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page updated: 6/24/09



Rumor Mill
(Archived Posts 11/11/08 - 12/1/06)


Back to Current Posts

11/11/08

Okay, the Rumor Mill updates seem to be coming fast and furious this week. This time around, our industry sources have checked in with some anticipated street dates for a number of great Fox and MGM catalog Blu-ray Disc releases due early next year. The specific titles are as follows:

In January, look for Boondock Saints (1/13), Unfaithful, The Antwone Fisher Story, The French Connection and The French Connection 2 (all 1/20), Drumline and The Pink Panther (both 1/27).

And in February, we're told to tentatively expect Ronin, Sideways, Raging Bull, Vanishing Point, Office Space, The Passion of the Christ, Napoleon Dynamite and Little Miss Sunshine.

Finally, our industry sources have hinted to us that when Warner delivers The Lord of the Rings films on Blu-ray Disc, some time late next year, they will very likely be the original theatrical versions. But don't freak out and run off to start a petition or something. There's good reason for it: Word is that director Peter Jackson wants to save the Extended Editions for an elaborate and ultimate Blu-ray box set release closer to the debut of the new Hobbit films in theatres. This way, as was the case with the previous DVD releases, you'll eventually get both versions and the best will be saved for last.

As always, keep in mind that these titles and dates ARE unofficial and are subject to change until they're actually officially announced by the studios in press releases and retail solicitations.

Stay tuned...


11/10/08

Okay, folks... we've got another update on upcoming Blu-ray Disc releases for next year from some of the major Hollywood studios. Here's a look at what you can reasonably expect...

From Paramount, we're hearing that a Transformers: Extended Edition is planned for DVD and Blu-ray release in 2009, likely timed to coincide with the theatrical release of Bay's sequel film next summer. Also, watch for a Blu-ray Disc box set of all of The Original Series-based Star Trek feature films, including Star Trek: The Motion Picture (the theatrical cut, NOT the director's cut, as all the extended cut CG effects were produced in 480p and would have to be redone for HD release), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. [Editor's Note: We mistakenly mentioned Generations instead of Trek VI in the original post. The box will be films I-VI. No Generations. The TNG films will come later. Just FYI.] This is obviously timed to promote J.J. Abrams' forthcoming Star Trek reboot, due next May. (The first theatrical trailer is apparently set to debut online later this week, and attached to Quantum of Solace in theaters this Friday.)

[ANOTHER Editor's Note: It's worth commenting that just because The Motion Picture: Director's Cut isn't being released on Blu-ray this time, doesn't mean it won't be revisited at some future date. The fact remains that the new CG effects for Wise's preferred cut were NOT rendered for 1080p resolution. They can certainly BE re-rendered at this resolution for a future BD, and I have in fact personally forwarded CG artist Daren Dochterman's contact information (along with word of his willingness to contribute to an HD master - he worked on the original DVD release) to the proper personnel at Paramount Home Entertainment. But the costs are not insignificant and it would take time in any case to create a new HD master with re-rendered effects. It's somewhat unreasonable to expect it to be done in time for this first release. But if these BDs sell well, you can probably assume that the title will be revisited at some point, and this way you'll eventually get to have both versions in high-def. Blu-ray is still a fairly new format, guys. You just can't expect to get EVERYTHING you want right away. These things take time.]

Meanwhile, Buena Vista has tentatively set Pretty Woman for Blu-ray release in February, and they've got Sin City planned for release sometime in the spring, but the schedule is subject to change. We're hearing that Armageddon is also planned for U.K. BD release in the spring, so it's possible you'll see it released here as well, but the studio can't confirm this yet.

Finally, Warner Japan has announced the 2/11/09 Blu-ray Disc release (in Japan) of the Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology box set, as well as individual BD editions of Batman, Batman Returns, Batman and Robin and Batman Forever. We've spoken to Warner here this morning, and they can't officially comment on the release yet. But our sources say that you can reasonably expect it here in the States this spring. Here's the official cover art from Warner Japan...

Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology (Blu-ray Disc)Batman (Blu-ray Disc)Batman Returns (Blu-ray Disc)

Batman Forever (Blu-ray Disc)Batman and Robin (Blu-ray Disc)

As always, keep in mind that these titles ARE unofficial and are subject to change until they're actually officially announced by the studios in press releases and retail solicitations.

Stay tuned...


11/3/08

We've gotten another update from our studio and industry sources on great titles that are in the planning or production stages (or both) for release on Blu-ray Disc in 2009. You can reasonably expect to see most of the Star Trek feature films on the format, as well as
Chinatown, Deep Impact, The Ten Commandments, Sunset Boulevard, Apocalypse Now, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Saturday Night Fever, Flashdance and The Elephant Man. According to our sources, there's also an outside chance that you MIGHT see Titanic on Blu-ray before the end of 2009. Keep your fingers crossed.

I've also learned, directly from Paramount while visiting the studio with our friends at The Home Theater Forum last week, that the studios is FINALLY working on new HD transfers of Wings (1927) and The African Queen, hopefully for release in 2009 on both DVD and Blu-ray.

As always, keep in mind that these titles ARE unofficial and are subject to change until they're actually officially announced by the studios in press releases and retail solicitations.

Stay tuned...


9/22/08

Okay, folks... we've got word on more Blu-ray Disc titles and street dates from our retail sources, this time from Paramount and DreamWorks.

In terms of new release titles, Tropic Thunder is expected to be released sometime in November, followed by The Duchess, Ghost Town and Eagle Eye sometime in December.

The great news, however, is that a TON of new catalog Blu-rays are expected to be released on 12/16, just before Christmas. Hot Rod, Old School and Into the Wild have already been announced for that date, and Tommy Boy, Coach Carter and Heartbreak Kid are expected that day as well. Better still, Event Horizon, The Truman Show, Ghost, Last Holiday and Days of Thunder are all expected to arrive in stores on 12/30.

More great Blu-ray titles are expected in January, including Dexter: The Complete First Season (for Showtime), the Braveheart: Special Collector's Edition, Election and Zodiac. Election has already been officially announced for release on 1/20, and we expect Braveheart that day as well.

As always, keep in mind that these titles and dates ARE unofficial and are subject to change until they're actually officially announced by the studios in press releases and retail solicitations.

Stay tuned!


8/27/08

Don't you just love reliable industry sources? Us too. Ours have just checked in with more new DVD and Blu-ray street dates, this time for a trio of MUCH anticipated Warner titles. Here's what to expect in November and December...

11/11 - Star Wars: Clone Wars
12/2 - Get Smart
12/9 - The Dark Knight

Word is, there will be FOUR different versions of The Dark Knight, including single-disc and 2-disc DVDs, a 3-disc Blu-ray and some kind of Blu-ray limited edition packaged with cool swag.

Also, retail sources are reporting to us today that 11/18 is the street date for Universal's Hellboy II on DVD and Blu (we've posted the cover art previously here).

We'll post all the final details as they come in. As always, keep in mind that these titles and dates ARE unofficial and are subject to change until they're actually officially announced by the studios in press releases and retail solicitations.... yadda yadda yadda. You get the idea.

Stay tuned!


8/14/08

Once again, our industry sources have once again checked in with additional confirmation on a few upcoming new release and catalog Blu-ray titles from Paramount and DreamWorks. Here's what to expect over the next few months...

9/16 - The Love Guru
9/23 - Anchorman: Legend of Ron Burgundy, Old School: Unrated
11/11 - Kung Fu Panda
12/16 - Stardust, Into the Wild
1/20 - Braveheart: Special Collector's Edition

We'll post more information on these titles as it becomes available. As always, keep in mind that these titles and dates are unofficial and are subject to change until they're actually announced by the studio.

Stay tuned!


7/9/08

All right, our industry sources have once again checked in with word on a few upcoming DVD titles. First, we're now hearing that Paramount's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is set for DVD release on 10/14... but it's still not confirmed whether or not a Blu-ray version is coming (although a few international retailers have started taking pre-orders for one).

Also, we've gotten a MAJOR update from our studio sources at 20th Century Fox on when to expect some of those catalog Blu-ray titles we mentioned last time. Here's the details...

Look for the Daredevil: Director's Cut to arrive on BD on 9/30.

The Romancing the Stone: Special Edition and Jewel of the Nile: Special Edition are now both set for BD release in October (we're hearing 10/14).

The X-Files: Fight the Future is now set for BD release in December, timed to coincide with the DVD and BD release of The X-Files: I Want to Believe.

Fans awaiting BD versions of Firefly: The Complete Series and The X-Men Trilogy can rest assured that both are in the works, but they've been pushed back into 2009, so they're not coming this year. [Editor's note: This WAS official from the studio. But now the studio is backtracking, and says Firefly at least may yet make it out in 2008 - in November/December. Ugh.]

As for the classic Planet of the Apes Collection, studio sources say this will be announced (or at least discussed) at Comic-Con down in San Diego later this month.

We'll post more information on these titles as it becomes available. As always, keep in mind that these titles and dates are unofficial and are subject to change until they're actually announced by the studio.

Stay tuned!


7/3/08

Our industry sources have checked in today with word on a number of major upcoming Paramount DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases. Here's some of what you can look forward to (and when to look for them)...

The Love Guru (DVD & Blu-ray) - 9/16
Iron Man (DVD & Blu-ray) - 9/30
Indiana Jones IV (DVD for sure, Blu-ray undecided) - October
Kung Fu Panda (DVD & Blu-ray) - 11/18
Tropic Thunder (DVD & Blu-ray) - December

Here's a glimpse at some of the catalog Blu-ray titles on the way from Paramount and DreamWorks...

Anchorman: Legend of Ron Burgundy - 9/23
Old School - 9/23
Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd - 10/21
Stardust - December
Into the Wild - December

Also, we've learned that 20th Century Fox is working on the following titles for Blu-ray Disc release before the end of the year (or early in 2009 - these are in addition to catalog BD titles that we've mentioned previously)...

Daredevil: Director's Cut
Firefly: The Complete Series
The X-Men Trilogy
The Planet of the Apes Collection
The Deception
Jewel of the Nile: Special Edition
Dude, Where's My Car?
What Happens in Vegas

We'll post more information on these titles as it becomes available. As always, keep in mind that these titles and dates are unofficial and are subject to change until they're actually announced by the studio.

Stay tuned!


6/17/08

Okay... our industry sources have checked in with word that Paramount is tentatively planning to bow the recent summer mega-hit Iron Man on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on (or around) 9/30.

Also, as we posted in the daily My Two Cents column yesterday (click here), our sources are indicating that Paramount is likely to deliver the DVD and Blu-ray release of the remastered Godfather Trilogy on 9/23.

As always, keep in mind that these dates are unofficial and are subject to change until they're actually announced by the studio.

Stay tuned!


4/22/08

Okay... so we've got a bunch of interesting stuff in today's Rumor Mill post. Good tidbits about upcoming releases on DVD and Blu-ray. First up, some classic DVD info...

Barrie has learned that Warner Home Video has a couple interesting sets coming this summer. The first is a Home Front Collection due in July, and the second is a Natalie Wood Collection for August. The former would contain Thank Your Lucky Stars, Hollywood Canteen, and This Is the Army - all wartime releases. The Natalie Wood Collection would include six films: Inside Daisy Clover (1965), Gypsy (1962), Bombers B-52 (1957), Splendor in the Grass (1961), Sex and the Single Girl (1964), and Cash McCall (1959). Great news for classic film fans indeed! [Editor's Note: We've spoken directly with the studio on the above classic titles, and they tell us that the titles are definitely coming, but they want to make sure the quality is as high as possible, so these dates are almost certainly going to change. Just be aware of this, and please let others know. Patience will be rewarded with better looking releases.]

Also today, a number of Bits readers are reporting to us that at the recent New York Comic-Con this past weekend, X-Files creator Chris Carter hinted that Fox's upcoming Blu-ray Disc edition of X-Files: I Want to Believe will have tons of cool special features. Our friends at AICN has a partial transcript of the X-Files panel up here.

Speaking of Fox, the studio has just announced Blu-ray Disc versions of director Timur Bekmambetov's sci-fi epics Night Watch and Day Watch for release in Japan (on 7/4 - see Amazon.jp link). They'll be available individually, and also in a 2-disc set. The good news is, sources at Fox tell us they're planning to release the BDs here in the States sometime in October.

Night Watch (Blu-ray Disc)Day Watch (Blu-ray Disc)

Also just announced for DVD release in Japan (on 6/13 - see Amazon.jp link) is a new 2-disc L.A. Confidential: 10th Anniversary Edition. You can likely expect Warner to release it on DVD and Blu-ray here in the States as well later this summer (we've contacted Warner to get official confirmation, so be sure to check back). Thanks to Bits reader Ben D. for the link.

Meanwhile, Bits reader Mark B. has e-mailed us to say that at a recent charity screening of Back to the Future (covered here by our friends at BTTF.com, who hosted the event), writer and co-producer Bob Gale told fans that Universal has begun planning and preparing a Blu-ray Disc edition of the trilogy and that the new, remastered digital prints would be used for the discs. More great news - thanks, Mark! [Editor's Note - our industry sources tell us that 2009 would be the earliest the films could be released on Blu-ray. They likely aren't coming this year.]

Finally today, industry sources have informed us that Warner is tentatively planning the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of the new Get Smart feature film for December.

Stay tuned!


4/10/08

Okay... let's talk upcoming Blu-ray releases. First, let's give you a summary of all the Blu-ray related news we've posted in the daily My Two Cents column over the last several weeks that some of you may have missed.

We'll start with Fox and MGM. We posted on 3/21 that many catalog titles are in the works for possible release by the end of 2008 from both studios, including such films as Walk the Line, the classic Batman: The Movie (this has since been officially announced for 7/1), The French Connection, Super Troopers, Fargo, the X-Men trilogy, the original Planet of the Apes, possibly Young Frankenstein and maybe even MGM musical titles, not to mention the expected new release films. We've since informed you (on 4/8) that all five classic Planet of the Apes films are in the works for Blu-ray Disc release to honor the original film's 40th anniversary. We're now hearing they're tentatively set for October. Also coming later this year is a Blu-ray Disc version of Firefly: The Complete Series. And the Point Break: Pure Adrenaline Edition was just officially announced today for BD release on 7/1.

Meanwhile, Buena Vista has already announced the theatrical version of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which is tentatively due on 5/13 (the street date may change slightly). The National Treasure: Collector's Edition and National Treasure: Book of Secrets both follow on 5/20. As we first revealed on 3/24, June will see the Blu-ray release of The Recruit and M. Night Shyamalan's Signs, both on 6/3. Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York is now confirmed for Blu-ray release on 7/1. The studio has officially announced the Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert - The 3-D Movie for Blu-ray Disc release on 8/19, and it will feature the first actual 3-D presentation on Blu-ray, complete with 3-D glasses (a regular 2-D version will also be included). And Sleeping Beauty is currently set for 10/7, featuring BD-Live content and "living menus," including a real-time castle environment that changes based on your location. The straight-to-video sequel Tinkerbell is due in October as well. Obviously, a number of new theatrical films will also be released on Blu-ray Disc in 2008 (think Wall-E and others). But here's a few new titles for you: Studio sources have confirmed that a Nixon: Election Year Edition and Good Will Hunting are both on the way for later in 2008. We've also learned that Kill Bill 1 & 2 and Finding Nemo are now being planned for release in 2009 on the format.

Now let's talk Warner: As many of you should know by now, Twister has been set for release on 5/6. The Wachowski Brothers' V for Vendetta is now due on Blu on 5/20 (timed to coincide with the theatrical release of their new Speed Racer film). Both the Dirty Harry: Special Edition and a Dirty Harry: Ultimate Collector's Edition box set (containing all of the films) are due on 6/3. Warner has announced Batman Begins and a Batman Begins: Limited Edition Gift Set for release on Blu-ray on 7/8. The Dark Knight will obviously be released on Blu-ray Disc later this year, and it's possible that the Batman Anthology box set might be released then as well, if work can be completed in time (work is already well underway). Other new release films you can expect on BD in 2008 are Speed Racer, Get Smart and 10,000 B.C., with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Price and Where the Wild Things Are following in 2009.

In terms of classic catalog, it's Warner's goal (by mid to late summer) that going forward, EVERY TIME they issue a new catalog special edition or Ultimate Collector's Edition on standard DVD, the title will also available day-and-date on Blu-ray Disc as well. Currently in the works for release this year on Blu-ray are How the West Was Won, Gigi, An American in Paris and possibly a new A Christmas Story: Ultimate Collector's Edition. Heat needs a new transfer, but its already in the works, and Clash of the Titans will likely be released later in 2008. All of the titles previously released on HD-DVD only will arrive on Blu-ray Disc in the next year or so, including Mutiny on the Bounty, Forbidden Planet, Casablanca, Excalibur, Grand Prix and The Adventures of Robin Hood (Robin Hood will likely be the first to arrive in stores, as all the BD elements have been completed). And currently in the works for Blu-ray release in 2009 are such landmark classics as The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Woodstock and North by Northwest. What's more, Ben-Hur will arrive on Blu-ray on '09 as well, just in time to celebrate the film's 50th anniversary.

And finally, here's a bit of new information that should excite fans of both Blu-ray Disc and The Matrix. Sources at Warner Home Video have confirmed to us that when The Matrix Trilogy makes its way to Blu-ray (likely in the 4th quarter, timed to the DVD and Blu-ray release of Speed Racer), The Animatrix will also be released on Blu-ray Disc in true 1080p high-definition. Whether it will be included in the box set or released separately (or both) is still TBD, but the simple fact that The Animatrix wasn't included in high-def in the HD-DVD box set was a key complaint for fans, so it's nice to know the studio is rectifying that on Blu-ray.

Watch for more Blu-ray updates here in The Rumor Mill over the next week or so.

Stay tuned!


4/8/08

We've got a couple things for you here today. After we posted the piece about Firefly: The Complete Series coming to DVD in a more elaborate version later this year, a number of our sources within the industry confirmed that work is already underway on a Blu-ray Disc version of this set. Our friends at TVShowsonDVD.com have received confirmation of the BD as well.

Also today, in the wake of the death of Charlton Heston, we've learned from our industry sources (and other sources as well) that Fox is currently planning to bow what would be a fitting tribute - a Blu-ray Disc box set of not just the classic Planet of the Apes feature film, but possibly all four sequels as well, sometime in the 3rd or 4th quarter of this year. This would include at least some new featurettes and other extras. Word is Fox has even discovered the original ending from the preview cut of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. All of this would be part of a 40th anniversary celebration of the original film.

It's also worth reminding you that Warner has officially confirmed that they're planning to deliver Ben-Hur on Blu-ray Disc in 2009.

Stay tuned!


4/2/08

Here's a quick update for you Blu-ray fans that should make you happy. We've just gotten confirmation from our sources at Warner Home Video that all three Matrix films WILL be released on Blu-ray later this year, likely to support the theatrical and/or DVD and Blu-ray release of The Wachowski Brothers' new Speed Racer feature film.

Warner has also confirmed to us that all the elements for the Blu-ray Disc release of the 1938 classic The Adventures of Robin Hood (staring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland and Basil Rathbone) have now been completed, so it's likely that the title will street sometime before the end of the year as well.

Stay tuned...


4/4/08

A number of readers have seen this online (and thanks to all those of you who sent the link in), so we decided that it's finally time to comment on the subject. The BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) has just cleared 84 minutes worth of special features for a little something it refers to as The Godfather Trilogy Restored 2008 Bonus Disc. Yes, you read that right - The Godfather. Restored.

We can, in fact, confirm that The Godfather Trilogy has indeed been restored, and that our very own Robert A. Harris was involved in the project - a project backed by director Francis Ford Coppola and even Steven Spielberg no less (you can read a bit more on that here). The BBFC notice means that Paramount is likely planning to being The Godfather Trilogy Restored to DVD (and possibly even Blu-ray Disc) later this year. Note that we're posting all this in The Rumor Mill today, because the potential DVD release - and indeed the restoration effort itself - hasn't officially been announced by Paramount yet. As such, we don't have any more information for you right now than what we're offering here. But when the studio gives us the okay, and takes the cloak of secrecy off the project, Robert assures us that he'll have lots to say about it all for you here at The Digital Bits. So for those of you wondering why Robert's Yellow Layer Failure column hasn't been updated as often in the last year or so, NOW you know why. Hey... some things are just more important.

Stay tuned!


4/2/08

Here's a quick update for you Blu-ray fans that should make you happy. We've just gotten confirmation from our sources at Warner Home Video that all three Matrix films WILL be released on Blu-ray later this year, likely to support the theatrical and/or DVD and Blu-ray release of The Wachowski Brothers' new Speed Racer feature film.

Warner has also confirmed to us that all the elements for the Blu-ray Disc release of the 1938 classic The Adventures of Robin Hood (staring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland and Basil Rathbone) have now been completed, so it's likely that the title will street sometime before the end of the year as well.

Stay tuned...


3/5/08

So... interested in a little Star Trek news? We have it today from a couple of angles that Paramount is currently working on another release of the Star Trek feature films, presumably to take advantage of next year's debut (in theaters and eventually on DVD and Blu-ray) of the new J.J. Abrams big screen reboot of the franchise. Our own industry sources have recently hinted that several of the previous feature films are currently receiving brand new high-def transfers and a good digital scrubbing to prepare them for future Blu-ray release. Meanwhile, over on his own website, long-time Trek scribe David Gerrold (also writer of the excellent Martian Child) had this to say yesterday (scroll down to the "And Finally..." part):

"Tim King Productions invited me down to the Paramount lot to be interviewed for a documentary. Paramount is planning to rerelease all ten Star Trek movies on DVD with a bonus disc of extra material, including an interview with folks who were in the crowd scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Most of those folks were Star Trek fans especially recruited for the privilege, so they gathered a few of us together and let us reminisce for awhile in front of a couple cameras. Among the attendees were Bjo Trimble (she and her husband John created the letter campaign that got the original series renewed in 68) and Chris Doohan, Jimmy Doohan's son. It was a fun couple of hours."

David goes on to talk about the group's visit to the set of the new film as well, and he sounds pretty enthusiastic about what he saw. So no word yet on The Original Series in high-def, but it looks as if the films might be finding their way to DVD (again) and Blu-ray soon enough.

Stay tuned...



2/4/08

We've got a little bit of Blu-ray Disc title news for you today. These are as yet unannounced titles, thus their mention here instead of the daily column.

First, our friend Dave Lambert over at TV Shows on DVD (also TV Guide) has posted word that Lionsgate is working on Rambo: First Blood, Part II and Rambo III for Blu-ray release, with a tentative street date of 5/27. This is almost certainly timed to coincide with the DVD and Blu-ray release of the new Rambo film, currently in theaters.

Industry sources have also confirmed that Sony is currently at work on Blu-ray releases of Ghostbusters and Lawrence of Arabia, though the latter title is likely to arrive in 2009, so the studio can have the time create new added value features for the high-def version. Sony also revealed at CES that Roland Emmerich's Godzilla will soon be announced for Blu-ray release, along with Men in Black. And you can expect Starship Troopers to be released on the format as well, timed to coincide with the direct-to-video release of the film's second sequel, Starship Troopers: Marauder, sometime later in 2008.

Stay tuned...



1/21/08

Things do not appear to be looking up for HD-DVD these days, folks. Based on the reports we're getting from sources at the studios and in the retail industry, this format war is all but over, from a practical standpoint at least. Frankly, we'd be surprised if HD-DVD still a viable commercial home video format much past the end of the year.

Word we're hearing - and no, not just from sources inside the BDA - is that Best Buy is not only planning to favor Blu-ray in their stores going forward, but may also be planning the gradual phase out of HD-DVD by the end of the 2nd quarter of 2008, so they can focus entirely on selling Blu-ray to their customers in the 2008 holiday season with a clear message. These sales you're seeing on HD-DVD hardware right now are - from the retailer's perspective - about clearing them off the shelves. Don't look for them to restocked much. The exact timing of this will depend on sales, and HD-DVD software will continue to be stocked for a while to service those customers who have already purchased players. But despite the retailer's public statements, which help Toshiba save face, privately they know which way the wind is blowing.

So too do Universal and Paramount. Paramount is expected to announce a return to Blu-ray Disc by mid-year, if not sooner. They reportedly want to give Toshiba some time to sell out current inventory, and to make their own preparations. Paramount at least has done all the ramp-up work needed to release on Blu-ray, as they've already done so as recently as last year.

Universal's position is a little more perilous, on the other hand, as they're more than two years behind all the other major studios in terms of Blu-ray development. Word is their HD-DVD video encodes can't simply all be ported over to Blu-ray, as some of them "aren't good enough." So some of the digital film masters have to be re-encoded, which is a lot of work. Sources are telling us that one of the things Universal is hoping to negotiate with the BDA is help doing just that. Nevertheless, expect Universal to have at least announced a decision to support Blu-ray going forward, likely in addition to HD-DVD, by the end of the year.

As for Toshiba's statements that they haven't yet lost the format war, again this is all about saving face. Yes, Toshiba hasn't officially waved the white flag... but it seems as if the rest of the industry is starting to wave it for them. Even Apple's Steve Jobs has now declared Blu-ray the victor in this thing (see this piece at CNBC), though like Microsoft's Bill Gates, Jobs is already talking past high-def discs to promote downloading as the future (for the record, we think both of them are significantly overestimating the speed with which consumers will embrace downloading over packaged media). So while the fat lady may not quite be singing yet for HD-DVD, let's put it this way: She's already standing out there on stage, all gussied up nice, with the band warming up, the spotlights lit and the curtains about to rise.

Frankly, Toshiba is going to have to create their own branded Blu-ray Disc player/recorder for the Japanese market or risk being left completely in the dust in its home territory, which is now 90% dominated by Blu-ray (and recorders are the preferred device in that market). So Toshiba's smartest move, at least in our opinion, would not only be to quickly embrace Blu-ray... but to move fast to create the best and most affordable Blu-ray/HD-DVD Combo player to sell here in the States. Right now, the available Combo players tend to be buggy and cost over $700. If Toshiba were to make a truly reliable one available for less than $500 in time for the holidays... they MIGHT actually move some units to early adopters and enthusiasts that have already purchased a lot of HD-DVD titles, but who will be looking to get into Blu-ray later this year. Guess we'll see.

Stay tuned...



10/17/07

"When's Battlestar Galactica: Season Three coming out? When is Universal going to announce the third season of Battlestar?" You know, aside from "When is this format war going to be over?" I don't think we get asked anything more often.

Well, folks... it just so happens that we're Battlestar fans around here at The Bits too. So we asked our friends over at Universal. The long answer is (of course) that what follows is unofficial, as the title hasn't actually been announced yet and production is still underway on the special features. However... their short answer is that it's tentatively penciled into their release schedule for next Spring, specifically April 2008.

Yeah, I know that's a fracking long time. Don't kill the messenger. I'm just telling you what they told me. There's no specific word on why they're taking so long to get it done, other than presumably they're just trying to get all the extras finished. Perhaps they want to give Battlestar Galactica: Razor plenty of time by itself on the DVD shelves, so that all you fans will make sure to buy it. Maybe they want to have another DVD product to sell during Season Four's mid-season break. Maybe they're working on an HD-DVD version as well (that's not official or anything, but it seems a likely possibility). Anyway, as of now, April 2008 it is.

Stay tuned...



8/28/07

Here's some cool news: Our industry sources are telling us that Time Life will be releasing a massive 41-disc The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Series box set before the year is out. Fans have been waiting a LONG time for that one, and it's been rumored for months now that series stars Robert Vaughn and others have participated in the DVD extras. We expect official announcements soon, but word is the set will be available on 11/27. Stay tuned...



7/9/07

Here's some news that's likely to get you Disney animated fans excited - at least those of you who have (or are considering) moving into Blu-ray Disc. A press release issued over at the Disney Consumer Products website indicates that the studio is planning to release its first Platinum animated title on the format in 2008... Sleeping Beauty. In a section talking about the company's Disney Princess line of products, you'll find this text:

"The entertainment will continue as Sleeping Beauty is planned for re-release on DVD in 2008 and will be available on Blue Ray for the first time."

Also today, our industry sources have sent us word that Fox is quietly planning to release at least some of the Alien films on Blu-ray Disc in 2008.

As always, this information should be considered unofficial until the titles are actually announced by the studios in question. Stay tuned...



6/18/07

Our industry sources have checked in with tentative street dates for a number of major upcoming DVD and high-def releases. Here's what to expect...

9/18 - We Are Marshall (Warner)

9/25 - Knocked Up (Universal), Bug (Lionsgate), Next (Paramount)

10/2 - Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (Fox), Surf's Up (Sony)

10/23 - 28 Weeks Later (Fox), Daywatch (Fox)

10/30 - Spider-Man 3 (Sony)

11/6 - Evan Almighty (Universal)

11/13 - Ocean's Thirteen (Warner), Shrek the Third (Paramount)

12/4 - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (Disney)

As always, this information should be considered unofficial until the titles and dates (which are subject to change) are actually announced by the studios in question. Stay tuned...



6/15/07

Our industry sources have checked in with word that Buena Vista will soon announce the Blu-ray Disc release of a trio of films from producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Expected to be released on 9/4 is Remember the Titans. Better yet, following on 10/23 are The Rock and Con Air.

Also today, our sources have given us a rundown of the latest expected street dates for the rest of Universal's planned catalog and new release HD-DVD titles through the end of 2007. Here's what to look for...

10/9 - Strangers, Seed of Chucky

10/23 - Inside Man, Carlito's Way, Carlito's Way: Rise to Power, White Noise

10/30 - Talk to Me

11/6 - Evan Almighty, About a Boy, Weird Science

11/13 - Pride and Prejudice

11/20 - I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Tremors, Family Man

12/11 - The Bourne Ultimatum, Mr. Bean's Holiday, The River Wild, Timecop

12/18 - Eastern Promises

12/26 - The Kingdom, Balls of Fury, American Pie: Unrated, Mobsters, Undercover Brother

As always, this information should be considered unofficial until the titles and dates are announced by the studios. Stay tuned...



5/14/07

Our industry sources have checked in this week with the latest expected street dates for upcoming Universal catalog and new release HD-DVD titles through the end of September. Here's what to expect...

8/7 - Hot Fuzz

8/14 - Erin Brockovich, Meet the Fockers, Mercury Rising, What Dreams May Come

8/28 - Dawn of the Dead (2004), Heroes: The Complete First Season, The Hurricane, Notting Hill

9/18 - Battlestar Galactica: The Complete First Season, Elizabeth, For the Love of the Game, The Last Starfighter, Legend

9/25 - Cat People, Evening, The Getaway, Knocked Up, Patch Adams

As always, this information should be considered unofficial until the titles and dates are announced by the studios. Stay tuned...



5/10/07

Okay... we've gotten a TON of anticipated street dates for upcoming DVD releases from our various industry studios, including new releases, catalog titles and TV material.

Here's what to expect from 20th Century Fox and MGM (distributed by Fox):

8/7 - I Think I Love My Wife, The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season, Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Collector's Edition, Bubba Ho-tep: Hail to the King - Limited Edition

8/14 - Home Run Derby: Volume 2, Charlie Chan Collection: Volume 3, Back to School: Extra Curricular Edition

8/21 - Reel Talent: First Films by Legendary Directors (includes 12 short films by various directors including George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, Shawn Levy, Steven Sommers, John Turtletaub, James Foley, Kevin Reynolds and Richard Kelly), Prison Break: Season 2

8/28 - The Salon, Kickin' It Old Skool, The Outer Limits: The Original Series - Season 2, Bones: Season 2, Nobody's Perfect, Ski School, Meatballs 4, Teachers

Now here's dates for titles on the way from Paramount, DreamWorks, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1 and more (all distributed by Paramount).

6/26 - Shooter

7/24 - Perfume, Zødiac

7/31 - The Upright Citizens Brigade: Season 1, The Upright Citizens Brigade: Season 2

8/14 - Dynasty: Season 2

8/28 - Blades of Glory, South Park: Season 10, The Odd Couple: Season 2

9/4 - Bosom Buddies: Season 2, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Complete Box Set

9/11 - I Love Lucy: The Complete Series Box Set, Jericho: Season 1, Charmed: Season 8

9/18 - Numb3rs: Season 3

9/25 - The Untouchables: Season 1, Volume 2, Touched by an Angel: Season 4, Volume 1, Ghost Whisperer: Season 2, Streets of San Francisco: Season 1, Volume 2, Drawn Together Uncensored: Season 2

11/13 - Shrek the Third

As always, this information should be considered unofficial until the titles and dates are announced by the studios. Stay tuned...



4/25/07

As usual, our industry and retail sources have checked in with expected street dates for a number of major upcoming DVD releases. Here's what to watch for...

6/26 - Black Snake Moan (Paramount), Shooter (Paramount), Peaceful Warrior (Universal), Pride (Lionsgate)

7/10 - The Last Mimzy (New Line), Dead Silence (Universal)

7/24 - The Contract (First Look), The Host (Magnolia)

TBA July - Premonition (Columbia), Hot Fuzz (Universal), Reign Over Me (Columbia)

Also, we've learned from our industry sources that Disney's forthcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Blu-ray Discs (due 5/22) will offer all of the previous DVD extras, along with some new features created just for the high-definition release. Among these: Curse of the Black Pearl will include the ability to select items of interest while watching the film, thus programming your own documentary to watch after the film, while Dead Man's Chest will enable you to play a game Liar's Dice with characters from the film. Both discs will be hosted by Jolly Roger, similar to the Magic Mirror host for the Snow White: Platinum Edition DVD. Both films will be encoded in AVC and will feature Uncompressed PCM 5.1 audio.

Our industry sources are also telling us to expect Disney's Cars Blu-ray Disc to street in September.

As always, this information should be considered unofficial until announced by the studio. Stay tuned...



4/16/07

Industry and retail sources have checked in with planned street dates for upcoming July DVD releases from MGM, including both new and catalog titles. Here's what to expect...

7/10 - Kansas City Confidential (1952), The Stranger (1946), The Woman in the Window (1944), A Bullet for Joey (1950), Stopover Tokyo (1957), Sea Wife (1957), Seven Thieves (1960), Rally Round the Flag, Boys (1958), The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955), the Joan Collins Collection (includes Stopover Tokyo, Sea Wife, The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing, Seven Thieves and Rally Round the Flag, Boys) and the MGM Movie Legends Collection: Frankie & Annette ($39.98 - includes Beach Blanket Bingo, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, Beach Party, Bikini Beach, Fireball 500, Thunder Alley, Muscle Beach Party and Ski Party)

7/17 - Red Dawn: Collector's Edition, The Happy Hooker Trilogy (The Happy Hooker, The Happy Hooker Goes to Hollywood and The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington) and 80s double features ($19.98 each) including Teen Witch/Heavenly Kid, Class/Secret Admirer, Desperately Seeking Susan/Something Wild, Fatal Beauty/Running Scared, The Sure Thing/Valley Girl, Johnny B. Good/Youngblood, Once Bitten/Vampire's Kiss and The Flamingo Kid/Last American Virgin

7/24 - Perfect Creature, The Hills Have Eyes 2, Jean de Florette/Manon of the Spring, Raise the Red Lantern, the MGM Movie Legends Collection: Frank Sinatra ($39.98 - includes The Manchurian Candidate, Guys and Dolls, The Pride and the Passion, Hole in the Head and Kings Go Forth) and the MGM Movie Legends Collection: Elvis Presley ($39.98 - includes Clambake, Frankie and Johnny, Follow That Dream and Kid Galahad)

7/31 - Firehouse Dog, Tintorera (1977) and Blue Water, White Death

As always, these titles and dates should be considered unofficial until announced by the studio. Stay tuned...



3/28/07

Industry and retail sources have checked in with planned street dates for major upcoming titles, including both new and catalog releases. Here's what to expect...

Sony - Ghost Rider (6/12)

Universal - Breach (6/12)

Paramount - Norbit (June)

Fox - The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert: Extra Frills Edition (6/5), A Fistful of Dynamite: 2-Disc Collector's Edition (6/5), The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: 2-Disc Collector's Edition (6/5), For a Few Dollars More: 2-Disc Collector's Edition (6/5), A Fistful of Dollars: 2-Disc Collector's Edition (6/5), The Sergio Leone Anthology box set (all four films - 6/5), 52 Pickup (1986 - 6/12), Stone Cold (1991 - 6/12), Criminal Law (1988 - 6/12), Reno 911!: Miami (6/19), The Hills Have Eyes 2 (6/26)

As always, these titles and dates are subject to change until officially announced by the studios. Stay tuned...



3/22/07

Our industry sources have checked in with word on Sony's expected Blu-ray Disc slate for June. Here's what the studio apparently has planned: Hellboy, Meatballs, Rescue Me: The Complete First Season, A Few Good Men, Cruel Intentions, Seven Years in Tibet and Jerry Maguire. Watch for official announcements soon.

Stay tuned...



3/1/07

Our industry sources have checked in with some MAJOR release info today.

First, a bit of BVHE news: Sources are telling us to expect Buena Vista to release Mel Gibson's Apocalypto (for Touchstone) and Venus (for Miramax - the Peter O'Toole film) on 5/22.

Meanwhile, Sony Pictures is expected to debut both Catch and Release and Stomp the Yard on disc in May (exact street date TBA).

Now for that Universal news. Let's start with HD-DVD. Specific dates are still TBA, but here's what the studio is prepping for high-definition over the summer (most of the April and May titles are already confirmed):

April - The Good Shepherd, Smokin' Aces, The Game, The Jerk, The Hitcher, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Nutty Professor

May - Alpha Dog, The 40-Year-Old Virgin: Unrated, Smokey and the Bandit, Hurricane, Skeleton Key, The River, Midnight Run, The Frighteners, The Big Lebowski, Dragonheart, Lost in Translation

June - Breach, Bruce Almighty, Liar Liar, Sneakers, Born on the 4th of July, Scent of a Women, Daylight, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Meet Joe Black, Mallrats, Being John Malkovich, Mystery Men, American Me, The Watcher, Bulletproof

July - Billy Madison, The War, The Wedding Date, Dante's Peak, Cat in the Hat, Dead Silence, The Bourne Identity, The Nutty Professor 2, In Good Company, Streets of Fire, Hot Fuzz, Sea of Love, Darkman, Shaun of the Dead, Deliver Us from Eva

August - Heroes: Season One

September - The Last Starfighter, Legend, Battlestar Galactica: Season One, For the Love of the Game, Knocked Up, Evening, The Getaway: Unrated, Patch Adams, Cat People

As of now, all the above titles are HD-DVD only, but we've learned that there's some "executive upheaval" going on in the studio's home video division right now, so things could change.

On the standard DVD front, highlights of Universal's summer release slate look like this...

June - Bruce Almighty: Special Edition, Miami Vice: Season Five

July - Serenity: Special Edition, Baa Baa Black Sheep: Volume Two, Incredible Hulk: The Complete Second Season, Woody and Friends: Classic Cartoon Collection

August - Flash Gordon: Savior of the Universe Edition, Friday Night Lights: Season One, Seaquest DSV: Season Two, Heroes: Season One, Saturday Night Live: Season Two

September - 30 Rock: Season One, The Office: Season Three, The Birds: Legacy Series, Psycho: Legacy Series

Keep in mind that all of these titles and release timings are subject to change, and should not be considered official until announced by the studio. Glad to see Flash Gordon finally getting some love though...

Stay tuned!



2/23/07

Well... we've got some new info that may crash your Astro droid's OS. And no, we aren't out punking Padawans with this.

You know that mega-bombad 9-disc Ultimate Star Wars Saga box set that's been in the works for a few years now? The one that was expected to be released later this year to celebrate the 30th Anniversary? Yeah... maybe not so much anymore. We've been hearing from multiple sources now that the folks up at Lucasburg were surprised enough at the lackluster sales of last year's Star Wars Trilogy DVD re-run ("Now with Han shoots first!") that they're afraid they might have gone to the Sarlacc Pit one too many times, so to speak. There's talk apparently that the box set could get delayed a year or two to amp up demand for the films on disc again. Don't know how serious this all is, but that's the word that's blowing in the wind.

I just don't get Team Lucas anymore. They release the same DVDs we all already own last year and try to pull the "Hey, we're doing you all a favor by giving you the special non-anamorphic, zero-effort original versions as a bonus item!" and then they're actually flummoxed when they don't sell. What the REST of us know, is that they didn't sell because they were crap, and because everyone is waiting for the damn box set.

Interestingly, New York Comic Con kicks off today, but it doesn't look like the Steve Sansweet dog and pony show is going to be there, or I'd say that people should raise the box set question with him. Hey... Stephen Colbert's going to be there in a couple hours though (3PM Eastern), so somebody ask him if we're ever going to get a Tek Jansen DVD.

Anyway, WonderCon happens in a couple weeks up in San Francisco, but I don't see that Sansweet will be there either. Probably the first place we'll get the real skinny straight from the minions will be at Star Wars Celebration IV here in L.A. in May. We'll see.

Ugh. I hate being the guy who has to bring you frustrating Star Wars DVD news, but it seems like it happens EVERY damn year. Please don't Force choke the messenger. I'm feeling a bit like Captain Needa these days...

Of course you know, many Bothans died to bring you this information.



2/7/07

We've got a few new anticipated street dates for you. Our industry sources are telling us to expect Buena Vista to announce The Queen and Deja Vu for release on 4/24.

Fox has pushed back the release of Night at the Museum to 4/24 as well. Fox is also expected to move up the release of Eragon to 3/20, and they've tentatively set Notes on a Scandal for 4/17, with Last King of Scotland expected to follow on 4/24.

Meanwhile, Universal has moved up the expected release of Children of Men to 3/27.

Finally, Paramount is expected to release Freedom Writers sometime in April.

As always, keep in mind these dates are tentative until officially announced.

Stay tuned...



1/31/07

Industry sources are telling us to expect New Line to release Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth (on behalf of Picturehouse) on DVD on 5/15. We'd love to see a Total HD version too. Fingers crossed.

Also tentatively expected from New Line in May are Fur and Who the #%@*! Is Jackson Pollock on 5/1.

Stay tuned...



1/30/07

Here's a bunch more upcoming street dates from our industry sources... keep in mind that they're tentative only until officially announced by the studios.

Fox - A Night at the Museum (3/20), Eragon (4/3), Last King of Scotland (4/3), Thr3e (4/24 - confirmed by Fox)

Sony - Volver (4/24), The Holiday (3/13), The Pursuit of Happyness (3/27)

Universal - Children of Men (4/3), Smokin' Aces (4/17), The Hitcher (4/27 - yes, a Friday - from Rogue Pictures)

Paramount - Freedom Writers (4/17), Charlotte's Web (4/3)

New Line - Code Name: The Cleaner (April)

Stay tuned...



1/25/07

We've got a bit of an update for you today on CBS/Paramount's plans for David Lynch's Twin Peaks TV series on DVD in 2007. As most of you should know by now, the long-awaited Twin Peaks: The Second Season is already set to hit DVD on 4/10. Our sources are telling us that this release is designed for those who may already have Season One (released back in 2001 by Artisan/Republic) and the unaired pilot episode (released on DVD in Japan and available only as an import) on disc. However, for those of you who are patient and want it all in one shot... we're told to expect CBS/Paramount to announce a Twin Peaks: The Complete Series box set for release later in 2007 that contains both seasons AND the pilot episode, PLUS lots of newly-produced extras. Watch for details on the box set to be announced in the next few months.

Stay tuned...



1/23/07

And now for a Muppet news flash: We've done some digging and have been told by sources in all the right places that The Muppet Show: Season Two is currently being planned for DVD release by Buena Vista and The Henson Company this summer. It's listed as a "special edition" so look for more cool extras that will presumably make the set worth the wait.

Also, while we're talking Buena Vista, industry and retail sources tell us to expect the Blu-ray Disc release of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest on 5/22, with Disney and Pixar's Cars following on 6/5.

As always, keep in mind that this information should be considered tentative until officially announced.

Stay tuned...



1/3/07

Okay... here's another quick street date update from our industry sources. Sony is now expected to release The Holiday on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 3/20. Sony's Casino Royale will follow, also likely on both formats, on 3/13. [Editor's note: The original post from 1/3 contained a typo, to the effect that the planned release date for Casino Royale would be 3/31 - it's actually supposed to be 3/13. Just FYI.] Finally, Universal is planning to release The Good Shepherd on DVD and HD-DVD in "late March" as well (specific date TBD).

As always, keep in mind that all are unofficial until confirmed by the studios.

Stay tuned...



12/8/06

We've got MORE anticipated street dates for upcoming titles from our industry sources. As always, keep in mind that all are unofficial until confirmed by the studios:

2/7 - Running with Scissors (Sony)

2/13 - Man About Town (Lionsgate), The U.S. vs. John Lennon (Lionsgate), Marie Antoinette (Sony)

2/27 - The Last King of Scotland (Fox)

3/13 - Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner (Paramount)

3/27 - Charlotte's Web (Paramount), Night at the Museum (Fox)

Stay tuned...



12/1/06

Our industry sources have checked in with more tentative street dates for upcoming titles. Keep in mind that all are unofficial until confirmed by the studios:

2/13 - School for Scoundrels (The Weinstein Company)

2/20 - Black Snake Moan (Paramount), Flushed Away (Paramount), Man of the Year (Universal), The Return (Universal), Shut Up & Sing (The Weinstein Company)

2/27 - Let's Go to Prison (Universal), A Good Year (Fox)

February (TBA) - For Your Consideration (Warner), Infamous (Warner)

March (TBA) - Borat (Fox)

April (TBA) - Twin Peaks: Season 2 (Paramount)

Stay tuned...





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