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The Bits presents a 2020 Ultra HD Release Update: MAJOR catalog titles are coming to physical 4K this year!

January 28, 2020 - 2:40 pm   |   by
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All right, many of you have asked about (or otherwise understandably bemoaned) the lack of big or significant announcements relating to catalog films on 4K Ultra HD lately. So today’s update here at The Digital Bits is about addressing that concern.

And while we still have little in the way of official announcements at the moment, I can confidently report that at least some of titles you’re waiting for are on the way in 2020.

The information in today’s post should be considered unofficial until the studios in question make their actual announcements. But we believe it to be a reliable gauge of titles currently in the production pipeline or planning stages.

First, we know for sure that Disney is going to be releasing Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga on 4K coinciding with the Blu-ray and 4K release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, likely in March. [Read on here...]

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We know this because several retailers are taking pre-orders on it and there’s even an updated picture of the deluxe box set (below)...

Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (4K Ultra HD Deluxe Box - UK ALL REGION version)

It will include all 9 Saga films in both Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD, along with a Blu-ray bonus disc for each film. One would have to assume that these will be the recent Disney+ versions across the board (see our look at Star Wars and Empire in 4K here—our look at Jedi is coming this week). We don’t know if there will be any new extras, but we do believe that there will be two versions—a deluxe box set and a regular version (with just the discs but no swag). The swag in the deluxe version will include a book with rare artwork and a letter from Mark Hamill. It looks like the deluxe box is going to be Best Buy exclusive here in the States (you can pre-order it here) but it’s wide release on Amazon in the UK and the set is being promoted as all-region. It’s also quite a bit cheaper, so you can import it from Amazon.co.uk here.

Now then, we also know that the remainder of the Pixar animated films will be coming to physical 4K soon (likely in early March, though no retailers have listed them for pre-order yet). These will include A Bug’s Life, Up, WALL-E, Monsters, Inc., and Monsters University.

The Disney live action Beauty and the Beast (2017) is being released as well, along with the original animated Beauty and the Beast (1991), and those have a confirmed street date of 3/10. You can see the cover artwork (with Amazon pre-order links) below.

Now then, you can obviously guess—and I can confirm—that Paramount is getting ready to release the original Top Gun on 4K Ultra HD this year as a tie-in to the theatrical release of its sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, on June 26. Our best information is that the original Top Gun will arrive on 4K in early June. But that’s not all—Paramount is taking this opportunity to release two other Tom Cruise catalog classics on physical 4K too. So the same day that Top Gun comes out, look for Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds (2005) and Tony Scott’s Days of Thunder (1990) in 4K as well.

A lot of you are likely wondering about the classic Star Trek films on 4K, including the long-awaited (and occasionally teased) Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Director’s Edition. What I can tell you is that this is a big project but things are moving in a positive direction, if very slowly. So don’t give up; this one is going to require some patience. But do take every opportunity you have via social media to let the studio know that you really want #sttmp40 on physical 4K Ultra HD. Positive mojo can only help.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is also busy with 4K catalog titles at the moment. What we know so far is that this year’s Stanley Kubrick release is going to be Full Metal Jacket, likely in June. A Clockwork Orange has been delayed until 2021, which is the film’s 50th anniversary.

Retail sources also suggest Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows are coming to 4K from Warner in June as well.

Not to be outdone, Universal is working on some great classic catalog titles for release on Ultra HD, and we can confirm that Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds is on the way to physical 4K in June.

Jumping on the Stanley Kubrick bandwagon, Universal will also release Spartacus on 4K Ultra HD in June.

And yes, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is looking like a June release on physical 4K as well.

Of course, we also know for sure (because the studio officially teased it) that The Back to the Future Trilogy is coming to physical 4K from Universal this year. Given that the original film was released theatrically on July 3rd, 1985, it seems likely that this will be a June or July release too.

Not done with Universal yet: Denis Villeneuve’s Dune (2020) is coming to theaters in December from Legendary and Warner Bros. Our sources tell us that Universal will thus be releasing David Lynch’s Dune (1984) on physical 4K later in the year (probably this summer or in Q3).

And it appears that Universal will be releasing 47 Ronin (2013), starring Keanu Reeves, on 4K in April.

For you anime fans, don’t forget that FUNimation is working to bring Katsuhiro Otomo’s animated Akira (1988) to physical 4K in April (it’s due to be released by Bandai Entertainment in Japan on 4K on April 24 and a US street date is TBA).

And Discotek Media (which recently released Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie on 4K here in the States) is working to bring Hayao Miyazaki’s Lupin the 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979) to physical 4K later this year as well. The street date for that is also TBA.

Naturally, we can’t leave out the fact that Studio Canal in the UK has announced a number of great titles that it’s working to bring to 4K this year, beginning with David Lynch’s The Elephant Man in April (the street date is 4/6 in the UK and you can pre-order that disc from Amazon.co.uk here). We don’t yet know if anyone will be distributing a US release or not.

We do know (because, again, they announced it last year) that Studio Canal is also working on new 4K Ultra HD editions of Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (1960), Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct (1992) and Total Recall (1990), Sidney Lumet’s Serpico (1973), Mike Hodges’ Flash Gordon (1980), and Russell Mulcahy’s Highlander (1986) for release in 2020.

Finally today, we’ll return to Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. There have been a lot of rumors floating around regarding the 4K Ultra HD release of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films in recent weeks. As many of you know, Amazon has a new Lord of the Rings TV series coming to Amazon Prime in 2021. So this means Warner will want to get the Jackson films out on 4K around the same time.

What I can tell you is this: I’ve confirmed with multiple sources now that work is underway in New Zealand to prepare new 4K masters of these films. The work is moving at a slow but steady pace. We don’t yet know which versions of the films are being prepared, but Warner will almost certainly want both finished on 4K at some point. If the studio follows past release patterns, it would be reasonable to assume that the Theatrical Editions will be released first, followed by the Extended Editions later (but this is just speculation). As for when you’ll see them on physical 4K, it’s possible they could be done in time for the holidays this year (sometime in Q4) or they could appear in early 2021. Again, much of this is still TBD. But the films are indeed coming.

Here’s a look at the cover artwork for some of the titles mentioned above, most of them with Amazon.com pre-order links (including Skyfall and Casino Royale—the links for Quantum of Solace and SPECTRE are yet to be posted by Amazon but will be added soon)…

The Elephant Man (UK - 4K Ultra HD) Beauty and the Beast (1991) (4K Ultra HD) Beauty and the Beast (2017) (4K Ultra HD)

Knives Out (4K Ultra HD) Midway (4K Ultra HD) Casino Royale (4K Ultra HD)

Quantum of Solace (4K Ultra HD) Skyfall (4K Ultra HD) SPECTRE (4K Ultra HD)

Finally today, allow us a quick but very important public service announcement: The costs of running an independent website these days have grown steadily, from server and security cost increases to review equipment, staff, and more. Unfortunately, advertising revenues have declined just as steadily as more and more of it gets gobbled up by Google, YouTube, Facebook, and other social media platforms. And our Amazon Affiliate revenues have declined too, as people buy fewer and fewer discs (Amazon has also reduced the rates they pay Affiliates over the last couple of years). What all this means is that it’s getting harder and harder to keep the lights on here at The Digital Bits. And that’s where you guys come in: We want to keep The Bits alive for as long as you guys want to read it—and we know that some of you have been dedicated readers for the ENTIRE 21 YEARS that we’ve been reporting on the home video industry on the Internet. But if you do enjoy our work, and find that it brings value to your experience as a fan of movies, and of Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD, we would humbly ask that you consider supporting our efforts here in a couple of ways. First, if you shop for literally anything on Amazon.com, please consider doing so by first clicking through one of our links here at The Bits (like this one). And second, please consider making a monthly donation to our site via PayPal (you’ll find the details on how to do this here on our Back the Bits page). It really honestly might be the difference as to whether we’re able to keep the site going through 2020 and beyond. And let me just finally say that we love you guys and appreciate you all very much—we’re privileged to have some of the best readers anywhere on the Internet here at The Digital Bits, and we never take that for granted. We’ll keep on keeping on for as long as you’ll have us, but we’ll need your help to do it. So thank you in advance for anything you can do.

So there you go: Some big catalog titles indeed are set for physical 4K Ultra HD release in 2020! It’s already looking like March and June could be very expensive months for 4K fans. Our advice: Start saving your money now! Naturally, we’ll post the latest and most accurate information on all this here at The Bits as it comes in, either officially from the studios or unofficially from our industry sources (as it’s possible to do so).

Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned...!

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