It seems so strange to comment on tragedy, this being a DVD website and
all. But sometimes, you just have to take a moment. Such is the case
now. If you've been watching the news today, or you live in Texas,
you're no doubt aware of the sad events that have occurred this morning.
The space shuttle Columbia (flying mission STS-107)
to have been lost while re-entering the atmosphere this morning on
its way to landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A full crew
of seven astronauts were on-board. Many of us here at The
Digital Bits, and particularly myself, are long-time
supporters of NASA and the space program. And I know from corresponding
with some of you over the years that we have many readers who work at
NASA's numerous branches around the country. So to all of you in the
space community, and to the families and friends of the crew, our
As promised, we're closing down the week this afternoon with Barrie
Coming Attractions column. In this edition, Barrie takes a
Sirk in America and More Upcoming Classic Releases. It's a fun
read, with lots of good news for classic film fans, so do check it out.
Back on Monday with lots more. Stay tuned!
Afternoon, gang! We've just completed a massive update of the
DVD Cover Artwork section. We've posted more than 90 new cover
scans. And we're not done! We've gotten so much new artwork from the
studios that we're going to do a second round of posting on Monday.
There are a TON of new covers, so do check it out.
Also today, we've posted a follow-up on that Spielberg deleted scene
story that's been floating around the Net in the last few days. You'll
find that in The
We'll be back tomorrow with a new
Coming Attractions column from our own Barrie Maxwell. See you
Well... yesterday turned out to be rather more busy that we expected.
So TODAY is going to be a light post, to allow us to get a few things
done behind-the-scenes here at The Bits.
That said, we do have a few interesting tidbits in
Rumor Mill for you this afternoon. One involves King
Kong news and the others concern upcoming DVDs from director
Steven Spielberg (including the Indiana Jones
films). Definitely worth a read, so don't miss it.
We have some new Criterion DVD news for you today. The company will
release Federico Fellini's The White Sheik
on 4/29 (SRP $29.95). The film will be presented in its original 1.33:1
aspect ratio, featuring a new digital transfer. Audio is Dolby Digital
mono, in Italian, with new and improved translation for the English
subtitles. Extras will include new interviews with actors Brunella Bovo
and Leopoldo Trieste, as well as Fellini friend Moraldo Rossi, and an
essay by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum.
Also coming from Criterion on 4/29 is a new 5-disc, François
Truffaut box set, The Adventures of Antoine
Doinel (SRP $99.95), which will include special edition
releases of The 400 Blows (with
new supplemental material), Stolen Kisses,
Bed and Board, Love
on the Run and the 1962 short subject, Antoine
and Colette. All the films will feature new transfers in
their original aspect ratios, and will be enhanced for 16x9 displays.
The list of extras is pretty extensive (including new audio
commentaries, text essays, additional short films, rare newsreel
footage, interviews, documentaries, original theatrical trailers, an
elaborate booklet and much more), so watch
official Criterion website for the complete details to be posted
And around the Net this morning,
an interesting story on the DVD-Audio vs. SACD "format war"
over at USA Today. You'll find a
summary of some of the bigger recent title announcements for each
format, as well as word that the price of software for each format is
expected to be lowered soon to encourage consumers to dive into the
fray. I can vouch for one thing... we're certainly enjoying
high-resolution music here at The Bits.
By the way, USA Today's Edward C.
Baig also has
editorial column in the Tech section on that DVD viewing software
that filters out obscene material. And
also a follow-up, posted just yesterday, on reader reaction to a
poll the site ran about the software.
Back tomorrow with a BIG
DVD Cover Art update and more. Stay tuned...
(LATE, LATE, LATE UPDATE - 1/28/03 - 3:45 PM
So much for today's post being light. Sometimes you've just got to go
with the flow... you know? Anyway, MGM's just announced the DVD release
of the Bowling for Columbine: Special Edition
(4/22 - SRP $26.98) and the Evelyn: Special
Edition (4/15 - SRP $26.98). Special features for Columbine
are yet to be announced. Evelyn
will include audio commentary with director Bruce Beresford, a second
commentary with star Pierce Brosnan and producer Beau St. Clair, The
Story Behind the Story featurette, another "behind-the-scenes"
featurette, a photo gallery and more. Here's the cover art for both
titles, which can now be pre-ordered from
By the way, we had a minor server hiccup earlier this afternoon, which
was quickly corrected. Just in case you were wondering.
Okay... NOW we're done for the day. ;-)
(LATE, LATE UPDATE -
1/28/03 - 3 PM PST)
Hot on the heels of that Paramount Western announcement, we've got word
that 20th Century Fox will release several more classic War films on DVD
in May, including Sink the Bismarck!
The titles set to street on 5/20 are The
Enemy Below, Heaven Knows, Mr.
Allison, Sink the Bismarck,
13 Rue Madeleine, The
Blue Max and The Desert Fox.
Also, look for a Studio Classics special edition of Love
Is a Many Splendored Thing on 5/6.
And Columbia TriStar has announced Ignition,
Immediate Family, Once
a Thief and Mad About You: The
Complete Second Season for 4/22, in addition to Punch-Drunk
Here's the cover art for two more of those Paramount Westerns, Rio
Lobo and Little Big Man,
in addition to The Transporter
(due from Fox on 4/14).
(LATE UPDATE - 1/28/03 - 12:30 PM PST)
We've received official word from Paramount that the studio will
release another great batch of classic Westerns on DVD in April! On
April 22nd, look for Gunfight at the O.K.
Corral, Nevada Smith,
Copper Canyon, The
Lonely Man and The Carpetbaggers.
Then, following on April 29th, you'll get Little
Big Man, Big Jake, Rio
Lobo, A Man Called Horse
and Le Mans! Each disc will SRP
for $19.99 and will be presented in anamorphic widescreen, except for
Copper Canyon which is in its
original full frame format. Many of the titles will include audio
remixed in Dolby Digital 5.1 in addition to the original stereo or mono
soundtrack. Here's DVD cover art for Gunfight
and Nevada Smith...
Just FYI, for those of you who were hoping to see Sergio Leone's Once
Upon a Time in the West in this batch, rest assured that the
title is still being planned. There are a number of issues that need to
be addressed, but it will be released eventually.
(EARLY UPDATE -
1/28/03 - 10:30 AM PST)
Today is going to be a light post, because we've got a lot of projects
going on behind-the-scenes here today - upcoming feature work, reviews
and other things. But we wanted to drop in here this morning with a
major snippet of 20th Century Fox DVD news.
There's an insert that's been included with Fox's X-Men
1.5: Special Edition DVD, which reveals a major upcoming
release from the studio - the 9-disc Alien
Quadrilogy box set! All four films in the series, Alien,
3 and Alien: Resurrection,
are being given brand new special edition treatment (2-discs each) with
a separate bonus disc of extra materials. Many of the extras on the set
have never been seen before. There's no release date announced yet, but
the title is set to be released in "2003".
to see a scan of the insert itself, and here's the tentative cover art
for the box set...
Should be a very cool release. We'll have more official details as
they're announced. Stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE -
1/27/03 - 2:30 PM PST)
This is just a quick update to let you all know that Warner's Animatrix
DVD will arrive on 6/3. The disc will feature nine short animated films
(described as a "visionary fusion of CG-animation and Japanese
anime"), including a "prelude" to The
Matrix Reloaded called The Final
Flight of the Osiris.
And before we go this afternoon, we wanted to bring you a sneak peek at
the cover artwork for Buena Vista's upcoming Miyazaki titles, Spirited
Away, as well as Kiki's Delivery
Service and Castle in the Sky
(a.k.a. Laputa), which are due on
4/17. All of them are available for preorder at our software sponsor,
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/27/03
- 2 PM PST)
Well... the Superbowl was pretty much a bust. Given that only one team
showed up with their A-game on, it was about as much fun to watch as
drying paint. Still, it sure looked good in 720p high-definition video.
And those Hulk, Matrix
and T3 commercials looked pretty
nice too. Should be a good year for big-budget action, Sci-fi and
Speaking of superheroes, Warner's got another batch of them coming to
DVD on 4/22, including Batman: The Animated
Series - Tales of the Dark Knight, Justice
League: Justice on Trial, Challenge
of the Superfriends and X-Men:
Evolution/Mutants Rising. Here's a look at the cover art for
a couple of them...
Our own Todd Doogan returns to form today with
Doogan's Views column. This time around, he's got a number
of new DVD reviews for you, including City
of Lost Souls, The
Donner Party, Bacchanales
Spit on Your Grave: Millennium Edition, Undisputed,
Playboy Video Playmate Calendar, Blood
Shades of Darkness - Volume 1, Human
dot com, Ballistic:
Ecks vs. Sever, Grand
Tour: Disaster in Time and Snow
Those of you who jones on ABC's Alias
will be pleased to learn that a DVD release of the first season is
a-comin' later this year. Producer J.J. Abrams spills the beans in
Rumor Mill this morning, via TV
More good news for fans of The Police. Universal Music is releasing the
band's Every Breath You Take on
DVD-Video on 3/18. We believe this is a DVD port of the videos
collection originally released in 1986. Sure would like to see the
band's Synchronicity concert on
And speaking of The Police,
Universal Music site now has the band's entire catalog listed for
SACD release as "coming soon", along with the complete Peter
Gabriel catalog. We've confirmed with the record company is that all The
Police SACDs are due 3/4, all in stereo except Every
Breath You Take: The Classics which will be
stereo/multi-channel and a CD hybrid disc as well. Similarly, the Peter
Gabriel discs are all tentatively due 4/1, all in stereo except Up
which will also be stereo/multi-channel and a CD hybrid disc.
We've got a pair of new disc reviews for you today. This time, I'm
diving deeper into the audio side of things, with a look at the
DVD-Audio version of Dishwalla's
and the new SACD release of David Bowie's
And if all goes well, our own Todd Doogan will check in with a new Doogan's
Views column on Monday to cover a whole mess of new DVD-Video
titles. I'll have that long-awaited Sports
Night review next week too.
Around the site today, we've announced the winners of our
so be sure to check that out. Thanks to all 635 people who participated
and congrats to the winners.
On the news front, DreamWorks has officially announced their DVD
release of The Ring and Ringu
for March 4th. The Ring will
include "an all-new 15-minute experimental short film created by
director Gore Verbinski exclusively for the video release", and
will be available in both full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions
(MAP $19.95 each). Both versions will also have audio in Dolby Digital
and DTS 5.1. Ringu will be
available in anamorphic widescreen only, with Japanese 5.1 audio in
Dolby Digital (SRP $29.99).
We have some new upcoming DVD cover artwork for you this afternoon.
Here's a first look at Buena Vista's Rabbit-Proof
Fence (4/15) and the long-awaited 20,000
Leagues Under the Sea: Special Edition (which has officially
been announced for release on 5/15).
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea will
be a 2-disc special edition, featuring the film in anamorphic widescreen
video, sound in Dolby Digital 5.1, audio commentaries by director
Richard Fleischer and classic film historian Rudy Behlmer, original 1954
theatrical radio spots, Peter Lorre's ADR tracks, Captain Nemo's organ
music, The Making of 20,000 Leagues Under the
Sea documentary, the Jules Verne &
Walt Disney: Explorers of the Imagination featurette,
storyboard-to-screen comparisons, unused animation, 5 additional
featurettes (The Humboltsquid: Real Sea
Monster!, Touring the Natuilus,
Monsters of the Deep, The
Musical Legacy of Paul Smith and Lost
Treasure: The Sunset Squid Sequence), the "Nemo's Death"
script excerpt, the Grand Canyonscope
animated short and the film's theatrical trailer. It should be, in a
Note also that Buena Vista will release Dracula
II: The Ascension on 4/15, with the 1950 version of Treasure
Island following on 4/29 and the direct-to-video Atlantis
II: Milo's Return due on 5/15 as well.
By the way, you superhero movie fans might want to tune into the
SuperBowl broadcast this weekend for your first look at the extended
trailer for Universal's The Hulk.
As if all the football wasn't reason enough. ;-)
That's all for now. Have a great weekend!
(LATE UPDATE - 1/23/03 -
2 PM PST)
Yes... at long last, I've finally gotten off my duff and reviewed a
couple of discs for a change. So you can now read my in-depth thoughts
on Buena Vista's recent
Vista Series DVD, as well as 20th Century Fox's upcoming
1.5: Special Edition, which streets on February 11th. And I'm
working on a couple more for tomorrow as well (gasp!).
In other news today, I've learned from the folks at 20th Century Fox
that those of you who purchased The X-Files:
The Complete Sixth Season (which featured the episode Triangle
in an inferior quality transfer) will be able to get a new remastered
version of that specific disc from the set. All you have to do is call
1-888-223-2FOX (or 1-888-223-2369) to arrange a replacement. We suggest
that you wait until the discs are actually available before making the
call (reportedly in a few weeks - try in early to mid February).
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/23/03 -
12:01 AM PST)
We've got those reviews coming later today, but first we wanted to jump
in quickly with news about a few new Fox titles that are on the way. On
4/14, look for Darkwolf and The
Transporter. And on 5/13, Fox will deliver a There's
Something About Mary: Collector's Edition and The
X-Files: The Complete Seventh Season. This new X-Files
set will feature audio commentary on at least three episodes including
All Things (we have no idea yet if
Gillian Anderson, who directed the episode, participated), as well as
numerous deleted scenes, a 30-minute documentary and much more.
Back this afternoon. Stay tuned...
Afternoon, folks. We've got two new reviews for you this afternoon.
Matt Rowe's checked in with a look at Rounder Records' Bruce
Cockburn: Anything, Anytime, Anywhere on SACD, as well as
Image Entertainment's DVD-Video release of
& Yoko's Year of Peace. We have a few more new disc
reviews coming as well, either tonight or tomorrow morning.
By the way, Matt's also been informed that the upcoming Peter Gabriel
SACDs have now been given a tentative 4/1 release date by Universal
Music. This reminds me of how DVD-Video title release dates used to
shift around, evaporate and reappear during the early days of the
On the Harry Potter front, the
Warner DVD announcement has triggered the expected flurry of wire
service stories, so click
for more details.
And as a side note, a LOT of you have sent in e-mails asking which
antenna I purchased to watch high-definition football broadcasts last
weekend. The answer is the
ZHDTV1Z, which retails for between $40 and $50. I picked it up at
Sears, but I'm sure it's available elsewhere. You have to reposition the
antenna occasionally depending on the channel you're trying to tune in,
but it works like a charm for me. I've been able to tune in every
digitally broadcast channel in the L.A./Orange Country area without
fail. It's nice and small, and sits right on top of my component rack.
It's a good option for those who don't want to go dish or to mount a
large roof aerial.
(LATE UPDATE - 1/21/03 - 2:30 PM PST)
We're pleased this afternoon to present you with the latest Yellow
Layer Failure column from Robert Harris, entitled
the plate, please..." In this column, Robert takes a look
at The Complete Monterey Pop Festival
and some of the challenges involved in bringing it to DVD in such high
We've also kicked off a new
giving you a chance to win a trio of Studio Classics on DVD from 20th
Century Fox - All About Eve, Gentlemen's
Agreement and How Green Was My
Valley. The contest runs until Friday morning.
Enjoy and back soon with more...!
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/21/03 - 10:30 AM PST)
We've got several posts on the way today, but first we wanted to jump
in here with word that Warner Bros has officially announced the DVD
release of Harry Potter and the Chamber of
Secrets. The disc is set for release on 4/11 in dual
widescreen and full frame versions. Both will be 2-disc sets that
include the film as well as 19 deleted scenes (including more Dobby
mischief, more flying car adventure, a frightening encounter with the
Malfoys in Borgin and Burkes and more), self-guided tours (of the
Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore's office and Diagon Alley, including
places never shown in the film such as more Diagon Alley shops, the
sitting room in Dumbledore's office and more), interviews with Daniel
Radcliffe (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron), Emma Watson (Hermione) and other
cast members, an exclusive interview with author J.K. Rowling and
screenwriter Steve Kloves, numerous interactive set-top games and more
than 15 special features available via PC DVD-ROM drives. SRP for both
versions of the film on disc is $29.95. And just FYI, the next book in
the popular series, Harry Potter and the
Order of the Phoenix, arrives on 6/21. Here's a look at the
And yes, that is DreamWorks' upcoming Ringu
Also this morning,
a brief news story over at Yahoo on the upcoming SACD release of
Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.
Worth a look if you're a fan.
Back with more later. Stay tuned!
Afternoon, folks! Hope you all had as nice a weekend as I did. For
anyone who doubts the future of television, let me ask you... is there
anything better than watching championship football in high-definition
and widescreen? I've been waiting for months now for my local cable
provider, Cox, to launch their high-definition service. So on Friday
night, I finally went out and picked up a $50 indoor antenna, so as to
be able to view the NFL games this weekend in high-def. Man... I can't
believe I waited so long. There's just nothing like watching sports in
high-definition! But since you've gotta make the wife happy too, Sarah
and I also went to see The Hours
and Adapation this weekend. Both
are highly recommend for you avid filmgoers out there.
Anyway, since today is a holiday here in the States, there's not much
going on in the way of studio/DVD news, so our post will be lighter than
usual. But as you know, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association last
night hosted the
60th Annual Golden Globes. Top honors went to The
Hours, Chicago, Martin
Scorsese, Nicole Kidman and Jack Nicholson. And there were many
surprises, as usual. As you know, these awards often are good predictors
of the Academy Awards, so be sure to check out
complete list of winners.
We also want to take a moment this afternoon to acknowledge actor
passed away on Friday at the age of 76.
In other news, Norwegian prosecutors have announced that they'll appeal
the recent court ruling that acquitted the young man who cracked DVD's
DeCSS encryption scheme. The Oslo City Court ruled that Jon Johansen
(now 19) could not be convicted of breaking into DVDs that he purchased
legally. You can bet that's not a precedent the MPAA wants to see stick.
here for more via Yahoo.
And Spanish authorities
broken up a DVD piracy ring that apparently involved more than 40
people in Madrid. Just goes to show you... some days you get the bear,
some days the bear gets you.
We've got DVD cover artwork today for all you parents out there with
teenage daughters... Columbia TriStar's Dawson's
Creek: The Complete First Season (street date: 4/1). Don't
say we never did nothing fer ya.
Yes... that IS the final DVD cover art for Universal Music's Peter
Gabriel: Secret World Live (2/11). And yes... it does say
widescreen right there on the front. If it ends up being anamorphic
widescreen, you'll have to excuse me while I pass out from the sheer joy
of it all.
More good news on The Lion King
front... Disney's included a trailer for the upcoming special edition on
their new 101 Dalmatians II DVD.
The trailer lists an October 2003 release date, and indicates that the
film will include a new musical number, called Morning
Report. You can be sure an official announcement is on the
way in the near future.
Finally today, all of us here at The Digital
Bits are proud to say that this website has been selected as
one of 50 Really Useful Websites for Really
Busy People by PC World!
According to the publication, the sites listed are timesavers that "deliver
top-notch information, support, and services." The feature is
available in the February issue of the magazine and
also available online. We've gotten a lot of e-mails from readers
about this, so thanks to everyone who sent in kind words. And thanks
also to the good folks at PC World
for acknowledging all the hard work our staffers do. Very much
Now then... we'll be back tomorrow with a new Robert Harris column and
new reviews too! Stay tuned!
(LATE, LATE UPDATE - 1/17/03 - 9 PM PST)
Oh hell... one MORE last quick update this evening just for kicks. We
don't have a street date or any disc spec details yet, but Buena Vista
has just confirmed with us that The Lion
King: Special Edition is on the way. Based on the number of
retailers who have been e-mailing us on this, we're pretty sure this
will be released as the The Lion King:
Platinum Edition in November or December. More on this as it
Okay, that's it. Stick a fork in us. We're done for today. See you next
(LATE UPDATE - 1/17/03 -
2:15 PM PST)
One last thing before we close out the week here at The
Bits. Our friends over at Troma have been kind enough to give
all of you, our readers, a special sneak peek at their upcoming Citizen
Toxie DVD. There's a rundown of the special features, a look
at the disc art, menu shots and even a trailer. This won't be available
on the Troma website
until Monday - it's for your eyes only for the whole weekend.
click here to get your very first look at Toxie
IV! And thanks to Lloyd Kaufman and the whole Troma gang for
thinking of us.
See you next week!
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/17/03 - 12:15 PM PST)
We've got some very cool information in
Rumor Mill today about possible street dates for upcoming
titles. Some interesting things in there, so it's well worth a look.
Also today, we've announced the winners of our two
Contests. 1,755 people entered all together, so thanks to
everyone who participated. And congratulations to all 10 winners. We'll
have another contest starting next week, so be sure to check back.
And finally this afternoon, we've really gone and done it this time.
After we don't know how many years, we've finally gone in there and
updated our links
section! We've updated all the studio contact information, website
addresses and e-mail links as best we can, and we've added special
sections for video and audio software, hardware links, general industry
links and other useful sites for DVD fans. If you have more accurate
information for any of the listings, or find a studio/industry link that
you think should be added, just
drop us an e-mail and let us know.
Now then, we've got a LOT of stuff in the works for next week.
Including (believe it or not) a bunch of new reviews. And some cool
special feature stuff as well. In the meantime, ya'll have a spiffy
weekend! Ya hear?
Some interesting DVD-Audio news from last week's CES today. According
Fidelity Review, it seems as if the DVD-Audio folks are going
to be adding a Redbook CD layer option to the DVD-A format, to allow the
same kind of backwards compatibility with standard CD players that some
SACDs (like the recent Rolling Stones re-issues) enjoy. This is
certainly a smart idea, but one wonders why it's taken the DVD-A folks
so long to make this happen. The biggest obstacle DVD-Audio faces right
now, in our opinion, is title availability. And we don't mean classical
stuff and DTS releases, good though they are. We're talking about MAJOR
titles from MAJOR artists, and heavy-duty catalog releases from popular
artists, in quantity. The DVD-Audio camp has, for whatever reason,
proceeded much too cautiously thus far in launching the format. Whereas
very little seems tentative about the SACD push these days.
It's a tough road both camps face. Both are trying to launch
high-resolution audio product at a time when most people are still just
upgrading to DVD-Video. Pinning your bandwagon to multi-channel and DTS
mixes is risky, because both are still niche markets to a certain
extent. Not everyone who has DVD has audio systems that are compatible
with DTS and surround sound. And it doesn't necessarily follow that
music releases will appeal to the home theater crowd that does have DTS
and surround equipment. And many of the high-end audiophiles aren't
interested in multi-channel mixes, which they consider a bastardization
of their favorite music. That, I think, is one area where SACD has an
advantage - their emphasis has been stereo first, and multi-channel as
demand or a particular title calls for it.
But there's one other interesting area where DVD-Audio has issues to
overcome, and that's its ability to include video content with the
audio. In an ideal world, this would be a perfect situation. Imagine
buying U2's Johsua Tree on DVD-A,
where not only do you get the album in high-resolution stereo and
multi-channel mixes, you also get in-depth video interviews with the
band and the producer, a look behind-the-scenes at the recording of each
song on the album, all the song lyrics, several B-sides and cuts that
didn't make the album but were recorded for it, a complete discography,
lengthy video of a live concert from the band's tour for that album and
every music video produced for that album. And imagine it has DTS and CD
compatibility too, and that you don't HAVE to turn on the TV to select
which audio format you want to listen to. That's the ultimate experience
in our opinion.
But that's not likely ever to happen. Why would the record company want
to add all the music videos, the concert video and the B-sides if it
could make more money selling those things separately on VHS and
DVD-Video? So what you're left with is the kind of paltry extras you get
on a CD/DVD bonus disc - maybe a couple alternate versions, maybe a
music video and a 6-image photo gallery, plus lots of links to online
stores and content that's not on the disc. Cool for about 5 minutes, but
after that, who cares?
The point we're trying to make is that DVD-Audio may have a lot more
potential, but it also has a lot more issues to work out. SACD is simple
- just put the disc in, select stereo or multi-channel (if available)
and press play. No TV necessary... and LOTS of great titles available
and on the way. In any case, we still recommend a combo player that does
both formats. Let me tell you, the new Pioneer combo unit in The
Bits office is getting a lot of use lately... ;-)
While we're on the subject of high-resolution audio, Slate
has an interesting piece by technology writer Paul Boutin, entitled
Compact Disc Out of its Misery. It argues against both
DVD-Audio and SACD for following the old model of physical disc
delivery, rather than streaming audio right to your computer listening
station, as well as not allowing direct-digital connections to receivers
and other equipment. We don't necessarily agree with his argument, but
it's interesting nonetheless. There's just something about having your
entertainment content in a physical form that appeals to people,
particularly when they're being asked to pay for it. I think Boutin
underestimates the value of being able to hold a book or a movie or an
album in your hand, or being able to point to a shelf and say, "That's
my music collection." Thoughts anyone?
In other news this morning, Buena Vista has revealed that their DVD
release of Treasure Planet is set
for 4/29, with Rabbit-Proof Fence
due on 4/15. No details are yet available on Treasure
Planet, but it's looking very much like it will be another
single-disc edition, like Lilo & Stitch,
rather than a 2-disc special edition. Here's the cover art...
And finally this morning, you animation fans will be happy to know that
those Miyazaki DVDs we mentioned in
Rumor Mill the other day (Spirited
Away, Kiki's Delivery Service
and Castle in the Sky) are
starting to become available for pre-order online. Just FYI.
(LATE UPDATE - 1/15/02 - 1:45 PM PST)
We've added another quick bit of information to
Rumor Mill this afternoon, bringing you more word on the
upcoming DVD release of DreamWorks' The Ring.
And while we're at it, here's a look at the tentative cover artwork for
the disc, which has been appearing on sell sheets...
(EARLY UPDATE -
1/15/02 - 12:01 AM PST)
Before we get into the day's news, I wanted to make you aware of a
change to the Review
Page. We've added a way to quickly access recent title reviews
by format: DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD and D-VHS High
Definition. When you visit the
just click the logo for the format you're looking for and you'll be
taken to a list of the most recently reviewed titles. As always, you can
access all our reviews (going back to the beginning of the site, in all
formats) by using the alphabetical review index at the top. We thought
this would be a good way to make it easier to find things, given that
we're going to be doing a lot more multi-format reviews in the coming
Now then... the news. You D-VHS guys will be excited to learn that both
Universal and Artisan have additional titles on the way in early 2003.
Universal is planning on releasing Gosford
Park, The Hurricane and
The Family Man on 2/25 (SRP $44.98
each). Artisan will release Basic Instinct,
Reservoir Dogs, Total
Recall, Glengarry Glen Ross
and First Blood in the first
quarter of this year (street date TBA), with Dirty
Dancing, Stargate, Young
Guns and Standing in the Shadows
of Motown following in the second quarter. All Artisan titles
will SRP for $34.98 each.
In case you missed it in the latest
Coming Attractions column, Barrie Maxwell revealed Fox's
planned slate of Studio Classic titles for 2003: An
Affair to Remember (February), The
Day the Earth Stood Still (March), The
Ghost and Mrs. Muir (April), Love
Is a Many Splendored Thing (May), The
Grapes of Wrath (June), Anastasia
(July), The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
(August), Titanic (1953 version -
September), The Mark of Zorro
(October), Laura (November) and
The Ox-Bow Incident (December).
All releases will be on the first Tuesday of each month.
Rumor Mill today, we've got word from studio sources on great
upcoming TV and feature film releases from Paramount. Frasier
and Cheers anyone? How about
planned street dates for Star Trek: Deep
Space Nine? Don't miss it.
In audio news this morning, we've learned that a number of Bob Dylan
titles will be issued on SACD by Sony in the fall of this year. Look for
Side of Bob Dylan, Bringin' It All
Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited,
John Wesley Harding, Nashville
Skyline, Blood on the Tracks,
Train Coming, Infidels,
Oh Mercy, Time
Out of Mind, Love and Theft,
Royal Albert Hall: Bob Dylan Live
and Street Legal.
By the way, EMI's SACD release of Pink Floyd's Dark
Side of the Moon is officially set for 3/3. With The Rolling
Stones already available on the format and the likes of Peter Gabriel,
Pink Floyd, The Police and Bob Dylan all on the way to SACD, it's
beginning to look very much like the high-resolution audio format war
between DVD-Audio and SACD is all but over, even before most consumers
have even become aware of it.
We've also got a new bit of upcoming DVD art for you this morning...
Moonlight Mile, which streets on
3/11 from Buena Vista.
And finally this morning, we've got a pair of new
Contests up, giving each of you a chance to win copies of
Universal's Undercover Brother and
Fox's The Shield: The Complete First Season
on DVD. The contests run until 12:01 AM on Friday, so get those entries
(LATE UPDATE - 1/14/03 - 3 PM PST)
One last update for you this afternoon. We've got possible word in
Rumor Mill today on the first R1, special edition DVD releases
of the Hayao Miyazaki animated films coming from Buena Vista. Good news
if it pans out, so be sure to check it out.
(LATE UPDATE - 1/14/03 - 12:30 PM PST)
We've gotten a list from Buena Vista of all of their Movie Showcase
titles for the rest of the year. Here's what to expect:
2/4 - Into the
West, The Night and the Moment,
Citizen Ruth, Jane
Eyre, The Star Maker
3/4 - The Duke,
Blank Check, First
Kid, Heavyweights, A
Kid in King Arthur's Court, Man of
the House, Blue, White,
2, Blue in the Face,
Low Down Dirty Shame, One Good Cop,
Born Yesterday, The
Ref, Basil, Boys,
Green Card, Gone
4/8 - Pastime,
Days in September, Beyond Silence,
Tom & Viv, Life
with Mikey, New York Stories,
Scenes from a Mall, Stella,
Two Much, My
Father the Hero, The Inkwell,
An Innocent Man, Last
Dance, The Marrying Man
5/6 - Operation
Dumbo Drop, That Darn Cat,
Tom and Huck, Toothless,
Summer of the Monkeys, Perfect
Game, God Said Ha!,
& Mrs. Bridge, The Sixth Man,
Straight Talk, A
Simple Twist of Fate
6/3 - Cry,
The Beloved Country, The
Horseman on the Roof, The Truce,
A la Mode, Super
Mario Brothers, 3 Ninjas,
A Stranger Among Us, Unstrung
Heroes, Where the Heart Is
7/21 - A Month
by the Lake, Lie Down with Dogs,
My Left Foot, Queen
Margot, The Advocate,
Don't Drink the Water, Guilty
as Sin, Renaissance Man,
The Minion, Tuesdays
8/5 - Tower of
Terror, Dead Tired,
French Twist, Rowing
with the Wind, Royal Deceit,
The Wedding Gift, An
Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, Camp
Nowhere, Crossing the Bridge,
Slam Dunk Ernest, The
9/2 - Children
of the Revolution, Mouth to Mouth,
Rage in Harlem, Shades
of Fear, The Big One,
of July, Funny Bones,
It's Pat: The Movie, The
Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag
10/14 - Bad
Company (1995), Jack,
Doctor, Consenting Adults,
Birds, Holy Matrimony,
11/11 - The Air
Up There, Shoot to Kill,
Money for Nothing, Shadow
Conspiracy, Jefferson in Paris
12/9 - Country,
Blame it on the Bellboy, Hello
Again, In the Army Now
There are no details on most of these discs yet in terms of specs, but
keep in mind that they range in price fro $9.99 to $19.99, so don't
expect special editions.
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/14/03
- 11:30 AM PST)
Matt's learned from Universal music that a date has been set for the
release of the Peter Gabriel catalog on SACD format - 3/11. Visit Matt's
for more details, including specific titles.
In new announcements, Columbia TriStar will be releasing First
Shot, For Da Love of Money,
Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation
and Dream for an Insomniac on 4/8.
Also, there's word now that Panzer/Davis is going to be releasing
complete seasons of their Hercules
and Xena TV series on DVD. This
comes from the
official website for the series.
And Star Trek producer Rick
Berman talks a little about the release of Nemesis
on DVD in
interview posted on Sci-Fi Pulse.net.
Finally this morning, there are a whole host of good stories on new
DVD-equipped devices that were shown at CES this year - networked DVD
players, DVD players with Internet connections, DVD recorders and the
like. Click this
link at Yahoo to browse some of them.
(LATEST UPDATE -
1/13/03 - 3 PM PST)
Okay... last update for today. And it's a good one for you superheroes
fans. Warner will release some new animated titles on DVD on 4/22,
including Batman: The Animated Series - Tales
of the Dark Knight, Justice
League: Justice on Trial, Challenge
of the Superfriends and X-Men:
Evolution/Mutants Rising. By the way, that Superfriends
IS the classic 1970s animated series. The disc is apparently a
compilation of episodes.
Speaking of classic cartoons on DVD, I sure wish Paramount would get
around to releasing the Star Trek
animated series. And how about that short-lived New
Animated Adventures of Flash Gordon from the 70s? Throw in
the complete Speed Racer (which
was released last year in a $300 limited edition set, but has never been
available in stores) and we'll be happy campers.
Also, there's word from
that the Superman: The Movie box
set we mentioned earlier (which was to street on 2/25) has now been
pushed back to April as well.
And finally this afternoon,
have confirmation from the WB Network (see the very end of the
linked article) that episodes of Smallville
are on the way to DVD. As you may remember from a
Mill post, our retail sources are telling us to watch for the
first season in the next few months (the rumored date is March). May we
suggest April? ;-)
(LATER UPDATE - 1/13/03 - 12:15 PM PST)
Another quick post here, but some big news. We've obtained the complete
week by week DVD player sales breakdown for 2002 from CEA, and adjusted
month by month numbers to match their tallies. We've also added
the 481,600 players shipped to retailers here in the States in the last
week of December, ending 12/27. That takes the total for December to
2,330,048 units (in the history of the format, last month's total is
second only to November's 2,544,130). That also takes the total number
of players sold in 2002 to a record 17,089,823. And finally, the grand
total of the DVD format to date (since its debut in March of 1997) is
now 43,718,738 players here in the States. These numbers come straight
from the Consumer
Electronics Association, and are final pending any late
adjustments. All charts here at The Digital
Bits have been updated accordingly.
Also today, we've updated our authorized mirror copy of Jim Taylor's
DVD FAQ to the most recent version, dated 1/3.
(LATE UPDATE -
1/13/03 - 10:45 AM PST)
A couple of interesting things for you this morning. Those of you who
have been buying those special collector's box sets from
Design Art will be happy to know that they're releasing box sets
of Ocean's Eleven and Superman:
The Movie on 2/25 (SRP $79.99).
In more new DVD announcements, Artisan is releasing Barbarosa,
Cyberella: Forbidden Passions,
Down Time, Dreammaster:
The Erotic Invader, Kingston High,
The Locket, Mary,
Mother of Jesus, Midnight Crossing,
Physical Evidence, Redeemer,
Roger Dodger, Shadows
Run Black and Young Americans
on 3/18. New Line has set Cheats
and Table One on 3/18, with Friday
After Next set for 3/25. Paramount has added Just
a Kiss and Abandon to
its 3/18 slate. And Warner Bros. has announced Femme
Fatale for 3/25, with Kiss Me Kate,
Les Girls, Silk
Stockings and Justice League:
Justice on Trial following on 4/22 and Babylon
5: The Complete Second Season - The Coming of Shadows on
And here's the DVD cover art for Babylon 5
and Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors
Trilogy: The Exclusive Collection (due on 3/4)...
(EARLY UPDATE - 1/13/03 - 12:01 AM PST)
Morning all! You may have noticed some changes to The
Digital Bits today. We've reformatted the site for 1024x768
screen resolutions. Worry not if you're still working at 800x600 - you
should still be able to see everything you need to in terms of news and
links. But according to our research, some 75% of you are viewing this
site at 1024 or higher resolution, so we figured we might as well make
the shift. And we think the site looks better now anyway, plus it gives
us a lot more space to work with when making updates and posting news.
We want to give this new format a few days, to make sure everything's
working for all of you at the new size, and then we'll start converting
other pages to the new format as well.
We've also added quick-access links (at the top of the page) to all the
featured columns here at The Bits,
so you can keep up with the latest work from everyone. There's a lot of
good writing being done by our columnists, so be sure to check them out
if you haven't done so before.
Back with more later this morning. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE -
1/10/03 - 2:30 PM PST)
Okay... last post for this week, but we think it's a good one.
First of all, we're very pleased to bring you a new entry in Barrie
Coming Attractions column here at The
Digital Bits. This time,
talks about the film of the legendary Humphrey Bogart on DVD, and
updates you on all the latest announcements of classic films coming to
DVD in the months ahead. There are a TON of great titles mentioned and
the column is a fun read. So don't miss it!
Next, Matt's compiled a list of some interesting upcoming DVD-Video
music/concert, DVD-Audio and SACD titles...
On the DVD-Video front, look for The Dixie
Chicks: An Evening with The Dixie Chicks, Jennifer
Lopez: Let's Get Loud, John Mayer:
Any Given Thursday, Yukmouth:
United Ghettos of America, Russell
Watson: Russell Watson Live and Ute
Lemper: Sings Kurt Weill & Michael Nyman (all 2/11), The
Jam: The Complete Jam, Slayer: War
at the Warfield, Peter Gabriel:
Secret World Live and George
Strait for the Last Time: Live from the Astrodome (all on
2/25), The American Tenors (3/4),
Various Artists: Golden Age of the Piano
and Bryn Terfel: Live in Concert
(both 3/11), The Stranglers: Video Collection
and David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust
(both on 3/25) and The Beatles: Anthology
Upcoming DVD-Audio titles include The Band:
Music from Big Pink (1/28), REM:
Document (2/4), Bonnie Raitt: Nick
of Time (4/22) and The Beach Boys:
Pet Sounds (5/20).
And on the SACD end of things, look for Mark
O'Connor w/Wynton Marsalis, Jane Monheit, Jon Burr and Frank Vignola: In
Full Swing (2/11 - stereo/multi), Tony
Bennett/kd lang: A Wonderful World (2/11 - stereo/multi),
A Chorus Line: Original Soundtrack
(2/18 - stereo/multi), Olatunji: Drums of
Passion (2/18 - stereo/multi), Johnny
Cash: Silver (2/18 - stereo/multi), Leonard
Bernstein/New York Philharmonic: Tchaikovsky: Symphony # 4: Nutcracker
Suite (3/4 - stereo/multi), Leonard
Bernstein/New York Philharmonic: Holst: The Planets (3/4 -
stereo/multi), Pierre Boulez/New York
Philharmonic: Ravel: La Valse (3/4 - stereo/multi), Ozzy
Osbourne: Live at Budokan (3/4 - stereo/multi), The
Byrds: Fifth Dimension (3/11 - stereo/multi) and Andrea
Bocelli: Sentimento (3/11 - format TBA).
Feel free to contact Matt
directly if you have questions on any of the above titles.
And finally today, here's some more new upcoming DVD cover art for you
- Columbia TriStar's Punch-Drunk Love
and Brainscan (both 4/1), along
with the tentative art for Universal's 8 Mile
(tentative 3/18) and Red Dragon
(as they appear on sellsheets - both TBA). Enjoy!
Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday!