Morning, folks. There's some new and recent upcoming DVD announcements
worth mentioning today.
First, Warner has announced the release of a series of World War
II-related documentaries from the BBC on 7/19. These include Battle
of the Atlantic, D-Day to Berlin,
Horror in the East, The
Nazis: A Warning from History and The
War of the Century (SRP $19.98 each). All will be available
together in the massive, 12-disc BBC History
of World War II box set (SRP $149.98), due the same day.
Also today, MGM has announced their May, June and July DVD slates. Some
titles are already known, but much of this is new information. In May,
look for the Spaceballs: Collector's Edition
(5/3), Kart Racer (5/10), Dance
with Me Henry, I'll Take Sweden,
The Noose Hangs High, The
Princess and the Pirate, The Steve
McQueen Gift Set (including The
Magnificent Seven: Special Edition, The
Great Escape, The Thomas Crowne
Affair - with a new transfer - and Junior
Bonner), Escort West,
Hour of the Gun, Invitation
to a Gunfighter, More Dead Than
Alive, Sam Whisky, The
Hunting Party and The Scalphunters
(all 5/17), and Fascination and
Throw Momma from a Train (5/31).
In June, look for Be Cool, Stargate
Atlantis: Pilot Episode, Fireball
500/Thunder Alley, Morons from
Space/Alien from L.A., The
Mini-skirt Mob/Chrome and Hot Leather, Never
Let Go, The Blockhouse,
The Naked Truth and What's
New Pussycat? (all on 6/7), and The
Outer Limits: New Series (including Death
& Beyond, Mutation &
Transformation, Aliens Among Us
and Fantastic Androids & Robots),
Loch Ness and Starchaser:
Legend of Orin (all on 6/21).
And in July, look for Bill & Ted's Most
Excellent Collection (including Bill
& Ted's Excellent Adventure, Bill
& Ted's Bogus Journey plus an exclusive bonus disc), The
Garbage Pail Kids Movie, The Magic
Sword, Sinbad of the Seven Seas,
Hercules/Hercules II: The Adventures of
Hercules, Illegally Yours,
Love at First Bite, National
Lampoon's Class Reunion, National
Lampoon's Movie Madness, Teen
Witch, Weekend at Bernie's
and The Party Animal (all on
7/12), Dead Like Me: Season Two
(on 7/19), and Errol Morris' First Person:
The Complete Series, The Errol
Morris DVD Collection (including Gates
of Heaven, The Thin Blue Line
and Vernon, Florida), Bolero,
Mata Hari, Wild
Orchid 2: Blue Movie Blue, Warm
Summer Rain and Lady Chatterley's
Lover (all on 7/26).
In addition to the two movies and the bonus disc, Bill
& Ted's Most Excellent Collection will include The
Original Bill & Ted: In Conversation with Chris & Ed,
The Most Triumphant Making-of Documentary,
Score! An Interview with Guitarist Steve Vai,
an air guitar tutorial with Bjorn Toroque & The Rockness Monster,
The Hysterical Personages of Bill & Ted
(in 3 Minutes or Less), One Sweet
and Sour Chinese Adventure to Go, Bill
and Ted's Excellent Comic Book and radio spots.
Also today, Criterion has added François Truffaut's Jules
and Jim (#281) to its May slate, and Ernst Lubitsch's Heaven
Can Wait (#291), Robert Bresson's Au
hasard Balthazar (#297), Kô Nakahira's Crazed
Fruit (#295) and Anthony Asquith's The
Browning Version (#294) to its June slate. Criterion has also
revealed that Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic
with Steve Zissou (co-issued with Buena Vista) will carry the
landmark catalog number of #300.
And around the site this morning, we've updated the DVD software sales
and rental charts (above),
along with the
DVD Player Sales numbers for the last week of February and the
first two weeks of March.
We've also have a brand new
of the Month for April - Brett
Underhill. Brett's a great illustrator and painter from
Madison, Wisconsin - one of my favorite places on the planet. Brett's
work has great dramatic flair and a wonderful sense of humor, so please
take a moment when you can to check out
artist page here at The Bits
and visit his Porkchop
Bob Graphics website.
Okay, before I close today... there's obviously been a lot of sad news
this week, given the Terri Schiavo controversy, the terrible earthquake
in tsumani-ravaged Indonesia and now reports that the Pope's condition
is worsening this morning. I think it's made a lot of us consider our
own mortality. Without trying to sound preachy, it's worth remembering
at a time like this that we probably all need to tell the people we care
about, our family and friends, how much we appreciate them more often.
With that in mind, I'd like to take a moment today to say just how much
we appreciate all of you out there who read this site. Many of you have
been with us since we first started back in 1997. Some of you may just
have discovered us recently. Know that we're honored to count you all
among our readers. The Bits is a
labor of love, and you guys make all the work worthwhile. So on behalf
of all of us here at The Digital Bits
(myself, Todd, Sarah, Matt, Adam, Barrie, Robert and all the rest), best
wishes for the weekend and we'll see you back here on Monday.
Oh... and to you hardy folk who are tomorrow
starting the line-up to see Star Wars:
Episode III on May 19th up at the Chinese Theater in L.A. (no
kidding - we're six weeks out and the line starts tomorrow)... a little
good Force vibes out to you all from your friends at The
Someone save me a seat, will ya? ;-)
We've got a couple of quick news follow-ups for you today.
First, during Tuesday night's
at the HTF, reps from Warner Home Video indicated that
their Best Picture-winning Million Dollar
Baby will be announced "soon". Good to know, as
we've been getting a LOT of questions about the title. You can be sure
we'll post the official details as soon as they're available.
Next, we've followed up with our Universal sources and have now been
told that director David Lynch's participation in the Dune:
Extended Edition isn't a done deal yet. It IS the reason the
title was delayed, but the details about Lynch's involvement are
apparently still in discussion. So we're going to suggest that
our previous post is best considered Rumor
Mill-worthy for the time being, until things are more
official. We've amended the earlier post accordingly. I don't want to
get anyone's hopes too high, but I have to tell you mine are pretty well
into the stratosphere at the moment. Let's all cross our fingers on this
one, because Lynch's Dune ranks
right up there with Ridley Scott's Blade
Runner at the top of the list of films that most deserve
revisiting by their directors on DVD. We'll keep you posted.
Finally today, I'm very pleased to present you with an in-depth review
of Paramount's forthcoming
Trek: Enterprise - The Complete First Season on DVD (street
date 5/3). As many of you know, Enterprise
is a show that's near and dear to my heart. I personally lobbied the
studio long and hard to get the show released on DVD... ultimately
effectively... so they were kind enough to allow me the first look at
(and review of) the finished discs. My original idea was that the DVDs
be used to help boost the show's ratings (much like 24
and Alias did with their DVD
releases), thus helping to keep it going for another season. Ah well...
at least the DVDs are coming, and they're darned cool. You're in for the
best extras on any of the Trek TV
sets to date - audio commentary, outtakes, deleted scenes (surprisingly,
all the stuff I pushed for). Plus you get anamorphic widescreen video
and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. It's a great little set, even if the first
season of Enterprise itself was a
little... wanting. I can't wait for Seasons
Three and Four though.
It's nice to get what you ask for once in a while, you know? Anyway, I
hope you enjoy the review.
Stay tuned, all ye DVD faithful...
As promised today, we're pleased to present
complete transcript of The Home Theater Forum's live, online
chat last night with Warner Home Video. There's a TON of news in
the chat about great upcoming DVD releases planned for this year and
beyond by the studio. For example, anyone interested in a 2001:
A Space Odyssey - Special Edition in 2006 (along with other
Kubrick SEs)? That's just a meager sliver of the great news you'll learn
in this chat, so absolutely DO NOT miss it.
Speaking of Warner, the studio has just announced the DVD release of
A Pup Named Scooby-Doo: Volume 1
and A Pup Named Scooby-Doo: Volume 2
(both 7/19), and Sealab 2021: Season 3
Also, New Line has announced the release of Paul Weiland's For
Rosanna and John Waters' A Dirty
Shame (in both R and Unrated editions) for 6/14.
Sony will release Imaginary Heroes
(Jeff Daniels, Sigourney Weaver) on 6/7, with Hitch
(Will Smith, Kevin James) following on 6/14 and Man
of the House (Tommy Lee Jones) due on 6/21.
And Universal has slated Monk: Season Three
for release on 7/5.
Around the Net today, there's possible news on the DVD release of Twin
Peaks: Season Two.
is reporting that Paramount will release the season on disc in two
volumes, but not before extensive digital clean-up and remastering work
is done. Consider that rumor until confirmed by the studio, but still
good to hear.
We've also got a little new upcoming DVD cover art for you this
morning... here's Universal's Northern
Exposure: The Complete Third Season (6/14), Buena Vista's
Father of the Bride: 15th Anniversary Special
Edition (6/7), Miramax's Sling
Blade: Collector's Series (6/7), Sony's Tears
of the Sun: Director's Extended Cut (6/7), Paramount's The
Machinist (6/7) and Fox's The
X-Files: Abduction (6/7)...
We'll be back tomorrow with a special review of an upcoming DVD
release. Stay tuned...
Oh man... have we got some GREAT news for you Dune
fans today! We've done some digging with our sources at Universal, and
we've learned the real reason behind their delay of the Dune:
Extended Edition (previously
announced for 5/10, but then
"indefinitely" with no explanation given). Those of you who
are familiar with the film know that there's a longer version that's
been shown on TV, credited to director Alan Smithee (a pseudonym used by
directors when they want to distance themselves from a project for
whatever reason). Well get this... after years of saying he would never
revisit Dune, at the 11th hour
director David Lynch apparently decided that he might want to be
involved in the new DVD after all. Which means that when it's eventually
released, not only is the DVD going to include the original theatrical
version of the film... it may also include a brand new "director's
extended cut" edited by Lynch himself. No kidding.
[Editor's Note - we've been told by studio
sources that this isn't a done deal. It IS why the disc was delayed, but
Lynch's involvement is still in discussion and no work has been started
yet. So cross your fingers and let's hope it comes to fruition.]
By the way, I was also able to confirm with Universal that a Flash
Gordon: Special Edition is currently in production. No specs
or release information is available yet, but it's good to know that the
80s sci-fi/camp classic is finally getting the long-awaited attention it
deserves on DVD. We'll post more as soon as we hear anything.
Also, I'm waiting on confirmation of the extras set to be included on
the forthcoming Jaws: 30th Anniversary
Edition (due 6/14). I know a lot of you are hoping for
Laurent Bouzereau's unedited The Making of
Jaws documentary (the original, longer version of which was
included on the laserdisc release, but was edited down for the first DVD
edition). We should know more on that in a week or two.
Don't forget to check out
Warner Home Video chat tonight at the Home Theater Forum.
We'll have a full transcript up tomorrow.
Afternoon, folks. Hope you all had a great weekend. We've got some good
DVD release news to cover today, so let's get started.
Sony (Columbia TriStar) has revealed a big slate of new DVD releases
for 6/7. Among them are the D.E.B.S: Special
Edition, Dragon Tales: Playing
Fair Makes Playing Fun, Imaginary
Heroes, new individual DVD editions of The
Karate Kid, Part II, The Karate
Kid, Part III and The Next Karate
Kid, a new The Karate Kid: Special
Edition, a new Matilda: Special
Edition, a new Stripes: Extended
Cut (containing 18 minutes of new footage - man, am I looking
forward to that!) and a new Tears of the Sun:
Director's Extended Cut.
Universal has announced a couple new titles for July. On 7/5, look for
Strange Bedfellows (SRP $27.98).
Following on 7/26 is Fighting Tommy Riley
(SRP also $27.98).
We've got some new details on a few upcoming Paramount titles today.
Danger: Diabolik will street on
6/14 (SRP $14.99) with commentary by actor John Phillip Law and Tim
Lucas (director Mario Bava's biographer), the From
Furnetti to Film featurette, The Beastie Boys' Body
Movin' music video (with commentary by Adam Yauch) and the
film's teaser and theatrical trailers. Also on 6/14, you'll get Adam
at 6 AM, Prime Cut,
Reivers and The Lightship
(SRP $14.99 each). And on 6/21, look for Hustle,
I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can, Lifeguard
and Starting Over (SRP also $14.99
Remember how (a few months back) I asked when someone was going to
release one of my favorite B-grade camp classics from the 1980s... the
docudrama Sasquatch, The Legend of Bigfoot?
Well, leave it to our friends over at Image Entertainment to step up to
the plate! On 6/14, look for their Sasquatch
Horror Triple Feature (SRP $19.99), which will include Sasquatch,
The Legend of Bigfoot, Snow
Creature and Snow Beast.
Count me in, baby! Image has also set The
Twilight Zone: The Definitive Edition - Season 3 for release
on 6/28 (SRP $119.99). The 5-disc set will include audio commentaries
(by Billy Mumy, William Windom, Leonard Nimoy, Cliff Robertson and
others), excerpts from audio interviews with cast & crew members,
more isolated music scores, Rod Serling promos, Serling's guest
appearance on The Garry Moore Show
and more. Look also for The Twilight Zone:
Seasons 2 & 3 (1986-1989) on 6/28 (SRP $69.99), a 7-disc
set including audio commentaries and deleted scenes.
Also today, MGM has announced the DVD release of Be
Cool for 6/7 (SRP $27.98). Special features will include
deleted scenes, the Be Cool, Very Cool
documentary, gag reels, the You Ain't Woman
Enough to Take My Man music video (featuring The Rock as
Elliot Wilhelm), a Close-Up of the Dance
Partners featurette (featuring The Rock, Andre 3000, Cedric
the Entertainer and Christina Milian) and the film's theatrical trailer.
And in honor of the Easter holiday this past weekend,
Trek.com has posted a lengthy guide to all of the DVD Easter eggs
on the various Star Trek TV and
film DVD sets. The guide also includes details on the various Best Buy
bonus discs that were offered with many of the Trek
DVD releases, and what specifically was included on each of them. The
guide will be updated as future DVDs are released (including Enterprise
and the remaining film discs).
Around the site today, we've kicked off a pair of new
giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Universal's
Wrote: The Complete First Season and
Unrated Special Edition, along with Showtime's
Queer as Folk:
The Complete Fourth Season - Collector's Edition. Entries will
be accepted until Noon PST on Sunday, April 3rd. Click on the links to
get started and good luck!
On the review front, Lindsay Planner of our
MusicTAP crew has
checked out a few more music-related DVD-Video titles, including
Cranberries: Live, Polydor's
Super Troupers and Hip-O's
Music: The High Road.
Don't forget... tomorrow night (Tuesday, March 29th) our friends over
Home Theater Forum are hosting their live, online chat with
senior members of the DVD team from Warner Home Video. The chat will run
from 5:00 to 8:00 PM (PST).
here for all the details on how to participate. As always, we'll
have a complete transcript of the chat for you here at The
Bits on Wednesday.
We'll leave you this afternoon with a look at some new cover art.
Here's 20th Century Fox's I, Robot: All
Access Collector's Edition (5/24), Sony's Stripes:
Extended Edition and the inner keepcase art for Criterion's
2-disc The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Back tomorrow with more. Stay tuned...
Afternoon, folks. We've got an interesting new DVD announcement for you
today. Do the words "You're gonna need a bigger boat..." mean
anything to you?
Yeah... hot on the heels of CBS's Spring
Break Shark Attack (no coincidence I'm sure), Universal has
officially announced the DVD release of a Jaws:
30th Anniversary Edition for 6/14 (SRP $22.98). This will be
a 2-disc set containing the film in anamorphic widescreen video, with
both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio. The second disc will be all extras
(no word yet on what they are). Word is you'll also get something called
Jaws: The Commemorative Photo Journal
- probably a commemorative book. This 2-disc set will also be available
in a full frame version, and it looks as though a single-disc Jaws:
Anniversary Collector's Edition version will also be
available in full frame and anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1
and anamorphic widescreen with DTS 5.1 (SRP $14.98). So let's get this
straight... there are 5 DVD versions in all. 2-disc Wide (DD/DTS),
2-disc Full (DD/DTS), 1-disc Full (DD), 1-disc Wide (DD) and 1-disc Wide
A little more on the Blu-ray Disc/HD-DVD front today. There's
good article over at SoftPedia News on the two different formats
and the futility of a format war. Worth a read.
Finally today, we're pleased to bring you a few more new DVD reviews.
Our own Adam Jahnke's checked in with a look at Fox's Best
(which streets on 4/5). And I've posted my thoughts on Urbanworks
Albert and the Cosby Kids: The Original Animated Series - Volume 1
Albert's Easter Special (both now available). Hey, hey, hey!
Okay... barring some major announcement or bit of breaking news, that's
it for this week. We've got more reviews in the works, so be sure to
check back on Monday. Have a great weekend and Happy Easter to all those
of you who celebrate it.
Boy... those Rather-isms just don't fly, do they?
(LATE UPDATE -
3/24/05 - 2:30 PM PST)
Okay... we're back as promised this afternoon, and we're very pleased
to present you with Robert Harris' first new
Layer Failure column of 2005!
this edition, Robert talks about the growing trend of studios to
re-release the same films again and again on DVD, he takes a look at
what's happening with the format as a whole in this first quarter of
2005, he addresses box set pricing "madness", he offers a few
words on the restoration efforts of Roger Mayer, he conducts a follow-up
interview with Columbia Pictures' Grover Crisp and more. As always, his
column is well worth a read, so we hope you enjoy it. And when you're
done, you can head on over to
thread at the Home Theater Forum
to discuss it with Robert and fellow DVD enthusiasts.
In other news today, Warner has moved their DVD release of Jean-Pierre
Junet's A Very Long Engagement to
7/12 (SRP $29.95). The title had been original slated for release on
Warner has also announced the DVD release of the BBC's All
Creatures Great & Small: The Complete Series Five for
7/19 (SRP $79.98).
has revealed that Warner expects to release The
Film Noir Classic Collection, Volume Two on 7/5 (SRP $49.92).
The set will include Robert Wise's Born to
Kill (1947), Fritz Lang's Clash by
Night (1952), Edward Dmytryk's Crossfire
(1947), Max Nosseck's Dillinger
(1945) and Richard Fleischer's The Narrow
Margin (each also available separately for SRP $19.97). Also
coming on 7/5 will be John Boorman's Point
Blank (1967), featuring audio commentary with Boorman and
You know, something just occurred to me. It's a bit of a surprise that
we haven't yet seen Warner announce the DVD release of its Best
Picture-winning Million Dollar Baby.
I've got no evidence of this - it's just my speculation. But one wonders
if the reason it hasn't be announced yet has to do with the current...
well, let's just say a certain controversial topic that's been in the
news for the last couple of weeks. I don't want to say too much more or
get specific, because I suspect that there are some of you who still
haven't seen the film yet. In any case, it will be interesting to see
when the announcement finally does come.
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/24/05 - 11:30 AM PST)
We'll be back with more later this afternoon, we we HAD to jump in
early with this. According to an IDG News Service story (available
here at Macworld), Sony hasn't closed the door to the possibility
of joining forces with its HD-DVD rivals. Here's the relevant quote:
"Listening to the voice of the consumers,
having two rival formats is disappointing and we haven't totally given
up on the possibility of integration or compromise," Ryoji
Chubachi, Sony's president-elect, said at a news conference Thursday in
which he discussed the company's performance and future strategy.
Later, the story goes on to say...
While Sony's technological and engineering base
is sound, the company must ensure that its products are aligned with the
wants of consumers, Chubachi said on Tuesday. Sony's engineers have
traditionally been regarded within the company as heroes and the
creators of new markets, but recently their ideas have not always led to
products that matched consumers' needs, he said.
WOW. Could it be that there's FINALLY a hint of common sense in the
consumer electronics industry? Let's hope those in the DVD Forum get the
message and offer an olive branch of their own. Who knows? MAYBE we can
still get these folks to sit around a table and hash out a SINGLE,
unified HD disc format. Wouldn't that be something? Definitely stay
tuned on this.
Back in a bit...
(LATE UPDATE - 3/23/05 - 3
So... I suppose I don't need to tell you long-time Bits
readers that I'm a bit of a space nut. But for you newcomers... well,
I'm a bit of a space nut. I was there when John Glenn flew back into
space on the shuttle back in 1998 (here's
me in a Life Magazine photo
that made my day), and I drove all night into the California desert to
first civilian space flight in person last summer. I collect the
original mission patches made for the astronauts and cosmonauts
(including a couple of flown ones). I'm one of those guys who could take
you outside with binoculars on a summer evening and show you the space
station as it passes overhead. You know... a nut. Let's just say that in
the unlikely event that NASA ever called and offered me a seat on the
next shuttle flight, I'd turn The Bits
over to Todd, kiss my wife Sarah good-bye and be on a plane to Florida
before the papers in my office had even settled.
Sarah (mostly) thinks it's cute. Todd thinks I'm crazy (but then it
takes one to know one). With this in mind, I'm sure, Universal invited
my wife and I to a special IMAX screening they held last night in honor
of next Tuesday's DVD re-release of Apollo 13
(which also happens to be the 35th anniversary of the mission itself).
The event was held simultaneously on two coasts - audiences gathered at
both the California Science Center in Los Angeles and the Kennedy Space
Center Visitor Complex in Florida to view the film and to participate in
a special Q&A session afterwards, hosted by film critic Leonard
Maltin. On hand in L.A. were the film's producer Brian Grazer and stars
Kathleen Quinlan and Tom Hanks. Here's a picture Sarah took....
Also participating in the Q&A via satellite from Florida were
director Ron Howard and Captain Jim Lovell (pictured below - photo
provided by Universal), the actual astronaut who commanded the mission.
And here's another shot Sarah took in L.A. (proof that I've hooked one
of the good ones). That's Lovell on the IMAX screen, with Hanks and
Grazier during the Q&A.
Hanks talked about the challenges of playing a real life person, the
research involved in getting the details of being an astronaut right
onscreen and his life-long interest in spaceflight (Hanks is a fellow
space junkie, like myself). Howard and Grazier described the challenges
of filming and what had inspired them to make the film in the first
place, while Lovell talked about his real experiences during the
Hanks actually recounted a very funny story about the time he first met
Lovell. Some of the cast and crew had gone down to the Johnson Space
Center in Houston to do research for the film, and Hanks had wanted to
know more about what life was like for Lovell and his wife during that
time. It turns out that, the night before, Lovell had driven out to the
house they'd lived in at the time, introduced himself and asked its very
surprised current resident if he could bring a few Hollywood types by
the next day to see the place. The woman said yes, so the next evening
Lovell pulls up with Tom Hanks, Ron Howard and about 30 other people in
a bus and gives them the complete tour. Can you imagine? You're just
living your life one day... and the next thing you know a bus pulls up
to your curb and you've suddenly got Tom Hanks standing in your kitchen?
Anyway, I've shown my geek enough for one day. Suffice it to say, the
event was good clean fun. Thanks to the folks at Uni for the invite.
On that note, here's my in-depth review of Universal's
13: 2-Disc Anniversary Edition, which streets this coming
Tuesday (3/29). All in all (with just a couple of caveats), it's a nice
upgrade to the original DVD release of the film. I've also reviewed
Spacecraft Film's new 3-disc Apollo
13: The Real Story - The Complete TV and Onboard Film today.
It's now available, and let me tell you... once you've enjoyed the
Hollywood version, the real thing on DVD makes a nice chaser.
Okay, no rest for the weary. Gotta get more reviews done.
I feel like I should say, "Live Long and Prosper" or
something. Ah, whatever. ;-)
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/23/05 - 1 PM PST)
Afternoon, folks. We've got a couple of quick DVD announcements for
The Kevin Spacey/Bobby Darin bio-pic Beyond
the Sea will street on 6/7 from Lions Gate.
The Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman
arrives on 6/28, also from Lions Gate. Coming on that day as well are
DVD versions of several of Perry's plays, including I
Can Do Bad All by Myself, Madea's
Class Reunion, Madea's Family
Reunion and Meet the Browns
(previously available only on TylerPerry.com).
I believe we've already announced it, but just in case... Paramount's
releasing Coach Carter on 6/12
And Sony will release Will Smith in Hitch
on 6/14 (SRP $28.95).
By the way (this is Rumor Mill
worthy, so take note accordingly), we've checked with our sources... Fox
has no immediate plans to re-release James Cameron's True
Lies and The Abyss on
DVD in new, anamorphic widescreen editions. All the focus is currently
on getting Titanic done to
everyone's satisfaction in time for the October release. Once that's
done however, you never know. Maybe you'll see them in 2006. We'll keep
you posted as always.
Speaking of Titanic, our pal Ron
Epstein over at the Home
Theater Forum called yesterday to tell me that
report on the Cameron DVD press conference was mentioned last
satellite radio's Cinemagic channel. Thanks to the folks at XM for
the kind words, and to Ron for calling from his car while in New York
traffic to say he'd heard it! Much love back 'atcha from your friends at
We'll be back in a little bit with that Apollo
13 review and a report on Universal's screening last night in
honor of the DVD release. Stay tuned...
We're pleased today to present you with Adam Jahnke's latest
Bottom Shelf. In this edition, Adam appeals to Hollywood for
the release of the overlooked films he most wants on DVD, and offers
some suggestions (from loyal readers of The
Digital Bits) for other great titles that have yet to grace
our favorite format. If you think that everything worth watching has
already been released on disc, you're sorely mistaken. So enjoy
12 & America's Most Wanted: An Open Letter to DVD Studios &
Producers. You Hollywood types... be sure to pay attention,
We'll be back tomorrow with a review of the Universal's
soon-to-be-released Apollo 13: 2-Disc
Anniversary Edition and more. Stay tuned...
There's some good news today for fans of TV's The
Cosby Show. Ventura has announced that it's going to begin
releasing the series on DVD on 8/2. In addition, the company will begin
releasing its spin-off series A Different
World in January 2006. Both series will be released under the
company's UrbanWorks label. Just last week, Ventura announced a deal
with Anchor Bay to handle the DVD release of two additional NBC series,
Roseanne and 3rd
Rock From the Sun, later this year.
In other DVD news today, Universal has also announced some new TV
series titles for 6/7. On that date look for Dragnet
'67: Season 1 and the you-knew-it-was-coming Father
of the Pride: The Complete Series. Also announced for 6/14 is
another Focus title, Rory O'Shea Was Here.
Columbia TriStar today has announced the Boogeyman:
Special Edition, Submerged,
Banjo Hackett: Roamin' Free, Diamond
Head, Gun Fury, a Major
Dundee: Extended Cut and Texas
Cyclone, all for 5/31.
Meanwhile, New Line has set Black Cloud
and Steve McQueen's classic Wanted: Dead or
Alive TV series (36 eps on 4 discs) for release on 6/7.
Not to be left out of the TV gold rush, 20th Century Fox has announced
a 4-disc The X-Files: Abduction
set for 5/17 (SRP $39.98), including 16 of the series' classic alien "mythology"
episodes from the first three seasons in full frame video with Dolby
Digital 2.0 Surround audio. Extras will include audio commentaries on
select episodes, along with part one of Chris Carter's all-new Threads
of Mythology documentary. We suspect this means you can look
forward to a second collection of "mythology" episodes on DVD
later in 2005.
Also today, Home Media Retailing
(formerly Video Store) has a pair
of interesting stories to check out,
first on how Sony Pictures Home Entertainment plans to absorb
MGM's Home Entertainment division, and
second on how retailers are excited about the potential for
high-definition on disc, but are much less than enthusiastic about the
idea of two competing formats. No surprise there. Both stories are worth
Around the site this afternoon, we've posted four new
giving you the chance to win copies of Warner's
Flintstones: The Complete Third Season and
The Best of
the New Scooby-Doo Movies, MGM's
Factory, Fox's live-action
and Universal's Kojak:
Season One. Entries in these contests will be accepted until
Noon PST on Sunday, March 27th. Click on the links to get started and
We're chasing down some interesting release rumors today, so those DVD
reviews we mentioned on Friday will be posted over the next couple of
days. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 3/18/05 -
1:30 PM PST)
Just a quick heads-up... Paramount has informed us that their June DVD
slate will include The War of the Worlds:
Special Collector's Edition, along with The
Machinist, The Amazing Race: The
Complete First Season, MacGyver:
The Complete Second Season, The
Brady Bunch: The Complete Second Season, Fraiser:
The Complete Fifth Season, The Ren
& Stimpy Show: Seasons Three and a Half-ish and Reno
911!: The Complete Second Season. We'll have exact street
dates and details as they come in.
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/18/05
- NOON PST)
Morning everyone! Some interesting news for you Star
Wars fans today. Remember how we said
Tuesday) that James Cameron and George Lucas were going to be part
of a digital 3-D projection presentation at ShoWest this week? Well, it
happened yesterday. Joseph Kleiman of the
Enteractive was there and posted
report on his site. Joining Cameron and Lucas on stage were
filmmakers Robert Zemeckis, Robert Rodriguez and Randall Kleiser, along
with Doug Darrow, Business Development Manager for TI DLP Cinema. During
the presentation, Lucas announced his plans to re-release the Star
Wars Trilogy in 3-D for the original film's 30th anniversary
Some other interesting news today. Fox plans to release The
Simpsons: Bart Wars on 5/17, just in time to capitalize on
the theatrical release of Star Wars: Episode
III. SRP will be $14.98. In addition to the main program, the
disc will include 4 bonus episodes, plus the The
Making of Bart Wars: The Simpsons Strike Back featurette.
Disney has launched their
website for the 10/4 DVD release of the 2-disc Cinderella:
Special Edition. There's still no cover art for the title,
but you can at least view the trailer for the release at the website.
Thanks to Bits reader Esteban S.
for the link.
Also today, Showtime has announced the DVD release of Queer
as Folk: The Complete Fourth Season on 4/5 (SRP $109.99).
And for you folks looking forward to Robert Rodriguez Sin
Movies has a 10-minute behind-the-scenes video on the making of
the film. Our own Todd Doogan had the chance to see a sneak preview
screening of the film yesterday. Drop him an
e-mail and maybe
he'll post his thoughts on his blog.
Our crew over at Matt's MusicTAP
has turned in a number of new music-related reviews. Now available are
their thoughts on
Kiss My A**,
Konfidential & X-Treme Close Up,
Volume 3 and
From Wishes to Eternity - Live on DVD, along with
John: Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy on SACD and
5 Browns' self-titled debut release on the new DualDisc format
Finally, around the site today, we've posted updated all of the DVD
hardware and software sales data we track (above),
DVD Player Sales numbers for the first three weeks of
February. By the way, we know the numbers for the first three weeks of
February don't add up correctly. CEA apparently adjusted the week one or
two numbers and we're waiting to see what those changes were. We'll make
the corrections as soon as we have that data. [Editor's
Note - the corrected data is now in place. Feb. Week 1 was revised from
158,985 to 122,823 units shipped.]
We'll be back on Monday with a number of new DVD reviews, plus we've
got new columns from Robert Harris, Adam Jahnke and more on the way. See
This just in... Warner Home Video has announced the DVD release of The
Aviator for 5/24 (SRP $29.95). The 2-disc set will include
anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio
commentary by director Martin Scorsese, deletes scenes, the 45-minute
History Channel documentary Modern Marvels:
Howard Hughes, 6 featurettes (including A
Life Without Limits: The Making of The Aviator, The
Role of Howard Hughes in Aviation History, An
Evening with Leonardo DiCaprio and Alan Alda, The
Affliction of Howard Hughes: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,
The Age of Glamour: The Hair and Makeup of
The Aviator and The Visual Effects
of The Aviator), video of a panel discussion with Leonardo
DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and Howard Hughes' widow Terry Moore, a photo
gallery and more.
Just a heads-up... watch for Warner to announce both Alexander
and Million Dollar Baby very soon.
Also this morning, Buena Vista has announced a new batch of forthcoming
catalog titles. On 6/7, look for a Sling
Blade: Director's Cut - Special Edition, a Father
of the Bride: 15th Anniversary Special Edition, a Gone
in 60 Seconds: Unrated Director's Cut and a Coyote
Ugly: Unrated Special Edition (SRP $19.99). On 8/16, you'll
get The World's Greatest Athlete,
Johnny Tremain, Toby
Tyler and The Boatnicks.
And on 8/30, look for Lilo & Stitch 2.
Here's cover art for The Aviator,
Disney's Vintage Mickey (7/12) and
Universal's Baa Baa Black Sheep: Volume 1
We've got more new announcements for you today...
Buena Vista has revealed that it plans to release a trio of Disneyland
50th Anniversary titles on 7/12, including The
Best of The Mickey Mouse Club (vintage Club
- SRP $14.99), Mickey Mouse Club: The Best of
Britney, Justin and Christina (more recent Club
that you HAD to know was coming sooner or later - SRP $14.99 as well)
and Vintage Mickey (SRP $19.99).
The latter title will feature a small collection of classic shorts,
including Steamboat Willie.
Lions Gate has announced the DVD release of Moonlighting:
Seasons One and Two (street date 5/31, SRP $49.98). The
6-disc set will include cast and crew commentaries on several episodes
with series creator Glenn Gordon Caron and stars Cybill Sheperd and
Bruce Willis, deleted scenes, a gag reel and bloopers, The
Moonlighting Phenomenon featurette and the 2-part The
Story of Moonlighting documentary.
Also newly announced is Sony's 4-disc Seinfeld:
Season 4 (5/17, SLP $49.95). As with the previous season
DVDs, the extras will include The
Breakthrough Season documentary, cast and crew commentaries,
deleted scenes, bloopers, promos and more.
In other DVD news today, SonyBMG has announced that the soundtrack CD
for Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the
Sith will street on 5/3. So why is this DVD news? Well, as it
turns out, the CD will include a bonus DVD-Video disc that will feature
a 70-minute presentation of some 16 newly-created music videos of
composer John Williams' signature themes from all 6 Star
Wars films (set to footage from the films) that takes viewers
chronologically through the entire saga. Each will be introduced by
actor Ian McDiarmid (Senator Palpatine) and will feature the music along
with dialogue and sound effects excerpts in full Dolby Digital 5.1
surround. The package will also include a booklet with liner notes by
George Lucas and a poster. Frankly, I'm as excited to hear this music as
I am to see the film.
Let's see... what else today. Warner has advised us that the street
date for The Essential Steve McQueen
Collection box set has moved to 5/31. Update your plans
accordingly. The set will include a 2-disc Bullitt:
Special Edition along with The
Getaway: Deluxe Edition, Papillon,
The Cincinnati Kid, Never
So Few and Tom Horn
On the TV front, Warner has also announced the 6-disc Lois
& Clark: The Complete First Season for 6/7 (SRP $59.98),
which will feature the episodes in their original full frame aspect
ratio with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio and several behind-the-scenes
Speaking of Warner, our longtime friends over at
Home Theater Forum have re-scheduled their live, online chat
with DVD staffers from Warner Home Video for Tuesday, March 29th. The
chat is currently set to run a whopping 3 hours (from 5 to 8 PM PST).
Among those expected to participate are Mike Radiloff (VP Theatrical
Catalog Marketing), George Feltenstein (SVP Classic Catalog) and
Rosemary Markson (Executive Director Franchise, TV).
here for more information. As always, we'll have a complete
transcript of the event here at The Bits
the following day.
Finally this afternoon, in the "around the Net category",
Noel Murray of The
Onion A.V. Club has just posted
excellent 3-part DVD feature comprised of interviews with Warner's
Feltenstein, Home Vision's Lee Ferdinand and Something Weird Video's
Mike Vraney. It's a great read, with lots of interesting information.
Included in the Feltenstein piece is word that Warner has just gotten
their hands on a high-quality element of the original King
Kong from Europe (apparently the main reason behind the delay
of the film's highly-anticipated DVD release). On a brief side note,
The Onion is a publication close
to my heart, as it was launched in Madison, Wisconsin back in 1988,
while I was a student at UW-M. Why... I recall reading the very first
issue over a beer at the Rathskeller. Good times indeed.
Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 3/15/05
- 5:30 PM PST)
Well... I've just gotten back from Paramount and 20th Century Fox's
special press event this afternoon in Beverly Hills. Director James
Cameron and producer Jon Landau were on hand (as were Paramount CEO Rob
Friedman and Fox chairman Jim Gianopulos) to announce the DVD release of
the long awaited Titanic: Special Collector's
Edition. As we first reported
The Bits in February, there will be two versions... a
2-disc release and a 4-disc release, both of which will street on the
same day in October. The exact street date and SRP are both still TBA
(Paramount will release the discs in the U.S. and Fox will release them
internationally on the same day). Just so you all can relax, the 2-disc
version will basically be identical to the first two discs of the 4-disc
release, so there's no need to buy both. If you buy the 4-disc release,
you'll get ALL the extras and supplemental content available. Longtime
readers of The Bits will be
pleased to know that Van Ling, a regular collaborator with Cameron on
his past DVD releases, has been tasked with supervising the production
of this new edition.
Cameron and Landau (pictured above) revealed some details about the
DVDs during the press conference, and I was able to get additional
information during the Q&A session that followed their presentation.
Both versions will feature the original theatrical cut of the film,
which Cameron considers to be his 'director's cut'. He's just supervised
and approved a new high-definition transfer of the film, so you can
expect it to be presented (at long last) in anamorphic widescreen on the
DVDs. Both DVDs will feature Dolby Digital 5.1 EX audio (DTS MAY be
included as well, but this has yet to be decided - it's an issue of how
much content needs to be included on the discs, and how much room will
be available once all the extras are finalized). As with the recent
4-disc Lord of the Rings DVDs, the
film itself will be split over the first two discs to allow for the
highest possible video and audio quality. I was also able to learn that
the film discs will likely include multiple audio commentary tracks -
certainly one with Cameron, but also separate tracks with various crew
members and possible a cast commentary as well.
In terms of bonus features, the film discs will offer a special
'branching' option (similar to what Fox has used on its complete season
sets of The X-Files) that allows
you to jump out of the film at various points (when an icon appears on
screen) to view footage that was deleted from that particular point in
the film. Some 58 minutes of deleted scenes will be available in all.
Keep in mind, this will NOT be edited back into the film. The deleted
scenes will be offered separately on the discs (in addition to their
accessibility via the branching feature while viewing the film). The
deleted scenes will reportedly have special video lead-ins and optional
Cameron commentary that explains why the footage was cut. The deleted
material is reportedly fairly substantial and will include a number of
nice character moments with Jack and Rose, as well as additional less
important (but historically accurate) footage. Cameron is currently
making the creative decisions necessary to 'finish' this footage in
order to bring it up to release quality (including any visual effects
that might need to be completed, as well as supervising sound mixes and
scoring the material).
Other extras you can expect on the new DVDs include a wealth of rare
behind-the-scenes footage from the Lightstorm vaults - 2 full discs
worth. This will include time-lapse footage of the massive set and
studio construction, new and vintage cast and crew interviews and other
never-before-seen material. Nearly 400 hours of behind-the-scenes
footage was shot during the production of Titanic
in all. Another long-time Cameron collaborator, Ed Marsh (who shot much
of this footage originally), is sorting through it all to produce a
definitive, feature-length documentary on the making of the film, taking
you from the very beginnings of the idea with Cameron pitching the
concept to the studio, through all of the stress, angst and criticism
generated by the production, to the film's eventual release and massive
worldwide success. Along the way, you'll hear from literally everyone
involved in the production, including all of the major cast and crew.
Both Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio have agreed to participate in
the DVD production, for interviews and possibly commentary if schedules
permit. By the way, you should already be familiar with Ed Marsh's work
- he's the man who created the outstanding Under
Pressure: Making The Abyss documentary on Fox's previous The
Abyss: Special Edition (both the laserdisc and later DVD).
After the press conference, I had the chance to speak with Cameron
directly for a few minutes. Asked about his take on the looming format
war between HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc, Cameron said that he'd seen
demonstrations of both formats, and has looked at each critically with
an eye toward spotting artifacts and other quality related issues. He's
impressed with both HD-DVD and Blu-ray, and feels that it's a bit of a
wash in terms of which format has the technical edge. Although Cameron
is looking forward to a future high-definition release of Titanic
(and the new transfer of the film was done in HD), he's not planning an
HD release anytime soon. This new SCE will be standard DVD only. When
asked if he has a preference for either HD-DVD or Blu-ray, he wisely
noted that he's letting the industry and the market decide which format
will prevail, although he does hope that a single, unified format will
be adopted by the industry sooner rather than later.
Interestingly, Cameron also said that there were two main reasons why
it took so long for a special edition DVD of Titanic
to happen. The first is that the previous movie-only version is still
selling quite well (meaning there was no urgent economic pressure to get
a more elaborate version done before this). The other is that the
process of making the film was such a grueling experience that most
involved needed to leave the project behind for a few years in order to
feel the desire to revisit it again for a worthy special edition. That
said, Cameron and Landau have been planning this new edition for nearly
two years, and have put a great deal of thought into what they want to
include for the film's many fans.
On an interesting side note, Cameron also spoke about his passion for
3-D filmmaking. He and fellow director George Lucas are spearheading an
effort to get movie theaters around the world to upgrade not only to
digital projection, but also to add the capability to exhibit films in
3-D format. In fact, Cameron and Lucas are hosting
demonstration of the 3-D process for theater owners at the ShoWest
convention in Las Vegas this week (in addition to CG-animated 3-D
films, Lucas's people have reportedly developed a way to render 3-D
versions of existing 2-D films). Cameron says that this is the main
reason he's waited so long to begin production on his next major
theatrical film - a live action version of the Japanese anime Battle
Angel Alita. Cameron plans to shoot the film digitally in 3-D
format. What's more, he says that Lucas and other filmmakers (like
Robert Zemeckis and possibly Peter Jackson too) are also planning to
shoot 3-D films in the future. They expect that the availability of good
3-D feature film content will drive interest in the 3-D experience
theatrically, and that in turn could fuel demand for bringing the 3-D
process into the home as well. Cameron noted that both HD-DVD and
Blu-ray Disc (and current DVD as well) could be adapted to deliver 3-D
footage, but that the main obstacle to high-quality 3-D at home is the
low refresh rate of current TV monitors. Displays offering much higher
rates (96Hz) will be needed in the future to show flicker-free 3-D
images in your living rooms.
So there you have it. All the available details regarding the
forthcoming Titanic: Special Collector's
Edition and some other interesting stuff too, all straight
from The Man himself. I have to tell you, I really enjoyed the
opportunity to speak with Cameron in person. He's clearly very
thoughtful and savvy in terms of the latest developments in film and
video technology, and I found him to be both genuine and personable. I
look forward to having the chance to speak with him at greater length in
the future. I also chatted with Ed Marsh for a few minutes about his
currently on-going work on the DVDs. You can expect to hear more from
him here at The Bits in the months
ahead as well.
Just so you know, there's no cover art available yet for these DVDs,
and all of the specific disc specs are still being worked out. You can
be sure that we'll get them to you as soon as they're finalized by the
studio. I hope you've all enjoyed the report.
Until tomorrow... stay tuned, DVD faithful!
(LATE UPDATE - 3/15/05 -
8 AM PST)
This just in: We've gotten word that Universal has delayed their Dune:
Extended Edition DVD until further notice. The title had been
expected to street on 5/10. Unofficial word from our sources is that the
delay will be several months at least, but there's no word as to why.
Back with those Titanic details
later this afternoon. Stay tuned.
(EARLY UPDATE - 3/15/05 - 1 AM PST)
We're pleased this morning to present you with Barrie Maxwell's
Classic Coming Attractions column here at The
Bits. In this edition, Barrie reviews 14 classic titles
recently released on DVD, including Reelclassicdvd.com's
Langdon Collection, Milestone's
Up Baby: Special Edition,
Parade: Special Edition and
Band Wagon: Special Edition, VCI's
of the Secret Service, Fox's
Northside 777 and
in the Streets, Paramount's
in a Night's Work and a PAL/R2 DVD release from Wild Side
Video in France...
We've got something cool for you L.A.-area readers today. Disney and
Pixar are holding a special DVD signing event at The Virgin Megastore in
Hollywood tonight (8000 W. Sunset Blvd), in honor of the DVD release of
The Incredibles. The event will
run from 6 to 8 PM PST this evening. On hand will be story supervisor
Mark Andrews, composer Michael Giacchino and other members of the film's
creative team from Pixar. Incredibles-related
prizes will be awarded at the event as well. If you're in the area and
you can make it, be sure to drop on by.
There's a little bit of DVD news for you this morning... Rhino Home
Video will be releasing Alanis Morissette:
VH1 Storytellers and Natalie
Merchant: VH1 Storytellers on 4/26 (SRP $14.99 each). Now if
only they'd release The Police: Behind the
Music on disc, I'd really be happy.
Around the site today, we've kicked off FIVE new
giving each of you the chance to win copies of Warner's
Nikita: The Complete Second Season, the BBC's
Complete Series Five & Six, Fox's
Bleep Do We Know!?, a Universal prize pack including
Jones: The Edge of Reason (along with a T-shirt, poster and CD
soundtrack), and finally a pair of awesome new samurai titles from
at Blood Pass and
Assassin! Entries will be accepted until Noon PST on Sunday,
March 20th. Click on the links to enter and good luck!
Finally this morning, the big news today certainly has to be Paramount
and 20th Century Fox's announcement of the worldwide DVD release of the
Titanic: Special Edition later
this year. We're going to be attending the press event today, so we'll
be back later this afternoon with all the details.
Until then, stay tuned...
Afternoon, Bits-ers! Sorry we
disappeared on Friday. I expected to post some new DVD reviews Friday
morning, but Sarah and I have had family visiting all this last week,
and things got a little crazy.
To make it up to you, I've got a trio of new DVD reviews for you today
- my fairly in-depth looks at Warner's
Special Edition, Paramount's
Trek: First Contact - Special Collector's Edition and 20th
Lone Gunmen: The Complete Series. Heat
is now available. Star Trek: First Contact
streets tomorrow. The Lone Gunmen
is set to arrive in stores on March 29th.
Just FYI, our goal for this week is to catch up on a lot of our review
work, so look for several more reviews later this week.
In news today, Fox has announced their initial DVD release slate for
June. On 6/7, look for The Driver,
The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox,
House of Bamboo (1955), Julia,
Kiss Me Goodbye, The
Man Who Never Was, Nightmare Alley
(1947), The Secret Agent, Unfaithfully
Yours (1984), Vital Signs
and Worth Winning.
Columbia TriStar will release Are We There
Yet? on 5/24, along with The Big
Town, Physical Evidence,
The Brooke Ellison Story, the
long-delayed News Radio: The Complete First
and Second Seasons (3 discs) and Richard
Pryor: Stand Up (a 2-disc set including Here
and Now and Live on The Sunset
Also, Universal has added Law & Order:
The Third Year to its 5/24 slate.
We'll be back tomorrow morning with a bit of news, and then late
tomorrow afternoon with all the details on Paramount's Titanic:
Special Edition announcement (I'll be there in person at the
announcement event, so maybe we'll even have a pic or two).
Meanwhile, we'll leave you with a little more new DVD cover art. Here's
Touchstone's Lost: The Complete First Season
(9/6) and Desperate Housewives: The Complete
First Season (9/20), along with Criterion's Hoop
Some more major news today. The Blu-ray Disc Association has announced
that Apple Computer has become its latest member, making Blu-ray Disc
its choice in the coming next-generation optical disc format war. You
can read more at these links at
Apple CEO Steve Jobs issued this quote today: "Apple
is pleased to join the Blu-ray Disc Association board as part of our
efforts to drive consumer adoption of HD. Consumers are already creating
stunning HD content with Apple's leading video editing applications like
iMovie HD and are anxiously awaiting a way to burn their own high def
This is a big deal, folks. The Blu-ray Disc Association already has the
support of PC giants Dell, Sony and HP. It's long been our belief that
on the technical merits of the Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD specs alone,
Blu-ray is the clear winner. It seems that most of the computer and
electronics industries agree. Keep in mind that Sony's forthcoming PS3
videogame platform is going to use Blu-ray Disc as its storage format.
It seems now that the only real war between these two formats is going
to be waged in Hollywood between the studios already supporting Blu-ray
(Disney, Sony, MGM and possibly Fox, which we hear is leaning toward
Blu-ray) and those supporting HD-DVD (Warner, Universal, Paramount and
New Line). There are also rumors that a number of major retailers like
WalMart and Best Buy may be planning to carry one format or the other
exclusively. It's gonna get very ugly before all this is over, folks.
We've got some release news as well today. Warner has announced the DVD
release of Jean-Pierre Junet's A Very Long
Engagement for 5/24 (SRP $29.95). Look for the film in
anamorphic widescreen video with French Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (and
English subtitles). Extras if any are TBA.
Also, Columbia has set Are We There Yet?
for release on 5/24 as well. Look for their Boogeyman
to street on 5/31.
Back tomorrow with some new DVD reviews. Stay tuned...
We've got some BIG DVD news for you today. Paramount is holding a
special event next week to announce the fall DVD release of the Titanic:
The Definitive Special Edition. We expect to have all the
details on Tuesday afternoon, but as we've reported in
Rumor Mill recently, our sources tell us to expect a 2-disc
and 4-disc set, patterned after New Lines Lord
of the Rings DVD releases. The 4-disc will have the film
spread over 2 discs for maximum anamorphic widescreen video quality,
along with deleted scenes, literally hours of behind-the-scenes
material, audio commentary and much more. Stay tuned on this!
A follow up on yesterday's mention of Disney's forthcoming Cinderella:
Special Edition - DVD Platinum Collection. A trailer for the
release on the new Bambi DVD
indicates that the 2-disc title will street in October (on 10/4
Universal has announced more interesting TV product, and a recent
feature as well. TV product first: Look for the studio's Dragnet
'67: Season 1 and Quincy, M.E.:
Seasons 1 & 2 on 6/7 (SRP $39.98 each). Dragnet
is a 2-disc set, Quincy is 3
discs. Dragnet will also include a
special bonus CD, containing recordings of the original Dragnet
radio show. Following these on 6/14 will be Northern
Exposure: The Complete Third Season (3 discs, SRP $59.98).
Finally, Universal's recent In Good Company
will street on 5/10 (SRP $29.98) in anamorphic widescreen video with
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include audio commentary with
director Paul Weitz and actor Topher Grace, deleted scenes with optional
Weitz commentary, a number of featurettes (including Stars,
Older, Real Life, New
York Locations, Editing
and Story), cast and crew bios and
And here's a bit of news that has me very excited this morning: Warner
has just announced the DVD release of IMAX:
Space Station and IMAX: L5 - First
City in Space for 6/7. Space
Station (SRP $19.98) is a fantastic documentary film narrated
by Tom Cruise. It was originally presented in 3-D in theaters, although
both titles are presented in 2-D/full frame only on DVD (with Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio). Extras on Space Station
will include over an hour of previously unseen footage, audio commentary
by astronaut Ed Lu, an 18-minute Audio/Visual
Tour of the Space Station (narrated by Shuttle/ISS astronauts
Dom Gorie, Linda Godwin, Mark E. Kelly, Daniel Tani and Frank Culbertson
Jr.), the 23-minute Adventure in Space
featurette (including interviews with Tom Cruise, director Toni Myers,
and astronauts Marsha Ivins, Brian Duffy, Susan Helms, Jim Voss and
astronaut/cameraman James Neilhous), a photo gallery and more. L5
is movie-only (SRP $14.97).
I do wish Warner would at least include a 16x9 version as well (in
addition to the critically important original full frame presentation)
on their IMAX DVDs, if not TRY actual 3-D. Image Entertainment included
both 4x3 and 16x9 options on their recent Super
Speedway re-issue. IMAX in the original full frame is great
in an IMAX theater, where the screen is so massive that it draws you in.
But the effect is lost on the average 4x3 TV, which isn't nearly big
enough to convey all the majesty of the presentation. By also including
a 16x9 enhanced version (IN ADDITION to the full frame - not as a
replacement for it), those with very large widescreen displays and front
projection systems could get at least SOME of the original effect back.
I'm hoping Warner will see the value of adding an anamorphic version to
their IMAX DVDs in the future.
By the way, a number of readers have e-mailed to to say that Baa
Baa Black Sheep was the original name of Black
Sheep Squadron, something I'd forgotten. The name was
apparently changed in the second season and for syndication. Thanks for
Here's a little new cover art... Paramount's Star
Trek: Insurrection - Special Collector's Edition (6/7), New
Line's The Sea Inside (5/17),
Warner's IMAX: Space Station and
Universal's Quincy, M.E.: Seasons 1 & 2,
Airwolf: Season One and In
Okay, we're off to work on some new DVD reviews. Have a great day and
Morning folks! We've got a few new DVD announcements for you today.
Universal just announced a TV title I've been absolutely dying for on
DVD: The Black Sheep Squardon
starring Robert Conrad on 5/24. They're calling it Baa
Baa Black Sheep: Volume 1 and selling it for $39.98.
Whatever, man. As long as it's the classic 1970s TV show about Major
Pappy Boyington and his World War II Marine fighter squardon (and it
is), I'm a happy, happy camper. By the way, also coming on 5/24 from the
studio is Airwolf: Season One (SRP
$39.98). Both are 2-disc sets. Now if someone would just release The
Rat Patrol... we'd be stylin'.
Also, Urbanworks Entertainment is releasing Fat
Albert's Easter Special and Fat
Albert and the Cosby kids: The Original Animated Series, Volume 1
on 3/8. The series set will include the first 12 episodes from the
classic animated show, along with a 12-track CD of music from the
series. Hey, hey, hey!
In other DVD news, Columbia TriStar has set the Anders Thomas Jensen
comedy Green Butchers for release
Disney has revealed that their Cinderella:
Special Edition - DVD Platinum Collection (SRP $29.99) is on
the way for later in 2005. We'll give you a street date and specs as
soon as they're announced. The studios' Walt
Disney's Cartoon Classics: Wave 2 is also set for 5/31 (SRP
$14.99 each). Look for Volume 5: Extreme
Sports Fun, Volume 6: Extreme
Music Fun and Volume 7: Extreme
Adventure Fun. They also have a straight-to-video Bambi
sequel... Bambi and the Great Prince of the
Forest... on the way for Spring 2006.
Finally, New Line has set both Alejandro Amenábar's Academy
Award-winning drama The Sea Inside
and the somewhat less critically acclaimed Son
of the Mask: Platinum Series for release on 5/17 (SRP $27.95
By the way, there's a badass new trailer for the forthcoming Sin
City available at the
website. I'm getting more excited about this film the more I see
it. Visually stunning stuff.
You've asked for them! You've waited for them!
6th Annual Digital Bits Bitsy Awards have arrived!
We've worked long and hard these last few weeks to narrow down the best
and worst that the DVD format had to offer in 2004, and we're very
pleased today to present you will all our final choices (for your
enjoyment or protection as the case may be). Whether you agree with our
selections or not, we think you'll concur that this past year was an
interesting one for our favorite video format. And with both Blu-ray
Disc and HD-DVD set to debut by the end of 2005, things are going to get
more interesting still in the year to come. Will these competing
high-definition disc formats boom or bust? Has DVD finally reached its
peak? Can the Vikings ever win a Superbowl without Randy Moss? Only time
Of course, all of that's in the future. For today, let's take a ride in
the Wayback Machine and consider the DVD year that was. So pour yourself
a steamin' cuppa jo, sit back in your nondescript office cubicle and let
the feeling of over-caffeinated euphoria sweep you away. Life is good.
Bitsys are here!
And just so you know... any errors or omissions in The
Bitsys are entirely due to lack of sleep. Or Jahnke.
Whichever you prefer.
Just kidding, Adam. ;-)