(Archived Posts 4/23/04 - 10/13/03)
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First up... some interesting Kubrick information. It seems that Warner
Bros. might have changed their minds about releasing the director's last
film, Eyes Wide Shut, in its
original uncut version. Bits
reader Josh L. e-mailed us last night with the following:
Tonight I was fortunate enough to see Leon Vitali
in person at a special screening of Barry Lyndon at the
University of Colorado. In his discussion, Mr. Vitali revealed that
Warner Bros. is planning to release the uncensored international version
of Eyes Wide Shut here in the States, sometime next year. Not
sure if this was already officially announced or not.
Very cool news if true. We'll definitely look into this. Thanks, Josh!
By the way,
here to read an archived interview we did with Leon Vitali in May
Moving on, earlier this week in the daily column, I mentioned that
director David Lynch had revealed that his Wild
at Heart: Special Edition will be released on DVD later in
2004. We've checked in with our industry sources, and sure enough... MGM
is currently planning to debut the title on disc in December, along with
a price reduction on Blue Velvet.
No word yet on the extras, which are in production as we speak, but you
can definitely expect anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1
Speaking of MGM... we've got a heads-up on some of the titles the
studio is tentatively planning for September release. Look for a Judgement
at Nuremberg: Special Edition, a David
Lean Collection featuring Blithe
Spirit, Brief Encounter,
Great Expectations, In
Which We Serve, Madeleine,
Oliver Twist, Passionate
Friends and This Happy Breed,
a 2-disc release of The Martain Chronicles
mini-series and The Burning Bed,
Gotham (aka The
Dead Can't Lie - 1988 TV movie), Moving
Target and Pursuit.
Beyond that, as we've mentioned previously, the studio is working on a
Species: Special Edition, as well
as... wait for it... Robert Rossen's 1956 Alexander
the Great. Cool beans.
Okay kids... so you want proof that further changes are being made to
the Star Wars films for the
forthcoming DVD release? Well, this COULD be it...
That top image is, supposedly, an actual shot of Ian McDiarmid as
Emperor Palpatine, newly inserted into The
Empire Strikes Back in place of the original actor (bottom
image). This pic has been circulating around the Net for a few days now.
The split screen comparison you see here was created by someone on one
of the Star Wars fan boards (click
here for the original post of the image, along with endless fan debate).
But the image at the top (at least the actual face shot of McDiarmid)
reportedly leaked from someone involved with the production. We had
pretty much dismissed it... BUT. The interesting thing is, we've shown
this image to insiders we know have seen the real work (three separate
sources now), and they've independently confirmed that the scene HAS
changed and that the top image (of McDiarmid in make-up) is authentic.
One other scene we've heard is being revamped is the CGI Jabba scene
from A New Hope. Look for the
digital Jabba to be replaced by a much better looking CG version (likely
based on the Episode I digital
model of the character).
Tell you what... if this pans out, I don't mind either of these
changes. Better still, I'd eat a whole freakin' herd of Bantha if Lucas
would just restore the Han/Greedo scene in A
New Hope so that Han shoots first again. Anyone care to join
me? Cross your fingers, folks... and fire up the barbecue pit.
By the way, we've also been told by sources that the list of Trilogy
4th disc DVD extras circulated by FYE, Best Buy and other online
retailers recently (and
reported here by The Bits)
is "not entirely correct". Like that original prototype DVD
packaging from a few weeks ago, it looks like this WAS an early spec
list for the disc, but it's not the final one. Hopefully, we'll get
official details in the coming weeks.
Okay... here's the skinny on some great forthcoming (and many yet to be
announced) DVDs on the way from MGM. In June and July, look for Barbershop
2 (6/8), Touching the Void
and Dead Like Me: Season 1 (6/15),
and Other Strangers, Suppose They
Gave a War and Nobody Came, Take
the Money and Run and The Charlie
Chan Collection 6-disc set, including The
Chinese Cat, Charlie Chan in the
Secret Service, The Jade Mask,
Meeting at Midnight, The
Shanghai Cobra and The Scarlet
Clue (7/6), Agent Cody Banks 2
(7/13), Intermission, Miss
Spider's Sunny Patch Kids and Stellaluna
(7/20) and Saved, Showgirls:
VIP Edition, the Thunderbirds
Collector's Edition 2-disc set, including Thunderbirds
Are Go and Thunderbird Six
(7/27). Then in August, look for HI5: Volumes
1-3 and Walking Tall
(8/3), The Woods (8/10), Angel
of Death, Dorm Daze,
and Whore (8/17) and Clownhouse,
Swamp Thing, The
Night Stalker/The Night Strangler and some great 1970s flicks
including The Apple, Chastity,
Electra Glide in Blue, Good
Times, Joyride, Roller
Boogie, Small Circle of Friends,
Smile and Zachariah
(8/24). Finally, just to give you a taste of titles coming this fall,
anyone interested in The Manchurian Candidate
or The Martian Chronicles
'Nuff said. ;-)
Some interesting news for you Seinfeld
fans today. Word from The Globe
Seinfeld Blog) is that the cast of the series has finally
made their peace about royalties, meaning that all four of the show's
stars will be involved in the production of the DVDs, the first season
of which is due later this year.
Also today, there's new word on the release of the next batch of
animated Hayao Miyazaki DVDs from Buena Vista. Apparently,
and Suncoast stores are reporting August 31st street dates for Nausicaä
of the Valley of Wind, Porco Rosso
and My Neighbor Totoro.
Thanks to the many Bits readers
who e-mailed us about these stories. Stay tuned...
Yeah, we know this is going to get some people's undies in a bunch
again... but we can say with some confidence now that when Lucasfilm and
Fox release the Star Wars Trilogy
on DVD in September, the films ARE going to include new footage. We've
confirmed "unofficially" with three separate sources, each in
positions to know, that at least SOME new footage is being added to the
films, and that more special effects enhancements, tweaks and fixes are
being done. We're also told that Lucasfilm MAY include additional
deleted scenes for the trilogy on the bonus disc, separate from the
material added into the films themselves (rather like they've done with
Episodes I & II). We've been
told of at least a few changes that are being made, but we're going to
wait to confirm them better before we post anything. Keep in mind that
we have no idea how extensive or minor the whole of the additions and
changes will be. Hopefully, we'll learn more from Lucasfilm in the near
future. So, okay... we're now officially intrigued. We'll post more when
In just another quick bit of Fox news today, word is that the studio
will release The Simpsons: The Complete
Fourth Season on DVD on June 15th. Just FYI.
Here's a bit of info from industry sources that's likely to get the
undies of some fans all in a bunch. Word is that George Lucas' THX-1138,
which is currently being prepared for DVD release later in 2004 by
Lucasfilm and Warner Bros, is going to feature more than 100 new visual
effects shots. Look for digitally-enhanced skylines and other additions
We've have some cool information from Paramount today. These titles
have yet to be announced, but we have confirmed with the studio that
they ARE finally in the works for DVD release... D.A.R.Y.L.,
Explorers and Fire
in the Sky. I know a lot of you out there are interested in
Fire and Explorers
in particular, based on the number of inquiries we get about them. Also,
soon to be announced by Paramount are first season DVD box sets of Happy
Days, Mork & Mindy
and Laverne & Shirley. Look
for those Summer 2004. Better still, we've been told to expect Star
Trek: The Original Series - Season One to arrive on DVD in
the 3rd Quarter of this year.
In other interesting tidbits today, retail sources have been told to
expect Columbia TriStar's Monster,
for which Charlize Theron just won the Best Actress Oscar, on DVD in
And Buena Vista is expected to announce the DVD release of Miracle
for May 18th. Extras on the 2-disc set will include featurettes with the
real hockey players and actors, outtakes, director's audio commentary
and a tribute to coach Herb Brooks (who was killed last year in a car
crash in Minnesota).
We've gotten more info from our retail sources on expected street dates
for some major, as-yet-unannounced titles. If they bear out, look for
Girl with a Pearl Earring on 5/4,
50 First Dates on 5/11, Mystic
River on 5/18, You Got Served
on 5/18 and Barbershop 2 on 6/29.
Also, we've heard a reader who recently had the chance to talk with
Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt
about the upcoming DVD release. Here's the info (special thanks to our
reader for sending this in):
I spoke with Ben Burtt recently. He mentioned the
upcoming Star Wars DVDs. It seems that they were able to go back
and digitize all of the original tracks and rebuild the show from
scratch. For the previous Theatrical Special Editions they were only
able to go back and re-mix and edit from the pre-mixes which were
sonically limited by the analogue recording and reproduction systems of
the time. Since Ben was responsible for archiving all of the sound on
A New Hope, all of the sounds were able to be found except for a
couple of foley tracks which I'm assuming will be re-done. So it seems
that we will be hearing Star Wars in a way we've never heard it
before. He did not mention if Empire and Jedi would be
receiving the same treatment.
We've talked about the title before, and now we're hearing from retail
sources that Chris Carter's Harsh Realm: The
Complete Series will arrive on DVD on May 26th. No word yet
Meanwhile, we have word that Warner Bros. is already hard at work on
The O.C.: The Complete First Season,
which will be released later this year as a 6-disc box set (featuring
all 27 episodes plus extras).
We've got word from our nefarious and sundry industry sources on some
great MGM titles that are on the way for later this year. They've
confirmed that the Bubba Ho-Tep: Special
Edition is coming for 5/25. Anyone interested in The
Day After miniseries? Watch for it in May as well. We're also
told that a Showgirls: VIP Edition
is in the cooker for summer release with tons of... shall we say
fascinating... extras (and a new anamorphic widescreen transfer). Also
on tap for summer are Thunderbirds are Go
and Thunderbirds Six (just in time
for the new movie version).
This next bit is sort of a rumor, because the title hasn't yet been
announced by the studio. But it comes straight from our old friend Roger
Nygard. You might member Roger as the director of Six
Days in Roswell and Trekkies
(you can read
interview we did with him back in 2000 here). Roger wanted to let
us know that he's completed work on the Trekkies
2 DVD, which is going to be released later this year by
Paramount. For the sequel, Roger and host Denise Crosby went
international to interview Trek
fans all over the world, as well as former and current cast members. The
DVD is expected to include clips from fan-made Trek
films, as well as a 45-minute concert featuring 5 Star
Trek-themed bands. Sounds like fun. Roger promises to keep us
up to date on the title, so we'll post more details as they become
here to visit the film's official website.
Finally this morning, there's word from Tippett Studios that Starship
Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (directed by Phil Tippett)
will be available on DVD on June 8th, after premiering on the Starz
network's Action Channel on April 24th.
We're being told by retail sources to expect Fox's In
America to be released on DVD on May 11th.
We're also hearing from a number of industry sources, as well as
readers who apparently participated in an online DVD survey with Warner
Home Video, that Warner will release a number of new 2-disc special
editions in May, including Purple Rain,
Blazing Saddles, Wyatt
Earp, Heat and Around
the World in 80 Days. We'd heard that many of these titles
were in production last month (click
here for the original story), so this confirms at least a few.
If you're a fan of Chris Carter TV series, you'll be thrilled to know
that 20th Century Fox will wrap up the adventures of Mulder and Scully
on DVD in November, with The X-Files: The
Complete Ninth Season. Around that time, Fox is also planning
to deliver the complete Harsh Realm
and the first season of Millennium
Something you should also be aware of... The
Lone Gunmen is being considered for DVD release depending on
how well Harsh Realm and Millennium
sell. Also being considered for DVD release on this same basis is Glen
Morgan and James Wong's Space Above and
Beyond. Cross your fingers.
While many of us are waiting to see if Lucasfilm makes their big Star
Wars DVD announcement tomorrow, we've got a bit more on The
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. It seems
art that might be the U.K. theatrical edition DVD has started
circulating around the Net. If it is the real deal, the disc specs
for the 2-disc set will include anamorphic widescreen video, English
Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and 2.0 Surround audio, 3 documentaries (On
the Set - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The
Battle for Middle Earth and The
Quest Fulfilled), 6 A Final Look
at Middle-Earth featurettes created for lordoftherings.net (Digital
Horses, Eowyn White Lady of Rohan,
Minas Tirith, Aragorn's
Destiny, Battle of the Pelennor
Fields and Samwise the Brave),
Trilogy outtakes and bloopers,
original theatrical trailers and TV spots, Annie Lennox's Into
the West music video, EA's The
Lord of the Rings Trilogy videogame preview, and a preview of
the Special Extended DVD Edition.
This falls in the category of rumor, because New Line has yet to
officially announce the title. But we've heard from a number of
retailers, indicating that they've been told by the studio to expect the
theatrical version of The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King on May 25th. This confirms
been hearing as well.
This is also supported by a recent Video
Business article (in the Feb. 2 issue), in which both
director Peter Jackson and various retail sources are said to have
confirmed that the theatrical version of the film will be released in
May, and that the extended edition would follow in September. According
to recent interviews by Jackson, the longer version reportedly clocks in
at 4 hours and 10 minutes. New Line also reportedly says they won't
announce the title until after the Oscars at the end of this month.
Remember last week how we told you to expect Lucasfilm's announcement
of the release of the Star Wars Trilogy
on DVD sometime between now and May? Well... you MIGHT not have to wait
as long as May after all.
Scum have today posted a rumor that Lucasfilm and 20th Century
Fox will be making their official Star Wars
DVD announcement next week, likely on Tuesday. Their information again
confirms that the films will be released in a 4-disc set, like the Indiana
Jones DVDs, and that the street date is set for 9/21/04.
The interesting thing is, we'd actually heard this same information
from some of our industry sources a few weeks ago - folks who have been
extremely reliable over the years. But we know this subject is a real
hot button with DVD fans, so in the interest of not getting everyone
worked into a frenzy, we've been sitting on it until we could confirm it
better. So is it the real deal? Well... keep in mind that announcements
like this are never set in stone until they're set in stone, so to
speak. I would still absolutely regard this as tentative. Lucasfilm
could announce Monday instead of Tuesday, or they could wait until the
following week, or the end of the month. That said, it's definitely our
belief here at The Bits, based on
the best information we have, that an official announcement of some kind
is very close.
So let's wait and see what next week brings, shall we? Just maybe good
things. Stay tuned...
Yep... Star Wars time again.
Rebel Scum fan website is reporting that in recent
presentations at London's Toy Fair event, Lucasfilm marketing partner
TLC Marketing revealed once again that Lucasfilm plans to release
Episodes 4, 5 and 6 on DVD format in October or November of 2004. This
is just one more piece in a puzzle that's now growing very large and
surprisingly clear. Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox aren't commenting on
the rumors about the DVD release of the original trilogy, but our
industry sources are just giving us too much independent confirmation
that the release is in the works. We feel very confident now that it's
the real deal - that the Star Wars
films ARE finally coming to DVD later in 2004.
Just to update you, we've heard a variety of rumors in terms of what
might be included on the set (going all the way back to September of
last year, when we first
word of it here in The Rumor Mill), but the best of our
intelligence is that they'll be released as a 4-disc set, with 3 movie
discs (1 for each film) and a disc of bonus materials, much like last
year's Indiana Jones Trilogy DVD
release. Lucas has repeatedly said not to expect the original versions
of the films on DVD, so we're betting on the
much-rumored "Archive Editions", which would basically
be the Special Editions released in the 1990s, only with further tweaks,
changes, enhancements and additions to bring them more into line with
the new prequels. Still, the list of specific changes that's been
circulating around the Net for a few months reads more like a fanboy
wishlist, so it should probably be considered dubious at best. I suspect
we won't know anything more until the titles are officially announced.
Speaking of that, IF this DVD release is really happening (and keep in
mind that for all our sources - and the widespread information being
reported around the Net - this is STILL only a rumor), Lucasfilm would
probably want to announce the release sooner rather than later, to give
retailers and marketing partners enough time to gear up for it. It would
easily be the biggest DVD release of 2004, and arguably one of the
biggest (if not THE biggest) releases of all time for the format. By
comparison, Lucasfilm announced the November 4th, 2003 DVD release of
the Indiana Jones Trilogy on May
5th of last year (the street date was later moved up to October 21st).
That's 6 months of lead time. If Lucasfilm holds true to that with the
announcement of Star Wars,
assuming a September-November window (has as been rumored), that would
mean that we could reasonably expect the official announcement sometime
between now and May.
So, as we say so often here at The Bits,
we suggest you stay tuned. We're betting it's gonna get pretty
interesting in the coming months.
Our friends over at the TVShowsonDVD.com
website have been chasing a rumor that Universal is planning on
releasing Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
on DVD later this year, in time for the series' 25th Anniversary. It
seems it's the real deal. Word is that several fans who have had contact
with series actors Gil Gerard and Erin Gray lately have learned that
both have been tapped to record audio commentary for some of the
episodes. We've managed to confirm with our industry sources that the
DVDs are indeed in production, along with the film of the same name
(that started it all... at least in the 1970s). Just goes to show you,
ya can't keep a good astronaut on ice.
Just FYI, TVShowsonDVD.com
is also reporting that Everybody Loves
Raymond DVDs are in the works as well.
while back here in The Rumor Mill,
we told you that Warner Bros. was finally going to get more serious
about releasing their animated product on DVD, particularly TV series
animation from their new and classic lines. Well, we've been hearing
from some very good sources recently, who tell us that the folks at WB
are hard at work on The Flintstones: Season
One, The Jetsons: Season One
and Jonny Quest: The Complete Series!
That last title has us particularly excited here at The
Bits. No release timetable has been set other than probably
late 2004 or early 2005. Other full season animated titles are planned,
we're told, including the recent Batman: The
Animated Series and more. We'll post additional details when
we have them.
We've been hearing more about this title in the last week or so, so now
seems as good a time as any to talk about it here. Columbia TriStar has
been working on a new 3-disc Panic Room:
Special Edition with the assistance of director David
Fincher. We expect it to be officially announced in the next few weeks
for release in early in the year (we're hearing March or April). The set
is expected to include the film on Disc One in anamorphic widescreen
(with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1), audio commentary with Jodie Foster,
Dwight Yoakam and Forest Whitaker, and a second audio commentary with
Fincher. Disc Two will feature an in-depth look at the pre-production
and shooting of the film, including in-depth documentaries and
multi-angle features. Finally, Disc Three will look at the
post-production process, including editing, visual effects, sound design
The disc was produced by our old friend David Prior, who hand-crafted
Fox's awesome special edition of Fincher's Fight
Club (we've interviewed Prior twice in the past, for
Club and his earlier DVD production of
I happen to know that he's been working himself into a frenzied,
Gollum-like state over this release for well over a year now, so expect
a winner. ;-)
Force.net is reporting an interesting George Lucas quote in a
new book that's been released. Interviewed for Robert J. Emery's The
Directors: Take 4, Lucas reportedly says that when the
original Star Wars Trilogy is
released on DVD, he'll finally be able to release the films the way he
originally intended. The site concludes that this confirms more changes
to the original films as we've reported in the past.
We'll just have to wait and see. September 2004's getting closer and
closer every day.
Okay, we've heard from no less that three retail sources in the last 48
hours, so this seems to confirm
heard in December. Best word is, Warner's Matrix
Revolutions will street on April 6th. So there you go. We'll
post official details as soon as Warner makes them known.
We've learned from our friends at
R2 Project that Warner has revealed the Region 2 DVD release
of a number of new, previously unannounced titles for 2004 (many are
long-awaited special editions). These include:
June - THX-1138, The
Searchers: SE, Blazing Saddles: SE,
Three Godfathers, Mogambo,
Earp, The Hunger, Fearless
July - Heat: SE, Goodfellas:
August - Jailhouse Rock,
Viva Las Vegas, Tarzan
the Ape Man, a Johnny Weismuller
Box Set, Greystoke: The Legend of
Tarzan, Enter the Dragon: SE,
Cleopatra Jones, Legend
of the Seven Golden Vampires, Purple
Rain: SE, Under the Cherry Moon,
September - After Hours,
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore,
Who's That Knocking at My Door?,
The Lost Boys: SE
It's likely that those titles above that haven't yet been released in
R1 will debut here later in 2004 as well. We've also confirmed with our
sources that Warner is working on 2-disc SEs of Forbidden
Planet and King Kong
for 2004. We'll let you know when any official announcements get made.
This is MUCH more tenuous information, but a Brazilian industry contact
has informed us that Warner's told him to expect the following
additional DVD releases in 2004:
May - Matrix Revolutions
June - The Last Samurai,
The Marx Brothers Collection
July - The Name of the Rose: SE
September - Smallville: The Compete
October - Troy, The
Errol Flynn Collection
November - Harry Potter and the
Prisoner of Azkaban, Gone With the
We'll try to confirm some of this with our own sources in the weeks
ahead, so stay tuned.
We've heard from additional retail sources that New Line is telling
them to expect the 2-disc The Return of the
King theatrical version on DVD on May 25th, and the 4-disc
extended version in the August-November timeframe. Of course, we'll let
you know when we have official confirmation.
Also today, we've spoken with our sources at Paramount, and have
learned that Ragtime, Day
of the Locusts, Goodbye, Columbus,
Rustler's Rhapsody and The
Winds of War are all on the way for early summer 2004. You
should also be aware that Star Trek: Voyager
- Season Two has been delayed until May, which means that
seasons 3-7 will be released on a more compressed schedule throughout
the rest of the year.
We posted the rest of this
daily column a few days ago, but it bears repeating again here:
Confirmed by Paramount to be coming in March are Sightings:
Heartland Ghost, Dora the
Explorer: Dora's Egg Hunt, Nick
Jr. Celebrates Spring, SpongeBob
SquarePants: SpongeBob Goes Prehistoric, Brother
Sun, Sister Moon, The Ten
Commandments: Special Collector's Edition (3/9), Resurrection
Blvd.: The Complete First Season, Beyond
Borders, The Singing Detective
and The School of Rock. We're
hearing 3/2 as the street date on School of
Rock, featuring audio commentary with Jack Black and director
Richard Linklater, commentary with the kids in the film, an interactive
Dewey Finn's History of Rock and
the featurettes Lessons Learned in School of
Rock, Jack Black's Pitch to Led
Zeppelin and Kids' Video Diary:
Toronto Film Festival Piece. We're also expecting C.S.I.:
The Complete Third Season in March (we're hearing 3/30 on
We've also been told by industry sources that more Comedy Central
product is on the way from Paramount in 2004. For next summer, look for
Reno 911!: The Complete First Season,
The Joe Schmo Show: Uncensored,
The Comedy Central Roast of Dennis Leary
and That's My Bush!. And in the
fall, you'll get Strangers with Candy: The
Complete Third Season, Crank
Yankers: The Complete First Season and South
Park: The Complete Fourth Season. Plus, there's still a Top
Gun: Special Edition in the works as well, although don't
expect this before the end of 2004 at the earliest.
it Cool News is reporting a that rumor that New Line is
balking on the price WETA Digital is charging to finish the effects for
the extra footage that Peter Jackson plans to add back into The
Return of the King for the extended edition DVD. The thought
is that the studio might be planning to cheap out and use a budget-rate
American effects house to finish the shots. We can't vouch for the
validity of the rumor, but if it's true, we'll be seriously pissed here
at The Bits. New Line... if you're
reading this, don't even think about it. You've got a good thing going
and these DVDs have really been a cut above the usual studio cookie
cutter fare. This is NO time to try to shave a little more profit out of
it. Let Jackson and WETA do whatever the hell they want to with the DVD
and that's that. They've earned the right. We'll look into this and try
to find out if it's really something the studio is considering. If it's
true, someone's gonna get an earful from us.
Ain't it Cool is also reporting a
list of the scenes to be added back into the film for the extended DVD.
These include Gandalf confronting Saruman at Isengard, Merry pledging
allegiance to Theoden at Edoras, Aragorn using the Palantir to reveal
himself to Sauron, the Witch King confronting Gandalf during the battle
of Pelennor Fields, the Houses of Healing scene in which Faramir and
Eowyn meet, Frodo and Sam joining a column of orcs on the way to Mt.
Doom and the infamous 'Mouth of Sauron' scene at the Black Gates.
Glimpses of a few of these appeared in trailers for the film. We've also
heard that the drinking game at Edoras between Gimli and Legolas will be
added back in, along with possibly more footage showing other characters
going into the West at the end of the film. Peter Jackson has said that
approximately 65 minutes of material was cut from the film for its
theatrical release, so a good portion of that could find its way back
into the extended cut. We'll post more when we hear it.
Multiple retail sources have contacted me in the last 24 hours to say
that they're being told to tentatively expect Warner's Matrix
Revolutions on DVD on April 6th. No further information is
available at this time, so take that for what you will.
We've got a few interesting rumors to report around the Net today.
These don't come from our sources, but are interesting nonetheless.
First up, the
Gazette recently interviewed Ngila Dickson, who was the
costume designer for The Lord of the Rings
films. In the interview, Dickson briefly reveals that she's heard of a "vast,
gigantic" future DVD release of the entire trilogy. We all
suspected New Line was probably going to release one eventually, but
this is the first reasonably credible word we've heard about it.
In other news, The
Force.net is reporting new rumors about next year's DVD
release of the original Star Wars
trilogy. Their sources have
DVDs streeting on November 4th as separate releases - not a box set.
They're also reporting a rumor that
Indy is coming soon. The Star Wars
DVD info is different from what our sources have been reporting, but it
does go toward proving that something IS definitely in the works.
has picked up a Dark Horizons story that more Babylon
5 DVDs are on the way in 2004 (along with a possible new
project related to the series).
Film Force is reporting that Warner plans to release Matrix
Revolutions on DVD on January 6th... something of a surprise
given that it's a very short theatrical to home video release window.
Reportedly this early release decision was made due to the film's
dramatic domestic box office drop-off.
Anyway, just so you know, this is not official until Warner makes its
announcement public, but a few of our retail sources are also reporting
this 1/6 street date to us. We're being told to expect another basic
movie-only edition with few extras, like Matrix
Reloaded, and then possibly a special edition box set of all
three films later in 2004. Again, this is very early information.
One other note today... we've heard from a number of interesting (and
we believe reliable) inside sources that Lucsafilm is currently making
major new changes to the original Star Wars
films - the kind of changes he began a few years ago with the theatrical
"Special Edition" releases. These changes include new special
effects, revised and updated shots and scenes, and new footage shot with
actors Hayden Christensen (Anakin) and Ian McDiarmid (the Emperor) that
would flesh out moments with their characters in the original films. For
example, an aged and scarred Hayden now appears as Anakin at the end of
Return of the Jedi when Luke
removes Vader's helmet. Among the other changes reportedly being made
are the restoration of the original "Han shoots first" moment
from Star Wars and a revamped
lightsaber fight between Obi-Wan and Vader. What we've heard meshes with
what we've been told before, which is that Lucas has always planned to
release ultimate, "Archive" editions of these films that tie
in better with the new prequels. The main question in our minds now is
this: will these changes be completed in time to appear on the DVD
releases planned for next September, or will we have to wait until after
Episode III hits theaters to see
them? And if we have to wait, what versions will appear on the DVDs?
Time will tell.
We have word from studio sources on that Godfather
DVD re-issue rumor that's been going around. There will be another Godfather
DVD out next year, but it will ONLY be the first film, as a single-disc
release. This will be basically the same disc that's currently in The
Godfather DVD Collection, with the Coppola audio commentary.
The only difference will be that the film's digital video file is being
given an additional clean-up pass by Lowrey Digital. Watch for it in May
In an additional bit of Paramount info, we've confirmed that a special
edition box set of all the Friday the 13th
films is definitely in production, with bonus materials currently being
assembled. No release date is set at the moment.
Finally, industry sources are telling us to expect Miramax's Kill
Bill: Volume One on DVD on February 3rd. No word yet on
extras, but you can reasonably expect this to be a special edition.
We've got some details for you on yet-to-be announced upcoming titles.
First up, you'll be happy to know that Ralph Bakshi is soon to record
audio commentary for the long-awaited DVD release of his animated Wizards,
due next year from Fox.
Also on the commentary front, director Anthony Mingella has recently
completed the recording of a new audio commentary track for the
forthcoming special edition of The English
Patient, also due early next year.
MGM is working on a new special edition of Sergio Leone's The
Good, the Bad and the Ugly, which will include a new
anamorphic widescreen transfer. With any luck, they'll do Fistfull
of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More
and A Fistful of Dynamite as well.
Paramount's Top Gun: Special Edition
is still in production for release sometime in 2004. Look for a new
anamorphic widescreen transfer, along with commentary, documentaries and
more. Actor Tom Skerritt is among those interviewed on camera so far for
the new disc.
Anchor Bay looks ready to bow a new Divimax special edition of Terry
Gilliam's Time Bandits on DVD on
January 27th. The title hasn't officially been announced yet, but you
it on Amazon.
for pre-order on Amazon, studio unknown, is a new DVD release of
The Gods Must Be Crazy. Look for
that on February 3rd. And the long-awaited The
Final Countdown: Special Edition from Blue Underground is
available to pre-order on Amazon. It's due to be released on March
23rd, and will include both anamorphic widescreen and full frame video,
as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 6.1 ES audio. Extras are TBD.
Watch the Blue
Undergroun site for more on this.
Well, we've finally heard from our sources on that meeting that
Lucasfilm held yesterday at the Presidio with their retail partners.
Here's the skinny, and you guys are gonna love it... Star
Wars: Episodes IV, V & VI are coming to DVD in September
of 2004. The animated series of Clone Wars
shorts appearing soon on the Cartoon Network will also be released on
DVD, possibly before the end of this year. The teaser campaign for Episode
III will begin in January of 2005, leading up to the May
theatrical release. Finally... Episode III
will hit DVD in November of 2005. This is going to be all over the Net
soon, and you can already read more about it at
it Cool News. Keep in mind that none of this is official until
Lucasfilm publically announces it... but this is certainly, at long
last, the real deal.
This is just a very quick update, but it's news we know a lot of you
will be excited about.
First of all,
is reporting a 2/3/04 street date for Buena Vista's delayed Ed
Wood DVD. With any luck, this will be the fully-loaded
special edition we've all been waiting for.
Also today, in a discussion forum post on the topic of a Marvel
licensing conference call at
(a View Askew site), Toy Biz's
Alan Fine is reported to have let slip that New Line's The
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King will be released on
DVD in May in 2004. This would presumably be the 2-disc version, with
the 4-disc extended edition likely following later in the Summer or
Fall. Just FYI, Toy Biz is the maker of all those Rings
action figures. Keep this in the MAJOR rumor category until we've got
confirmation from our sources. Interesting nonetheless.
Thanks to Bits readers Brendan S.
and Nathan D. for the links.
According to information released on a German DVD forum, Warner Europe
has announced the DVD release of several new titles for R2. It's
possible these are soon to be announced by the studio for R1 release as
well. Here's the list (thanks to Bits
reader Christian L. for the tip).
3/18 - My Fair Lady: Special Edition
TBA - Mutiny on the Bounty, The
Great Ziegfeld, Gaslight,
Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Grand
Hotel, Mrs. Miniver,
Tom & Jerry: The Classic Collection,
Volumes 1 & 2 and Kung Fu:
Not done yet... we also have a list of upcoming Paramount catalog
titles for early 2004. No street dates yet, but these are reportedly all
in the works: Top Gun: Collector's Edition,
We're No Angels (1989), Permanent
Record, Brother Sun, Sister Moon,
The Ten Commandments: Collector's Edition,
The Greatest Show on Earth, The
Little Prince, Half a Sixpence,
Fat Man and Little Boy, The
Molly Maguires and My Side of the
This is a quick update to let you know that we heard an actual street
for Universal's upcoming Schindler's List
DVD. Word from retailers in the know is that Universal expects to
release the DVD-18 disc on March 9th of next year. They've also been
informed by the studio that The Sugarland
Express and Duel will
follow in 2004, so good news for you Spielberg fans.
Universal is also expected to release The
Rundown in March as well.
This is just a quick update on Miramax's plans for The
English Patient: Special Edition. Work is apparently well
underway. Look for a brand new anamorphic widescreen transfer of the
film, and some great extras, including newly recorded audio commentary
with director Anthony Minghella. We've been told by sources at the
studio to expect the DVD release sometime in early to mid 2004, timed to
coincide with the DVD release of director Anthony Minghella's
forthcoming Cold Mountain (due in
theaters in December).
According to Nausicaa.net,
Buena Vista has revealed the U.K. DVD release dates for the following
Studio Ghibli titles:
April 2004 - Porco Rosso
(Miyazaki), Whisper of the Heart
(Screenplay by Miyazaki)
September 2004 - Only Yesterday
(Isao Takahata), Pom Poko (Isao
November 2004 - Nausicaa Valley of
the Wind (Miyazaki), My Neighbour
It stands to reason that the U.S. will see a similar schedule,
especially since Porco and Whisper
are confirmed to have been dubbed already, Porco
having a premiere at the Austin film fest on Tuesday. Since Howl's
Moving Castle, Miyazaki's new film, will supposedly be
released in fall 2004 in the U.S. only months after its July Japanese
premiere, his two most popular films would make a good pairing to help
promote that. Those with region free DVD players can take advantage of
the entire Ghibli library on DVD in R2 and R3, all titles featuring
English subs and, in some cases, English dubs.
Films still orphaned without U.S. release dates include My
Neighbors the Yamadas (Takahata), I
Can Hear the Sea (Ocean Waves) and The
Cat Returns (a pseudo-sequel to Whisper of the Heart).
We have more evidence for you that the Star
Wars Trilogy is coming to DVD in 2004. First of all,
Games has posted a story about the Rogue
Squadron trilogy of games (previously exclusive to Nintendo)
coming to the Xbox platform in 2004. Word is this is being timed to
coincide with the release of the original films to DVD. Also, the
website (which is dedicated to Star Wars
memorabilia collecting) has learned that Lucasfilm is inviting its many
corporate partners to an event at the Presidio (in San Francisco) on
November 5th. The invitations read: "Lord Vader is planning a major
assault. He summons you to share his top secret battle plans." With
Episode III still nearly two years
away from theaters, it's entirely possible that this meeting is intended
to announce the DVD release plan to retailers for next year. Thanks to
everyone who sent these stories in.
Also today, we have official confirmation from Lucasfilm's Jim Ward,
via the Indy DVD event we attended on Saturday, that The
Young Indiana Jones Chronicles TV series is currently in
production for DVD release. There's no street date yet, but late 2004 is
You'll also be happy to know that we've confirmed with Paramount that
special editions of The Untouchables,
Top Gun, South
Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut and Titanic
are on the studio's DVD production slate. Untouchables
and Top Gun are planned for 2004,
with Untouchables at least due
early in the year. Don't expect Titanic
before the end of 2004 at the earliest however. And yes, these will all
feature anamorphic widescreen transfers.