UPDATE - 6/28/01 - 4 PM PDT)
We've just gotten word from MGM Home Entertainment that their RoboCop
DVD will street on October 2nd, but the RoboCop:
Special Edition will not be released until some time in 2002
(as it's still in production). There was some confusion about this among
our readers. Rest assured that the movie-only version will include
anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
In the meantime, we've got cover artwork for the studio's Terminator:
Special Edition (which IS set for October 2nd), along with
some 21 other new scans for you to check out this afternoon. You'll find
them in the
DVD Cover Art section. Other new covers include 13
Ghosts, An American Werewolf in
London, Blood Simple,
Blow Out, both versions of Cape
Fear, An Everlasting Piece,
Halloween 2, A
Knight's Tale, The Mexican,
The Tailor of Panama, Roughnecks:
Tesca Campaign, Ultimate Jordan
and more. Don't miss it!
See you tomorrow...
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/28/01
- 10 AM PDT)
Some interesting news items this morning. First of all, head on over to
Force.net for images that COULD be from the upcoming Episode
I DVD. There are shots of a deleted scene (click
and what may be a deleted scene menu page (click
here). Since they're all in full frame, The
Force.net thinks they may be from some kind of promotional
material. Real of not, they're interesting nevertheless.
got another good story on the recordable DVD battle, which is
starting to really heat up. Actual hardware was shown at this week's PC
Expo - hardware that's likely to find its way into consumers homes this
fall. Personally, my money's on Pioneer's DVD-RW based format, which can
record discs that can be viewed on the majority of current DVD players.
Finally this morning, one of my favorite magazines' online sites,
excellent editorial up today on the battle over DVD and digital
piracy. You can also find it in the magazine's current issue, on
newsstands now. Written by Simson Garfinkel, it's an excellent review of
the situation this far. Many of you will be surprised to learn that the
original DeCSS program that sparked all the controversy has recently
been reduced to just six simple lines of code. And while I completely
understand the studios' fear of those six lines, and their desire to
protect their copyrighted movies, Garfinkel's final comments in the
column explains the problem Hollywood faces perfectly:
"The movie industry lost its battle over
DVDs when it decided it would be neat to let people play DVDs not just
on TV sets but on computers. There's no way to keep secret something
that's distributed to millions of PC users. Information is power, and
computers are machines designed to process and distribute information.
Moviemakers are about to learn what the Clinton administration learned
with crypto: no matter how you legislate, information wants to be free."
By the way, if you check out the article, you'll find links to LOTS
more good and detailed reading on this subject and the latest news on
Hollywood's war on piracy... and the fallout from it.
Back with more soon. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/27/01 - 4 PM PDT)
Three new DVD reviews have just been uploaded from Greg, Dan and Brian
and the City: The Complete Second Season, Columbia TriStar's
Limit: Special Edition and 20th Century Fox's
Thing You Do!. And we're getting back into the swing of things
review-wise, so be sure to check back. More reviews are definitely on
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/27/01 - 11:30 AM PDT)
Warner Bros. has officially confirmed that Orson Welles' Citizen
Kane will arrive on DVD in Region 1 on September 25th.
Considered by many to be the greatest movie ever made (it's #1 on the
Top 100 Films list), Citizen Kane
will feature full frame, B&W video (the film's original aspect
ratio), along with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. Extras are TBA but
reportedly will include audio commentary and more. SRP will be $29.98.
More details will follow.
Also this morning, Columbia TriStar has announced the DVD release of
their 1988 remake of The Blob,
expected on September 11th. The DVD will SRP for $19.95, and will
include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround audio
and theatrical trailers.
Finally, a reminder. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, director Kevin
Smith will be signing copies of the new Dogma:
Special Edition at Dave's Video - The Laser Place on Sunday,
July 1st from Noon to 2 PM PDT. He'll sign two items, one of which must
be a copy of the DVD purchased at the event. A portion of the proceeds
will be donated to a charity of Smith's choice. Dave's is located at
12144 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, California. We've been invited to
attend, so maybe we'll see you there.
Back with reviews soon...
(LATE UPDATE - 6/26/01 - 1:30 PM PDT)
Big news! The Willow: Special Edition
has officially been announced! We've received this e-mail from our
friends at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment:
Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment announce
the DVD debut of one of the most successful fantasy adventure movies of
all time, Willow. The Special Edition DVD features exclusive
material enabling fans of the movie, as well as a new generation, to
experience the mystical adventure like never before. Willow is
also available on VHS. Available on November 27, the DVD and VHS are
priced to own at $26.98 and $14.98, respectively.
The DVD will feature THX-certified anamorphic widescreen video and
newly remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include include
special commentaries, an all-new documentary on the film's
groundbreaking achievements in special effects, a classic Making
of an Adventure documentary, an effects featurette, original
theatrical trailers, TV spots, a still photo gallery and more. We'll
post artwork as soon as it becomes available.
Be aware that we've also updated
Rumor Mill with a look at the expected DVD release slate for
The Criterion Collection and Home Vision Entertainment through November.
Some very cool titles are on the way from them - Notorious,
Rashomon and 8½
anyone? There's also word in there on a possible Trek:
TMP street date, so do check it out.
Finally this afternoon, we've also kicked off our second
for June, which will give you each a chance to take home 4 great DVDs
from 20th Century Fox or a laserdisc display frame from ShowOff
Displays! There will be 10 winners in all, and you've got until July 4th
to enter. So click
here to get started and good luck!
We've been a little slow on the DVD review end of things around here
lately, so we'll be back in the morning to rectify that. See you then.
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/26/01 - 11 AM PDT)
We've confirmed with our sources that The
Sopranos: The Complete Second Season is currently slated to
be released on DVD here in Region 1 on November 13th. This date also
seems to have been confirmed by a series fan site,
We'll post more details as they become available.
We've also confirmed that October 2nd is the street date for MGM's The
Terminator: Special Edition. Look for an official
announcement soon from the studio. October is gonna be a killer month
for DVD fans financially - anyone out there planning to get a second job
to pay for all these great DVDs?
We've also heard that when Citizen Kane
and Doctor Zhivago are officially
announced in the coming weeks from Warner Bros., they're gonna have some
very cool special features on them. Yep... in case you didn't know,
they're both expected before the end of the year.
One last item this morning... you Linux and Solaris operating system
users are finally in luck. There's now a software DVD player available
for you that supports DVD menus. It's called Ogle,
you can get it here. Did I mention it's freeware? It's freeware.
Thanks to Matt R. for the link. Enjoy... ;-)
Back with more in a couple of hours...
The big news this morning is that Warner Home Video has finally
revealed officially that it's working on a Citizen
Kane DVD, which will include at least some special edition
materials (TBA). No official street date has been announced, but our
sources are telling us to expect it in later September.
In other news, U2 is talking a little more about that Elevation Tour
DVD that they're currently working on. It's being culled together from a
pair of shows recorded recently in Boston, MA. The band hopes to have it
out by the end of the year, hopefully in November.
here for more. There's also a TV special that's reportedly in the
here for more on that, straight from The Edge himself).
Sony apparently doesn't want to get caught in the 4th quarter DVD
player crunch. The manufacturer says that
going to be boosting their production output by some 60% in order
to meet demand... and make the prices more attractive to consumers. That
will mean that they ship some 7 million players a year.
got a good story up on the start of the recordable DVD format
wars. It's a very good primer on the different formats, so you might
want to give it a look.
Finally this morning, The Salt Lake Tribune's
Horiuchi has a story online about the upcoming DVD releases of
The Godfather and Episode
I. I was interviewed for the article, along with Paramount's
Martin Blythe. Do check it out.
We'll be back with the Trivia
Contest soon. Stay tuned...
Well... we had planned on a more elaborate update yesterday. And then,
of course, we were left picking up the pieces when the server went down
again. We're working hard to get this resolved once and for all - no
one's more pissed about it than us. Naturally, we're having the usual
e-mail problems as well... so be patient if you're trying to send us
correspondence. Things should be back to normal today... but then we've
believed that before. So just hang in there while we deal with this...
again. And we'll try to get some of what we'd planned for yesterday
posted this afternoon.
In the meantime, we've just updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers to reflect shipments for the third
week of June - all charts have been updated accordingly.
More reaction to the Episode I
DVD this morning. Scott Hettrick of Variety
a good summary of the announcement. And thankfully, he didn't
mention The Phantom Edit, which a
lot of the mainstream press seems to think is, in part, responsible for
Lucasfilm's decision to release the film now on DVD. You know... I have
to admit I'm curious about this thing. Anyone out there seen it?
Also this morning, our old friend Andy Patrizio's at it again -
got a more in depth story on the Episode I DVD over at Wired.com,
which talks about the climate in the DVD industry leading up to the
announcement, along with a mention of the
Wars on DVD Campaign's having raised awareness of the desire
for the disc, and a look at how concerns (or lack thereof) about digital
piracy and DeCSS may have played a role in the decision to release now.
Plus, I think there's a quote or two in there from someone you'll
recognize. Do check it out. ;-)
In other DVD news, it seems that Fox's CastAway
is off to a fast start.
to this story by The Hollywood Reporter, 1.8 millions
units of the 2-disc set have been sold, resulting in some $36 million in
sales. And that was just as of yesterday afternoon. Heck - I even saw
the disc up for sale at my local grocery store last night. Remember when
we used to have to really look hard for a store that carried DVDs, and
they only had like 10 titles? Amazing.
As promised, we've just posted a massive update to the
DVD Artwork section - some 164 new scans in all! There's a lot
of great covers - way too many to mention here. But there are definitely
some surprises among the titles listed, and lots of little gems. How
about The Dish, Into
the Arms of Strangers, Enemy at
the Gates, Marathon Man,
The Princess Bride: SE, 61*,
Towers and Dumbo?
They're all in there, along with lots of others, so do check 'em out!
We've also updated
Rumor Mill again today, with word on more A&E British TV
series DVDs, a possible Star Trek: TMP
street date, Columbia's A Knight's Tale
And we've updated the
Top 100 Films on DVD list as well this morning, to reflect the
release of The Apartment and the
recent announcement of A Place in the Sun.
As far as DVD announcements today, Universal's revealed that it will
release a Midway: Collector's Edition
on October 30th. The disc will include a documentary featuring new
interviews with producer Walter Mirisch, director Jack Smight, editor
Frank J. Urioste and star Charlton Heston, a featurette on composer John
Williams, a featurette on the Sensurround Sound audio format, production
photographs and portraits with score by John Williams, additional scenes
exclusively shot for the network television version, a theatrical
trailer and DVD-ROM features. That same day, the studio will release
MacArthur on DVD, which will
include cast and filmmaker bios, production notes, a theatrical trailer
and other bonus material. Both discs will SRP for $24.98. You know... we
think that's cool and all, but how about collector's editions of Dune,
Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century
and Battlestar: Galactica?
Finally today, for those of you who have been jonesing for a Cinescape
Online fix since the site's been down, you'll be happy to
know that the publication is back online at last. Todd's discovered them
Good to have you back, guys!
(LATE UPDATE -
6/19/01 - 11 PM PDT)
Oh... hell. We couldn't wrap today's Episode
I DVD coverage up without giving you a better look at the
cover art, could we? So we've got a look at both the front AND the back
covers, thanks to Bits reader
James. You can almost read the small print (we're working to get an even
higher resolution scan for you, where you can read everything - stay
(LATE UPDATE - 6/19/01 - 4:45 PM PDT)
Okay... we've just spoken with Lucasfilm's Vice President of Marketing,
Jim Ward, who was kind enough to call us after having just gotten off a
plane (he's on his way to the 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
retailer event in New Orleans). Jim answered a bunch of our (and your)
questions about the upcoming DVD.
here's the full transcript of the interview. And special thanks to
everyone at Lucasfilm, Fox and Bender/Helper Impact for arranging this -
we know you guys are a little busy today! Note that we've also updated
Wars on DVD Campaign page to reflect today's announcement.
Ahh... the good old days. ;-)
Also today, we've posted an update to
Rumor Mill, featuring word on more Warner IMAX DVDs, a note on
animated shorts on DVD from Disney, an update on A&E's Space:
1999 releases and more. Don't miss it.
Whew... now to catch my breath. See you all tomorrow...!
(LATE UPDATE - 6/19/01
- 11:45 AM PDT)
Ever since the official Episode I
DVD announcement this morning, we've been flooded with questions. So
we'll try to answer a few of them as best we can.
Some have asked why there is no DTS 6.1 ES track on the DVD. The
decision as to which audio formats to include (and indeed which content
overall) was made by Lucasfilm. Obviously, Lucas supports Dolby Digital,
his companies having participated in the creation of the Dolby Digital
5.1 EX standard (also sometimes called THX EX). The
Phantom Menace was the first film to feature this format
theatrically. Clearly, Dolby was given priority. And given the need to
maintain a high video bit rate, there was probably little room left on
Disc One to add DTS. But the 5.1 EX track on the Episode
I laserdisc (see
our review here) is widely considered to be one of the best
laserdisc surround sound mixes ever produced, so we have little doubt
the DVD's 5.1 EX audio will be just as good, if not better.
Others have asked, "Why no isolated score?" The reason for
this is probably 2-fold. First, there may not have been room on Disc
One, what with the video, audio and audio commentary. Second (and more
importantly), the complete score is currently already available on CD,
in a special 2-disc "ultimate" set.
Many people want to know what Lynne's Dairies are, and what Lucasfilm
means by "tone poems". Well... guess what? You can view all of
that RIGHT NOW at the official Star Wars
on this link, to access a page at the site where you can view all
12 of Lynne's Dairies, the Duel of the Fates
music video, the film's theatrical and teaser trailers, all of the "tone
poems" and more. Much of this will be included on the DVD.
Finally, many want to know if the 7 deleted scenes will be available
separately, or if they're incorporated back into the film via seamless
branching. Our information is that they're available separately, on Disc
new story up on the announcement via Associated Press (at Yahoo)
- do check it out. One of the things that's mentioned is that there are
no immediate plans to release the other films in the Star
Wars saga on DVD. BUT... here's my own speculation on that
issue. I'm guessing you'll see the films come out on DVD about 1 each
year, until they're all out. Keep this in mind... 2002 is the 25th
anniversary of the original Star Wars.
One last note - this Episode I
announcement is, not surprisingly, eating up most of our time today. And
as we're still getting artwork in from the studios, we've decided to
DVD Artwork update until tomorrow. Trust us when we say that
it will be worth the wait - more than 150 new covers will be included in
all. We'll also have a new Trivia Contest
for you as well.
That's all for now. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/19/01 - 9:15 AM PDT)
The day we've been waiting a LONG time for... the day you Star
Wars fans have been going crazy for... has finally arrived!
As we expected (and
as our sources indicated last week) Lucasfilm has officially
announced the WORLDWIDE DVD release of Star
Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace for October 16th. The
2-disc set will include 480 minutes of content (including commentary) -
some 6 hours in all - including brand new scenes that you've never seen
before, fully post-produced just for this DVD release! The set will be
priced at $29.98 in the U.S. and $41.98 in Canada. Here's a look at the
DVD cover artwork (click for a larger image), followed by the official
list of the contents...
The Phantom Menace, mastered by
THX for superior sound and picture quality, presented in Anamorphic
Widescreen and Dolby 5.1 Surround EX (English), Dolby 2.0 Surround
(English and Spanish), and Dolby 2.0 Surround (French, for Canadian
Audio commentary by Writer-Director George Lucas; Producer Rick
McCallum; Co-Editor and Sound Designer Ben Burtt; Visual Effects
Supervisors Scott Squires, John Knoll and Dennis Muren; and Animation
Supervisor Rob Coleman, offering personal insights into the making of
Seven never-before-seen deleted scenes with full visual effects
completed just for the DVD release
The Beginning - an all-new
hour-long documentary culled from over 600 hours of footage offering
unprecedented access inside Lucasfilm and ILM during the making of Episode
Multi-angle storyboard-to-animatic-to-finished-film feature, that lets
you flip through the various phases of development of key action
Five behind-the-scenes featurettes exploring The
Phantom Menace's storyline, designs, costumes, visual effects
and fight scenes
The popular Duel of the Fates
music video that debuted in 1999
All 12 parts of the Lynne's Diaries, the web documentaries that first
appeared at starwars.com
Galleries of theatrical posters, print campaign, and never-before-scene
Downloaded by millions from starwars.com, the original theatrical
teaser and launch trailers, plus seven TV spots including the "tone
Hey kids... how do you like them apples? Looks like our sources were
spot on about the extras as well. You can check
Wars.com for more. There's also a brief
on the release at Yahoo,
along with another quick story at
Business. You can be sure this news will be everywhere later
today, as it hits the wires.
Now then... we just got a call from a studio source indicating that
we'll have the chance to talk later this afternoon with an official
representative of Lucasfilm about the impending DVD release. So we'll be
back later this evening with a lot more on this. We'll also have that
DVD Artwork update - we put the call out to the studios and
got so much new artwork it's taking a couple days just to gather it all
So stay tuned... and May the Force be with You!
(LATE UPDATE - 6/18/01
- 1 PM PDT)
Should DVD fans begin to fear the dumbing down of DVD? Just as Buena
Vista's research shows that new consumers are growing to love fancy DVD
features as much as we avid DVD fans, MGM's shows that more and more
people want pan-and-scan versions, and don't care about director's
commentary tracks (although they still love deleted scenes and
bloopers). You can find a pair of articles (see
& scan and
edition) on this at Video Business.
So does this signal a potential "dumbing down" of DVD in the
Hopefully not. It looks as if the only result right now is that MGM
plans to offer both full frame and widescreen versions of their big new
releases in the future. But honestly, we think some of these things get
a little too over-market-researched. Did you know that TV networks
actually pay "average" consumers to preview TV series
episodes? They're often given a set of controls, along with vague
instructions to press a red button when the show makes them "feel
bad" and a green button when it makes them "feel good" -
no kidding. Changes are then made to the episode based on the results.
We wonder how long it will be before studio "marketing geniuses"
are testing DVDs this way. And we also wonder how much the results of
such a test would differ if you used a room full of trained chimps...
but that's a whole other issue. ;-)
Advice to the studios: just keep making good DVD special editions. If
you want to make alternate pan & scan versions available, great. But
start skimpin' on quality and extras and you'll have a LOT of vocal, and
very angry, DVD fans on the warpath. Remember Divx? 'Nuff said.
(LATE UPDATE - 6/18/01 - Noon PDT)
We've got details for you on Universal's The
Mummy Returns. The disc will street, as we mentioned, on
October 2nd, for an SRP of $26.98. Two versions will be available - full
frame and anamorphic widescreen (no doubt, both will be availble on an
eventual The Mummy Returns: Ultimate Edition
- just my prediction). Here are details on the disc's contents, from the
official press release:
"The Mummy Returns DVD contains
special added features including exclusive advanced footage from the
Universal Pictures Spring 2002 release, The Scorpion King
starring The Rock, animated menus, spotlight on location,
behind-the-scenes featurette, interactive visual and special effects
formation, feature commentaries with the director and editor, deleted
scenes, a historical background segment called Egyptology 201, outtakes,
theatrical trailers, production notes, cast and filmmakers bio and
DVD-ROM features including The Mummy game, screen savers and
(EARLY UPDATE -
6/18/01 - 10 AM PDT)
So did everyone manage to catch that Kubrick discussion on Charlie
Rose? I was really blown away by it. At one point, Kubrick's
widow and Jan Harlan were talking about how Stanley simply wouldn't miss
any films made by certain directors, and said he loved Woody Allen,
Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. Of course, Scorsese was sitting
right there, hearing that for the first time, and you could tell he was
emotionally very affected by it - really a touching moment. Too bad we
can't have that complete interview on DVD, because it was well worth it.
Naturally, though, Rose's technical people neglected to set their DVD
player's display setting properly when they grabbed footage from 2001
to B-roll during the discussion... everything was vertically squished.
Okay... let's start off the morning by giving you a look at the DVD
cover art for Fox's upcoming The Simpsons:
The Complete First Season. The 3-disc set streets on
September 25th, and you'll find the
You'll notice we also snuck in a scan of the packaging for the Willy
Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: 2001 Edition, which streets
on August 28th. This is just a little taste of what's in store for you
later this afternoon, when we update the
DVD Art section. Be sure to watch for it.
The big news today is that Universal has revealed that it will release
The Mummy Returns on DVD on
October 2nd. Jurassic Park III
will follow in time for the holidays, along with How
the Grinch Stole Christmas (which has already been announced
for November 20th). Details will follow soon, along with an official
Also this morning, we've announced the winners of our
You'll find that above.
Thanks to all 1,943 people who participated. The next contest will start
later this week, so do check back.
Back this afternoon with more... stay tuned...
We've got some news for you Kubrick fans. First of all, Jan Harlan, the
director of the amazing new documentary
Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, is going to be on The
Charlie Rose Show this evening, as part of a panel discussion
on Kubrick and his work. Joining him on the show will be director Martin
Scorsese and Kubrick's wife Christiane. Rose is a terrific interviewer,
and it promises to be a fascinating discussion, so don't miss it. For
more information, visit the official
Charlie Rose website. And be sure to check your local
listings for broadcast times in your area.
Speaking of Stanley Kubrick: A Life in
Pictures, the cable movie channel Cinemax is going to be
broadcasting the documentary next Thursday, June 21st (click
here for details). As you know, it's only available on home video
in the new Stanley Kubrick DVD Collection.
So if you can't afford that, but you happen to have access to Cinemax...
get your VCR's warmed up.
And rounding out today's Kubrick coverage, we've just updated our
reviews of Lolita
Clockwork Orange to include the newly remastered DVD versions.
We'll also be updating
Lyndon later this afternoon, so that will complete
look at all Kubrick's films that are currently available on DVD.
Also today, we've posted Greg's review of the Coen brothers' terrific
Brother, Where Art Thou? on DVD. To me, it was one of the
funniest and most original films released last year, and the DVD isn't
half bad either. Do check it out.
We've also updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers to cover the second week of June (ending
6/8) - some 75,055 players shipped. All charts have been updated
In other news, A&E Home Video has revealed that they're continuing
their Space: 1999 DVD releases
with Sets 3 & 4 of the series.
Set 3 contains 6 episodes on 2
DVDs (Collision Course, Death's
Other Dominion, The Full Circle,
End of Eternity, War
Games and The Last Enemy)
along with production photo galleries. Set 4
also contains 6 episodes on 2 DVDs (The
Troubled Spirit, Space Brain,
The Infernal Machine, Mission
of the Darians, Dragon's Domain
and The Testament of Arkadia)
along with production photo galleries. These 2 sets complete the series'
first season. Hopefully, the second (and final) season will follow soon
(we'll try to find out). SRP for each set is $39.99.
Metropolis Reconstruction site recently posted news about a
new 2-disc Metropolis: Special Edition
which is apparently in the works by a company called
Digital. Word is that the new DVD will include both Frtiz Lang's
original film (as restored this year by Filmmuseum Berlin - Deutsche
Kinemathek) AND the 1984 re-release which featured a soundtrack by
composer Giorgio Moroder. Should be very cool. And speaking of 1984...
is there anyone else out there who would love to see Michael Radford's
modern film version of the George Orwell novel (which stars John Hurt
and Richard Burton), on DVD? Who owns that anyway? Someone should get
busy with that title, but quick.
In other news, Yahoo's
got a good story up in their financial section on how DVD, and the
failure of Video On Demand thus far) is energizing video retailers.
And finally, today is the last day of our
so be sure to get your entries in quick. You've got until 7 PM PDT
tonight to do so.
We'll see you back here on Monday. Have a great weekend!
You Simpsons fans have reason to
be excited this morning. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has just
announced that The Simpsons: Season One
will arrive as a DVD boxed set on September 25th (SRP $39.98). All 13
first-year episodes will be included on the set's 3 discs, along with
the episode scripts, audio commentary for each episode, early sketches,
magazine covers, stills and more. Best of all, you'll get the original
shorts that first appeared on The Tracey
Ullman Show, along with a never-before-seen lost episode. And
The Simpsons: Season Two may be
out in time for the holidays! You can read more about the set by
We've also got another interesting bit of Fox information for you
today. You'll find it in
Rumor Mill, and you DEFINITELY don't want to miss it!
Morning all! We've got more DVD goodness for you today. First of all,
we've finally been able to update the
DVD Player Sales numbers with the latest weekly information. That
includes all of May (which saw some 523,225 players shipped to retail in
the U.S.), as well as the first week of June (ending June 1st, which saw
another 249,393 players shipped). That brings the R1 total to some
17,661,678 units - well on track for the format to double in size in
2001. All the charts (including the one above) have
been updated accordingly.
In other news today, Columbia TriStar has just announced the DVD
release of their My Best Friend's Wedding: Special Edition. The disc,
which will street on August 28th (SRP $24.95), will include anamorphic
widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio options in English,
French and Spanish, the new documentary Unveiled:
The Making of My Best Friend's Wedding, the HBO "making
of" featurette On the Set,
Wedding Do's and Don'ts, Helpful Hints for the Soon to Be Wed, My Best
Friend's Wedding Album: Behind-the-Scenes Facts and Trivia, Say
a Little Prayer sing-a-long, DVD ROM features (Soul Mate quiz
and Do-It-Yourself photo screensaver), theatrical trailers and
Also, Warner Bros. will release a trio of Doctor
Who titles on DVD in August, via their BBC license. Doctor
Who: Spearhead from Space will feature audio commentary by
actors Nicholas Courtney and Caroline John, "pop-up"
production notes, trailers, a photo gallery, a Who's Who and the "UNIT
Recruitment Film". Doctor Who: The
Robots of Death will feature audio commentary by producer
Philip Hinchcliff and writer Chris Boucher, studio plans, a photo
gallery, model tests and a Who's Who. Doctor
Who: The Five Doctors will feature audio commentary by actor
Peter Davison and writer Terrance Dicks, 33 minutes of soundtrack music
and a Who's Who. All will SRP for $24.95. These three titles represent
the beginning of a new series - look for many more U.S. Doctor
Who DVD titles to follow in 2002. Very cool!
Here's a look at the DVD covers for My Best
Friend's Wedding: SE and all three Doctor
Who titles. Thanks to Bits
reader Odis N. for sending the art. Enjoy!
Also this morning, Mark Rivera over at
a report on Monday's Godfather
DVD event in New York, so do check it out.
Epstein from HTF has his up as well - don't miss 'em.
And finally, Miramax's launched a new
website for their Apocalypse Now: Redux.
The site has a
theatrical trailer for the enhanced re-release that you can watch
online. Keep in mind that this will also be released on DVD later this
year from Paramount (Miramax is doing the theatrical release, while
Paramount gets all home video rights).
Our good friend Ron Epstein of the
Theater Forum lives in New York City and was fortunate enough
to attend yesterday's Godfather Collection
DVD announcement party. He sent over some pictures from the event for
you all to enjoy, so here they are. The first is a display of the DVDs
themselves, the second is Paramount's Martin Blythe addressing the
gathering and the third, of course, is the master himself... director
Francis Ford Coppola. Enjoy!
One note - a lot of readers have asked why The
Godfather, Part II is split over 2 discs. My understanding is
that Paramount and American Zoetrope felt that, given the video, audio
and audio commentary content on the discs, it would be better to spilt
the 200-minute film over 2 discs in order to maintain the highest
possible video bit rate (and thus quality). I'm guessing it's the right
decision. Just FYI.
Not to be outdone, Columbia TriStar yesterday announced their DVD
release of Gandhi. Set to be
released on August 28th, the DVD special edition will include video of
Ben Kingsley talking about the film, 4 vintage newsreel clips (Gandhi
Goes to England, Gandhi's Farewell
Talk in Europe, Mahatma Gandhi
Begins Death Fast and Gandhi
Talks: First Talking Picture ever Made by India's Famous Leader),
a Making of Gandhi photo montage,
The Words of Mahatma Gandhi, a
weblink to an official Gandhi
website, the film's theatrical trailer, talent files and more. Video
will be in anamorphic widescreen, with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio
options in English, French and Spanish. SRP is $24.95.
Also this morning, we're kicking off a new Trivia
Contest, sponsored by our friends at
The American Film
Institute. The contest is in honor of their new TV special, which
debuts tonight on CBS (at 8:00 PM PDT/7:00 PM CDT)... AFI's
100 Years, 100 Thrills! There will be FIVE lucky winners,
each taking home one of the top 100 actions films on DVD (revealed
tonight on the show). It's REALLY easy to enter, so don't miss your
chance to do so. Click here for more.
We've also got Todd's review of Artisan's new
for a Dream, the acclaimed and controversial film from
director Darren Aronofsky. Don't miss it!
(LATE UPDATE - 6/11/01
- 3:30 PM PDT)
Here it is, folks - the announcement we've all been waiting for.
Paramount has officially unveiled The
Godfather Collection DVD boxed set for release on October
9th. Here's a look at the cover art and the complete text of the press
release (click on the cover for a larger image):
Francis Ford Coppola's Acclaimed Masterpieces
``The Godfather,'' ``The Godfather Part II'' and ``The Godfather Part
III'' Make Their Debut on DVD in One Five-Disc Collector's Gift Set
HOLLYWOOD--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--June 11, 2001-- "THE GODFATHER
DVD COLLECTION," Available October 9, 2001; Featuring New
Full-Length Director's Commentaries on All Three Films and a Spectacular
Three-Hour Bonus Disc of Special Features Francis Ford Coppola and
Paramount Home Entertainment are proud to present the most
highly-anticipated DVD release of the year, THE GODFATHER DVD
COLLECTION, which debuts on October 9 as a five-disc collector's set.
Featuring new director commentaries on all three films, THE GODFATHER
DVD COLLECTION also includes a spectacular, three-hour bonus disc of
special features, produced exclusively for this collection. The movies
are not available individually. International release dates immediately
follow the U.S. and Canadian release.
Disc 1 THE GODFATHER (with Coppola commentary)
Disc 2/3 THE GODFATHER, PART II (with Coppola commentary)
Disc 4 THE GODFATHER, PART III (with Coppola commentary)
Disc 5 THE GODFATHER BONUS MATERIALS
Disc 5 contains the following: -- "Francis Coppola's Notebook":
an inside look at Coppola and the creative process, taking the "The
Godfather" from book to screen; -- "On Location" with
Academy Award(R)-winning production designer Dean Tavoularis, who goes
back to New York's Lower East Side for a look at some of the original
locations where "The Godfather" films were shot; -- "The
Godfather Family: A Look Inside": a 73-minute documentary on the
films' origins, including original screen tests and rehearsals; -- "The
Godfather Behind the Scenes 1971" - a featurette from the original
theatrical release; -- Additional scenes: scenes that were added to
later versions of the original films, presented within a timeline of
events from 1898 forward that chronicles the Corleones' rise and
real-life events; -- "The Cinematography of The Godfather,"
featuring Gordon Willis; -- "The Music of the Godfather": two
featurettes looking at the unforgettable musical contributions of Nino
Rota and Carmine Coppola; -- "Coppola and Puzo on Screenwriting":
the collaboration of the novelist and filmmaker adapting the book to the
screen; -- Storyboards from THE GODFATHER PART II and animatic
storyboards from THE GODFATHER PART III; -- "The Corleone Family
Tree": character and cast biographies; -- Academy Award(R)
acceptance speeches; -- Photo galleries with captions; -- Theatrical
trailers; -- Filmmaker biographies.
"Paramount is honored to announce the worldwide release of THE
GODFATHER DVD COLLECTION," said Eric Doctorow, President of
Paramount Home Entertainment Worldwide. "These three films are
among the greatest achievements in cinematic history. Their legacy spans
nearly 30 years and now with their release on DVD, we look forward to
providing movie lovers everywhere the opportunity to rediscover -- or
discover for the first time -- the power of these extraordinary films."
"We were delighted to collaborate with Paramount in the creation
of this extraordinary DVD collection," added Kim Aubry, Zoetrope's
VP of Technology and Executive Producer of the DVDs. "To have the
opportunity to take films that we truly love and spend six months
looking through the vaults for interesting `lost' objects was something
too good to pass up. We contacted many of the original filmmakers in our
quest for great DVD extras; and we were led to photographs, tapes,
student films and forgotten promotional materials that when viewed today
add insight to the films and the filmmakers. Francis Coppola's new
commentaries are unique and we believe will become `required' viewing
for `Godfather' buffs and film lovers everywhere."
THE GODFATHER DVD COLLECTION will be supported with Paramount Home
Entertainment's largest DVD marketing effort to date. To capitalize on
the films' wide-ranging appeal, advertising support is designed to reach
95% of all U.S. households 10 times. This includes substantial TV
advertising on network, cable and syndication in the U.S. and Canada;
spot TV and outdoor in key markets; as well as print ads in People,
Entertainment Weekly, Premiere, Playboy, TV Guide, Sports Illustrated
and other magazines.
The film that inaugurated the era of the modern blockbuster, THE
GODFATHER received three Academy Awards(R) in 1972 for Best Picture,
Actor (Marlon Brando) and Adapted Screenplay (Mario Puzo and Francis
Ford Coppola), from a total of 11 nominations including supporting actor
nods for Al Pacino, James Caan and Robert Duvall. Also a Best Picture
Oscar(R)-winner, THE GODFATHER PART II (1974) features repeat
performances from Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton and Talia Shire
and also stars Robert DeNiro as the young Vito Corleone. The film won
six Oscars in all, including Director, Supporting Actor (DeNiro), Music
and Adapted Screenplay. Adding Andy Garcia, Eli Wallach, Joe Mantegna
and Sofia Coppola to the franchise, THE GODFATHER PART III (1990) was
also nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, in addition to receiving Oscar
nods for Supporting Actor, Director and Cinematography, among others.
The DVDs of THE GODFATHER, THE GODFATHER PART II and THE GODFATHER PART
III are presented in widescreen format enhanced for 16:9 televisions.
The audio tracks feature Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround and French
Mono. All three films are closed-captioned and sub-titled in English.
THE GODFATHER DVD COLLECTION is priced to own at a MAP (minimum
advertised price) of $74.95 in the U.S. THE GODFATHER, THE GODFATHER
PART II and THE GODFATHER PART III are all rated R in the U.S. by the
Motion Picture Association of America and are rated 18A, 14A and 14A
respectively in Canada. THE GODFATHER has a running time of
approximately 175 minutes, THE GODFATHER PART II is 200 minutes, THE
GODFATHER PART III is 170 minutes, and "The Godfather Bonus
Materials Disc" has approximately three hours and 20 minutes of
bonus video features and nearly 300 informative menu pages and still
images. All discs are encoded with the Macrovision(TM) AntiCopy process.
Holy DVD, Batman! Speaking of that, here's a look at Fox's Batman:
Special Edition (the original baby) - the main menu and cover
art. The disc streets on August 21st, and will include an all-new
16-minute featurette featuring interviews with stars Adam West and Burt
Ward, audio commentary with West and Ward, an exclusive tour of the
original Batmobile, a production photo gallery, never-before-seen shots
from Adam West's "private" photo collection, the original
theatrical trailer and more. Enjoy!
We'll be back tonight and early tomorrow with reviews. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE - 6/11/01 - 10 AM PDT)
News is a little slow this morning, but we'll be back this afternoon,
when Paramount makes their Godfather
announcement, with all the details on the disc. We'll also post a couple
of new DVD reviews for you.
In the meantime,
a quick blurb on today's impending Godfather
announcement, via Daily Variety.
also a good story on how Hollywood is seeing dollar signs in terms
of DVD sales. It's a good "state of the format" piece, and
it's well worth a look. Finally, this morning, there's word that
European Union is launching a probe of DVD prices in Europe,
claiming that "the major American distributors of movies on DVDs
are overpricing their disks for European consumers." Fascinating.
And probably not surprising to anyone.
more on the story via the BBC Online.
Oh... but we're not quite done. And this story would be hilarious if it
weren't so damn irritating. File this one in the "attempting to
have their cake and eat it too" category. The Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA) has spent millions of dollars to develop
an "unbreakable" watermarking standard for digital music, to
completely prevent the kind of online piracy you get with Napster and
its ilk. They did this through the Secure Digital Music Initiative
(SDMI). In September 2000, SDMI sponsored the "SDMI Public
Challenge", in which they boastfully announced their new "unbreakable"
watermarking standards and challenged hackers (and anyone who wanted a
go at it) to attempt to crack them. Lo an behold, a group of scientists
and students from Princeton and Rice Universities accepted the
challenge... and proceeded to crack the watermarks fairly easily. When
they tried to publish their findings in April, per the usual scientific
review process for publishing research, the SDMI and RIAA threatened to
sue the scientists and everyone involved, claiming that it would be a
violation of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act! So now the
scientists are suing back. "Studying digital access technologies
and publishing the research for our colleagues are both fundamental to
the progress of science and academic freedom," stated Princeton
scientist Edward Felten, who was involved in the effort. "The
recording industry's interpretation of the DMCA would make scientific
progress on this important topic illegal." Are you laughing yet?
For more on this, check out Cryptome.org
link at Yahoo.