Universal Studios has officially announced the DVD release of The
Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps. The collector's edition disc
will street on December 5th, for an SRP of $26.98, and is expected to
include a director's commentary with Peter Segal, interviews with Segal
and producer Brain Grazer, deleted scenes, extended scenes, a Spotlight
on Location featurette, a look at make-up effects, storyboard
comparisons, trailers and Janet Jackson's Doesn't
Really Matter music video, among other things.
Here's a look at the cover art for The Nutty
Professor 2, as well as Buena Vista's Hamlet
2000 (street date 11/14) and Scary
Movie (12/12), and Synapse's Six
Days in Roswell (also 11/14).
In other news,
got a story on Warner's efforts against digital piracy in light of
their support of the forthcoming DVD-Audio format.
to CNet, Napster is one of the fastest-growing Internet
technologies (and there's still no decision by the court on the appeal,
although a ruling could be reached at any time). By the way, if you want
to view the actual arguments made to the court on Monday in the Napster
can do so online via Real Video at C-SPAN. Just click on "View
C-SPAN.org coverage online!" - the video runs about 52 minutes and
is well worth a watch.
Finally today, Image
Entertainment's got a new
News page update posted, with details on their Image exclusive
titles for December. There are a bunch of great releases of all kinds,
including some really good music titles, so be sure to check it out.
Now then... we're working on several more reviews that we'll be posting
very soon, including Men in Black,
Pitch Black, U-571,
Frequency and more. So stay
(LATE UPDATE - 10/4/00 - 4 PM PDT)
As promised, we're back this afternoon with a pair of new DVD reviews.
Todd's taken a look at DreamWorks'
Beauty, and Greg Suarez chimes in with his comparison of the
new special edition and the original version of Buena Vista's
Nightmare Before Christmas. Don't miss 'em.
We've also done a bunch of archiving of the daily My
Two Cents columns (click
here for those), and we've updated our authorized mirror copy of
Jim Taylor's Official
DVD FAQ to the most recent version (dated 9/27).
In addition, we're very happy to be able to bring you
early look at some DVD menu screens from a whole slew of upcoming
Paramount titles. We've got an early look at menus from The
Nutty Professor, The Odd Couple,
She's Having a Baby, Rules
of Engagement, An Officer and a
Gentleman, Planes, Trains and
Automobiles and White Christmas,
so be sure to check them out.
But the big news today is this - DVD has officially crossed the 10
million players shipped mark here in the States. We'll have the official
numbers from CEA soon, but here's the DVD Entertainment Group's press
release announcing the landmark for the format:
DVD-VIDEO SETS MILESTONE AS 10 MILLIONTH
PLAYER IS SHIPPED
DVD-Video Reaches Benchmark Faster Than Any Other Consumer Electronics
Product Including VCR and Compact Disc
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. - October 4, 2000 - Ten million DVD-Video players
have shipped to market, signaling the format's unparalleled acceptance
among consumers in North America. This level is reached faster than any
other consumer electronics product in history, just three and a half
years after its introduction. The DVD Entertainment Group announced this
new milestone for the popular home video format at the annual DVD Forum
meeting in Scottsdale.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), CD players
took seven years to ship 10 million units, and eight years for VCRs to
reach this level. Underscoring the strong consumer demand for the
format, DVD-Video players have doubled their presence in the marketplace
since reaching five percent household penetration in December 1999.
Fueling this growth is the enthusiastic support of movie studios and
record labels, which are releasing more than 250 new DVD-Video titles
each month. In response, DVD replicators have increased their capacity
by more than 150 percent for the second half of 2000 over the same
period last year in preparation for the extraordinary anticipated growth
throughout the holiday selling season.
"The milestone of shipping 10 million DVD-Video players is
regarded as an indicator of mass market acceptance," said Emiel N.
Petrone, chairman, DVD Entertainment Group and executive vice president,
Philips Entertainment Group, Worldwide. "We know that shortly we
will achieve 10 percent household penetration - a benchmark of success
for any consumer electronics product."
The convergence of consumer electronics - as DVD-Video players are
integrated into televisions, stereos, video game consoles and home
theater systems - will continue to propel penetration of DVD-Video
players into households in the upcoming fourth quarter. Additionally,
portable DVD-Video players, DVD-Video/Audio combination players and
units for the car will also help to make DVD one of the most popular
gift items this holiday selling season.
The DVD Entertainment Group is a Los Angeles-based, industry-funded
nonprofit corporation that exists expressly to promote consumer
awareness of the benefits of DVD-Video and DVD-Audio, and to provide
updated information to the media and the retail trade about DVD players
and titles. As part of the group's charter, it also looks to incorporate
future applications for the DVD format such as interactive games.
How cool is that? Stay tuned...!
(EARLY UPDATE -
10/4/00 - 10:30 AM PDT)
Ever since DVD really kicked into high gear, a lot of us have been
looking to the various studios to follow suit - to really take DVD more
seriously. One by one, most of the studios have done so. But there's
been one studio that a lot of us felt could do more - MGM. Well, MGM is
about to do just that - more - and I think a lot of you are going to be
impressed by them in the new year.
While the political candidates were warming up to trump each other
yesterday afternoon, I spent the afternoon at the Santa Monica offices
of MGM Home Entertainment. I'd been invited to get a sneak peek at their
upcoming DVD plans for 2001, as I'm sure were several other journalists.
When you are invited to something like this, the idea is that the studio
is trying to impress you, and they usually pull out all the stops. I
figured I'd just wing this meeting, and during the hour-long drive to
the studio, I made a mental list of the things I wanted to hear from
them in order to be impressed. And darned if I didn't hear them all.
Frankly, I was very pleasantly surprised at their attitude and renewed
commitment to the format. I always get excited to meet DVD people at the
studios who love the format as much as we do, and I think these folks at
MGM do. The first thing they mentioned was that the studio has
rededicated itself to the format, and that as part of that, you're going
to see anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 sound, LOTS of supplemental materials
and new film transfers whenever possible - the rule rather than the
exception. They've also decided that French and Spanish language tracks
and subtitles will be standard whenever possible, along with English
Closed Captioning. And their DVD packaging will now feature a revamped
features grid on the back, that quickly explains the aspect ratio, audio
and extras options on all their titles.
For 2001, the studio is organizing their DVD releases into the "branded
lines" that they use for VHS, among them: Contemporary Classics,
Soul Cinema, World Films, Avant Garde, Midnight Movies and more. You
might wonder what the need for this branding is, as they only release
8-10 titles on DVD a month. No longer. In 2001, the studio told me that
they're committed to releasing some 30-40 titles on disc every month,
which will include at least one (and probably two) genuine special
edition titles (they plan to release 20+ special editions next year). In
fact, by the end of 2001, the studio's goal is to have released between
300 and 400 of their films on DVD. And they've set three tiers of
pricing to do so: $14.95 for catalog, $19.98 for A&B grade films and
$24.98-26.98 for new films and special editions.
So what are some of the titles that MGM has in the works? Well, they're
kicking things off in style with a When Harry
Met Sally: Special Edition in January. The disc will feature
anamorphic widescreen, a new "making of" documentary that
includes new interviews with almost everyone involved, 11 minutes of
deleted scenes, a commentary track with director Rob Reiner and LOTS
more. Some Like it Hot is slated
for April and Magnificent Seven is
a May title. Other highlights for the year include the long-awaited
special edition of The Princess Bride
(Rob Reiner finally had time to participate), DVD releases of B classics
like Buckaroo Banzai and Killer
Klowns from Outer Space, Stargate
SG1 episodes (either in season by season boxed sets or a few
episodes a disc singly - they're still trying to determine and I
encouraged them to go with the boxed sets) and, late in the year, Ridley
Scott's Hannibal. I also
encouraged them to revisit Chitty Chitty Bang
Bang with an anamorphic widescreen special edition, which
they say is a possibility. The big hit of 4th Qtr 2001 will be their new
Terminator: Special Edition (more
on that in a minute). Just to give you an idea of the scope of MGM's DVD
plans for 2001, here's a look at their complete January release list:
January 2nd - Autumn in New York,
Crime and Punishment in Suburbia
January 9th - Benny & Joon,
The Cutting Edge, Love
Field, The Man in the Moon,
Moll Flanders, Mystic
Pizza, Untaimed Heart,
When Harry Met Sally: Special Edition,
In the Heat of the Night: Special Edition,
The Organization, They
Call Me Mister Tibbs! (all Contemporary Classics), Black
Ceaser, Black Mama, White Mama,
Goes to Harlem, Foxy Brown,
Friday Foster, I'm
Gonna Get You Sucka, Sheba Baby,
Big Rip Off, Truck Turner
(all Soul Cinema)
January 23rd - Mr. Accident
(new title), Babette's Feast, The
Bride Wore Black, Camille Claudel,
Jean De Florette, The
Man Who Loved Women, Manon of the
Spring, Mississippi Mermaid,
Small Change, The
Story of Adele H(all World Films), Alice's
Restaurant, American Buffalo,
Dance with a Stranger, Desert
Hearts, I Shot Andy Warhol,
Longtime Companion, River's
Edge, Suture (all Avant
That's just ONE month, folks. And that's a pretty amazing mix of new
and old, classic and camp, art film and foreign. Plus, you get two
genuine special editions. Okay... I'm impressed.
To round off the afternoon in style, MGM gave me a sneak peek at their
forthcoming Terminator: Special Edition,
which is being produced with longtime Cameron associate Van Ling. As I
mentioned, the disc itself doesn't arrive until Q4 2001, but the new
high def transfer and new 5.1 sound mix is done and they are truly
impressive. I was very surprised at how good the film looked. MGM
Technical Services went back to the original negatives and created a new
interpositive with much improved color timing. This new film element
was, in turn, given a high definition film transfer and a pass through a
digital filter to clean up dust and debris. The result is really amazing
- the film looks WAY better than I've ever seen it. On the sound side,
the film's original composer, Brad Fiedel, along with James Cameron's
hand-picked team of sound designers (among them Gary Rydstrom) went back
to the original mono sound elements and created a brand new 5.1 mix at
Skywalker Sound that really enhances the film experience, while
remaining true to its original tone. There is SO much more subtlety to
the sound cues, and there are genuine ambiences and environments in the
mix. And naturally, when audio must explode from the screen, it'll blow
you out of your seat. We watched the film's last reel, as Reese and
Sarah are being chased by the Terminator through the factory, and did
A/B (before restoration and after) comparisions throughout. Okay... I'm
I was also surprised at just how open to feedback MGM's DVD team is. I
think they asked me as many questions as I asked them - questions about
what DVD fans seem want from DVD and the like. And they assured me that
they do closely monitor Internet sites like the Bits,
and places like the Home Theater Forum,
to see what people are saying - what the trends are. That's a very good
sign. I think DVD fans are really going to be very pleased with MGM's
new DVD work for 2001. Based on what I've seen and what they've told me,
it looks as if the studio is really gearing up to produce the kind of
quality that we've always wanted from their product. Remember how Fox
turned around their DVD operation? MGM looks to be about to do the same.
So that's MGM for 2001 in a nutshell. We'll be back this afternoon with
some great new DVD reviews and more, so stay tuned...
In all the hubbub yesterday, I neglected to mention that Paramount has
revealed their December DVD slate, and it's pretty classic. On December
12th, look for Francis Ford Coppola's The
Conversation (staring Gene Hackman), along with Children
of a Lesser God, The Odd Couple,
An Officer and a Gentleman and
Shaft 2000. And we're hearing that
The Untouchables is on tap for
early next year. Those are some nice titles, Paramount classics all
(well... maybe Shaft 2000 isn't a
classic, but you get the drift).
We've got a brief update today on Universal's Back
to the Future Trilogy. You'll find that in today's
Music has thrown their weight behind DVD Audio. The label has
announced that it's going to kick off the format by releasing seven
titles, which will include recordings by Beethoven, Ravel, Emerson, Lake
& Palmer and Natalie Merchant. Look for DVD Audio to start appearing
on store shelves in December and January, accompanied by a heavy
marketing push. Personally, I think Audio is going be slower to catch on
than DVD Video was, but it will ultimately do so - especially when
affordable players hit the market that are capable of playing both
formats (giving consumers the opportunity to try it themselves). In any
case, we'll be watching closely.
Entertainment and Fox Children's Network have filed a suit to stop
Universal from releasing episodes of The X-Men animated series
on VHS and DVD. The parties involved in the suit feel that the release
of the program on to home video would destroy the ratings for the
program and the ad money it could generate. The first DVD was slated to
be released on October 24th... we'll see.
Here's a look at the X-Men disc
in question, as well as cover art for Paramount's Star
Trek: The Original Series Volumes 18 & 19 (street date
10/24 - which include the classic episodes The
Doomsday Machine and Amok Time)
as well as Crtierion's The Beastie Boys
Anthology (11/7). Enjoy.
Image Entertainment will be releasing Steve Oedekerk's Thumb
Wars and Thumbtanic on
DVD in Q1 of 2001. These will be just the first of a series of such "thumb
parody" programs to be released. We've seen glimpses of both (and I
believe Thumb Wars at least was
broadcast on TV earlier this year). There's no doubt it's funny, but
man... I don't know if I could watch a whole program like that. Still...
MAJOR cool factor points to Image for releasing them. Now if we could
just get Hardware Wars on DVD...
Pioneer is apparently working to develop a DVD/Tivo combination box,
which I believe will allow consumers to time-shift programming that's
recorded on a DVD type disc rather than a hard drive.
out the article and see what you make of it yourself.
And finally this morning, a follow up on my Napster rant from
yesterday. As many of you may know,
One of the appeal hearing passed without a ruling. I wanted to
clarify my feelings about Napster, and why, for example, I support
Napster (in principle) while condemning pirated Star
Wars DVDs. Well... first off, if Lucasfilm would release the
Star Wars films on DVD
legitimately, I'd be first in line to buy them. But that's another
I'm not saying that there isn't theft going on on Napster. But how is
it that much different from people making tape copies of prerecorded
CDs, or taping movies and TV programs off the air with VCRs? I don't
like Napster because I can get lots of music for free, and I can rip off
the record company and musicians. I like it because it lets me preview
music that I want to buy anyway or might want to buy but was reluctant
to risk $17 without hearing it first. I like it because it's the ONLY
place I can get something like Klark Kent Kollected
Works and hundreds of other great older albums which are now
out of print. And I like it because it's going to force the record
industry to get off its ass and really start serving its artists and
consumers, rather than the other way around. Look - movie studios had
the EXACT same arguments about VCRs in the 70s and 80s... and look what
happened. Now, home video is the biggest source of income for the
studios, movie fans have much greater access to their favorite films and
that access has served to educate a whole new generation of film
directors, thus fueling more creativity. The record companies have
gotten fat, lazy and complacent, and Napster and other file-sharing
schemes like it are going to change that. They'll have to start giving
us the kind of musical diversity we want, for fairer prices. America's
musical tastes are much broader that AOR-based radio station's playlists
As for the movie studios, they've already learned to adapt and will
continue to do so. But the best answer to piracy is making entertainment
better, cheaper and more accessible. Why would anyone want to go out and
buy a pirated DVD of a film that's already available legitimately in
awesome DVD quality with a treasure trove of extras for a reasonable
price? And I, for one, don't want to watch my movies from a hard drive
on a computer screen. I want to hold the disc in my hands and put it in
on my shelf with my collection of other favorite films. That's what will
always prevent digital piracy from being the downfall of modern
civilization that Hollywood and the record industry like to so loudly
Napster, to me, is about giving consumers the leverage to force badly
needed change upon an industry that has no interest in changing of its
own accord. And if you poll musicians, those for and against Napster are
running at about 50/50. Point is, I think there's a way to make the
Napster model work for everyone. Allow Napster to have tons of older,
out of print catalog music, and select new recordings, by established
artists, released specifically to the Net to promote upcoming releases.
Charge a $15 a month access fee, and let the RIAA split that money among
all concerned parties, specifically the artists (on a per download
basis). And allow new artists to make their music available on systems
like Napster, so people can discover them, like MP3.com does. When one
starts getting popular, the record company can sign them to a real
contract. Everybody wins. There are MAJOR new opportunities here.
The other problem I have with all the efforts against Napster and file
sharing, is that in the face of technology, they're 100% futile. The
RIAA and MPAA will NEVER stop file sharing. It just isn't going to
happen. Other new sharing schemes, like Gnutella, don't even have
central party servers involved - there's no one to sue. But if the
industry works quickly, they can turn file-sharing to their own
advantage, and actually find new ways to make a lot of money. If they
just keep fighting it, it's only going to keep getting more out of
control that it already is. It's no coincidence that Napster usage went
up 71% the day the ruling against them went down.
Anyway, those are just my two cents. I'm not asking for you to agree or
disagree. Wired magazine has a
really great look at this topic in their current issue (October 2000),
it will soon be available online as well (on 10/10). Whatever your
position or beliefs, we at the Bits
encourage you to look into it further, because this issue is at the
center of a heated battle that will ultimately determine the way we'll
be consuming media in the 21st Century. And there are legitimate
concerns all around.
In any case, stay tuned...
Well... can you believe it's already October? And what do you know...
my Vikings are 4-0! Gotta love this time of year (sigh)...
We've got a couple of things for you today. First of all, our own Dan
Kelly's been a busy beaver this week, and we've got three new DVD
reviews from him: Universal's
Psycho: Unrated Version, Columbia TriStar's new reissue of
Craft: Special Edition and New Line's
Destination: Platinum Series. Think you'll definitely want to
check 'em out.
We've also updated the
DVD Player sales numbers with the 222,726 players sold into
retail in the States in the week ending 9/22. That makes the total for
the month thus far some 678,328 - a new record - with still a week to
go. And it makes the format total to date 9,898,123. I'm gonna make a
prediction and say that DVD's topped 10 mil in the U.S. by the time all
the September sales data has been reported. And THAT folks, is damn
impressive (the 10 mil... not my prediction). ;-)
Also today, we've got a look at a couple more upcoming DVD covers: New
Line's The Filth and the Fury
(street date 10/10) and Columbia TriStar's His
Girl Friday (11/21 - a Howard Hawks classic). We've also got
some early DVD menu screens from Synapse's Six
Days in Roswell (11/14). Can't wait!
Fans of Stargate SG1 may soon get
more episodes on DVD. At least that's what one
website learned after attending a recent "Gatecon"
convention for the show. We'll be meeting with MGM DVD representatives
this week, and we'll be sure to ask them for confirmation. Stay tuned...
In other DVD news around the Net today,
may be in hot water this holiday season with parents. That's
because of the one million PlayStation 2 game systems it had hoped to
deliver, it may be only able to make about half that many. Looks like
Tickle Me Elmo all over again. Hell hath no fury like a parent in the
middle of a Christmas toy buying frenzy. "Do you have PlayStation
2?" "Yes we do sir... for $1,500." "I'LL TAKE IT!!"
The future looks bright for DVD.
the conclusion of two industry analyst predictions at least. The
two new reports disagree on whether broadband and satellite pay-per-view
schemes will begin encroaching on existing brick-and-mortar home video
rental business, but "enthusiasm built around DVD's popularity will
drive DVD sales from this year's estimate of $4 billion to $14.1 billion
by 2005." And rather than fear a loss of VHS renting due to DVD,
home video retailers can expect DVD renting to far outpace what's lost
in VHS. Adams Media Research's Tom Adams says, "The fact is that
people who buy new DVD players not only buy more discs to replace their
VHS collections but also rent more discs, averaging between five and
seven rentals per month, compared to 3.5 VHS rental per-household
per-month. By 2005, 61% of video rentals and 74% of video sales will
come from DVD." Of course, we DVD early adopters knew that would
happen all along. ;-)
is the day Napster goes to court to try to appeal a recent
decision, in favor of the recording industry, that would shut down the
MP3 file-trading system for good. Should be VERY interesting to see what
happens. Gee... I'm sure glad I got all the tracks from Journey's
upcoming Arrival CD earlier this
weekend. The disc (which is awesome by the way) was supposed to be
released next week... but Sony Music, in all its infinite wisdom, has
decided to delay the release until February of 2001, much to the dismay
of the band and fans. And this gets me to why I like Napster. I'm tired
of record companies telling me what kind of music I should like, and
when I should like it, and that I should pay $17.99 for a CD that costs
50 cents to produce. I'm tired of wanting to buy a particular album on
CD and finding out that it's out of print, or it's never been made
available on CD. I'm tired of hearing band after band that sounds the
same, when thousands of great and talented artists can't even get a
record company to look at them. And I'm tired of a bunch of marketing
suits with Harvard business school degrees determining the tone and
course of the music industry. I'm not alone. THAT'S why millions are
using Napster and why file-sharing and MP3 will survive, even if Napster
is shut down. Look... I understand the copyright issue and, as a writer,
I have strong feelings on the matter. But music file-sharing exists
because the industry is doing music, musicians and music consumers a
major disservice, and has been for a long time. And before you all get
your panties in a bunch... I AM gonna line up to buy a legit copy of
Journey's Arrival when it's
finally released next year. But in the meantime, it's rockin' the Bits
office right now. Gee.. didn't know I had a rant in me today.
Finally this afternoon, Image
Entertainment's updated their
News page to include details on lots more upcoming DVD titles,
among them A&E's massive, 14-disc Monty
Python's Flying Circus Collection, Reboot
#3 from A.D. Vision, three discs worth of Backstreet
Boys from BMG, several December titles from Buena Vista,
DreamWorks' Gladiator, HBO's The
Sopranos: The Complete First Season (which is 16x9),
Paramount's Shaft 2000 (street
date 12/12), Universal's Legend
and lots more.
Some interesting things to note today. First of all, we've spoken with
Warner Bros. about rumors that the studio finally plans to release
episodes of the hit NBC TV series Friends
on DVD here in the States in December. As many of you may know, almost
the complete series has already been released on disc in European Region
2 markets. Warner has informed us that it IS being discussed, but that
plans are very tentative and there's still a fair possibility that it
might not happen at all. The difficulty apparently has to do with
syndication rights issues here in the U.S. We'll see....
Speaking of Warner... when the studio reissues How
The Grinch Stole Christmas on October 31st, look for it to be
digitally "enhanced" (in other words, this is the "special
edition" that was featured on TNT), and to include more bonus
materials. The disc will still include Horton
Hears a Who, and will now feature Songs
in the Key of Grinch (an interview with composer Albert Hague
and vocalist Thurl Ravenscroft), Making
Animation and Bringing it to Life (commentary by Phil Roman
and June Foray), pencil sketches and more. SRP is $19.95. No doubt the
new attention to this title is designed to take advantage of the release
of the new Universal live action version staring Jim Carrey. Regardless
of why it's happening, we're just glad to see the Grinch finally getting
his due on DVD. Too bad somebody isn't remaking A
Christmas Story, because I'd sure love an anamorphic
widescreen special edition of that film...
Criterion has informed us that their release of Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus
has been pushed back to 1st Qtr 2001. In its place on November 14th, the
company will release The Rolling Stones'
Also today, we've gotten official confirmation from A&E Home Video
about more classic British TV series coming to DVD from them. So you can
definitely look forward to Roger Moore's The
Saint, Space: 1999 and
Thunderbirds in 2001. Very cool.
Look for them to be released in 2-disc sets like The
Prisoner, Monty Python
and The Avengers. Other
properties, such as UFO and Captain
Scarlet, are a possibility as well.
Wanna copy of Fox's X-Men?
Well... you'll have to wait until November 21st. But that doesn't have
to stop you from reserving your copy today. Retailers everywhere began
taking preorders this morning. Just FYI...
And we've got some upcoming DVD cover art for you to check out today,
including Buena Vista's Gone in 60 Seconds
(street date 12/5), New Line's The Cell:
Platinum Series (TBD), Miramax's Princess
Mononoke (we assume with revised audio and extras, finally
set for 12/19), Paramount's Airplane
(10/24) and Planes, Trains & Automobiles
(11/21) and New Video's The Awful Truth: The
Complete First Season (10/31). Now will somebody please
explain to me why Michael Moore's terrific Roger
& Me isn't on DVD?
Stay tuned... and have a great weekend!
(LATE UPDATE - 9/28/00 - 4:30 PM PDT)
We're back with some reviews, and we've got a real Steven King fest for
you today. Todd's checked in with a look at two new Paramount titles,
Dead Zone and
Sematary. And Dan Kelly's taken a look at Columbia TriStar's
By Me: Special Edition (it's about time that film got SE
treatment). Finally, Greg Suarez has given a new DVD of one of my
favorite films from earlier this year a spin - Buena Vista's
We've also got a quick blurb in
Rumor Mill today about the Back to
the Future Trilogy, although let me caution you that this is
very tentative information. We're looking into it further and should
have an update soon.
Finally this afternoon, we got this off an advance sellsheet - no idea
if it's the FINAL artwork, but here's a look at what we think is the DVD
cover for David Lynch's The Straight Story
(due from Buena Vista on November 7th). It's definitely not to be missed
when it comes out...
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/28/00 - 12:45 PM PDT)
URGH! Do we really have to go over this again? You remember about a
month ago when we debunked that rumor that appeared in the Official
PlayStation magazine about Star
Wars DVDs coming out this year, in November or December? Well
he's late to the party, but rumor monster extraordinaire Harry Knowles
has finally (and perhaps inevitably) picked up on it and
site posted the story today. We said it before and we'll probably
say it again - THERE IS NO WAY THE STAR WARS
FILMS ARE BEING RELEASED ON DVD THIS YEAR. Maybe I should
make that text blink so everyone completely understands it. This isn't
just us saying this... we just got off the phone with 20th Century Fox
Home Entertainment and they officially confirmed it. Star
Wars DVDs are at least 6-12 months away. People are working
on the eventual discs, but we aren't going to see them until late 2001
at the earliest. Enough said (I hope).
Now then... how about some Fox news that IS true? We've confirmed the 6
DTS DVD titles that the studio has on the way for December and January
respectively (three each month). Look for Predator,
The Siege, Courage
Under Fire, The Thin Red Line,
The X-Files: Fight the Future and
The Last of the Mohicans, all in
anamorphic widescreen and all with dual Dolby Digital and DTS sound.
Cool no? We were also able to confirm that the first season of Buffy
the Vampire Slayer is expected early next year, and that The
X-Files: The Complete Third Season will be released in the
1st Qtr as well, hot on the heals of The
Complete Second Season in late November. Very cool.
We'll be back with reviews soon, so stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 9/27/00 - 2:30 PM PDT)
Well how do you like that? Naturally, while we were gone, a slew of
interesting things happened in the DVD world. To start with, X-Men
was official unveiled, as was Universal's Legend:
Collector's Edition. We've already talked X-Men,
so let's give you a rundown of all the goodies on the Legend
2-disc set. First of all, you're going to get the 89-minute American
theatrical cut of the film, with score by Tangerine Dream. Then you're
going to be treated to a brand new, 113-minute Director's Cut, with
Jerry Goldsmith's original score. Fans of this film are going to really
love this - I've seen the new cut and it's terrific. Naturally, both
will be included in anamorphic widescreen. Audio options for at least
the Director's Cut will be Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1. You also get a
terrific 60-minute+ documentary on the making of the film, Creating
a Myth: The Making of Legend. There's a brand new commentary
track with director Ridley Scott, three separate storyboard sequences,
trailers, production notes and the complete screenplay via DVD-ROM. And
finally, you get a specially edited storyboard/music sequence depicting
the lost "Fairy Dance" scene. All this for only $34.98 SRP.
And best of all, you can pick up the disc on 11/21, the same day you
head for the video store to get DreamWorks' Gladiator.
How's that for cool? We expect to publish a special feature story on
Legend sometime in the next week,
featuring an interview with one of the disc's producers, J.M. Kenny, and
a visit to the commentary recording session with Ridley Scott himself,
so look for that soon. In the meantime, here's the DVD cover art for
Legend, along with Gladiator,
X-Men and HBO's The
Sopranos: The Complete First Season.
Warner Home Video has announced that director Oliver Stone will be
signing copies of his Any Given Sunday
on DVD in New York City tonight. The signing will be held at Tower
Video/Books at 4th & Lafayette (383 Lafayette St.), from 7 to 9 PM
EDT. If you're in the neighborhood, don't miss it.
And speaking of Warner, the studio is releasing episodes of The
Powerpuff Girls on DVD, which is a Cartoon Network property.
These will appear on 2 discs, Down n' Dirty
and Powerpuff Bluff. They'll SRP
for $19.98 each (street date 11/7), and each disc will contain some 10
A&E Home Video has announced the release of more classic British TV
series on DVD, starting with Sci-fi cut hit The
Prisoner on October 31st. The late-60s series starred Patrick
McGoohan (whom some of you may better know as Edward the Longshanks from
Braveheart). There will be 2 DVD
sets of episodes, with 2 disc each (3 episodes per set, plus lots of
cool supplemental materials, including rare trailers, an alternate
version of one episode, production photos and more). Each set will SRP
for $39.95. VERY cool.
And Buena Vista has revealed that their Gone
in 60 Seconds will street on December 5th, followed by Scary
Movie on December 12th (read
more via Yahoo here).
Here's something that may have slipped under the radar - director
Steven Spielberg has been given permission to create an E.T.
the Extra-Terrestrial: 20th Anniversary Special Edition for
release in theaters in March of 2002 (we've been told that work is
already under way on that, as well as on the DVD release, which will
occur later in 2002). The new version of the film will feature digitally
enhanced scenes and new footage, a-la George Lucas' recent Star
Wars Trilogy Special Editions. Again,
can read more via Yahoo.
And finally today, Image
News page features more upcoming DVD news, including details on
Buena Vista's Gone in 60 Seconds
and Scary Movie, Columbia
TriStar's His Girl Friday and No
Way Back, Criterion's Rolling
Stones: Gimme Shelter, MGM's December lineup (which includes
Gorky Park and Sid
and Nancy), Trimark's Heaven's
Burning and their Kids
re-release, Warner's League of Gentlemen:
Series 1 and Running Mates
and lots more.
Now then... we're caught up! So we'll be back tomorrow with a bunch of
new DVD reviews. As always, stay tuned...!
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/27/00 -
12:01 AM PDT)
Did ya miss us? Well, we didn't expect to be down for a week, but we're
finally settling into our new home. Feels good to be back! First of all,
let me say a big F#@K YOU to Concentric Network, who is the reason we
had to go through all this hassle in the first place. You may recall
that our server had long been housed by a small ISP called Anaserve here
in Orange County, CA. Well Anaserve got taken over by Concentric a year
ago, and everything went downhill from there. We've been getting (and
promptly paying) our bills... paying the rate we agreed upon with
Anaserve when we contracted with them. Then, about a month ago, we got a
call from Concentric saying that they were going to triple our hosting
rates. While we scrambled to figure out a course of action, Concentric
then proceeded to call almost every day - SERIOUS arm-twisting - saying
that if we didn't re-sign with them for a year ASAP, they were going to
shut down our server. These guys were pushy like you wouldn't believe.
Finally, I just told them to shut the damn server down, because we
weren't going to be blackmailed into paying them another dime. And now
what do you suppose they're doing? They're holding our old server (which
we've long ago paid for) hostage, while they try to charge us like
$1,800 in uncontracted "back bandwidth" charges - charges
which are completely bogus and are being levied punitively for not
signing with them again. Needless to say, our lawyer is on the case. Our
advice - if you're looking for an ISP, Concentric is to be avoided at
God they've pissed me off. Did you get the sense that I'm a little
peeved? Anyway, we're glad to be (mostly) rid of them. And we're very
happy to acknowledge (and mound our sincerest thanks upon) our new ISP,
Internet 1st, Inc..
They're based in St. Louis, MO, smack dab in the middle of the good old
US of A. They were recommended to us by our friends at the
Theater Forum and frankly we couldn't be happier. And as our new
Internet home, we've added a link to Internet 1st at the bottom of every
page here at the Bits (in place of
the old Anaserve button - good riddance!). So if you're looking for a
great place to host your website, give 'em a call.
Now then... there are still a couple of things that we need to tweak
around here, particularly our e-mail, which may still be a tad buggy for
the next few days. BUT... we took the time while we were down to give
the Bits a MAJOR overhaul. We've
scoured every page of the site for bad code, non-functional e-mail
links, old formatting, uncredited reviews - you name it. The major
change that you should notice immediately is the new button bar on the
left of every page of the Bits.
Not only does it feature "rollover" animation, it SHOULD
finally put an end to all of those crashing problems you users of
Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 for Mac have been having. Something about
our old button bar graphics just gave the browser a major wedgie, so
much so that many Mac users simply couldn't read the site. Hopefully,
the new graphics will make your browsers happy - please let us know if
you're still having problems.
We've got some archiving and catching up to do over the next day or
two, particularly news and reviews. Our staff has churned out a ton of
reviews while we were down, so we're going to start posting those later
today. And we've got a couple of major features going up soon, including
a closer look at Universal's upcoming Legend:
Collector's Edition 2-disc set. So please bear with us while
we get back up to speed again after being gone for a week. As I said,
we'll be back later today to start things off.
In the meantime, we've updated the
DVD player sales data for the third week of September - 149,675
players sold into retail, meaning that 10 million players is just around
And we've FINALLY announced the winners of our September Trivia
Contest. Congratulations to Jim
Gostigian of Ft. Myers, Florida, who took home the Pioneer DV-434
progressive scan DVD player. Congrats also to Eric
Anderson of Edmonds, Washington, who won the RTI T2 Remote. You
can read the
answers to the contest here. Sorry to keep you all hanging in
there waiting to see who won, but we simply couldn't avoid the downtime.
But be assured that we got everyone's entries right up until the close
of the contest - all 3,247 of them (a new record)! Sarah's already at
work on the next contest, and we've got some great prizes coming up, so
be sure to check back soon for that.
By the way... we got hundreds of great answers to our "Monkey
Mystery" question (What is the Meaning of the Monkey?). There were
some very funny ones... and some where people seemed to REALLY read
things into it. As we said when we posted it, there's no right answer.
But our favorite came from Jamie Silver of Madison, Wisconsin, who said
simply... "Monkey just is." Amen, baby. Just so you're not all
scratching your heads wondering why we posted it in the first place,
he's officially called the SprockMonkey,
and he's the logo that Todd and I have created to represent our other,
non-DVD creative endeavors (look for a SprockMonkey.com
at some point in the near future). We wanted SpaceMonkey or SockMonkey,
but those domains were gone. SprockMonkey is a combination of both, it's
completely unique and it's just plain us. Anyway, we're pretty proud of
the little guy and we just wanted to keep you all entertained while we
were away. Who better to do that than a monkey?
Well... that's about all for now. From everyone here at The
Digital Bits, thank you all very much for hanging in there
with us during our move. It was a real pain, but we're back and we're
ready to jam. We really love what we do, and we've been away from it for
WAY too long! Plus, we happen to think we've got the best readers
around. So thanks again for all your support and we'll be back later
Stay tuned... ;-)
A DVD WILL RISE...!
Yes... this is FINALLY the final approved and absolutely final in every
way DVD cover artwork for DreamWorks' Gladiator.
And surprise... it's a Signature Selection! Yessir, director Ridley
Scott himself has personally signed each and every disc. Well... okay,
maybe not personally. But you get the idea. Let me just say this...
between Gladiator and the Toy
Story set, I'm gonna be a VERY happy camper in a month or
Also... we wanted to be the first to break some more good Ridley Scott
DVD news to you. We've been informed that Universal's terrific Legend:
Collector's Series 2-disc set is also expected to street on
November 21st, for an SRP of $34.99. How's that for a Scott 2-disc two
shot? An official announcement is expected to come on Friday or Monday.
And we'll have a special feature story on this title very soon. Add Legend
to Gladiator and Toy
Story in the list of discs I'm dying to get...
Don't forget that today is the last day of the
Also this morning, I wanted to let you know that The
Digital Bits is probably going to be moving servers over the
next few days. That means that we may go down for a day or two, and that
our e-mail may be down as well until we get up on the new server. If
this does occur, please note that you will be able to reach me in a
pinch via this e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our regular e-mail should be back up soon. Thanks for your patience!
(LATE UPDATE - 9/19/00 - 8 PM PDT)
Okay... NOW it's official. Here's the text of DreamWorks' press release
announcing the DVD release of Gladiator.
We'll have the final FINAL artwork tomorrow morning (the stuff you're
seeing on Amazon.com right now is still bogus):
DreamWorks' Colossal $185 Million Summer Smash
Starring Academy Award® Nominee Russell Crowe
Comes Out Swinging In The Video Arena November 21, 2000 On VHS and DVD
Ultimate Collector's Double Disc DVD Hits Shelves Featuring More Than
Four Hours of Bonus Programming And Dolby Digital and DTS Sound Together
GLENDALE, CA - The second highest-grossing box-office smash and
DreamWorks' number one hit movie of the year, Gladiator, makes its
highly-anticipated DVD sell-through and VHS rental debut November 21,
2000. The critically acclaimed and action-packed epic that brings to
life all the passion and glory of ancient Rome through amazing action
and ground-breaking special effects, releases as a special double disc
DVD with more than four hours of bonus programming. Available just in
time for the holidays, the Gladiator DVD is the ultimate gift for the
millions of fans who made the film a $185 million box office smash. It
offers a coliseum full of extras, including an insightful director's
commentary by Academy-Award*-nominated director Ridley Scott (Alien,
Blade Runner), deleted scenes, a seven-minute montage of
never-before-seen footage produced exclusively for the DVD by Academy
Award-winning editor Pietro Scalia (JFK), a production diary by one of
the film's actors and much more. The Gladiator DVD will be available for
as low as under $22.00.
The powerful story of courage and revenge, Gladiator stars Academy
Award* nominee Russell Crowe (The Insider; L.A. Confidential) and
features an outstanding, all-star international ensemble cast, including
Joaquin Phoenix (8MM; To Die For), Connie Nielsen (Mission To Mars; The
Devil's Advocate), Oliver Reed (Oliver; The Three Musketeers), Richard
Harris (Patriot Games; Unforgiven), and Djimon Hounsou (Amistad; Deep
GLADIATOR DVD FEATURES
Continuing its tradition of creating DVD's that feature extraordinary
programming and extras, DreamWorks is releasing the Gladiator DVD with
more than four hours of bonus programming:
An insightful and compelling Director commentary with Ridley Scott
providing an in-depth look at the dazzling special effects and the
creation of this fascinating film.
Never-before-seen, previously unreleased scenes with Director Ridley
A visually stunning "Treasure Chest" of additional footage
cut to music by Pietro Scalia.
A fascinating behind-the-scenes half hour special.
A one-hour program revealing the astonishing history of the
An interview with Hans Zimmer on scoring the music for this epic.
Lucious' production diary written by young actor Spencer Treat Clark.
A slideshow of concept art and storyboard stills.
A behind-the-scenes gallery of stills from the set of Gladiator.
Original theatrical trailers and television spots.
Cast and filmmaker biographies.
We at the Bits have only one
thing to say to all this: Sweeett! Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 9/19/00 - 9:15 AM PDT)
Well... it's ALMOST official. DreamWorks is this morning expected to
announce the DVD release of Gladiator
(street date November 21st). The 2-disc set will include the film in
anamorphic widescreen with dual Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks and
feature length commentary with director Ridley Scott and editor Pietro
Scalia. Also along for the ride are trailers, 25 minutes of deleted
scenes with Scott commentary, a seven-minute montage of
never-before-seen footage put together by editor Pietro Scalia
exclusively for the DVD edition, a behind-the-scenes featurette, HBO and
TLC specials on the film and the history of gladiators and more. The
set's SRP will be $29.99. You can read more
Yahoo here. We'll have more on this soon, including the final
Also announced for December from Buena Vista are Scary
Movie (12/5) and Gone in 60
Seconds (12/12), each for an SRP of $29.95.
And don't forget that tomorrow is the last day of our
so get your entries in fast for your chance to win a new progressive
scan DVD player or a programmable remote control.