UPDATE - 4/4/03 - 3 PM PST)
One last post this afternoon before we call it for the week. We've
DVD Cover Art section to include some 30 new pieces of cover
art. We've got all of the new Criterion titles, The
Ben Stiller Show, all the new Fox Hong Kong action titles,
The Pianist, Once
Upon a Time in America (temp art), Bloody
Sunday, new Farscape TV
episode discs, Death and the Maiden,
The Best of Arliss, Vampire
Hunters, The Santa Clause 2,
M*A*S*H: Season Four, The
Quiet American and more. We've also updated the links so
nearly all of the titles are available for preorder at
Planet (please do!).
And finally, we're getting a lot of conflicting information about Buena
Vista's upcoming Alias: Season One
(due on 9/2). All the studio PR material says the episodes will be full
frame. And that's what our studio contacts are telling us. But Buena
Vista's Customer Relations department is telling people (via e-mail)
that they'll be widescreen. We believe Region 2 will get anamorphic
widescreen, and given that the episodes were produced that way, Region 1
ought to get them in anamorphic widescreen as well. Heck, late seasons
of X-Files are anamorphic on DVD,
24 is anamorphic. What's the deal?
Another case of mid-level studio execs without a clue? Well... we're
working with the studio to find out exactly what the scoop is, so as
soon as we know, you'll know. But I can tell you this... if it turns out
that the studio DOES plan to release Alias
in full frame, many fans will be VERY pissed off judging by all the
angry e-mails we've been getting.
Okay. That's it. Have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on
(EARLY UPDATE - 4/4/03 - 12:30 PM PST)
We've got a couple of cool things for you today. First up, the May
edition of the UK's Empire
magazine has some details on the upcoming Alien
Quadrilogy direct from 20th Century Fox. Look for the 9-disc
set to include new "extended" cuts of Alien,
Alien 3 and Alien:
will be the previous director's cut), along with audio commentaries,
documentaries and lots more. Each film will get 2-disc treatment (a disc
for the film and a disc of extras), along with a 9th bonus disc of just
supplementary material (including the Alien
Legacy documentary). The film discs will reportedly give you
the choice of watching the theatrical version or the new extended cuts
via seamless branching. According to Fox, the set is tentatively due for
a late 2003 release. We'll post more details when Fox makes their
In other news today, Criterion has officially revealed five new titles
that they're got in the works for June. These include Ermanno Olmi's
Il Posto and I
Fidanzati, Alain Resnais' masterful Hiroshima
Mon Amour and his devistating documentary look at the
Holocaust, Night and Fog, and
director Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Ali: Fear
Eats the Soul. All are due on 6/24. Here's the cover art for
each of them...
Yes, that is the final cover for Universal's The
Pianist, which is set to street on 5/27. And just 'cause we
love you... here's a look at Warner's The Ben
Stiller Show (6/3)...
Remember... all of these titles can be preordered now at our software
Planet. And when you do, you're helping to support the work we
do here at The Digital Bits. Much
appreciated as always!
Finally today, we're very pleased to bring you the first installment of
our own Adam Jahnke's new regular column...
Bottom Shelf. As you know if you've been reading the site for
any length of time, Adam's film knowledge and perspective fits in
perfectly with our particular bent here at The
Bits. We felt it was about time he got his own soap box. So
first entry of many to come, and enjoy!
We'll be back on Monday with new DVD and SACD reviews (no kidding) and
more. See you then!
What do you know? We've got a few actual DVD reviews for you today! In
the spirit of (slowly) getting back into the swing of things around here
review-wise, we've got a look at four titles in all this morning. First
up is my take on Universal Music's new
Gabriel: Secret World Live concert disc. Next, Jeff Kleist
gives you his thoughts on Warner's
Dwarf: The Original Series 1 & 2. And finally, we have a
retro review of Buena Vista's
Buy Me Love from our own Graham Greenlee. We'll do our best to
post more new reviews soon.
By the way, a quick ChubbChubbs
update. As you know, the short is being released all by its lonesome on
disc by Columbia TriStar on 4/11. But if you have the Men
in Black 2 DVD, you already own it (look on Disc One, in the "Frank's
Favorites" section). Thanks to Bits
reader Jerry L. for that reminder.
Finally, we're getting word that Buena Vista's upcoming Alias:
Season One DVD (street date: 9/2) will be widescreen after
all (the press release indicated 4x3, much to the irritation of many
fans). We're working to officially confirm with the studio whether it
will be anamorphic as well, but I suspect it is. We'll let you know.
There's some potential bad news for DVD-Audio - probably not serious
but certainly frustrating. The Warner-led DVD Forum supporting the
DVD-Audio format against rival SACD has been trying to create a hybrid
disc that would be compatible with all existing DVD-Video, DVD-Audio and
CD players. As you may know, SACD discs can be made with a hybrid CD
player to insure such backwards compatibility. But according to
article published in New Scientist, this attempt to make a
viable DVD-audio hybrid disc has been "branded a failure" by
Forum members. Work on the effort is reportedly continuing along other
In other cutting edge disc news,
is reportedly planning to begin selling Blu-Ray high-definition
recorders in Japan next month. Sony's recorder will apparently be
able to record 2 hours of high-definition content, and play current
red-laser DVD discs using the DVD-R and DVD-RW formats (but apparently
not those using the DVD-RAM or DVD+RW formats).
We've been talking a lot about online surveys in the last couple of
weeks. It seems Sony Pictures Classics has
DVD survey as well, so be sure to head over there and provide your
According to the newswires, Best Buy is planning to sell its Musicland
chain of stores due to declining CD sales.
here for more on that.
We thought we'd give you a better look at the different packaging
options that Warner is considering for its upcoming Looney
Tunes DVDs (TBA). Let's start with The
Looney Tunes Golden Collection...
Now here's The Looney Tunes Premier
Here's a look at The Looney Tunes Hit
And finally, here's the packaging under consideration for The
Bugs Bunny "Carrot" Collection...
All of these images come straight from Warner's online survey. Watch
for official announcements soon.
Also, moving onto Disney's classic treasures, we've gotten more
information on the upcoming Walt Disney
Treasures DVDs for you today. You'll again find that in
(LATE UPDATE - 4/1/03 - 6:30 PM PST)
It looks like there may finally be good news for you fans of
actor/director Kenneth Branagh's film version of Hamlet.
According to People.com's daily
news e-mail, Branagh has confirmed with them that the 1996 film is being
prepared for DVD release next spring by Warner Bros. Look for the title
to include at least some extras. Thanks to the many Bits
readers who sent this in.
In another brief Warner tidbit, the latest issue of American
Cinematographer features an article on the restoration of
Singin' in the Rain. According to
the article, the next project on the restoration slate (currently
underway) is the original classic The
Adventures of Robin Hood. So you can reasonably expect a DVD
release in late 2003 or 2004. Thanks to Ralph B. for that nifty find.
And finally today, we've posted the new
Five winners will take home copies of MGM's West
Side Story: Special Edition, Universal's Red
Dragon and 20th Century Fox's The
Ghost and Mrs. Muir, so be sure to check it out.
(EARLY UPDATE -
4/1/03 - 12:01 AM PST)
No April Fool's jokes for you today, folks. At least not from The
Bits. The world's a silly enough place as it is, methinks.
Instead, we've got a few great bits of news and a new interview we think
you're really going to enjoy.
First up, Warner Bros has finally announced their Giant:
Special Edition. The 2-disc set streets on 6/10 (SRP $26.99).
The film has been fully restored and digitally remastered, and will be
presented in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio, with audio in Dolby
Digital 2.0 (in English and French). Extras will include audio
commentary (by filmmaker/Stevens family archivist George Stevens Jr.,
screenwriter Ivan Moffat and critic Stephen Farber), 3 new documentaries
(George Stevens: The Filmmakers Who Knew Him,
Memories of Giant and Return
to Giant), the New York premiere TV special, Hollywood
premiere and project kickoff newsreels, 2 Warner
Bros. Presents featurettes, photo and document galleries,
extensive production notes, director filmography and introduction by
George Stevens Jr. and more.
Also today, Columbia TriStar has announced that they'll release The
ChubbChubbs! on DVD on 4/11 (SLP $9.95). In case you didn't
know, this is the CG animated short that was seen in front of Men
in Black II in theaters. It also just won the Oscar for Best
Short Film (Animated). The DVD will include the short film in anamorphic
widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and preview trailers.
Here's the cover art for The ChubbChubbs!,
Columbia TriStar's Punch-Drunk Love: SuperBit
Deluxe (6/24) and Disney's just announced Sleeping
Beauty: Special Edition (9/9)...
Now for the big news today: Warner Bros is conducting an
survey in which they ask all kinds of market research questions
about their upcoming Looney Tunes
DVD releases! We don't know how long the survey will be up, and access
seems to be limited. But if you can get in, the survey takes about 10
minutes. And this is your chance to weigh in on issues like extras and
packaging. A number of interesting details are revealed in the survey,
including the following potential release options:
The Looney Tunes Golden Collection
(4 discs - $69.95), containing 60 of the best restored and remastered
shorts, featuring the "best of favorite characters" and plenty
of supplemental material.
The Looney Tunes Premier Collection
(2 discs - $26.95), containing 28 of the best restored and remastered
shorts, featuring the "best of favorite characters" and some
The Looney Tunes Hit Reality (1
disc - $19.95), containing 20 all new cartoons "featuring your
favorite characters starring in spoofs of reality TV shows such as Survivor,
Iron Chef, Fear
Factor and more" with bonus material.
The Bugs Bunny Carrot Collection
(1 disc - $19.95) containing 14 classic Bugs Bunny shorts.
Since Warner is looking for market research, let's give 'em some.
Obviously, we'd prefer the Golden Collection
option. The most important thing to us here at The
Digital Bits is that EVERY SINGLE Looney
Tunes short finds its way onto DVD for collectors at some
point in the future, fully restored, uncut and uncensored. If released
at a rate of 60 shorts per collection, it would take some 18-20
collections to get them all out. But hey... there's always hope. In any
case, it's good to know that Warner is at least getting serious about
releasing these shorts on DVD. Keep in mind that until these titles are
officially announced, anything you've read here (or see in the survey)
is tentative at best. While we wait for that, here's a look at one
potential packaging design for the Golden
More pictures (and lively discussion) about the Looney
Tunes survey and DVDs are available in
thread over at the Home Theater Forum.
Finally this morning, we're very pleased to be able to present a new
special feature interview! Matt Rowe and the gang at
our very own affiliate site dedicated to high-resolution music, recently
had the chance to talk with the legendary Bob Ludwig. Bob is a long-time
audio recording and mastering engineer. He's been working in the
industry since the 1960s, and is widely considered to be one of the best
in the business. He's worked with just about everyone you can imagine,
from The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix to The Foo Fighters and Beck.
If you love music, you've definitely heard his work at some point or
other. Matt's put together
complete text of an in-depth interview with they did with Bob, in
which they discuss everything from his long and illustrious career and
the mastering process, to the latest audio technology and even the new
SACD and DVD-Audio formats. We think you'll really enjoy it, so be sure
to check it out.
And all that's not too shabby for one morning! Just FYI, we've got a
new Trivia Contest coming later
today. Stay tuned!
(LATE UPDATE - 3/31/03
- 3:30 PM PST)
We have official word this afternoon that Universal's The
Pianist will street on May 27th. Both anamorphic widescreen
and full frame versions will be available ($SRP 26.98 each). Extras will
include the Story of Survival
featurette, the theatrical trailer, a soundtrack TV spot, cast and
filmmaker bios and production notes.
We also have details on Warner's 2-disc The
Mission: Special Edition ($26.99 - 5/13). The film will be
featured at its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, anamorphic enhanced.
Audio is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 (a French track will
also be available, along with English, French and Spanish subtitles).
Extras will include a feature length commentary by director Roland Joffé,
the People on a Mission
documentary, "film highlights" from the cast, director and
writer and the theatrical trailer.
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/31/03
- 11:30 AM PST)
Morning folks! Hope you all had a great weekend. We've got a few
interesting things to cover this morning, so let's get started.
First up, we've gotten inside word on the latest with Disney's Walt
Disney Treasures line of discs set for release later this
year. Some good stuff, historically speaking, so be sure to check that
out. You'll find it in
Rumor Mill today.
There's new word that Universal Music will begin to release DVD-Audio
titles later in 2003. This would be in addition to their already
impressive slate of SACD offerings. The company has officially announced
that they expect to release some 20 titles on DVD-A before the year is
out, with Dolby Digital as the default surround format (for
compatibility with all existing DVD players) and with extras like video
interviews, photos and more. There's no word yet on which titles will be
chosen for DVD-A, but we'll update you when they release this
information. In any case, this is good news for those who are interested
in high-resolution audio but who fear a format war.
for the details direct from Uni Music.
Buena Vista's The Recruit will
officially street on 5/27 (SRP $29.99). In addition to anamorphic
widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, you'll get deleted scenes
(with optional filmmaker commentary), feature commentary from Colin
Farrell and director Roger Donaldson, and a featurette look inside the
CIA. The 2-disc Frida (6/10 -
$29.99) will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1
audio, feature commentary with director Julie Taymor, programs on the
real-life Frida Kahlo and more. Jungle Book 2
will arrive on 6/10 as well (SRP $29.99), with extras including a
behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted musical sequences, a set top game,
music videos and more. Wes Craven's They
(also 6/10) will include an alternate ending. Dracula
II: Ascension arrives on 6/17 (features TBA). Air
Bud Spikes Back will street on 6/24, along with The
Pennsylvania Miners' Story. The 2-disc set of Gangs
of New York (7/1, - $29.99) will include (among MANY other
things) director's commentary from Martin Scorsese and the U2 music
video for The Hands That Built America.
Shanghai Knights (7/22) will
feature deleted scenes, fight scene choreography, bonus footage and
more. And Disney's straight to video sequel Stitch!
is due on 8/26.
We also have some new upcoming DVD title announcements this morning.
ADV Films will bow Mutant X: Season One, Vol.
1 on 6/24. A&E will release Century
of Warfare, Dr. Quinn, Medicine
Woman: Season One, Homicide: Life
on the Streets: Complete First and Second Seasons and Supercar:
The Complete Series on 5/27. Anchor Bay will debut the Manhunter:
Restored Director's Cut on 7/8. Artisan's T2:
Extreme Edition (due on 6/3) will be followed by Before
We Ruled the Earth: Hunt or be Hunted, Before
We Ruled the Earth: Mastering the Beasts, Cracker,
Criminal Confessions, Family
Reunion: The Movie, Frost:
Portrait of a Vampire, Jack Reed:
Death and Vengeance, Jack Reed:
One of Our Own, Jailbait
(aka: Lady Killer), Suicide
Blonde, Topper/Topper Returns
and Trial Watch, all on 6/17. BMG
Music will release Justin Timberlake:
Justified on 5/6 (buy that and your daughters will love you
for it). Buena Vista will release Jungle Book
2 (on 6/10), The Advocate,
Don't Drink the Water, Guilty
as Sin, Lie Down with Dogs,
The Minion, Month
by the Lake, My Left Foot,
Queen Margot, Renaissance
Man and Tuesdays with Morrie
(all on 7/1), Heaven (on 7/8),
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
(on 7/15), Ararat and Felicity:
Complete Second Season (on 7/22), Quiet
American (on 7/29), Alan Smithee
Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, Camp
Nowhere, Cemetery Club,
Crossing the Bridge, Dead
Tired, French Twist,
Rowing with the Wind, Slam
Dunk Ernest and Wedding Gift
(all on 8/5), Alias: Season One
(we're still working to confirm anamorphic or 4x3 on this one), The
Big One, Children of the
Revolution, Father Hood,
Feast of July, Funny
Bones, Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag,
It's Pat: The Movie, Mouth
to Mouth, Rage in Harlem
and Shades of Fear (all on 9/2)
and the Sleeping Beauty: Special Edition
(on 9/9). HBO will release The Best of
Arliss, Volume 1 on 6/10, with Staying
On following on 6/17. Lions Gate/Trimark will release Nemesis
Game (on 6/10), Chinese Box:
Signature Series, Dead Zone:
Complete First Season, Happiness:
Signature Series, Pipe Dream,
Songcatcher: Signature Series and
What's Cooking: Signature Series
(all on 6/17), and Intacto (on
6/24). Rhino has The Best of Rowan and
Martin's Laugh-In set for 5/27. Sony will release Dr.
Seuss: One Fish, Two Fish/Are You My Mother? and Dr.
Seuss: Cat in the Hat Comes Back/Hop on Pop on 6/3. 20th
Century-Fox will debut Paper Chase
on 6/3, Just Married on 6/17, Brigham
Young and M*A*S*H: Season Four
on 7/15 and a slate of Hong Kong action titles (City
Hunter, Hong Kong 1941,
Magnificent Butcher, Maganificent
Warriors and Naked Killer)
on 7/22. Universal has added Jaws 3,
Jaws 4: The Revenge and Midnight
Run to its 6/3 slate, with Spliced
(aka: The Wisher) following on
6/24. And new titles from Warner will include Doctor
Who: Carnival of Monsters and Doctor
Who: Resurrection of the Daleks (on 7/1) and Prehistoric
America (on 7/15).
And around the site today, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers to include the 265,813 players that
shipped to U.S. retailers in the week ending March 14th. All charts have
been updated accordingly.
Now then... you may have noticed that we've been posting fewer DVD
reviews lately. That's not the start of a trend, but it does mean we've
been very busy behind-the-scenes here at The
Bits working on something that we're pretty excited about.
We'll be sharing it with all of you soon. And we'll be getting back to
our usual review output soon too, so hang in there. ;-)
Back later with more. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 3/28/03 - 5 PM PST)
Okay folks... we're done! The
DVD Cover Art section has now been completely updated, with
more than 350 new pieces of cover art. We guarantee that there's stuff
you've never seen before, from darned near every studio. And EVERY page
of the section has been updated with new covers. Please don't forget
that when you order your discs through our software sponsor, DVD
Planet, you're doing us a big favor here at The
Digital Bits. They support us, so please support them with
your continued business. You have our sincere thanks for going so. ;-)
Now then... have a great weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday
(after about 40 hours of sleep)! Whew!
(LATE UPDATE - 3/28/03 - 2 PM PST)
Hey everyone. Work continues on the
DVD Cover Art update. About half of it is posted now, and the
rest is in progress. There are literally TONS of great new covers, so be
sure to check them out. And remember, when you pre-order titles with
Planet through the links we provide, you're doing a LOT to
help support our work here at The Digital
Bits. So please order titles with them whenever you can,
through our links, and tell them we sent you. MUCH appreciated!
In the meantime, however, we've got a great update in
Rumor Mill for you fans on TV shows on DVD. We've got Fox's TV
DVD slate for the rest of 2003 (and even into early 2004)! Interested in
24: Season Two? How about Lost
in Space? The be sure to check it out.
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/28/03 - 12:01 AM PST)
Just a quick note. The
DVD Cover Art update will be going on throughout the day
today, so be sure to check back for it. It's taken longer than we
expected to post (it always does), but there's a good reason - we've got
more than 350 pieces of new cover art to prepare and link! There's some
great art in the update, so watch for it later this morning and early
Morning all! You asked for it, so it's on the way. We're working to
post a new
DVD Cover Art update today. But there's a LOT of new art to
post, so it may not be up until late this afternoon or early evening. Be
sure to watch for that.
In the meantime, we have word from Miramax on a few more new DVDs. Look
for Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
on July 15th (SRP $29.99) and The Quiet
American on July 29th (also $29.99).
And we have official details on the Children
of Dune DVD from Artisan. The 2-disc set streets on May 20th
(SRP $26.98) and will include the complete 3-part miniseries in
anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will
include a video trailer, the Sci-Fi Channel TV ad gallery and a visual
effects comparison featurette. No doubt if it sells well, there will be
a special edition in 2004.
Here's the final cover art for Children of
Dune, along with Warner's Robin
Hood: Prince of Thieves - Special Edition (6/10) and Columbia
TriStar's Talk to Her (5/27).
Also, be aware that the street date for Columbia TriStar's The
Crime of Padre Amaro has been moved from April 1 to April 22.
Watch for that art update later today. Stay tuned...
We've got official word from Paramount that The
Hours: Special Collector's Edition will be released on June
24th (MAP $19.95). The disc will include anamorphic widescreen video,
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, newly-recorded audio commentary with Nicole
Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep, an additional commentary by
director Stephen Daldry and novelist Michael Cunningham, five
featurettes (Filmmakers Introduction,
Three Women, The
Mind and Times of Virginia Woolf, The
Music of The Hours and The Lives
of Mrs. Dalloway) and the theatrical trailer. A separate full
frame version will also be available.
A trio of dramas will street from Paramount on June 10th: Is
Paris Burning?, Murphy's War
and The Desperate Hours. A trio of
comedies will also arrive on that day: The
Brady Bunch Movie, A Very Brady
Sequel and Grease 2.
These will be followed by two more on June 24th: Beautician
and the Beast and Robert Altman's Popeye.
All are anamorphic widescreen and feature 5.1 sound (except Murphy's
War and The Desperate Hours
which are mono). And the recently-released Narc
will make its way to DVD from the studio on June 17th (again in separate
full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions, with Dolby Digital 5.1
In other new release news, you'll be pleased to know that Warner has
two more 2-disc special editions set for release on June 10th. The
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves: Special Edition (SRP $29.99)
will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, a 5.1
music only track, audio commentary (with Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman,
Christian Slater, writer/producers Pen Densham and John Watson, and
composer Michael Kamen), the Robin Hood: The
Man, The Myth, The Legend featurette, one on one interviews
with the cast, the Bryan Adams' (Everthing I
Do) I Do It for You music video, a 3D "interactive loop"
(Weapons of the Time), a gallery
of publicity photos and more. You'll also get some 20 minutes of
previously unseen footage.
Also on June 10th, watch for Sergio Leone's Once
Upon a Time in America: Special Edition (SRP $26.99), which
will include the nearly 4-hour international edition in anamorphic
widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include audio
commentary by film critic/historian Richard Schickel and the Revealing
Once Upon a Time: Sergio Leone documentary. Additional
features are TBA.
We'll have cover art on these titles when it becomes available. Stay
Just wanted to quickly correct a mistake I made in yesterday's post. I
incorrectly said that the Giant: SE
would be in its original full-frame aspect ratio. It will actually be in
its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Just FYI.
We have some other upcoming title news today. A&E will release
their miniseries version of Napoleon
(starring Christian Clavier and John Malkovich) on 4/29. The entire,
unedited, 8-hour miniseries will be included on two discs, with a third
disc of bonus material including the 2-hour documentary Napoleon
and Wellington, the 50-minute Biography
episode Napoleon Bonaparte: The Glory of
France, the Making of Napoleon
featurette, cast & crew bios and more. SRP will be $49.95.
Sanctuary will release the Phil Collins: A
Life Less Ordinary documentary on DVD on 5/20. It will be in
anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital stereo audio. Extras will
include performance footage, interviews and more.
Paramount has set The Brady Bunch Movie,
A Very Brady Sequel and Grease
2 for DVD release on June 10th.
Columbia TriStar will release The Mothman
Prophecies: Special Edition on May 27th (SRP $27.95 SRP). The
release will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1
audio and all-new bonus features such as 5 deleted scenes, director's
commentary and several behind-the-scenes featurettes. Also on May 27th,
the studio will release Mississippi Masala
(SRP $19.95) with anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital Surround
audio. And on June 3rd, the studio will release director Wayne Wang's
Eat a Bowl of Tea ($24.95).
We also have final details and artwork on Columbia TriStar's 3-disc
Black Hawk Down: Deluxe Edition
(street date 6/3, SRP $39.95). Disc One will include anamorphic
widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary with
director Ridley Scott and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, a second audio
commentary with U.S. Special Forces Veterans of the real battle, a third
audio commentary with author Mark Bowden and screenwriter Ken Nolan, and
Disc Two will include The Essense of Combat:
Making Black Hawk Down documentary (including Getting
it Right, Crash Course,
Battlefield: Morocco, Hymn
to the Fallen, Digital Warriors
and After Action Report), 8
deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary, a production
design archive, storyboards with optional commentary, "Ridleygrams"
with optional commentary, Jerry Bruckheimers Black
Hawk Down photo album, opening title explorations and photo
Disc Three will include The History Channel
Presents: The True Story of Black Hawk Down documentary, the
PBS Presents: Frontline: Ambush in Mogadishu
feature, and interactive mission map/timeline, Target
Building Insertion (a multi-angle sequence with optional
commentary), BAFTA Q&A Forums
(with Ridley Scott, Jerry Bruckheimer, Josh Hartnett, Ewen McGregor,
Jason Isaaca, Mark Bowden and Tom Matthews), Motion
Pictures Editor's Guild - Pietro Scalia, American
Cinematheque - Jerry Bruckheimer and Ridley Scott, the Gortoz
A Ran - J'Attends music video performed by Denez Prigent &
Lisa Gerrard, theatrical poster explorations and theatrical trailers.
Here's the final cover artwork (it's available for preorder now at
as are many of the titles we mentioned yesterday):
And on June 17th, Columbia TriStar will release Breakaway,
Me Without You and Tsui Hark's
We've updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers to include the first two weeks of
March (ending February 28th and March 7th). The two week total sits at
some 508,536 units shipped to retailers. And the year to date total is
already well over 2 million units. All charts have been updated
Hope you all enjoyed the Oscars yesterday.
here for a complete list of all the winners. Is anyone else blown
away by Roman Polanski taking home Best Director? And hats off to the
Academy for recognizing Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited
Away as Best Animated Feature.
There's great news for you fans of foreign film on DVD today. MGM has
just announced their slate of DVDs for July, and it includes some great
titles. On July 1st, the studio will release a long-awaited Wings
of Desire: Special Edition ($24.98 SRP)! The disc will
include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio
commentary with director Wim Wenders (pronounced Vim Venders) and actor
Peter Falk, deleted scenes with audio commentary by Wenders, the Angels
Among Us documentary, an interactive map and more. Also on
July 1st, the studio will release their La
Femme Nikita: Special Edition ($26.98 SRP). Extras will
include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, The
Sound of Nikita featurette, the Revealed:
The Making of La Femme Nikita documentary, the Programming
Nikita interactive map, stills and poster galleries and the
Also on July 1st, look for Akira Kurosawa's Rhapsody
in August (you can NEVER have too much Kurosawa on DVD),
along with Never on Sunday, The
Night of the Shooting Stars, Flight
of the Innocent, Prisoner of the
Mountains and To Live
(SRP $19.98 each). On July 15th, look for The
Billy Wilder DVD Collection ($129.96) featuring the Some
Like it Hot: Special Edition, The
Apartment, The Fortune Cookie,
Irma La Dolce, Witness
for the Prosecution and (for the first time on DVD) Avanti!,
Kiss Me Stupid, One,
Two, Three and The Private Life of
Sherlock Holmes (all of these new titles will also be
available separately). Finally, July 15th will also see the release of
several new action titles from MGM ($14.95 each) including Catch
the Heat, Revenge of the Ninja,
Rage of Honor, Eve
of Destruction, Juggernaut,
Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins...,
White Lightning and Gator.
And that's a whole lotta great catalog DVDs!
Just FYI, MGM will also release the Dark
Blue: Special Edition on June 24th (SRP $26.98), featuring
anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, director's
commentary and more.
Here's the cover art for the Wings of
Desire: Special Edition, the La
Femme Nikita: Special Edition and a better look at the final
art for The Lion King: Platinum Edition
(street date: October 7th). And yes, we do have a big Upcoming
DVD Cover Art update coming this week, so be sure to check
back for it.
Hey... we're not done yet. Anyone interested in Warner's The
Right Stuff: Special Edition? Okay, 'cause here's the deal.
The 2-disc set streets on June 10th (SRP $26.99). The film will be
presented in anamorphic widescreen video (1.85:1), with Dolby Digital
5.0 audio. There will be audio commentary (with director Philip Kaufman,
producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, cinematographer Caleb
Deschanel and cast members Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, Scott
Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid and Barbara Hershey), 13 deleted scenes
(including Trudy's Dream, Chimp and Center Fuse, Milkshake Connecting,
Second Convolution, Specimen Request, Glen Gets Out of Centerfuge,
Astronauts Walk Down Hall, Gus and Trudy at Motel, Dayroom Liaison Man
Speech, Blood/Mission Control, New Congress Lift, NASA Man "Socks"
and Trudy Wakes), and some 50 minutes worth of documentary material
introduced by author Tom Wolfe, including interviews with Ed Harris,
Scott Glenn, Barbara Hershey and Dennis Quaid, three of the real Mercury
Seven astronauts (Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper and Wally Schirra) and
test pilot Chuck Yeager. VERY cool!
That same day, Warner will also release their long-awaited Giant:
Special Edition. It will also be a 2-disc set (SRP $26.99),
with the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio video and Dolby Digital mono
audio. No word on extras yet.
Here's a first-look at the cover artwork for The
Right Stuff and Giant,
along with New Line's DVD release of Werner Herzog's Invincible
(street date: 6/3). Enjoy!
Now that's a helluva good way to start off a new week, wouldn't you
say? We'll be back to announce the Trivia
Contest winners later this morning. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 3/21/03 - 10:45 AM PST)
Just a quick update to let you all know that Bob Banka's latest
Buttered Popcorn for the Movie Lover's Soul column is now
available here at The Bits. In
this edition, Bob discusses... well, best just to give you the title:
and White and Subtitles, Oh My! Enjoy. ;-)
Have a great weekend, stay safe, enjoy the Oscars (just for fun, my
money's on Chicago, Scorsese,
Kidman, Brody, Streep and Cooper) and we'll see you back here on Monday!
(EARLY UPDATE -
3/21/03 - 12:01 AM PST)
We've got Barrie Maxwell's
Classic Coming Attractions column for you today, as
expected. In this edition, Barrie looks at forty years of Oscar history,
and runs down the latest announcements of classic films coming to disc.
So be sure to check that out. And watch for Bob Banka's latest column
later this morning as well.
Universal is apparently planning to release its first sampling of TV's
The Incredible Hulk on DVD on 6/3.
The Incredible Hulk: Original Television
Premiere (SRP $19.98) will include the 2-hour pilot, along
with the episode Married. Look for
The Guru and Biker
Boys to be announced soon by the studio as well.
And Warner Bros has announced that they'll be releasing the first four
(in a series of ten) two-disc Chaplin
Collection DVDs on July 1st: The
Gold Rush, The Great Dictator,
Limelight and Modern
Times (SRP $29.95 each). Four more films in the series will
follow in the fall (titles TBA). Details on these first titles are as
The Gold Rush will include both
the 1942 re-release and the original silent version (with the cut
footage reinstated and Chaplin's original score, newly reorchestrated in
Dolby Digital 5.1 by Neil Brand). Extras will include the Chaplin
Today - The Gold Rush: MK2TV retrospective documentary, an
introduction by Chaplin biographer David Robinson, theatrical trailers
from around the world, galleries of film posters and photos, an
interview with Lita Grey Chaplin (his wife at the time of the film) and
the original "scenario" written by Chaplin prior to filming (The
Lucky Strike - A Play in Two Scenes).
Special features on The Great Dictator
will include The Tramp and the Dictator:
Acclaimed Turner Classic Movies documentary, rare color home
movies shot on the set by Chaplin's half brother Sydney, a deleted scene
from Chaplin's short film Sunnyside
(1918 - which inspired his creation of the Jewish barber character), a
Hitler/Mussolini excerpt from Chaplin's Monsieur
Verdoux, Chaplin's original story notes, drafts of scripts
and production records documenting his creation of the film's
impassioned final sequence, the soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital
5.1, a poster gallery and a 1933 Fox Movietone newsreel about Adolf
Limelight will feature the Chaplin
Today - Limelight: MK2TV documentary, a featurette on the
seven other Chaplin family members in Limelight,
1952 and 1959 home movies of Chaplin's children and Chaplin in London,
deleted scenes cut after the premiere (including "One-armed Man"
scene), an introduction to the film by Chaplin biographer David
Robinson, theatrical trailers from around the world, galleries of
posters and photos, the soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1, and
audio-only track of the film's score, sections of Chaplin's working text
for the novel on which the film is based, a six-minute excerpt of the
unfinished 1919 film, The Professor
(which mirrors the Limelight fleas
and flophouse scenes) and a production summary.
And finally, Modern Times will
include the Chaplin Today - Modern Times:
Insightful documentary, an introduction to the film by
Chaplin biographer David Robinson, alternate scene (including the
complete version of the nonsense song Chaplin sings in the cafe scene),
the soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1, never-before-available
original story notes, shooting log and production reports for the "feeding
machine" sequence, a "video reminiscence" by musical
arranger/composer David Raksin, theatrical trailers from around the
world, galleries of film posters and photos and extensive production
Each of the above sets will feature the film in full frame (1.37:1)
aspect ratio, with English and French audio (dubbed in Québécois)
and subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
Don't forget that The
75th Annual Academy Awards are this Sunday night. Also... you
Farscape fans will want to tune in
tonight to Sci-Fi for the series' final episode. And then, if you're
like a lot of us here at The Bits,
you'll stop watching Sci-Fi altogether in protest of the show's
(LATE UPDATE - 3/20/03 - 2
We're pleased to present our own Brad Pilcher's latest
People Play column. This time around, Brad looks at 989
Sports' World Tour Soccer 2003,
THQ's Pride FC and the music of
We'll have that second column we mentioned earlier for you tomorrow...
Bob Banka's latest Hot Buttered Popcorn for
the Movie Lover's Soul. We'll also have a special
Oscar-themed Classic Coming Attractions
column from Barrie Maxwell tomorrow. And our own Adam Jahnke will be
kicking off his own new editorial column next week, so be sure to watch
Finally this afternoon, we have details on Artisan's forthcoming T2:
Extreme DVD (street date 6/3, SRP $29.98). The 2-disc set
will come in a special 3D metal box package. The film itself has
apparently been mastered from a brand-new 1080p, 24sf high-definition
digital transfer, with frame-by-frame restoration done to ensure the
best possible image quality. Naturally, it'll be presented in anamorphic
widescreen on DVD, and is THX-certified. Audio will be available in
Dolby Dolby 5.1 Surround EX and there will be a Dolby Headphone option
included as well. Note that the film will be the 16-minute-longer
special edition version.
The new extras were once again produced by Van Ling, as they were for
the previous T2: Ultimate Edition
DVD. These will include an all-new audio commentary track with James
Cameron and William Wisher, an "extreme interactive mode" with
with "graphic commentary" and rare behind-the-scenes footage,
the all-new No Feat But What We Make
documentary (on the role of T2 in
the evolution of digital effects and modern filmmaking), the T2:
On the Set retrospective montage (featuring rare production
footage), the interactive Infiltration Unit
Simulator and T2 FX Studio (which lets you morph your
imported images into a T-1000 or a T-800 Terminator and gives you
background on the FX technology, all via DVD-ROM) and the interactive
Skynet Combat Chassis Designer
game (which lets you build your own unique robots and test them on a
simulated obstacle course).
My feeling about it is that while the new audio commentary,
high-definition progressive transfer and the new documentary hold a
certain amount of interest (and I'm always supportive of Dolby
Headphone), the rest of this stuff is all the same kind of DVD-ROM
interactive material that very few people will ever take the time to
play around with. How many of you really played with all the stuff on
the Harry Potter DVD? Seriously.
Some of this is cool, but it's also studio overkill - another
opportunity to resell you the same film on disc, timed to take advantage
of the new film. So, like Fox's X-Men 1.5
Special Edition, while die-hard fans will probably snap it
up... the rest of you should think twice before spending your money.
That's just my two cents, anyway.
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/20/03 - 11:45 AM PST)
Good morning, good afternoon, good evening and good night... depending
on where you are, of course. Pick one. We're going to post a couple of
new columns today, so be sure to check back soon for those.
In the meantime, we've got a couple of interesting bits of DVD news
this morning. First up, Warner Home Video has announced the DVD release
of Kangaroo Jack for 6/24. In
other news, in light of the cancellation of The
Matrix: Special Edition, Warner will reduce the price of its
existing Matrix DVD to $19.99 on
4/22. The price of the The Matrix/The Matrix
Revisited 2-pack will also be dropped to $34.99.
Also today, Warner has announced the DVD release of five classic Cole
Porter musicals on DVD on 4/22: High Society,
Kiss me Kate, Silk
Stockings, Broadway Melody of 1940
and Les Girls. All five discs will
include a new documentary on the making of the individual film hosted by
such legendary musical stars such as Cyd Charisse, Celeste Holm and Ann
Miller. SRP for each will be $19.98, with a gift set of all of them
together retailing for $89.92.
Columbia TriStar has announced the release of Martin Lawrence's National
Security on 5/27 (SLP $27.94). Extras will include director's
commentary, deleted scenes and an alternate ending.
And according to our friends at VSDA, DVD weekly rental revenues have
for the first time exceeded those of VHS: "For
the week ending March 16, 2003, DVD rentals generated $80 million in
revenue, and VHS rentals yielded $78 million, according to VSDA VidTrac.
This is the first week ever that DVD rental revenues have exceeded VHS
rental revenues, and occurred six years to the month after the launch of
the DVD format in the U.S.." Not bad for just six years.
Finally this morning, The
Original Trilogy campaign keeps rolling on. We're up to 15,000
signatures in less than a week. Keep them coming, folks!
(LATE UPDATE - 3/19/03 - 10:30 AM PST)
We've got another new piece of upcoming DVD cover artwork for you
today... Miramax and Buena Vista's Frida.
There's no official word yet on a street date, but we'll post the
details as soon as they come in.
Now then... given world events of the last few days, and what's likely
to come in the next few days, it's a little tough to go along as
business as usual. DVD just doesn't quite seem so important right now.
We get lots of e-mail every day here at The
Digital Bits, and so we know we have a lot of readers in
various countries around the world. We also have a number of U.S.
military readers. So without getting into political issues, we just want
to say this... whoever you are, wherever you are, and on whatever side
on the conflict you might find yourself, please keep your heads down,
try to stay safe and know that our thoughts are with you and your
(EARLY UPDATE -
3/19/03 - 12:01 AM PST)
We've got a cool surprise for you this morning. You Disney fans out
there will be happy about this. We've got a sneak peek at the cover art
work for Disney's 2-disc The Lion King:
Platinum Edition DVD (which streets on October 7th - SRP
$29.99), along with some early, unofficial details about the expected
The set will include the film in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), with
audio in both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1. The transfer will be THX
certified. You'll be able to view the original theatrical version of the
film, plus an "extended" version which includes the
newly-animated song Morning Report
(originally created for the Broadway show). There will be a featurette
on the making of the new song, 3 deleted scenes (Bug
Football, Hakuna Matata
and Warthog Rhapsody), an all-new
music video, a sing-along track, 4 set-top games (The
Lion King Personality Profile, Rafiki's
Three Gourd Monty, Timon's
Grab-A-Grub and Pumbaa's Sound
Sensations), the Disney Animals
featurette (on the animal inspirations for the characters, hosted by Roy
Disney), the Storymaking Magic
featurette (on the origin and influences behind the story of The
Lion King), behind-the-scenes footage, character and computer
design footage, African art inspiration footage, newly-recorded
interviews with Elton John and Tim Rice, a "virtual safari"
with tour guides Timon and Pumbaa, a behind-the-scenes look at the
Broadway show (including an interview with Julie Taymor and interactive
explorations of the masks, costumes, people and puppets from the show)
This information comes from multiple retail sources, and so should not
be considered official until Disney makes their grand announcement
(watch for that soon).
(LATE UPDATE - 3/18/03 - 5:30 PM PST)
Okay, folks... our e-mail is working again. If you've been trying to
get in touch with us via e-mail in the last few days, and you've had
your messages bouncing back, you should have no problem getting through
now. Just wanted to let you all know.
(LATE UPDATE - 3/18/03 -
9:45 AM PST)
We've gotten word from New Line on a few new upcoming DVD releases.
Werner Herzog's Invincible has
been announced for release on June 3rd (SRP $26.98). The DVD will
include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital and DTS surround
sound and a theatrical trailer. I have to say, I'm really looking
forward to seeing that film. Seemed like it came and went in an instant
Also coming from New Line on June 3rd are a pair of films from director
Roman Polanski, Death and the Maiden
and Bitter Moon. Each will retail
for $19.98, and will include anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby
Digital audio (no word on 2.0 or 5.1), plus the theatrical trailer.
And on May 6th, look for two action flicks starring actor Pierce
Brosnan, Detonator and Live
Wire ($19.98 each). Each will include both anamorphic
widescreen and full frame video, plus Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Live
Wire will reportedly also include both the rated and unrated
versions, plus a theatrical trailer.
Wanna be surprised? Okay... here's a DVD announcement you might not be
expecting so soon. Columbia TriStar has announced the release of their
Tears of the Sun: Special Edition
for June 10th. No kidding... the same Tears
of the Sun that's in theaters right now. Talk about quick to
disc. Also in 6/10, look for Montana
and Experiment in Terror from the
Moving on, a quick Original
Trilogy Campaign update. Our online petition went from about
3,000 signatures to over 9,000 signatures in just 24 hours. Traffic was
so great, in fact, that the campaign website was tough to log onto at
times yesterday. So those of you who didn't (or couldn't) sign on
yesterday, please do so today. And encourage everyone you know to do so
as well. It only takes a few moments and it makes a big difference. You
can be sure Lucasfilm is already paying attention.
Here's what I would do if I had a say in it (I hope Lucasfilm's Jim
Ward is listening). Though it's yet to be announced, everyone pretty
much already knows Lucasfilm and Paramount are planning to release The
Indiana Jones Trilogy later this year. So for next year, if
I'm in charge of things in my reverse parallel universe, I put together
a 4-disc Star Wars Trilogy: Vintage Edition
box set. Discs 1-3 include the original theatrical versions of the films
in anamorphic widescreen, along with the original trailers (you remember
those: "The epic story of a boy, a girl and a galaxy!"). Then
on Disc 4, you include that 2-hour From Star
Wars to Jedi: The Making of a Saga documentary that used to
air on PBS all the time. And if you really want to make people smile,
tag on the original Star Wars Christmas
Special too. Fans would go nuts. Lucas could tape a video
introduction to the whole thing that says basically, "These are the
films as you remember them. I was never really happy with them, but I
know you love them, so here they are. But be sure to watch out for my
super ultimate versions coming in 2006..." or whatever. Lucas
always says he's too busy making the new films to work on the old ones
for DVD. So other than recording a 5-minute intro and approving the
transfers, he never even has to be involved. Let Van Ling bang together
some cool menus and cover art with a retro feel, and there you go. And
then, someday after Episode III
has been released on DVD, we'll get the super ultimate versions on disc
that he's planning. How hard is that?
Anyway, just my two cents on the subject. Sign that petition!
(LATE UPDATE -
3/17/03 - 11:45 AM PST)
Morning all. Just a quick note - the
website is deluged with traffic right now, so please be patient if you
have trouble getting to it. And please don't give up - we need your
signature! Just check back later in the afternoon or evening and you
shouldn't have a problem getting in. Thanks.
Okay... we've got some more upcoming DVD announcements for you.
Classic Rock Productions will release Alice
Cooper on 3/25. Criterion/Home Vision has announced the
release of Israel: A Nation is Born,
Louisiana Story and Man
of Aran on 5/20, and Coup de Grace,
Jubilee and Throne
of Blood on 5/27. Delta Entertainment has The
Beatles Diary due on 4/15. Elite Entertainment is working to
release Strange Behavior on 5/6
and Horror on 5/27. MGM will
release Defense of the Realm, Dennis
the Menace: Cruise Control (animated), Die
Another Day (full frame and anamorphic widescreen), Dinosaur
Island (animated) and Groove Squad
(animated), all on 6/3. Paramount has announced Blues
Clues: Shapes and Colors, Dora the
Explorer: The City of Lost Toys and Star
Trek: Deep Space Nine - Season Three on 6/3. Hey, Hey...
Rhino will release The Monkees: Season One
on 5/13. Showtime has Due East and
Snow in August set for 6/10. 20th
Century-Fox will debut Baywatch: Hawaiian
Wedding on 5/13. Vanguard has Another
Planet, Burning Down the House,
The Distraction, Hot
Cars, Fine Babes, Killer
Flick, Mockingbird Don't Sing
and Playa Azul all set for 5/27.
Warner Home Video has South Park: Complete
Second Season set for 6/3. And Wolfe Video will release By
Hook or By Crook on 5/27.
We've kicked off another new
today, giving you all a chance to win copies of 20th Century Fox's NYPD
Blue: Season One and Sordid Lives,
so be sure to check it out.
And we're pleased to present a new column by our own Robert Harris.
This time around, Robert takes a look at the films of 20th Century Fox.
So check out his
Fox: The Films of 20th Century Fox on DVD and enjoy!
Be aware that we have several new columns from our editorial staff set
for this week, so be sure to check back for those.