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(Archived Posts 4/20/07 - 3/27/07)
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Well, it's an unusually rainy afternoon here in SoCal. Kind of a
nice change of pace. We do have a little bit of release news to
report for you, so let's get to it...
First, Criterion has announced another fine series of new DVD
releases for July, including a Three
Films by Hiroshi Teshigahara box set (#392), including
Pitfall (#393), Woman
in the Dunes (#394) and The
Face of Another (#395), along with Billy Wilder's Ace
in the Hole (#396), Andrei Tarkovsky's Ivan's
Childhood (#397) and Jean-Pierre Melville's Les
enfants terribles (#398 - written by Jean Cocteau).
Meanwhile, Warner has announced the Blu-ray Disc release of Blood
Diamond on 6/5, with the HD-DVD version following a month
later on 7/3. The DVD version is now available. This marks the first
time that Warner is deliberately releasing the HD versions with
different extras, or at the very least, they're not delaying the
Blu-ray Disc version so that it can include the same extras as the
HD-DVD version (which has in recent months resulted in a delay).
That makes Blood Diamond a
test case of sorts - if sales are good, they'll move forward with
additional Blu-ray Disc releases without waiting for BD-Java issues
to be resolved first. The Blu-ray Disc and the HD-DVD version will
both feature all of the standard DVD extras, including audio
commentary with director Edward Zwick, 5 featurettes (Focus
Points, Blood on the Stone,
Becoming Archer, Journalism
on the Front Line and Inside
the Siege of Freetown), Nas' Shine
on 'Em music video and the film's theatrical trailer. To
this, the HD-DVD will add (from Warner's press release)
"web-enabled extras which allows viewers
to use their players to offer opinions in WHV's online polls and to
view other exciting special features such as maps of conflict
pertaining to war-torn areas in Africa" as well as an
In-Movie Experience feature. Here's the cover art for all three
By the way, Warner has also set Walk by
Faith (for Lightyear) for 6/26, and Starter
for 10 (for HBO) and The
Astronaut Farmer (with both anamorphic widescreen and
full frame on the same disc) for 7/10.
Here's the cover art for The Astronaut
Farmer, along with Warner's Music
and Lyrics (5/8) and Sony's Ghost
Rider: 2-Disc Extended Cut (6/12)...
In other release news, Genius Products is releasing Slingshot
on 4/24 and Mistress of Spices
Our friends over at
have reported interesting word that The
Man from U.N.C.L.E. may finally be on the way to DVD from
Warner. Stars Robert Vaughn and David McCallum are reportedly going
to be meeting next month with producers to do new interviews for the
DVD release. Good news indeed if it pans out!
This would normally go in The Rumor Mill,
but for ease of posting we'll release it here: Industry sources are
telling us to expect Disney's Pirates of
the Caribbean: At World's End to be released on DVD and
Blu-ray in December. Also Rumor Mill-worthy:
Universal's Peaceful Warrior
is expected to be released on 6/26, Paramount's Shooter
and Black Snake Moan are
tentatively due in June (likely on all three formats), and New
Line's The Last Mimzy is
currently slated for release in July. Remember that all this is
unofficial until the studios make their announcements.
Finally today, in what may be considered good news for the high-def
disc market overall, retail giant Wal-Mart is apparently moving
aggressively to carry both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc players and discs
in their U.S. stores. None of this works to end the format war, but
maybe it's a sign that the niche market will grow a little larger,
past just diehard enthusiasts. You can read more
at Home Media.
Okay... that's all for now. We'll be back with more on Monday. Hope
you all have a great weekend!
We've got a couple of new columns here at The
Bits for you today. First, our own Adam Jahnke has posted
edition of Jahnke's Electric Theatre, featuring
reviews of Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon
Movie Film for Theaters and Disturbia,
as well as assorted other films on disc.
And Barrie Maxwell has turned in yet
fine edition of his High-Definition Classics and Beyond
column, featuring reviews of Warner's
Departed, and Paramount's
Straight Up - The Director's Cut and
(all on HD-DVD), as well as Sony's
Balboa (on Blu-ray Disc - Barrie's first reviews in that
In standard DVD release news today, Sony has set Wedding
Wars for 6/26.
Meanwhile, Warner has set Baby Looney
Tunes: Volume 4 for release on 8/14, along with Loonatics
Unleashed: Season 2 and A Pup
Named Scooby-Doo: Volume 7. The studio has also set an
Ocean's Twelve/Ocean's Eleven
2-pack for release on 5/11, and will bow Charlie
& Lola: Volume 5 on 8/7 (for the BBC). We should also
note that all of those Film Noir Classics
Collection box set double-feature titles due on 7/31 will
also be released as singles that day (SRP $20.97 each), including
Act of Violence/Mystery Street,
Crime Wave/Decoy, Illegal/The
Big Steal, They Live by
Night/Side Street and Where
In other DVD news today, MGM has revealed the initial slate of
titles due to be released by their new direct-to-video division.
These will include Audrey Rose
and Dark Blue remakes, the
sequels Legally Blondes, Species:
The Awakening, War Games: The
Dead Code and The Cutting Edge,
a film version of the Showtime series Dead
Like Me, the genre films Captive,
Pet and Angelmaker,
and a pair of Stargate films
including The Ark of Truth and
Continuum. You can read more
at Home Media.
Also today, Sony has apparently corrected a DVD compatibility
problem on their Casino Royale,
The Pursuit of Happyness and
Stranger Than Fiction discs
caused by a recent update of the company's ARccOS copy-protection
system. You'll find more about that
at Video Business. ARccOS apparently causes problems
with some Sony, Toshiba and Harman Kardon DVD players. Those of you
who have encountered these issues can obtain replacement discs from
Sony by calling 800-860-2878.
Now then... there's a bit of high-def news today as well. First a
quick update: We're still working to find out what's happening with
Universal's DVD/HD-DVD Combo format versions of The
Good Shepherd and Children of
Men. We're having problems playing both titles here on
our Toshiba HD-XA2, and we know others are experiencing problems as
well (both on Toshiba players and the Xbox add-on drive). The
specific problems we're having are that the HD-DVD side of the discs
are either not recognized by the players (which occurs about 70% of
the time), or when they are recognized, the discs stop playing about
3/4ths of the way through the film. We've contacted Universal, which
is apparently in touch with Toshiba. Hopefully we'll know soon
whether this is a disc replication or authoring problem (perhaps a
bad batch of discs), or if it's a player issue that might be
corrected with a firmware update. We'll let you know.
Also today, the HD-DVD camp finally has some good news to crow
HD-DVD Promotions Group has announced that 100,000 dedicated
set-top HD-DVD players have sold since the format was launched about
a year ago, not counting PC or Xbox drives. That's more set-top
players than Blu-ray Disc has sold thus far, however when you count
in game systems (like the PS3) Blu-ray still holds a strong lead.
Still, it's positive news for HD-DVD and it comes on the heals
recent report by the Financial Times (subscription
required, but you can read a summery
at Ars Technica) that HD-DVD currently leads Blu-ray
in the European market. Though again, Blu-ray still has the upper
hand here in North America, as well as Japan and Australia.
So what does all this mean? Well, each side has been able to claim
small victories, but not much more. You know, the longer all this
drags on, the more we're starting to believe that high-definition
movies on disc are just going to remain an enthusiast niche format.
We're a year into this format war and neither side appears willing
to back down. Each side has their exclusive titles. Each side has
their share of technical problems. For every price cut in Blu-ray
Disc players, Toshiba seems to slash the price of their HD-DVD
players to undercut it. We'd be surprised if the 4th Qtr doesn't see
$399 Blu-ray players and $299 HD-DVD players. The sad thing is, if
this thing drags on past the end of 2007, I think we're all going to
lose. Retailers are going to be faced with the continued prospect of
devoting valuable shelf space to three formats, and some will
simply stop doing it. New combo players will delight enthusiasts,
but their high price will keep them from being any kind of a real
mass-market solution. Combo format discs like Total HD might appear,
but there inevitably will be manufacturing and player compatibility
issues, not to mention the fact that the best and most elaborate
special editions will still have to be released on separate HD-DVDs
and Blu-ray Discs because of disc space issues. And most consumers
are still going to be faced with a confusing choice between two
competing formats... and they'll decide to just stick with DVD.
We're 10 years into DVD, the most successful consumer packaged media
format ever, and there are still major and beloved catalog films
that have yet to be released. With HD discs a niche format, and with
two competing formats, there are hundreds if not thousands of great
films that will never see the light of day on either format. And
sooner rather than later, the industry will move on to the Next Big
Thing. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. But the early signs
aren't looking good.
One last item before we close today... Bits
reader Esteban C. has dropped us a note to say that Amazon finally
has sales links up to the corrected version of the Superman
Ultimate Collection (due 5/29). So here's the new art
Afternoon, folks. We've got a number of new announcements to report
First though, we've kicked off FOUR new
here at The Bits (and
the previous contest winners as well), giving each of you the
chance to take home copies of the BBC's fantastic
Earth series, Warner's
Doo: Where Are You? The Complete Third Season,
Venture Bros.: Season Two,
Carey Show: The Complete First Season,
King Live: The Greatest Interviews and
Lopez: The Complete 1st and 2nd Seasons, and Anchor Bay's
The Ultimate Collection - Best of the Best. All the
contests will run until Noon (Pacific) on Sunday, April 29th. Click
on the links to get started and good luck!
Okay... now for those announcements: Paramount has revealed a large
slate of early August titles today, including a number of catalog
double and triple feature releases, all for release on 8/7. These
will include Airplane!/Top Secret!,
American Beauty/The Virgin Suicides,
Death Wish/Escape from Alcatraz/Uncommon
Valor, Election/You Can Count
on Me, Enemy at the
Gates/Uncommon Valor, Footloose/Flashdance,
Friday the 13th/Friday the 13th, Part Two,
Hardball/The Bad News Bears,
Kiss the Girls/The Gift, Planes,
Trains & Automobiles/Summer Rental/Foul Play, Romeo
& Juliet/Love Story/Falling in Love, Serpico/Narc/Internal
Affairs, Tales from the
Darkside/Graveyard Shift/April Fools Day, The
Italian Job/Primal Fear/The Score, The
Last Castle/The Peacemaker, The
Naked Gun Triple Feature, The
Price & Me/Sabrina/I.Q., Tommy
Boy/Black Sheep, Up in
Smoke/Still Smokin', War of
the Worlds (1953)/When Worlds Collide, Soul
Food: The Series - The Second Season, Teletubbies:
Time to Dance, Nick Jr.
Favorites 6, Nick Picks 6,
Caillou: Playschool Adventures
and Jay Jay the Jet Plane: Jay Jay's Wing
Meanwhile, Universal has announced more new catalog titles as well,
including The Incredible Hulk: The
Complete Second Season and Voyagers!
The Complete Series (both 7/17), The
Rhinemann Exchange (7/31) and Bickford
Shmeckler's Cool Ideas and a Darkman
Trilogy box set (both 8/7).
Fox has set That 70s Show: Season Six
for release on 5/8, as well as Reno 911!:
Miami - The Movie on 6/19 (SRP $29.98). Extras on Reno
will include audio commentary, extended scenes, an alternate ending,
PSAs, footage of the premier, Easter eggs, and the Making
a Spoof featurette.
But it's MGM that's making us all most happy around here today,
having just released details on their LONG-awaited 8-disc box set,
The Sergio Leone Anthology box
set, due on 6/5 (SRP $89.98 - the individual 2-disc sets will also
be released separately for $26.98 each). The set will include 2-disc
Collector's Editions of A Fistful of
Dollars (100 mins), For a Few
Dollars More (132 mins), The
Good, the Bad and the Ugly (178 mins) and Duck,
You Sucker! (157 mins, a.k.a. A
Fistful of Dynamite). Each film is presented in
fully-remastered anamorphic widescreen video. Audio will be English
Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish and French Dolby 2.0 Surround (for
Duck, You Sucker! and For
a Few Dollars More), English Dolby Digital 5.1 and
Spanish Dolby 2.0 Surround (for A Fistful
of Dollars) and English Dolby Digital 5.1 (for The
Good, the Bad and the Ugly). All four films will feature
subtitles in English, French and Spanish and will be Closed
Captioned. Here's a list of the extras you can expect on each:
A Fistful of Dollars will
include audio commentary by film historian Sir Christopher Frayling,
5 featurettes (A New Kind of Hero,
A Few Weeks in Spain, Tre
Voici, Not Ready for Primetime
and Location Comparisons: Intercutting
Film Clips with Current Footage of Locations Used), the
network prologue (additional scene), 10 radio spots, a double-bill
trailer for the film and an 8-page booklet.
For a Few Dollars More will
include audio commentary by Sir Christopher Frayling, 5 featurettes
(A New Standard, Back
for More, Tre Voici,
For a Few Dollars More: The Original
American Release Versions and Location
Comparisons: Intercutting Film Clips with Current Footage of
Locations Used), 12 radio spots, the original theatrical
trailer, a double-bill trailer and an 8-page booklet.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
will include audio commentary by film historian Richard Schickel, 3
documentaries (Leone's West,
The Leone Style and The
Man Who Lost The Civil War), 3 featurettes (Reconstructing
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Il
Maestro: Ennio Morricone and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
and Il Maestro: Part Two),
deleted scenes, the extended "Tuco torture" scene, The
Socorro Sequence: A Reconstruction, the film's French
trailer, the original theatrical trailer, a poster art gallery, 4
Easter eggs, 5 collectible postcards and an 8-page booklet.
Finally, Duck, You Sucker!
will include audio commentary by Sir Christopher Frayling, 6
featurettes (The Myth of Revolution,
Sergio Donati Remembers Duck, You Sucker,
Once Upon a Time in Italy,
Sorting Out the Versions, Restoration
Italian Style and Location
Comparisons: Intercutting Film Clips with Current Footage of
Locations Used), 6 radio spots, the original theatrical
trailer and an 8-page booklet.
Don't forget that Warner is also releasing Leone's Colossus
of Rhodes in the Cult Camp
Classics: Volume 4 - Historical Epics box set (and also
separately) on 6/26.
Here's a look at the artwork for The
Sergio Leone Anthology, along with Paramount's Gunsmoke:
The First Season (7/17) and Universal's The
Incredible Hulk: The Complete Second Season...
Also newly announced by MGM today are The
Secret of Nimh: The Family Fun Edition on 6/19 (SRP
$19.98 - including both full frame and widescreen video, deleted
scenes with audio commentary by directors Don Bluth and Gary
Goldman, a 10-minute "making of" featurette and 5 set-top
games), The Gary Cooper Giftset
on 5/22 (SRP $39.98 - includes The Cowboy
and the Lady, The Real Glory,
Vera Cruz and The
Winning of Barbara Worth), a series of single-film
releases staring Gary Cooper on 5/22 (SRP $19.98 each) including
The Adventures of Marco Polo,
Ball of Fire, Casanova
Brown and The Wedding Night,
and The Peter Sellers Giftset
also on 5/22 (SRP $39.98 - includes What's
New Pussycat?, Casino Royale
(1967), The Party and The
On the high-def front today, Warner has informed us that the street
date for the HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases of The
Road Warrior and Battle of the
Bulge have been moved back a bit from 5/8 to 5/15. Adjust
your plans accordingly. Watch for more hi-def news tomorrow.
There's some good news and bad news for you Underdog
fans today. Genius Products and Classic Media have announced that
they'll be releasing three volumes of classic Underdog
episodes on 7/24 (SRP $12.93). That's the good news. Unfortunately,
each disc will only contain 3 remastered episodes plus bonus
materials. You can read more
at Home Media. Why is it that Classic Media can't seem
to do vintage cartoons on DVD the right way? First they botch the
hell out of Harveytoons,
releasing an utterly incomplete "Complete Collection" (reviewed
here - winner of the
DVD - Special Edition category in this year's Bitsy
Awards), and now they're giving us a paltry few Underdog
episodes when a complete series box set is what so many animation
fans crave. It seems there IS need to fear after all.
Here's a bit of better news however: Universal has finally
announced Baa Baa Black Sheep: Volume 2
for release on 7/3, as we predicted in
Rumor Mill a while back. The 3-disc set will contain the
remaining first season episodes from the series (SRP $39.98).
Also today, Lionsgate has announced a large slate of titles for May
release, including Happily N'Ever After
(DVD & Blu-ray Disc), EnvyGirls:
Workouts for the Spots That Really Count, Will
& Grace: Season Six, Tower
of the Firstborn and a Van
Damme Triple Feature box set (containing Kickboxer,
Replicant and the Universal
Soldier: Special Edition) on 5/1, Deliver
Us from Evil, You and Your
Stupid Mate, the Dirty
Dancing: 20th Anniversary Edition (DVD & Blu-ray
Disc), a series of John Wayne double features (including Dakota/In
Old California, Dark Command/A
Lady Takes a Chance, The
Fighting Seabees/Wake of the Red Witch, Flame
of Barbary Coast/Santa Fe Stampede, Sands
of Iwo Jima/Flying Tigers and Westward
Ho/The Fighting Kentuckian), a John
Wayne Collection: Volume 1 (containing The
Quiet Man: Collector's Edition, Flying
Tigers, Wake of the Red Witch
and Sands of Iwo Jima) and a
John Wayne Collection: Volume 2
(containing the Rio Grande: Collectors
Edition, A Lady Takes a Chance,
The Fighting Kentuckian and
Dakota) on 5/8, Curse
of the Zodiac and The Perfect
Marriage on 5/15, Grandes
Compositores: Volumen 1, Leyendas
del Cine Mexicana: Volumen 1, The
Shadow Walkers, Cutthroat
Island and The Ninth Gate
on 5/22, and Champions, Restless
Drive Thru, a Weeds:
Season One Blu-Ray Disc and a Basic
Instinct Blu-Ray Disc on 5/29.
Meanwhile, Warner has set The Film Noir
Classic Collection: Volume 4 for release on 7/31,
containing Act of Violence/Mystery Street,
Crime Wave/Decoy, Illegal/The
Big Steal, They Live By
Night/Side Street and Where
Danger Lives/Tension. SRP is $59.92.
BCI Eclipse has announced the 16-episode Mission:
Magic! animated series for release as a 2-disc set on 5/8
(SRP $24.98), so you Rick Springfield fans can finally rejoice. By
the way, BCI has also set Hero High: The
Complete Series for release on 5/22 (SRP $24.98),
including 26 episodes on 2 discs.
And 20th Century Fox has revealed a trio of new catalog DVDs today
for release on 5/22, including The Third
Secret, White Feather
and Together Brothers.
Elsewhere around the site this afternoon, we've got a rundown of
some of the great new and catalog DVD releases you can expect from
MGM in July in
update of The Rumor Mill. Is anyone else as delighted
at the prospect of a Red Dawn:
Collector's Edition as we are? Wolverineeeees! And The
Happy Hooker and Blue Water,
White Death too? Sweeet.
And here's some more new cover art: Universal's Baa
Baa Black Sheep: Volume 2 and Lionsgate's Dirty
Dancing: 20th Anniversary Edition on DVD & Blu-ray...
(LATE UPDATE - 4/13/07
- 11:30 AM PDT)
We've got a last little bit of news to update you on today.
First, Samsung has announced that they'll follow LG's BH100 Super
Multi Blue player with a hybrid player of their own later this year
- one that will play both Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD software. The
BD-UP5000 or "Duo HD" player will be out in time for the
holidays and Samsung claims it will be fully compatible with both
HDi and BD-Java. There's no word, however, on what it might cost.
It's good news for early adopters, who have jumped into both
high-def camps, but the unit may be prohibitively expensive for most
average consumers. We'll see. You can read more
at Home Media.
Meanwhile, Buena Vista has released a Blu-ray Disc sellsheet
confirming the 5/22 release of both Pirates
of the Caribbean films and Apocalypto,
followed by Bridge to Terabithia
on 6/19, Cars sometime over
the summer and The Santa Clause 3
on 11/20 (that last title is a new one).
On the DVD front today, MPI and The Film Foundation will release
Becket on DVD on 5/15 (SRP
Finally, around the site today we've updated some of the DVD and HD
format stats we track (above),
and we've added Nielsen/VideoScan's new High-Def
Market Share tracking numbers for comparing Blu-ray Disc
and HD-DVD sales.
And that's all for now! Have a great weekend and we'll see you
(EARLY UPDATE -
4/13/07 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Okay... let's get the Friday post started early, shall we?
As planned, we've posted
new Classic Coming Attractions column from our own
Barrie Maxwell this morning, in which he runs down all the latest
classic release announcement news on DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc.
Also today, Matt Rowe has written a good remembrance of novelist
Kurt Vonnegut that you'll find that at
Now for some announcement news: Warner has revealed a number of new
DVD and high-def releases over the last couple of days. First up,
the studio has set catalog reissues of Stealing
Home, The Exorcist 3,
My Blue Heaven and Presumed
Innocent for 5/1 (in the old Snapper cases) for just
$5.98 each. Guess they're clearing out inventory. Also coming on 5/1
are Heatseeker, Little
Polar Bear: Lars and the Little Tiger, and the BBC's The
Kumars at Number 42 and Graham
Norton: The Best of So Graham Norton.
As we've announced previously, following on 5/15 from Warner are
HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc editions of Battle
of the Bulge and The Road
Warrior (SRP $28.99 each). The
Road Warrior will contain a new audio commentary with
director George Miller and DP Dean Semler, as well as an
introduction by Leonard Maltin (both are currently exclusive to the
HD versions). A theatrical trailer will also be included. Battle
of the Bulge will feature the previous standard DVD
extras, including audio commentary, 2 vintage featurettes (The
Filming of Battle of the Bulge and History
Recreated) and the film's theatrical trailer. A standard
DVD version of The Road Warrior: Special
Edition is reportedly soon to be announced as well.
Also coming on 5/15 are DVD reissues of Chasing
Liberty and True Romance:
Unrated (SRP $12.97 each), along with a Scorsese
Collection box set (containing The
Aviator, The Departed: Special
Edition, the Goodfellas:
Special Edition and the Mean
Streets: Special Edition - SRP $68.92).
In addition to the high-def versions of The
Cowboys and Rio Bravo
we mentioned yesterday (due on 6/5), we'd like to remind you that
The Cowboys: Deluxe Edition,
the Rio Bravo: Special Edition
and the 2-disc Rio Bravo: Ultimate
Collector's Edition all street on DVD on 5/22 as well.
Other DVD releases newly announced by Warner include National
Geographic: Great Inca Rebellion on 7/3, the 5-disc TCM
Spotlight: Esther Williams Collection box set (including
Bathing Beauty, Dangerous
When Wet, Easy to Wed,
Neptune's Daughter and On
an Island with You) on 7/17, The
List on 7/31, the 2-disc Superfriends:
The Legendary Super Powers Show on 8/7 and National
Geographic: The Last Royals on 8/14.
A quick follow up on Universal's recently announced The
Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection
(due 7/24 - SRP $39.98). The 3-disc set will include 75 original
theatrical cartoon shorts (hopefully uncut), as well as over an hour
of vintage bonus features including a documentary, behind-the-scenes
footage with Walter Lantz and a full episode of The
Woody Woodpecker Show.
Also this morning, 20th Century Fox has announced a new 4-disc Die
Hard: Collection DVD box set for release on 6/19,
containing single-disc versions of Die
Hard, Die Hard 2: Die Harder
and Die Hard with a Vengeance,
as well as a new bonus disc with an hour of exclusive content
including the Live Free or Die Hard
teaser trailer and 2 featurettes (Wrong
Guy, Wrong Place, Wrong Time: A Look Back at Die Hard and
The Continuing Adventures of John McClane).
We suspect Blu-ray Disc versions of these films are in the offing
for release later in 2007, coinciding with the eventual release of
the forthcoming Live Free or Die Hard
(due in theaters on 6/27).
Here's a look at the cover art for Warner's The
Road Warrior (HD-DVD version) and Battle
of the Bulge (Blu-ray version), as well as the studio's
Rio Bravo: Ultimate Collector's Edition
DVD (due 5/22), Fox's Die Hard Collection
DVD box set, Buena Vista's King Arthur:
Director's Cut Blu-ray (now available) and Digital
Leisure's Dragon's Lair
Blu-ray interactive game (due next Tuesday, 4/17)...
That's all for now. Have a great weekend! Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE - 4/12/07
- 3:15 PM PDT)
Okay... there's another bit of sad news to report this afternoon:
Actor Roscoe Lee Browne has passed away. You may recall Browne as
the narrator of the film Babe,
for his appearances on such TV shows as All
in the Family, Soap
and The Cosby Show, and his
many roles in classic films including The
Cowboys and Topaz.
Longtime Star Wars fans may
also recall him as the narrator of
Story of Star Wars album (thanks to Bits
reader Dane P. for that reminder). Browne was 81. More is available
There's two last bits of high-def news today. First, we've
confirmed with Buena Vista that both Pirates
of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and Pirates
of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest will street on Blu-ray
Disc format on 5/22.
And Genius Products has set Harsh Times
and Black Christmas for
release on HD-DVD on 6/12. Harsh Times
will include a gallery of theatrical trailers. Black
Christmas will include 2 featurettes (What
Have You Done?: Remaking of Black Christmas and May
All Your Christmases Be Black), 7 deleted scenes and 3
alternate endings. Audio on both will be English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1.
Also here at the site, we've updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers for the first three weeks of
March. All the charts have been updated accordingly.
Now then... some standard DVD news: The street date for New Line's
Little Children has been
pushed back from 4/24 to 5/1. Adjust your plans accordingly.
Lionsgate will release Tyler Perry's Daddy's
Little Girls on 6/12, with Pride
following on 6/26.
BCI has announced the release of the 6-part Prehistoric
Park on DVD on 6/5 (SRP $24.98).
Magnolia Entertainment has set A
Collection of 2006 Academy Award Nominated Short Films
for release on DVD on 5/1 (SRP $29.98). The set will include the
following films: The Danish Poet,
West Bank Story, Binta
and the Great Idea (Binta y la Gran Idea), Éramos
Pocos (One Too Many), Helmer &
Son, The Saviour,
A Gentlemen's Duel, Guide
Dog, One Rat Short,
The Passenger, Surviving
the Rush and The Wraith of
And here's a bit of cool news: Image Entertainment has acquired the
DVD release rights to four Jeremy Thomas-produced films, including
The Last Emperor, Merry
Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, The
Hit and Insignificance.
Image will release movie-only versions, while Criterion (distributed
by Image) will release full special editions as part of their
regular collection. You can read more
at The New York Times. Thanks to Bits
reader Matt A. for the link!
Here's a look at the cover art for BCI's first two Welcome
to the Grindhouse titles (due on 7/3), along with
DreamWorks' Dreamgirls: 2-Disc
Showstopper Edition (5/1)...
We'll be back tomorrow with more DVD news, as well as a new Barrie
Maxwell column. Stay tuned!
(EARLY UPDATE -
4/12/07 - 11:45 AM PDT)
Morning, folks! Sorry for disappearing yesterday. A number of
things came up that just ate up all our time. No worries though,
we'll make it up to you today with multiple posts.
First, we'd be remiss if we didn't take a moment to acknowledge the
of novelist Kurt Vonnegut, whose works included Slaughterhouse-Five,
Breakfast of Champions, Slapstick
and his most recent (and final) work, A
Man Without a Country. Whatever else you might say about
him, Vonnegut was an original - a World War II P.O.W., and a man of
sharp wit and deep convictions. He was 84.
Now then... Warner has just announced the high-definition release
of Rio Bravo and The
Cowboys on 6/5, in both HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats,
in honor of what would have been John Wayne's 100th birthday. Both
titles have been remastered and will include audio commentaries,
featurettes and theatrical trailers (on both formats). SRP is $28.99
for each. You'll find a look at the HD-DVD cover art below.
Also today, Paramount has officially anounced the DVD release of
Eddie Murphy's Norbit on 6/5
in DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc versions. That's the same day the
studio is also releasing Murphy's Coming
to America: Special Collector's Edition and Trading
Places, both also on DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc
Here's a look at high-def cover art for some of the titles we just
As you can see, Buena Vista also sent over a sneak peek at the
cover art for their forthcoming Pirates
of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and Pirates
of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest on Blu-ray Disc (both
due on 5/22 - confirmed by the studio - and both 2-disc BD-50 sets).
And while we're talking high-definition this morning, our old
friend Andy Patrizio has posted a story on what caused the HD format
war and who might be drawing it out. It's detailed, well written and
may cause a little bit of a stir in some camps. You'll find that
Back with some standard DVD news in a little while. Stay tuned...
We've got another exciting animation announcement to report today.
Universal has finally set 7/24 as the release date for The
Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection.
The 3-disc DVD set will SRP for $39.98 and will contain some 8 hours
worth of classic animated shorts in both color and B&W. Video
will be full frame as you'd expect, with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
audio. We'll post additional details as Universal makes them
available, but you'll find the cover art below.
In other news today, New Line has set Uncle
P for release on 6/26 (SRP $19.97).
BCI has announced that they're launching a new double-feature DVD
series under the "Welcome to the Grindhouse" moniker. The
series will consist of various camp and B-movie titles, with each
2-movie disc selling for about $13. BCI expects to release more than
15 titles through early next year, culled from a library of more
than 100 such films. You can read more
at Video Business.
And on the HD front, Sony has added to their Blu-ray Disc planned
slate, announcing Cruel Intentions
for release on the format on 6/12.
There are also some indications today that Universal may be having
HD-DVD replication issues. After select Xbox 360 users complained
that their add-on HD drives couldn't read some (but not all) copies
of Children of Men, we've now
been getting e-mail from readers who say they're having trouble
playing the studio's DVD/HD-DVD Combo format release of The
Good Shepherd. We've checked our copy and sure enough,
about 3/4ths of the way through the film on the HD side, the disc
locks up and can't be read by our Toshiba HD-XA2. The DVD side reads
fine. We've contacted the studio for their response as to what may
be going on, and we'll let you know when we hear anything.
Production and replication problems are certainly not unexpected
when you have new formats - both Blu-ray and HD-DVD are having their
issues right now. And given how many problems there have been in
recent years with DVD-18 format discs, we always get a little
nervous when dealing with discs with multiple bonded layers and
sides. We can only imagine how tricky Warner's Total HD hybrid
format discs are going to be to replicate...
Here's a look at the cover for Universal's The
Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection,
as well as Sony's Ghost Rider
(theatrical cut - 6/12) and CBS/Paramount's Star
Trek: Fan Collective - Captain's Log (7/12)....
Afternoon everyone. Hope you all had a nice weekend!
First things first today: Matt's doing well. If you're interested,
he talks all about what's been going on with him in his own words
over at MusicTAP
Also, our own Adam Jahnke has posted
installment of his Electric Theatre, in which he
remembers the late director Bob Clark... and drops in for a visit to
the Grindhouse. Don't miss it!
Now then... Sony has finally released details about their Ghost
Rider DVDs and Blu-ray Disc (due 6/12) this morning. On
DVD, there will be a single-disc theatrical cut (SLP $28.95) and a
2-disc extended edition ($34.95). The extended edition will include
some 15 minutes of additional footage edited back into the film.
Both DVDs include the Spirit of
Vengeance: The Making of Ghost Rider documentary, which
includes commentary with writer/director Mark Steven Johnson. Both
DVDs also include feature-length commentary with Johnson and VFX
supervisor Kevin Mack, as well as a second commentary with producer
Gary Foster. The extended edition also includes the Sin
and Salvation featurette on the comic book origins of the
character. The Blu-ray Disc version ($38.96) will include the
extended version of the film, the Spirit
of Vengeance: The Making of Ghost Rider documentary and
both feature-length audio commentary tracks. A UMD version for
Sony's PSP will also be released.
FYI, also announced today by Sony are Hex:
The Complete First Season (due 6/5) and Silver
Spoons: The Complete First Season (on 6/19).
We've also got a little bit of Warner release news. Or actually, a
follow-up on recent news. The studio has forwarded us a first look
at the new cover art for the fixed Superman:
Ultimate Collector's Edition box set re-release (due
5/29). Specifically, here's a look at the stickers on the cover that
will identify the new fixed release from the previous version:
Also, according to the studio's press site, here's the NEW UPC
number for the revised box set: 085391165262. For the record, the
UPC for the OLD box set was 012569819122.
As always, we've updated the format stats (above)
including the Blu-ray vs HD-DVD numbers through the week of 4/1.
Finally today, we've had a number of readers e-mail us about the
low box-office numbers for Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's
Grindhouse this weekend. The
film came in fourth, taking in just $11.6 million, which has
surprised a lot of people. But as Todd noted in our phone
conversation on the subject last night, Grindhouse
isn't exactly the kind of film you go see on Easter weekend. It
makes sense: if you're spending time with your family, and decide to
take the whole clan out to see a film, Grindhouse
probably isn't the best family filmgoing choice. It's also over
three hours long, and so isn't going to get as many showings as
other films. Given those things, it's probably an achievement that
the film took in as much money as it did this weekend. Our guess is
that ticket sales will be strong all week, and that it will do
bigger business next weekend. We'll see. For the record, Todd says
it's pretty great and Jahnke called the double feature
"a fun but exhausting night at the
in his column.
I'm joining Matt for a screening this evening, and we're both
looking forward to it. We'll let you know.
Okay, back tomorrow. Stay tuned...
Morning, everyone. Before we get started today, there's a little
personal business to get out of the way. It seems that no sooner did
our own Matt Rowe turn 50 earlier this week, he had a bit of a
health scare. Shortness of breath turned into a trip to the doctor,
where an EKG uncovered some possible heart problems. Matt's in the
hospital today for a follow-up, so we're all crossing our fingers
around here that it's just minor issues he has to deal with. If you
feel like sending him an
e-mail of well wishes, I know he'd appreciate it. I'm going to
swing by later and visit him, so we'll keep you up to date on how
things turn out.
Now then... Sony has released to the media a report tracking weekly
sales of high-definition packaged media - both HD-DVD and Blu-ray
Disc - from 10/1/06 through the week ending 3/18/07. The report,
Generation Disc Tracking Report, was prepared with sales
figures from Nielsen VideoScan. It's the first such detailed sales
data we've really seen, featuring graphical breakdowns by format,
title and studio, so we wanted to post the document in its entirety
for your consideration (and Sony has given us permission to do so).
The document is large (over 1MB) and it's in Adobe PDF format. We've
posted it on the server in a zip file. Just click on the link above
to download it.
In release news today, Universal has set Breach
for 6/12 on DVD (full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions) as
well as HD-DVD (DVD/HD-DVD Combo format).
Paramount has set The Best of
Chappelle's Show: Uncensored for release on 6/5, with
Diagnosis Murder: The Second Season
following on 6/12.
New Line is reissuing a pair of P.T. Anderson titles on 5/8,
including Magnolia and Boogie
Nights. They're also releasing a Mortal
Kombat I/Mortal Kombat II double feature on 5/22.
And Warner has announced a bunch more new July DVD releases,
including The Last Stand and
NHL Stanley Cup Championships 2007
on 7/10, NBA Champions 2007 on
7/17, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law -
Volume 3 and a Classic
Musicals Collection: Classic Musicals from The Dream Factory -
Volume 2 box set (containing Words
and Music, The Pirate,
a Royal Wedding/Belle of New York
double feature, That's Dancing
and a That Midnight Kiss/Toast of New
Orleans double feature - all also available separately)
on 7/24, and Dallas: The Complete Seventh
Season and a Dallas: The
Complete Seasons 1-7 pack on 7/31. For the BBC, Warner
will release Hedda Gabler
(1962) and The Henrik Ibsen Collection
on 7/24, with My Hero: Season Two
following on 8/7. Warner also has a series of catalog double feature
DVD releases coming on 7/3, including Insomnia/Just
Cause, Maverick/Wild Wild West,
Memphis Belle/The Aviator,
The Outlaw Josey Wales/Pale Rider,
The Perfect Storm/Three Kings,
Blazing Saddles: 30th Anniversary Special
Edition/Blue Collar Comedy (that's an odd match), Proof
of Life/Exit Wounds, See Spot
Run/Clifford's Really Big Movie, Selena/The
Bodyguard: Special Edition, A
Sound of Thunder/Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God,
Starsky & Hutch/Disorderlies,
A Walk to Remember/Chasing Liberty,
What a Girl Wants/New York Minute
and Wildcats/The Replacements.
One last bit of news for you music fans today: It's been announced
that Graying and Balding, Inc. will be documenting the forthcoming
world tour by The Police for release as an eventual concert DVD. The
company has previously produced DVD projects for Sting, Michael
Jackson, The Rolling Stones and The Dixie Chicks. By the way, at a
book signing in London earlier this week, Police guitarist
Summers revealed that the band's rehearsals are going great,
that they'll be preforming some new music during their tour this
summer, and that they're considering recording a new studio album
once the tour is over. Just six months ago, who would have imagined?
Outstanding news indeed.
Okay... that's it for another week. Don't forget Grindhouse
is in theaters this weekend. There's more Planet
Earth on Discovery on Sunday too, as well as the start of
the new season of Entourage on
Thanks to all of you who've sent in comments on the latest Doom9
DRM hack. I'll read all your e-mails over the weekend and post more
All of you have a wonderful weekend, Happy Easter to those who
celebrate it, and best wishes from all of us. See you Monday.
There's some very sad news to report today, as you may have heard.
Bob Clark, who directed the classic A
Christmas Story, along with such films as Porky's,
182! and Black Christmas,
was killed yesterday in a car crash in Pacific Palisades, CA by a
drunk driver. His 22-year-old son was also in the car and died as
well. Naturally, the driver of the other car survived. You can read
at the L.A. Times. It's hard to find the words to
express how just sad and angering this is. Except these words of
Ralphy from A Christmas Story
seem to work pretty well: Oh FUDGE! Only I
didn't say "fudge"... Bob will be sorely missed.
Christmas might have to come early around here...
On the release front today, this would normally go in The
Rumor Mill, but what the hell... watch for Paramount to
announce Norbit soon for
release on 6/5. Hope that flick didn't cost Eddie Murphy the Oscar
he so richly deserved this year. Not that Dreamgirls
was a favorite around here or anything, but he was damn great in it.
Also, Heretic Films has announced the release of Starbucking
on 4/24. This title is of course caffeine, not Battlestar,
And in other news today,
Business has a story up on the home video industry's
high-def replication troubles. With both HD-DVD and Blu-ray still so
new to market, replication capacity is struggling to keep up. This
has resulted in delays for titles in both formats, including
Universal's Children of Men
DVD/HD-DVD Combo disc, Warner's Happy
Feet Blu-ray Disc and some of those delayed Fox and MGM
catalog high-def titles. So all those of you who've been asking
what's up with the delayed titles, now you know. They're coming,
just later than expected.
Finally today, there's more high-def weirdness to report. Those
crazy kids over
at the Doom9 boards seem to be on to yet another possible
crack of the AACS copy-protection scheme used by both HD-DVD and
Blu-ray Disc. We don't pretend to be engineers or programmers, so
all those lines of code are just gibberish to us, but what seems to
be happening at the moment is that someone's figured out a way to
custom patch the firmware on Microsoft's HD-DVD add-on drive for the
Xbox 360, thus allowing them to launch all the world's nuclear
missiles or some such. Actually, they've found a way to hack the
Xbox drive in such a way as to make it easier for them to decrypt
HD-DVD movies while at the time ensuring that the device can't be "revoked"
to stop them from doing it. We think. If someone from NASA wants to
try to explain this in clearer language for our readers, please drop
us a line and we'll post it. What it means for the industry in the
long term remains to be seen, but it certainly is fascinating to
watch. You know, the folks who get paid to come up with all this
crazy DRM stuff should enlist the Doom9 guys right from the start.
You'd think it'd just be easier.
Okay... back with more tomorrow. Don't forget to check out our new
DVD Cover Art update in the meantime. Stay tuned...
Morning, folks! I thought we'd get an early start on things today.
First of all, in case you missed it, we posted a big update of the
DVD Cover Art section yesterday. Over 100 new scans were
added, with more coming next week.
Now then... Paramount will release The
Future Pack box set on 7/2, which includes The
Island, A.I.: Artificial
Intelligence and Aeon Flux.
Drawn Together - Uncensored!: Season Two
is expected on 7/10, followed by the long awaited Gunsmoke:
The First Season on 7/17. The studio has also set John
Grisham's The Rainmaker: Special Collector's Edition for
release on 7/24, along with Wayside
School, a Star Trek: Fan
Collective - Captain's Log (including favorite episodes
featuring the Captains from all the Trek
live-action series) and a 5-pack of all the existing Star
Trek: Fan Collective releases. By the way, the studio has
also announced Reno 911!: The Complete
Fourth Season - Uncensored! for release on 6/26.
Something worth noting for you Battlestar
Galactica fans: As we predicted, on 5/8 Universal will
release a shrink-wrapped 2-pack of Season
2.0 and Season 2.5
together for a lower combined price of SRP $69.98. Unfortunately,
the studio doesn't seem to be planning to re-release them in a
single package until the HD-DVD version next year. Still, each set
individually was previously priced at SRP $49.98, so this is a
pretty good deal - as much as $30 off.
Meanwhile, Sony has announced Blood and
Chocolate for release on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and UMD on
6/12, along with Jesse Stone: Death in
Paradise and Jesse Stone:
Night Passage (Mom will be thrilled - both on DVD), a new
repackaged Starship Troopers
DVD and a Blu-ray Disc of Seven Years in
TV fans may be pleased to learn that Fox has set The
Fall Guy: The Complete First Season for release on 6/5.
Never thought we'd see The Fall Guy
before The Six Million Dollar Man,
but any Lee Majors on DVD is okay by us.
In other news, as you may have heard, EMI and Apple have reached a
deal that will allow Apple to carry EMI catalog music (aside from
the Beatles catalog, which is still being negotiated) on its iTunes
download service. But here's the best news... the music will be made
available without any kind of DRM protection, AND in
higher-resolution (256 kbps vs 128 kbps on standard iTunes
downloads), for just 30 cents more per track. You can read more
at Home Media. That means not
only better quality, but the tracks will be playable in any digital
media player device. Hopefully, this portends a trend toward
completely DRM free downloadable music online. And one would
certainly hope the movie industry would take note.
You may have seen recent press comments by DreamWorks Animation CEO
Jeffrey Katzenberg to the effect he thinks HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc
are going to remain niche formats for the forseeable future (you can
read more on Katzenberg's comments
at Variety). The shame of it
is, I think if there was just a single format that wouldn't have to
be the case. But with two competing formats, he's almost certainly
right. I don't have as much faith in downloading as he does. To my
mind, getting downloading to work properly represents a substantial
technical challenge that some consumers just aren't going to want to
deal with. It's one thing if you're a tech-savvy gamer using Xbox
Live, but it's another thing entirely if you're the type that still
can't figure out how to program your VCR. Also, sooner or later,
people who do download movies that they want to keep are going to
suffer a hard drive crash, and suddenly the whole idea of
downloading will become a lot less attractive. I suspect downloading
will challenge the rental market more than sales of movies. Either
way, standard DVD is still likely to remain the dominant format for
some time to come.
Finally this morning, we're pleased to announce some new
Bits Power Buys in conjunction with DocDVD.
We have the following Pioneer Elite plasmas deals available:
Pioneer Elite Pro-FHD1 50" 1080P Plasma with a FREE 50"
Pro-5016HD Elite 768P Plasma - $6600 shipped anywhere in the
Pioneer Elite Pro-940HD 42" 768P Plasma - $2585 shipped
anywhere in the domestic US.
Pioneer Elite Pro-1140HD 50" 768P Plasma - $3056 shipped
anywhere in the domestic US.
Limited numbers of each of the plasmas are available, and they will
be physically purchased in store in your name from an Elite
authorized dealer, so the full US warranty will apply. Act fast as
these deals will not last!
us here for more information on this and other great
specials! Be sure to use the words Power
Buy in the header.
Okay - enough for now. Stay tuned...
We've got a quick update for you on the Children
of Men HD-DVD/Xbox 360 drive issue. Based on reports from
readers, the problem seems to be occurring only with select batches
of discs. Several people have reported exchanging the disc and the
new copy works fine. And other readers' copies never had a problem
with the 360 HD-DVD drive. There's a lot of people out there who are
quick to call such things the death of the format - as people did
with Lionsgate's Descent
Blu-ray problem - but the reality is, these are exactly the kinds of
technical growing pains you're going to get with any new format.
Universal is no doubt working to correct the problem. In the
meantime, if you have a bad copy, we recommend that you try to
exchange it where you purchased it for a good one. If we hear
anything official from Universal on this, we'll let you know.
Speaking of Universal, the studio has set a Doris
Day and Rock Hudson Comedy Collection for release on 7/24
(SRP $19.98), which will include Pillow
Talk, Lover Come Back
and Send Me No Flowers all in
Sony has confirmed the 6/12 release of Ghost
Rider on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. We'll have more details
Warner has announced some major new releases today as well,
including the Letters from Iwo Jima:
Special Edition (on 2-disc DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-ray - both
single disc - on 5/22), a Letters from
Iwo Jima/Flags of Our Fathers: 5-Disc Commemorative Edition
DVD box set (also on 5/22) and Popeye the
Sailor: 1933-1938 - Volume One (4 discs on 7/31). We'll
post further details - specs, etc - as they become available.
HBO has set Louis CK: Shamless
for release on 6/26, with George Lopez:
America's Mexican following on 7/3, Extras:
The Complete Second Season on 7/10, and P.
Diddy Presents the Bad Boys of Comedy: Season Two and
Taxicab Confessions: New York, New York -
Part One on 7/17.
And New Line has released details of their forthcoming Rush
Hour: Special Edition and Rush
Hour 2: Special Edition (due on 5/22 - SRP $14.97 each).
Rush Hour will include audio
commentary by director Brett Ratner, isolated score with commentary
by composer Lalo Schifrin, deleted scenes, the Rush
Hour 1, 2, 3! behind-the-scenes documentary, the A
Piece of the Action documentary, Ratner's Whatever
Happened to Mason Reese? early short film with
commentary, Heavy D's Nuttin But
Love music video with optional commentary by Ratner, Dru
Hill's How Deep Is Your Love
music video with optional commentary by Ratner, cast and crew
biographies and the film's theatrical trailer. Rush
Hour 2 will include audio commentary by director Brett
Ratner and writer Jeff Nathanson, the Rush
Hour 3: French Connection behind-the-scenes documentary,
7 Beyond-the-Movie features (including Jackie
Chan's Hong Kong intro, Culture
Clash: West Meets East, Language
International Stardom, Kung Fu
Choreography, Lady Luck
- Ratner's early short film with optional commentary and a Fact
track with optional subtitles), several All-Access Pass features
(including Making Magic Out of Mire,
3 Evolution of a Scene
segments, The Fashion of Rush Hour 2,
deleted scenes and outtakes with optional commentary by Ratner, a
visual effects deconstruction, an intro by visual effects supervisor
Kevin Lingenfelser and a multi-angle presentation of the opening
bomb scene), cast and crew biographies and 3 theatrical trailers.
Video on each is anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and
Around the site today, we've got a quick
DVD Cover Art update for you. There's over 100 new covers
to check out, and a larger update is on the way.
Adam's posted a
new update of his Electric Theatre in which he reviews
more new theatrical releases including Blades
of Glory, The Lookout
and more. Don't miss it!
We've also kicked off TWO new
today, giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's
Beyond: Season Three,
League Unlimited: Season Two and
House: The Complete Sixth Season, as well as Anchor Bay's
of Horror: Pro Life,
of Horror: Family,
presents The Condor,
III: Lord of the Dead,
Volume One and
in Hollywood. Each of these contests will run until Noon
(Pacific) on Sunday, April 15th. Click on the links to get started
and good luck!
Finally, we've also updated the
DVD Player Sales numbers this afternoon, with the complete
data for January and February of this year. March data should be
available next week. You'll find the summary
and the detailed monthly breakdown
Here's a little more new cover art to round out today's post:
Warner's Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938 -
Volume One, the Letters from
Iwo Jima: Special Edition and the Letters
from Iwo Jima/Flags of Our Fathers: 5-Disc Commemorative Edition...
(LATE UPDATE -
4/2/07 - 12:30 PM PDT)
Wow... there's more good DVD news today: Our industry sources have
just informed us that Warner is about to announce that their
Award winning) 14-disc box set, The
Superman Ultimate Collection, is being re-released to
stores on 5/29 (SRP $99.92). And this time, it's the Version 2.0
that includes the fixed Superman: The
Movie - Four-Disc Special Edition (with the correct
original theatrical 2.0 audio) as well as the correct Superman
III: Deluxe Edition disc. We're told that you'll be able
to identify the set by a new sticker on the front of the packaging.
It may also have a new UPC code as well (we'll post that here when
we have it). Be aware that replacement discs are still available
from Warner directly by calling 800-553-6937.
A couple more quick announcements: Sony has set The
Messengers for release on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and UMD on
6/5. The studio will also release What's
Happening Now!: The Complete First Season on DVD on 6/12.
Also today, we're hearing reports from a number of readers about a
playback problem with Universal's Children
of Men DVD/HD-DVD Combo disc on the Xbox 360 (via the
add-on drive). Specifically, the add-on drive doesn't seem to be
able to read the disc. We'll check with Universal to see what's
going on and what might be done to fix the problem.
(EARLY UPDATE -
4/2/07 - 12:01 AM PDT)
Morning, everyone! Before we get started today, we'd be remiss if
we didn't take a moment to congratulate our very own Matt Rowe, of
MusicTAP fame, on
reaching his 50th birthday. A half-century - that's a lotta tree
rings, boyo! And here I was feeling a little long in the tooth for
closing in on 40 later this year. Matt's naturally going to be doing
a bit of celebrating with his family tonight (and praying for an
Ohio State victory), and Mrs. Bits and I are likely to join 'em. If
you get the chance, drop
Matt a quick e-mail and give him a little pat on the back for
not having died yet. Skol, friend!
Now then... we've got some VERY good news for you Disney fans
today. I assure you, this is no Day After April Fools' Day joke. You
guys have been asking us for months: "Will there be any more
Walt Disney Treasures DVDs?
There's a rumor online that they're done! Please say it isn't true!"
Well... we TOLD you it wasn't true, but some of you didn't believe
us. Now here's the official details: Wave Seven of the much-loved
series will arrive in stores on 12/11. You'll get Oswald
the Lucky Rabbit, The
Chronological Donald: Volume 3 and Disneyland:
Stories, Secrets and Magic, each an individually
numbered, limited edition 2-disc set, complete with a certificate of
authenticity and a collectible lithograph! As always, each of the
sets will be hosted by film historian, author and critic Leonard
Maltin. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
will feature a series of silent animated shorts staring the beloved
(and rarely-seen) character, made from 1926 to 1927 (thus predating
Mickey Mouse), that only recently returned to the Disney label. The
shorts will be restored and feature a brand-new musical score
recorded just for this DVD release. The
Chronological Donald: Volume 3 features Donald in a
series of also rarely-seen animated solo shorts dating from 1947 to
1950. And Disneyland: Stories, Secrets
and Magic is a comprehensive documentary look at the
Happiest Place on Earth, featuring archival footage (including
Walt's own words), along with new interviews and footage that take
you behind the scenes at the park. So there you go... all this comes
straight from the studio. Doubters, thou art quelled!
Here's more great animated Disney news: The studio has set The
Jungle Book: Platinum Edition for release on 10/2 (SRP
$29.99). The 2-disc set will include anamorphic widescreen video
(aspect ratio 1.75:1 - the first time the film has been presented on
home video in its original aspect ratio), Dolby Digital 5.1 audio
and an all-new 5.1 Disney-enhanced Home Theater Mix. Extras will
include audio commentary (with members of the original production
team as well as current animators), 4 featurettes (including The
Lost Character: Rocky the Rhino, Disney's
Kipling: Walt's Magic Touch on A Literary Classic, The
Lure of The Jungle Book and Mowgli's
Return to the Jungle), The
Bare Necessities: The Making of The Jungle Book
documentary, an artwork gallery and the Baloo's
Virtual Swingin' Jungle Cruise game (playable set-top and
and via DVD-ROM). Oh, oobee doo... I wanna be like youuuuu...
FYI, Disney has also set Primeval
for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 6/12. And this would normally
go in The Rumor Mill, but look
for The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
In other DVD news today, Warner has set a Friends:
The Complete Seasons 1-9 pack for release on 5/22 (SRP
$269.92). These are the previous single-season DVD sets, just
bundled together. Warner is also releasing (for the BBC) A
Bit of Fry & Laurie: Season 3, A
Bit of Fry & Laurie: Season 4 and A
Bit of Fry & Laurie: The Complete Collection... Every Bit!,
all on 7/24.
Meanwhile, Fox has set A Guide for the
Married Woman for release on 4/10, along with A
Wedding and A Perfect Couple.
A series of catalog war films follow on 4/24, including Fixed
Bayonets, I Deal in Danger,
Man in the Middle, The
Purple Heart, Sailor of the
King and Tonight We Raid
Calais (1943). Fox's Night at
the Museum is still set to hit Blu-ray on 4/24 as well.
The Hustler: Collector's Edition
is also newly announced for DVD on 6/12.
MGM has set The Chocolate War,
Thieves Like Us, The
Pulp and True Confessions
for release on 4/17.
The Weinstein Company has announced that a Hannibal
Rising: Unrated Edition DVD will street on 5/29. An
R-rated version will street that day as well. No word yet on an
Koch Vision will release the James
Cameron presents The Lost Tomb of Jesus documentary on
4/24 (SRP $24.98). The disc will offer a 105-minute director's cut
of the Discovery Channel special, and will add 80 minutes of bonus
features including an epilogue with Cameron and director Simcha
Jacobovici, and over an hour of additional expert interviews. The
science is a bit sketchy, but the program makes for fascinating
And Universal has announced a Bourne
2-Movie Collection (SRP $22.98) for 7/24. The 3-disc set
contains both The Bourne Identity
and The Bourne Supremacy, as
well as a bonus disc that includes 3 featurettes (Who
Was Robert Ludlum?, The Ludlum
Supremacy and The Ludlum
Ultimatum). Universal has also announced non combo format
versions of the Army of Darkness
and Unleashed HD-DVDs (SRP
$29.98 each) on 6/26. Both were previously released as DVD/HD-DVD
Combo discs. There's no word as to why they're being re-released
Around the site today, we've updated all of the DVD and high-def
format stats we track (above),
including the latest Blu-ray Disc vs. HD-DVD software sales numbers.
Previous trends continue as expected.
Finally, here's some more new DVD cover art: Warner's Birdman
and the Galaxy Trio: The Complete Series and Space
Ghost & Dino Boy: The Complete Series (both due on
7/17), as well as Paramount's The John
Wayne Century Collection and the Flags
of Our Fathers: 2-Disc Special Edition (both due 5/22),
Sony's Catch & Release
(5/8) and New Line's The Number 23:
Infinifilm Edition - Unrated (7/17)...
We now return you to your previously scheduled Monday morning,
already in progress. Enjoy!
There's not a lot of news to report today, so we're doing some
archiving and other site maintenance work here at The
Bits this afternoon.
There is a bit of standard DVD release news though: Fox and MGM
have announced that an All That Jazz:
Music Edition is due on 4/3. TV fans will be thrilled at
the announcement of Flipper: Season One
on 4/24. Cagney & Lacey: Season One
streets on 5/8. And on 5/15, look for The
Siege: Martial Law Edition with audio commentary and
Also today, Anchor Bay has a Highlander:
The Ultimate Collection - Best of the Best 6-disc box set
coming out on 4/17 (SRP $49.98). The set will include 15 of the
series' best episodes including the premiere, along with 3 hours
worth of extras, among them 5 behind-the-scenes featurettes (The
City of Lights, The Cutting
Edge, All About You!,
Gameplay and Steel).
And Sony has set Rescue Me: The Complete
Third Season for release on DVD (SRP $49.95) and Blu-ray
Disc ($79.95) on 6/5. The Blu-ray version will include the episodes
in 1080p video, along with all the standard DVD extras, on 50GB
discs. Oddly, Sony says they have no immediate plans to go back and
release the show's first two seasons in HD. Anyway, here's more on
this story from Home
By the way, Sony has also announced The
Italian for release on DVD on 5/22.
Finally, our friends over at
Script to DVD have posted a list of locations around the
country where you can see Disney's Meet
the Robinsons in Digital 3-D starting tomorrow.
We'll leave you today with still more new cover art: Fox's Epic
Movie: Unrated Edition (5/22), MGM's Flipper:
Season One and Anchor Bay's Highlander:
Best of the Best box set (all on DVD), along with
Warner's The Ultimate Matrix Collection
HD-DVD (5/22), Sony's Hellboy
Blu-ray Disc (6/5) and Paramount's The
Untouchables: Special Collector's Edition Blu-ray (7/3)
Afternoon, folks. We've got more new DVD announcements to report,
First up, some potential good news for Battlestar
fans: Our friends over at
Shows on DVD.com have reported that Battlestar
Galactica: Season Three is expected to arrive on DVD in
August. This lines up nicely with
information from The Rumor Mill from a few weeks ago,
in which we posted that Universal currently plans the
high-definition release of Battlestar
Galactica: Season One on the HD-DVD format in September.
We should also note that a 2-hour Battlestar
movie special, featuring Admiral Cain and the Pegasus, will debut
this fall on Sci-Fi and will be available a couple of days later on
DVD. All of this is designed to keep the series fresh in the minds
of fans leading up to the fourth season kick-off on Sci-Fi in early
In other news today, Fox has announced a Big:
Extended Edition and a That
Thing You Do: Tom Hanks' Extended Cut for release on 5/8
(SRP $19.98 each). Big
features 25 minutes of new footage added back into the film, the
Big Brainstorming audio
documentary, 8 deleted and extended scenes, 4 featurettes (including
Backstory: Big, Carnival
Party Newswrap, Big Beginning
and The Work of Play), the
Chemistry of a Classic
documentary, and trailers and TV spots. That
Thing You Do features 39 minutes of additional footage
added back into the film, 5 featurettes (including Making
That Thing You Do, The Story
of the Wonders, The Wonders:
Big in Japan, That Thing You
Do Reunion and That Thing You
Do Title Song Submissions), the HBO
First Look: The Making of That Thing You Do episode, and
trailers and TV spots.
And Warner Home Video has announced The
Good German for release on DVD on 5/22. No word on
possible HD releases. The studio has also set National Geographic's
Ultimate Factories for release
on 6/12, with National Geographic's Wolves:
A Legend Returns to Yellowstone set to follow on 6/26,
National Geographic's A Man Among Wolves
expected on 7/10 and HBO's Tales from the
Crypt: The Complete Sixth Season due on 7/24. Warner is
also re-issuing a number of catalog titles on 5/15 for just $12.97
each, including Ace Ventura: When Nature
Calls, Batman, Batman
Blue Collar Comedy, Cats
& Dogs, Chasing Liberty,
Clifford's Really Big Movie,
The Color Purple, Caddyshack:
20th Anniversary Edition, Full
Metal Jacket, Goodfellas,
The Goonies, The
Green Mile, Gremlins,
Matrix, Natural Born Killers,
Ocean's Eleven (2001), The
Omega Man, The Perfect Storm,
Spot Run, Selena,
The Shawshank Redemption, Sour
Grapes, True Romance
(Unrated), Unforgiven and A
Walk to Remember. Get 'em while they're cheap.
Also today, we've got word on street dates for some major upcoming
DVD releases in
Rumor Mill. We think you Sergio Leone fans are finally
going to have reason to celebrate. Don't miss it.
On the high-def front, though most of the details have been
reported previously, the HD-DVD Promotion Group has announced that
more than 70 titles will be released on HD-DVD through July. All
this is timed to coincide with Toshiba cutting the prices of their
HD-DVD players (reported yesterday). You can read more
at Home Media.
Along these same lines, Microsoft has finally announced their Xbox
360 Elite (due in April for $479) which will feature an HDMI
connection and larger 120 GB harddrive. At the same time, New Line
announced that its titles will soon be available for download via
Xbox Live, along with Paramount HD titles. You can read more at
We'll leave you with some new pieces of DVD cover art, including
Warner's The Good German,
Fox's Big: Extended Edition
and That Thing You Do: Tom Hanks'
Extended Cut, Touchstone's Apocalypto
(5/22), Paramount's Trading Places:
Looking Good, Feeling Good Edition (6/5) and Sony's Seinfeld:
Season 8 (6/5)...
Well... we've got a bunch of high-definition news to report this
morning. Standard DVD release news will follow at the end of the
First up today, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has just announced
that the Casino Royale Blu-ray
Disc, released on 3/13, has become the first high-definition title
to ship 100,000 copies, and reportedly broke single-day sales
records for a high-def title as well. Apparently 50,000 copies were
shipped to retailers with another 30,000 on reserve - all sold out
by the second day of release. Back in 1998, the first title to ship
100,000 units on DVD (Sony's Air Force
One) took 11 months to do so. Royale
has done that for Blu-ray in just two weeks. It will certainly be
interesting to see how well The Matrix
Trilogy sells on HD-DVD in May, and how Cars
and the Pirates films do later
this year on Blu-ray. The same
Media Retailing story confirms that over 1 million Blu-ray
Discs have now sold to consumers (700,000 this year in 2007), with
about 900,000 HD-DVDs sold (310,000 in 2007). You can
more at Video Business as well.
Next up today, the Blu-ray Disc Association has finally mandated
that all Blu-ray Disc players sold after 10/31 this year must be
fully compatible with the BD-Java spec, which includes the ability
to play picture-in-picture video. And it's about time. In our
opinion, the BDA should have mandated this from the very beginning.
The lack of this full compliance is what's caused studios like
Warner to hold back some of their IME titles on Blu-ray (including
Batman Begins and The
Matrix Trilogy), and it's the one real technical area
where Blu-ray is currently lagging behind rival HD-DVD. You can read
at Video Business.
There's big HD-DVD news today as well. Toshiba has confirmed that
they've cut the prices of all their HD-DVD players pretty
dramatically. They've dropped their HD-A2 and HD-A20 by $100 each
(to $399 and $499 respectively). The higher-end HD-XA2 has been
dropped $200 to $799. The price changes officially take effect on
4/1. You can read more
at Twice. We've also heard that Microsoft has cut the
price of its Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on drive by about $70 (taking it
from $199 to $130). You'll find more on that at
On the software front, Sony has confirmed some of the information
we posted in
Rumor Mill last week, specifically that they'll be
releasing Hellboy and Meatballs
on Blu-ray on 6/5.
Buena Vista has announced Bridge to
Terabithia for release on Blu-ray Disc on 6/19. It's also
just announced Ridley Scott's G.I. Jane
and Antoine Fuqua's King Arthur:
Director's Cut for release on Blu-ray on 4/3.
Also today, Digital Leasure has announced that they're releasing
the classic Dragon's Lair
video game on Blu-ray Disc format (using BD-Java) on 4/9 (SRP
$49.95). All the original video has been remastered in 1080p and the
sound has been remixed in 5.1 surround. All the extras are in 1080p
as well - they include new interviews with game creators Don Bluth,
Gary Goldman and Rick Dyer, in addition to optional audio commentary
during the game. Space Ace and
Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp
will apparently follow in Blu-ray from the company as well. You can
Now for the standard DVD news. As you might expect, Buena Vista's
Bridge to Terabithia will
street on 6/19 in dual full frame and anamorphic widescreen DVD
Genius Products has set Arthur and the
Invisibles for release on 5/15.
Universal has set Disappearances
and Eureka: Season One for
release on 7/3, with Rap Sheet: Hip Hop
and the Cops following on 7/31.
Sony's announced Secrets of the Code,
Hex: The Complete First Season,
Seinfeld: The Complete Eighth Season
and a Meatballs: Special Edition
for release on 6/5.
Paramount has set Mostly Martha
for release on 7/20.
Finally this morning, we've updated some of our DVD and HD format
We'll have a CEA DVD Player Sales update in the next few days.
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