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(Archived Posts 2/16/06 - 1/31/06)
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We're kicking things off today early with
from Variety and
Business that Sony, Paramount and Warner are all throttling
back on UMD movie releases for Sony's portable PSP game system due to
software sales falling below expectations. There's apparently some hope,
however, that a new PSP upgrade that Sony Electronics is preparing will
boost sales again. The device, expected to be available soon, is an
adaptor that will allow the PSP to connect to a standard TV set for UMD
movie playback on larger screens. We've had a feeling here at The
Bits that this format was going to cool off sooner rather
than later. In the meantime, you can expect most studios to focus on
comedy UMD titles, which are apparently among the biggest sellers on the
Speaking of UMD releases, Fox has set X-Men,
X2: X-Men United, Family
Guy: The Freakin' Sweet Collection and Grandma's
Boy for 5/9, with Donnie Darko
following on 5/23. Apparently they didn't get the UMD slowdown memo over
On the good old standard DVD front today, we have word that Warner has
announced the release of Tristam Shandy: A
Cock & Bull Story for 5/16 (SRP $27.95). Look for the
disc to include audio commentary by Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, deleted
and extended scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, an interview with
Coogan and theatrical trailers.
The studio has also announced The Dirty
Dozen: Special Edition for 5/23 (SRP $26.99). The 2-disc set
will include anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and
extras TBA. We'll post more details when we have them.
Not to be outdone on the World War II movie front, 20th Century Fox has
set new 2-disc special editions of Tora!
Tora! Tora!, Patton and
The Longest Day for release on
5/23 as well (SRP $19.98 each). Each will feature anamorphic widescreen
video. Patton will include an
introduction and audio commentary by filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, a
photo gallery with audio essay, The Making of
Patton documentary, the History
Through the Lens: Patton: A Rebel Revisited and Patton's
Ghost Corps featurettes, a production stills gallery
(accompanied by Jerry Goldsmith's complete musical score) and the film's
original theatrical trailer. Tora! Tora!
Tora! will include commentary by director Richard Fleischer
and Japanese film historian Stewart Galbraith, the Day
of Infamy documentary, 3 behind-the-scenes featurettes, 10
original Movietone News historical shorts and the film's theatrical
trailer. Finally, The Longest Day
will include historical audio commentary, 5 featurettes, a stills
gallery and the film's theatrical trailer.
Be sure to stop by
Rumor Mill this morning for an update on Kenneth Branagh's
Hamlet, as well as Universal's
And don't forget to check out Barrie's
Classic Coming Attractions column, featuring 15 new
classic DVD reviews, which we posted last night!
(LATE UPDATE - 2/15/05 - 5 PM PST)
Just a quick late update... we've just posted Barrie Maxwell's
Classic Coming Attractions column today, featuring reviews
of 15 new, recent and forthcoming classic film DVD releases, including
Strength Keaton and
The Men Behind the Mayhem, Grapevine Video's
Girl from Calgary/Girl O' My Dreams, Warner's
Cary Grant Box Set (including The
Awful Truth, Holiday,
Only Angels Have Wings, His
Girl Friday and The Talk of the
in Havana and
in the Sun, Universal's re-issues of
of a Doubt,
Man Who Knew Too Much,
Plot, and VCI's
All Limits. Barrie also updates the latest classic release
announcements and reviews Warner's recently-announced classic DVD plans
for 2006. Don't miss it!
(EARLY UPDATE - 2/15/05 -
12:45 PM PST)
We've got some interesting TV show release updates for you today.
First, however, you'll definitely want to check
Rumor Mill for the latest street date information on Syriana,
Brokeback Mountain and more.
Also today, there's some major HD format news.
Technica is reporting that the final spec for the Advanced
Access Content System (AACS - due to be used on both HD-DVD and Blu-ray
Disc) has been delayed once more. The delay is expected to last at least
a month, meaning that the March launch of HD-DVD will likely now have to
be pushed back until April or May (about the same time that Blu-ray was
expected to hit store shelves). This HD-DVD delays occurs despite the
fact that the final haggling with regard to the AACS spec is strictly
related to a dynamic Blu-ray encryption protocol called BD+, which would
allow the BD Group to change the format's encryption scheme at any point
down the line, if an earlier scheme should be cracked (thus preventing
the crack from working on all BD format software). HD-DVD has to wait
for the AACS spec to be finalized too, so you know the folks at Toshiba
have to be pulling their hair out over this. Apparently, the various
members of the AACS licensing authority couldn't agree on the final spec
last week, thus causing the delay. Could the disagreement simply be a
delaying tactic by the Blu-ray camp to wipe-out HD-DVD's anticipated
first-to-market edge? Well... I certainly wouldn't put it past them.
All's fair in love and format war, right? We'll keep our eye on this,
Now then... that TV news. HBO will release Deadwood:
The Complete Second Season on 5/23 (SRP $99.98). The 6-disc
set will include 12 episodes in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio, several audio commentaries with cast and crew
members, and a number of new featurettes.
Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox has announced a 5-disc The
Big Valley: Season One set for release on 5/16 (SRP $39.98).
Universal has set both Coach: The First
Season and The Rockford Files:
Season Two for release on 6/13. Coach
will be a 2-disc set (SRP $34.98) and will come with or without limited
edition packaging. The Rockford Files
will be a 3-disc set (SRP $39.98). No word yet on extras for either
title if any.
Also today, Anchor Bay Entertainment's Tripping
the Rift: The Complete Second Season (due on 4/4, SRP $29.98)
will be a 2-disc set including 13 episodes, the Tripping
the Rift Season 2: Where No Chode Has Gone Before featurette,
outtakes and bloopers, and a Eureka promo.
And there's a bit of feature film DVD news today as well. Fox has set
The Family Stone for release on
5/2 (SRP $29.98), while a Grandma's Boy:
Unrated Edition will follow on 5/9 (SRP $27.98). The
Family Stone will be available in separate anamorphic
widescreen and full frame editions, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras
will include audio commentary with stars Sarah Jessica Parker and Dermot
Mulroney, a second commentary with director director Thomas Bezucha and
members of the production crew, 6 deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes
featurettes, outtakes and much more. Grandma's
Boy will include both the theatrical version of the film and
a new unrated version on the same disc via seamless branching, along
with audio commentary, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, a
gag reel and more.
Here's more new cover art... Sony's Final
Fantasy VII: Advent Children (4/25), Fox's The
Laurel and Hardy Collection: Volume One (4/11) and Anchor
Bay's Tripping the Rift: The Complete Second
By the way, you can find more interesting TV DVD release news and
rumors today from our friends Gord and David over at
We'll be back later this afternoon with a new Classic
Coming Attractions column from our own Barrie Maxwell. Stay
(LATE UPDATE - 2/14/06 -
2:15 PM PST)
We've just posted
latest edition of Jahnke's Electric Theatre here at The
Bits, featuring Adam's thoughts on some of the films now
playing at your local cineplex, as well as on DVD.
is indicating that 20th Century Fox will release Ridley Scott's
191-minute Kingdom of Heaven: Director's Cut
on DVD on 5/23 (as a 4-disc set). The studio has yet to release official
details on this, but we expect confirmation very soon.
Also this afternoon, retail sources are telling us to expect New Line
to release Terrence Malick's The New World
on DVD on 5/30. We've confirmed this with sources, but be aware that the
studio still has yet to make its official announcement.
We've got word today on a possible King
Kong: Extended Edition (as in the Peter Jackson version).
You'll find that in
Rumor Mill today.
Around the site today, we've kicked off FOUR new
today, giving you the chance to take home copies of Warner's
Country, Anchor Bay's
from the Sun: Season Three, White Star's
and a February
Fun Giveaway including a Sony DVD player, an Apple iPod Nano and
six great DVDs! All of these contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on
Sunday, February 26th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!
Finally this afternoon, we want to take a moment to acknowledge
passing of Jaws author Peter Benchley on Saturday. He was
(EARLY UPDATE - 2/14/06 -
1:30 AM PST)
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!
Boy... you wonder why it's taking us so long to get the rest of our CES
stuff up? Every time we turn around there's some major new announcement
or news story to chase down! Not surprisingly, today is no exception.
We've been expecting it
now, but Universal has finally (officially) announced the DVD
release of Peter Jackson's King Kong
for 3/28. Three versions will be available - single-disc full frame and
anamorphic widescreen standard editions (SRP $29.98 each) and a 2-disc
anamorphic widescreen Special Edition
(SRP $30.98). Audio for each will be Dolby Digital 5.1. All of the
versions will feature the same 188-minute cut seen in theaters. Specific
details on the extras to be included have yet to be released, but you
can reasonably expect audio commentary and lots of those
behind-the-scenes production dairies
in The Rumor Mill the other day.
Not to be outdone today, 20th Century Fox has announced a few new
titles as well. First of all, on 5/9, look for The
Poseidon Adventure: Special Edition and The
Towering Inferno: Special Edition. Each will be a new 2-disc
set with the film in anamorphic widescreen video (SRP $19.98 apiece).
The Poseidon Adventure will
include audio commentary (with Ronald Neame, Pamela Sue Martin, Stella
Stevens and Carol Lynley), the Follow the
Escape "interactive" featurette, 7
behind-the-scenes featurettes (including The
Cast Looks Back, Falling Up with
Ernie, The Heart of Disaster:
Stirling Silliphant, The Heroes of
the Poseidon, The Morning After
Story, The R.M.S. Queen Mary
and AMC Backstory: The Poseidon Adventure),
3 Ronald Neame featurettes (including Sinking
Corridor, Generations of Fans
and Turning Over the Ship),
storyboard comparisons for 3 scenes, the original 1972 promotional
featurette, the film's teaser and theatrical trailers, a trailer for
The Towering Inferno, an
interactive American Cinematographer
article and galleries of marketing, publicity and behind-the-scenes
The Towering Inferno will include
audio commentary with film historian F.X. Feeney, scene-specific
commentary by special effects director Mike Venzina and stunt
coordinator Branko Racki, 10 behind-the-scenes featurettes (including
Inside the Tower: We Remember,
Innovating Tower: The SPFX of an Inferno,
The Art of Towering, Irwin
Allen: The Great Producer, Directing
the Inferno, Putting Out Fire,
Running on Fire, Still
the World's Tallest Building, The
Heart of Disaster: Stirling Silliphant and AMC
Backstory: The Towering Inferno), more than 19
deleted/extended scenes, theatrical trailers and galleries of marketing,
publicity and behind-the-scenes images.
But wait... there's more from Fox. On 5/16, the studio will release
Napoleon Dynamite: Like the Best Special
Edition Ever! The 2-disc set (SRP $26.98) will include
anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary
(with director/co-writer Jared Hess, actor Jon Heder and producer Jeremy
Coon), 4 deleted scenes (with optional commentary), additional
never-before-seen deleted scenes and outtakes, a stills gallery, the
Peluca short film (with optional
commentary), the The Wedding of the Century!
featurette, all of the MTV on-air
promos, a featurette on the making of the promos, The
Real Napoleon Dynamite all-new documentary, Napoleon
Sightings clips, additional promo clips from ESPN and TRL,
the SNL opening with Jon Heder,
the MTV Movie Awards clips,
Cartoon Network's Napoleon Bonomite,
Teen Choice Awards clips and more.
Then a week later, on 5/23, Fox will release The
Boondock Saints: Unrated Special Edition on both DVD and UMD
formats. On the DVD, the film will be available in both full frame and
anamorphic widescreen versions, each with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
Extras will include audio commentary with writer/director Troy Duffy and
actor Billy Connolly, deleted scenes, outtakes and trailers.
Finally, Sony has announced some more new DVD releases for 4/24,
including new titles, new versions of catalog films and TV series
releases as well. These will include Bachelor
Party Vegas, The Detonator,
Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer,
Odyssey 5: The Complete Series,
Casualties of War: Extended Cut,
Crumb: Special Edition, Guys
and Dolls: Deluxe Edition, The
Replacement Killers: Extended Cut and The
Patriot: Extended Cut.
Sony has also set a UMD version of Stripes
for release on 4/24, along with DVD/UMD 2-packs of The
Fifth Element, Snatch,
Ghostbusters and Mad
Okay... let's take a look at cover art for a few of the just-announced
titles, shall we? Here's both versions of Universal's King
Kong, along with Fox's Napoleon
Dynamite: Like the Best Special Edition Ever!, The
Boondock Saints: Unrated Special Edition, The
Poseidon Adventure: Special Edition and The
Towering Inferno: Special Edition...
Stay tuned for more later this afternoon, after I manage to cram in a
We've got some interesting stuff for you DVD-wise today, but first... a
I've gotta tell you, I love watching the Winter Olympics. Maybe it's
because I come from a cold weather climate myself, and maybe it's
because the winter sports are just so extreme. Luge? That's a sport
invented by the insane, for the insane. I'm addicted and it's all the
better in high-def. I must say, however, that what NBC calls high-def
leaves something to be desired. It's 1080i, sure. But talk about digital
compression! If you want to know what extreme examples of compression
artifacting look like, watch NBC's Winter Olympics coverage. You'll see
it just about any time something large moves too fast, or when you get a
ton of little somethings moving all at once. When everything's still,
the image looks great. But when it gets busy... it's a blocky, UG-LY
mess. NBC take note. Broadcasters are just WAY over-compressing their HD
signals these days, and it's a real shame.
Bob Costas and Katie Couric are also a real shame, but that's a whole
other topic. I'm just saying.
Anyway, let's get to that DVD news, shall we?
First up, we
told you it was coming... and now 20th Century Fox has OFFICIALLY
announced that they'll release Boston Legal:
Season One on DVD on 5/23 (SRP $39.98). The 5-disc set will
include all 17 first season episodes of the show in anamorphic
widescreen with Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround audio. Extras will include
audio commentary on the episode Death Be Not
Proud, on-camera interviews with the cast and writers, and
the Court Is Now in Session: How Boston Legal
Came to Be featurette.
Other TV titles newly announced by Fox for release in May include King
of the Hill: Season 6 (on 5/2), That
70's Show: Season 4 (5/9), Hill
Street Blues: Season 2 (5/16) and M*A*S*H:
Season 10 (5/23).
Here's another title we're pleased to say has finally been announced
(we just mentioned how hard Sony was working to get it done a couple
weeks ago - down near the bottom of
1/31 post)... Final Fantasy VII: Advent
Children has been slated for DVD release on 4/25 (SRP $26.96)
as a 2-disc special edition. You'll get anamorphic widescreen video,
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, deleted scenes, a story digest, a "making
of" featurette, Venice Film Festival footage and a sneak peek at
upcoming games in the Compilation of Final
Fantasy VII videogame series. FYI, a UMD version for the PSP
will be available on 4/25 as well.
Sony has also announced Fun with Dick and
Jane for release on both DVD and UMD formats on 4/11
expected. The DVD (SLP $28.95) will include both full frame and
anamorphic widescreen on the same disc, along with Dolby Digital 5.1
audio. Extras will include audio commentary with director Dean Parisot
and screenwriters Judd Apatow and Nicholas Stoller, a gag reel, deleted
scenes and a video of funny moments and outtakes from the film's press
junket. You'll be able to buy the UMD version separately for the same
price, or bundled with the DVD version for $39.95.
Elsewhere around The Bits today,
Rumor Mill with information of potential interest to you Chronicles
of Narnia fans, along with word on another upcoming title as
well. Don't miss it.
Also this morning, Criterion has let it be known in their latest e-mail
newsletter that they'll be releasing director Richard Linklater's Dazed
and Confused on DVD this summer.
Speaking of newsletters, our old pal Frank Ortiz e-mailed me over the
weekend to say that Circuit City's already promoting Blu-ray Disc in
their latest e-mail blasts. The retailer claims that Samsung's BD-P1000
will be the first Blu-ray player available to the public and that
they'll have it in stock "in early spring" for $999. It's not
yet available for pre-order, but you can
here to view the Blu-ray page at their website.
Around the Net this morning,
Business is reporting that Best Buy and Amazon.com will be
among the first retailers to carry HD-DVD hardware and software in
March. The story also notes that shipments of software from Warner and
Sony (both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc when it's available) are going to be
closely allocated to stores carrying hardware as well in order to ensure
a strong presence for the formats at retail locations. The first HD-DVD
titles are tentatively expected from Warner on 3/28, but no specifics
have been given to distributors, retailers or the media as yet. We'll
let you know when that changes.
In other news today,
has posted an interesting story on a new practice being used by
Netflix called "throttling," which basically means that
different customers get different quality of service. Frequent renters
are penalized by having their disc shipments delayed and by being placed
in the back of the waiting line for the hottest and newest titles. It's
a move designed to protect profit margins, but it's sure to make some
long-time customers upset.
Okay... are any of you interested in seeing more cool cover art today?
Bits reader Aaron P. clued us in
that Fox's art for Walk the Line
is finally available (and that we haven't posted it yet), so here's a
look at it. That 2-disc collector's edition cover is pretty badass. The
title was originally due to street on 2/28, although we're hearing that
there may now be a delay. We'll look into it and let you know.
Finally this morning, it seems that DreamWorks has been soliciting
advice about the cover artwork for Munich
(TBA, but we expect it to be announced soon for release on 5/9 via
Paramount). Bits reader Ed K.
participated in an online survey last week, in which he was asked to
select his favorite among the following five choices (keep in mind all
of these are early mock-ups only)...
I don't know about you guys, but I kinda like that first one (top row,
left), although the third one over is on the right track too. Anyway, I
expect we'll see the final design fairly soon, but this is at least an
interesting look at the effort the Hollywood studios often go through
when creating cover art for their DVD releases. Thanks again to Ed K.
for sending these over.
Okay, that's enough to chew on with your coffee and danish. We'll be
back later this afternoon (and this evening) with more, so stay tuned...
We've got still more new DVD announcements to report for you today.
20th Century Fox will release Johnny Knoxville's Special Olympics
comedy The Ringer on 5/16 (SRP
$29.98). The disc will include both full frame and anamorphic widescreen
video (on opposite sides of the disc), with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio,
director's commentary, deleted scenes, a gag reel, trailers and a
Special Olympics PSA.
Fox has also set Cheaper by the Dozen 2
for release on 5/23 (SRP also $29.98). This will also be a flipper disc
with anamorphic widescreen on one side and full frame on the other.
Audio will be Dolby Digital 5.1, and extras will include director's
commentary, the FOX Movie Channel: Casting
Session special, 3 behind-the-scenes featurettes and
Meanwhile, Buena Vista has announced a Con
Air: Unrated Extended Cut, as well as an Enemy
of the State: Unrated Extended Cut, both for release on 5/16
(SRP $19.99 each). Con Air will
include anamorphic widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, but no
details as to the extras have yet been announced. Enemy
of the State will also include anamorphic widescreen video
and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, and extras will include deleted scenes,
The Making of Enemy of the State
documentary, an All Access: The Showdown
Scene feature and the original theatrical trailer.
On the TV front, Buena Vista has announced the 3-disc Golden
Girls: Season Five, along with the 3-disc Scrubs:
Season Three, both due 5/9 (SRP $39.99 each).
Buena Vista has also finally (officially) announced the DVD release of
Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media's The
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
for 4/4. The single-disc version (SRP $29.99) will be available in
either full frame or anamorphic widescreen, and will include audio
commentary with director Andrew Adamson, production designer Roger Ford
and producer Mark Johnson, a second commentary with Adamson and the
film's child stars (Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley and
Anna Popplewell), a text trivia track option, and bloopers. The 2-disc
Special Collector's Edition
version will include anamorphic widescreen video, and all of the special
features from the single-disc version. Additional extras will include
the Chronicle of a Director video
diary, The Children's Magical Journey
set tour, 8 different Cinematic Storytellers
video diaries, 3 behind-the-scenes featurettes (including Anatomy
of a Scene: The Melting River, C.S.
Lewis: From One Man's Mind and the interactive Creating
Creatures), Creatures of the World
biographies, an interactive 3D Narnia map and the Legends
in Time timeline. Audio for both editions will be available
in a Dolby Digital 5.1 "Home Theater Mix" and DTS 5.1. Note
that the studio is releasing a UMD version for the PSP on 4/4 as well
(SRP $29.99) which will include bloopers.
Here's the preliminary cover art for Buena Vista's new unrated extended
editions of Con Air and Enemy
of the State, along with the final art for their unrated
extended edition of Crimson Tide
(also due on 5/16)...
Finally today, we now know when the United States is expected to make
the final switch from analog to digital broadcasting... and it's just
three years away. Signed into law by President Bush on Wednesday, the
The Budget Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 includes a provision that sets
2/17/09 as the date when analog TV signals are planned to cease. So you
know... plan accordingly. You'll need to buy Digital TVs by then, or a
yet-to-be-designed converter box that will allow your regular analog TVs
to keep working. You can read more
at Video Business.
Now then... we've got some great stuff all lined up for posting on
Monday, including new features from Adam Jahnke and more (you might even
see some of that CES coverage at long last).
So have a great weekend and we'll see you then!
We've got some interesting stuff for you today.
First up, hot on the heels of having released the 2.35:1 aspect ratio
film Lord of War on DVD
reformatted to 1.78:1, we're getting word now from retail sources
(though we have yet to see the disc ourselves - it streets on 2/14) that
Lionsgate's Saw II (a 1.85:1 film)
has also been reformatted to 1.78:1 for DVD. Lionsgate informed us (click
here and slide down a few paragraphs) that the Lord
of War decision was made by the film's production company.
There's no word yet on the reasons for the Saw
Also today, we've got word in
Rumor Mill on expected street dates for Syriana,
Shopgirl and Casanova,
along with some of the extras planned for Kiss
Kiss Bang Bang. Don't miss it.
On the UMD front, Warner has officially announced that they'll release
True Romance and The
Matrix Reloaded for the PSP on 6/6. Our
Movie Release List has been updated accordingly.
By the way,
mentioned yesterday that Paramount will be releasing Wings:
The Complete First Season on 5/23. We should have said Wings:
The Complete First and Second Seasons. Thanks to everyone who
caught that error. ;-)
Interested in some more new cover art? Universal has yet to make their
official announcement, but here's what the German art for the 2-disc
Peter Jackson's King Kong: Limited Edition
is going to look like. Here's also Sony's artwork for Memoirs
of a Geisha (3/28) and Paramount's Wings:
The Complete First and Second Seasons...
(LATE UPDATE - 2/8/06 -
12:30 PM PST)
We've got some great news for you Planet of
the Apes fans. We've learned that 20th Century Fox's new Apes
DVD sets, including the Legacy and
Ultimate collections and the
single disc title as well, will include the longer, 92-minute "extended
TV version" of Battle for the Planet of
the Apes. The theatrical version (86 minutes) is all that's
been available here in the States to this point, but the longer version
has been available in Japan previously. Finally, on 3/28, you'll get it
here too. Note that we have confirmed this directly with Fox Home Video,
so it's the real deal, and it's good news indeed.
Also today, Sony has officially announced its pricing structure for
Blu-ray Disc titles. Catalog BD titles will be released at a wholesale
price of $17.95. New release BD titles will wholesale for $23.45. That
should mean that the top prices for Sony titles on the format will top
out at about $29 (for catalog) and $35 (for new releases). The first
titles are expected from the studio early this summer (think May or
June). In addition, the studio has suggested that it may bundle Blu-ray
Disc titles with versions of the same film compatible with other
formats. So you might be able to buy a combo pack that contains both
Blu-ray and UMD versions of the film, or Blu-ray, DVD and UMD all in one
pack. The studio has already announced DVD/UMD combo packs of several
titles, as we reported a few days ago (click
here and slide down a paragraph of two). Ultimately, the studio
may offer you a way to... say... buy the Blu-ray Disc version
physically, along with the option to download the film in other formats.
You can read more
at Home Media Retailing. A similar
is available at Video Business as well.
FYI, the only word we have yet on HD-DVD format pricing comes from
Warner coverage last week, in which we learned that the studio's
catalog HD-DVD releases would be priced at around $29.98. What that
means is that while title pricing for BOTH of the new high-definition
formats is going to be slightly higher than standard DVD, it will still
be comparable to what DVD was priced at when the format first launched
back in 1997.
By the way, you fans of The Muppet Show
and Kill Bill are going to want to
second Rumor Mill post today. 'Nuff said.
Finally, I'd like to encourage you all to take a moment to check out
the work of our new Artist of the Month
here at The Bits...
Eastman. He works in paints and canvas, and his stuff is just
very cool and original. It's well worth your time to give it a look. Be
sure to visit
page here at The Bits, and also
his own website
to see it all.
(EARLY UPDATE - 2/8/06 -
12:01 AM PST)
We've got more interesting DVD news to report this morning.
First of all, you'll find details about the forthcoming DVD release of
The Matador in
Rumor Mill, along with a bit of information about Terrence
Malick's The New World... AND an
interesting omission from that list of Kong
DVD extras in
Rumor Mill post. Don't miss it.
Sony has announced a new Moonstruck: Deluxe
Edition for release on 4/18 (SRP $19.94). The disc will offer
anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary
with Cher, director Norman Jewison and screenwriter John Pat, the Moonstruck:
At the Heart of an Italian Family documentary and 2
featurettes (The Music of Moonstruck
and Pasta to Pastries: The Art of Fine
In April, Paramount is re-issuing Congo
(on 4/18) and Mission: Impossible 2
(4/11) on disc. M:I-2 MAY be a new
version, but it looks like Congo
is simply the same disc as before with new packaging. We'll post more
details as we have them. The studio is releasing a 2-pack of the new
Mission: Impossible - Special Collector's
Edition and Mission: Impossible 2
on 4/11 as well. And on the TV front, look for a 3-disc Sgt.
Bilko: The Phil Silvers Show - 50th Anniversary Edition on
5/9, with Wings: The Complete First Season
following on 5/23.
Meanwhile, Anchor Bay has announced that Masters
of Horror: John Carpenter - Cigarette Burns and Masters
of Horror: Stuart Gordon - Dreams in the Witch House will
street on 3/28 (SRP $16.98 each). The Bay will deliver Tripping
the Rift: Season Two on 4/4 (SRP $29.98). Also streeting on
4/4 will be The Long Good Friday
(SRP $19.98) and the 1967 Hammer classic The
Anniversary (SRP $14.98).
We've gotten word from one of our readers that Fox's The
Abyss: Special Edition - Award Series (the one with the gold
cover art) claims on the back of the packaging to be an anamorphic
widescreen transfer, but is in fact the same non-anamorphic letterboxed
widescreen transfer that's been available on DVD previously. Just FYI.
Thanks to Bits reader Robert S.
for that heads-up.
Finally, Moriarty over at AICN
has turned in a
brief interview with Superman director Richard Donner, in
which he talks about his involvement (or lack thereof) in Warner's new "Donner"
cut of Superman II. Donner seems
to have given the cut his blessing at least (it's being cut by long-time
associate Michael Thau), so here's hoping that he'll maybe do an audio
commentary or something for the DVD release in November. For those of
you wondering what the hell I'm talking about, be sure to check out
coverage of Warner's 2006 DVD release plans from last week. The
part you want is near the bottom of that day's column (but you'll
definitely want to read the whole thing).
We'll leave you this morning with a little more new cover art... Sony's
Moonstruck: Deluxe Edition,
Warner's The Lucy and Desi Collection
(5/9) and Universal's The Ice Harvest
Back later. Stay tuned...
Well, I'm sitting here in our Irvine, CA offices today... and through
my window I can see (and worse, smell) the smoke from those wildfires
that are burning in the Anaheim hills nearby (see
CNN link). We're good - no danger here now and we're far enough
away from the hills that there isn't likely to be - but damn that smell
is unnerving. Sadly, a lot of homes ARE being evacuated right now, so
our best to everyone that's been affected by this. Hopefully, the fires
will be out soon.
On top of all that, our Internet connection has been dead all morning,
so it's only just Noon here and we're already playing catch-up. D'oh!
Anyway, we've got a sneak peek at some of the extras you can expect on
Universal's soon-to-be-announced DVD release of Peter Jackson's King
Kong. You'll find that in
Rumor Mill today, so be sure to check it out.
Back later, so stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 2/6/06 -
11:30 AM PST)
Just a quick update for you... as we first reported in
Rumor Mill, Sony has officially announced the DVD release of
Memoirs of a Geisha for 3/28 (SLP
$28.96). The 2-disc set (available in separate anamorphic widescreen and
full frame versions) will include audio commentary (with director Rob
Marshall and choreographer John DeLuca), a second production audio
commentary (with costume designer Colleen Atwood, production designer
John Myhre and editor Pietro Scalia) and 11 behind-the-scenes
featurettes (including Sayuri's Other
Journey: From the Novel to the Screen, The
Road to Japan, Geisha Bootcamp,
Building the Hanamachi, The
Look of a Geisha, The Music of
Memoirs, A Geisha Dance,
The World of Geisha, The
Way of the Sumo, Rob Marshall
and A Day with Chef Nobu Matsuhisa).
A UMD version for the PSP will also be available the same day.
Also newly announced by Sony for release on 4/18 (per
an earlier Bits report) is Eli Roth's Hostel
(SLP $28.95). The DVD will include anamorphic widescreen video, 4 audio
commentary tracks (one with Roth, a second with Roth and executive
producer Quentin Tarantino, Boaz Yakin and Scott Spiegel, a third with
Roth, producer Chris Briggs and documentarian Gabriel Roth, and a fourth
with Roth and Harry Knowles), the Hostel
Dissected featurette and the Kill
the Car multi-angle featurette. A UMD version will also be
available the same day.
In addition, 20th Century Fox has announced the DVD release of Walk
the Line for 2/28.
reported on 1/20, you'll be able to buy single-disc versions in
either anamorphic widescreen or full frame (SRP $29.98), along with a
2-disc Collector's Edition (SRP $39.98). Click the report link for
details on the extras.
By the way... an update from earlier this morning. We've confirmed
(again as reported in
Rumor Mill a couple weeks ago) that Paramount's 2-disc Event
Horizon: Special Collector's Edition (4/18) will include
include audio commentary by director Paul W.S. Anderson and producer
Jeremy Bolt, the 5-part Making of Event
Horizon documentary, The Unseen
Event Horizon featurette (on an unfilmed rescue scene,
featuring conceptual artwork), The Point of
No Return featurette (on the filming of the movie itself),
the original theatrical trailer and a video trailer.
UMD Movie Release List has been updated accordingly with these
new PSP titles.
(EARLY UPDATE - 2/6/06 -
2:30 AM PST)
Morning, everyone! We've got a couple DVD news items to report early
for you today.
First up, we've confirmed that Paramount's Event
Horizon (due on 4/18) is going to be a new 2-disc Special
Collector's Edition. We'll have details on the extras soon. The studio
also has the 1970 version of Julius Caesar
(starring Charlton Heston, Jason Robards and Richard Chamberlain) due on
Sony has announced the 4/18 release of Breakfast
Meanwhile, Warner will release Sally Field's Sybil
(1976) on 5/23. A week later, on 5/30, they'll release Stephen
Poliakoff's Gideon's Daughter and
Friends and Crocodiles for the
BBC. And on 3/28, look for a trio of single-disc Friends
"best of" collections (SRP $14.97 each) including Friends:
The One with All the Babies, Friends:
The One with All the Weddings and Friends:
The One with All the Birthdays.
Here's a look at the new revised cover art for Paramount's Event
Horizon: Special Collector's Edition and Julius
Caesar, along with Fox's Robert
Altman Collection box set (4/25 - containing a single-disc
version of M*A*S*H, as well as
A Perfect Couple, A
Wedding and Quintet)...
Around the site this morning, we've kicked off four new
today, giving each of you the chance to take home copies of
a number of Warner
TV titles including Blue
and The Fresh
Prince of Bel-Air, Universal's
Extended Edition, more
from Geneon including new volumes of
Echo Bridge's recent TV version of
Adventure. All of the contests will run one week, until Noon
(Pacific) on Sunday, February 12th, except the Echo Bridge contest which
will run for TWO weeks, until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, February 19th.
Click on the links to get started and good luck!
Also today, we want to take a moment to recognize
passing of actor Al Lewis this weekend. Lewis, better known as
Grandpa Munster (from TV's The Munsters),
Back with more later this afternoon, so stay tuned...
We've got a couple new announcements to report today.
The big one is Disney's revelation that The
Little Mermaid is due to be their next classic animated title
to receive Platinum Edition treatment. Look for the 2-disc set to hit
stores on 10/3 (SRP $29.99). This is the first time in 7 years that the
film will be available on DVD. Expect deleted scenes, audio commentaries
and behind-the-scenes featurettes, along with archived art materials and
musical-based features as well. Both the film and its soundtrack are
being digitally restored for the release. There's no word yet on a
possible Blu-ray Disc version of the film, but we consider it very
possible. You can read more at
link at Home Media Retailing.
In other news,
is soon to announce the DVD release of Yasujiro Ozu's Late
Spring (#331) for April or May. Thanks to Bits
reader Charlie F. for the heads-up on that.
has revealed at Home Media Retailing that Speed
Racer: Volume 5, which will complete the series on DVD, won't
hit stores until 2007 - an entire additional year's wait for just 8 more
episodes. Lionsgate claims in the piece that the sales success of the
title has been a direct result of their stingy release strategy, but we
argue that the title has succeeded in spite of it. It doesn't take a
genius to figure out why it's selling well. Speed
Racer isn't just any anime, it's THE original anime, at least
for most Gen-xers here in the States. One can only imagine how much
better the title would have done if there'd been a real effort to
include better extras (and maybe not take FIVE years to release the
complete series on disc). Our good friend
Lambert over at TVShowsonDVD.com feel the same way we do.
It just really makes you wish that someone with a little more knowledge
of the series and connection to (or even awareness of) the fans was
involved in the decisions on this title. So do you suppose we'll get
Speed Racer: The Complete Series
on Blu-ray from Lionsgate in 2008... or just an Blu-ray version of Speed
Racer: Volume One (packaged with an action figure or
something)? Ah well. I have tremendous respect for the folks at
Lionsgate (due, in no small measure, to their release of the 3-disc Frank
Herbert's Dune and their plans to release it on Blu-ray as
well), but on this title we'll have to agree to disagree.
On a related note, anyone out there got an extra Speed
Racer: The Signature Series box set they want to part with
(for sale or trade)? Drop me an
We've got a little UMD for PSP news for you today as well. Sony is
going to be releasing 2-packs of a number of their popular titles on
3/28 (SRP $28.96 each), which will include the DVD version of the film
along with a UMD version of the same film for playback in Sony's PSP
hand-held game system. These will include Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Grudge,
Resident Evil, Underworld
and The Terminator. The studio
will also release a UMD-only version of 50
First Dates on 4/4.
Warner has also announced some new UMD releases for 4/4, including Heat,
Goodfellas and Scooby-Doo:
The Movie. They'll also street Ocean's
Eleven (2001) on UMD format on 5/9. We've updated the
Release List accordingly.
We've got one last bit of release news for you today (and this is Rumor
Mill-worthy, so salt to taste accordingly)... our industry
sources are telling us that Universal plans to release Ang Lee's Brokeback
Mountain on 4/4. We also expect Dreamworks (via Paramount) to
bow Steven Spielberg's Munich on
Okay... that's it for now. We're going to work on that Mark Knox
interview this weekend, as well as the CES report, to get both ready for
posting early next week. We've also got a lot of new DVD reviews on the
way from our staff next week, so watch for those.
Enjoy the SuperBowl (those of you who care about such things at least)
and have a great weekend. See you Monday!
Aaahhhhhh... Mother Nature and her infinite mysteries.
Things are a little strange around the ol' Bits'
today. Remember back in late 2001 & early 2002, how we had that
problem with bees in the attic walls of our house? And we had to have
Bee Man come and tear a hole in our wall to remove the decades-old
honeycomb that kept attracting more bees back like a red light outside
an Amsterdam brothel? Yeah. Well... funny story. The bees, thankfully,
plague us no more. Now we've got another kind of vermin in our house.
I kid you not, we've got a family of raccoons living in our chimney.
BIG-ass raccoons. We've seen them around the neighborhood and we've been
hearing them at night scuttling across our roof. Our cats have even
heard them through the open fireplace, but we've never been able to
catch them actually going into or out of the chimney. The other day
though, our neighbors came over (all laughing and amused) to say that
THEY'D seen them going into the chimney. Go figure.
So... you know... there's only one thing to do in a sitch like this.
You call Brian... alias The Chimney Man (I'd have called him The Raccoon
Man, but now I respect him too much for that). As I knew some of you
would get a pretty good laugh out of this, I thought I'd indulge you by
documenting the "removal" process...
Only a single raccoon was actually in the chimney at the time,
thankfully. 'Cause the first thing Brian and I were thinking after
flushing the one out was, "Ah hell... what if there's babies?!"
Fortunately, our final coon-count peaked at just the one. Believe me, we
Here's the getaway... and Brian, The Chimney Guy, laughing his ass off
For the record, we at The Digital Bits
recommend a trail of cheese pieces (Brian, The Chimney Man, favors
cheddar) and rap music blasting at full volume from a boombox placed
strategically in the fireplace opening (speakers pointed up, of course)
in order to ensure the successful removal of your average North American
raccoon from a chimney. And don't forget to clean and cap the chimney
when you're done.
The joys of home ownership, let me tell you.
Needless to day, the flushing out of the raccoon has pretty well taken
up the entire day around here. That said, we have managed to pull
together a couple DVD-related news notes that need reporting.
First, just a heads-up... those cheaper season sets of The
X-Files that Fox is selling now (seasons 1-3 are in stores
for $49.98 each, seasons 3-7 follow on 3/28) aren't the same as the
original DVD releases - the bonus discs have been omitted (the final
disc in the original sets, with all the TV spots and documentary
material). Any episodes that were on the final discs have been moved to
the previous disc. So just know that if you want ALL the extras, don't
assume you'll get them in the new sets (you won't).
Also, as it turns out... Universal's DVD-18 Dune:
Extended Edition isn't so problem free after all. A lot of
people are reporting glitches (likely related to defects in the DVD-18
bonding process) in various makes of players. If you do get a defective
disc, try to exchange it for a working copy at the retailer you bought
it from. My copy seems to work just fine, so good copies ARE out there.
Finally, Paramount has announced that it will release Neil
Young: Heart of Gold on DVD in May (street date TBA), along
with a 200 Cigarettes reissue
(5/2) and Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist -
Season One (5/9).
By the way, if anyone hears word of ex-Police drummer Stewart
Copeland's new documentary - Everyone Stares:
The Police Inside Out - coming to DVD, please let me know.
Our sources are telling us that Universal Music might be releasing the
film on disc later in 2006, but there's nothing official yet. The film
is making the festival rounds now, and this Cops fan is dying to lay
eyeballs on it.
Here's poster art for that and Neil Young:
Heart of Gold, along with DVD cover art for New Line's The
Wedding Singer: Totally Awesome Edition (due on 4/25)...
Anyway, that's just another typically strange afternoon here at The
Bits Home Office (Left Coast Division). We'll resume our
regularly-scheduled DVD coverage tomorrow and... assuming no more
raccoons... we should have our final CES report and the interview with
Toshiba's Mark Knox (re: HD-DVD) on Monday.
Cheers 'til then!
Okay... we've got some new announcements for you today.
First up, Universal has set Kate &
Allie: Season One, Leave It to
Beaver: The Complete Second Season and Whirlygirl
all for release on 5/2. They also have set Dog
Whisperer with Cesar Millan: The Complete First Season for
release on 5/23.
Sony, meanwhile, has set a 3-disc Windtalkers:
Director's Cut re-issue, The Dark
and Cirque du Soleil: Corteo for
release on 4/11.
Disney has announced that when their Bambi
II arrives on DVD on 2/7, you'll have just 70 days to pick up
a copy before the title goes out of print on 4/18. So, you know... plan
your next few months accordingly.
Paramount, meanwhile, has a repackaged DVD release of Ghost
set for 5/2. There's no word yet on extras. The studio has also
announced a 3-disc American Heroes Collection
for release on 5/9, that will include In
Harm's Way, The Bridges of Toko-Ri
and Hell is for Heroes.
Finally, our friends over at Synapse Films will be releasing a new DVD
version of Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the
Will on 3/28 (SRP $34.95). The release will include a new
digitally re-mastered windowboxed transfer of the film from a 35mm fine
grain element, audio in the original German with newly translated (and
removable) English subs, Riefenstahl's short film Day
of Freedom and audio commentary with historian Dr. Anthony
By the way, yesterday I mentioned that Warner's George Feltenstein told
me he and other WHV execs would be participating in another online chat
over at The
Home Theater Forum. I've confirmed that the event will be held
on the evening of 2/21. That's a Tuesday. So save up all your best
Warner DVD questions for the event, and then be sure to check The
Bits the following morning for the complete transcript. We'll
post more details as we get closer.
Lost in all our Warner catalog coverage yesterday were the Oscar
nominations that were finally announced. Crash,
Brokeback Mountain, Capote,
Munich and Good
Night, and Good Luck are all officially in the running for
Best Picture. For those who may be interested, the complete list of
nominees can be found here
(the big night itself is on 3/5).
We've kicked off FOUR new
today, giving you each the chance to take home copies of Warner's
trio of anime titles from Geneon including
Champloo: Volume 7, Magnolia's
Within and Eagle Vision's
at the Mirage. The contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on
Sunday, February 5th. Click on the links to get started and good luck!
We've added to our
Bits Power Buy again as well today, so be sure to check that
out. Those of you looking to buy the Pioneer Elite Pro-1130HD plasma
display might find a good deal in there...
On a more off-beat note, Todd's pretty sure he's figured out who
director Robert Rodriguez has in mind to play Ava in A
Dame to Kill For, the prequel/sequel to Sin
City. I think maybe he's on to something there. You'll find
that in The
Rumor Mill this morning, so let the buzzing begin.
Finally today, just in case you missed it, we strongly recommend that
you check out
coverage of Warner's 2006 catalog release announcement event from
yesterday's post. There's a TON of great DVD news in there - MANY
cool titles were revealed for the months ahead and there's definitely
something for everyone. You fans of Blade
Runner and Final Fantasy VII:
Advent Children might even have reason to smile (and yeah, we
know Final Fantasy's not a Warner
title - read ALL the way to the very end for that).
Well... I have to tell you, Warner's got some great stuff on the way
for 2006. Some very exciting titles were revealed last night at their
press event at the studio. Warner Home Video's Senior VP for Theatrical
Catalog Marketing (George Feltenstein), newly-minted VP for Publicity
and Promotion for Theatrical Catalog (Ronnee Sass) and other senior
Warner execs were on hand to announce that over 200 new-to-DVD catalog
titles will be released by the studio on DVD in the new year.
Warner was quick, and right, to stress that "the death of DVD has
been greatly exaggerated." The Warner film vaults contain some
6,600 theatrical film titles... only 1,200 of which have been released
on DVD thus far. That leaves over 5,400 titles for the studio to choose
from when it comes to catalog DVD releases, so there's PLENTY of great
films left to mine in the years ahead.
Another thing that Warner noted, and I asked them specifically about
this issue, is that many of the titles that they have planned for
release on DVD in 2006 will be released day-and-date on HD- DVD format
as well. Warner execs were also careful to stress that while some of
their HD titles will enjoy a brief period of exclusivity on HD-DVD,
given that the format is launching first, every title that's released on
HD-DVD will also be released on Blu-ray Disc when that format finally
launches later this year. I also learned that while some extras will be
exclusive only to the HD formats, Warner is going to be careful to make
sure that all of the extras available on regular DVD will also be
included on HD... so you can replace your regular DVDs with either
HD-DVD or Blu-ray if you so choose. Look for the first Warner HD-DVD
titles in late March, with another wave of catalog titles in early
April. Note that Warner's catalog titles on HD-DVD are going to be
priced at a very wallet-friendly SRP of $29.98 (though new films may
Now then... let's talk titles. Warner claims to have invented the
2-disc special edition with their 2001 DVD release of Orson Welles' Citizen
Kane. They plan to continue their line of 2-disc special
editions in 2006. All of these titles will feature newly-remastered HD
transfers (and again, many will be released simultaneously in HD-DVD):
Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) - with
a new feature-length documentary and audio commentaries
Forbidden Planet (1956) - with a
new feature-length documentary
The Maltese Falcon (1941) -
packaged with The Maltese Falcon - Dangerous
Female (1931) and Satan Met a Lady
The Dirty Dozen (1967)
Look for 4 new Stanley Kubrick SEs including 2001:
A Space Odyssey (1968), A
Clockwork Orange (1971), The
Shining (1980) and the original unrated version Eyes
Wide Shut (1999). Each will include new documentaries and
never-before-seen footage blessed by the Kubrick Estate (although don't
look for deleted scenes - Stanley himself never wanted them released).
There's a new John Wayne/John Ford
Collection on the way, which will include The
Searchers: 50th Anniversary Two-Disc Special Edition (1956),
along with a Stagecoach: Two-Disc Special
Edition (1939), Fort Apache
(1948), The Long Voyage Home
(1940), The Wings of Eagles
(1957), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
(1949), They Were Expendable
(1945) and 3 Godfathers (1948).
There's also The John Ford Collection
that will include The Lost Patrol
(1934), The Informer (1935), Cheyenne
Autumn (1964), Mary of Scotland
(1936) and Sergeant Rutledge
Now... here's a look at some more of the 200 new-to-DVD titles coming
Grand Prix: 2-Disc Special Edition
The Astaire and Rogers Collection, Volume 2
- featuring Flying Down to Rio
(1933), The Gay Divorcee (1934),
Roberta (1935), Carefree
(1938) and The Story of Vernon and Irene
The Busby Berkley Collection -
featuring Footlight Parade (1933),
Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), Dames
(1934) and Gold Diggers of 1935
The Warner Tough Guys Collection -
featuring 'G' Men (1935), Bullets
or Ballots (1936), San Quentin
(1937), A Slight Case of Murder
(1938), Each Dawn I Die (1939) and
City for Conquest (1940)
Knute Rockne All American (1940) -
just for you Notre Dame alumni!
The Marlon Brando Signature Collection
- featuring Julius Ceasar
(1953), Reflections in a Golden Eye
(1967) and The Formula (1980)
The Bette Davis Collection, Volume 2
- including a new Whatever Happened to Baby
Jane?: Two-Disc Special Edition (1962 - with new and vintage
documentaries and never-before-seen footage), Jezebel
(1938), Old Acquaintance (1943),
Marked Woman (1937) and The
Man Who Came to Dinner (1942).
The Lucy and Desi Collection (due
5/9, SRP $29.92) - featuring The Long, Long
Trailer (1954), Forever, Darling
(1955) and Too Many Girls (1940)
The Tennessee Williams Film Collection
(due 5/2, SRP $79.92) - featuring A Streetcar
Named Desire: Two-Disc Special Edition (1951), Cat
on a Hot Tin Roof: Deluxe Edition (1958), Sweet
Bird of Youth (1962), Baby Doll
(1956), The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
(1961) and The Night of the Iguana
Additional DVD box sets will be released featuring (known titles listed
as follows, but more are TBA):
Clark Gable - including Mogambo
(1953), Dancing Lady (1933) and
Boom Town (1940)
James Stewart - including The Spirit of St.
Louis (1957) and The Naked Spur
Humphrey Bogart - including Passage to
Marseille (1944), Action in the
North Atlantic (1943) and Across
the Pacific (1942)
More Film Nior titles including Lady in the
Taylor & Burton
Gary Cooper - including Sergeant York
(1941) and The Hanging Tree (1959)
Already announced for 4/18 is a TCM
Archives: The Laurel and Hardy Collection (SRP $39.92),
including Bonnie Scotland and The
Devil's Brother (both 1933), along with vintage excerpts and
the Added Attractions: The Hollywood Shorts
Story feature-length documentary.
On 4/25, look for the Classic Musicals from
the Dream Factory Collection (SRP $59.92) including It's
Always Fair Weather (1955), Summer
Stock (1950), Three Little Words
(1950), Til the Clouds Roll By
(1946) and Ziegfeld Follies
TCM Achives will also release a whole new series of Forbidden
Hollywood Collections. The first release will include Baby
Face (1933), Red Headed Woman
(1932) and Waterloo Bridge (1931 -
unseen since its original theatrical release) along with a new
feature-length TCM documentary.
Warner is also going to launch a new series of Ultimate
Collector's Editions, patterned after last year's deluxe
version of King Kong. These will
include tons of bonus features, books and booklets, production art
cards, soundtrack CDs, souvenir programs and more.
The first of these will be John Wayne and John Ford's The
Searchers (already mentioned above).
Late in 2006 (tentatively in November, timed to coincide with the DVD
release of Bryan Singer's Superman Returns),
look for a 14-disc Superman: Ultimate
Collector's Edition box set. This will feature new deluxe
editions of all four of the original feature films, including a Superman
II: Special Edition with something called The
Donner Cut. This is being assembled by editor Michael Thaw
based on the film's original shooting script and Donnor's original
notes. At least 50% of the film will be footage you've never seen, more
than 70% of it directed by Donner. You'll also get Richard Lester's
final theatrical cut of the film. The Donner
Cut will only be available on DVD in the Ultimate
Collector's Edition box set, although it will also be
released in HD-DVD (and likely Blu-ray Disc if that format is
We were actually shown a clip of the new Donner
Cut at the event - the original opening to Superman
II, in which Lois Lane notices a picture of Superman in a
copy of The Daily Planet... and
then she looks at Clark Kent standing nearby... and she begins drawing
glasses, a suit and hat on the picture of Superman. She figures it out.
Then she tells Clark she knows who he really is... and jumps out Perry
White's office window to prove she's right. Clark runs at super-speed
downstairs, and blows up at the falling Lois to slow her fall. She lands
safely in a fruit stand, by which time Clark has already run back
upstairs to preserve his identity. Someone asks him where Lois is, and
he replies, "Uh... she just stepped out for a minute."
An interesting thing to note however, is that it seems Richard Donner
himself hasn't yet been involved (and is not involved in cutting the new
version of the film). During the event, I chatted with
Drew McWeeny (well known as "Moriarty" over there) who told me
that he's been interviewing Donner recently (watch for that to be posted
on AICN soon). The director has
reportedly told Drew that he's not really interested in revisiting the
film. When asked during the event what Donner's involvement was (whether
or not he'd do commentary, etc), Warner execs said, "That's still
to be decided." Our guess is that the studio is still negotiating
with Donner to participate, and that it's merely a matter of a dollar
figure that everyone is happy with. Cross your fingers on this, because
it'd be a real shame if he declined to be involved. FYI,
also has a brief interview with Donner that touches on this.
Some other interesting Warner release news... look for a movie-only
version of King Kong to be
released on 3/28 (SRP $14.97). That same day, Warner will package the
Kong tin set together with Mighty
Joe Young and Son of Kong
for SRP $49.92.
The studio is also continuing its series of Action and Family Double
Feature DVD releases in 2006.
A Cool Hand Luke: Special Edition
(1967) is tentatively being planned for 2007.
Quo Vadis (1951) is being
considered for future DVD release, but the Technicolor classic is going
to require Ultra-Resolution restoration. Given the film's length, that's
going to take significant time and be VERY expensive.
And finally, here's a bit of news that's going to get a lot of you
excited (and I made a point to specifically ask about this title,
believe me)... Ridley Scott's Blade Runner
(1982) is currently on track for release as a multi-disc special edition
in time for its 25th anniversary in 2007. The release is far from
certain (as usual, there's a lot more that I can't post about this title
yet - think of the old saying, "Loose lips sink ships"), but
Warner says that work is proceeding, most of the key players are
involved and things are "looking good" for release next year.
At the conclusion of the event, I had the chance to speak with both
Ronnee Sass and George Feltenstein directly. I've known Ronnee since the
early days, and it turns out that George is a big reader of The
Bits (we're glad to have you, George!). You'll be glad to
know that George, Ronnee and some of their fellow WHV execs are going to
be participating in another live online chat with The
Home Theater Forum soon, so you'll have the chance to ask
them questions of your own. I'll confirm the date with Ron and Parker
and let you know. As always, we'll have the complete transcript here at
The Bits the following morning.
Now then... after the Warner event, I made my way over to the plush
Beverly Hills home of CAA for that "Future of Media" panel
discussion I mentioned yesterday. I've known the other panelists -
Charlie de Lauzirika, Mike Stradford and Mike Mulvihill - for several
years now, so it was nice to catch up with them and talk shop a little
bit. The discussion was lively, there were lots of questions asked and,
as they say, a good time was had by all. If you were there, I hope you
enjoyed yourselves as much as we did. Special thanks to David Zucker of
Scott Free, and everyone at the Northwestern University Entertainment
Alliance for the invitation to participate.
By the way... you fans of Final Fantasy VII:
Advent Children will be pleased to learn this. Mike Stradford
told me that Sony's working hard to get the film released on DVD here in
the States by the end of 2006. Apparently, it's taking a little extra
time to work with the director to get all the supplemental elements
finished, but the title is on track for release sometime later this
year. I seem to get at least one e-mail asking about Advent
Children a day, so there you go!
Back with more soon. Stay tuned...
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