My Two Cents
Tuesday, 25 July 2023 16:53

Confirmed: Disney is exiting physical media in Australia, plus Fast X announced, more on Exorcist, Duel & American Graffiti in 4K, plus Space Patrol (UK) on Blu-ray

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All right... as one might expect, we’ve got a lot to talk about again today here at The Bits.

First of all, we don’t have any new information on Manta Lab’s “disc-less” WandaVision packaging, except to reiterate that while this is a licensed Disney Consumer Products item, it’s most definitely not an official Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment physical media product. And while some you deluxe packaging collectors might think that’s splitting hairs, for the vast majority of disc consumers around the world it’s a very important distinction. Disney is not suddenly getting in the business of releasing Steelbook packaging for titles they have no intention of actually releasing on disc, and making it okay by including a Digital copy code. Just to be clear. In any case, we hope to hear more on this in the next few days.

As to the matter of today’s other Disney hot topic, I’m afraid, the news is not good. Despite the fact that Sanity has now pulled down their original Facebook post announcing it, we at The Digital Bits have confirmed today with multiple industry, distributor, and retailer sources in the region that Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is indeed pulling out of the Australian market in terms of physical media. This follows similar moves in Asia (save for Japan) and Latin America, and the reason is apparently down to the gradual collapse of physical disc sales in the region, the growth of Disney+ Starz streaming, and also the rise of global retailers (think Amazon, Zavvi, etc). None of that will be of any comfort to disc fans in Australia, who will now have to pay a hefty shipping premium to import titles from outside the country. But it is true that Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 3 will be the last new-release Disney title to get a physical release in the region. Previously-released titles may continue to be available for purchase until the end of the year, but that will be up to individual retailers.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, folks, but there it is.

Now then, before we shift to a bit of announcement news, we have several new disc reviews here at The Bits that are worth mentioning today...

Here’s the big one: Stephen has just turned in his in-depth thoughts on William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A. (1985) in 4K Ultra HD, as newly-released by our friends at Kino Lorber Studio Classics. It’s a great disc, with the best A/V presentation of the film to date, and it includes nearly all of the previously-created special features. [Read on here...]

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Also, Dennis has reviewed Vincent Sherman’s The Damned Don’t Cry (1950) and Howard Hawks’ Land of the Pharaohs (1955) on Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection.

Tim has weighed in with a look at Filmation’s animated The Adventures of Batman (1968-69) on Blu-ray from Warner Bros., as well as Stooge O-Rama: The Men Behind the Mayhem – And Even More Mayhem! on Blu-ray from Sprocket Vault, Kit Parker Films, and Cinemuseum.

And Stuart has delivered his take on Rudolph Maté’s The Mississippi Gambler (1953) on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

Now then... in 4K Ultra HD news today, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has officially set Louis Leterrier’s Fast X (2023) for Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD release on 8/8, with the Digital version dropping on 8/1. The 4K disc will be a UHD-100 disc and will feature the film in 2.39:1 widescreen with Dolby Vision/HDR10 high dynamic range and Dolby Atmos audio. Extras will include audio commentary with the director, 8 featurettes (This Is Family, Fast Breaks: Scene Breakdowns with Louis Leterrier, Xtreme Rides of Fast X, Belles of the Brawl, Tuned into Rio, Jason Momoa: Conquering Rome, Little B Takes the Wheel, and A Friend in the End), a gag reel, and 3 music videos. You can see the cover artwork above left and also below. The title is now available for pre-order on Amazon (along with KLSC’s 4K of The Train)...

Fast X (4K Ultra HD) Fast X (Blu-ray Disc) The Train (4K Ultra HD)

Lionsgate will release Scott Mann’s Fall (2023) on 4K Ultra HD on 9/19 in Steelbook packaging. Look for Dolby Atmos audio, audio commentary with Mann and producer James Harris, The Making of Fall, Creating the Impact of Fall, Madison Beer’s I Have Never Felt More Alive music video, and the trailer.

Also, Paramount has also set a new 4K Steelbook release of Friday the 13th (1980) that will street on 10/10.

And while we don’t yet have Warner or Universal’s official announcements, nor are the titles yet available on for pre-order, we do have a look at the final U.S. packaging for William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973), Steven Spielberg’s Duel (1971), and George Lucas’ American Graffiti (1973) in 4K Ultra HD, which you can see below.

Per the back of the packaging, The Exorcist will include both the Extended Director’s Cut and Original Theatrical Version in 4K on separate UHD discs, with Dolby Atmos and English 2.0 mono DTS-HD Master Audio mixes. Extras will include audio commentary by Friedkin on both versions, audio commentary by William Peter Blatty on the Theatrical Version, and an Introduction by Friedkin on the Theatrical Version.

Duel will include the film in 1.85:1 with Dolby Atmos audio on 4K Ultra HD, as well as a Blu-ray version with the 1.33:1 TV presentation in HD and both 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. Extras will include A Conversation with Steven Spielberg, Steven Spielberg and the Small Screen, Richard Matheson: The Writing of Duel, and a photo and poster gallery.

The features on American Graffiti are still TBA. Here’s a look at the cover art...

The Exorcist (4K Ultra HD) Duel (4K Ultra HD) American Graffiti (4K Ultra HD)

On the regular Blu-ray front, our friends at The Official Gerry Anderson Store and Anderson Entertainment have surprised us by revealing that Space Patrol: The Complete Series (1962) is coming to Blu-ray on 8/21! The 4-disc set will include all 39 episodes of the classic British TV series—which features an early use of Gerry Anderson’s Supermarionation technique—mastered in HD from the original film elements with mono audio. The disc will be coded for regions A, B, and C. SRP is $46.00. You can pre-order that here.

RLJ Entertainment will release Yuval Adler’s Sympathy for the Devil, starring Nicholas Cage and Joel Kinnaman, on 9/26.

Well Go USA is targeting 9/26 for its release of Lee Soo-sung’s Gangnam Zombie on Blu-ray and DVD.

Umbrella Entertainment is releasing David Parker’s cult Aussie comedy Hercules Returns (1993) on Blu-ray on 10/6.

Also coming that same day from Umbrella is Nicolas Winding Refn’s Pusher Trilogy on Blu-ray. And on 9/22, look for a double feature of The Cannonball Run and Cannonball Run II.

And Icarus Films is releasing a 2-disc Early Films of the French New Wave on Blu-ray on 9/19, including 19 classic films by Alain Resnais, Jacques Rivette, François Reichenbach, Jean-Luc Godard, Agnès Varda, François Truffaut, and others.

That’s all for now. Back with more tomorrow.

Stay tuned...

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