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I Vinti, 300: Rise of an Empire & Divergent pre-orders, plus Peacekeeper Wars, Sci-Fi’s Dune & Hornblower on BD – in Germany

April 03, 2014 - 2:06 pm   |   By 

We’ve got more announcement news for you today, including a smattering of pre-order and Region B news.

First though, your friend and ours – the good Dr. Jahnke – has turned in a new An Honor to Be Nominated installment of his Jahnke’s Electric Theater column here at The Bits, featuring a look back at Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. Don’t miss it!

Now then… first up on the classic front, Raro Video has set Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1953 I Vinti (Vanquished) for Blu-ray release on 6/10.  [Read on here…]

Well Go USA Entertainment has set The Chef, the Actor and the Scoundrel for Blu-ray release on 6/24.

In addition to The Walking Dead: Season Four, Anchor Bay is releasing a combo package of Seasons One-Three on Blu-ray on 6/3 (SRP $149.99). Apparently it includes a T-shirt.

Anchor Bay has also set Vampire Academy for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/20.

Meanwhile, Stone’s Throw Entertainment has set the music documentary Our Vinyl Weights a Ton for Blu-ray and DVD release on 5/27 (SRP $21.98 and $19.98).

Here’s something interesting: Warner Home Video is releasing a new The Return of the King: Deluxe Edition DVD on 7/22 (SRP $19.98), but only on DVD. This is the animated Rankin Bass film. No word yet on extras if any but the packaging says the title has been remastered.

Speaking of Warner, you can already pre-order 300: Rise of an Empire on Blu-ray Disc at Amazon.com by clicking on the title link in this sentence (street date TBA).

Speaking of Amazon pre-orders, Lionsgate’s Divergent is also available for order on Blu-ray (street date TBA).

Also today, Opus Arte has set Shakespeare: Richard II for release on Blu-ray on 5/13, starring Doctor Who’s David Tennant.

For those of you with all-region players, Amazon.de is taking pre-orders on a trio of Region B Blu-ray titles that aren’t available here in the States and (at this rate) may never be: Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars (due 5/23), Frank Herbert’s Dune (due 6/27) and Horatio Hornblower: The Complete Series (due 10/24). Here’s a look at the German cover art for the first two titles, both of which are coming from Fernsehjuwelen (Alive AG). Note that the Hornblower art isn’t available yet, and the cover art links take you to Amazon.de...

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars (German Region B Blu-ray)    Frank Herbert's Dune (German Region B Blu-ray)    The Walking Dead: Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray Disc)

We really wish American companies would get off their backsides and put these out over here, but they don’t seem to find them worth the effort, so these international versions may be as good as it gets. The reason why they don’t is almost certainly a financial and PR calculation. These titles were originally produced in HD, but at an very early level of HD quality that doesn’t compare well to today’s state of the art BD releases. So to put them out on Blu-ray, they’d either have to spend a lot of money to remaster them into something like improved quality… or simply release them as they are and accept the harsh criticism some BD and home theater fans online would surely level on them for doing so. Given that the audience is probably limited for these titles anyway, the companies run the numbers and decide not to even bother with them. This is probably also why HBO hasn’t released From the Earth to the Moon on BD yet, despite hints in early press releases that it would be among the company’s first BD titles back in 2007-08. It’s too bad, but that’s the way these companies look at it. So your only real option is to purchase an international BD release, some of which are region-locked.

Interested in a great player to watch such titles? Get yourself an Oppo BDP-103 here on Amazon (which is a fantastic all around Blu-ray player) and then do a Google search for all-region add-on mods for the player. They are easy to find, easy to install and they’ll run you about $100. Lots of other options are available too – all it takes is a little effort to track them down.

Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray Disc player

By the way, as you can see above, we also included the art for the Walking Dead: Seasons 1-3 BD pack right here in the States on regular Amazon.com.

Finally today, it seems that last week was something of a record for the Blu-ray format in terms of disc sales, powered by strong sales of Disney’s FrozenMore here at Home Media.

Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

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In 50 years or so, the @Criterion edition of The Interview will make a nice bookend with The Great Dictator.

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