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page updated: 8/23/04

My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 8/12/04 - 7/21/04)

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Well... looks like Warner Bros. is really kicking things up a notch for November. The BIG news is that the studio has just officially announced its long-awaited, 4-disc Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Volume 2 for 11/2 (SRP $64.92). Final details on the shorts to be included in this new volume, as well as the other special features, have yet to be revealed. You can bet it will all be available soon though, and we'll bring it to you as soon as we can. We do, however, have cover art for you this morning (see below).

By the way, you should know that Warner will release the 2-disc Looney Tunes: Spotlight Collection, Volume 2 on 11/2 as well (SRP $26.99). Like last year's edition, we expect this will include two of the Golden Collection discs for those who want just a taste.

If you're a fan of these Looney Tunes DVDs, we'd advise you to keep a close eye on animation historian Jerry Beck's outstanding Cartoon Research website. Jerry's been closely involved in the creation of this set, so you can bet he'll have a lot to say in the days ahead. Besides, if you love animation as much as we do, his site is not to be missed.

We said Warner was busy didn't we? Well, we weren't kidding. The studio has also announced Friends: The Complete Eighth Season for release on 11/9 (SRP $44.98). The 4-disc set will include all the episodes from the show's eighth season in their longer versions. The video will be the original full frame, with audio in English Dolby Digital 5.0. Like Looney Tunes, there's no word on extras yet, but we'll be sure to let you know.

We're not done yet, folks. Warner has announced The West Wing: The Complete Third Season as well for release on 11/2 (SRP $59.98). This will also be a 4-disc set with video in anamorphic widescreen and audio in English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround. Once again, there's no word on extras, but they'll all be included on Disc Four of the set.

Here's the cover art for Warner's Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Volume 2, Friends: The Complete Eighth Season, The West Wing: The Complete Third Season, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Volume 3 (11/16) and Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Volume 2 (11/16), along with Columbia TriStar's Seinfeld Gift Set (11/23)...

Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Volume 2Friends: The Complete Eighth SeasonThe West Wing: The Complete Third Season

Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Volume 3Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Volume 2Seinfeld Giftset

Moving on, just a day after posting details from Comic-Con about Warner's 10-disc The Ultimate Matrix Collection, we've got still MORE information on the set for you... plus we have PICTURES. Interested? It's in The Rumor Mill, kids. Go get it.

While we're talking new releases, we wanted to give you a little more information on Disney's recently announced, 2-disc Walt Disney Treasures - Wave Four titles (all due on 12/7, SRP $32.99 each). Mickey Mouse in Black and White: Volume Two will contain classic Mickey shorts released between 1928 and 1935, along with featurette looks at rare collectibles and artifacts, production artwork, Mickey's portrait artist John Hench and much more. The Complete Pluto: Volume One will feature classic Pluto shorts from the 1930s and 40s, along with The Story of Dogs featurette, galleries of character design and production art and more. Finally, The Mickey Mouse Club: Week One will include an entire week's worth of episodes (we believe the first week): Monday's Fun with Music Day, Tuesday's Guest Star Day, Wednesday's Anything Can Happen Day, Thursday's Circus Day and Friday's Talent Round-Up Day. Also look for a retrospective featurette with original Mousketeers, a look at merchandising and publicity materials and more. All three titles will once again be hosted by film historian Leonard Maltin.

In case you missed it, we posted SEVEN new disc reviews yesterday afternoon, including some in new columns by both Todd and Adam. Be sure to check 'em out if you haven't done so already.

Finally this morning, we wanted to let you know that many of the titles we've mentioned in the last week or two are now available for pre-order on These include the Hellboy: Director's Cut, Seinfeld: Seasons 1 & 2, Seinfeld: Season 3, Shrek 2, the Gone with the Wind: Collector's Edition, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Explorers, the Deep Impact: Special Collector's Edition, Fire in the Sky, The O.C.: The Complete First Season and much more. Ordering DVDs through the links around our site helps to support our efforts here at The Digital Bits, so we very much appreciate it.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/11/04 - 4 PM PDT)

Last update for today. We've just posted a pair of new reviews from our own Rob Hale (who, along with his wife, has just become a new home owner - congrats guys!). Up for today are his thoughts on Warner's Blow-Up and HBO's American Splendor.

Also this afternoon, we've posted the latest edition of Adam Jahnke's The Bottom Shelf, in which he looks at a pair of new Lions Gate DVDs, including Late Night with Conan O'Brien: 10th Anniversary Special and Late Night with Conan O'Brien: The Best of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

That makes SEVEN new disc reviews we've posted today in all, including those in Todd's column from earlier and the SACD review from this morning. Don't miss 'em.

See you tomorrow!

(LATE UPDATE - 8/11/04 - 2 PM PDT)

Okay... we've just posted Todd's Weekly Release Roundup for today. In this edition, Todd takes a quick look at a pair of releases from last week - Disney's The Black Hole and Columbia TriStar's 13 Going on 30: Special Edition. He runs down the major titles that his stores last week as well. Todd will be back on Friday with a look at THIS week's releases, and he's going to catch up on the last couple of weeks of August releases next week (along, of course, with next week's releases). Got all that? Whew!

Around the Net today, Business Week Online has just posted a very interesting article - an editorial commentary by Ronald Grover on the forthcoming next-generation format war. The gist is exactly what we've been saying, specifically that if there IS a format war, both Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD are going to languish amid consumer caution and even apathy. It's definitely worth a read. And my definitly worth a read, I MEAN YOU GUYS AT THE STUDIOS AND ELECTRONICS MANUFACTURERS!

How's about a little more new cover art before we go post more reviews? Here's Columbia TriStar's just announced Hellboy: Director's Cut (10/19), along with 20th Century Fox's That 70s Show: Season One (10/26) and Garfield: The Movie (10/19)...

Hellboy: Director's CutThat 70s Show: Season OneGarfield: The Movie

Just a quick

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/11/04 - 12:30 PM PDT)

Afternoon, folks! Well howdy, we're gonna have SEVERAL posts for you today, as we work to get Todd's column and some of these reviews posted.

But first, we wanted to check in with some official details on Warner's The Ultimate Matrix Collection coming in December. We've posted it in The Rumor Mill today, because the 10-disc set hasn't officially been announced by the studio yet, although this information comes straight from the Wachowskis who appeared at a panel discussion held by Warner Bros at Comic-Con... right before the big Star Wars event, of course, so it seems hardly anyone was there. Thankfully, however, one of our readers WAS there. So now we've got all the details for you, including some cool new information you haven't heard before. Enjoy!

Also, we've got a new SACD review for you this morning from our TAP crew - The Allman Brothers Band's Eat a Peach. Do check it out.

Okay... see you later this afternoon with more. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/10/04 - 2 PM PDT)

Okay... we've gotten a bunch more reviews in today, so we're busy formatting them for tomorrow. Todd says he'll have his Weekly Release Roundup for tomorrow afternoon as well.

In the meantime, we have a little more news and cover art for you today.

First up, we're sad to report that famed King Kong star Fay Wray has passed away in New York at the age of 96. One can only hope that Warner managed to interview her in recent months for their forthcoming special edition DVD, so her memories of the film can be preserved. Our hats off to her.

Speaking of Warner, the studio has announced that it will release Teen Titans: Divide and Conquer and Static Shock: The New Kid on 9/28 (SRP $19.97 each). Each disc will feature selected episodes from the WB animated series, along with extras.

And how's this for cover art? We've got a look for you at Disney's forthcoming Mary Poppins: 40th Anniversary Edition (12/14), The Island at the Top of the World: 30th Anniversary Edition (9/7), the remade Around the World in 80 Days (10/12) and all three newly announced Walt Disney Treasures titles - Mickey Mouse in Black and White: Volume Two, The Mickey Mouse Club: Week One and The Complete Pluto: Volume One (all 12/7). Enjoy!

Mary Poppins: 40th Anniversary EditionThe Island at the Top of the World: 30th Anniversary EditionAround the World in 80 Days (2004)

Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White - Volume TwoWalt Disney Treasures: The Mickey Mouse ClubWalt Disney Treasures: The Complete Pluto

See you tomorrow!

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/10/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We've got another early update for you today with some interesting new announcements.

Here's the big one: Universal will release The Chronicles of Riddick on 11/16. As you might expect, there will be 3 different DVDs - separate full frame and anamorphic widescreen theatrical versions, and an anamorphic widescreen unrated director's cut (SRP $29.98 each). Audio will be available on each in English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1. No word yet on extras, but we expect that soon, along with cover art.

HBO's just announced the DVD release of Carnivale: The Complete First Season. Look for that on 12/7 (SRP $99.98), including a behind-the-scenes featurette on the production design, a Museum of TV and Radio panel discussion with the cast and crew, 3 audio commentaries with series creator Daniel Knauf and executive producer Howard Klein, episode previews and re-caps, and more. Hopefully, HBO's Deadwood isn't far behind.

In other news this morning, Warner will release the BBC's 2-part The Office Special on 11/16 (SRP $25.98). Extras will include director's commentary, a behind-the-scenes documentary, audio of the Freelove Freeway single, a featurette on the making of the single and the If You Don't Love Me By Now music video.

And just in case you didn't get enough Halle Berry in Catwoman, look for Warner's 2-disc Gothika: Special Edition on 10/12 (SRP $26.99). Video is 1:85:1 anamorphic with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1. Extras will include audio commentary, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and a bunch of other stuff.

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/9/04 - 1 PM PDT)

We've got one more thing for you today. Now that Todd's new PC is up to speed, he was able to send me the photo he took at Comic-Con of the packaging on display in New Line's booth for the 4-disc Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended DVD Edition, along with the Collector's DVD Gift Set that includes the Extended Edition plus the Howard Shore: Creating The Lord of the Rings Symphony bonus disc and a miniature Sideshow/Weta statue of Minas Tirith. Street dates and more details should be available soon from New Line, so stay tuned.

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended DVD Edition packaging

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended DVD EditionHoward Shore: Creating The Lord of the Rings Symphony

Back tomorrow with reviews and more. See you then!

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/9/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We wanted to jump in early this morning with a couple of interesting things. First up, a lot of people have been asking us when the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century feature film is going to be released on DVD. The good news is this... when Universal's Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Epic Series arrives on DVD on 11/16, the original "pilot" film will be included among the 32 episodes that make up the show's first and second (and only) seasons. It will be one of 5 double-length episodes in the set, and we believe it will be the TV version of the film. The bad news is that there are subtle differences between the film version and the TV version, so we hope the film version will be released eventually as well. We hope to have cover art for the TV set soon.

We DO however, now have your first look at the cover art for Columbia TriStar's Seinfeld: Volumes 1 & 2 which were announced last week for release on 11/23 (actually titled: Seinfeld: Seasons 1 & 2 and Seinfeld: Season 3). We also have new art for Universal's Envy (9/28 - which interestingly doesn't use the actors' images), Paramount's recent remake of The Stepford Wives (10/26 - which will include director's commentary and 13 deleted scenes) and The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete First Season (11/16 - includes 32 episodes) and Touchstone/Buena Vista's Raising Helen (10/12 - includes audio commentary and deleted scenes).

Seinfeld: Volume 1Seinfeld: Volume 2Envy

The Stepford Wives (2004)The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete First SeasonRaising Helen

Also this morning, we've kicked off a trio of new Contests, giving each of you a chance to win copies of Miramax's Kill Bill, Volume 2, Lions Gate's Alf: Season One and a cool Hellboy bust from Sideshow Collectibles! The contests for the DVDs will run until Noon PDT on Sunday, August 15th. The Sideshow contest will run for two weeks, until Noon PDT on Sunday, August 22nd. Good luck!

We may be back later with more, so stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/6/04 - 12:30 PM PDT)

One last quick update for you today, and it's a good one. Columbia TriStar will release Seinfeld: Volume 1 and Seinfeld: Volume 2 on 11/23 (SRP $49.95 each), just in time for "Festivus" (as George might say). Each volume will feature some 12 hours of content, including interviews with the cast and creators (Inside Looks), outtakes and bloopers (Not That There's Anything Wrong With That), audio commentaries with the cast members (Yada Yada Yada), deleted scenes (In the Vault), original NBC promotional ads and trailers (Sponsored by Vandelay Industries), behind-the-scenes "scoop" and production notes (Notes About Nothing), and never-before-seen stand-up comedy footage of co-creator and star Jerry Seinfeld (Master of His Domain). Volume 1 will also include the hour-long How It Began documentary along with original Tonight Show footage, while Volume 2 will include the Kramer vs. Kramer: Kenny to Cosmo featurette (on the real Kramer). The two volumes together include 40 episodes (Volume 1 will include all 18 episodes of the first and second seasons, while Volume 2 will include all 22 episodes from the third season). There will also be a Seinfeld: Deluxe Holiday Gift Set of both volumes (SRP $119.95), which will also include a limited edition script from co-creator Larry David, Monk's Diner salt-and-pepper shakers and a deck of playing cards. You'll be glad to know that additional seasons are already in production for release on DVD in 2005. We'll post cover art as soon as it's available. E Online has a good story up on this, and you'll find the news elsewhere as well.

Disney has announced a 2-disc Mary Poppins: 40th Anniversary Special Edition for release on 12/14 (SRP $29.99). The film will be presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen. Extras will include the never-before-heard deleted song Chimpanzoo, a 50-minute behind-the-scenes documentary, new interviews, an interactive game, a new animated short based on an original P.L. Travers story, and the first ever reunion of Dick Van Dyke, Julie Andrews and co-composer Richard Sherman (the trio also provides audio commentary for the film). Nice.

Around the net this afternoon, there's word that 321 Studios is closing its doors. Makers of the DVD X Copy DVD copying software, the company apparently couldn't continue operating under the threat of numerous lawsuits from the studios. All this comes even as the HD-DVD camp says it might be willing to allow limited fair use copying of its future high-def movie software. Go figure.

Any KISS fans out there? It seems the band is prepping a new concert DVD. The band is going to be taping its August 17th show in Palacio de los Deportes, Mexico for release on DVD in the future. Visit KISS Online for more on that.

All right, that's it. Kill the lights, the show's over. Go out and have yourselves a helluva good weekend and we'll catch you on the flipside. Peace out!

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/6/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

We're checking in early this morning with a nice surprise for you guys... hot-off-the-presses cover art for a trio of major fourth quarter releases, newly announced all. Here's DreamWorks' Shrek 2 (11/5), and Warner's Gone with the Wind: Collector's Edition (11/9) and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (11/23)...

Shrek 2Gone with the Wind: Collector's EditionHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Widescreen)

By the way, a lot of you have been asking us when we can expect to see Warner's long in the works Heat: Special Edition. This would normally go in The Rumor Mill, but it's pretty obvious, so we'll post it here. Expect it in time for the holidays, when Michael Mann's current Collateral hits DVD. Likewise, you can reasonably expect Warner's King Kong: Special Edition next year, timed with the theatrical (or DVD) release of Peter Jackson's remake.

That's all for now... ahhhhh, screw it. Just 'cause we love you guys, here's three more covers many of you have been dying to see: Paramount's Deep Impact: Special Collector's Edition (10/5), Explorers (10/19) and The Ren & Stimpy Show: The First and Second Seasons - Uncut (10/12)...

Deep Impact: Special Collector's EditionExplorersThe Ren & Stimpy Show: The First and Second Seasons - Uncut

Enjoy your coffee! Back with more later...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/5/04 - 4:30 PM PDT)

Just a quick update on DreamWorks' Shrek 2. It's looking like the Shrek: The Story So Far box set (SRP $54.99) will include only the full frame versions of Shrek and Shrek 2. Shrek 3-D is only available in anamorphic widescreen, so that's what will be included in the box. Unfortunately, we believe that in order to get the bonus disc of Shrek 2 extras... you have to buy the box. We'll post more on this as we learn it.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/5/04 - 11:30 AM PDT)

Morning, folks! We've got a couple things for you today. First of all, we have a new reviewer who will be contributing occasionally to The Bits - Joseph Massaro. For his first review, Joe's given Paramount's Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter on DVD. Welcome Joe!

Here's the big news today - DreamWorks has officially announced the DVD release of its Shrek 2 for November 5th (yes, a Friday). There will be separate full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions (SRP $29.99 each), each a single-disc release and each with audio in English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 & 2.0. Look also for a Shrek: The Story So Far box set (SRP $54.99) which will include Shrek, Shrek 3-D, Shrek 2 and an exclusive Shrek 2 bonus disc only available in this collection (boy, DVD fans are gonna hate that). We'll bring you artwork and all the details on the extras as soon as they're available.

Around the Net, there's a good article over at The New York Times about dual-layered DVD burners, which are just now starting to arrive in stores in larger numbers.

We've also got a little bit of new upcoming DVD cover art for you. Here's Columbia TriStar's Radio Flyer, Betty Blue: Director's Cut and Stephen King Presents Kingdom Hospital (all street on 10/12)...

Radio FlyerBetty Blue: Director's CutStephen King Presents Kingdom Hospital

A lot of you have been asking what happened to Todd's Weekly Release Roundup. Don't worry, Todd should be back next week. As you may recall, both Todd and Matt have had virus problems on their PCs in the last couple weeks. Todd's finally took a dive a few days ago. Thankfully, he's just received his brand new Dell, so he's going to spend the weekend getting it up to shape. Rest assured, he'll definitely be back soon.

Also I wanted to just say a quick word about our advertising. Obviously, we run a number of banner and pop-up ads for the studios for major upcoming releases. Occasionally, those ads have noisy music or sound effects. We know that some of you out there dislike them, and we certainly appreciate your feelings. Unfortunately, given the amount of traffic we receive and bandwidth we use here at The Bits, running this website is a very expensive proposition. There's just no other way we can keep it going without accepting such advertising. We're very much stuck between a rock and a hard place - it's either accept such advertising, or start asking our readers for money which we'd rather not do. We work VERY hard to bring you the best DVD news, reviews and editorial commentary we can, and we work just as hard to serve as an advocate for consumers with the DVD industry - it's something we believe in deeply. So we ask for your understanding with regards to the advertising that helps make The Bits possible. Note that we ARE looking into reports that the full page ads can't be skipped - we've pulled those ads from the site until such time as they're fixed. Thanks for your patience.

Stay tuned...


We've got a couple of cool things for you today. First up, Universal has officially announced the re-release of their Born on the Fourth of July: Special Edition for 10/16 (SRP $19.98). The good news is, this time the disc is anamorphic widescreen. Audio will be available in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. Expect the extras to be basically the same as what was on the previous edition. Here's a look at the cover art...

Born on the Fourth of July: Special EditionThe Deadly Spawn: Special EditionCreepshow 2: Special Divimax Edition

As you can see, that's also the cover art for Synapse's just announced The Deadly Spawn: Special Edition (street date 10/26 - SRP $19.95). The film will be presented in its original full frame aspect ratio with audio in Dolby Digital mono. Extras will include 2 audio commentaries, still galleries (of behind-the-scenes photos, make-up effects, and the premiere in New York City), a comic-style prequel with its own musical score, the original theatrical trailer, an alternate opening sequence with new effects and credits, an outtake reel and cast and crew biographies.

We've also posted the art for Anchor Bay's Creepshow 2: Special Divimax Edition which we mentioned yesterday (street date 9/28).

We've got an interesting piece of Blu-ray Disc news today. It seems Sony's forthcoming PlayStation 3 game console will use Blu-ray Disc media. No surprise there, but it means that the system will likely be able to play the Blu-ray movie discs as well. Click here for more on this via GameSpot. Thanks to Bits reader Kevin A. for the link.

Around the site today, we've posted another BIG Upcoming DVD Cover Art update, featuring dozens of new cover scans. Special thanks to our resident cover art guru Russell Hammond for that.

And finally this afternoon, we've kicked off a pair of new Contests, giving each of you the chance to win copies of Disney's Hidalgo and Shout! Factory's Breakout Comedy Series. Entries will be accepted until Noon PDT on Sunday, August 8th. Good luck!

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/3/04 - 1:30 PM PDT)

We're pleased to present Robert Harris' latest Yellow Layer Failure column this afternoon. In this edition, Robert muses over The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, beautifully shot B&W films, three-strip Technicolor, director Martin Scorsese, a Miramax mystery, The Cary Grant Collection, Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers and more. Don't miss it!

Finally today, MGM has revealed their catalog line-up for November. On 11/2, look for the animated Babes on Toyland, The Grissom Gang, The High Commissioner, Last Rites, Mulholland Falls and What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?. Then on 11/9, look for a Barbershop: Collector's Set (which includes both films), along with a Legally Blonde: Collector's Set (same drill).

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/3/04 - 11:30 AM PDT)

We've got another quickie for you this morning, and we'll be back with a column this afternoon. First up, Criterion has announced a nice slate of DVDs for release in October. Look for Robert Altman's Tanner '88 (#258) and Secret Honor (#257), Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face (#260) and Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl (#259). Each will carry an SRP of $29.95, except Secret Honor which is $39.95.

Also, Anchor Bay Entertainment will release both the Children of the Corn: Special DiviMax Edition and the Creepshow 2: Special DiviMax Edition on 9/28.

We've updated the CEA DVD Player Sales charts with the latest sales data. We've updated the month of June with a fifth week of data (ending 7/2) and we've also added the data for the first two weeks of July (ending 7/9 and 7/16). That takes the format to date number to over 73 million players in the States.

By the way, I want to thank you guys who have been responding to the Fahrenheit 9/11 comments I made yesterday. We've actually been getting a lot of very funny e-mails from people calling is liberal commie bastards as a joke, then saying lots of nice things about the site. We've been laughing all day around here, so much appreciated.

Back with more soon...

(LATE UPDATE - 8/2/04 - 4 PM PDT)

More new artwork for you this afternoon... and we know some of you out there have been dying for this one. Here's Columbia TriStar's Fahrenheit 9/11 (due 10/5). We've also got temp art for Warner's Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Second Season (12/14) and Fine Line's Maria Full of Grace (12/7)...

Fahrenheit 9/11Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Second SeasonMaria Full of Grace

We're still waiting for official details on the special features, but we're told the Fahrenheit 9/11 disc will include the film in anamorphic widescreen video with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Bonus material will tentatively include behind-the-scenes featurettes (The Release of Fahrenheit 9/11, Outside Abu Ghraib Prison, Eyewitness Account from Samara, Iraq, Lila Lipscomb at the Washington D.C. Premiere and Arab-American Comedians: Their Acts and Experiences after 9/11), a video montage (The People of Iraq on the Eve of Invasion), a new scene (Homeland Security: Miami Style), an extended interview (Moore with Abdul Henderson), video of Condoleezza Rice's 9/11 Commission testimony and video of the "Rose Garden press briefing after 9/11 Commission appearance". These extras are subject to confirmation, so stay tuned.

Bet you five bucks we get at least a dozen angry e-mails from people accusing us of having a liberal bias for posting this. Every single time we mention Fahrenheit 9/11 we get angry e-mails calling us liberal commie bastards for giving the title press. We've even gotten a few calling us ultra right-wing wackos for not talking about it enough. Doh!

Back tomorrow. See you then!

(LATE UPDATE - 8/2/04 - 1:30 PM PDT)

We've just posted Barrie Maxwell's latest Classic Coming Attractions column. In this edition, Barrie runs down all the latest classic film DVD announcements. Don't miss it!

Just FYI, we've got another column from Barrie on the way for later this week, featuring reviews a number of forthcoming and recently released classic DVDs. We've also got a new Robert Harris column coming later this week too. And with any luck, Todd's Weekly Release Roundup will be back on track as well in the next couple of days.

By the way, we've updated some of the DVD format stats we track today (see the charts above). We'll have the CEA data updated tomorrow as well.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 8/2/04 - 11:45 AM PDT)

We'll be back with more later, but I wanted to jump in here early with word on more new DVD announcements, as well as to show you all some new cover artwork.

Let's start with the announcements. As we first reported in The Rumor Mill on 7/12, Warner Bros has revealed that they're going to be releasing a Gone With the Wind: 65th Anniversary Special Edition on 11/9 (SRP $39.92). The 4-disc set will include some 5 hours of old and new documentaries, interviews and other bonus features. The film has been restored with Warner's "Ultra-Resolution" process and the film has been spread over 2 dual-layered discs. Audio will be available in the original mono and a new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix as well. Click here for more on the release via Variety.

Now then... Columbia TriStar will release the Breaking All the Rules: Special Edition on 10/12, along with the Betty Blue: Director's Cut, Radio Flyer, Wackiest Ship in the Army, Stephen King Presents Kingdom Hospital and Harold and the Purple Crayon: The Complete Series.

Buena Vista will release Valentin on 10/12, I'm Not Scared on 10/19, and the 3-disc Tiger Woods: The Authorized DVD Collection on 11/16.

20th Century Fox has announced its next Studio Classics title, Three Coins in the Fountain, for release on 11/2. Also on that day, you'll get The Simple Life 2 and The Simpsons Christmas 2 (which will include the episodes Homer vs. Dignity, Skinner's Sense of Snow, Dude Where's My Ranch? and 'Tis the Fifteenth Season).

Finally, Universal has announced The Last Ride for 11/2, with Hell's Angels following on 12/7 and All Night Long expected on 12/14.

Here's a look at more new cover art. We have Miramax's final art for the Clerks X: 10th Anniversary Edition (9/7), Columbia TriStar's Easy Rider: 35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (9/28) and Super Size Me (9/28), and Universal's Northern Exposure: The Complete Second Season (11/2), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (9/28) and The Marx Brothers: Silver Screen Collection (11/9)...

Clerks X: 10th Anniversary EditionEasy Rider: 35th Anniversary Deluxe EditionSuper Size Me

Northern Exposure: The Complete Second SeasonEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindThe Marx Brothers: Silver Screen Collection

Back this afternoon with more. Stay tuned...


I wanted to let you all know that if you're a Hellboy fan and you're going to be in L.A. tomorrow (Saturday, July 31st), you're definitely going to want to drop by Golden Apple Comics (7711 Melrose Avenue). From 2 to 4 PM (PDT), director Guillermo del Toro, stars Ron Pearlman and Doug Jones, Mike Elizalde and the special effects crew from Spectral Motion, and DVD producer Javier Soto will all be on hand to sign copies of the 2-disc Hellboy: Special Edition. It's definitely going to be an event you don't want to miss. Click here for all the details.

Matt and I had the chance to take in a screening of Richard Linklater's charming Before Sunset last night, and let me tell you, it's one of the best films I've seen all year. You've heard me talk about it before, and particularly Linklater's original Before Sunrise (Sunset is the follow-up, catching up with Jessie and Celine some ten years later). It's every bit as satisifying as I'd hoped it would be - as good as the first film and with one of the truly great endings I've seen in a long time. Be sure to catch it if you can, but do spin the original first. You won't be sorry.

Before we go today, I've got some hot-off-the-presses Paramount cover art that a lot of you have been dying to see. So here's your first look at Fire in the Sky and Conquest of Space (both due 10/19). We've also got the cover art for Full Boost Vertical: The Supercar Story, a new documentary on the making of the classic Gerry Anderson TV series that's available now from

Fire in the SkyConquest of SpaceFull Boost Vertical: The Supercar Story

See you back here on Monday with columns, news and more. Stay tuned!


Well... we knew it was coming sooner rather than later. Columbia TriStar will release Michael Moore's controversial Fahrenheit 9/11 on October 5th. The first documentary ever to take in more than $100 million at the box office will carry an SRP of $28.95. No word yet on extras.

Anyone else live here in The O.C. like some of us here at The Bits do? Well... you'll be thrilled to know that the first season of the hit Fox series arrives on DVD on October 26th from Warner Bros. The 7-disc set will include all 26 episodes in anamorphic widescreen video. Extras will include commentary on the pilot episode, unaired scenes with introductions by the show's creators, 3 featurettes, an "onscreen music guide" for 6 episodes and more. Now excuse us while Matt and I go pick a fight on the beach...

Disney has announced the DVD release of its re-made Around the World in 80 Days for 11/2 (SRP $29.99). Extras will include cast & filmmaker commentary, deleted scenes, an alternate opening, behind-the-scenes featurettes on Jackie Chan's stunts and production, a music video and more.

Here's the cover art for The O.C.: The Complete First Season, Paramount's final art for Friday the 13th: From Crystal Lake to Manhattan - The Ultimate DVD Collection (due on 10/5) and Universal's Spartacus mini-series (10/26)...

The O.C.: The Complete First SeasonFriday the 13th: From Crystal Lake to Manhattan - The Ultimate DVD CollectionSpartacus

We've got official word from Warner Bros. today on the extras to look for on their Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban DVD (due on 11/23 - SRP $29.95). The 2-disc set will be available in both anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions, each with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1. Extras on each edition will include an interview with J.K. Rowling and the filmmakers (Creating the Vision), 3 interactive games (including Magic You May Have Missed, Catch Scabbers and an "unexpected quest with Sir Cadogan"), iPIX tours of Honeydukes and Professor Lupin's Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, interviews with the cast (lead by Johnny Vaughan and the Shrunken Head), footage of the animal trainers from the movie, a Choir Practice sing-along, a Hogwarts Portrait Gallery, an in-depth look at the making of key scenes from the film (Conjuring a Scene), theatrical trailers of all three Harry Potter films, an Electronic Arts game preview and more DVD-ROM extras (including Wizard Trading Cards and a Hogwarts timeline).

Also today, a number of European DVD retail sites (including this Italian site) have begun to list specs on Warner's forthcoming Troy DVD. The disc (still TBA here in the States) will reportedly include audio commentary with director Wolfgang Petersen, audio commentary with various cast members, the In the Middle of the Battle documentary, several Troy's Special Effects featurettes, a 3-D exploration of the greek gods, trailers and more. Thanks to Bits reader José Luis Alva P. for that. We'll let you know when Warner officially announces the disc. It's due to be released on 10/20 in Italy at least.

We've got another great DVD review for you this afternoon from Dw Dunphy of our MusicTAP site... 20th Century Fox's 2-disc Predator: Collector's Edition which hits stores on 8/10. Don't miss it.

Also today, our own Adam Jahnke has checked in with another Bottom Shelf column in which he reviews a trio of great "direct-to-video" DVD releases... Touchstone's Hope Springs, New Line's Ripley's Game and Fantoma's Revengers Tragedy. All are available now. Enjoy!

Stay tuned...


We had meant to have a big post up today, but both Todd and I are now having some virus troubles (Matt's been dealing with them for a week or two now), so we're doing a little computer maintenance today. We'll be back with our full post tomorrow, rest assured. We've got at least one review and several columns to post before the week is out.

I did want to chime in here today with word on a Star Wars DVD related issue. It seems that a number of clips and/or screen shots have been leaking around the Internet (particularly on European websites) purporting to show some of the changes made on the upcoming DVDs. It should be noted that Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox have NOT yet issued review copies of these discs to the press. So if these images ARE the real deal, they can only be coming from stolen or pirated discs. We are, therefore, choosing not to show them or link to them or discuss them here, until we believe it's appropriate and proper to do so. Anyone who does post these are no doubt going to be asked to remove them anyway. So that's our position on the matter for the time being. We'll let you know when it changes.

Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...


Afternoon, folks! We've gotten official word from Paramount about all of their great DVD releases from September and October. Let's start with September:

9/7 - Murder on the Orient Express, Whispers in the Dark, Keen Eddie: The Complete Series, Eddie Murphy: Raw, The United States of Leland, The Sports Pages, Mork & Mindy: The Complete First Season, Star Trek: Generations - Special Collector's Edition, The Creation of the Universe

9/14 - Survivor: All-Stars, Bug, I Married a Monster from Outer Space, Orca: The Killer Whale, Body Parts, G.I. Joe: Valor vs. Venom, 7th Heaven: The Complete First Season

9/21 - The Rose Tattoo, The Country Girl, Mean Girls: Special Collector's Edition

9/28 - Star Trek: Voyager - The Complete Fourth Season, Crank Yankers: Season 1 Uncensored, Strangers with Candy: Season 3, Tonka: Tough Truck Adventures - The Biggest Show on Wheels, Ken Burns' America Collection: Empire of the Air, Ken Burns' America Collection: Huey Long, Ken Burns' America Collection: Thomas Heart Benton, Ken Burns' America Collection Gift Set (7 discs), Blue's Clues: Bluestock, Footloose: Special Collector's Edition

Now here's a look at some of what's coming in October (final street dates TBA):

The Stepford Wives (2004), Deep Impact: Special Collector's Edition, The Untouchables: Special Collector's Edition, Friday the 13th: From Crystal Lake to Manhattan - Ultimate Edition DVD Collection, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment: The Complete Second Season, Taxi: The Complete First Season, All I Want for Christmas, Black Beauty, Bebe's Kids, Conquest of Space, D.A.R.Y.L., Explorers, Fire in the Sky, The Thing Called Love, Jimmy Hollywood, Brain Doners, The Nutty Professor: Special Collector's Edition, Cinderfella, The Bellboy, The Disorderly Orderly, The Delicate Delinquent, The Errand Boy, The Family Jewels, The Ladies Man, The Patsy, The Stooge, Love Me if You Dare, Fairly Oddparents: Channels Chasers, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete Second Season, Dora the Explorer: Dora's Fairytale Adventure, Dora the Explorer: Dora's Christmas, Dora the Explorer: Dora's Ultimate Adventure DVD Collection, Blue's Clues: ABC's 123's and More DVD Collection, Max & Ruby: Max & Ruby's Christmas, The Amanda Show: Amanda Please - Volume 1, The Amanda Show: Girl's Room - Volume 2, C.S.I.: The Complete Fourth Season, Ren & Stimpy: The Complete First & Second Season, Transformers: Energon - Battle for Energon, Transformers: Energon - Return of Megatron, Secret Central: Have You Heard?, MTV Punk'd: The Complete Second Season, MTV's Viva la Bam: The Complete First Season, Wildboyz: The Complete First Season, Peanuts: I Want a Dog for Christmas, In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great, RFK, The Fight, Broadway: The American Musical, Cyberchase: Starlight Night, Boohbah: Snowman

In case your eyes went into overload at that list, let me point out the gem you might have missed: Ren & Stimpy: The Complete First & Second Season. Nice. By the way, Amazon has street dates for a lot of these titles, but until we get the final dates from Paramount consider them tentative.

Now then, after announcing that Warner will release Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on DVD on 11/23, we also learned that the studio will release a 3-pack of the widescreen versions all three of the movies on DVD on the same day (SRP $59.92) for those few of you who don't have them yet. We'll post art as soon as it's available.

Universal has announced The Gatekeeper for 10/12, Spartacus: The Miniseries for 10/26, and Northern Exposure: The Complete Second Season and Traffic: The Miniseries for 11/2. Also, be aware of a few street date changes - Van Helsing will now arrive on 10/19, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is now set for 9/28, and Dawn of the Dead is now due on 10/26.

Columbia TriStar has announced the DVD release of Cameron's Closet for 10/5, along with Dawson's Creek: The Complete Fourth Season and What's Happening: The Complete Second Season.

Finally, MGM has announced that it will release Saved! and Unspeakable on 10/5.

Back tomorrow with new columns. Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/26/04 - 10 AM PDT)

We've learned that Warner Bros. will release Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on DVD on 11/23. The 2-disc DVD will be available in separate full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions (SRP $29.95), each with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include interviews with the cast, crew and creator J.K. Rowling, deleted scenes, interactive games and more. A similar report is available at Video Store (although no additional details are included).

Stay tuned...

(LATE UPDATE - 7/26/04 - 10 AM PDT)

With all the news and hype we were sifting through while at Comic-Con last week, we were stunned to learn of the death of legendary Hollywood film composer Jerry Goldsmith on Wednesday. It would be hard to imagine the Star Trek films without Goldsmith's music, or Ridley Scott's Alien sans his hauntingly spare contribution. All you have to do is take a look at his list of credits on IMDB, and you'll know just how big a loss this is for film fans. He will truly be missed, and our hats off to him.

In other news today, CNN has posted an interesting story by its Nick Nunziata on how DVD fanaticism has gone mainstream.

Also today, MacCentral reports that the HD-DVD group is FINALLY coming out swinging in its war with Blu-ray Disc to win the hearts and minds of consumers. Toshiba and NEC Corp announced today that they plan to start launching HD-DVD compatible products next year. Toshiba reportedly has plans to debut a home player and maybe a recorder, while NEC plans an HD-DVD-ROM drive for use with computers. This would be the first major push by the HD-DVD camp - recently the news has been all Blu-ray Disc (for example Sony's recent announcement that it will build the first Blu-ray Disc production lines in the U.S. this fall so that the Hollywood studios can offer their input in the manufacturing process).

That's not all. Microsoft has just announced that its forthcoming, next-generation operating system (code-named "Longhorn") will be HD-DVD compatible. That of course is no surprise, but it's another shot in the arm for HD-DVD.

Todd and I have been watching the news, hearing inside opinions from the industry and generally debating the whole format war subject for a while now. We're betting that a major factor (if not THE major factor) in deciding the winner is going to be which studio gets their hands on the MGM library (Warner which supports HD-DVD, or Sony which is backing Blu-ray Disc). We'll have to see in the next few weeks which bidder walks away with that prize.

Stay tuned...

(EARLY UPDATE - 7/26/04 - 12:01 AM PDT)

Morning everyone! Well, we're back from Comic-Con and another successful DVD Producers panel. But first, I assume you've all heard the BIG news to come out of the weekend...

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Yes... Todd and I were on hand on Saturday afternoon as Lucasfilm's Steve Sansweet revealed the name of the final installment in George Lucas' Star Wars saga... Revenge of the Sith. Ever wonder what it sounds like when 6,000 fans blow the roof off a convention center with their enthusiasm? Well, we don't anymore, that's for sure. The weekend's biggest event included special guests like producer Rick McCallum, and actors Hayden Christensen and Carrie Fisher, much to the delight of fans.

The event also produced some new DVD information that Star Wars fans are sure to be happy about, like the fact that 20th Century Fox is going to be releasing the animated Droids and Ewoks TV series on DVD, as well as both Ewok live-action TV movies (The Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor), in November and December (the exact street dates are still TBA). In addition, it was revealed that the first 20 chapters of Cartoon Network's animated Star Wars: Clone Wars shorts will arrive on DVD around next spring (sometime around Easter 2005). Unfortunately, little more was revealed about the original trilogy DVDs, although several clips from the documentary and featurettes on the set's bonus disc were shown.

Todd and I were also on hand this weekend as New Line finally revealed more details about the forthcoming The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Special Extended DVD Edition (currently set to street in December - date TBA). The set will feature more than 50 additional minutes of footage, including some 300 additional effect shots. Among the new scenes we were able to preview this weekend were: the final confrontation between Gandalf and Sarumon at Isengard, the "mouth" of Sauron at the Black Gate, Aragorn revealing the sword Anduril to Sauron's eye in the Seeing-stone, the confrontation between the Witch King and Gandalf at Minas Tirith, more battle footage on the Pelennor fields, Frodo and Sam marching with Sauron's forces disguised as Orcs, Faramir telling Denethor that he would never use the power of the Ring, Aragorn looking down upon a fleet of Corsair ships from a ridgetop, Faramir and Éowyn at the House of Healing, Merry pledging allegiance to King Theoden at Gondor, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli narrowly escaping an avalanche of skulls deep inside the Dwimorberg and MUCH more. From what we've seen, this final extended cut promises to be every bit as good as the previous two. We also learned that the set will feature more than 20 hours of supplemental content.

That's not all. In addition to the 4 disc set, there will also be another special collector's gift set, that will include the 4-disc Extended Edition along with a bonus DVD - Howard Shore: Creating the Lord of the Rings Symphony - A Composer's Journey Through Middle-earth - and a miniature Sideshow/Weta statue of Minas Tirith, which doubles as a trinket box. Todd took some photos of the DVD packaging, so we'll get those posted as soon as we can.

I should tell you that our DVD Producers 2004 panel was a blast. Many hundreds of people turned out for the event, so thanks to all of you who attended. Todd and I moderated, and we were joined by producers Charles de Lauzirika, Javier Soto, Robert Meyer Burnett and Susie Lee for a lively and entertaining discussion. Soto gave the audience a sneak peek at the Hellboy DVD (set to street tomorrow), and there was lots of Q&A with the crowd. We recorded the event with a small tape recorder - if the quality is good enough, we're going to see if we can get a transcript posted in the days ahead. We'll let you know if and when that comes together. In the meantime, our friend Jessica Wolf has posted an article about the panel over at Video Store magazine (thanks Jessica!). We've got a group shot of all the panel participants too, so we'll post that later as well.

Back with more later. Stay tuned...


We've got some interesting news today on upcoming DVDs thanks to Video Store magazine. The latest issue is reporting that DreamWorks' Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy may arrive on DVD (later this year or early next) in two versions. Director Adam McKay believes there will be a single-disc movie only release, followed by a 2-disc special edition. Reportedly, the original cut of the film was over 4 hours long, so McKay is using the extra footage to make an entire second film, set to be called Wake Up, Ron Burgundy, that will clock in at an hour and forty minutes. Look for that to be included on the more elaborate edition.

In addition, Video Store is reporting that director Antoine Fuqua is cutting a harder-edged, R-rated version of his King Arthur for DVD, likely to be released by Buena Vista simultaneous to the PG-13 theatrical edition. The R-rated cut will include more graphic battle footage, and also explores the historical inspirations for the Arthurian legends.

Finally, Video Store is reporting that The Punisher director Jonathan Hensleigh was preparing supplemental materials for the film's eventual DVD release even before it was released in theaters. This includes an in-depth audio commentary track, that the director scripted before recording so as to include the maximum amount of information about the making of the film. The Punisher arrives on DVD on 9/7 from Lions Gate.

Around the site today, we're pleased to bring you Todd Doogan's Weekly Release Roundup. In it, Todd examines the best of the titles newly available in stores this week, and reviews 10 of them. Sorry it's a couple of days late, but Comic-Con preparations have kept us pretty busy as you can imagine! Even as I write this, Doogan's on a westbound plane. Not enough hours in the day...

Also this morning, we're pleased to bring to a DVD review from Dw. Dunphy, who usually writes for our MusicTAP site. Dunphy brings you his thoughts on MGM's The Manchurian Candidate: Special Edition, which is in stores now.

Finally, we've kicked off a trio of new Contests today, giving each of you a chance to win copies of Shout! Factory's How's Your News?, MGM's Thunderbirds: International Rescue Edition 2-pack and Universal's The Bourne Identity: Explosive Extended Edition. All the contests will run until Noon PDT on Saturday, July 31st. Good luck!

That's all for this week. There won't be a post tomorrow, as Todd and I will be knee-deep in all the festivities at Comic-Con. But we'll be back on Monday with a full report, and to bring you all the latest DVD release news.

We'll see some of you later today in San Diego, and we'll catch up with the rest of you on Monday.

Peace out.


Well, we finally know why Warner's La Femme Nikita: The Complete Second Season was delayed. According to Video Store, there was a last minute music clearance issue. Despite the studio mandated delay, copies of the disc were still available on store shelves today at Best Buy and other retailers. Many readers reported to us yesterday that they had no trouble getting their hands on the set with a little effort. In any case, look for the discs to be returned to stock rooms as the word trickles around. We'll let you know when the studio announces a new release date.

In other news this morning, Video Business is reporting that Anchor Bay is in talks with Fox about forming a distribution partnership for its titles. Fox already handles physical distribution for Lions Gate.

Now then... around the site today, we've got a BIG Rumor Mill update that you fans of Shrek 2, Spider-Man 2, The Matrix, Blade Runner, Seinfeld and White Chicks are definitely not going to want to miss. So, you know... don't miss it.

We've got still more new upcoming DVD cover art for you to check out today. Here's Fox's Lost in Space: Season Two, Volume One (9/14), Roswell: The Complete Second Season (10/5), In Living Color: Season Two (9/28) and Arrested Development: Season One (10/19), along with Buena Vista's Jersey Girl (9/7) and Warner's Wacky Races: The Complete Series (10/19)...

Lost in Space: Season Two, Volume OneRoswell: The Complete Second SeasonIn Living Color: Season Two

Arrested Development: Season OneJersey GirlWacky Races: The Complete Series

By the way, we inadvertently gave the wrong street date in yesterday's post for That 70s Show: The Complete First Season. It should be 10/26 (we had listed it as 11/26). We've corrected the post. Thanks to Bits reader Michael B. for catching that.

We also wanted to mention briefly that Matt over at our MusicTAP site is having a real bear of a time dealing with a virus problem on his computer. So if updates over there are a little sparse for the next few days, you'll know why. Rest assured, Matt's crew is working on lots on content to post when he's back up to speed. I know he appreciates your patience.

Back with Todd's column later. Stay tuned...

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