First things first: Our sources continue to report that Disney is likely to release both James Cameron’s original Avatar (2009) and his long-awaited remaster of The Abyss (1989) on physical 4K Ultra HD early next year. Both titles are expected to arrive on disc at the same time as the home video release of the sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, which debuts in theaters in just 9 days. We don’t have any details as to which version(s) of The Abyss this release may include, but when we’re able to confirm we’ll certainly post an update here.
Moving on to Paramount, retail sources are starting to indicate that the studio is planning to release Matthew Robbins’ Dragonslayer (1981) on 4K Ultra HD in January, with at least one listing the title for release on 1/10/23. I can confirm—based upon multiple sources—that the title is indeed coming and that it may even be a Paramount Presents title with at least one or two newly-created special features.
We also know that The African Queen is coming to 4K from Paramount likely in February or March (the German street date is 2/23/23), and that new 4K transfers of both The Saint and Enemy at the Gates are now available digitally, so they could be candidates for eventual 4K disc release. And we expect the Star Trek: The Next Generation feature films—Generations, First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis—to be released on 4K Ultra HD on or around 9/5/23 (aka Star Trek Day).
We’ve broken news previously here at The Bits about forthcoming Warner Bros. 4K titles for 2023, including Training Day (expected in January, likely 1/17/23), David Fincher’s Se7en (late Q1 or Q2), Superman II (which includes both the Theatrical Version and the Richard Donner Cut), Superman III, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (all three Q2, likely in April), and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (Q3 2023—which will include both the Theatrical and Director’s Extended Versions). Well, now we have confirmation of another title: John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon (1941). Look for that later in the year.
While we’re talking Warner, Andrew Carter of @Clint_Movies on Twitter has revealed that director Clint Eastwood has approved new 4K remasters of all of the Dirty Harry movies, as well as Where Eagles Dare, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Pale Rider, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, and Kelly’s Heroes. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is already announced by Kino Lorber Studio Classics for release sometime in 2023. It’s still TBD as to when the others might arrive on Ultra HD, particularly the Dirty Harry films (which would be from Warner, though they aren’t currently on the 4K slate for 2023). Thanks to Bits reader Molson Blue for the heads-up.
And while we’re talking directors, we’ve learned that actor/director Sylvester Stallone has approved new 4K remasters of all of the Rocky films for eventual Ultra HD release, however we’ve also learned that the indie distributor that was originally lined-up to handle the release (and which shall remain unnamed here) is no longer doing so. We’re working to determine if MGM has found another licensee and will post an update as we learn more.
Meanwhile, while StudioCanal is officially known to be prepping a new 4K Ultra HD release of Nicolas Reog’s The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) for release in the UK on February 27, 2023, our sources are telling us that the US release from Lionsgate will likely be a Best Buy exclusive. The US release is still TBA, but is expected sometime in late Q1.
Also today, our friend Eric D. Wilkinson of MVD Entertainment (and the MVD Rewind Collection) revealed during a panel at Kevin Smith’s recent Smodcastle Film Festival (this past Sunday) that he’s currently working on a new 4K edition of Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing (1982). This certainly makes sense given that Lightyear already has a 4K Ultra HD release of Jim Wynorski’s The Return of the Swamp Thing set to arrive on 4K Ultra HD on 2/7/23. I checked with Eric this morning and he was kind enough to provide some additional details. The release will include a new 4K HDR transfer of both the PG Theatrical Version and the Uncut International Version. The new transfer will also be released on Blu-ray. There’s no street date yet, but it’s coming in 2023. Meanwhile, here’s a couple of pix taking during the panel, and you can actually watch the panel via this link on Facebook. Thanks to the Bits readers who alerted me to this and also to Eric for the details!
We have one item of site business here at The Bits today: We’ve been working to make our search option here at the site (available on the right side of the navigation bar at the top of the page) more useful and at long last it finally is. You can now use the box to search all of our database content here at the site, and then (once the results appear) you can search just the reviews or the column content as well.
Finally today, it goes without saying that we must take a moment to acknowledge the passing of actress Kirstie Alley yesterday after a battle with cancer. Alley was best known for the role of Rebecca Howe on the 1980s-90s NBC TV sitcom Cheers, as well as the later series Veronica’s Closet. But genre fans know her best for playing the Vulcan Saavik in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Alley also co-starred in the John Travolta film Look Who’s Talking, as well as Runaway, Blind Date, the North and South miniseries, and more. She was 71. You can read more here at Variety, here at Deadline, and here at The New York Times.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned...