Sorry about the Trivia
Contest delay! I discovered yesterday afternoon that the other
thing I brought back from Comic-Con was a major head cold, which pretty
well knocked me out. Today's post is going to be pretty light so that I
might recover... but hey - the
is now up! Two lucky winners will each take home a brand new Dogma:
Special Edition DVD, signed by director Kevin Smith. And it's
a pretty easy contest this month, so be sure to get your entries in.
We've gotten word from our friends at the
Theater Forum that their live chat with 20th Century Fox Home
Entertainment's Peter Staddon has been postponed until Tuesday, July
31st. So please take note.
Speaking of 20th Century Fox, we've got word that The
X-Files: The Complete Fourth Season will arrive on DVD on
November 13th (SRP $149.98). All 24 episodes from the series' fourth
season will be included in the 7-disc set, along with an all new
20-minute documentary entitled The Truth
About Season Four, as well as exclusive bonus interviews, "behind
the truth" segments, TONS of deleted scenes, special effects
footage, TV spots, audio commentary on at least 2 episodes, DVD-ROM
games and other cool special features. Season Four features some great
episodes, including Tunguska, Terma,
Momento Mori, Tempus
Fugit, Max and Gethsemane.
Here's a look at the DVD cover artwork...
Well... we're back from the show. And if I do say so myself, the DVD
producers panel was a big success. Alita Holly, J.M. Kenny, Charles de
Lauzirika, Van Ling, David Prior and Mark Rance were all in attendance,
as were studio representatives from 20th Century Fox and MGM (Laurent
Bouzereau was unable to make it at the last minute). We literally had a
packed house - nearly 2,000 people in all to see the panel - and there
were numerous industry types in evidence in addition to DVD and comic
fans. We talked about some of the responsibilities and difficulties of a
producer, what some of our panelists believe makes a good DVD special
edition, and gave people a sneak peek at a bunch of titles that they're
currently in production on. Best of all, we previewed 3 actual upcoming
discs for the audience - Hannibal,
Willy Wonka and the new Terminator:
SE. Our 90 minutes were cut a little short, so we were a bit
rushed at times. But all of us on the panel were pretty happy with the
result. And judging by the number of people that came up to us after the
panel (and throughout the weekend) to say how much they enjoyed it, the
event was a big success. We also gave away a big box full of DVD special
editions and box sets that our friends at 20th Century Fox brought
along. And one lucky fan took home a brand new DVD player as well,
thanks to DVD Planet. It's gonna take us a day or two to get the
transcript completed and prepare all the images and DVD screen shots to
post here, so please be patient. But by the end of the week, you'll be
able to enjoy the same basic presentation that show goers did.
Meanwhile, it was a lot of fun walking around the massive show floor,
meeting fans and colleagues alike, and attending some of the other
panels (including the hilarious Mr. Show,
which REALLY needs to be released on DVD... hear that HBO?). A number of
our group also took in Steve Sansweet's Star
Wars Connections presentation. It started off pretty slow,
and we were shown several video clips
have been available on starwars.com for weeks. We were starting to
wonder if we were going to see anything new at all. Then... Sansweet
debuted a new video, which ran for a good 5 minutes or more, called Star
Wars Connections. It looked at each major character in the
saga, and started literally making the backstory connections that are
going to become more clear in Episode II.
Things like Amidala's character strengths and flaws (and how they affect
her relationship with Anakin), Anakin and Obi-Wan's friendship (and how
something will eventually go horribly wrong between them). We even got a
taste of Jango and Boba Fett. There was lots of new interview and
behind-the-scenes footage no one had ever seen before. It ended with
Samuel L. Jackson talking about how this next movie is going to be
darker and much better than Episode I.
So we're thinking, "Okay... very cool." Then Sansweet had one
last clip to show... a video cut to the celebration music at the end of
Episode I. It was filled with
NOTHING BUT behind-the-scenes footage from the filming of the new movie
- glimpses of DOZENS of Jedi fighting with sabers, Jimmy Smits as Bail
Organa, Anakin and Obi-Wan dueling unseen enemies with sabers, Amidala
with a blaster, Owen and Beru Lars, Jango Fett, many new aliens - just
TONS of cool stuff. You know... I'm one of the few people who actually
managed to mostly enjoy Episode I
my laserdisc review). But I was a little concerned about what
George Lucas would do next. Here, however, was evidence of what we'd
hoped all along - that the next two films are going to be much darker,
more ominous and definitely action packed. A couple of us went into this
presentation as doubters, but are now VERY much looking forward to the
2002 debut of Star Wars: Episode II.
Hopefully, the rest of you will soon be able to see this footage at the
official site. The presentation also gave me the chance to meet several
Lucasfilm staffers in person,
Jim Ward, which was a pleasure.
Finally, I attended a presentation on the upcoming Star
Trek: The Motion Picture Director's Cut, with director Robert
Wise. We saw glimpses of some of the new special effects shots. There
are some 90 altered shots in all, 20% of which are completely new shots,
while the rest are simply digitally cleaned and recomposited shots. The
new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix includes many newlt added sound effects, but
nearly all of them were originally created for the movie and were unused
due to lack of time. Expect the 2-disc set to be officially announced in
the next couple of weeks (for an expected November 6th street date).
Okay... enough for now. We'll be back with a new Trivia
Contest later this afternoon. Stay tuned...
We're off to Comic-Con and
Producers 2001! After the panel, we'll be roaming around the
show all weekend. But we'll be back on Monday with a brand new Trivia
Contest (anyone wanna win a new Dogma:
SE signed by Kevin Smith?). And sometime early next week,
we'll post a complete transcript of the panel.
In the meantime, we've just posted an update to the
DVD Cover Artwork section, which features some 30 new cover
scans, including much of Paramount's September slate. Enjoy.
Have a great weekend, and maybe we'll see you at the convention!
Well... you know what they say: No one expects a Spanish Inquisition.
And anyone who got that reference will want to head on over to
Rumor Mill today for some very Monty
DVD news of a completely Python
nature. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge...
In other news, don't forget that tomorrow is our
Producers 2001 panel at Comic-Con in San Diego. If you're in
the area and attending the convention, be sure to drop on by Room 6CDEF
at 11 AM for all the fun.
here for all the details. And don't forget that we'll be posting a
complete transcript of the event here at the Bits
next week, for those who are unable to attend.
Here's a look at Artisan's funky custom DVD packaging for their
upcoming Total Recall and Basic
Instinct special editions. Interesting...
And finally this morning, we've just posted another new DVD review from
our own Todd Doogan - a look at New Line's
Minutes: Infinifilm Edition. Enjoy!
Yep... it's true. Warner Home Video has just officially announced the
DVD release of the David Lean classic Doctor
Zhivago for November 6th! The 2-disc set (you heard right!)
will feature over 6 hours worth of content, including a new video
introduction by star Omar Sharif, a brand new, feature-length audio
commentary by Sharif, Rod Steiger & Sandra Lean and the
behind-the-scenes documentary Doctor Zhivago:
The Making of a Russian Epic. The set will also include a new
digital, anamorphic widescreen transfer of the film from restored
elements, newly remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, 10 vintage
documentaries profiling the production and its stars, a music-only audio
track highlighting Maurice Jarre's Oscar and Grammy-winning score,
vintage audio sound bites of cast/director interviews and the December
1965 New York premiere, cast and director career highlights and the
film's theatrical trailer. The SRP for the DVD is $29.99. Damn... the
second half of 2001 is gonna be a VERY expensive time for DVD fans! All
those taking second jobs to afford the DVDs you're planning to buy,
raise your hands...
(LATE UPDATE - 7/17/01 - 4 PM PDT)
Multiple sources are now reporting November 6th as the street date for
DreamWorks' Shrek DVD. No word yet
officially from the studio. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE -
7/17/01 - 2 PM PDT)
We've just learned that Warner Home Video plans to release the entire,
multi-part documentary series, The World at
War, on DVD on November 6th (SRP $119.98). We've also learned
that the studio's upcoming The Lord of the
Rings and The Hobbit
animated DVDs will each feature full frame video (I'm not sure about
Hobbit, but I believe LOTR's
original aspect ratio was 1.85:1?), along with audio and subtitles in
English, French and Spanish.
In other news, those of you who enjoyed When
Dinosaurs Roamed America this weekend on The Discovery
Channel will be happy to learn that it's coming to DVD from Artisan on
August 7th. SRP will be $19.98. The documentary was shot in High
Definition 24p, with audio mixed in full Dolby Digital 5.1 (no word on
whether the DVD will be anamorphic widescreen). Extras will include two
behind-the-scenes shorts, dinosaur facts, a dinosaur quiz and a photo
We've also got details for you on Fox's upcoming Phantom
of the Paradise. The DVD will street on September 4th, for an
SRP of $19.98. Extras will include a theatrical trailer, audio in
English and French and Spanish subtitles. Here's a look at the cover art
for that, along with Warner's The World at
War, Volume 1:
You know those scenes in the movies where someone is driving on the
freeway and suddenly their brakes go out and they can't stop? Well... my
wife and I were unlucky enough to play out that scene for real on Friday
morning. No kidding. We were able to use the emergency brake to get off
the freeway, but then couldn't stop for traffic lights and got into an
accident. Everyone was pretty shaken up, and our car is a mess. Thus, no
post on Friday. I'm not a superstitious guy, but the realization (after
the fact) that it was Friday the 13th was a little troublesome. Anyway,
it's all turning out okay, but it's keeping me pretty busy today, so my
post if going to be brief.
First of all, look for Paramount to announce Tales
from the Darkside: The Movie for DVD release on September
25th, possibly as early as today. The disc will feature anamorphic
widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, a new audio commentary by
writer George Romero and director John Harrison, and a theatrical
trailer. I was lucky enough to be on hand for the recording of the
commentary, and we'll be posting a special feature on it very soon.
That same day, Paramount will release the classic When
Worlds Collide, Friday the 13th: A
New Beginning, Friday the 13th
Part VI: Jason Lives, Along Came a
Spider and Pet Sematary II.
And on September 18th, the studio will bow Star
Trek: The Original Series, Volumes 33 & 34, Let
it Ride and Crocodile Dundee in
Los Angeles, along with Crocodile
Dundee and Crocodile Dundee II.
That's a nice batch for one month, and there are some titles a lot of
people have been waiting for.
You should also be aware that Disney's Spy
Kids is set for September 18th release on DVD, and Bridget
Jones's Diary will follow on October 9th. And Fox's The
X-Files: The Complete Fourth Season box set is expected to
arrive on DVD on November 13th, for an SRP of $112.48.
Here's a look at the cover art for Spy Kids
Back tomorrow. Stay tuned!
A couple things today. First of all, we've just posted Todd's look at
all three titles in 20th Century Fox's new
Hard: The Ultimate Collection, including the Die
Hard: Five Star Collection and the special editions of the
other two films in the series, dual-disc releases all. I've gotta say,
I'm very impressed with Fox's Five Star Collection so far.
One thing I particularly liked on the new Die
Hard disc, is something that may get overlooked. It's a brief
video piece on Disc Two with producer David Prior, in which he explains
why presenting a widescreen film on DVD in letterbox (and anamorphic) is
invariably better than the alternative - the dreaded pan and scan. Using
an actual example from the film, David shows you exactly what's lost
when you manipulate the widescreen image to completely fill the 4x3 TV
frame, and (more importantly, I think) how doing so compromises the
director's original vision of the film. Given that DVD is catching on
fast with mainstream consumers, and given all the complaints the studios
are reportedly hearing from those consumers about letterboxing, I think
EVERY DVD ought to have a feature like this, which explains the subject
in easy-to-understand terms. The reason people complain about
letterboxing is because they just don't understand it. They see black
bars and think they're missing picture, when nothing could be further
from the truth. And the studios continue to foster that belief by not
making a better effort to explain it. So how about it studios? Up to the
Finally today, we've gotten word that Total
Movie magazine is returning to life after a brief hiatus.
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
"Versatile Media One, the publisher of
InsideDVD, is proud to announce the relaunch of Total Movie magazine.
Led by Mike Stokes, former Editorial Director of Cinescape and Wicked
magazines, the new and improved TM2--Total Movie &
Entertainment--will hit newsstands September 11th with its Oct./Nov.
And yes... each new issue will continue to feature an exclusive DVD
full of trailers and other content. Good news for fans.
(LATE UPDATE -
7/11/01 - 4:30 PM PDT)
I just wanted to jump in here quickly to let you all know that our
friends at The
Force.net have made the
I DVD trailer available online. It was released on DVD as part
of a give-away with the latest issue of the French DVD magazine
Laser - it's where all those cool DVD screen shots have been
coming from. The downloadable video clip runs about 3 minutes and 10
seconds, and if you're excited about the DVD release, it's well worth a
(EARLY UPDATE - 7/11/01 - 11:30 AM PDT)
We've just updated the
Mill with some very interesting details on upcoming titles
from Warner and Fox. I think you'll be very interested in what's there -
some very big titles - so don't miss it.
We also have a pair of new DVD reviews for you this morning - MGM's
Fall of the House of Usher and Columbia Music Video's
Springsteen and the E Street Band: Blood Brothers.
Around the Net today, it seems that
DVD capability of Sony's PlayStation 2 game console is considered a
threat to national security. The U.S. and Japan have reportedly
asked Sony to halt plans to manufacture the game console in China, due
to fears that its DVD capability could be converted to military use.
This seems a little odd however. More likely the reports are getting
this wrong. It's more likely the graphics chips that are valuable for
military applications. Still it's an interesting story.
is reporting an August 21st release date for The
Final Countdown in Region 2. I don't believe that Pacific
Family Entertainment owns worldwide release rights, so this is probably
a separate company doing the DVD work for R2. Still, the late August
date would seem to be in line with PFE's "couple of months"
time scale for finishing their DVD.
We've been reporting since the last
Day event that Columbia TriStar was working on a 1776:
Post gossip columnist Liz Smith's getting on the bandwagon.
Check out her latest column for more.
Also today, Yahoo's
got a good story up (from Forbes)
on Recordable DVD from Panasonic. Check it out.
Finally, this morning, we figured you might enjoy a look at the DVD tin
covers for Disney's upcoming Walt Disney Treasures Collection 2-disc
DVDs, which street on December 4th. Mickey
Mouse in Living Color will include some 26 original Mickey
Mouse color cartoons. Disneyland U.S.A.
will feature 4 vintage TV specials on the park. Silly
Symphonies will include all of the original early animated
shorts. And Davy Crockett will
include all 5 episodes of the original Disney TV series. Each set will
SRP for $32.99, and there will be many more to come.
(LATE UPDATE - 7/10/01 - 1:15 PM PDT)
Just a quick note - I've spoken briefly with the folks at Pacific
Family Entertainment this afternoon, which owns the home video release
rights for The
Final Countdown. The DVD is currently in production, and
should be ready "in a couple of months". They've promised to
let me know when they've got something ready to look at. At the moment,
however, there are no details as to specific disc specs. Just FYI.
(EARLY UPDATE - 7/10/01 - Noon PDT)
We've just posted a trio of new DVD reviews for you to read this
morning. Included are Fox's
Break, Buena Vista's
2000 and MGM's horror classic
Pit and the Pendulum. We'll have more new reviews tomorrow.
Around the Bits, the
DVD Player Sales numbers have been updated to reflect the
398,940 units that were shipped to retailers here in Region 1 in the
last week of June (ending 6/29). That makes the monthly total a whopping
920,839 players and it boosts the format total to date to over 18
Also, we've updated the
Top 100 Films on DVD list to reflect The
French Connection's newly announced status. 76 of the top 100
films have been released here in Region 1, with another 16 announced or
believed to be in production.
Around the Net,
a good story up at Yahoo (via Reuters) on the upcoming film Final
Fantasy: The Spirits Within (which hits theaters tomorrow
here in the U.S.). The story is notable, because it mentions the
eventual DVD release, which: "will include features in which
players can manipulate some scenes taken from the film." I have it
on good authority from sources at Columbia TriStar that a 2-disc special
edition of the film is already in production.
Variety Editor-in-Chief Peter Bart also has a good editorial
up on the situation in Hollywood following the recent successful
agreements between Writers' and Actors' Guilds and the studios. There's
also a mention of DVD's place in things. Which is basically that the
studios have a "rigid formula for protecting 80% of revenues from
video and DVD".
And finally this morning, do you hate this trend of rising movie
theater ticket prices as much as we do? Well... an online consumer group
is trying to send the big theater chains a message this Friday the 13th.
The group, WeCanDoThis.com, is spreading the message via e-mail and
online website (ironically, not "wecandothis.com").
They're asking consumers to not see a movie Friday in order to protest
the high (and rising) price of tickets, calling the effort the National
Ticket Picket. Says spokesman Mark Jonathan Davis, "Hey, we
[consumers] control our entertainment dollars, and we don't want to
spend $10 at the boxoffice."
Here at The Digital Bits, we're
tired of shelling out $15 for a single ticket and a medium stale
popcorn... and then having to sit through 5 minutes of commercials
before you even get to the previews. And since these big megaplexes
usually only have one projectionist on call, what do you suppose happens
if the projector goes out of focus of there's some other problem? You've
got to go complain to the manager to get it fixed, missing part of the
film. Just don't get me started on this. Anyway, we think this campaign
is a great idea, and the staff here at the Bits
is joining in, boycotting going to a film this Friday. Besides... like
we said, Final Fantasy opens
tomorrow (Wednesday). ;-)
(LATER UPDATE - 7/9/01 - 7 PM PDT)
Force.net has posted screen shots from the Episode
I DVD commercial, which reveal the titles of the 7 deleted
scenes that will be included on Disc Two of the upcoming set. For what
it's worth, they are as follows:
Complete Pod Race Grid Sequence
Extended Pod Race Lap Two
The Waterfall Sequence
The Air Taxi Sequence
Dawn Before the Race
Anakin's Scuffle with Greedo
Farewell to Jira
I'm sure we'll be hearing more about them in the coming months.
(LATE UPDATE - 7/9/01 -
2:30 PM PDT)
We've just posted a pair of new DVD reviews - Greg's look at Fox's
Where's My Car? and Dan's take on Paramount's
Can Count on Me.
Fox has released details on their The French
Connection: 5-Star Edition 2-disc set, which is set to street
on September 25th. A 2-pack of The French
Connection and The French
Connection 2 will also street the same day (the latter film
will initially only be available in the 2-pack). The
French Connection: 5-Star Edition 2-disc set will SRP for
$26.98. The film mastering is THX-approved, and is presented in all-new,
director-supervised, 5.1 English Digital Surround sound and anamorphic
widescreen video. Disc One features audio commentary by director William
Friedkin and stars Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider, as well as the
theatrical trailer. Disc Two includes the Fox Movie Channel original
program Making the Connection: Untold Stories
of the French Connection, the BBC documentary Poughkeepsie
Shuffle, seven deleted scenes, a deleted scenes documentary
hosted by William Friedkin, a behind-the-scenes still gallery, a trailer
for The French Connection in
English and Portuguese, and a trailer for The
French Connection 2. The French
Connection 2 (only available in the 2-pack of both films for
an SRP of $39.98) is also THX-approved, and features anamorphic
widescreen video. It includes two audio commentary tracks (one by
director John Frankenheimer and star Gene Hackman, and another by
producer Robert Rosen), a gallery with wardrobe photos and storyboards,
a behind-the-scenes photo gallery and the theatrical trailer in English,
Spanish and Portuguese. Here's a look at the cover art for the first
Speaking of cover art, we've updated our
DVD Artwork section with some 13 new cover scans, including
The Best of Benny Hill, Def-Con
4, Hellbound: Hellraiser 2,
Halloween: Extended Edition, The
Blob (1988), The Hobbit
(animated), The Lord of the Rings
(animated), Just Visiting, The
Mummy Returns: Collector's Edition, the final Dumbo:
60th Anniversary Edition art, MacArthur,
the Midway: Collector's Edition
and of course, The French Connection: 5-Star
Edition. Also, keep in mind that clicking on each cover takes
you to the pre-order page for that particular DVD at our software
Planet. And they're just reinstated their 30% off on all
pre-ordered titles policy, so you'll get a great price too. Be sure to
check them out.
In other news today, Artisan Entertainment has just announced their
Basic Instinct: Special Limited Edition
for September 18th. Here are some highlights from the press release:
"On September 18, 2001, Artisan Home
Entertainment is proud to present the Basic Instinct Special Limited
Edition DVD in a collectible clear-colored "ice" package with
an "ice-pick" pen inside containing real red ink that is
available for a limited time only, and available to consumers in two
versions - an unrated Director's Cut and the released R-rated version.
The Director's Cut features an unrated version of the film that includes
more explicit scenes of the erotic suspense thriller that the director
was forced to cut, plus a commentary from director Paul Verhoeven and
director of photography Jan De Bont. Both special edition DVD versions
also include a documentary on the making of the film, a montage titled,
"Cleaning up Basic Instinct" that details the cutting of the
theatrical release for television viewers, a commentary with noted
feminist critic Camille Paglia and storyboards. The Basic Instinct
Special Limited Edition DVD (SRP $26.98) will be released on September
Other Basic Instinct Special Limited Edition DVD highlights on both
versions include a photo gallery, interactive menus, production notes,
scene access, cast and crew bios, and the original theatrical trailer.
The DVD also features 2.35 letterbox format, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Sound and Dolby Stereo 2.0, English, French and Spanish subtitles."
Of course, no word on anamorphic widescreen. We'll try to find out for
And finally today, as many of you know, in addition to my work as the
Editor of the Bits, I'm also the
Inside DVD Contributing Editor for
Review magazine. And so I wanted to let you all know that WSR
is holding a special seminar on acoustics, for you hardcore home theater
buffs, at their new Temecula, CA facility on Tuesday, July 24th.
Renowned acoustic scientist Dr. Peter D'Antonio will discuss the "The
Causes and Cures for Acoustical Distortion in Home Theatres". Space
is limited and there is a fee for attending.
here for the complete details on the event. If you do attend,
you'll get to check out WSR's new "holosonic
home theater lab" in person, which is easily one of the best home
theater systems on the planet. 'Nuff said.
(EARLY UPDATE - 7/9/01 - 11 AM PDT)
We'll be back in a little bit with a larger post, but I just wanted to
jump in here quickly and give you all a look at the cover artwork for
Universal's upcoming MacArthur and
Midway: Collector's Edition, which
street on October 30th. I'm attempting to determine if Midway
will be anamorphic widescreen or the same letterbox-only transfer Image
has released previously.
I'm also working to determine if Artisan's new Total
Recall: Special Edition is a new anamorphic transfer. Trade
ads for the title seem to indicate that it is, but at least one studio
source says no. We'll let you know...
(LATE UPDATE - 7/6/01 - 4 PM PDT)
We've just posted an early, first-look review of Vincent Pereira's
Better Place: Special Edition, which will be released by
Synapse on July 24th. Todd's given it a spin and thinks it's definitely
worth a look, especially for Askewniverse denizens.
Have a great weekend!
(EARLY UPDATE - 7/6/01 - 9:30 AM PDT)
Well... it's Friday. So what better day to make that announcement we
told you about yesterday. We've been working for a few weeks now to pull
together a very special DVD event, and we're pleased to say it's finally
come together such that we can announce it officially. Here's the deal -
I'll be moderating a 90-minute, DVD producers panel discussion at
San Diego, on Friday, July 20th. Seven top producers will be on hand to
talk about their work, and to give you exclusive sneak peeks at a number
of major upcoming DVDs. This is defenitely going to be a lot of fun, so
if you can come down, you don't want to miss it. And if you're unable to
attend, don't worry - we'll post a full transcript of the panel here at
the Bits following the show. So
here for complete details on the DVD
Producers 2001 event!
So there's the big announcement. Now then... we've just gotten the most
complete details we've seen yet for the Episode
I DVD. Much of this text matches what's
on the back of the DVD's cover artwork. Here goes:
2 DISC SET SRP $29.98-(2 Versions)
English/French -Star Wars: Episode 1- The Phantom Menace DVD
English/Spanish -Star Wars: Episode 1- The Phantom Menace DVD
DVD Contents DISC ONE:
-Commentary by George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Ben Burtt, Rob Coleman,
John Knoll, Dennis Muren and Scott Squires
-Anamorphic Widescreen (Aspect Ratio 2.35:1)
-Sound: English Dolby 5.1 Surround EX English Dolby 2.0 Surround
Spanish Dolby 2.0 Surround (French Dolby 2.0 on Canadian version)
·Exclusive Deleted Scenes Documentary features seven new sequences
completed just for this DVD release
-All-new hour-long documentary film culled from over 600 hours of
footage, "The Beginning," takes you where few people have been
before-inside Lucasfilm and ILM during the production of Episode I
-Multi-angle storyboard to animatic to film segment featuring the
Submarine and Podrace Lap 1 sequences
-Five Featurettes explore The Phantom Menace's storyline, design,
costumes, visual effects and fight sequences
-Award-winning twelve-part web documentary series that chronicles the
production of Episode I
-"Duel of the Fates" music video featuring John Williams
-Never-before-seen Production Photo Gallery with special caption
-Theatrical posters and print campaign from around the world
-Theatrical teaser and launch trailers, and seven TV spots
-"Star Wars: Starfighter-The Making of a Game" featurette
-DVD-ROM weblink to exclusive Star Wars content
Don't forget, we've also got
good info that the disc will feature an Episode
II preview as well. And we'll post more details on the
deleted scenes as they come in.
Now.... two last things this morning. First of all, we've confirmed
that Fox will release their The French
Connection: 5-Star Edition on September 25th. Details on the
release will follow, but that's definitely confirmed. Also, SURPRISE...
Warner has revealed that they plan to release the animated version of
The Hobbit on September 11th, the
same day that they release The Lord of the
Rings! We thought you'd enjoy a look at the cover art for the
release, along with art for Buena Vista's Just
Visiting (which streets the same day):
Note that Disney's Spy Kids will
be released on September 19th, and Bridget
Jones's Diary is also soon to be announced (street date TBD).
We'll be back later this afternoon with those reviews. Stay tuned...
This afternoon, we're very pleased to present to you
interview with DVD producer J.M. Kenny, who was responsible for
many of the special edition materials you'll find on Warner's upcoming
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: 30th
Anniversary Edition DVD (street date August 28th). J.M. talks
about the challenges of gathering interviews with the film's director,
actor Gene Wilder and other creative people involved in the making of
the film. He also describes the effort to travel to New York to record a
special audio commentary track with all five of the child stars of the
film. I think you'll find it well worth a read, especially if you're a
fan of the film.
Also today, we've announced the 10 winners of the Trivia
Contest, so be sure to check that out. More than 1,000 people
entered, so thanks all around to those who participated. And the next
contest will be very cool - anyone wanna win a Dogma:
SE DVD signed by Kevin Smith? Well, we've got 2 of 'em to
give away... so keep checking back.
Many of you will be thrilled to learn that Artisan has just announced
their Total Recall: Special Limited Edition
DVD, which will street on September 18th (SRP $26.98). Here's some
details from the press release:
"This collectible, limited edition DVD is
presented in a round, metal "Mars" DVD case, designed to look
like the "Red" planet complete with a bumpy surface featuring "the
face" of Mars. The tin rests on top of square bottom packaging that
fits easily on display merchandisers. The digitally re-mastered Total
Recall Special Limited Edition DVD also features the "Imagine Total
Recall" documentary that takes you behind-the-scenes with the
film's stars, including a new rare Arnold Schwarzenegger interview, and
special effects wizards. It also includes a special feature called "Rekall's
Virtual Vacation" that is a selection of mini visual vacations and
relaxing images and the "Visions of Mars" featurette. The DVD
is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound."
A couple of last things - we've got 3 or 4 cool DVD reviews that we'll
post for tomorrow, including a couple of very cool surprises.
I also wanted to let you know that I've contacted Pacific Family
Entertainment about the status of their Final
Countdown DVD, so I'll let you know the story as soon as they
get back to me. I know a LOT of you are interested in that title,
judging by the number of e-mails I've been getting about it!
Many of you have been asking if there's a number you can call to get
the Alex Ross illustration card that's missing from a number of the Unbreakable:
Vista Series DVDs here in the U.S. and Canada. BVHE Customer
Relations WILL replace it for you free of charge if you call them at
1-800-477-2811. In Canada, you can call 1-888-877-2843.
Also, Amazon.com is reporting a September 25th street date for Fox's
The French Connection: 5-Star Edition.
We'll try to find out if that's real or bogus.
Finally, we'll be making a special announcement tomorrow, about a very
cool live DVD event that we're putting together, which will take place
later this month here on the West Coast. This thing's gonna be a lot of
fun, for those who are able to attend. And we'll be covering it here at
the Bits as well, for the rest of
you. So be sure to check back for the big news... ;-)
See you tomorrow, same Bat time, same Bat channel!
Okay... I know I said there would be no update today, but we just
couldn't resist this. We've just gotten our hands on the DVD cover
artwork for Universal's The Mummy Returns:
Collector's Edition (street date 10/2, SRP $26.98) and
Warner's animated The Lord of the Rings
(9/11, $19.98). I know some of you have been waiting a long time for
that last one especially, so here you go...
How long do you suppose it will be until Universal announces The
Mummy Returns: Ultimate Edition? You just know one's probably
coming in 2002...
Anyway, have a great holiday!
In honor of Sunday's Kevin Smith signing, we've got a review of the new
Special Edition DVD for you today. If you're a fan of the
film, this new 2-disc set is definitely a must-have for the 100 minutes
of deleted scenes alone. Do check it out.
Speaking of the signing, I got an e-mail from Linda Lukas of Dave's
Video this afternoon, and she wanted me to let you all know how much
they appreciated everyone who came down and how polite everyone was,
despite the fact that discs ran out, the line was long and it was
hotter-than-you-know-what outside. Here's Linda with more:
"...we estimate there were 1,000-1,500 people through the store
yesterday. And on the hot day it was, everyone kept their cool. Everyone
seemed to understand that yesterday was a day that was a record breaker.
And when we ran out of product, everyone was cool about it. I want to
thank all the customers for their outstanding behavior and
understanding. They all were just awesome."
So kudos to all of you who were there and played nice. Oh, heck...
kudos to all of you! It's just that kind of day, you know?
Around the site, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers to include the 125,249 units that
shipped to retailers in Region 1 in during the week ending June 22nd.
That makes the grand total for the format to date nearly 18 million
players. All charts have been updated accordingly.
Don't forget that tomorrow is your last chance to enter the
and win some great Fox DVDs. You've got until 7 PM PDT tomorrow night.
And that's all for now. For those of you here in the States, have a
great Fourth of July holiday! We'll be dark tomorrow, but we're already
hard at work on Thursday's post, which will feature a special interview
about a very fun upcoming DVD title, along with several new disc reviews
and more. See you then!
Well... a LOT of people made it to the Kevin Smith signing at Dave's
Video yesterday. It was a lot of fun meeting some of you, and Kevin was
cool as always.
managed to take a bunch of pictures of the event, for those of you
who couldn't be there. Be sure to check 'em out!
The Hollywood Reporter is saying
and the studios are close to signing a new three-year, film and TV
deal. Apparently however, the actors were "unable to achieve
any changes in the video/DVD residual payout, under which companies
exclude 80% of revenues as manufacturing costs, and no language
promising the companies will take steps to stop runaway production."
Runaway DVD production... as a bad thing? Interesting.
There's also a story up, via Daily Variety,
announced DVD release of Citizen Kane. Fox's upcoming Willow
DVD is mentioned in the text of the article as well.
How's about an early update for a change, eh? We've got a bunch of
ground to cover this morning, so let's get right to it...
First of all, MGM sent over something a little unusual -
transcript of the first few minutes of director Rob Reiner's audio
commentary on the new Princess Bride:
Special Edition (street date 9/4). So if you just can't wait
to listen to it on the DVD, you might want to check it out.
Also this morning, we've updated our
DVD Cover Art section AGAIN with some 20 plus new scans! We've
got a bunch more MGM titles, including Home
for the Holidays, Little Man Tate,
Quigley Down Under, the movie-only
RoboCop and the Fiddler
on the Roof: Special Edition. We've also got ALL of
Universal's Classic Monster Double Feature DVDs, including Dracula's
Daughter/Son of Dracula, Son of
Frankenstein/Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein
Meets the Wolfman/House of Frankenstein, The
Mummy's Ghost/The Mummy's Curse, The
Mummy's Hand/The Mummy's Tomb and The
Werewolf of London /The She Wolf of London. And we threw the
just-announced Citizen Kane in
there for good measure. All of the new art appears on pages
just FYI. And be patient while they load, 'cause there's getting to be a
LOT of art on some of those pages!
Greg Suarez has checked in with a review of Dimension's
Games: Director's Cut. And we expect to have a steady stream
of NEW and UPCOMING disc reviews starting on Monday. I can almost hear
the masses cheering now... (yes, I KNOW we haven't been doing as many
reviews lately as normal). ;-)
Also, our authorized mirror copy of
Official DVD FAQ has been updated to the most recent
version, dated June 22nd. It also will take time to load - that baby's
grown to almost half a meg now!
In terms of new DVD announcements, Columbia TriStar has officially
unveiled their Tailor of Panama: Special
Edition, which will street on September 11th. The DVD will
SRP for $24.95, and will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary by director John Boorman, The
Perfect Fit: A Conversation with Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush
featurette, an alternate ending (with optional commentary), theatrical
trailers, filmographies and production notes. Also, don't
forget to check out the details on Warner's newly-announced Citizen
Kane: 60th Anniversary Special Edition in case you missed
them last night.
For you Star Wars fans, there's a
that's posted screenshots of what appears to be a legit commercial or
promotional video for the upcoming Episode I
DVD. There's a ton of cool images, so click on the shots below to check
them out. If anyone has a copy of this actual video,
drop me an e-mail.
We'd love to check it out...
A sad note this morning. We at The Digital
Bits would like to tip our caps in memory of actor
Lemmon, who passed away yesterday here in L.A. at the age of 76.
Many of his best performances can now been seen on DVD, including his
turn in MGM's just released Some Like it Hot.
We can't think of a better way to remember him than by giving the disc a
spin this weekend. Hey... maybe Warner will finally get around to
releasing the Grumpy Old Men
series on DVD in WIDESCREEN?
Finally this morning, I wanted to remind all of you that director Kevin
Smith is going to be signing copies of his Dogma:
Special Edition DVD at Dave's Video - The Laser Place here in
L.A. on Sunday (from Noon to 2 PM PDT). I'll be there for the fun, as
will the disc's producer, J.M. Kenny. So if you're in the area, be sure
to drop on by. Dave's is located at 12144 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City,
California. See you there!
Okay... that's enough for one day. You guys should get out... get some
fresh air... maybe see a movie. Don't forget - Steven Spielberg's A.I.
opens today, so that ought to keep you busy (and keep you thinking, from
what I hear). Have a great weekend!
(LATE UPDATE - 6/28/01 - 5:30 PM PDT)
Holy rosebud! We've just gotten details from Warner Home Video about
their upcoming Citizen Kane: 60th Anniversary
Special Edition. And damn... this should be a great two-disc
set! You read that right - a two-disc set. It's set to street as
predicted on September 25th for an SRP of $29.99. The film has been
carefully restored over a period of 3 years, using the "latest
digital technologies". But not only do you get the film, you also
get the terrific, Oscar-nominated documentary, The
Battle Over Citizen Kane! Here's the cover art for the DVD
and the complete features breakdown:
Disc One features Citizen
Kane in its original full frame aspect ratio, with
breathtakingly restored picture and audio (digitally remastered video
from the highest quality surviving elements), two full-length audio
commentaries (one by noted film critic Roger Ebert, and the other by
writer/director and Welles biographer Peter Bogdanovich), the 1941 New
York movie premiere newsreel, a photo and art gallery (of storyboards,
rare production photos, call sheets and other memorabilia), the original
theatrical trailer, subtitles in English, French, Spanish and
Disc Two features the two-hour
documentary, The Battle Over Citizen Kane,
featuring interviews with Welles, the stars of Citizen
Kane and associates of both Welles and Hearst, rare footage
from Hearst's San Simeon estate and Welles' historic The
War of the Worlds broadcast and biographical profiles of
Welles and Hearst.
ROCK ON! I am SO jazzed about this set, I can't even tell you. Warner
just made my day... ;-)