My Two Cents
Wednesday, 20 November 2019 15:32

Studio Canal’s 2020 4K slate has Elephant Man, Basic Instinct & Flash Gordon, plus the Paramount Consent Decrees & more

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All right, we’ve got some big release news today as well as a pretty major piece of industry news. But first, we also have some new disc reviews...

Tim has just turned in his thoughts on Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp in Ultra HD, which means that we finally have every single Marvel Cinematic Universe title reviewed on The Digital Bits in 4K. We hope you enjoy!

Also, Dennis has offered a look a Shout! Factory’s new Snow Falling on Cedars: Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray. It’s the latest entry in the distributor’s Shout Select line-up and it’s pretty great. Don’t miss it.

And we’ve posted the weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K cover artwork and pre-order links. As always whenever you order literally anything after clicking to them through any one of our links here on The Bits (including this one) we really appreciate it. Thank you! [Read on here...]

CLICK HERE to BACK THE BITS in our fight to preserve Physical Media CLICK HERE to shop through our links and SUPPORT THE BITS

Now then, the big release news today is that Studio Canal has revealed to Deadline that they’re going to be releasing a number of deep catalog films on 4K Ultra HD in 2020, including Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, David Lynch’s The Elephant Man, Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct and Total Recall, Sidney Lumet’s Serpico, and Mike Hodges’ Flash Gordon. With a little luck, Lionsgate will distribute each of those here in the States as well (though Flash Gordon would likely be a Universal title here, which fits well with word we’re hearing that Dune may be coming to 4K from Uni too next year, tied to the new Warner Bros./Legendary remake).

Other Blu-ray restorations on the way from Studio Canal in 2020 will include Gaspar Noé’s Irréversible: Straight Cut, Jean-Pierre Melville’s The Red Circle, Sydney Pollack’s Three Days of the Condor, Federico Fellini’s The White Sheik, Alexander Mackendrick’s The Ladykillers, and the 1945 British horror anthology Dead of Night.

By the way, we also have some very tentative and general street dates from our retail sources for the following upcoming titles: Doctor Sleep (March 2020), Maleficent: The Power of Evil (Feb 2020), Parasite (Feb 2020), Midway (March 2020), Gemini Man (Jan 2020), and Joker (Jan 2020). Also, our retail sources are saying that Disney is preparing to release Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book (2016) on 4K later this year or early in 2020.

We’ve updated our 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits with the 4K tiles mentioned above.

Meanwhile, Lionsgate has set Judy for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 12/24, with the Digital version due on 12/20. Extras will include the From the Heart: The Making of Judy featurette, an image gallery, and the trailer.

Also today, Kino Lorber Studio Classics has revealed a pair of new 3-D Blu-rays they’re working on with our friends at the 3-D Film Archive for 2020, including Budd Boetticher’s Wings of the Hawk (1953) and the classic Woody Woodpecker cartoon Hypnotic Hick (also 1953).

KL Studio Classics has also just revealed a set of five new “Spike Lee Joints” from the 1990s, including Mo’ Better Blues (1990), Jungle Fever (1991), Crooklyn (1994), Clockers (1995), and Summer of Sam (1999). Street date is 2/4/2020.

Meanwhile, Shout! Factory will release the IFC Midnight title Greener Grass on Blu-ray/DVD Combo on 2/11. The film was directed by Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has set DC’s Titans: Season Two for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/3/2020. Extras will include the Jason Todd: Fate by the Fans featurette.

Indicator and Powerhouse Films are releasing a new limited edition 2-disc Blu-ray set of Curtis Harrington’s Night Tide (1961), presented by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Dennis Hopper. Look for that on 1/27/2020. The film will be mastered from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative.

And Paramount and Nickelodeon are releasing the Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Complete Series Blu-ray 15th Anniversary Limited Edition Steelbook Collection on 2/28. (That’s a mouthful!) All of the previous special features will be included. You can see the cover artwork here and below...

Avatar: The Last Airbender Steelbooks (Blu-ray Disc)

Finally today, there’s big industry news to discuss. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the U.S. Justice Department is seeking to terminate the Paramount Consent Decrees, a set of anti-trust regulations that have governed the film industry since the 1940s, following the 1948 Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Paramount Pictures. Specifically, they regulated how the movie studios can distribute their own films to theaters. The Hollywood studios at the time controlled nearly every aspect of the film industry, from having their own contract creative talent (actors, directors, etc) to their own theater chains for exhibiting their movies. The government then was concern that this was essentially a monopoly, so they set regulations in place that forced the studios to give up their theater chains. The rules also made block booking illegal (forcing theaters to show a group of films—essentially to take the bad with the good) and disallowed studios from setting minimum ticket prices, among other things.

The Justice Department now believes that time and technology have made these rules unnecessary, and they hope eliminating them will lead the way to even more consumer-friendly innovation. But removing the rules could make a few things possible. For one, companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Apple could purchase their own theaters to expand their distribution. You might also see different independent theater chains catering to different markets with different types of films. But it could also once again allow major studios to force theaters to carry underperforming films if they want access to the blockbusters. It might also force indie studios and producers to scale back production for lack of available screens to show their films (as they get crowded out by blockbusters)—something that’s already a problem. This would essentially force more and more of the indie filmmaking industry into streaming. Jim Amos of Forbes has written more about the possible consequences. One way or another, if these restrictions are removed, there are likely to be major changes in the film industry landscape over time, and it’s unclear whether those will be good, bad, or both for consumers. You can read more on all this here at the Wall Street Journal, the Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, and Variety, and /Film has a pretty good piece on it too.

All right, we’ll leave you with a look at a little more new Blu-ray cover artwork (with pre-order links if available)...

Judy (Blu-ray Disc) Avatar: The Last Airbender - Complete Series Steelbook (Blu-ray Disc) X... the Unknown (Blu-ray Disc)

Night Tide (Blu-ray Disc) Sliding Doors (Blu-ray Disc) Rasputin the Mad Monk (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...

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