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(Archived Posts 6/27/07 - 6/11/07)
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Okay... we're kicking off things here on Wednesday with
Electric Theatre column from our own Adam Jahnke. In
this installment, Adam reviews 1408,
Evan Almighty (now playing at
your local octaplex) and more.
Before we get started today, for those of you who may be
interested, I'll be appearing on this afternoon's episode of
of the Show on the G4 cable network to talk about the
promise vs. the reality of content downloading. Check your local
Let's start the announcement news today with Universal, which has
set NBC's Friday Night Lights: The First
Season for release on 8/28 (SRP $29.98). The 5-disc set
will include all the episodes in anamorphic widescreen with Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include deleted scenes for each
episode and the Behind the Lights:
Creating the First Season of Friday Night Lights
NBC's The Office: Season Three
is also coming from the studio on 9/4 (SRP $49.98). Again, the
4-disc set will include all the episodes in anamorphic widescreen
video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include deleted
scenes, audio commentary with the cast and crew on 8 episodes, a
blooper reel, the Lazy Scranton video, an excerpt from the 58th
Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, excerpts from the 2006
NBC Primetime Preview hosted by The
Office cast, a Dwight Schrute music video, Toby
wraparounds, an interview with Joss Whedon, videos from the Make
Your Own Promo contest and the Kevin
Cooks Stuff in The Office featurette.
Also announced for release on 10/2 by Universal are Elf
Bowling: The Movie and Christmas
Miracle at Sage Creek, as well as a pair of new HD-DVD
titles for release on 9/18 - For Love of
the Game and The Last
Meanwhile, Warner has announced a number of new titles today as
well, starting with NBC's Studio 60 on
the Sunset Strip: The Complete Series, which is set for
release on 10/16 as a 6-disc set (SRP $59.98). You'll get all 22
episodes in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1
audio, audio commentary with series creator Aaron Sorkin and
producer Tommy Schlamme on the pilot episode, and a
behind-the-scenes documentary. In other words, not much for a lot of
money. We think the show deserved better.
Also newly announced by Warner today are 4 Coleccion
Pedro Infante titles (including A
Toda Maquina, Los Tres Garcia,
Los Tres Huastecos and Vuelven
los Garcia) for release on 9/18, Unseen
Beatles, NHL Stanley Cup
Champions 2006-2007: Anaheim Ducks - Special Edition and
History of SEC Football for
10/2, Lewis & Clark and Other Great
Adventures, Whose Line is it
Anyway: Season 1, Volume 2 and a Whose
Line is it Anyway: Season 1, Volumes 1 & 2 pack for
release on 10/9, June Cabin,
Byron and both rated and
unrated versions of the Raw Feed title Believers
on 10/16, and finally Legends, Icons &
Superstars of the 20th Century, Tales
from the Crypt: The Complete Seventh Season, a Tales
from the Crypt: The Complete Seasons 1-7 pack , Veronica
Mars: The Complete Third Season and a Veronica
Mars: The Complete Seasons 1-3 pack all on 10/23.
Here's the cover art for Warner's Studio
60 on the Sunset Strip: The Complete Series, and
Universal's Friday Night Lights: The
First Season and The Office:
(LATE UPDATE - 6/26/07 - 2:30 PM PDT)
Okay... as promised we've just posted Barrie Maxwell's
installment of Classic Coming Attractions! In this
edition, Barrie reviews some 25 classic DVD releases (compromising
36 films in all), including Fox's
at Furnace Creek and
Steele in Cinecolor, MGM's
Sergio Leone Anthology, Paramount's
Grit: Special Collector's Edition, Universal's
Eastwood: Western Icon Collection and
Kid Western Collection, Warner's
Man from Monterey,
in Sonora and
Telegraph Trail, AC Comics's
Fighting Devil Dogs, Hermitage Hill's
Mystery of the Riverboat, Restored Serials'
Green Archer, The Serial Squadron's
Busters and VCI's
Royal Mounted Rides Again and
to the Rescue. As always, Barrie runs down the latest
classic release announcements as well.
(EARLY UPDATE -
6/26/07 - 11:30 AM PDT)
We've got a couple more quick title announcements for you today.
First, Anchor Bay has set a Masters of
Horror: Season One box set for release on 8/28 (SRP
$79.97). The set will contain all 13 previously released DVDs in the
series, plus an exclusive 14th bonus disc containing the Masters
of Horror Dinner featurette (in which Mick Garris
assembles the Season One
directors for a special dinner at Hollywood's Magic Castle), the
Masters of Horror DGA Panel
discussion, and two Fantasy Film Festival
video clips including Mick Garris interviews of Steven Spielberg and
John Boorman. All of this will be contained in specially designed "mausoleum"
20th Century Fox has announced The
Ultimate Gift for release on 8/21.
Speaking of Fox, we got a ton of e-mails yesterday after we posted
that artwork for The Simpsons: The
Complete Tenth Season. Turns out that what we posted was
early temp art. Here's the final standard packaging along with the
collectible "Bart head" packaging...
Meanwhile, MGM has set A Dog's Breakfast
for 9/18 and Griffin & Phoenix
for 9/11. MGM has also announced an MGM
Movie Legends: Elvis Collection box set for release on
7/24 (SRP $39.98) which will include Clambake,
Kid Galahad, Follow
That Dream and Frankie and
Johnny. Finally, the studio has also announced a Bubba
Ho-Tep: Limited Edition for release on 8/7 (SRP $22.98),
which will include commentary by director Don Coscarelli and star
Bruce Campbell, a separate commentary by The King
himself, author Joe R. Lansdale reading from his own short story,
deleted scenes with optional commentary, an animated photo gallery
and production featurettes, all presented in special "jumpsuit"
packaging. Thank youuuu. Thank you verry much...
Also today, Warner has set Habana Blues
for release on 9/25.
CBS has listed Criminal Minds: The
Second Season for release on 10/2. CSI:
NY - The Third Season will follow on 10/9, along with
Everybody Hates Chris: The Second Season,
Family Ties: The Second Season
and Girlfriends: The Second Season.
MacGyver: The Complete Series,
Medium: The Third Season and
The House Without a Christmas Tree
round things out on 10/16.
And Paramount has set a Saturday Night
Fever: Special Collector's Edition for release on DVD on
9/18. Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD versions are also planned. Audio
commentary with director John Badham will be included (the same one
that was on the previous DVD release), along with a number of
featurettes and features (including Catching
the Fever, A 30-Year Legacy,
Making Soundtrack History,
Platforms & Polyester,
Deejays & Discos, Spotlight
on Travolta, Back to Bay Ridge,
Dance Like Travolta with John Cassese,
Fever Challenge! and a 70's
Following on 9/25 from Paramount will be a 2-disc Babel:
Special Collector's Edition. And a Fatal
Attraction: Special Collector's Edition is set for 8/17,
along with catalog re-issues of Cool
World, Red Eye,
Sliding Doors, The
Bridges at Toko-Ri, The
Phantom and Dragonslayer
(some Paramount titles and some DreamWorks titles).
And around the Net this morning, here's good news: thanks to John
Lasseter, the new chief creative officer at Walt Disney Animation
Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, Disney is going to stop
cranking out crappy, poorly-animated, direct-to-DVD sequels to its
classic animated titles. Instead, the animation division is going to
focus on original straight-to-DVD animated material. You can read
more on this
at Home Media.
News and World Report has posted a story on Blockbuster's
decision to expand Blu-ray Disc to more of its stores around the
Here's some more new cover art: Disney's Meet
the Robinsons (10/23), HBO's Bury
My Heart at Wounded Knee (9/11) and Paramount's Saturday
Night Fever: Special Collector's Edition...
Back shortly with Barrie's new Classic
Coming Attractions. Stay tuned...
It's a bit slow in terms of release news today, but Sony has
confirmed that The Lives of Others
will street on 8/21 on DVD (SRP $26.96) and Blu-ray Disc ($38.96).
Both versions will include audio commentary by director Florian
Henckel von Donnersmark, an interview with the director and a making
of featurette. The film won the 2007 Academy Award for Best
Foreign Language Film.
Also streeting on 8/21 from the studio is Rules
of Engagement: The Complete First Season (SRP $29.95),
which will include 7 episodes, the Table
Read featurette, a blooper reel, and a tour of the set.
Sony has also announced I Dream of
Jeannie: The Complete Fourth Season for release on 9/4.
The 4-disc set will contain all 26 episodes (SRP $39.95).
And around the Net today, actor Rutgar Hauer has been giving
interviews about his new book, in which he talks a little bit about
the upcoming Blade Runner
theatrical and special edition DVD release. Click
for more (from CNN and PopMatters).
The reason I mention it is that today, June 25th, marks the 25th
anniversary of Blade Runner's
original theatrical debut. My how time does fly...
Here at the site this afternoon, we've updated many of the DVD and
high-def format sales and rental stats we track (above).
Our own Russell Hammond has once again updated the
DVD Cover Art section with lots of new DVD and high-def
covers, and Amazon pre-order links. Be sure to check it out.
We've also kicked off TWO new
giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's
the Brain: Volume 3 and the
Classics: Volume 2 - Women in Peril box set, the BBC's
The Complete Season One and Image Entertainment's
and the Wabos: Livin' it Up! in St. Louis. The contests
will run for ONE week, until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, July 1st.
Click on the links to get started and good luck!
Here's the cover art for Fox's The
Simpsons: Season 10, along with Warner's The
Best of Blu-ray Disc: Volume One and The
Best of HD-DVD: Volume One box sets (both due 9/18)...
We've had a couple of interesting things come up here at The
Bits that we need to follow up on - news stories that
need investigating (phone calls and the like). That said, we're
still going to try to get Barrie's latest edition of Classic
Coming Attractions up this afternoon, but rest assured it
will be up by tomorrow morning at the latest for sure. Some days you
just have to roll with it.
Okay, there's not much news to report today, but we do have a
couple of minor announcements for you this afternoon.
First, Sony has announced the DVD release of Offside,
Last Day of Summer and Shredderman
Rules! on 8/28.
20th Century Fox has set The Unit:
Season Two for release on 9/25, along with The
TV Set. Even Money
will street on 9/11, and Kickin' It Old
Skool arrives on 8/28.
Amazon has also posted an 8/7 release date for Fox's
Simpsons: Season 10. We expect an official announcement
And Warner has set As You Like It
for release on 9/25 (for HBO).
By the way, that Blade Runner
trailer link we posted yesterday is no longer valid. Warner
apparently had it pulled off YouTube, which is probably no surprise.
I would imagine they'll be releasing something official in the next
couple of months.
Okay... I promised yesterday that I'd talk a little more about that
HD-DVD meeting I had with Microsoft's Kevin Collins and Richard
Doherty up at Universal on Wednesday morning. We started out with
some discussion about HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc, and the format war in
general. Each of us explained our positions, and there was some
lively (but definitely enjoyable) debate. Their key point was that
Microsoft's interest in HD-DVD has everything to do with HDi and the
advanced interactive features it's capable of offering, some of
which they wanted to show me. Richard and Kevin seem to feel that
the home video industry can support two competing disc formats, in
much the same way that the gaming industry supports three (Xbox, PS3
and Wii). As you can probably guess, I disagree with this. They also
believe that if everything else about HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc were
equal, that people would naturally chose HD-DVD because of the more
advanced interactivity. The flaw in this argument, of course, is
that aside from audio and video quality, things are NOT equal. It
remains my belief that Blu-ray's greater studio and industry support
has been, and will continue to be, the deal-breaker in this format
war. Content is king, so the widest selection of movie titles and
broadest studio support trumps interactive bells and whistles for us
here at The Bits every time.
Even if the number of titles currently available on each format is
relatively equal at the moment, the lion's share of the titles on
the HD-DVD side comes from just two studios - Universal and Warner
(and Warner is releasing most of their titles on Blu-ray too).
Anyway, after our discussion the meeting moved on to the demo
stage. We started with a quick tour of some of the HDi features on
Universal's Miami Vice, Smokin'
Aces and other titles: things like pop-up specs and
trivia about vehicles in the films, pop-up bios of the actors, the
ability to program a list of favorite scenes that your player will
remember so you can demo them later for friends. Meh... as a fan of
the film experience first and foremost, none of this is really all
that interesting to me. I mean, cool that it's there, but I don't
personally have any pressing need to have all that stuff presented
to me during the film itself. We then looked briefly at Children
of Men, which allows you to view (via a PiP window) the
futuristic ads and programs that are seen on TV screens during the
movie. That's certainly much more interesting to me as a film fan,
but it's still not exactly dazzling. I'd be just as happy to have it
all available out-of-band, as a separate video presentation in the
extras portion of the disc.
My interest was definitely more piqued when Kevin popped in Bandai
Visual's forthcoming anime title Freedom
- a DVD/HD-DVD Twin Format disc (meaning both DVD and HD-DVD are on
the same side of the disc on different layers), due to hit stores on
6/26 (SRP $39.99). The disc offers Picture-in-Picture production art
and sketches that can be viewed throughout the film, and it's the
first Web-enabled title to offer additional features via
downloading. It appears that you sign up for a free account, and
then you're able to download things like trailers, featurettes,
screensavers, additional menu skins that change the way your player
displays the disc's interactive menus, etc. One of the most
intriguing things is that you can download additional language
subtitles in this way, so the same disc could be released in many
countries at once, and you'd just download your audio and subtitles
of choice. I commented to Kevin and Richard that what would make
some of this more attractive to someone like me, would be the
ability to take some of these downloaded features and copy them off
onto a jump drive so that you can tuck it into the HD-DVD case and
save them for later. In other words, you don't have to fill up your
player's memory with them and you know they'll still be available to
you in 5 years (a big problem with DVD-ROM web extras is that all
too often they disappear after a couple of years).
The most interesting things I saw... well, I can't really tell you
what titles they were (I was specifically asked not to reveal them,
but one of them you can probably guess). One of the films in
question is heavily special-effects laden, and is set to be released
on HD-DVD in the next two months. It features the ability to watch
the entire film with a Picture-in-Picture version of the same
footage as shot on set in front of a bluescreen, without any digital
alterations or effects, giving you the ability to contrast and
compare. Now as a film fan, THAT is cool. The ability to do
Picture-in-Picture is something that Blu-ray will be adding soon as
well, though some older players won't be able to support it (Kevin
and Richard were quick to point out that all of the features they
were showing me were being demoed on a first generation HD-DVD
player - Toshiba's HD-A1 - which had been firmware updated). This
same title will also have Web-enabled features that allow you to
take the list of your favorite scenes (that you program with your
remote) and share them online with others. So if you live in Chicago
and you want to show your buddy in Miami your favorite scenes, if
he's got the disc and a player hooked up to a web connection, he can
sign in and download your scene list, which he can then watch on his
system. You can then rate each other's scene lists and see how other
fans have rated theirs. A different title that shall not be named
lets you download historical and background information relative to
the subject of the film, that (because it's online) can be updated
over time. You can also participate in online polls and see how your
picks match up to others' choices. I guess it's kind of the
YouTube-ing or MySpace-ing of optical movie discs. That online
community component doesn't really interest me much (other than
perhaps the ability to give direct feedback to the studios), but
maybe I'm just getting too old. I don't know. Is 40 old?
That ability to watch two versions of a film via Picture-in-Picture
is what intrigued me most. I've since found myself wondering how
cool it would be if, rather than just a PiP window, you could jump
back and forth from one full 1080 version to another as if it were
another angle on DVD. So image two separate full-bandwidth, 1080p
video streams being available for the ENTIRE movie, that you could
just pop back and forth from at will. One might have the final film,
while the other could have raw footage, production art, storyboards,
etc. That's something I don't believe HD-DVD or HDi can do. (I
believe it WILL be possible in the future on Blu-ray - two
full-bandwidth video streams overlaid is part of the BD-Java spec I
think. If I'm wrong about that I'll correct the text here.) But I
Ultimately, nothing that I saw really changed my opinion as to how
this format war is going to play out and how it's likely to end. I
will say, however, that I'm more intrigued now about the
possibilities that advanced interactivity can offer. Blu-ray Disc
can't do much of what HD-DVD can at the moment in terms of such
interactivity. But if and when Blu-ray does start to catch up in
this area, well... you get the idea. Ultimately, it remains to be
seen how much people will value such Web-enabled features -
particularly in the early adopter community that is currently
driving most high-def sales. Do people really care that much about
the ability to do things like share scene lists with their friends
on the Net... or would they rather have movies from Disney, Fox,
Sony, MGM, Lionsgate and now Starz? That's the $20,000 question. You
answer, of course, but now it's your turn to weigh in with
your dollars and your purchase decisions.
One last time, thanks again to Microsoft's Kevin Collins and
Richard Doherty for the chance to meet and talk directly. We'll keep
our lines of communication with them open, and we look forward to
talking again with them in the future.
Okay... there's just one last bit of business to take care of
today. I've been hearing from a lot of Police fans in the last
couple days as you can imagine! For those wondering about last
night's Police concert at the Honda Center in Anaheim... I'll tell
you, I was in for a shock. I thought the Staples gig was something,
but it was nothing compared to this, and it wasn't just having
better seats. The sound mix was better, the band was more loose and
playful, more relaxed. The performances were just as tight and lean,
with the same setlist, but the band was clearly having more fun -
really interacting with each other, lots of smiles and more banter.
I suspect the pressure of playing the first L.A. gig affected things
a bit on Wednesday night, but the relief of getting past it made all
the difference. Interestingly, the O.C. audience was also a lot more
energetic and involved in things (the jaded industry folk up in
LaLa Land make for lame audiences sometimes). The Honda Center
concert was by far the better of the two, and it was being recorded
in high-def video, so I'm hoping it'll be released on disc at some
point. Anyway, just about everyone in the first ten rows had snuck
in small digital cameras... and so did Sarah. She took some really
great shots during the concert, and she's put together
gallery of some of them for those of you who might be
interested. It's a helluva great show, so if you get the chance to
see the band on this tour, I highly recommend it. Now it's on for me
to Dodger Stadium with Weatherman Dave on Saturday night, to see The
Police with Foo Fighters as the opening act. Like I said, life is
Back on Monday with a new Barrie Maxwell column. Have a great
(LATE UPDATE -
6/21/07 - 3 PM PDT)
We've got one other quick Blu-ray note for you today. A few people
in online discussion groups are claiming that they're finding spots
on a couple Blu-ray titles which prevent the discs from playing
properly. Buena Vista's The Prestige
seems to be the main title in question. We've been looking into this
for a few days here at The Bits,
and we're having difficulty validating the claim. We have nearly
every Blu-ray title released so far here in the office (along with
the available HD-DVD titles), so we've checked all our discs but
haven't seen this problem. We've also been checking with others we
know who have or work with Blu-ray titles and the result is the
same. Nevertheless, we contacted BVHE about it and VP of
Communications Eric Maehara issued this statement:
"We encourage customers that are
experiencing any kind of problem with The Prestige Blu-ray
disc to call our Consumer Relations hotline at 800/477-2811. It is
important to conduct forensic examinations of the affected discs in
order to rule out any form of external tampering. Our customers are
first and foremost and Buena Vista Home Entertainment always strives
to meet the highest standards for the consumer."
So far the studio hasn't received any consumer inquiries about this
issue, so if it is valid, it appears to be very limited. But we'll
keep an eye on the situation and update you as necessary.
(EARLY UPDATE -
6/21/07 - 1:30 PM PDT)
Greetings, Bits-ers. We're
finally completely 100% back to normal here at the site, having just
finished rebooting Adam's Electric
Theatre last night. To commemorate the occasion, Adam's
52nd installment of the column complete with new reviews of
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
(now in theatres) and a trio of other titles on DVD. Don't miss it.
Now... first things first. Did anyone happen to catch the trailer
for Warner's Blade Runner: The Final Cut
last night on CBS, during the AFI 100
Years... 100 Movies special? We got word that it was
happening too late yesterday - after I'd already left the office for
L.A. for the HD-DVD meeting - or we would have warned you. The good
news is that it confirmed that the title is coming to DVD, Blu-ray
Disc and HD-DVD "Fall 2007." And for those of you who
missed it, the better news is that you can watch it RIGHT NOW
at YouTube. Enjoy!
In other news today, Buena Vista has just announced the DVD release
of Brothers & Sisters: The Complete
First Season for 9/18 as a 6-disc box set (SRP $59.99).
The set will include all the episodes in anamorphic widescreen with
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, a bonus unaired episode, audio commentaries
with the cast and crew, bloopers, deleted scenes and 3 featurettes (Walker
Family Tree, Set Tour with
Dave, Balt and Matt and Family
Business). Also newly announced for DVD release by the
studio are Our Very Own and
Neverwas (both 7/3).
Meanwhile, Paramount and CBS have officially announced the DVD
release of Jericho: The First Season
for 10/2. We're still waiting on the specifics, but you'll find the
cover art below.
Warner has set Pastor Jones 4: Sisters
in Spirit for release on 8/14 (for Lightyear), followed
by a Cruising: Deluxe Edition
on 9/18, The Vicar of Dibley: A Holy
Wholly Happy Ending and The
Vicar of Dibley: The Immaculate Collection on 10/9 (for
the BBC), and Hamish MacBeth: Series
Three, a Hamish MacBeth:
Series 1-3 Collection, Monarch
of the Glen: The Complete Series 7, a Monarch
of the Glen: The Complete Collection and The
Young Ones: Extra Stoopid Edition all on 10/23 (and all
for the BBC).
Around the Net today, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has decided
to resurrect the previously defunct Sony Wonder label under its own
auspices. You can read more on that
at Video Business.
Also, at the DVD & Beyond industry conference this week here in
L.A., a number of studio execs said they remain very positive on the
future of releasing TV series titles on DVD (read more
at Home Media).
And in other news, take this as you will, but
Robin Harris has weighed in on his opinion of the format war
in the wake of Blockbuster's recent announcement. I suspect you're
going to be seeing other reports like this in the mainstream media
in the weeks ahead. And it's already having an impact. I was out
watering my front lawn the other day and my neighbor came over to
chat, as neighbors are prone to do. He knows what I do for a living
- I helped him purchase and set up his HDTV - and so he wanted to
talk about some news he'd seen in the paper. "So I hear that
this Blu-ray Disc is the way to go, huh?" Turns out that he'd
USA Today story about Blockbuster choosing Blu-ray
Disc and now he's thinking of getting himself a Blu-ray player. I
suspect he's not an isolated case.
By the way, while we're talking high-def, I did indeed get the
chance to meet with Microsoft's Kevin Collins and Richard Doherty
yesterday morning up at Universal Pictures' New Technology Office to
talk HD-DVD. Both are good guys and I was as interested in what they
had to say as, I think, they were interested in my opinions. We
debated the merits of the format war (and each format) a bit, and
then they demoed some interesting HDi and "Live" features
that are being worked on for upcoming HD-DVD titles. I have to be
honest and say that none of what I saw really changed by mind about
this format war or our stated position on it, but I'll admit that I
was intrigued with some of what I saw in terms of the potential for
this interactive technology. There are a couple of soon to be
released titles that do some particularly interesting things, but
I'll talk more about that in tomorrow's post. I'd just like to thank
both Kevin and Richard for their hospitality and time, and I look
forward to talking to them more in the near future. Again, more on
all this tomorrow.
Here's a look at some new cover art: CBS's Jericho:
The First Season, New Line's Blade:
House of Chthon - Unrated (9/18) and Rhino's Inland
Finally today, some of you are probably wondering how The Police
concert last night in L.A. was. (I've already had about a dozen
e-mails today from readers asking about it) Well, I'll tell you... I
can't even begin to describe how happy I am this morning. The band
is tight... they sound as good today, it seems to me, as they ever
did. The guy sitting next to me was a little worried going into the
night that Sting, Stewart and Andy might not have that same edge
they did back in the day, but after the last encore, he turned to me
wide-eyed and said, "Oh my GOD that was awesome!" To which
I could only agree. The 20,000+ crowd was apparently some kind of a
concert record for the Staples Center. They were rewarded for
attending with a terrific setlist of hits and favorites that
included Message in a Bottle,
Synchronicity II, Walking
on the Moon, Voices Inside My
Head/When the World Is Running Down, Don't
Stand So Close to Me, Driven
to Tears, The Bed's Too Big
Without You, Truth Hits
Everybody, Every Little Thing
She Does Is Magic, Wrapped
Around Your Finger, De Do Do
Do, De Da Da Da, Invisible Sun,
Walking in Your Footsteps,
Can't Stand Losing You, Roxanne,
King of Pain, So
Lonely, Every Breath You Take
and Next to You, all delivered
with precision and style and nearly all at a terrific pace. The song
arrangements are all familiar and yet many have been given a
slightly new twist - just enough to add flavor, but not so much that
you don't get what you're expecting out of them. For me, the band's
live performance was worth every second of the thirty years I had to
wait for the chance to see it. And the only thing that could
possibly be better is that I get to see it again tonight, from the
second row. Life is good.
We've got some cool stuff to talk about this morning, so let's get
First up, this is completely unofficial and has yet to be confirmed
by an announcement (consider it Rumor
Mill worthy), but it looks like Genius Products and The
Weinstein Company are finally readying Quentin Tarantino's ultimate
Kill Bill and Death
Proof, along with Robert Rodriguez's Planet
Terror presumably, for release on DVD this fall.
Amazon.com currently shows an 11/6 street date for a 4-disc,
Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair DVD. Meanwhile,
Presents Death Proof is also shown as a 9/18 release.
There's no Amazon entry yet for Grindhouse
Presents Planet Terror, but you'd have to assume it'll be
released around the same time. Rest assured, we'll post the official
details as they become available.
In official news this morning, Rhino Entertainment has announced
the DVD release of David Lynch's Inland
Empire on 8/14 (SRP $29.95). The 2-disc set, overseen by
Lynch himself, will include a whopping 75 minutes worth of
additional scenes (entitled More Things
That Happened), a "making of" featurette (Lynch
2: Behind the Scenes of Inland Empire), interviews with
Lynch and the film's star Laura Dern (Stories),
a photo gallery, 3 theatrical trailers, plus footage of Lynch at
home cooking quinoa (appropriately titled David
Lynch Cooks Quinoa).
Meanwhile, you fans of Warner's 300
will be pleased to know that Best Buy is soon going to be taking
pre-orders on an exclusive DVD package that includes a replica
Spartan helmet and collectible artwork. It's not up on the
retailer's U.S. site, but you can see what it looks like
on the Canadian site.
Got small kids in the hizzle? Warner has just announced no less
than 26 DVDs from The Wiggles for release on 10/9 (SRP $14.98 each),
including Yummy Yummy, Yule
Be Wiggling, Wiggly Wiggly
Christmas, Splish Splash Big
Red Boat, Toot Toot!,
Top of the Tots, Whoo
Hoo! Wiggly Gremlins, Wiggle
Around the Clock, Wiggle Bay,
Wiggle Dancing! Live in the U.S.A.,
Wiggle Time, Wiggly
Play Time, Wiggly Safari,
Here Comes the Big Red Car,
Hoop Dee Doo! It's a Wiggly Party,
It's a Wiggly Wiggly World!,
Lights, Camera Action, Live
Hot Potatoes!, Magical
Adventure, Racing to the
Rainbow, Sailing Around the
World, Santa's Rockin',
Space Dancing, Getting
Stong and Cold Spaghetti
Western. Now that's just waaayyyyyyy too damn much
Wiggles for my comfort, but I'm sure someone out there is happy
While we're taking Warner, the studio has informed us that they've
postponed the planned 10/9 DVD release of Brando:
The Documentary until sometime next year. Just FYI.
We've got a quick follow-up for you today on Sony's forthcoming
The Fifth Element Blu-ray Disc
re-release (due 7/17). If you've got the original (inferior) Blu-ray
version and want to get the new one with the remastered video, you
can now contact Sony customer service at 800-860-2878 (or
here) to arrange the swap.
And while we're talking high-def today, we've got a quick update on
that MGM Blu-ray Disc news from yesterday. It seems that the Sergio
Leone Anthology BD news from
Media was a bit premature (the details we reported
yesterday have since been edited from the story). We've been
informed by MGM's home video distributor, 20th Century Fox, that no
new MGM or Fox BD titles have been officially announced as yet.
Again, consider this Rumor Mill
worthy, but several industry sources have told us that the titles
are coming, but that Fox and MGM are currently testing BD+ for their
future releases. We expect official title announcements to be made
in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned.
Okay... today promises to be an interesting day for me. First,
despite the fact that The Bits
has publicly chosen to side with Blu-ray Disc in this format war (or
perhaps because of it), I've been invited by Microsoft's Kevin
Collins and others up to the Universal lot this morning for a
demonstration of all the latest bells and whistles the HD-DVD camp
is creating for upcoming titles on the format via HDi and HD-DVD
Live. I'm an open-minded sort, and I've been known to enjoy an
HD-DVD disc or two myself, so I'm happy to take a look at what
they've got to show me. You can be sure I'll report back to you all
about the experience here in the next day or two.
It might take a little extra time to make that report however,
because a personal dream is coming true for me tonight. After 30
years of being a fan of The
Police, I'm finally getting the chance to see them play live
in concert at the Staples Center up in L.A. this evening. I'll be
there in section 111 tonight, Sarah and I will be in the second row
floor for the Anaheim show tomorrow, and I'll be joining Weatherman
Dave out in the stands near third base for the Dodger Stadium gig on
Saturday. You may laugh if you like, but it's a big deal for this
Cops fan. I saw pigs fly past my office window back in February when
this reunion tour was announced, and I mean to get my serious geek
on and enjoy every damn moment of it. Maybe I'll see you there!
Bring on the night... I couldn't stand another hour of daylight...
(LATE UPDATE - 6/19/07
- 2 PM PDT)
I just wanted to check back in with a quick update on our recent
server crash. We are, finally, about 95% back to normal. The site
should be working perfectly, or very nearly so. All of our e-mail
accounts are now back online, so if you've got something to say to
any of our Bits staffers,
we're all ears again. The remaining 5% is the restoration of all of
Adam's Electric Theatre
columns, and all that should be done by the end of the day.
The new server is very stable, or so we're told, and with a little
luck we should be bump free from here on out. So thanks once again
to all of you for your patience. We appreciate it.
Back tomorrow with the usual. Stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE -
6/19/07 - 11 AM PDT)
Well... the site is nearly all back online. We should have it all
up by the end of the day today. As far as e-mail, my own account is
up and running again, but the others (Todd, Adam, etc) will not be
up until later today. We appreciate your patience on this. Fingers
crossed, things will get back to normal quickly and they'll stay
Okay, let's get to the news this morning...
First, there's more good news for Blu-ray Disc fans today, and this
first one is not insignificant. Starz Home Entertainment (which owns
Anchor Bay) has officially announced, at the DVD & Beyond
conference in L.A., that they're going to begin releasing titles on
Blu-ray Disc format before the end of the year. The expected titles
will include the complete first season of their Masters
of Horror series, as well as other catalog titles.
Also today, MGM Home Entertainment revealed that they'll have at
least 10 to 12 Blu-ray Disc titles out in the next 12 months,
including the complete Sergio Leone
Anthology box set (A Fistful
of Dollars, For a Few Dollars
More, The Good, the Bad and
the Ugly and Duck, You Sucker).
As you may recall, MGM had previously announced a number of Blu-ray
titles at CES in January, only to have them delayed along with Fox's
announced titles. This would seem to indicate that both studios may
be close to making new official re-announcements. Great news indeed.
You can read a little more on both of the above
at Home Media Retailing.
has a follow-up story on yesterday's announcement that
Blockbuster is rolling out only Blu-ray Disc in 1,450 of its store
We have more details on Buena Vista's Meet
the Robinsons today. The DVD will include anamorphic
widescreen video and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (SRP $29.99). Extras
will include 3 deleted scenes, 2 featurettes (Keep
Moving Forward: Inventions that Shaped the World and Inventing
the Robinsons), 2 music videos, the Family
Function 5000: Family Tree interactive game, and audio
commentary with director Stephen Anderson (plus a "special
guest"). The Blu-ray Disc (SRP $34.99) will include all of the
above along with 48khz/24-bit Uncompressed PCM 5.1 audio, more
deleted scenes and the Bowler Hat
Barrage! BD-Java game.
Meanwhile, Warner Home Video has set Herman
USA for DVD release on 8/7, with Squidbillies:
Volume One following on 10/16.
And here's a classic quick-to-DVD attempt to recover a little of
the production costs. Universal has just announced the DVD release
of The Black Donnellys: The Complete
Series on 9/4 (SRP $49.98) as a 3-disc set.
(LATE UPDATE -
6/18/07 - 2:30 PM PDT)
This is just a quick update to let you all know what's been going
on with the site the last couple days. We experienced a major server
crash over the weekend, and we're now in the process of refreshing
The Bits to a new server. So
portions of the site are going to be down for the next couple of
days, and e-mail is going to be unavailable for a little bit as
well. Hopefully, we'll have all this straightened out by tomorrow.
In the meantime, we'll keep making our regular news posts - you'll
find today's below.
Thanks for your patience while we deal with this (we'll keep you up
to date), and stay tuned...
(EARLY UPDATE -
6/18/07 - 11:30 AM PDT)
We hope you all had a restful weekend, because we've got a couple
BIG news stories to start the new week.
But first, a quick reminder: Russell Hammond has once again updated
Upcoming DVD Cover Art section with lots of new DVD,
Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD cover art for forthcoming titles that can
all be pre-ordered through our Amazon.com links (and we certainly
appreciate the support for The Bits
when you do purchase titles through our links).
Also today, we've updated
Rumor Mill once more with anticipated street dates from
our industry sources for a number of major upcoming DVD and high-def
releases. Don't miss it.
Now then... here's the first big news item today: Blockbuster Video
has just announced that it's expanding Blu-ray Disc rentals to 1,700
stores by mid-July, but it's not expanding HD-DVD rentals. The
company has already been carrying both formats online and in 250
test stores, but the decision to expand just Blu-ray was made
because customers were reportedly choosing Blu-ray rentals over
HD-DVD at the test locations by a 70% margin. You can read more
at Video Business and
at Daily Variety. One thing that's worth noting here:
The Weinstein Company has an exclusive 4-year rental arrangement
with Blockbuster (click
here for more on that), which means that this development
could push The Weinsteins to go format neutral. Previously, they've
released titles only on HD-DVD.
The other big story this morning is that Buena Vista Home
Entertainment has just announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of
their animated Meet the Robinsons
on 10/23. The Blu-ray version will include all the standard DVD
extras along with a new BD-Java interactive game entitled Bowler
Hat Barrage. We'll have additional details and artwork as
it becomes available.
Speaking of Robinsons, Criterion has just announced that its
September DVD slate will include David Mamet's House
of Games (cat #399), Jim Jarmusch's Stranger
Than Paradise (#400) and Night
on Earth (#401), G. W. Pabst's The
Threepenny Opera (#405), Nathan Kroll's Martha
Graham: Dance on Film (#406) and Byron Haskin's
long-awaited Robinson Crusoe on Mars
Robinson Crusoe on Mars (SRP
$39.95) will include anamorphic widescreen video (2.35:1 aspect
ratio), Dolby Digital 1.0 mono audio, audio commentary (with
screenwriter Ib Melchior, actors Paul Mantee and Victor Lundin,
production designer Al Nozaki, Oscar-winning special effects
designer and historian Robert Skotak and excerpts from a 1979 audio
interview with director Byron Haskin), the Destination:
Mars featurette, excerpts from Melchior's original
screenplay, a music video, a stills gallery (of behind-the-scenes
photos, production designs, and promotional material), the
theatrical trailer and a booklet featuring a new essay by filmmaker
and space historian Michael Lennick, a Brief
Yargorian Dictionary of the original alien dialect, a
list of facts about Mars and the original screenplay.
Meanwhile, New Line has set Blade: House
of Chthon for release on 9/18 (SRP $19.97). This is the
feature-length, extended and unrated pilot for TV's Blade:
The Series. Video will be anamorphic widescreen with
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include the Turning
Blade documentary, audio commentary with director Peter
O'Fallon and a second commentary with writers David Goyer and Geoff
Warner has announced this morning that it will release The
Flintstones: A Flintstone's Christmas Carol and Tom
& Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale on 10/2.
And Paramount has set the animated Wayside:
The Movie for release on 9/25.
Here's a look at the awesome cover art for Criterion's Robinson
Crusoe on Mars along with art for Paramount's Flashdance:
Special Collector's Edition and Warner's Deliverance:
Deluxe Edition (both due 9/18)...
One quick HD-DVD note this morning... I've been able to get my
hands on Universal's fixed copies of The
Good Shepherd and Children of
Men on DVD/HD-DVD Combo format. The good news is that the
fixed discs work perfectly in the HD-XA2 we have here at The
Bits. The bad news is that, as far as I can tell, there's
no way to differentiate between the original defective and new fixed
versions based on the markings on the packaging or disc.
Nevertheless, Universal is currently working to exchange the
defective discs for anyone who has them. Just call their customer
service line (800-626-9497) anytime 24/7 to arrange your swap.
Finally this morning, I wanted to recount a pretty cool experience
that some of us here at The Bits
had on Friday. Our very own Robert A. Harris held a special private
screening of the 70mm Academy print of Lawrence
of Arabia on Friday evening, at the Academy's Pickford
Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood. Robert, as many of you
know, was instrumental in the restoration of the film with director
David Lean back in the 1980s. Among those in attendance were Sarah
and I, along with Adam and my old friend Weatherman Dave, who's
visiting us from California's central coast. I have to tell you, the
moment the entrance music ended, the curtain opened and the Columbia
logo was revealed to us in Super Panavision 70, jaws dropped
throughout the theatre. As most of you should know by now, Lawrence
is a visually magnificent film. We expected it to look great and it
did, but the detail and clarity present in the 70mm image was just
extraordinary. It's not every day you get to see a film that good in
THAT kind of quality in a movie theatre, let me tell you. And we'd
all forgotten just how much humor there is in the film (I
particularly love Anthony Quinn's performance as Auda). Sony tells
me that they're currently hard at work on the Blu-ray Disc version
of Lawrence, and if they
manage to capture even a fraction of what we experienced on Friday
night, you're in for a real treat.
Okay, that's all for now. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE -
6/15/07 - 12:30 PM PDT)
One last update for you this afternoon...
Business has just posted a good story on how many of the
high-def supporting studios are working to broaden the appeal of the
titles they're releasing on Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD. Included in
this piece is word that Warner plans to release some of its
straight-to-DVD and Raw Feed titles on both formats in early 2008
(think The Rest Stop and Sublime),
along with all three Ocean's
films timed to the release of Ocean's 13,
many of the Harry Potter films
timed to the release of Harry Potter and
the Order of the Phoenix to theaters in July, and more.
Paramount is also said to be releasing Flashdance
on both high-def formats on 9/18.
We've also updated many of the DVD and HD format stats we track (above),
including the DVD sales and rentals charts and the Blu-ray vs HD-DVD
software sales ratios.
(EARLY UPDATE -
6/15/07 - 12:15 PM PDT)
We've got just a last few announcements for all of you to close out
Universal has just set The Real
Housewives of Orange County: Season One for release on
DVD on 9/4.
And Paramount has set Dexter: The
Complete First Season and JAG:
The Fourth Season for release on 8/21, followed by Demetri
Martin. Person. on 9/4 and The
Streets of San Francisco: The First Season, Volume Two
and The Untouchables: Season One, Volume
Two on 9/25. 10/2 will see the DVD release of Jonathan
Livingston Seagull. Finally, 10/2 will also see the
release of Star Trek: The Next Generation
- The Complete Series in special new packaging.
By the way, we've learned that Paramount's 10/2 release of The
War: A Ken Burns Film on DVD will feature 15 hours of
content on 6 discs.
Also today, there's
interesting story over at Video Business on how the
MPAA and the film industry in general are looking to the U.S.
Government for more enforcement of anti-piracy laws.
Media Retailing has a story on the high-def format war in
Europe, and how the March launch of Sony's PlayStation 3 has shifted
the hardware balance there.
interesting story over at the L.A. Times on how the
Hollywood studios are afraid of downloading services like Xbox Live
and Apple's Apple TV/iTunes combination (the story is specifically
about the latter) impacting the way they currently do business.
They're taking the temperature and wading in slowly, is a good way
to characterize their current stance on the subject.
Finally today, we've got details on a trio of great upcoming
catalog Blu-ray Disc titles from Buena Vista that are soon to be
announced. Jerry Bruckheimer fans will be very pleased. You'll find
Rumor Mill today, along with word from our industry
sources on expected Universal HD-DVD releases through the end of the
Now then... have a great weekend and we'll see you all back here on
Monday. Best to all of you!
Okay... we've got a bunch of cool release news to report today, so
let's get right to it.
First up, Buena Vista has announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc
release of The Lookout on
8/14. The studio has also set Return to
Halloweentown: Ultimate Secret Edition for release on
Meanwhile, Warner has set Street Stars:
The Larry Davis Story for release on 8/14. The Deliverance:
Deluxe Edition will follow on 9/18 in DVD, Blu-ray and
HD-DVD versions. Laura Smiles
will also street that day. NFL Moment of
Impact and an All Roads Film
Festival Collection 2 (from National Geographic) follow
on 9/25. Ben 10: Season 2 and
a Ben 10: Seasons 1 & 2
2-pack street on 10/9, along with Brando:
The Documentary, and the BBC's Only
Fools and Horses: The Complete Collection and Only
Fools and Horses: The Specials 1991-2003. Finally, Jonathan
Creek: Season 2 streets on 10/16.
Warner is also releasing a series of high-def box sets in each
format on 9/18 under The Best of Blu-ray
and The Best of HD-DVD labels.
Each set will contain 4 high-def movies (SRP $84.99 each). The
Best of Blu-ray: Volume 1 and The
Best of HD-DVD: Volume 1 will each contain Lethal
Weapon, The Road Warrior,
Swordfish and Training
Day. Volume 2 of
each format set will contain The Fugitive,
The Last Samurai, Phantom
of the Opera and Unforgiven.
And Volume 3 will offer Blazing
Saddles, The Departed,
Goodfellas and Superman:
One other high-def note this morning. I've confirmed with Sony that
their remastered The Fifth Element
Blu-ray Disc will be released on 7/17. Sony's worked meticulously on
the video master (encoded in AVC) to ensure that the quality on this
version is far superior to the previous (and disappointing) Blu-ray
Disc release, which was one of Sony's first when the format debuted
last year. You'll be able to tell the new version from the previous
release by the inclusion of a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack in addition to
LPCM (both encoded in 16bit due to the age of the master - having
both in the same bit depth means you'll be able to use the title to
ensure that your audio equipment is playing back TrueHD correctly).
The best news of all, however, is that I've confirmed with Sony that
there WILL be an exchange program for those of you who have already
purchased the previous, sub-par edition. Sony is still working out
the details on this and we'll announce them here as soon as they're
In other news today, we've received word from our sources that the
Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
is going to be released on DVD this fall through Time-Life. It will
be available both via mail order and in retail stores. We'll have
more details when they're available.
Our friends over at
Shows on DVD have learned that the 1981 Masada
miniseries is going to be coming to DVD on 9/11 from Koch
here for more on that.
Finally, Genius Products and The Weinstein Company have announced
that Jackie Chan's Crime Story
will street on DVD on 8/7 (SRP $19.95). Video will be anamorphic
widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 (English and Cantonese) and mono
(Cantonese) audio. Extras will include audio commentary with
director Kirk Wong and Hong Kong cinema expert Bey Logan, interviews
with Kirk Wong and Kent Cheng, deleted scenes, an animated photo
gallery (featuring images deleted from the final print), the
original theatrical trailer and the U.S. promotional trailer.
We're pleased this afternoon to present you with Adam Jahnke's
latest edition of
Bottom Shelf. In this installment, he gives you a little
something different: A few words of calm, rational sanity on the HD
format war. Adam is nothing if not a pragmatist, and I think some of
you will agree with his take on things. So enjoy...
Disc, Two Disc, Red Disc, Blu Disc.
Now then... before we get to the news today, we've got a couple of
things we wanted to mention. First, we've got about 10 more slots
open for those who want to attend next month's EMA
Expo in Las Vegas (July 17-19) with The
Digital Bits, The Home Theater
Forum and now our friends over at TV
Shows on DVD as well! Todd, Adam, Sarah and myself will
be on hand, as will Gord Lacey, Ron Epstein, Parker Clack and other
staffers from our respective sites, along with more than 50 readers
and forum members. You'll be able to chat with us one on one, talk
DVD and high-def, get sneak previews of great upcoming titles,
browse the often star-studded convention floor, and eat, drink and
be merry! Some of you may know the EMA event by its former
designation, VSDA (here's
a gallery of photos from a previous convention). We're lining
up a fun three days of exclusive private events with the studios,
industry parties and more. Plus, we've got discounted rates at The
Venetian for everyone who attends. It's going to be a lot of fun, so
we hope you'll join us.
here (or on the image below) for more information on how to sign
up! Act quickly, as we expect the final open slots to go fast.
We hope to see you there!
Monthly magazine (to which Todd and I are regular
contributors) and the beloved American Cinematheque are sponsoring
very special film festival this weekend (Friday through
Sunday) in honor of one of the greatest "geek" years of
Hollywood filmmaking ever... 1982. Screenings will be held all
historic Aero Theater in Santa Monica, CA, including The
Thing, Cat People,
The Dark Crystal, Poltergeist,
and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan!
But here's the best part: After each screening, Geek
staffers will be moderating panel discussions with some of the
filmmakers involved! Among those expected to be on hand are David
Odell, Syd Mead, Frank Marshall, Bruce Boxleitner, Harrison
Ellenshaw, Nicholas Meyer and more. It's going to be a great time,
so we hope you'll check it out. Click on the links for times and
details on how to get tickets.
One last event note: The Digital Bits
IS returning to Comic-Con next month with our annual DVD
Sneak Peek panel. The details are still being worked out,
but the panel will be on Thursday, July 26th, from 11:00 AM to 12 PM
(in Room 5AB) of the San Diego Convention Center. We're cooking up
something VERY cool for you this year, and we'll tell you more about
it as soon as we're able. Just know that if you're going to be at
Comic-Con down in San Diego this year, you're in for a treat.
Now then... the major bit of DVD release news today is that
Paramount has just revealed a whole mess of great titles for August,
September and October. First up, Paramount has set Disturbia
for release on 8/1 on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD. Next, the
mountain has announced a Face/Off:
Special Collector's Edition for release on 9/11 on DVD,
Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD as well (2 discs each!). Following on 9/18
are the Flashdance: Special Collector's
Edition, Upright Citizens
Brigade: The Complete First Season, Upright
Citizens Brigade: The Complete Second Season and Drawn
Together: Uncensored! - Season Two, all on DVD. Then on
9/25, Paramount is releasing The Jack
Ryan Special Edition Collection box set on both Blu-ray
Disc and HD-DVD, which includes The Hunt
for Red October, Patriot Games,
Clear and Present Danger and
The Sum of All Fears! Cool,
yes? But no, we're not done yet. Then on 10/2, Paramount will
deliver a Funny Face: 50th Anniversary
Edition, Top Gun in
both Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD formats, and PBS's long-awaited The
War: A Ken Burns Film miniseries! No, I'm not kidding.
That's a great line-up of titles right there. If something in that
bunch doesn't get your blood pumping, you'd better check your pulse.
Also today, Warner has set The Year
Without a Santa Claus: Deluxe Edition for release on
10/2, along with a Christmas Television
Favorites box (SRP $39.72) featuring Dr.
Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The
Year Without a Santa Claus, Rudolph
and Frosty's Christmas in July and Rudolph's
Shiny New Year. And on 9/11, look for the Cartoon
Network Movie: Re-animated (SRP $14.97).
Here's a look at the cover art for PBS' The
War: A Ken Burns Film, MGM's Invasion
of the Body Snatchers: Collector's Edition (9/11),
Paramount's Face/Off: Special Collector's
Edition (on Blu-ray), and Sony's Vacancy,
Labyrinth: Anniversary Edition
and The Dark Crystal: 25th Anniversary
Edition (all 8/14)...
(LATE UPDATE -
6/12/07 - 3 PM PDT)
Okay, as promised, we've just posted our own Barrie Maxwell's
latest edition of
Coming Attractions, featuring reviews of 9 classic TV
shows on DVD, including Paramount's
Five-0: The First Season,
Love Lucy: The Final Seasons - 7, 8 & 9,
The Second Season, Volume 1,
Streets of San Francisco: Season 1, Volume 1,
Untouchables: Season 1, Volume 1 and
Wild Wild West: The Second Season, MGM's
Magnificent Seven: Season Two, VCI's
Kennedy, Criminologist and Questar's
Moments of Comedy. As always, Barrie runs down the latest
classic DVD announcement news too. Enjoy!
We've got a little more DVD news to report today. In the hours
between last night's post and this one, MGM announced an Invasion
of the Body Snatchers: Collector's Edition for release on
8/7 (the 1978 remake). The 2-disc set (SRP $19.98) will include
anamorphic widescreen video, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround audio, audio
commentary by director Philip Kauffman, 4 featurettes (Re-Visitors
from Outer Space, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pod,
Practical Magic: The Special Effect Pod,
The Man Behind the Scream: The Sound
Effects Pod and The Invasion
Will Be Televised: The Cinematography Pod) and the
original theatrical trailer.
Also, Warner Home Video has set the Adult Swim animated title Metalocalypse:
Season One for release on 10/2 as a 2-disc set (SRP
$29.98). Dethklok rules!
Finally today, we've got a couple more high-def stories that are
sure to set the discussion boards burning. Just a day after
Microsoft rep admitted that his company would rather HD movie
content be delivered via download rather than optical disc
(including the HD-DVD format Microsoft claims to support so
is now reporting that Toshiba is cutting its 2007 sales
forecast for HD-DVD players by a whopping 44%, despite the company
having slashed its player prices dramatically in recent weeks.
According to the piece, this comes "after
disappointing sales in the U.S., putting a damper on prospects for
one of its growth businesses." This is revealed even as
Toshiba's PR machine has been crowing (see
story at Video Business) that its players control 60%
of the stand-alone market share for high-def. Says Universal Studios
Home Entertainment EVP Ken Graffeo in the Reuters piece:
"Consumers who are buying Playstation 3
are buying it as a game console. They're simply not buying it for
watching as many high-definition movies as Sony said they would."
Interesting, except those numbers don't add up. HD-DVD claims to
have 60% of the stand-alone HD players (presumably a third more
stand-alone players than Blu-ray at 40%)... and yet Blu-ray Disc
software sales continue to outpace HD-DVD software by at least a 2
to 1 margin (see the latest Nielsen/VideoScan numbers
Apparently, those PS3 owners are watching a few high-definition
movies after all. Not coincidentally, Sony reps are today saying
that they're optimistic about sales of their stand-alone Blu-ray
Disc players this year (see
this BBC story), on the strength of their own lowering player
prices and also their format's exclusive movie content from Sony,
Disney, MGM, Fox and Lionsgate.
people. We aren't just making this stuff up. Personally, I'm hoping
this stupid format war will be over by the holidays, so we can put
all this nonsense behind us and get on with the business of talking
about what we really love... great movies on disc. I give it 50/50
odds this thing is over by the end of 2007... 90/10 it's over in
We'll be back with another new column from Jahnke tomorrow, so stay
(EARLY UPDATE -
6/12/07 - 12:01 AM PDT)
We're getting a jump start on this whole Tuesday thing with a
little bit of release news.
First though, we wanted to let you know that our
DVD Cover Art section has once again been updated by our
esteemed Russell Hammond with all the latest DVD, Blu-ray Disc and
HD-DVD cover art, all sortable to your heart's content, and all
available for preorder from Amazon.com.
Also, Adam's checked in with yet another new installment of
Electric Theatre, featuring reviews of Brand
Upon the Brain, Bug,
Ocean's 13 and more.
Enter if you
And on a personal note, it's Sarah's birthday today. She's
turning... no, better not go there! But The
Bits wouldn't be possible without her, and neither would
my own sanity, happiness and well being. So Happy Birthday, Sarah!
Now then... those announcements. Just in time to get ahead in your
prep for the new school year, MGM has announced a whole slew of CliffsNotes
catalog DVD releases on 7/24. No kidding, the studio is releasing
Anna Karenina (1948), Wuthering
Heights (1970), Of Mice and
Men (1992), Moby Dick
(1956), Lord of the Flies
(1990), Jane Eyre (1944), Les
Miserables (1935), Henry V
(1989) and Inherit the Wind
(1960) as CliffsNotes Ultimate Study
Guide Editions, featuring the film on DVD and the
corresponding CliffNotes study
guide packaged together (SRP $14.98 each). They even come in
familiar-looking black and yellow striped packaging. Nice. But you
should STILL read the books.
Meanwhile, Sony has set Perfect Stranger
for release on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and UMD on 8/21. A Blu-ray Disc of
Immortal Beloved has also been
announced for 8/21, as have DVD editions of Dane
Cook: The Lost Pilots, Til
Death: The Complete First Season, The
Dark Backward, Berenstain
Bears: Get Organized!, It's a
Big, Big, World: Using Your Senses and It's
a Big, Big, World: Time for Bed.
In case we haven't mentioned it before, Paramount has announced
A Night at the Roxbury: Special
Collector's Edition for release on 8/28, the same day as
Blades of Glory.
Also, Warner has set History of
Wisconsin Football, NFL
Americas Game: Dallas Cowboys, NFL
Americas Game: Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL
Americas Game: San Francisco 49ers, NFL
Indianapolis Colts Road to Super Bowl XLI, Robot
Chicken: Season Two and a Robot
Chicken: Seasons 1 & 2 2-pack for release on 9/4.
Josie & the Pussycats: The Complete
Series, NFL Americas Game:
Denver Broncos, NFL Americas
Game: Miami Dolphins and NFL
Americas Game: NY Giants follow on 9/18, with BBC
Atlas of the Natural World: Africa/Europe, BBC
Atlas of the Natural World: Wild Africa, NFL
Americas Game: Green Bay Packers, NFL
Americas Game: New England Patriots, NFL
Americas Game: Raiders, NFL
Americas Game: Washington Redskins and the annual How
the Grinch Stole Christmas: Deluxe Edition DVD re-release
set for 10/2. Finally, watch for Carlos
Mencia in: The Best of Funny is Funny on 10/9.
And around the Net this morning, if any of you didn't believe
recent Soapbox take on Microsoft's real intentions in
supporting HD-DVD, the company's own spokesman all but confirmed it
yesterday at the Digital Hollywood conference in Santa Monica.
Here's the relevant bit from
new story at Home Media:
If Microsoft has its way, DVD, Blu-Ray Disc
and HD DVD will all be rendered obsolete within 10 years, according
to Richard Doherty, Microsoft's program manager for Media
I don't know that [HD] will be delivered on an optical disc
in five to 10 years, he said, pointing to downloads and
broadband delivery. At Microsoft, we'd rather it wasn't [on a
Doherty later added: this will be the
last optical [home entertainment] generation. If this one survives."
Hey, that should make HD-DVD fans feel good! That's right...
Microsoft, one of HD-DVD's few major corporate supporters, is
ALREADY counting on the format's demise. IF this one survives?! Are
you kidding me?! They don't want it to survive! Microsoft having an
in-house "Office of HD-DVD Evangelism" suddenly makes
PERFECT sense. What better way for the company to ensure that HD
optical discs die, and their own downloading service takes off, than
by actively working to perpetuate the confusion of a format war in
the "last optical generation"? Ugh. Don't say we didn't
warn you, folks. "Oh, but look... HD-DVD players are cheaper
right now!" Yeah. Swell. Would you like fries with that
We'll be back later this morning with Barrie's new Classic
Coming Attractions column, so stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE -
6/11/07 - 12:30 PM PDT)
This is just a quick update to follow up on something we posted
last week. In a letter to fans on the
Jericho Back website, CBS Entertainment president Nina
Tassler confirmed that its previously cancelled Jericho
will be returning for at least 7 episodes next season, with the
possibility for more if ratings improve. More importantly for DVD
fans, however, was confirmation that the first season of the series
will arrive on DVD on 9/25 (from CBS, distributed by Paramount).
One other announcement this afternoon: HBO has set the DVD release
of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
for 9/11 (SRP $26.98). The 2-disc set will include anamorphic
widescreen video, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary, a
featurette, interviews, a photo gallery and more.
(EARLY UPDATE -
6/11/07 - 11:30 AM PDT)
Morning, folks! You may have noticed that we were disappeared there
on Thursday and Friday. Work was being done on our server to correct
the problems we had a week or two ago, and it prevented us from
uploading our posts. With a little luck, however, the problems are
now all behind us. So today we'll catch up with everything that's
happened in the meantime. Let's get started...
First, Sony has announced the release of Vacancy
and God Grew Tired of Us on
8/14, along with a trio of new 2-disc catalog DVDs, including The
Dark Crystal: Anniversary Edition, Labyrinth:
Anniversary Edition and the Taxi
Driver: Limited Collector's Edition. Labyrinth
will include animation cells, character sketch cards and a
collectible booklet among other extras, while The
Dark Crystal will feature a senitype and Jim Henson's
original notes. FYI, Sony is also readying The
Lives of Others for release on 8/21.
Meanwhile, Fox has set The Unit: Season
Two for release on 9/25. Family
Guy: Volume Five precedes it by a week, on 9/18. The
Unit: Season Two (SRP $59.98) is a 6-disc set containing
all 22 episodes of the season in anamorphic widescreen video, along
with audio commentary on 10 episodes with members of the cast and
crew, a still gallery and 3 featurettes (Making
of The Unit: Season Two, Mission:
The Making of Sub-Conscious and Dark
Side of the Moon: Working with Weapons). Family
Guy: Volume Five (SRP $39.98) is a 3-disc set containing
13 episodes (the first half of the season), along with audio
commentary on every episode, 38 deleted scenes, 3 animatic episodes
with optional commentary and 2 featurettes (Drawing
Peter and Toys, Toys Galore).
Universal has moved the street date for its Dead
Silence to 6/26 (from 7/10). That includes both the DVD
and HD-DVD versions.
And Warner has announced a new Deliverance:
35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition for release on 9/18 in
DVD (SRP $19.97), Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD versions (SRP $28.99
each). Extras on all three versions will include audio commentary by
director John Boorman, 5 featurettes (including Deliverance:
The Beginning, Deliverance:
The Journey, Deliverance:
Betraying the River, Deliverance:
Delivered and The Dangerous
World of Deliverance) and the film's theatrical trailer.
Also newly announced by Warner is The
Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland Collection: Ultimate Collector's
Edition 5-disc box set on 9/25 (SRP $49.92), which will
include Babes in Arms, Babes
on Broadway, Strike Up the
Band and Girl Crazy,
along with an exclusive bonus disc that offers with nearly three
hours of material, including the Private
Screenings with Mickey Rooney interview (hosted by TCM's
Robert Osborne), the Judy Garland
Songbook ("a collection of 21
Garland movie musical numbers, both famous and rare, spanning nearly
20 years of her amazing screen career, with all songs presented in
complete form") and an extensive Mickey Rooney/Judy
Garland trailer gallery.
Around the site this morning, we've updated all of the DVD and
high-def format stats we track (above),
for those who follow such things.
Baring any major breaking news before then, we'll be back tomorrow
with a new Classic Coming Attractions
column from Barrie Maxwell.
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