UPDATE - 3/18/99 - 6:45 PM PST)
No doubt you've heard the rumors circulated by the newswires today:
and others, comes word that Circuit City's corporate stock has jumped to
an all time high, on rumors that Blockbuster Video may be about to buy a
share of Divx. The $200 million spent on Divx has been a serious
financial drain for Circuit City, and the electronics retailer has been
scrambling to find an investor to help defer these costs. No doubt
they're eager to get a deal done before the company must make its report
to stockholders early next month. Neither Circuit City, Divx,
Blockbuster or Viacom (Blockbuster's parent company) will acknowledge
these rumors. Notice however, that
stock is down slightly as a result. And as a matter of
perspective, I'd also like to call attention to the fact that Circuit
Buy's stock is doing quite well at the moment. "Best Buy Co.
is the No. 1 consumer-electronics retailer in sales," according to
stories on the alleged Divx deal.
One must wonder what interest Blockbuster would have in the pay-per-use
format, which actually discourages return trips to the video store -
something Blockbuster and other video retailers thrive on. Several of
the stories have suggested that Blockbuster fears the loss of business
to Divx, and wishes to buy in before all is lost. But given Divx's poor
showing as compared to open DVD, I'd seriously doubt that - you'd have
to hope that Viacom can see past Divx's smoke and mirror "successes"
(as reported at CES). One can only speculate as to what they must be
thinking, IF the rumors are even true. I would like to think their
interest is to shut Divx down (hey, if I'm Blockbuster, and I could
purchase a significant interest in the greatest threat to my business
for a few 100 million, I might do it too). On the other hand, one could
also speculate that Blockbuster might be interested only in Divx's
encrypted, pay-per-use technology (and not necessarily the rental disc
model), to develop their own alternative to video-on-demand, which is
being pushed by the telcos and cable companies (see
story on CNet). Once again, all we can do is speculate as to what
may be afoot - certainly we'll hear nothing official until a deal is
either made or falls through.
In any case, I'd suggest you let Viacom and
Blockbuster know EXACTLY how you feel about Divx, using the following
New York, NY 10036
3000 Redbud Boulevard
McKinney, Texas 75069
In the meantime, there's no reason to panic either way. Just get those
phone calls, faxes and e-mails in, and let's see what happens. Stay
(EARLY UPDATE -
3/18/99 - 11 AM PST)
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a special event sponsored by
New Line Home Video - Pleasantville
Editor's Day. Held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles, the event
was a chance for entertainment reporters to meet some of the folks
involved in the production of the new Platinum Series DVD.
were taken through many of the special features on the DVD (and there
ARE many). The event was also a chance to learn about the technical
details of the production, and that of the film itself. As New Line's
Evan Edelist explained, the Pleasantville
DVD is actually considered (by those involved in the production) to be
the, "most representative of director Gary Ross's vision of this
One of the reasons for this, is that all of the film's 1,700 effects,
were done digitally. The film itself was scanned into the digital realm
by a device known as a Spirit Datacine. Once all of the effects were
completed, the same device was used to return the image to film - an
optical camera negative. Since the film has many scenes in black and
white (part of the motif of the film is that some things appear in color
and some in B&W), this created a problem in theaters. When you
create release prints with black & white images, using color film
stock, the B&W image often takes on a slightly green or magenta tone
- it's unavoidable, because that's how color stock reacts chemically.
For the DVD however, the chroma information can simply be removed from
the video signal, resulting in a visual experience on this format that
is truer, even than the theatrical experience, to what the director
I had the opportunity to talk with several of the New Line staff over
lunch, and I must admit, I'm very impressed by their dedication to
quality on all their DVD product. They're also committed to DVD-ROM
features (and their are several on Pleasantville).
One interesting bit of trivia revealed during the day, is that some 20%
of the Lost in Space discs sold,
were eventually used in DVD-ROM drives (this can be determined by
tracking access to the disc's special content on the Internet). That
number surprised many, and speaks to the tremendous impact DVD-ROM will
have on this format in the coming years. I've had two major concerns
with the idea of including extra content on the Internet: it's thus far
been PC-only, and there's no way of knowing how long that content will
remain available. However, both questions were answered for me
yesterday: New Line is working to provide Macintosh users full
capability, and they plan on maintaining all online content in
perpetuity. Very nice to hear indeed.
I was also very pleased to meet one of my fellow webmasters at
yesterday's event - Jeff McNeal of
Picture. There are a small handful of DVD web sites out there
that I really enjoy for their quality and professionalism, and Jeff's is
definitely one of them. We had a great time talking DVD, and swapping
webmaster war stories. We both agreed that it's an interesting business
we're in, to say the least. Anyway, Jeff's a great guy and it was good
finally meeting him. Be sure to check out The
Big Picture tomorrow, for Jeff's in-depth feature on the New
Line event, including lots more pictures. And I'll be back tomorrow,
with my full-length review of the Pleasantville
By the way, I've finally heard back from the MPAA's anti-piracy people
about their investigation of that
bootleg. They've traced the disc to a factory in Hong Kong
(apparently, the same people who created the
Wars boot as well). The factory was licensed to create legal
laserdisc and video CD titles, and apparently decided to branch out into
pirate DVD all on their own. The trick now, is getting the Chinese
authorities to do something about it - it's become a State Department
matter, which means that it may be a while before anything happens. The
MPAA does, at least, appear to be encouraged, in that other than these
titles and a handful of others, there doesn't seem to be a lot of
bootlegging of DVDs going on yet.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention - at yesterday's event, we also got a
chance to see New Line's Show West reel, which included the new Austin
Powers 2 trailer. Let me just say, it looks like this film
could be even better than the original. Some very funny stuff. Try this
moment on for size:
Felicity: "My name is Felicity Shagwell. Shagwell by
name... shag VERY well by reputation..."
Austin: "Oh, BE-HAAAVVE!"
Ditto. See you tomorrow... ;-)
We've got another review for you today, and in the spirit of Oscar
month, Doogan's taken a look at 1978's Best Picture-winning film, The
The folks at MGM have just purchased their way out of their DVD
distribution deal with Warner, and all of the Turner catalog has
reverted back to Warner as part of the deal. Warner will continue
distributing MGM DVD product until January 31, 2000, to facilitate the
transition, at which point MGM will take over fully. Hopefully, that
means that MGM has plans to seriously kick their DVD production up a few
notches - critical (in my opinion) given all the great Polygram titles
they now control. You can read the
I received this press statement this morning from the folks at
Sharpline Arts, who are involved in producing the special edition
content for a number of previous laserdisc projects, and are now working
in the DVD world, having just completed Artisan's Ramling
"Glendale, California (March 17, 1999) In 1992, FoxVideo
released the benchmark Special Edition Laser Disc of Ridley Scott's
ALIEN, for which Sharpline Arts' extensive supplemental presentation set
a standard for the medium. Since then, Sharpline Arts has been called
upon to preserve and enhance the gems of the Fox catalog, its staff
having produced distinguished Laser Disc special editions for ALIENS,
THE ABYSS, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, and THE KING AND I, and best-selling
soundtrack albums for THE STAR WARS TRILOGY SPECIAL EDITION. Now, 20th
Century Fox Home Entertainment will celebrate the 20th anniversary of
ALIEN with the DVD debut of all four films in the series and a VHS
Collector's Set, to be released this summer, and they have again turned
to Sharpline Arts for the supplemental programming. This time, the rare
outtakes, photographs, and behind-the-scenes footage presented on the
Laser Disc have been incorporated into a comprehensive 68-minute
documentary on the making of ALIEN, produced by David C. Fein and
directed by Michael Matessino. New interviews and additional
never-before-seen material will be featured, and the DVD will contain a
running commentary with director Ridley Scott and many more exclusive
surprises. Like its Laser Disc predecessor, ALIEN on DVD is poised to
set a new standard for the format, and is certain to be one of the most
anticipated releases of the year."
So now you know who's doing the special edition content for the Alien
DVD. By the way, Charlie is thrilled with all of those Alien
comments you've been e-mailing in, so keep them coming.
I wanted to point out that E-Town
has finally overhauled their
discussion forum, so that you have to create a unique identity,
and log in, to post. It's also being heavily moderated (to the point of
staffers even creating discussion threads themselves), so hopefully
things will get a lot more civil over there. Time was, E-Town
was a good place to talk DVD with your fellow fans - maybe it will be
Back with more tomorrow...
Congratulations to the winner of our March Trivia
Contest, Stephanie Mah! Her entry was picked, out of the 1,036
we received, and was announced last night. She won the Pioneer DV-414
DVD player, a Trio for DVD kit, and 6 discs. Nicely done, Stephanie. And
to everyone else... hang in there - we're giving another player away
We're very pleased today to be able to bring you
full-length review of DreamWorks' awesome new ANTZ
DVD, which streets later this month. I'm gonna go out on a limb here,
but the image quality on this DVD is so good, that I expect it will
become favorite demo material for a long while. You're really going to
be impressed by this one...
We've also got more
DVD artwork, this time from MGM (and one from Fox), so dive into
that. You'll notice that we have two pages of artwork now, and we'll be
adding more as it comes in.
Thanks to everyone who has sent in comments about our
with Charles de Lauzirika, on the forthcoming Alien
DVD. Charlie would love to hear from you Alien
fans out there, so if you e-mail me with your 2 cents, I'll be sure to
forward your messages on to him. See - the studios do listen to their
Speaking of the Alien DVDs, we
have a very interesting (and very tentative) bit of scuttlebutt in
Mill, so be sure to check that out.
Some of the industry trade papers have been reporting that DVD rentals
are finally beginning to build, no doubt due to the increased number of
players out there. And it isn't just the big boys who are enjoying
increased rental business - Rain City stores (a Seattle-area chain) says
that DVD rentals are now approaching 10% of their business. And, across
the board, DVD rentals are much more brisk than laserdisc.
In another interesting note, Circuit City is now claiming that
Divx-related costs are going to reduce overall earnings in the fourth
quarter by some 31 cents a share. Their fiscal year ended on February
28th, and the actual results will be reported in the first week of
April. I bet those shareholders are happy campers now.
How was the weekend, everyone? Did everyone check out the
online event last night? All of the content should now be
available to anyone who logs on to the site with the disc in their DVD
We at the Bits have been very
disturbed over a legal ruling, that's made
recently. A lawsuit has been filed against director Oliver Stone and
Time-Warner, over two kids in Louisiana, who claim that watching Natural
Born Killers 20 times made them take arms against a
convenience store clerk. Gotta love the old, "the movie made me do
it" excuse. You can read Doogan's thoughts on this case in his
We've got a
peek at the DVD cover artwork for a whole bunch of upcoming Buena
Vista DVDs, including A Bug's Life
and that Criterion Armageddon.
We're planning to grow this page into a whole new section, where we'll
post such art in the future.
The CEMA DVD sales numbers have been updated today, to reflect the
19,243 players sold to retail in the first week of March (week ending
3/5). The grand total in the U.S., with almost 2 years behind the DVD
format, is 1,648,575 players sold. The chart above,
page, have been updated accordingly.
Be sure to check out Laserviews,
which has posted another big update that includes the Alien
films, Waking Ned Devine, Elizabeth,
and a bunch of Buena Vista DVDs.
We'll be back tonight, to announce the Trivia
Contest winner. We'll also be back bright and early tomorrow,
with a full-length, advance review of DreamWorks' upcoming ANTZ!
DVD! See you then...
So is there anyone online today, or are you all in line for Wing
Commander to see the new Star Wars
trailer? Well, for those of you who may be hanging around, we've got
more coverage of Alien today.
You'll find Todd Doogan's
look at the original Alien, which talks about the film's
development history, and runs down some of the deleted scenes we might
get to see on the upcoming DVD. You die hard fans can also download a
version of that new Alien Legacy logo. And, if you missed
it yesterday, be sure to check out our
with Charles de Lauzirika, who is personally supervising the DVD's
production for director Ridley Scott.
In some housekeeping work, we've also updated Jim Taylor's
DVD FAQ to the latest version (which has LOTS of new
information), and we've updated the Top 10 Selling DVD
list as well.
Have a great weekend!
(LATE UPDATE - 3/11/99 - 3:45 PM PST)
So has everyone seen the new Phantom Menace
trailer yet? Once again, I'm absolutely blown away by the work of Lucas
and company. It looks to be a much darker film than we've seen before -
and VERY cool. Don't miss the trailer, either in theaters tomorrow, or
online (you'll find the links in today's early post, below). Fox
definitely has a hit on their hands with this flick...
Speaking of Fox, remember the other day, when I said I'd been doing
some behind-the-scenes DVD work? Well now you'll finally learn what I
was talking about. I've had the recent privilege to sit down and talk
with Ridley Scott's personal supervisor on the new Alien
DVD, Charles de Lauzirika. He's a very talented young filmmaker, and a
great guy to boot, who is working hard to make sure the DVD meets
everyone's high expectations. You can read a full
of our discussion today, and I think you'll find it fascinating.
There are some great insights into what we can look forward to on the
DVD, and you'll get your first look at the awesome new Alien
Legacy logo, courtesy of Fox. Absolutely don't miss it!
Also, speaking of Fox, the studio confirmed to me that The
X-Files DVD has been delayed at least a few days, to resolve
come technical problems with the commentary track. I'm told that the new
street date of May 4th, which is being reported by DVD.com,
is tentative. But Fox assures me that they're working hard to get the
disc out as soon as possible, with quality being their first priority.
In other news, not a day after I mentioned all those Universal titles
in yesterday's Rumor Mill, many of
them have been confirmed by a new update of
DVD News page. There are some other good titles listed there,
including those Fox Lorber Truffaut discs we mentioned yesterday, so be
sure to check it out.
MGM has confirmed those WWII DVDs they've got planned for May, as
recently in The Rumor Mill.
Look for Battan, Pork
Chop Hill, Run Silent, Run Deep
and They Were Expendable, all on
May 18th. Also, the studio has confirmed that the oft-delayed Kingpin
DVD will finally be released on May 4th, and it will include both
standard and widescreen versions, as well as new audio commentary by
Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the original theatrical trailer, and an 8-page
booklet. The disc will also feature a raunchier, R-rated version, with
even more tasteless footage restored to the film. I had tears in my eyes
after seeing the original version in theaters, so I can't wait. For
those of you who haven't seen it, think There's
Something About Mary, but even more tasteless! Should be a
We'll be back tomorrow with lots more!
(EARLY UPDATE -
3/11/99 - 10:30 AM PST)
This is just a quick early update to let everyone know that
and several other sites on the Internet now have the new Star
Wars: Phantom Menace trailer available for download. You can
link at Apple.com. We'll be back later with our regular update.
Searching for that great Francois Truffaut film on DVD? You wont have
to wait much longer. Fox Lorber has just announced that they are
releasing 6 of the director's films on DVD on April 27th. The titles
include The 400 Blows, Shoot
the Piano Player, The Last Metro,
Confidentially Yours, Love
on the Run, and Two English Girls.
All will be released to coincide with a 40th anniversary celebration of
the director's first feature film, and all but 400
Blows are new to DVD. The 400
Blows is expected to include commentary by film critic Glen
Kenny (of Premiere magazine),
trailers and more. All will retail for a $29.98. Six more Truffaut films
will be released in August, including Jules
and Jim, Bed and Board,
Stolen Kisses, The
Woman Next Door, The Soft Skin
and a disc of two short films, Antoine and
Collette and Les Mistons.
We've got more upcoming DVD title information in today's Rumor
Mill update, so be sure to check that out. You'll find info on
Paramount, Universal and Artisan this time around.
The Fox web site had a very brief online poll the other day, allowing
fans to choose the package design they preferred for their new Alien
Legacy VHS boxed set. The poll was only up for a very brief
time. I'm told that the DVD package may be somewhat different than
either of these, but they're cool nonetheless. Word is the "egg
field" concept won out.
Some other news today: DTS has
its own entry in to the 6.1 digital surround sound arena - DTS-ES. This
is no doubt an effort to not be left behind by Dolby's forthcoming
Digital-Surround EX. What is this - the Cola wars? Fear not DVD
fans, there's plenty of life yet to 5.1...
Have you heard? Divx supporter Future Shop is indeed closing all of
their U.S. stores. Gosh, I'm bummed... (wink wink). You can read the
press release here.
It really begins to beg the question: with all of the major DVD releases
currently in the works, and with all of the major Hollywood studios
ramping up their DVD plans, is Divx even really a factor anymore? We'll
have more on this soon. Also PC game developer Psygnosis is working hard
on their first DVD-based computer game, entitled Lander.
Sounds cool, so check out the
release for the details. Broderbund and The Learning Company are
also developing DVD versions of some of their Creativity Line of
software titles (see
Finally today, I'd like to congratulate Peter Bracke on the new,
revised launch of his web site, DVD
File.com. Looks great, Pete!
Reviews at last, reviews at last... thank God almighty... we've got
reviews at last! Yes indeed, we've finally got some of those DVD reviews
we promised last week up today. You can read our full-length looks at a
pair of new hit DVDs,
Hour. And in honor of this month's Academy Awards, we're
taking a look at 1996's Best Picture film
English Patient. More reviews are on the way tomorrow.
We had a very busy weekend (which pushed right into Monday as well)
here at the Bits. We had the
opportunity to do a little behind-the-scenes work up in L.A. yesterday,
and you'll be seeing the result of that soon. I'll tell you more about
it as soon as I can, but we're all pretty excited about it around here.
A couple of weeks worth of CEMA DVD player sales numbers have just
arrived. The week ending 2/19 saw 23,592 players sold into retail, and
the following week (ending 2/26) saw another 54,516 sold. The grand
total is now 1,629,332 sold since Day One. We've updated the
listing above, and the
Around the Net, Laserviews
has updated their DVD
News page to include some new titles. And Capitol Records has
a day-and-date release of the Radiohead DVD, Meeting
People Is Easy.
We were all very surprised and saddened about the death, over the
weekend, of director Stanley Kubrick. The news has certainly hit the
Internet film community hard -
has a whole page of links to various stories on his death. And
there are some... well, plenty silly posts about this around the Net as
well. Personally, I can't think of a better way to remember the man,
than to go out and spin a few of his films in your DVD player. If you're
looking for some good ones to watch, I'd like to refer you to our
reviews of two of my favorite Kubrick films on DVD - 2001:
A Space Odyssey and
Strangelove. Thankfully, Warner is preparing several more of
his films for DVD release later this summer. And what greater final gift
can Kubrick have given the world, than one last film - the
just-completed Eyes Wide Shut? Our
own Todd Doogan has a couple of final things to say on this subject
today, with a heavy heart to be sure, but thankfully, with his wits
about him (click
here for his editorial).
Finally today, I'd like to tip my baseball cap to recognize the passing
of Joltin' Joe DiMaggio, whose 1941 56 consecutive game hitting streak
has never been equaled. Swing on, Joe.
See you all tomorrow.
Sorry for the lack of updates the last few days. I've had some very
interesting things come up (DVD-wise) that I'm having to devote my
attention to. But I'll be back late tonight or early tomorrow morning,
with those reviews and an update on everything. See you then...
Well, it's very early in the morning, and I've got the first of those
reviews posted - a look a Fox's new Ever
After DVD. Since I'm getting this post out of the way early,
I'll be spending the whole day working on the rest of those reviews, so
look for more to appear this afternoon.
In the meantime, I've got a bunch of ground to cover today. First of
all, I've gotten a look at those Die Hard
DVDs, and I can tell you that the discs are all RSDL dual-layered. They
each include a "making-of" featurette and a slideshow of
production photos, as well as theatrical trailers. All feature
fully-animated menu screens, and the quality appears to be excellent.
It seems we can't escape the building Star
Wars hype. You fans will want to read this
of a Yahoo on-line chat with Phantom Menace
producer Rick McCallum. Despite what McCallum says about "no date
yet being set" for the release of the second Episode
I trailer, we at The Digital Bits
have confirmed that it will be attached to Fox's Wing
Commander, which opens on March 12th. So get ready for LONG
lines. By the way, we've heard the new trailer will blow people away...
Speaking of Star Wars, we've had
tons of people asking us if we can confirm the
Online story about the DVD versions of the trilogy being announced
in March and released in May. This is completely false. We've said this
before, and we'll probably have to keep saying it - while the film
transfers have likely been completed, work on the DVDs has NOT yet
begun. Trust us on this one - there's NO way the discs will appear in
May. Look for them in the fall or shortly before the holidays.
We've got some really terrific new information in today's
Mill update, about a host of exciting, upcoming Paramount
titles, and a few other things as well. You definitely won't want to
Remember that company, Digital
Versatile Disc, that brought you the DTS Legend
of Mulan? Well they're gearing up to release a game called
Shadoan to DVD, based on the
arcade game Thayers Quest. It's an
interactive animated adventure, very similar to Dragon's
Lair (in fact, its designer is none other than the co-creator
of Dragon's Lair, Rick Dyer). The
release will include dual DVD-ROM and DVD-Video versions on the same
disc, and will be compatible with all current DVD players. It will also
include DTS 5.1 sound, as well as a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Other
features include score memory, subtitles in seven languages, IBM
ViaVoice enhancement (DVD-ROM only), and a free strategy guide. No word
yet on a firm street date.
Finally today, we'd like to thank the folks at Audio
Magazine, for the nice mention of The
Digital Bits in their March issue. There's a whole feature
story on surfing the Net for audio and DVD information, and the Bits
is mentioned as a good place to point your browser. There's even a nice
screen shot of our home page. We're really honored to be recognized by
such a well-respected publication. Our congrats also to
Theater Forum, and DVD
Post, who also got mentioned.
Stay tuned for more reviews, and have yourselves a great weekend!
Gods, another busy day of phone calls and faxes! The reviews will be
posted this evening - I'm going to be working on them all afternoon, so
they will definitely be posted tonight.
However, I'm pleased to say that I can officially kill another bogus
rumor which is circulating around the Net today. There have been rumors
of a street date change for The X-Files
DVD. This is not so. The disc is on target to street, as expected, April
20th. I'm also please to be able to announce that the DVD will include
not just one theatrical trailer, but all three of the trailers that were
(are are currently) available on the
official web site. I know several people have e-mailed me to ask
You may also have heard that The Siege
is expected to street on April 20th as well, which is true. The latter
film is not expected to be in anamorphic widescreen. I've also been
checking with Fox as to whether True Lies
will be anamorphic. I've been told that that may still be up in the air
- the transfer that will be used for the DVD has not yet been done. I'll
keep you up to date on this.
By the way, True Lies was listed
in the Laserviews
3/2 update. Laserviews made
update yesterday, with additional titles from Image.
In other news, Warner has announced the skinny on their forthcoming
You've Got Mail DVD, and
thankfully, AOL will not be bundled with it! There will, however, be
lots of cool features on the disc. Check out Warner's
press release for the details. On the hardware side, Sony has
announced plans for a hefty new piece of equipment - a 200 disc DVD
changer. Be sure to read their
release as well. Also, Sonic Solutions is now shipping the world's
first DVD-Audio authoring software package. Talk about fast. Again, you
can read the details in their
I'll be back with those disc reviews tonight. See you then!
Nothing like fact checking and chasing down rumors to eat up your time.
I've been stuck doing a bunch of research today, on DVD issues which
came up suddenly yesterday, so the reviews I promised yesterday are
getting bumped until tomorrow.
Until then, Laserviews
has been updated with some interesting new titles, including True
Lies from Fox, so be sure to check that out. Pioneer
Entertainment is holding a massive mail-order laserdisc sale - hundreds
of titles at $10 each. Check their
web site for
the details. Roger
Waters has announced that Pink Floyd's
The Wall is currently in production at the Sony DVD center,
being transferred from a newly-discovered print of the film. Very cool.
Finally today, there has been a rumor spreading around the Net, which
I've received several e-mails about, to the effect that DreamWorks' ANTZ
DVD would also be a straight digital transfer (from the original digital
animation files) like Disney's A Bug's Life.
I've checked with DreamWorks on this issue, and that is absolutely
untrue. ANTZ will be the first
full-length, fully-CGI film on DVD, but the transfer was done using the
standard telecine process. It will however, be anamorphic on DVD, which
A Bug's Life will not. I'm not
sure who started this rumor, but it's completely bogus.
We're very happy today, to feature an interview with
and Linda Lukas, the owners of Dave's Video - The Laser Place. You
may recall that we mention Dave's Video from time to time here at the
Bits. Dave's is the venue of the
Day event, here in L.A. every year. They also host lots of great
signing events with feature film directors and other talent. Dave and
Linda have a lot of history with the film biz, so I think you'll find
the interview an interesting read.
Also today, we're pleased to be able to give you all a look at the
box art and features
on Fox's upcoming The X-Files DVD.
I'm a big fan of the show, so I can't wait for this title. Wouldn't you
know it, Buena Vista e-mailed over those
shots from Criterion's upcoming DVD of Armageddon.
We missed them last week, due to a technical glitch, and they've
previously been posted on DVD
Resource. But if you haven't seen them yet, you'll definitely
want to check them out now (click
here, and be patient, as they'll take a minute to load).
Film scholar David Skal sent me a nice e-mail yesterday, saying that
he's already well into production on those great, classic horror DVDs
over at Universal. You may recall that we've reported previously, that
David is producing the collector's edition DVDs, which include both film
versions of Dracula, The
Bride of Frankenstein and The
Wolf Man. David tells me that the first of the series will be
Frankenstein, which should street
sometime in August. Can't wait!
In other industry news, you videogame fans will be happy to learn that
has revealed some of the details of their next generation game
console (aka PlayStation 2), and it WILL use DVD as the heart of the
system (very cool!). Look for a US market arrival in the fall of 2000.
It's beginning to look as if Saving Private
Ryan will find its way to video as a rental title in May - no
word yet on a DVD version. We've heard that MGM is going to begin
packaging their DVDs with anti-theft tags, starting in April (makes good
sense to us). Also, when Warner's You've Got
Mail hits DVD on May 4th, the disc will include a bunch of
cool special features, including interviews with director Nora Ephron,
and links to real online chat rooms. But I'll cringe if it comes bundled
with AOL 4.0... Finally today, Troma
is giving away a trip to the Cannes Film Festival. Be sure to stop by
web site for more details.
We'll be back tomorrow with full-length reviews of some great new DVD
titles. So we'll see you then!
All of a sudden, it's feeling kinda March-ish, isn't it? So how was
everybody's weekend? Mine, of course, was spent preparing for the
upgrade to version 2.0 of the Bits.
Things are coming along fairly well, and the weekend seems to be the
best time to get all of the odds and ends wrapped up on the upgrade. We
should be just a couple weeks away from rolling it out now - we'll keep
you up to date.
I've been getting a lot of e-mail asking what Todd's been up to.
Well... you can read his latest
Views column today, and find out for yourself. We've also got
the March Trivia
Contest going today, which will give you the chance to win
another DVD player, and six movies. Sarah's been working on the new
crossword puzzle, and it's a tough one. Oscar is the theme of the
contest this month, and we think you'll enjoy it.
Titanic DVD that we told you about a few months ago?
Well the digital pirates are at it again. One of our readers sent us
scans of an illegal DVD of Star Wars
now available for sale in Asia and Australia. As with the Titanic
disc, it appears to have been mastered from a laserdisc, and is of
poor quality. And again, the pirates have made plenty of errors on the
disc packaging and on the disc itself. You can see a larger scan of
the cover, and the disc, by
here (be patient - it will take a minute or two load). Somehow,
I don't think Universal is behind this (as the edge of the disc
claims). Thanks, Niklas!
Theater Forum had another on-line chat with DVD producer
Jonathan Gains, and we've got the
up - definitely worth a read. For those of you who may not know who he
is, Jonathan is producing the upcoming Ronin
live event. Around the Net this weekend,
has got some menu screens up from Criterion's new Armageddon
DVD, so be sure to check that out. Also, be sure to congratulate Pete
over at DVD File
on getting his review database going. The guy's been hard at work on it
for some time, and it seems to work pretty well.
See you back here tomorrow!
Some exciting Alien series news
for you today. We've gotten a good look at the set of features on the
upcoming Alien Legacy series, and
we think you'll be impressed. Here's just SOME of what you can look
Alien - THX, 16x9, new film
transfer, full-length audio commentary with Ridley Scott, interviews
with crew, deleted scenes, original storyboards, production stills, 30
min + behind-the-scenes documentary, booklet with production notes
Aliens - THX, 16x9, new film
transfer, director James Cameron's longer director's cut, production
artwork from the collections of Cameron, Ron Cobb and Syd Mead, original
advertising materials, annotated history, production photographs,
interview with Cameron, production notes in booklet
Alien 3 - THX, 16x9, new film
transfer, 23 minute behind-the-scenes documentary The
Making of Alien 3, interviews with cast and crew, production
notes in booklet
Alien: Resurrection - THX, 16x9,
new film transfer, booklet with production notes, 3 minute featurette
Let me stress that this list is definitely incomplete. There are other
features that are still in development. Much of what was included in the
laserdisc SEs of Alien and Aliens
will be included here, along with new material being created
specifically for the DVD release. Also, those of you who buy the Alien
Legacy 4-pack, will be rewarded with a set of 9 collector's
cards, not available anywhere else. Look for all of them to street on
June 1st. We'll have more on this set as we can.
In the meantime, we've also confirmed the features that will be
included on The X-Files DVD, due
on April 20th. Unfortunately, no other deleted scenes or alternate
ending will be included, other than the scene that was already added
back in for the home video release. But, you will get full length audio
commentary from Chris Carter and director Rob Bowman, a 30 minute
documentary, and the original theatrical trailer. By the way, Fox tells
me that April 20th is still a good release date, despite rumors of a
delay reported elsewhere on the Net.
Also today, we have the details on Buena Vista May DVD plans, and I
think you'll be somewhat excited. It definitely looks as though The
Mouse is ramping up their DVD output. Look for 8 titles from the studio
in May. You can read more about them in today's
Have a great weekend!