My Two Cents
Monday, 08 July 2024 17:35

It’s official: Skydance wins Paramount, plus Seven Samurai in 4K, and Remembering Jon Landau

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We’re starting things off this week as always with another new disc review...

Stephen has just checked in with his in-depth thoughts on Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974) in 4K Ultra HD, a new Paramount Presents title that also includes Jack Nicholson’s 1990 sequel, The Two Jakes, on Blu-ray. Sounds like it’s a pretty good release, so do give it a look.

Speaking of good 4K, I had the great fortune yesterday afternoon to attend the West Coast premiere of the new Janus Films 4K restoration of Akira Kurosawa’s legendary masterpiece Seven Samurai (1954), which was held at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. It was my... I don’t know, forty or fiftieth viewing of the film? And I brought my friend Tom Beckett-Maines along for his first ever viewing. It goes without saying that we both enjoyed the film, and it was very encouraging to experience it with a packed crowd filled with young people who were really into it. Tip of the hat to the American Cinematheque for a great screening. If I lived a little closer to L.A. I would definitely become a card-carrying member, because they always do it right.

I think we can reasonably expect that Seven Samurai will be announced for physical 4K Ultra HD release by Criterion sooner rather than later, and I personally can’t wait for it. I still have a few “holy grail” physical media releases on my bucket list, and one of them is surely a Blu-ray/4K Ultra HD upgrade of Criterion’s wonderful AK100 DVD box set. But I’ll take all the Kurosawa I can get in 4K in the meantime. [Read on here...]

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In announcement news today, it broke over the newswires yesterday evening that Skydance and Paramount have finally clinched a deal for Skydance to purchase a controlling interest in Shari Redstone’s National Amusements, which gives them control of Paramount Global. Apparently, once the deal closes, Paramount will acquire Skydance and then the Skydance leadership team will effectively take charge, with David Ellison becoming CEO. This would seem to be good news, in the sense that it brings stability and leadership to Paramount, but Skydance is targeting something like $2 billion in cuts to Paramount Global’s operations to bring the conglomerate under control. One would assume this will mostly come out of linear cable, but fingers crossed the home entertainment division—which has been very aggressive in supporting catalog physical media and especially 4K UHD—will escape unharmed. The future of Star Trek also remains to be seen, so stay tuned.

Also today, a quick public service announcement: Don’t forget that our friends at The Screening Room A/V in Colorado Springs are offering great deals on A-stock JVC 4K projectors. They just bought all the remaining inventory of discontinued JVC DLA-RS4100 (aka the NZ9) and DLA-RS3100 (aka the NZ8) projectors from one of JVC’s biggest distributors and they’re passing on special closeout pricing. Only limited quantities remain of the following two models:

  • The flagship JVC DLA-RS4100/NZ9—List price $25,999, special closeout pricing $16500 EFT shipped
  • Step down JVC DLA-RS3100/NZ8—List price $15999, special closeout pricing $9999 EFT shipped

These are all BRAND NEW A-stock units with a full three year advanced replacement warranty. As noted, these are all on final closeout, so once they’re gone, they’re gone.

And they have the entry level JVC projector, the DLA-RS1100/NP5, on sale thru August 31, 2024 at $4799, down from $5999! This is an amazing projector, which I can attest personally, as it’s the one I’m using here at Digital Bits HQ. If you’re interested in any of these units, reach out to The Screening Room A/V via their website or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. And tell ‘em The Bits sent you.

Finally today, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge a bit of very sad news that broke over the weekend, which is the death of the Oscar-winning producer Jon Landau, whose years-long friendship and collaboration with director James Cameron brought us Titanic and two Avatar films. I personally had the chance to meet and speak with Jon on a few different occasions over the years, including at a Blu-ray industry conference, as well as at Lightstorm’s press day for the original Avatar. Most recently, I spoke with him at Disney’s press day for the Avatar sequel’s home entertainment release last year, where Jon was kind enough to confirm the long-awaited release of The Abyss, True Lies, and Titanic on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray.

The thing about Jon that always struck me was his tremendous intelligence, his enthusiasm, and his generosity. He clearly loved the film medium and especially his work with Cameron, and he loved talking about it with people who appreciated it. I think that comes through in spaces in the new Behind-the-Scenes Presentations he hosted on the recent 4K UHD releases. And I know for a fact that it came through in person. I really admired and liked Jon a great deal. All of us here at The Digital Bits would like to extend our love and support to his family and friends, including everyone in his Lightstorm family. Jon Landau was just 63, and he will surely be missed. You can read more here and here at Variety, here at the NY Times, and here at NPR.

Jon Landau, Rest in Peace

That’s all for now. Stay tuned...

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


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