My Two Cents
Wednesday, 24 February 2021 15:45

More Blu-ray and 4K release news & updates, a word of caution about these Aliens 4K rumors, and RIP Fry’s Electronics

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All right, we’ve got a bit of ground to cover today, so let’s get right into it...

Zack Snyder’s newly-remastered Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is now available for pre-order on in 4K. Street date is 3/23 and the SRP is just $19.99. You can see that here. The cover art is a little wonky though, and the listing says the title is coming from Warner Archive rather than Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. This being an actual MOD title would be a little odd, and we think a first for 4K.

Complicating matters here is the fact that almost everyone from the Warner Archive has recently been pink-slipped by AT&T and Warner Media. So we’ll have to see what happens when the studio makes their official announcement one way or another. In the meantime, you can see the new art and pre-order the title below.

It’s worth noting that the title is not currently listed on WB Shop, nor has Warner Archive mentioned it in their social media. Warner Archive has however announced their March slate, which so far includes Damn Yankees (1958), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), What’s Up, Doc? (1972), The Great Caruso (1951), Isle of the Dead (1945), and Crossfire (1948) on Blu-ray, Wonder Woman 1984 on Blu-ray/Blu-ray 3D, and Animal Kingdom: The Complete Fourth Season on DVD. Stay tuned for more on this. [Read on here...]

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Also from Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network, look for Infinity Train: Book Two for DVD release on 5/15.

Meanwhile, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has set Promising Young Woman for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/16, with the Digital release set for 3/2.

Lionsgate will release Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/6, with the Digital release expected on 3/26.

Lionsgate has also just made the recent live action Pinocchio (2019), which stars Roberto Benigni, available on Digital as of today. The Blu-ray and DVD are due on 3/2.

Capelight Pictures has set 1942: Unknown Battle for release on DVD and Digital on 3/2.

Hen’s Tooth Video has just set Ken Shapiro’s The Groove Tube (1974) for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 5/25, newly restored from a new 4K scan of a 35 mm archival element in the collection of the Library of Congress. There’s no word yet on extras, if any. Chevy Chase and Richard Belzer each made their screen debut in the film.

And RLJE Films has set Scare Me for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/2.

On the 4K Ultra HD front, director Nicolas Winding Refn has confirmed (via Twitter) that Drive is coming to the format this year from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. We’ve added it to our 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits, along with Tony Scott’s True Romance which was teased in an insert in Arrow’s new 4K release of Demons. This is a Morgan Creek title (once distributed by Warner), so one wonders if Arrow might have access to other catalog films from that production company too.

And Shout! Factory TV is will host The Greg The Bunny Tapes Marathon on March 6, featuring ten hours of content, a never-before-seen cut of the show, and a virtual creators reunion special.

Next up, a few quick comments on some other 4K reporting from around the Internet: A couple of you have asked about Digital Fix’s recent report that the Aliens films are being remastered in 4K for release on Disney+ Star. This is logical to be sure, but also very speculative. It falls into the same category has recent rumors about the Indiana Jones films coming in 4K. It certainly makes sense that Disney would want the Indiana Jones films remastered (and probably released) in 4K in anticipation of their planned fifth sequel, which is tentatively set to arrive in theaters on 7/29/2022. Likewise, Disney recently announced a new Noah Hawley Alien TV series that’s expected to debut on Hulu/FX (and no doubt Star internationally) probably in 2022. So it would also make sense that the studio would look to remaster all of the remaining films in the franchise in 4K and make them available digitally and possibly on disc as well.

BUT... in both cases, we’re looking at titles that are over a year or more away from the possibility of being released. Multiple sources tell me that much of this remastering work hasn’t even begun yet. Do keep in mind that any release of Aliens is going to require the involvement and approval of director James Cameron. And as you all know, for the last few years he’s been so focused on shooting his Avatar sequels that he hasn’t even bothered to approve the new masters of True Lies and The Abyss, nor did he seem to much care that StudioCanal released Terminator 2 on 4K disc using the lousy DNR-scrubbed 3D master instead of the proper 4K remaster (that the 3D was sourced from, and which my sources say is absolutely beautiful). For that matter, it seems a safe bet that Cameron’s Avatar will be remastered and released in 4K too (either digitally or on disc, or both) in the lead-up to the release of Avatar 2 in theaters (currently set for 12/22/22). But again, that’s well over a year away and much of the work involved to make it happen has yet to even begin.

Meanwhile, overeager enthusiasts on social media have already created fake 4K Ultra HD cover artwork for all of these titles (and more) and “announced” them as though they’re official and coming soon to drive follows and likes, which has in turn gotten other enthusiasts understandably excited. The problem is, as soon as people see cover artwork they think these titles are real, that they’ve been announced, and that they can start pre-ordering. And none of that is the case here. So my message to all of you is: When you see reporting like this, you should treat it all with a grain of salt until there’s official confirmation. And you should never trust cover artwork you see for titles on the Internet—especially unannounced titles this far away from release—unless it comes from the actual studio involved or from retailers (which are often given placeholder art by the studios to make pre-orders and advertising possible).

Bottom line... accuracy and trustworthiness in reporting are important. We’ve been covering this industry for over twenty-three years now here at The Digital Bitsnobody has better sources than we do inside the studios and post houses where work like this is done. Trust me when I say that there’s very little that’s happening in this industry that we don’t know about. But knowing that something is happening, or being planned, is very different than being able to report on it in public. We make it a policy here not to report rumors about upcoming titles until we’ve confirmed them with multiple sources that we personally know are reliable and who are directly involved in the work. Even then, we still take pains to qualify such reporting when we do it as rumor/grain-of-salt worthy until official announcements are made. While it’s fun to be the first to break an exciting scoop, we’d rather be correct before informing our readers. And to be clear, this is not said to criticize Digital Fix in any way; That’s a great site and they’re doing great work. But what typically happens, when our readers see rumored titles being discussed elsewhere online, is they start emailing us asking: Is this true? And the answer is often a lot more complicated than simply yes or no. Enough said.

Finally today, we have some sad news to report—another company has become a casualty of the pandemic. Fry’s Electronics is officially closing its doors for good, after 36 years of operation. If you live in California, Fry’s has long been a stable for AV fans, computer geeks, videogamers, and tech nerds of all stripes. Because they had EVERYTHING. Walking into one of their store locations was to kiss an entire afternoon goodbye; you’d get lost for hours just going from one isle to the next gawking at everything. Many of the stores were also themed: Our local store here in Orange County looked like a medieval castle. Up in Burbank, the location had an alien invasion theme. I’m certain we’re not alone here at The Bits in being very sad to see Fry’s going out of business. In any case, you can read more about this here from my friend T.K. Arnold over at Media Play News.

Okay, here’s the cover art for a few 4K titles now available for pre-order on Amazon (with pre-orders links if available)...

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice REMASTERED (4K Ultra HD) Big Fish (4K Ultra HD) GATTACA (4K Ultra HD)

And we’ll be back here with more tomorrow. Stay tuned…

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)


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