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All right, it’s been a week and a half now since we first broke the news here at The Digital Bits that Disney had signed a new deal with Sony for the latter to take over Disney’s physical media production and distribution.

In that time, there’s been a lot of speculation as to what this might mean for Disney’s physical media releases going forward. And there are certainly many questions that it’s natural for disc consumers to ask about the deal.

Does this mean that Disney will continue releasing Blu-ray and 4K discs? Will they perhaps even increase their title output? Will more Disney, Fox, Touchstone, and Hollywood Pictures deep catalog content finally come to 4K UHD? Does Sony taking over distribution from Disney mean that their product will return to markets the studio has pulled out of recently?

One thing we can safely say for sure is that Sony is a lot more efficient at producing and distributing titles on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD.

So streamlining this process and reducing unnecessary bureaucracy can only be a good thing in the sense of making Disney’s physical media titles more profitable for the studio.

But to answer those larger questions, I’ve continued to check in with our many industry sources over the last week or two. And I have learned a couple of things that should help to clarify the picture a bit for consumers. [Read on here...]

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Happy Leap Day, Bits readers! February 29th only comes around once every four years, so enjoy it while you can.

I want to take a moment to thank all of you for your patience. We haven’t done a news update here for a couple days, and the reason is that I’ve been doing a lot more digging about that Disney and Sony physical media distribution deal, and I have in fact learned a little bit more information that will put the deal in better context. So after having a few last conversations with sources tonight, I’ll have a bit more to share on that front in tomorrow’s news update here at The Bits.

In the meantime, we’ve posted a bunch more new disc reviews here at the site as follows...

Dennis has posted his thoughts on Raoul Walsh’s The Roaring Twenties (1939) on Blu-ray from our friends at The Criterion Collection, as well as Ralph Murphy’s The Man in Half Moon Street (1945) on Blu-ray from Imprint, Robin Spry’s One Man (1977) and Elly Kenner and Norman Thaddeus Vane’s The Black Room (1982) on Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome, and Damien LeVeck’s A Creature Was Stirring (2023) on Blu-ray from Well Go USA.

Stewart has taken a look at Norman Jewison’s The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966) on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Nigel Cole’s Saving Grace (2000) on Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection, and Alan Rudolph’s Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994) on Blu-ray from Imprint.

And finally, Stephen has check in with his take on David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ (1999) on 4K Ultra HD from Vinegar Syndrome. All are well worth a look (both the films and the discs). [Read on here...]

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We’ve got some more new announcement for you today, including a few interesting ones. And we have new disc reviews today as well. But first, I saw Dune: Part Two last night. So let me just share some very quick and non-spoiler comments. Here’s my initial reaction posted on social media afterwards...

“You see a film like DUNE: PART TWO and you think: That’s either the last great film of a dying Hollywood, or proof that there’s still a bit of life left in this industry. Either way, it’s a wonder. And absolutely perfect. Don’t look now, but Denis Villeneuve has just casually knocked out three of the greatest science fiction films of all time. See it on the BIGGEST POSSIBLE SCREEN.”

I guess “three of the greatest” depends on whether you calculate Dune as a single film or not. But Arrival, Blade Runner: 2049, and the combined Dune adaptation are all superb. I would rank them right up there with Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Alien, and the Wachowskis’ The Matrix. Maybe I’d add Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind in there as well. All extraordinary pieces of hard science fiction cinema.

Honestly, if you liked Dune: Part One—and particularly if you loved Frank Herbert’s original novel, which is rightly regarded as the greatest work of science fiction literature—Villeneuve has just nailed the landing. [Read on here...]

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Hey guys, this is Bill. I’ll be back with our usual news post shortly—including my non-spoiler thoughts on Dune: Part Two—but first I wanted to pop in here with this message…

My friend John Schuermann is the owner of one of the best home theater dealers around, The Screening Room A/V in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and he’s also the person who helped me select my new JVC projector for The Digital Bits’ HQ theatre.

You might recall that John and I also did this video podcast together back in November, along with Kris Deering of Deep Dive AV and Steve Crabb from TSRAV: Is Physical Media Dead?

He’s got some great deals on B-stock JVC projectors that might interest some of you. Here’s John to explain (comments below the break)... [Read on here...]

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Well, yesterday was kind of a big day in terms of industry news, but as it happens, there have been quite a lot of interesting 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray announcements in the last 24 hours too!

But before we get to those, we have a few more new disc reviews for you...

I’ve just taken a look at John Sturges’ Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) in 4K Ultra HD from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, as well as Ron Maxwell’s cult classic Little Darlings (1980) in 4K UHD from Vinegar Syndrome’s new Cinématographe Films label.

Stephen has turned in his thoughts on Nia DaCosta’s The Marvels (2023) in 4K Ultra HD from Marvel and Disney, along with Yoshimitsu Banno’s Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) on 4K UHD (sans English subs) from Toho Studios in Japan.

Dennis has given Ted Kotcheff’s Split Image (1982) a look on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, along with Vincente Minnelli’s Madame Bovary (1949) on Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection.

And Stuart has reviewed Andrew V. McLaglen’s The Devil’s Brigade (1968) on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics and Steve Zaillian’s Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) on Blu-ray from Imprint Films.

Many more reviews are forthcoming, including Footloose, Conan the Destroyer, and Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One in 4K, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for them.

Now then... in terns of title announcements, Paramount’s just dropped a couple of big ones starting with confirmation of a title we’ve mentioned here at The Bits recently: Alex Proyas’ The Crow (1994) officially streets on 4K Ultra HD and 4K Steelbook on 5/7. The 4K disc will include Dolby Vision and HDR10 high dynamic range. [Read on here...]

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Regarding the Disney/Sony physical media news that we broke this morning on The Digital Bits (link here), we’ve learned the following additional information from our industry sources:

  • Once again, we’ve confirmed that Disney is indeed in the process of transitioning to a licensed physical media distribution model via an agreement with Sony Entertainment.
  • As part of this deal, Sony will market, sell, and distribute new Disney releases plus catalog titles on physical media (4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, etc.) to consumers through retailers and distributors in the U.S. and Canada.
  • This shift is consistent with other strategies that Disney is working to implement company-wide, as exemplified by the company’s recent transitions in other markets.
  • Per usual, Disney regularly evaluates their approach to the physical media market as the home entertainment business and industry at large continue to rapidly evolve alongside consumer behavior.

This update is continued below the break... [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

There are some significant developments happening within the home video industry of late, developments that I’ve been spending a lot of time investigating and really digging into these past few weeks here at The Digital Bits.

And I can now confidently report that one of them is this:

Disney and Sony have just inked a major deal for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment to take over all of Disney’s physical media production going forward.

This means that Sony will handle and oversee the actual authoring and compression of discs, that they’ll work with the replicators and packaging vendors, and that they’ll oversee the titles as they go out to the distributors and on to retailers.

I first received word of this deal about two weeks ago, apparently within twenty-four hours of the ink drying, and I’ve now confirmed it with multiple independent sources within the industry—people that I trust and have known and worked with for many years.

This deal makes sense for Disney for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Sony is far more efficient and cost effective at producing their discs, whereas Disney’s physical media operation has been subject to no small amount of internal/organizational turmoil recently. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We have two more new disc reviews for you here at The Bits today, including…

Stephen’s thoughts on Walter Hill’s Southern Comfort (1981) in 4K Ultra HD from Vinegar Syndrome, as well as his take on another of Toho’s recent Godzilla 4K UHD releases, in this case Ishirō Honda’s Destroy All Monsters (1968). Once again, this is a region-free Japanese import release, but with no English subtitles.

The big announcement news today is that our friends at the Criterion Collection have officially unveiled their May release slate, which is set to include an upgrade of A Story of Floating Weeds/Floating Weeds: Two Films by Yasujiro Ozu (1934/1959) (Spine #232 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 5/7, followed by an upgrade of Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom (1960) (Spine #58 – 4K UHD + Blu-ray and Blu-ray) on 5/14, Three Revolutionary Films by Ousmane Sembène (Spine #1217 – Blu-ray and DVD)—which includes Emitaï (1971), Xala (1975), and Ceddo (1977)—on 5/21, and Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall (2023) (Spine #1218 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Karyn Kusama’s Girlfight (2000) (Spine #1219 – Blu-ray) on 5/28.

You can see the cover art for Peeping Tom at left, and all of them below the break. We’ve updated our Criterion Spines Project listing here at The Bits accordingly. [Read on here...]

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We’ve got four more new disc reviews for you today, including...

Stuart’s take on Douglas Sirk’s Has Anybody Seen My Gal (1952) on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

Dennis’ look at Harry Beaumont’s Faithless (1932) on Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection, as well as Giuseppe Fiorello’s Fireworks (2023) on DVD from Cinephobia Releasing.

And Stephen’s review of Ishirō Honda’s Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965) in 4K Ultra HD from Toho Studios in Japan (note that this release has no English subtitles).

Also this afternoon, we’ve asked our supporters on The Bits’ new Patreon page to share their Ten Favorite TV Series, and we’ve updated our 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits with new titles as well.

In announcement news today, Kino Lorber Studio Classics has just officially set Fred Zinnemann’s High Noon (1942) for release on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD on 4/16. The film will include a collection of legacy special features (from previous Blu-ray and DVD releases) along with a pair of new audio commentary track by film historians, one by Alan K. Rode and another by Julie Kirgo. You can see the cover artwork above left and also below. Look for Dolby Vision HDR on the 4K disc. [Read on here...]

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Today’s post starts with three new disc reviews, including...

Stuart’s take on the Film Focus: George Peppard box set from Imprint, which includes John Guillermin’s P.J. (1968), George Schaefer’s Pendulum (1969), Sam Wanamaker’s The Executioner (1970), and Richard T. Heffron’s Newman’s Law (1974).

Dennis’ look at Val Guest’s Assignment K (1968), also new on Blu-ray from Imprint.

And finally, Stephen’s thoughts on Vincente Minnelli and Busby Berkeley’s Cabin in the Sky (1943) on Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection.

Note that we have lots more new disc reviews on the way, so be sure to watch for them. Also here at The Bits today, we’ve posted a significant update of our 4K Ultra HD Release List with lots of new 4K UHD titles and Amazon links.

And for our Patreon supporters, we’ve recently shared our thoughts on Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica and how well the series holds up some fifteen years after it ended its run on the Sci-Fi Channel, along with some preliminary commentary on changes that are brewing within the home entertainment industry, as well as Stephen’s thoughts on the ethics of film alteration and the challenges in determining how films should look on Blu-ray and especially 4K. Supporting The Bits on Patreon is a great way to help us continue our work in service of physical media, and we surely do appreciate it. [Read on here...]

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