nothing like a good laugh to start the weekend, right? That's
what we figured, anyway.
We'll be updating this with more of your suggestions in the coming
weeks, but in the meantime, I wanted to add one real spoiler cover that
I'm ashamed I forgot about. So now,
CLICK HERE unless you want the ending/surprise ruined for The
Empire Strikes Back, Titanic,
Usual Suspects, Planet of the Apes,
The English Patient AND Dr.
Strangelove. Ride 'em, Slim! And thanks to Bits
reader Steve Berger for reminding us about that one... ;-)
Have a great weekend, everybody!
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/15/00 - 3 AM PDT)
Here's something we think is pretty cool. We've got your first look at
the DVD artwork for Columbia TriStar's Bridge
on the River Kwai. A 2-disc limited edition version streets
on November 21st for an SRP of $39.95. A single-disc, movie-only edition
will also be released that same day for $24.95. November can't come fast
enough for us...
There's not a lot of other news today, so I'm going to take this
opportunity to rant a little bit. Todd and I had an interesting
discussion about something yesterday, and we were wondering how many
other people feel the same way about it. Frankly, we're tired of studios
creating DVD cover artwork or menu screens that give away the ending or
surprise of a film. You'd think this wouldn't be a big deal, but
regardless of how old or popular a film is, there are always people who
still haven't seen it. What are studio marketing people thinking?! It's
bad enough that movie trailers these days give away too much, but the
trend is starting to spill over into DVD as well. Why not just use the
movie poster artwork for the cover? In most cases, it's better looking
We're so irked at this trend, that we decided to poke a little fun at
Hollywood over the issue. So we've made up a few of our own spoiler
covers, and mixed in a couple of real ones to prove our point. It's
worth a laugh or two, and maybe you studio marketing types out there
will get the hint! But first, a word of warning -
CLICK HERE unless you want the ending/surprise of the following
films ruined for you: The Empire Strikes Back,
The Usual Suspects, Planet
of the Apes, Braveheart,
Scream and The
English Patient. So there... I don't wanna get any angry
e-mails from people because we blew the surprise. You've
been warned! ;-)
And be sure to let us know if you can think of other REAL cases where a
DVD's cover gives away the ending - we'll mention them here at the Bits.
Anyway... have a great weekend. We'll be back with a bunch of reviews
on Monday - see you then!
We've got a bunch more stuff for you today, starting with three new DVD
reviews. Todd's given Universal's new
Lost World: Jurassic Park: Collector's Edition a spin, Dan's
got a review of Paramount's
and Greg chimes in with a look at Universal's
Big Kahuna, starring Kevin Spacey. And more are on the way.
Also today, we've got some more details on DreamWorks' Chicken
Run release, which we mentioned yesterday. Here's the text
from the press release (note that it doesn't give specific video and
sound information, but talks more about the supplemental material):
"Like the film, the Chicken Run
DVD offers something for everyone from an insightful audio commentary by
the film's directors and stop motion animation pioneers, Peter Lord and
Nick Park, to fun-filled games for kids and families. In addition to the
commentary, Aardman fans and adults are treated a behind-the-scenes
featurette entitled The Hatching of Chicken
Run and a Making Of
special - each unveiling the never-before-seen techniques used in the
production of this uniquely crafted movie.
With the family DVD market continuing its "egg-celerated"
growth, Chicken Run DVD is loaded
with hours of family entertainment. A DVD-ROM component features two "egg-cellent"
interactive games, Escape the Pie Machine
and Whack a Tweedy, offering "Grade
AAA" fun on the family PC and the one million Sony Playstation II
units newly delivered to the marketplace. The DVD offers a few fun "Easter
eggs" laying hard to crack trivia questions. Highlighting the
chicken's hysterical call to action from the movie -- "We Mustn't
Panic" -- the DVD offers a screaming chicken panic button. In
addition, Chicken Run themed
downloadables such as screen savers, desktop icons and pets, poster sets
and a calculator are included. The DVD also features cast and crew bios,
production notes, trailers and more!"
Sounds very cool! Now then... HBO has finally announced the DVD release
of The Sopranos: The Complete First Season.
The 4-disc collector's edition will street on December 12th for an SRP
of $99.98. The DVDs will be presented in anamorphic widescreen(!), and
will feature an exclusive interview with creator David Chase. Shot on
the set in Tony Soprano's kitchen and conducted by actor/director Peter
Bogdanovich, the one hour and seventeen minute long interview explores
the making of the critically-acclaimed series. Other exclusive features
include an audio commentary track for the first episode by Chase and
Bogdanovich, two behind-the-scenes featurettes, episodic previews and
recaps, cast bios, weblinks, an episode index, English Dolby Digital
5.1, English Dolby Surround Sound and Spanish mono audio tracks. We
first mentioned this months ago in the Rumor
Mill and frankly we were starting to wonder if plans had been
dropped. We're glad to see they haven't. This should be an awesome set.
We're told to expect additional seasons of both The
Sopranos and Sex and the City
In other news, Sony Classical is releasing The
Three Tenors Christmas to DVD on October 31st. The program,
featuring the vocal talents of Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and
Luciano Pavarotti, was recorded in Surround Sound, and the DVD features
Dolby Digital 5.1 Discrete Surround Sound.
The Sony Pictures DVD Center is about to open their Sony DVD Center
Europe (Sony DCE) in Austria on September 18, 2000. That's good news for
you folks in R2 - there's NO ONE doing DVD compression and authoring
better than the folks at Sony.
Business has a story on Disney's head DVD honcho who has left
the studio to go work on Microsoft's new X-Box game platform. Maybe now
we'll stop having to sit through mandatory commercials at the start of
And there's change happening for Universal's Touch
of Evil: Collector's Edition. Specifically, it's no longer
going to be a collector's edition. The reason is that the studio had
planned to include the documentary Reconstructing
Evil: The Making of Touch of Evil on the disc, but for
whatever reason (probably a legal snag) they're no longer able to. But
the disc is still expected to street on October 31st for an SRP of
Finally today, how about more upcoming DVD artwork? We've got Artisan's
Bob Roberts (street date 10/17)
and The Doors: Special Edition
(12/5), Warner's Mr. & Mrs. Bridge
(10/24) and A&E's The Life of Python
(LATE UPDATE - 9/13/00 - 6 PM PDT)
Just a quick late update this evening to let you all know that
DreamWorks has officially announced Chicken
Run for DVD release. The disc will include anamorphic
widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS EX 6.1 audio, a commentary
track, two documentary programs and more. Street date is November 21st
(as expected) and the disc will SRP for $26.99. And while we're talking
about the disc, how about a look at its cover, along with DVD cover
artwork for Fox's Big Momma's House
(November 14th) and Wall Street
(November 7th), and Criterion's The Blob
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/13/00 - 2 PM PDT)
Okay... we've got some ground to cover today, kiddies, so hang on to
your hats. First of all, no sooner did we mention the impending
European/Region 2 release of the TV version of Dune
(which is in PAL format), we got all kinds of e-mails letting us know
that a Japanese/Region 2 DVD also exists of the longer version of the
film. And being a Japanese release, it's in NTSC format, which is
compatible with US television. Sadly, however, the disc will set you
back like $110 clams depending on where you order it. In any case,
Universal? What's up, guys? Here's a look at the Japanese disc...
Now then... this last Sunday, a special signing event took place at
your favorite L.A.-area DVD retailer and mine, Dave's Video - The Laser
Place. The event was held in honor of director Robert Wise's 86th
birthday and the release to DVD of his classic The
Sound of Music (from Fox). Wise was on hand to sign copies of
the disc and to enjoy some reportedly awesome B-Day cake, as was actress
Charmian Carr (who played Liesl von Trapp). We were unfortunately unable
to attend at the last minute, but as they used to say in the social
column of my hometown newspaper, "A good time was had by all!"
Congratulations to Dave and Linda Lukas and the staff at 20th Century
Fox Home Entertainment (some of whom are pictured in the group shot
below - FYI that's Peter Staddon 2nd from the right in the back row) for
holding yet another a great Dave's event. And Happy Birthday, Robert!
Robert Wise and actress Charmian Carr
L to R: Robert Wise, Charmian Carr - Back L to R: Deedee Sadler, David
C. Fein, Mike Matessini of Robert Wise Productions, Mrs. Millicent
Wise, and Peter Staddon and John Papapavlos of 20th Century Fox Home
Now then... we've been getting reports from readers that the "corrected"
version of Spinal Tap, which
streeted yesterday, is... well... fixed. But the way MGM fixed it AND
meet street date was to include the captions, which were originally
burned into the film image, as another subtitle track - one that
automatically defaults to "on" when you first play the disc.
Some will find this unacceptable, while others will probably not mind
overmuch. In any case, while this was clearly the easy way out of the
problem, the captions ARE there if you want them.
On the subject of corrected DVDs, 9/18 should see the first shipments
of the "fixed" version of Columbia TriStar's Leon:
The Professional. By fixed, I mean to say that they've fixed
the 5.1 sound problem that some had reported with the original release
of the disc. To identify the new disc, look for this UPC number:
043396061965 and this catalog ID number: COL06196DVD. I don't know if
the studio is exchanging defective copies, but I'm sure you can get
exchanges done at the retailer you purchased them from originally.
Oh... but we're not done yet. We've got some more upcoming DVD artwork
for you today - the new cover for Columbia TriStar's The
Patriot: Special Edition (which streets 10/24 - I liked the
movie poster artwork better), New Line's new cover for their Frequency:
Platinum Series (which streets 10/31 - I liked the movie
poster artwork better), and Paramount's Star
Trek: The Original Series - Volumes 15 & 16 (which street
on 9/19 - I liked the... well, I guess there's no original poster art,
but are you sensing a trend?). Enjoy!
And finally today, Image
Entertainment's once again updated their
News Page to include lots more upcoming DVD titles, including
Artisan's The Doors: Special Edition
(with Oliver Stone commentary), BMG's N'Sync:
Live At Madison Square Garden (you knew it was coming),
super-duper Perfect Storm and Time
Machine boxed editions from Warner and Creative Design, Fox's
Big Momma's House, a DTS Prince
of Egypt from DreamWorks and lots more.
Todd and I are gonna get busy with some DVD reviews over the remainder
of this week, so look for a number of big new reviews in the next few
days, including Men in Black, The
Lost World and The Rocky Horror
Picture Show. Stay tuned...
Well, how do you like that? No sooner do we go and post an update of
titles coming late this year and early next year, we get more
information to post. So once again, check out
Rumor Mill for the latest. There's more on several big summer
movies coming to DVD, including the likes of Scary
Movie, Me, Myself & Irene
and Shaft 2000, so don't miss it.
In other news, you Dune fans are
gonna love this... or maybe not. Actually, it's kinda like mud in the
eye. If you live in Region 2, or have an all-region capable DVD player,
you'll soon be able to get the 180-minute Television version of the
film, directed your favorite and mine, "Alan Smithee". Check
page at Blackstar and see for yourself. Sure wish Universal would
let Criterion do Dune up like
their excellent Brazil 3-disc set.
In the meantime, you can bet I'll be putting in my order. One note -
look for the release to be full frame, like the Japanese laserdisc
We've been hearing more buzz around the Net about eventual Star
Wars DVDs. Apparently, there was a blurb in the Official
PlayStation Magazine about a "top secret" effort to
release the films on DVD before the end of the year as a 4-disc boxed
set. And of course, several Star Wars-themed
this one) have picked this up. Yeah right. If this happens, I'll
eat my laserdisc collector's edition set. Look... the Bits
helped spearhead the
Wars on DVD campaign, and now we know old George has got his
people working on the discs. But last we heard, Episode
I was considered a likely 2001 release and the original Trilogy
was more than a year away. We'd love the films on DVD as much as anyone,
but we personally consider the likelihood that this story is true to be
about the same as the likelihood of Jabba the Hutt winning the Gold in
the Men's Decathlon in Sydney. It ain't gonna happen, folks. Olympic
Womp Rat Pie Eating... now, that Jabba would take. Maybe PlayStation
Magazine should stick to PlayStation news...
Hey... anyone else think adding Dennis Miller to Monday
Night Football is the frickin' coolest thing ever? For those
of you who answered no to that question, didjya get the Dick Fosbury
joke last night? Just wondering. God, I love football. And my Vikes are
2-0 too... ;-)
And one last thing that has absolutely nothing to do with DVD, but is
just too damn cool not to mention. Any Speed
Racer fans out there? Ever dreamed of owning your own Mach V?
Well now you can, my friend... for just $72,000.
100 replica Mach Vs
are being produced by Speed Racer Autoworks, based on a Corvette
chassis, complete with periscope, retractable saw blades and an
estimated top speed of 185 mph. Needless to say, they probably aren't
street legal. $72,000 is about $72,000 out of my price range, but a guy
can dream, can't he?
It's another slow news day for DVD - seems like Mondays are always a
bit on the slow side. But we've got word on several upcoming DVDs
currently slated for the end of the year and early 2001. There's word on
big summer hits, classic favorites and lots of music titles, so do check
Rumor Mill today for that.
Also, a few days ago we listed the DVD specs for all of MGM's December
titles. Well now we've got some artwork for you to check out as well.
You'll see the covers for Universal's Screwed
(which streets on September 26th) and Buena Vista'a Keeping
the Faith (street date October 17th) as well. Enjoy!
And we've got one last piece of upcoming artwork to leave you with
today - a look at the cover for Buena Vista's Fantasia:
60th Anniversary Edition. And don't forget the artwork for
2000 and the
Anthology (3-disc set) which we've posted previously.
(LATE, LATE UPDATE -
9/8/00 - 9 PM PDT)
Okay... I discovered something today that a few of you out there may
already know about. But for a lot of you, I suspect this slipped under
the radar, so I'm mentioning it here. Normally, I'm not in the habit of
promoting magazines and the like on this site, but this is just too
freakin' cool not to say something. The October/November 2000 issue of
Total Movie magazine (now on
newsstands) comes with a pretty sweet little bonus - a DVD full of nifty
goodies (see picture below). There are trailers for some 18 movies,
including Pearl Harbor, Blair
Witch 2, Gladiator,
X-Men and more. There's a bunch of
stuff sampled from various DVD special editions currently in release
including Any Given Sunday and
Romeo Must Die, as well as an
interview with Trey Parker and Matt Stone (of South
Park fame). But best of all, there are two short films on the
disc - Kevin Rubio's funny Star Wars/Cops
spoof, Troops, and a short called
The Dancing Cow. The video and
audio quality is surprisingly good on pretty much everything and the
disc performed just fine on my Sony 7700. Total
Movie magazine sells for $7.99 and I was happy to pay that
just to get Troops on DVD. Funny
thing is, the magazine is published by Imagine Media, with whom we used
to be affiliated until the Imagine Games Network broke away from the
company and became IGN.com.
Go figure. Anyway, if you can get your hands on a copy of the magazine
(and thus the disc) we think you'll be glad you did. Just look for Liz
Hurley and her snake on the cover. And to you DVD-heads at Total
Movie - cudos from the staff of the Bits.
Very cool idea, guys... very cool indeed.
(LATE UPDATE - 9/8/00 - 5 PM PDT)
Our review of Universal's terrific new
Park: Collector's Edition is now up and I think you're all
gonna really dig this disc. I've been enjoying it quite a lot myself -
I've watched it twice already. We'll have the review of The
Lost World up early next week, and we'll have DTS version
reviews as soon as we get the discs. Don't forget that both discs street
on October 10th. Get in line now... ;-)
Also this afternoon, we've updated our
DVD Player Sales chart to include the players sold into retail in
the first week of September - 236,180. At this rate, we're looking at
not only another record month of player sales, but the possibility of 10
million players in the U.S. market by October. Swweeeeet.
Before we go, here's a little piece of space trivia that I bet you
weren't aware of. Last Friday,
Earth had a near-miss with a half-kilometer wide asteroid. The
object passed within 6 million miles of us. And here I am, not even an
Armageddon fan. Oh... and congrats
to you guys at NASA on another flawless space shuttle launch this
morning (I know we've got a lot of NASA staffers who read the Bits).
For those who are interested, you can
the entire mission live on the Net over at one of my favorite
Have a great weekend, and we'll see you on Monday!
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/8/00 - 1:15 PM PDT)
Well... the situation with Concentric seems to have stabilized for the
moment, meaning that I don't think we're going to go down completely at
least for the next week. Access times may be a bit slow however, and the
situation is still pretty fluid, so please bear with us. In any case,
we've been receiving several generous offers from ISPs who wish to
donate web hosting services, and we appreciate them very much. One way
or another, the Bits will
First of all today, I wanted to make a quick clarification on the specs
for Legend, which we mentioned
yesterday. Our understanding is that only the new Director's cut of the
film will feature Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 sound. The American version
may only include Dolby Surround. I edited my comments from yesterday,
but I wanted to reiterate the point to avoid confusion. And our
understanding is that X-Men will
feature DTS 5.1 sound as well. That's just FYI.
Also today, we've got an update on MGM's expected DVD release list for
December. Here's what to look for (with known specs):
December 5th - The Alamo
(16x9 WS Eng/Fr/Span Lang. Fr/Span Subs Docu/Trailer/Booklet), At
Close Range (16x9 WS/P&S Eng/Fr/Span Lang. Fr/Span Subs
Trailer), Bat 21 (16x9 WS/P&S
Eng/Span Lang. Fr/Span Subs Trailer), Breaker,
Breaker (16x9 WS/P&S Eng Lang. Fr/Span Subs), Breakheart
Pass (16x9 WS/P&S Eng/Fr/Span Lang. Fr/Span Subs
Trailer), Rancho Deluxe (16x9 WS/P&S
Eng/Fr/Span Lang. Fr/Span Subs Trailer)
December 19th - Gorky Park
(16x9 WS Eng/Fr/Span Lang. Fr/Span Subs Trailer), House
of Games (WS/P&S Eng/Fr/Span Lang. Fr/Span Subs Trailer),
Kill Me Again (P&S Eng/Fr
Lang. Fr/Span Subs Trailer), The Mouse on the
Moon (WS/P&S Eng/Fr/Span Lang. Fr/Span Subs Trailer),
Sid & Nancy (16x9 WS/P&S
Eng Lang. Fr/Span Subs Trailer)
It does look as if MGM's talk of getting more serious about anamorphic
widescreen isn't just talk - they're backing it up with 16x9 discs. Glad
to see it.
Finally this morning, I wanted to let you know I'll be back in a few
hours with my review of Universal's forthcoming Jurassic
Park: Collector's Edition. And we should have a review of
The Lost World for Monday. We've
all waited a long time for these movies on DVD, and I don't think anyone
is going to be disappointed. So stay tuned...
We're back... at least for a day or two. The
Digital Bits is having MAJOR problems with our hosting
service, Concentric Network. The Bits
started on the Internet with a co-located server hosted by a little
company here in Orange County called Anaserve. It was a great
relationship - they gave us great service and we had a deal with them
that gave us a discount on bandwidth in exchange for the advertising
tags you see for Anaserve on the bottom of every page of the site. But
about a year ago, Anaserve was purchased by Concentric and the
difficulties began. Service became spotty, and site access times
increased (as did server crashes). Now when we call for tech support, we
speak to a "technical bureau" out of state. And here's the
kicker - a month ago, they just discovered that we were still paying for
service based on our existing Anaserve rates and they want to get us
converted to a Concentric contract... at three to five times what we've
been paying. Then, yesterday, I was mysteriously unable to access my
server to upload our update for the day. Needless to say, the
arm-twisting hasn't exactly made us happy Concentric customers and we
are currently investigating our options. What all this means to you is
that there is likely to be down time over the next week or two. So we're
gonna ask you to once again be patient with us while we try to improve
things on our end. Stay tuned on that front.
In the meantime, here's our update for today (much of which was
supposed to get posted yesterday). We've got three new DVD reviews for
you. The first is my review of a great, soon-to-be-released music DVD -
The Brand New Day Tour - Live From the Universal Amphitheatre
(street date 9/26). Next up is Todd Doogan's look at New Line's terrific
Platinum Series (now available). And finally, Todd's also
given Fox's new
Omen: Special Edition a spin (also now available). Don't miss
Also today, we've got word on a couple of major upcoming DVDs. First of
all, although an official announcement hasn't yet been made, we've got
the details on Fox's X-Men: Special Edition.
The disc will street on November 28th for an SRP of $29.98. It will
include 10 minutes of deleted scenes, a gallery of production art
(including some 150 images), the theatrical trailer, interview footage
with director Bryan Singer and TV spots. Also coming from Fox the same
day is Big Momma's House, for an
SRP of $26.98. And as we may not be up and running when the
announcements happen, look for both Ridley Scott's Legend
and Gladiator to be officially
revealed by the end of next week. We've already revealed what to expect
from Gladiator in
interview with Scott Free DVD producer Charles de Lauzirika.
Here's what you can look forward to from Legend
- a 2-disc special edition containing both the 89-minute American
theatrical version of the film (with music by Tangerine Dream) and the
never-before-released, 113-minute Director's cut (featuring the Jerry
Goldsmith score). Also on tap will be a great hour-long documentary on
the film with new interviews with the cast & crew, a great
director's commentary, trailers and more. Both films will be in
anamorphic widescreen. The audio on the Director's cut will be in Dolby
Digital and DTS 5.1 (the sound on the American version is TBD). How's
that for cool?
We're pleased today to also be able to feature
complete text of a chat that the
Theater Forum held last night with Paramount Home Video's Martin
Blythe and Michael Arkin. I think you'll find it well worth a read.
We've spoken with the folks at Columbia TriStar regarding the audio
problems some of you are reporting with the 5.1 soundtrack on the new
Léon: The Professional
disc. They've informed us that they are officially looking into it, and
expect to have more to say soon.
And finally, we've got a brand new
up today sponsored by our friends at Etronixs.com.
Two lucky winners will take home a great prize each. One will get a
brand new Pioneer DV-434 Progressive Scan DVD
Player and the other will win a fully-programmable
RTI T2 Remote Control (which you can setup
to control every device in your home theater - even the lights!). The
contest itself is a summer movie quiz and it should be fun. Keep in mind
that if the Bits does go down,
when we get back we'll extend the contest accordingly to make sure
everyone has a chance to enter.
So there you go! Thanks everyone for your patience, enjoy today's
update and hopefully we won't be out of commission for too long. Stay
As we reported a few days ago, MGM has
officially recognized the Spinal Tap
DVD problem and had taken steps to correct it. We received this
statement from the studio this morning:
"MGM Home Entertainment has discovered a manufacturing error on
the VHS and DVD of the film, This Is Spinal
Tap. The problem was recently discovered on test and review
copies of the film. The error has been corrected and MGM expects to
deliver the product on or near the street date of September 12, 2000.
All product available at retail outlets will be the corrected version."
Very cool. Now... here's some more upcoming DVD artwork for you today -
a look at Buena Vista's Fantasia Anthology
3-disc set, New Line's Love and Basketball:
Platinum Series, and Universal's Born
on the Fourth of July and But I'm
a Cheerleader. Enjoy!
Warner has just announced that HBO Home Video's When
It Was a Game 3 will be available on VHS and DVD on November
21st. SRP is expected to be $19.95. And 20th Century Fox Home
Entertainment has just signed an exclusive, 2-year deal for Cinram to
manufacture and distribute all its DVD product in the U.S. and Canada.
Hollywood takes a holiday seriously. You'd be hard pressed to find
anyone working in Movietown U.S.A. today. So there's very little news
per say. But there are a couple of interesting things to report.
First of all,
a report that director Keenen Ivory Wayans is re-dubbing a line in
his film Scary Movie for it's DVD
and home video release. The offending line is a tongue-in-cheek poke at
actress Gwyneth Paltrow's performance in Shakespeare
in Love. The film is a Dimension movie (owned by Miramax),
and the change comes at the request of Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein.
Buy's earnings are up for the 2nd Qtr, in part based on the
strength of DVD player sales so far this year. Speaking of Best Buy,
good luck finding a copy of Braveheart
on DVD at the retailer. Every store I've checked has been out since
Tuesday, the morning the disc streeted.
There's also a story today on Sega's bid to conquer the gaming world
establishing an online gaming network that would allow friends to
play games online via their Dreamcast machines. In light of the
much-anticipated and DVD-capable PlayStation II (which starts shipping
in the States on October 26th), Sega's outlook isn't exactly rosy.
See you back here with a full update tomorrow...
We're hearing very early rumblings that MGM is planning to recall their
This is Spinal Tap DVD in order to
correct the missing captions problem. This is not yet official word, but
sources are telling us that it's in the works. The move would mean that
the DVD, which is currently slated to street on September 12th, would
probably be delayed a short time. Stay tuned on this...
Now then, we would like to congratulate the winners of our
Name That DVD
Trivia Contest - Jeff Autor of Houston,
TX, Nicole Hubbell of Baltimore, MD
and Shaun Ballew of Las Vegas, NV. All
three win a Matinee Poster Frame and a DVD Marquee for their home
theaters, thanks to Show
Off Displays. Thanks also to all 501 people who entered. The
answers to this contest
are now available.
Stay tuned, because the next contest will start on Monday and it should
be a great one!
In other news today, there's word that Kieslowski's
& Red are finally in the works
for DVD from Miramax. You'll find that in today's update of
Rumor Mill, so don't miss it.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has released the final
Player Sales numbers for August. Some 191,140 players were
sold in the week ending August 25th, making the total for the month a
whopping 557,617 - even higher than July's total. At this rate, we the
DVD format in Region 1 could pass 11 million players by the end of the
Finally today, Image
Entertainment yesterday updated their
News page again with details on a number of upcoming titles,
including Halloween 4 & 6 from
Buena Vista, Animal Factory, Donnie
Brasco: SE and Bridge on the River
Kwai: SE from Columbia TriStar, American
Pimp from MGM, Michael Moore's The
Awful Truth: The Complete First Season (very cool!) from New
Video, Mission: Impossible 2 and
She's Having A Baby from Paramount
and lots more.
Now then... the really important stuff. Sarah and I are off to
celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary today. It's amazing how time
seems to fly sometimes, isn't it? Seems like just yesterday that she and
I met in the movie soundtrack section of a Musicland store in
Minneapolis (true story) and before we knew it, we were headed off to
college together. So let me just take a moment here to tell my wife how
much I love and appreciate her. I have to say that the one thing I
really enjoy most about running the Bits
is that I get to work with Sarah every day. Some days I feel like Jimmy
Stewart at the end of It's a Wonderful Life
- the luckiest man alive. Anyway, Sarah and I are gonna have some fun
this weekend, and I hope all of you do the same. So best wishes, have a
safe holiday and see you Monday!
(LATE UPDATE -
8/31/00 - 3 PM PDT)
Here's something bothersome. Todd's been looking at his review copy of
MGM's This is Spinal Tap again...
and he's noticed what looks like a problem. If you're familiar with the
film, you know that there are a number of captions that appear
throughout the film, which tell you where you are, who's talking or
being talked to, etc.... Apparently, when MGM went back to the original
negative for the DVD transfer, they neglected to include those captions.
Todd's got a call in to MGM and those involved in the DVD's production
and hopefully we'll hear something more about this soon. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/31/00 - 12:15 PM PDT)
A couple of interesting things have crept up today. First of all, Buena
Vista has revealed more of their October DVD slate. Here's what to
expect: Beowulf, Committed,
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Meyers,
Hellraiser: Bloodline, Hellraiser:
Inferno, Keeping the Faith,
Shanghai Noon, James
& the Giant Peach: Special Edition, Mickey's
Once Upon a Christmas: Gold Edition, The
Nightmare Before Christmas: Special Edition, The
Black Cauldron: Gold Edition, Toy
Story 2-pack and The Ultimate Toy
We've got more upcoming cover art today - Buena Vista's Shanghai
Noon, Columbia TriStar's Fail
Safe: Special Edition and two holiday titles from Warner, the
Partick Stewart/TNT version of A Christmas
Carol and the TV classic The Year
Without a Santa Clause. Enjoy!
That rumor you've been hearing is true - Warner has obtained the U.S.
domestic home video distribution rights to the BBC catalog of
documentaries and television programs. The first such title to be
released under this new arrangement is Walking
with Dinosaurs. The title has been a Fox property, but
starting on September 8th, it will be re-released under the Warner
label. The 2-disc set's contents will remain the same, and the SRP will
be $34.98. Look for other BBC properties, including Dr.
Who and Ab Fab, to be
released by Warner in the future.
In other news, fans of director Godfrey Reggio's film Koyaanisqatsi
can get it on DVD now... for a price. It seems that the company who owns
the rights, the Institute for Regional Education, is in the midst of a
legal battle over the these rights, which are clouded because the
ownership of the film has passed through so many hands over the years.
But they've commissioned a limited number of DVD versions of the film,
and are selling them to help raise money for the legal fight. For a
tax-deductible donation of $180 (USD), you can get a copy signed by
Reggio himself. And remember, the money goes to ensure that the film
will soon be available to everyone on our favorite format.
out this link to learn more.
Todd's been a busy Internet beaver these days and has stumbled on
another very cool website, this time promoting a movie we can't wait to
see. One of our favorite new filmmakers, Darren Aronofsky (have you seen
his earlier film Pi? If you
haven't, you should - it's a great DVD), has a new film coming out
called Requiem for a Dream. The
movie looks just cool as hell. Check out the film's official website at
but be prepared to spend some time and click on everything. The more
time you spend on the site, the more things become available to you. And
FYI... the website was created by the folks at Artisan who kicked
Internet promotion up a notch with The Blair
Witch Project. So don't miss it.
Finally today, a reminder. This is the last day of our current
Name That DVD
Trivia Contest, so get those last-minute entries in quick!
(LATE UPDATE - 8/30/00 -
2:30 PM PDT)
Whoops! Did I say it was a slow news day? Well, it's still a slow news
day. But I do have some cool upcoming DVD artwork for you. Here's a look
at the final packaging for the Toy Story
2-Pack and the James and the Giant
Peach: Special Edition, both from Buena Vista. Enjoy!
(EARLY UPDATE - 8/30/00 - 12:15 PM PDT)
Can you say SSSLLLOOOOWWWW news day? There's not much at all to post in
the way of news, so I'm going to babble a bit. Kidding... but I do have
a few things to tell you.
First of all, it look as if you DVD fans up north are getting the short
end of the stick when it comes to the new T2
DVD. Apparently, many retailers in Canada haven't received their
shipments of the disc yet, as retailers in the States are being serviced
first. Also, we've heard from at least one owner of the new T2
2-disc version, who claims that with the two discs and the fat
collector's booklet, you can't close the case. As Homer Simpson might
got a funny little story up today on the Star Wars films
coming to VHS again. It's a pretty good read. You've got to wonder just
how many times Lucasfilm is gonna re-release these damn films on
videotape. I mean, anybody with half a whisker of interest must already
have at least 2 versions of these films on tape or laserdisc. And anyone
with more than a whisker of interest is jonesin' for the DVDs. Do you
think that if we all gathered up our old tapes and stacked them 40 or 50
high, could we surround the entire Skywalker ranch with wall of VHS and
barricade the staff inside until they come out with a DVD? Now THAT
would be a cool protest.
And in other non-news today, Doogan saw this on the Net and we think
it's pretty funny. There's
a guy with a serious Jesus complex in Northern Virginia who's looking
for love. You gotta admire the guy's originality. You can "shower
with Jesus" to promote good hygiene and (our favorite part)
beer with him - "When I thirst (John 19:28), nothing
satisfies me more than a crisp pint of Guinness." What does this
have to do with DVD? Nothing, but it sure is worth a laugh. And the
guy's website is probably going to get like a half a million visits
'cause we mentioned it. Hope you find that soul mate, Big Guy...!
We've got a little information on that new Sting DVD - Sting:
Brand New Day at Universal Ampitheatre. It will run $24.95
and was recorded in L.A. on October 30th, 1999. The tracks included are:
A Thousand Years, If
You Love Somebody (Set Them Free), After
The Rain Has Fallen, We'll Be
Together, Perfect Love... Gone
Wrong, Seven Days, Fill
Her Up, Every Little Thing She
Does is Magic, Ghost Story,
Moon Over Bourbon Street, Englishman
in New York, Brand New Day,
Tomorrow We'll See, Desert
Rose, Every Breath You Take,
Lithium Sunset, Message
in a Bottle and Fragile.
Thanks to Angel for the info. Now if the guy would just get off his #@%
and do a Police reunion - I'd pay money to see that.
I also want to thank Mike Sayers (aka Mr. Moody) who took that T2
2-disc picture from yesterday.
Don't forget that tomorrow is the last day for the
so get yer entries in fast, 'cause time is running out.
And finally today, I wanted to let you all know that we're doing a lot
of work behind-the-scenes to improve the website over the next few
weeks. You won't notice anything right away, but the changes will be
apparent soon enough. And we're doing some work on our servers over the
next 7 to 10 days, so if you notice any delays, or if we go down for an
hour or two, please bear with us. Thanks!
So how's that for non-news? See ya later and stay tuned... ;-)
We've got some new information in today's
Mill post about work on an eventual DVD release of Paramount's
The Untouchables. Don't miss it.
The P.T. Anderson
website has posted
interview with Mark Rance, who has been very busy working on New
Line's new Platinum Series DVD of Seven.
There's some word as to what kind of extras the new two disc set will
include, so you might want to check it out.
As you may know, the Star Wars Trilogy
on VHS again on November 21st. I can almost see the ad campaign
now - "GET IT NOW... FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS CENTURY!" There
will, however, be no DVD release. You should know that Lucasfilm IS hard
at work on the DVD version of Episode I,
which is expected sometime in 2001. Episode I
will definitely be the first of the series to reach the format, and I
wouldn't expect the other three films to find their way to DVD until
2002 at the earliest, due to ongoing work on the second film. You may
remember that our joint Star
Wars on DVD Campaign is what helped to trigger work on Episode
I (be aware that the petition is no longer active). But
frankly, the fact that no DVDs are coming with this next VHS release is
just going to piss off a lot of fans. So while we're pretty much done
with trying to get these discs out any faster,
official opinion on this issue hasn't changed much.
There have been a number of reports that Artisan's T2:
The Ultimate Edition DVD isn't shipping in huge quantities at
the moment, and may be hard to find. That's because of manufacturing
trouble producing enough of the DVD-18 discs to meet demand. In order to
offset the underage, we've been told that Artisan has decided to produce
later runs of the title as two DVD-9 discs (which are easier to
manufacture), rather than a single DVD-18. One of our readers (thanks
Nicolas!) has found a picture of the new 2-disc version for you all to
see (thanks also to whoever posted this on the newsgroups). Keep in mind
that this is still the same special edition - there's no difference as
far as content. It's just that some of you will get it on 2 discs
instead of one.
Finally today, Image
Entertainment has again updated their
News page to include details on several upcoming releases
including Buena Vista's Fantasia,
Fantasia 2000 and The
Fantasia Anthology (3-disc set), Columbia TriStar's Fail
Safe: SE, MGM's Escape from New
York, Paramount's Airplane,
Airplane 2, Star
Trek Volumes 17 & 18 and Tucker:
The Man and His Dream and the animated X-Men:
Phoenix Saga from Universal.
We've had a few things come up that we need to deal with today, so the
panel transcript is being delayed a bit. Never fear - it's still on the
way. But we've got a couple of other pieces of interesting news for you
this morning anyway.
First of all, we've got word that Fox's X-Men
is going to be announced this week. That's in the
Mill this morning, along with a sneak peek at some of the
features to expect on the disc.
In other news, there are a few good articles online today that I think
are worth reading. First of all, the
Times has an interesting story on Napster and how it is
forcing the music industry to change its ways or become extinct. And
a number of tech groups are filing briefs in the Napster case,
saying that the judge's ruling against Napster is too broadly worded -
which could result in all sorts of unintended consequences later. It's
an interesting article.
also has an interesting story up on the slow growth of DVD-ROM.
And finally, our friend Andy Patrizio has filed a story with
from the DVD 2000 Conference on DVD copy-protection efforts that
are being devised to protect the format from hackers and pirates in the
near future. The keyword here is watermarking.
Now then... for anyone who missed it on Friday, be sure to read our
interview with Scott Free's Charles de Lauzirika, who talks with
us at length about DreamWorks' upcoming DVD version of Ridley Scott's
Gladiator and a new Blade
Runner: Special Edition that's currently in development at
Warner. I think you'll definitely find the interview with a read.
Thanks for all your kind comments on the
we posted yesterday with Scott Free's DVD producer Charles de
Lauzirika. Looks like a LOT of you are looking forward to Gladiator
and Blade Runner. As we said in
the article, we'll be posting more on Legend
in the next week or two, so be sure to stay tuned for that.
Just a couple of quick things today. First, some of you may remember
how much I enjoyed the film Six Days in
Roswell, which was produced and directed by Roger Nygard and
Timothy B. Johnson - the same creative team behind the hilarious Trekkies.
I enjoyed the film so much that we
interviewed Roger and helped him to arrange DVD distribution for
the film with our friends at Synapse
Films (the special edition disc streets on November 14th). Well,
if you're in the L.A. area and you can't wait to see the film on DVD,
there will be a screening of it tomorrow night (Sunday, August 27th) in
Pacific Palisades as part of the Pacific Palisades Film Festival. The
showing will be at 7:00 PM, at the Theater Palisades on Tesecal Canyon
Road, 100 yards south of Sunset, on the east side of the street (how's
that for directions?). I really laughed hard at this flick, and if UFO
kooks and alien abduction shenanigans crack you up, bring your friends
and don't miss it.
And finally today, we've just launched the new Trivia
Contest, and Sarah's cooked up a fun one - Name That DVD!
Three lucky winners will take home a Matinee
Poster Frame and a DVD Marquee
for their home theaters, thanks to
Displays! The contest will run until 7 PM PST on Thursday, August
31st. And all the answers can be found here at the Bits.
So Click here
to enter and good luck!
We've got something really special for you today. But first, we've got
a couple of quick announcements. We've just updated the
DVD Player sales page with the numbers for the week ending August
18th - 124,124 players sold into retail. And with that, the number of
DVD players in Region 1 has officially passed the 9 million mark! The
stats above have been updated accordingly. Now
that's just extremely cool - what a great time this is for DVD.
Also today, Paramount has made their official Mission:
Impossible 2 announcement and we've got the details. As
mentioned yesterday, the disc will street on November 7th, for an SRP of
$29.99 (note that the VHS will be priced for rental - only the DVD is
sell-through). The disc will include anamorphic widescreen video and
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Also on board will be animated menus, a section
called Behind the Mission (which
includes 15 minutes of exclusive cast and crew interviews), a 5-minute
Mission Impossible stunts
featurette, a 39-minute featurette called Impossible
Shots (which shows how 11 stunts sequences were created, with
interviews by John Woo, Tom Cruise and stunt coordinator Brian Smrz), a
feature-length director's commentary with Woo, Metallica's I
Disappear music video, an alternate title sequence, and the
MTV Movie Awards show parody, Mission
Improbable, with Tom Cruise, Ben Stiller and John Woo (which
is EXTREMELY funny - trust me on this). Also included will be DVD-ROM
extras such as dossiers on the characters, details on the filming
locations, a look at the equipment and gadgets, interactive games, a
photo gallery, screen savers and weblinks. It will undoubtedly be
Paramount's most ambitious DVD to date.
Don't forget that tonight at 6 PM PDT, DVD fans on the Net will have
the opportunity to watch Warner's Three Kings
in your DVD-ROM, while chatting with Mark Wahlberg and director David O.
Russell online. You simply sign up for the event and log in at the right
time. Warner will send out a signal to start everyone's movies at the
same time - everyone will watch the film together, including Wahlberg
and Russell, and they'll answer questions. Visit this website to sign up
and for more information:
And just to let you know, we'll be starting a brand new quick contest
tomorrow morning, which will run over the weekend. Then, on Monday,
we'll kick off our regular, full-fledged Trivia
Contest. So check back for that.
Now then... we've saved the best part for last. As the next in our
ongoing series of DVD producer interviews, today we're very pleased to
present an in-depth chat with Scott Free's Charles de Lauzirika. You may
remember that we've
to him previously regarding Fox's Alien DVD. This time,
Charles and I talk at length about a whole series of Ridley Scott films
that are coming soon to DVD. The article includes some early word on the
work that's currently underway regarding Warner's Blade
Runner: Special Edition. But here's the best part - we've got
exclusive, OFFICIAL details on DreamWorks' upcoming Gladiator
DVD. There's information on the title's special edition content and some
great behind-the-scenes stories on the production of the disc. If you're
a fan of director Ridley Scott, this is one interview that you'll
definitely not want to miss. So with that, we give you
Free DVD: A Chat with DVD Producer Charles de Lauzirika.
And we'll be back on Monday with that DVD 2000 panel transcript and
more. Have a great weekend and, as always, stay tuned...