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(Archived Posts 11/8/07 - 10/19/07)
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Okay... as promised today, we're back with two new Blu-ray Disc
reviews. First up is Sony's new 2-disc Close
Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition
- the first Steven Spielberg film to be released in high-definition
on disc, and a great one at that. It arrives in stores next week.
The second review is Disney and Pixar's Pixar
Short Films Collection: Volume 1, which streeted on
All four titles are only available in high-definition on Blu-ray
Next up review-wise, I'm going to check out Warner's new Stanley
Kubrick special editions, available on DVD, Blu-ray and HD-DVD. I'm
also going to give DreamWorks' Transformers
HD-DVD a spin. And New Line's Hairspray
Blu-ray just showed up on my doorstep as well. No rest for the
weary! Rest assured, we'll have more standard DVD reviews over the
next couple weeks as well, from the rest of the Bits
crew, including CBS's Twin Peaks: Gold
Box Edition and more.
Elsewhere around The Bits
today, we've kicked off FIVE new
giving each of you the chance to take home copies of 13 of great
Warner and/or BBC DVDs (including the
box set, the Barbara
Stanwyck box set, the
Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 5,
Who: Series Three and MUCH more), Revolver's
The Complete Collection box,
Masters of Horror titles from Starz and several of our
Bits T-shirts! The contests will all run until Noon
(Pacific) on Sunday, November 18th. Click on the links to enter.
In terms of announcement news today, Fox has set Family
Guy Presents: Blue Harvest for release on DVD on 1/15/08
(SRP $22.98). Fans of the show will recognize this as the series'
Star Wars spoof. The disc will
include additional footage, interviews with Seth MacFarlane and
George Lucas, animatics, audio commentaries and a preview of the
show's next Star Wars spoof,
Something, Something, Something Dark Side.
A more elaborate special edition (SRP $34.99) will come packaged
with a T-shirt, trading cards and more, and will feature a 3-D fight
scene you can view with 3-D glasses, also included.
Meanwhile, MGM has announced an In the
Heat of the Night: 40th Anniversary Edition for release
on 1/15 (SRP $19.98). The disc will include 3 featurettes (Turning
Up The Heat: Movie Making in the Turbulent 60s, The
Slap Heard Around the World and Quincy
Jones: In the Heat of the Music), audio commentary by
Norman Jewison, Lee Grant, Rod Steiger and Haskell Wexler, the
film's theatrical trailer and TV spots.
Universal has set White Noise 2
for release on DVD (separate full frame and anamorphic widescreen
versions - SRP $29.98 each) and the DVD/HD-DVD Combo format (SRP
$39.98) on 1/8/08. Extras will include deleted scenes and 3
featurettes (Exploring Near-Death
Experience, The Making of
White Noise 2 and Journey Into
Finally, Warner has announced a number of new DVD releases,
including Coleccion Pedro Infante: Pepe
el Toro and Santos Peregrinos
(Holy Pilgrims) on 1/8/08, the Battle
of the Bulge Featuring Bone Crusher workout DVD on 2/12,
an Easter Bunny Is Coming to Town: Deluxe
Edition on 2/19, State of Play
(2003) and Edge of Darkness
both for the BBC on 2/26, a Horton Hears
a Who: Deluxe Edition and the TCM
Archives: Forbidden Hollywood Collection - Volume 2
(contains The Divorcee, A
Free Soul, 3 on a Match,
Female and Night
Nurse) on 3/4, and Michael
Palin: New Europe and One Foot
in the Grave: Season 3 also both for the BBC on 3/11.
In other news from around the Net, according to
story at Video Business, Sony is claiming that its
Spider-Man 3 has sold 130,000
copies on Blu-ray Disc in its first week of availability, though
there's no word yet on how many additional copies of the film were
sold as part of the
The High Definition Trilogy box set (we're hearing at
least another 50K - we expect additional details soon).
Media has a story on this as well.
Meanwhile, Toshiba and the HD-DVD camp are reporting that their $99
HD-A2 sale moved close to 100,000 units, bringing their stand-along
player penetration in the U.S. to nearly 500,000.
Media has a report on that as well.
Finally, remember that gorgeous shot of the Earth from space we
posted a few weeks ago (click
and scroll down a bit)? The one that was taken by a high-def video
camera on board a Japanese probe on its way to explore the Moon?
Japanese Space Agency has just released the first full-motion
high-def video taken by the probe of the Moon itself. You can
the video online here. I sure would love to see this in full
rez on an actual HD display. Here's hoping they release this
material on Blu-ray, or at least make it all available in better
quality online in the months ahead.
That's all for now. Stay tuned...
Rest easy, Bits-ers! We
haven't gone away or otherwise disappeared. We've just been
INCREDIBLY busy these last couple of days. Hot on the heels of our
server work on Monday, no less that FOUR major Blu-ray Disc releases
showed up on our doorstep, demanding our immediate time and
We talk a lot around here about the reasons why we prefer Blu-ray
to HD-DVD, not the least of which is the wider catalog of great film
titles available from the BD exclusive studios, but the proof is in
the pudding. So here's some pudding for you: Our in-depth reviews of
Disney and Pixar's
both in stores now and both ONLY available in high-def on the
Blu-ray Disc format. Both titles, we're happy to say, deliver every
last bit of the video and audio quality you're expecting and them
some. They also deliver some great extras, particularly the Ratatouille
disc, while Cars includes
everything that was on the DVD version and more. Both are worthy of
your hard-earned money, and represent definite reference-grade demo
material for your home theater (not to mention a lot of fun for the
We'll have reviews of the other two Blu-ray exclusive titles
tomorrow. One you'd probably (correctly) guess is the Pixar
Short Films Collection: Volume 1, also now in stores. The
other is no less than the first Steven Spielberg film to arrive on
either high-definition format... Sony's Close
Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition.
Let me tell you... CE3K is
absolutely fantastic in 1080p. The 2-disc set streets next week (on
11/13), but we'll tell you everything you need to know about it
Also this afternoon, our own Russell Hammond has updated the
DVD Cover Art section again with tons of new DVD, Blu-ray
and HD-DVD cover scans and Amazon pre-order links. As always,
ordering titles (or anything from Amazon) through our links helps to
support our work here at The Bits,
and we very much appreciate it.
We'll be back tomorrow morning with those reviews, plus new
contests and an update of all the latest announcement news. Stay
It's sure been an interesting weekend around here at The
Bits. Any of you guys catch the Vikings/Chargers game on
Sunday? Turns out this
Peterson kid is pretty good. If the Vikes can ever get their
passing game sorted out, they might actually be dangerous in this
league. As for the site being down for most of the day today... that
was Jahnke's idea. Gotta show a little solidarity for the writers.
Plus, server upgrades. What are you gonna do? ;)
Well, here's what I've been doing: As it happens, a couple of the
new Pixar Blu-ray titles (due in stores tomorrow) showed up this
morning, so I've been watching Cars
and such in 1080p all day. As it turns out, that's not a half bad
way to spend an afternoon. Watch for our reviews very soon.
In the meantime, let's catch up all up on a little bit of release
Sony has just announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Dragon
Wars on 1/8/08, which has us all a little tickled around
here. This flick is about as shameless and cheesy as modern B-movies
can get, but Adam told me he enjoyed it quite a lot more than he
expected he would. So it should make a fun high-def release.
Sony has also announced Love Lies
Bleeding (2008), Already Dead,
Storm Hawks: Hawks Rise Again
and Storm Hawks: Tales From the Atmos
for release on DVD on 1/15.
Meanwhile, HBO has set Rocket Science
for release on DVD on 1/29/08 (SRP $27.95).
Lionsgate has announced their December DVD release slate as
follows: A Christmas Too Many,
Will & Grace: Season 7,
Tyler Perry: The Plays, House
of Payne: Volume One, Werewolf:
The Devil's Hound, a Steve
Martin Triple Feature Set (includes L.A.
Story, All of Me
and Novocaine) and Midnight
Clear (all 12/4), Framed for
Murder and Born Killers
(both 12/11), Boy Eats Girl,
Biggest Loser: Cardio Max, The
Biggest Loser: Power Sculpt, Star
Trainers: Cardio, Star
Trainers: Abs, Star Trainers:
Strength, Denise Austin: Yoga
Body Burn, Denise Austin: Burn
Fat Fast Cardio Blast, Kathy
Smith: Peel Off the Pounds Pilates, Kathy
Smith: Tummy Trimmers, Kathy
Smith: Build Muscle Shrink Fat, Caminantes...
Si Hay Camino: Grandes Actrices: Volume 1 and Caminantes...
Si Hay Camino: Grandes Comediantes: Volume 3 (all 12/18)
and Shattered (12/25).
Apparently, Lionsgate REALLY wants us all to lose weight.
Finally, Paramount has set Dragonlance
for release on DVD on 1/15/08, along with PBS' Oswald's
Ghost. The Odd Couple: The
Third Season and Hawaii
Five-0: The Third Season follow on 1/22, with JAG:
The Fifth Season and PBS' Pioneers
of Television rounding out January on 1/29. In February,
the studio has revealed that they'll deliver Beauty
and the Beast: The Third Season, The
Best of Comedy Central Presents, Blackout,
Brotherhood: The Complete Second Season,
Go Diego Go!: Diego's Magical Missions,
Soul Food - The Series: The Third Season
and PBS' The Jewish Americans
(all 2/5), Comedy Central Roast of Flavor
Flav: Uncensored!, Family
Ties: The Third Season, Girlfriends:
The Third Season and Wonder
Pets: Save the Dinosaur (all 2/12) and Jakers!:
Treasure Hunt on Raloo Farm (2/19), among other titles
By the way, we're hearing that Sony's sales numbers for Spider-Man
3 and Spider-Man: The High
Definition Trilogy on Blu-ray are going to be pretty
substantial. Watch for official details in the next few days.
(LATE UPDATE -
11/2/07 - 6 PM PDT)
We've got just a quick last update for you today, as a bit of
follow-up to Toshiba's $99 HD-DVD player clearance sale today at
Wal-Mart and Best Buy. While the vast majority of reader responses
comments from yesterday were positive, as expected, a small
group of overzealous HD-DVD fans have let fly with the usual
profanity-laden e-mails (and posts on various online forums). These
run the gamut from "How dare you sir...!" to "Hey,
dumb shit..." to "@##%!!!*&%##!!" and other
You know... it never ceases to astonish me at the base level of
commentary and dialogue I see from some people. I mean, seriously.
Let's be clear about something, folks. This format war, as upsetting
as it may be at times, is NOT a life or death matter. Kittens will
not be slaughtered if either side wins, and your favorite movies
will still be there on DVD when the dust eventually settles. So some
of you guys need to take a deep breath. Chalk it up to the nature of
the Internet, I suppose. People seem to have no problem saying the
most crude things anonymously or behind the mask of electronic
discourse - behavior they'd never dream of employing in person.
Regardless, we can agree to disagree, and we STILL have nothing but
respect for even those who seem most determined to get ugly.
I actually had a good laugh at the opening event of Blu-ray Fest on
Monday morning. David Berman, director of the Home Theater
Specialists of America (which recently selected Blu-ray as its
preferred high-def format) spoke at length about exactly why his
group made the choice it did. David wryly noted that while most of
the responses he's gotten have been positive, a small group of
individuals e-mailed him "with information that we must be
morons." I'm guessing we've heard from some of the same folks.
Most dissenters, however, have been kind enough to respond to my
post with more thoughtful commentary, which we appreciate. It does
puzzle us, though, that some people continue to believe that it's
our "responsibility as journalists" to remain neutral.
Let's be clear: The Digital Bits
is an enthusiast website, written by enthusiasts for enthusiasts.
Please refer to the top of our home page, where we state quite
Bits picks Blu-ray - click here to read why. I will also...
again... remind you all that the title of my daily column is: My
We DO prefer Blu-ray here at The Bits,
and we have been very up front with our readers as to why. As an
editorial website, we have every right to express an opinion and to
chose a side if we believe it's in the best interests of our readers
to do so. That's exactly what we have done. With the format war
grinding towards its second year, and with both sides now
effectively fighting a battle for PR oneupsmanship, this has just
The bottom line is that our many years of experience and extensive
contacts within the industry tell us that Blu-ray is the format with
the better chance to thrive long-term. And we just can't recommend
to our readers a format that has only a single major manufacturer
making HD-DVD-only stand-alone players, and the exclusive support of
just three major Hollywood studios, two of which were purchased in a
deal that only lasts 18 months, no matter how cheap it may be. If
people want to buy a $99 HD-DVD player, they have our blessing. But
we just can't recommend the HD-DVD format to our readers when the
Blu-ray Disc format offers more manufacturers, more studios and (we
continue to believe) is more likely to remain viable business-wise.
We're not saying Blu-ray is perfect, or that it doesn't have its
issues. We simply believe it offers equal A/V quality, it's got more
support and has a far better chance of surviving long-term than
HD-DVD. It's just that simple.
This might be a good time to remind everyone that we predicted a
LONG time ago, from the very beginning of this mess, that 1) this
format war was going to be a generally bad thing for the industry as
a whole, that 2) it was going to deeply divide the enthusiast
community and 3) that our experience told us that there were only
two possible outcomes: a Blu-ray victory or a tie in which case BOTH
formats and ALL consumers ultimately lose. We were proven right
about those first two predictions, and nothing we've seen so far has
led us to believe that we're going to be proven incorrect about the
third either. People certainly can't say we didn't try to warn them.
Anyway, before I close today, there's one last bit of business I
wanted to address directly. Several HD-DVD supporters have found it
"very peculiar that you haven't mentioned Kmart's decision to
back HD-DVD exclusively to your readers." That's because they
haven't. We refer you to
official statement, the text of which is as follows:
"Kmart Not Exclusively Supporting HD-DVD
Statement from Jonathan Magasanik, Vice President and General
Merchandise Manager, Home Electronics, Sears Holdings
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Nov. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- There have
been numerous statements in the media today, attributed to Toshiba,
indicating exclusive support for the HD-DVD format in Kmart stores.
These statements are false. Kmart intends to support both the HD-DVD
and Blu-ray platforms, and has no plans to support either platform
Kmart, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation
(Nasdaq: SHLD), is a mass merchandising company that offers
customers quality products through a portfolio of exclusive brands
that include Jaclyn Smith, Joe Boxer, Martha Stewart Everyday and
Route 66. For more information visit the company's website at
https://www.kmart.com or the Sears Holdings Corporation website at
And with that, we bid you a good evening, and wish you all a
Even those hardy few of you who hate our guts.
(EARLY UPDATE -
11/2/07 - 3:45 PM PDT)
Well... here we are at the end of another long week. Sarah and I
actually had a lovely evening last night. Our own Barrie Maxwell and
his wife Susan have been in town (from Toronto) for Blu-ray Fest
this week, and they've spent the last couple of days experiencing
Hollywood studio tours and taking in the sights. We had the pleasure
of joining them for dinner, dessert and a little bit of shopping
last night, and we had a wonderful time. As it happens, before he
began writing about classic Hollywood films, Barrie spent many years
heading up the Canadian government's Arctic climatology program. So
we had great fun discussing the cinema, science and other topics.
Barrie and his wife are just lovely people, and we appreciate all
his work here at The Bits
Before we get started today, we'd like to take a moment to
acknowledge the passing of singer Robert Goulet this week at the age
of 73. You can read more
Also, we have one piece of breaking industry news: The writer's
strike is officially on. The WGA has voted to lay down their pens
and switch off their PCs and laptops starting on Monday at 12:01 AM.
You'll find additional details
Now then... let's have a DVD and high-def release news update....
Lionsgate has finally revealed more details on its 3:10
to Yuma release on DVD (SRP $29.95) and Blu-ray Disc
($39.99), both due 1/8/08. The DVD will include audio commentary
with director James Mangold, a behind-the-scenes documentary,
deleted scenes and 2 featurettes (An Epic
Explored and Outlaws, Gangs &
Posses). The Blu-ray version will add the interactive
Inside Yuma picture-in-picture
option, a Historical Timeline of the West
and 4 additional featurettes (3:10 to
Score, The Guns of Yuma,
Sea to Shining Sea and A
Conversation with Elmore Leonard).
20th Century Fox has announced the DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of
Danny Boyle's Sunshine on
1/8/08. The DVD (SRP $29.98) will include anamorphic widescreen
video, audio commentary with director Boyle, 13 deleted scenes with
optional commentary (including an alternate ending), 22 web
production dairies and 2 short films (Dad's
Dead by Chris Shepherd and Mole
Hills by Dan Arnold). The Blu-ray Disc version ($39.98)
will include all of the above along with DTS-HD audio, DBox
compatibility, BD-Java 1.1 picture-in-picture featurettes (also
available out-of-band for those with older players) and a BD-Java
audio mixing demonstration.
Fox has also announced the DVD release of Joshua
and Death Sentence on 1/8/08,
Lake Placid 2 on 1/29/08 and
Resurrecting the Champ on
Meanwhile, MGM has revealed massive 30 and 90-disc box sets
(distributed by Fox) intended to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of
United Artists. The United Artists 90th
Anniversary: Prestige Collection Gift Set is due on 12/11
(SRP $869.98) and will include 90 discs packaged in an extensive
linen-wrapped coffee table book (with slipcase), featuring
never-before-seen photos and text for each film arranged by decade.
The United Artists 90th Anniversary:
Essential Collection Gift Set is also due 12/11 (SRP
$289.98) and will include 30 titles in similar packaging. The exact
titles and details are TBA. Here's a look at the 90-disc set...
As part of the celebration, MGM is also planning elaborate "event"
anniversary re-releases of a number of classic UA catalog titles in
2008 on DVD (and possibly Blu-ray as well), including In
the Heat of the Night (40th), Last
Tango in Paris (35th), Rain
Man (20th), La Cage aux Folles
(30th), Invasion of the Body Snatchers
(30th), WarGames (25th) and
The Thomas Crown Affair (40th)
In other news, Universal has set The
Bourne Ultimatum for release on DVD and DVD/HD-DVD Combo
format on 12/11. Separate anamorphic widescreen and full frame DVD
versions will be available (SRP $29.98), each including Dolby
Digital 5.1 audio, audio commentary with director Paul Greengrass,
deleted scenes and 5 featurettes (Man on
the Move: Jason Bourne, Rooftop
Pursuit, Planning the Punches,
Driving School and New
York Chase). The HD-DVD version will add Dolby True HD
5.1 audio, picture-in-picture options including the Blackbriar
Files, Volkswagen "Get More" info and a Be
Bourne Spy Training abilities test.
Also coming from Universal on 12/11 is the The
Jason Bourne Collection DVD set (SRP $49.98). This is a
4-disc box set (designed to look like a safe deposit box) that will
include The Bourne Identity,
The Bourne Supremacy, The
Bourne Ultimatum and a bonus disc of all-new extras,
including 3 featurettes (The Ludlum
Identity, The Ludlum Supremacy
and The Ludlum Ultimatum)
along with several theatrical trailers. You'll also get a
collectible Jason Bourne passport.
A couple weeks later, Universal will release David Cronenberg's
Eastern Promises on DVD and
DVD/HD-DVD Combo format on 12/26. The DVD (SRP $29.98) is available
in full frame and anamorphic widescreen versions, and will include
Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and 2 featurettes (Secrets
and Stories and Marked for
Life). The DVD/HD-DVD Combo version (SRP $39.98) will add
Dolby True HD 5.1 audio and "web enabled" features.
Meanwhile, Sony has set Boogeyman 2
for release on DVD on 1/8/08 (SRP $24.96).
And New Line has announced Mr. Woodcock
for release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 1/15/08, with an HD-DVD
version set to follow at a later date (TBA). The DVD version (SRP
$28.98 - available in both full frame and anamorphic widescreen)
will include a "making of" documentary, deleted scenes,
the P.E. Trauma Tales
featurette and the film's theatrical trailer. The Blu-ray and future
HD-DVD (SRP $35.99 each) will add DTS-HD 7.1 audio. The HD-DVD will
also add additional "web enabled" features.
HBO has announced a number of titles for early next year
(distributed by Warner), including an Extras:
Seasons 1 & 2 giftset (due 1/15/08), Rocket
Science, Coma, Curb
Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Sixth Season and Reza:
Shooting Back (all due 1/29/08) and Tell
Me You Love Me: The Complete First Season (2/12/08).
Finally, Warner has announced a few early 2008 titles as well,
including a You've Got Mail: Deluxe
Edition, Black August,
Flogging Margaret, Americanizing
Shelley and Showstoppers
(2/5/08), and Coleccion Pedro Infante:
!?Que te ha dado esa mujer?!, Coleccion
Pedro Infante: Arriba las Mujeres, Coleccion
Pedro Infante: Las mujeres de mi General, Coleccion
Pedro Infante: Viva mi Desgracia, IFL
Championship 2007, Dallas: The
Complete Eighth Season and National
Geographic's Prehistoric Predators (all due 2/12/08).
Here's a look at some new cover art, including the fan-selected
cover for the BBC's Torchwood: The
Complete First Season (1/22/08), Fox's Sunshine
and Sony's Superbad: Unrated Extended
Edition on Blu-ray Disc (12/4)...
Just a quick update: Our Blu-ray Fest report is on the way. There's
a chance we might post it yet this evening, but if it gets too late,
we'll have it for you bright and early on Monday morning. In the
meantime, we hope you all have a great weekend!
How in the world does Toshiba think it's ever going to make any
money from the HD-DVD format? I mean, seriously.
You may have heard by now that Toshiba has made pre-Black Friday
arrangements with Wal-Mart to effectively dump its HD-A2 HD-DVD
player starting this Friday (this weekend only) for just $98.87. You
may also have heard that Best Buy has followed suit. Supplies are
limited, of course, and the offer is apparently not valid in some
parts of the country that have state anti-dumping laws.
defines dumping as "the act of a
manufacturer in one country exporting a product to another country
at a price which is either below the price it charges in its home
market or is below its costs of production." Toshiba's
move isn't really anti-competitive, because there are no U.S.
manufacturers making HD-DVD players. But it's that "below its
costs of production" part that applies in this case. The HD-A2
arrived in the States with an original MSRP of $499.99. Now, Toshiba
is letting it go for just $99. There's no way the player cost less
than $100 to manufacturer. Just. No. Way.
You might wonder: How can Toshiba possibly have enough HD-A2s left
to sell at just $99 at large, nationwide retailers? Simple. It's
because they didn't sell originally, so plenty of stores still have
them sitting on shelves, gathering dust. Toshiba is eager to clear
them all out at this point, and Wal-Mart and Best Buy are happy to
Clearly, the HD-DVD camp understands that low price is really the
only card they have left to play in this format war. Porn hasn't won
the war for them as predicted, nor have online bells and whistles,
or combo discs/players. The obvious question would be: Why in the
world would any other hardware manufacturer want to join Toshiba's
foolhardy strategy of driving player prices down to next to nothing?
It's no accident that not a single other major manufacturer has
released a stand-alone HD-DVD player (and no, the Venturer doesn't
count). Given how dramatically Toshiba has slashed prices on HD-DVD
players over the last year, you have to wonder how long they can
keep losing money.
Forget for a moment that the HD-A2 isn't capable of delivering full
1080p video - that doesn't matter. Why? Because anyone who is so
price sensitive that they wait until a high-def player price hits
$99 to buy one isn't likely to have an HDTV set yet. Being super
bargain shoppers, they aren't likely to want to pay $30 for an
HD-DVD movie either. I'd bet many of the people who jump on this
sale will either be using them primarily as upconverting DVD
players, or they're already diehard HD-DVD supporters and are buying
them as second players. For those regular consumers who take the
bait, I wonder how they'll feel when they realize they can't play
those big Disney titles in the "blu" boxes due next week.
Speaking of which... a couple weeks ago, when Disney and Sony
launched the successful strategy of counter-selling their Blu-ray
software titles 2 for 1 the same week Paramount and DreamWorks
released Transformers on
HD-DVD, we got a few e-mails from HD-DVD fans telling us how lame
that was. Is it any accident that Toshiba didn't wait for Black
Friday to sell their $99 players, instead carefully planning the
3-day sale for the weekend before Disney and Pixar release
Short Films Collection on Blu-ray? Not a chance. So
Toshiba is slashing HD-DVD hardware prices to counteract the release
of blockbuster Blu-ray software. What does that tell you about the
viability of HD-DVD going into a fourth quarter that, by all
accounts, is make or break for the format? (Especially with Warner
Home Video now hinting that they're looking at the fourth quarter to
"reevaluate" their dual format support)
There's no doubt that thousands of eager consumers will get a deal
on cheap hardware this weekend. But it still isn't going to be the
format war winner for HD-DVD that some would like to believe. On the
contrary, it means that Toshiba is getting desperate enough to adopt
an all-or-nothing strategy... and is going even more deeply into the
red with this format. Meanwhile, given the strength of their
rhetoric this week, it's a safe bet that the Blu-ray camp will pull
their gloves off too in the fourth quarter, and start getting more
aggressive in the weeks and months ahead.
It boggles the mind to think that any reasonable person can still
believe at this point that the HD-DVD format represents a viable
long-term business. Even if Toshiba's strategy has the desired
effect (which seems primarily to be garnering splashy headlines in
the press), what do they ultimately win? A tie? The best case for
HD-DVD, even if Warner were to be so impressed by this sale that
they go HD exclusive, would be to effectively create a 50/50 split
in terms of studio support. In other words, a total quagmire. High
prices were the number one reason most surveyed consumers cited for
staying away from high-def discs in
recent NPD Group survey, but the existence of two competing
formats was not far behind. And just as many people who said that
price was their chief concern also said that they're happy enough
with current DVD to have no interest in upgrading to high-def discs
anyway. So all this seems to be more a battle waged for the press
and PR spin than the actual hearts and minds of consumers.
Keep in mind, contrary to the opinions of some online, we don't
think HD-DVD is a bad format at all. If it were the only HD format
around, we'd be all over it here at The
Bits. But Toshiba is effectively paying studios to
support it, and now they're practically giving the hardware and
software away. Do you suppose we'll see free HD-DVD player offers in
Cracker Jacks and cereal boxes next? $50 players? $25 players? 2 for
Experienced fighter pilots will tell you that when you dive your
aircraft at the deck, you very quickly run out of maneuvering room.
It seems to me that the ground is coming up awfully fast for HD-DVD.
Either way, it's looking more and more as if this fourth quarter
could decide the format war... one way or another.
And to think... there was once a time when we all hoped that these
two sides would work out their differences and create a single,
unified high-def disc format. Those were the days, as they say.
Back with more later. Stay tuned...
Okay... I've just rolled back into The
Bits' West Coast office from Blu-ray Fest. All our
staffers who travelled to join us are on their way back home as
well, and I'm now in the process of gathering all my notes, wits and
whatnot. We'll be posting our full Blu-ray Fest coverage tomorrow.
The key details are already out there, of course (and we've touched
on most of them in yesterday's quick report), but there are
definitely some impressions and conversations that are worth
mentioning in a little more detail. So watch for that on Thursday
(tomorrow). We're going to catching up on all the latest DVD release
news too, as well as posting a few new disc reviews.
Before we forget, Russell Hammond has updated our
DVD Cover Art section for this week with all the latest
DVD, Blu-ray and HD-DVD cover art and pre-order links. Don't miss
Speaking of reviews, we're pleased as punch to announce that Adam
Jahnke has officially completed his month-long
Plaza Oktoberfest celebration of the horror genre on disc.
The final title with which he's opted to mark the occasion is both a
classic and an entirely appropriate choice... John Carpenter's
newly-remastered and released on Blu-ray Disc from Starz/Anchor Bay.
And with that, Jahnke and all of us here at The
Bits salute horror fans everywhere and bid you all a very
happy and safe Halloween. We'll be back tomorrow with lots to say,
so see you then!
Afternoon, folks. This is just a quick update to catch you up on a
couple things, as there's a lot going up here at the Blu-ray Fest
The big news today is that Panasonic has announced its next
generation Blu-ray Disc player, the DMP-BD30. Set to street on 11/12
for $499, the player features full BD-Java 1.1 compliance as well as
HDMI 1.3, allowing Deep Color and HD audio codec bitstream output.
We were shown a demonstration at Panasonic Hollywood Labs, and were
impressed with the subtle but definite improvements in video quality
over the already good BD10. Those of you who have the BD10 will be
pleased to know that the "setup" button isn't under a
lift-up flap anymore (the flap is gone altogether). You also have
the ability to turn off the power light on the front - no small
issue in a dark home theater.
Other things we've seen include the Blu-ray versions of Sunshine,
I, Robot, Live
Free and Die Hard and Master
and Commander at the 20th Century Fox demonstration. Sunshine
is tentatively due in January, and will be the studio's first title
with Picture in Picture. BD-J 1.1 devices will be able to access PiP
behind-the-scenes video during the film, as well as an audio mixing
demonstration. However, the video portion of these extras are also
available for viewing out of band, so those without 1.1
compatibility aren't going to be missing out on much.
Some other notes: We've learned that Sony's PlayStation 3 WILL be
firmware updatable to BD-Java 1.1 compliance (expect news on this
relatively soon) and likely (eventually) to 2.0 as well.
And in an interesting twist, when we spoke with him at the opening
reception yesterday, Warner Home Video's VP of HD Media Development,
Dan Silberberg, seemed to indicate that the studio was reconsidering
its dual format support strategy and that they're going to be
watching 4th quarter sales very closely: "We're not sure that
two formats is what's going to take this to the next level."
We'll have a lot more on all this late tomorrow afternoon, after we
return to the office.
Finally today, Adam's Jahnke's
Plaza Oktoberfest review for the day is Tartan's
1303, from their Asia Extreme label. Just one more review
Okay... we're off to more demonstrations and events. Back tomorrow.
Morning, everyone! This post is a little bit early, but I hope it
find that you all had a fine weekend.
We're going to be a little short on news today, as the staff of
The Bits is headed off to
Hollywood (along with most of the rest of the online and print
DVD/industry media - it's going to be a bit like old home week) to
this week's Blu-ray Festival, being held by Disney, Sony, Fox and
the Panasonic Hollywood Labs. There are two full days of events,
presentations and Q&A sessions, so we're going to be pretty
occupied. However, we're bringing the laptop, so if there's time in
the evenings, we're going to try to give you a little bit of insight
into everything we see and learn each day, with a little follow-up
and news round-up planned for Wednesday when we're back in the
In the meantime, however, we're pleased to present the opening
salvo of Adam's final three
Plaza Oktoberfest reviews. This one surprised Jahnke, and
that's not an easy thing to do, as the dude's seen everything. It's
Magnet's (a Magnolia genre label)
We've also got a little surprise for you today: Our own Barrie
Maxwell has chimed in this morning as well with
new Classic Coming Attractions column (his fortieth
here at The Bits as it
happens)! Barrie couldn't resist joining in on the Halloween
festivities, and as such he's turned in reviews of Fox's
Fly Collection and
Horror Classics, Sony's
Katzman: Icons of Horror Collection, and Universal's
Hitchcock Presents: Season Three. As always, he also runs
down the latest classic DVD release announcements. Enjoy!
Just a quick reminder:
ALL FOUR of our
new Digital Bits T-shirt designs are now in stock. The
shirts all turned out great - every bit as good as we'd hoped.
to see all the designs and to order. Just be advised that the size
2XL shirts for three of the four designs are already sold out, so if
you want one they're on backorder (we'll be printing more soon). For
those of you who pre-ordered shirts, they should all be on the way
to you now. Special thanks to Sarah, who put all this together and
who is coordinating all the shipping, and also to artist (and Bits
Agadoni for his cool, Japanese monster-inspired take on the
high-def format war.
Okay... we'll leave you with some new cover art. These titles have
yet to be officially announced (we expect December street dates),
but here's the DVD cover art for Universal's The
Bourne Ultimatum and The Jason
Bourne Collection, as well as the DVD/HD-DVD Combo
version of The Kingdom...
(LATE UPDATE -
10/26/07 - 7 PM PDT)
Okay, as promised, we're back to close out the week with some new
disc reviews, starting with Adam's
Plaza Oktoberfest installment for the day... Lionsgate's
And with that, Jahnke's finally in the home stretch. Just three more
reviews to go!
Also today, our own Greg Suarez has checked out Sony's new
The High Definition Trilogy box set on Blu-ray Disc, and
he's got plenty to say about it. All in all, it's a pretty nice
collection, but the lack of extras for the first two films
definitely hurts it a bit.
And Peter Schorn has even more to say this evening about Fox's
Thing You Do!: Tom Hanks' Extended Cut and B-Side
Before the Music Dies, both on standard DVD.
We've got a couple of more things of note for you this evening:
First, Warner has issued a statement regarding the missing
theatrical version on its new Eyes Wide
Shut discs. Here's what they have to say...
"On October 23, 2007, WHV released the
Special Edition of Eyes Wide Shut on standard definition
DVD, and on HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc, and as part of the 6-Title Stanley
Kubrick Collection. It may be that some members of the press
were inadvertently informed that the Special Edition release of Eyes
Wide Shut included both the rated and unrated versions of the
film and/or only the rated version of the film. In addition, some
initially shipped product also was inadvertently labeled as
containing both the rated and unrated versions of the film. The
Special Edition release of Eyes Wide Shut contains only the
unrated version of the film. WHV has taken steps to correct any
possible misunderstanding in the marketplace by affixing to the
packaging stickers stating "This package contains ONLY the
Unrated Version of Eyes Wide Shut." and "Not
Rated: Includes Unrated Version Only.""
That's probably not what some of you really wanted to hear, but
it's certainly what we expected. We've also got
from Video Business today on something
reported yesterday, specifically that Warner's recent switch
to a new software fulfillment/distribution system is causing delays
in shipping titles to retailers and the media. A number of retailers
are indeed reporting problems getting adequate stock of Warner
titles, and the studio has acknowledged the issues. However, the
problems are expected to be ironed out in time for the studio's
release of Harry Potter and the Order of
the Phoenix and Blade Runner:
The Final Cut in December.
By the way, there's still no word yet about the possible special
edition re-release of Kubrick's Lolita
and Barry Lyndon, but we've
asked the studio about the titles and hope to hear more soon.
Okay... that's it. Have a great weekend and we'll see you Monday.
(EARLY UPDATE -
10/26/07 - 1:15 PM PDT)
So... you say you want a little high-def format war controversy?
Well, we've got it for you. Remember how Paramount
a press release earlier this week claiming that Transformers
sold 190,000 copies of the film on HD-DVD in its first week? Maybe
not so much.
to Home Media today, "Home
Media Magazine market research and studio estimates puts the
actual number of units that sold through to consumers closer to
115,000." Home Media
also says that in its weekly measurement of high-def format market
Blu-ray still won the week ending 10/21 (Transformers'
release week) by a slim 51% to 49% edge, apparently on the strength
of such blockbusters as The Reaping,
Invisible, Return to House on
Haunted Hill and Masters of
Horror: Volumes 1 & 2 which streeted the same day (a
couple of them on BOTH formats), plus the various Blu-ray retailer
sales that week (the various "buy one get one free"
offers). Still, Transformers
is the biggest blockbuster of the year, it's only on HD-DVD and the
HD camp had their own retailer sales going on that week. Given all
that, we were frankly expecting a much bigger split in favor of HD
for the week. As you'd imagine, Nikki Finke's digging into this
her Dateline Hollywood column over at L.A.
Weekly. Whichever side of this you're on (or not, as is
the case with most consumers), one thing's for sure: This format war
is FUBAR. Like we said before, you just can't make this stuff up.
And yes, Virginia,
format war IS keeping many people on the sidelines. Just as we
predicted it would. Ugh.
Anyway, the big announcement news today thankfully has nothing to
do with high-def: Disney has set a 101
Dalmatians: Platinum Edition for release on 2-disc DVD on
3/4, featuring an all-new restoration of the film in its original
1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (a
Disney-enhanced Home Theater Mix), deleted songs, 3
behind-the-scenes featurettes (Sincerely
Yours, Walt Disney, Cruella De
Vil: Drawn to Be Bad and Redefining
the Line: The Making of 101 Dalmatians), an all-new Cruella
De Vil music video by Selena Gomez, a subtitle "101
Pop-Up Trivia Facts for the Family & Collector" track, a "Puppy
Profiler," Disney's Virtual
Dalmatians game and more.
Also, Disney's Cinderella II: Dreams
Come True - Special Edition returns to DVD for a limited
time starting on 12/18 (it "goes back into the vault" on
But wait... there's more! Here's the even more interesting
announcement today for film fans... Paramount is releasing Eleanor
Coppola's Hearts of Darkness: A
Filmmaker's Apocalypse documentary on DVD on 11/20. No,
we're not kidding. The DVD will include audio commentary by Francis
and Eleanor Coppola, an additional documentary film entitled CODA:
Thirty Years Later which continues the story, and an
introduction to CODA by
Eleanor. You'll find the cover art below. This is just GREAT news,
but it's a shame that it wasn't available to include in Paramount's
Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier
release a while back - it's the one thing that would have actually
made it complete. The studio would be smart to reissue it bundled
with the doc ASAP, or to offer some kind of a deal to those who
purchased the Dossier to get
the doc at a reduced price. Still, our hats off to Paramount for
realizing how badly fans wanted to see this on DVD and for finally
making it happen.
By the way, Paramount also has Hot Rod
set for DVD and HD-DVD release on 11/27.
Finally, Warner has set Hanna Barbera's The
Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 1 for DVD release on 2/26/08.
No, we're not kidding about that either. The 4-disc set will include
19 episodes, plus the Don Messick: I Am
Not Papa Smurf featurette. Okay, we ARE kidding about
that last bit. But you DO get Smurfs: The
Music Video and the bonus episode The
Smurfs: Springtime Special. By the way, we hear tell that
Warner is fixing to release Hanna Barbera's The
Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show on DVD soon as well.
Here's a little cover art: Paramount's Hearts
of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, Fox's Rescue
Dawn (11/20) and Warner's The
Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 1...
We'll be back with a number of new disc reviews later this
afternoon, including a look at the Spider-Man
Trilogy on Blu-ray and, of course, Adam's
Plaza Oktoberfest review for the day.
Plaza Oktoberfest review for yesterday is now available...
to the Grindhouse Double Feature: Black Candles & Evil Eye.
Don't blame Adam for its tardiness. He actually sent it yesterday
evening for posting last night, but for some reason I was unable to
upload it to the server as our Internet connection was down.
Nevertheless, it's now available, as is Adam's review for today...
We haven't heard back from Warner yet today on those issues with
the Kubrick titles (see yesterday's post). We'll update you here
when we do.
Okay... it seems that we now officially know why Universal isn't
releasing Battlestar Galactica: Season
Three on DVD until next year (as reported
The Rumor Mill last week).
to the L.A. Times, as it turns out, Season
Four of the series isn't debuting on Sci-Fi Channel until
early April 2008. So we'd guess the DVDs will hit stores a few weeks
before that, as has been the case with previous seasons. Thanks to
Bits reader Edward G. for
sending the link.
There's just a couple of announcements to report today. First,
Warner has set Hotel Babylon: Season 1
for release on 2/12/08 (for the BBC). They've also got a couple of
sports titles coming: NHL: Just Like Me
on 1/22/08 and NFL: The Leaders
Also, not sure if I've posted this before, but MGM will be
releasing Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It
on 11/7. This is apparently the first time the title has been
available on DVD. Video is anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital
5.1 audio. There are no extras. SRP is $19.98.
Finally today, in news around the Net,
Business is reporting that Samsung is delaying the debut
of its third-generation player, the BD-P2400 (which had been set for
release next month), to focus on supporting its other 2007 models.
Also, word is the company's new dual format player, the BD-UP5000
(includes both HD-DVD and Blu-ray 1.1 compatibility), will street in
Boy, things here in Southern California are a little edgy these
days, to put it mildly. A LOT of people have been directly affected
by these wildfires, and even if you aren't directly involved,
there's smoke everywhere. I'm looking out my office window right
now, and the sun shining through all the smoke is making everything
this strange reddish color. Plus, there's ash falling like
snowflakes. Very strange, and obviously very sad. Again, our best
wishes to all who may be affected. Those of you who want to help
should consider making donations to the
Cross and other relief organizations, because many people will
have to rebuild their lives somehow after all this.
Anyway... a quick note: Adam's
Plaza Oktoberfest review for the day will be posted later
this evening, so be sure to watch for it.
The big news today is that Lionsgate has revealed plans for the DVD
and Blu-ray Disc release of James Mangold's recent remake of 3:10
to Yuma. Retail sources are telling us to expect it on
store shelves on 1/8/08. Details as to the specs and features are
yet to be announced.
Now then... let's talk Warner's new Stanley
Kubrick box set. There are a number of issues bring
reported by readers today, and we're getting asked a lot of
questions about the discs. First issue: A lot of readers are
reporting shortages of the discs - both high-def versions and the
DVD box set. Amazon is apparently warning customers of delays in
shipping the Blu-ray versions. Our local Best Buys here in Orange
County, CA had plenty of the high-def versions today, but the DVD
box sets are in short supply. Other retailers have low or no stock
of either or both high-def versions, etc. I just got off the phone
with Warner, and they're telling me that ALL orders from
distributors have shipped out, so retailers should have plenty of
copies of everything soon. Warner isn't commenting yet on the
reasons for the delay and street date shortages, but industry
sources are telling us privately that the studio recently switched
to a new software fulfillment/distribution system, and that change
over is reportedly causing some delays and logistical hiccups.
Another issue: The Eyes Wide Shut
discs (all formats - as originally announced back in July) were
supposed to include scene specific audio commentary by Sydney
Pollack and historian Peter Loewenberg. They do not, although upon
checking, a revised spec list sent to us on 9/1 had already omitted
the commentary. However, neither do these discs include the
theatrical version as expected, so if you want that too, you need to
keep your original DVD. Studio reps have suggested to us that this
may have been a disc space issue, but we're expecting official word
soon. The problem with this notion is that the Blu-ray Disc version
should certainly have had the room to include the other cut of the
film (via seamless branching as planned). Frankly, the HD-DVD
version should have had room enough as well. But we're expecting to
find out from the studio exactly what happened tomorrow.
Unfortunately, we have been informed that (for whatever reason) the
theatrical version WAS dropped from the disc and the packaging
wasn't corrected to reflect this. We're told that future copies will
have corrected packaging, which means that the branching feature
will NOT be part of the release.
The other question a lot of people have had, is why Kubrick's Lolita
and Barry Lyndon weren't
included in the set. This may be due to the possibility that the
films required additional remastering work... or it could have been
just a bad decision made by the studio in thinking that fans
wouldn't care if they were missing. Again, we've asked the studio
why the films weren't included in the set (and separately on
high-def) and we hope to hear back tomorrow.
Given all of the above, you might be asking still ANOTHER obvious
question: Why didn't The Bits
warn its readers about any of these issues before the discs came
out? And believe me, we would have had we known. Unfortunately, we
didn't get review copies of these discs until just yesterday... and
then not all of them. We're just as frustrated as you are, believe
me. As I said, we'll try to have some answers for you on all this
issues as soon as possible.
While we're talking about Warner, here's a bit of good news: The
studio has just informed us that the limited theatrical release of
Blade Runner: The Final Cut is
expanding to select markets around the country, and some of the
screenings are expected to be in 2K resolution digital projection
where available. Here's a list of dates and locations (look for more
updates on the film's
10/26 - Seattle (Cinerama, Seattle - 35mm), Washington D.C.
(Uptown, D.C. - 35mm), Portland (Cinema 21, Portland - 35mm), Salt
Lake (Gateway Megaplex, SLC - Digital)
11/2 - Chicago (Music Box, Chicago - 35mm), Santa Barbara
(Arlington, Santa Barbara - Digital), Baltimore (Landmark Harbor
East, Baltimore - Digital)
11/9 - Boston (Coolidge Corner, Brookline - 35mm)
11/16 - Detroit (Main Art, Detroit - 35mm)
11/18 - Austin (Paramount, Austin - 35mm)
11/30 - San Francisco (Embarcadero, San Francisco - 35mm), Dallas
(The Inwood, Dallas - 35mm), San Diego (Ken, San Diego - 35mm),
Minneapolis (Uptown, Minneapolis - 35mm)
12/7 - Denver (The Landmark @ Greenwood Village - Digital),
Philadelphia (The Ritz 5, Philadelphia - 35mm)
12/25 - Boston (The Brattle, Cambridge - 35mm)
1/2/08 - Austin (The Paramount, Austin - 35mm)
1/4/08 - Nashville (The Belcourt, Nashville - 35mm)
1/18/08 - Durham (Carolina, Durham - 35mm)
2/1/08 - Columbus (Drexel Gateway, Columbus - 35mm)
2/15/08 - San Francisco (Castro, San Francisco - 35mm)
2/29/08 - Sacramento (Crest, Sacramento - 35mm)
Yes, we know... Austin is listed twice. Not sure why - this is what
Warner gave us. If you're a fan of Blade
Runner, we definitely recommend seeing The
Final Cut on the big screen before it arrives on disc on
12/18. You can read our review of the film
By the way, speaking of Warner and delays... the studio has also
informed us that the street dates for the high-definition versions
of its forthcoming That's Entertainment:
The Complete Collection have been changed to 12/18 (from
11/13). Revise your plans accordingly.
One other bit of high-def news today... Home Media Research is
reporting that Blu-ray software has outsold HD-DVD by a factor of 2
to 1 so far in 2007, though some analysts expect the margins to
close going into the 4th quarter, as both camps roll out their
biggest titles for the holidays (and as the shift by Paramount and
DreamWorks towards HD-DVD takes full effect). We'll see. It's
certainly going to be an interesting release season. You can read
at The Hollywood Reporter.
Okay, that's it for now. Stay tuned...
(LATE UPDATE -
10/23/07 - 2:45 PM PDT)
I've just had the chance to look at Warner's 2001:
A Space Odyssey on Blu-ray Disc, and I've got to tell
you... WOW. The film just looks amazing. I haven't sampled the
extras yet, and I haven't watched the whole film yet, but what I've
seen is pretty spectacular. All of these Kubrick titles street today
on DVD, Blu-ray and HD-DVD, and I suspect you're not going to be
disappointed if you buy them.
By the way, we've just kicked off FIVE new
today, giving each of you the chance to take home copies of Warner's
Mars: Season 3,
Jerry: Nutcracker Tale,
Is It Anyway?: Season 1,
The Revelation and New Line's
Adolescent Behavior: Havoc 2, along with the continuing
contest for Anchor Bay/Starz'
Season 9. Entries will be accepted until Noon (Pacific) on
Sunday, October 28th. Click on the links to get started and good
(EARLY UPDATE -
10/23/07 - 9:30 AM PDT)
Plaza Oktoberfest review for today comes
Beyond the Grave thanks to the folk from Warner Home
Video. Hope you enjoy it.
Also today, Russell Hammond has updated the
DVD Cover Art section with all the latest DVD, Blu-ray and
HD-DVD cover art and Amazon pre-order links. There's tons of new
titles to see, as always, so don't miss it.
One last note before we get to the news: We now have
all four Digital
Bits T-shirts available, including the new 10th
Anniversary design. We've just gotten the first batch of shirts in
stock here, and we're very pleased with how they came out. In fact,
Sarah's already started shipping them out to readers. Remember, most
of them are just $14.99 plus shipping, so be sure to check them out.
Just click on the link to see them.
Okay... the big news today, of course, is that Paramount and
DreamWorks are reporting that Michael Bay's Transformers
has become the fastest selling DVD this year, with over 4.5 million
DVD copies sold on its first day and some 8.3 million sold by the
end of the first week. And it seems as if the HD-DVD format finally
has its Casino Royale: The
studios claim that 100,000 copies were sold last Tuesday with
another 90,000 by the end of the week. Those are very good numbers.
It makes you wonder, however, just how many more copies the studios
would have sold on Blu-ray, had they not ditched the format. If you
figure Warner's 300 sold
two-thirds more copies on Blu-ray, that's what... 380,000 more
high-definition copies? By staying format neutral, they could have
sold half a million high-def copies (both formats combined) of a
single title in a single week. Ah well. I'm just saying. You can
read more on all this
at Video Business and
at Home Media Retailing. Speaking of which, director
to the USA Today yesterday that he thinks the DVD
could have been better, that he still leans Blu-ray and that he
thinks the format war was a bad idea: "It's
short-sighted and it has delayed consumers' moving to HD (home
video). As a director, my critical eye is that Blu-ray is where my
money is. Consumers are smart, and they are going to wait it out."
Dude. Seriously. I'll say this for Bay: The guy definitely knows how
to stir up controversy. I mean... come on. You can't make this stuff
By the way, I actually passed on Transformers
in theaters, but enough people are telling me that it's entertaining
that I'm probably going to have to give it a shot on HD-DVD. Will
wonders never cease?
In other news today, Sony has announced the DVD release of September
Dawn on 1/2/08. They've also set Resident
Evil (SRP $28.95) and a Resident
Evil Trilogy box set (containing Resident
Evil, Resident Evil:
Apocalypse and Resident Evil:
Extinction) for release on Blu-ray Disc that same day
(MAP $58.95). That presumably means that Resident
Evil: Extinction will street on DVD on 1/2/08 as well.
MGM has also just confirmed Mr. Brooks
(10/23), Home of the Brave
(10/23) and Rescue Dawn
(11/20) for release on Blu-ray.
Also, Universal has set Desires of a
Housewife, an Imitation of
Life: Two-Movie Special Edition (containing both the 1934
and 1959 versions of the film) and The
Wiz: 30th Anniversary Edition for DVD release on 2/5/08.
Finally, Samsung has apparently lowered the price for its 3rd
generation BD-P1400 Blu-ray player to $499, making it the cheapest
stand-alone Blu-ray player (along with Sony's $499 BD-S300) now
available. You can read more
at Video Business.
Well... what an interesting weekend this has been. You've probably
heard about all the wildfires we're having in Southern California.
Down here in the O.C., one of them got a little too close for
comfort. I was sitting in my office last night, talking to Todd on
the phone, when suddenly I started smelling smoke. In just a few
minutes, it got so thick you could barely see across the street.
Fortunately, the fire was still a couple miles away in the mountains
to the East of us, but it was a little creepy there for a while.
Sarah took this shot last night...
Luckily for those houses down at the bottom of the hill, the fire
seems to be under control now, but such is not the case up in parts
of L.A. county and down in the San Diego area, so our best wishes to
any of you who live in the affected areas. Everybody stay safe.
Anyway, Adam kicks off his last full week of the
Plaza Oktoberfest this morning with a review of Warner's
Reaping on DVD. Do check it out.
In announcement news today, New Line has set The
King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters for DVD release on
1/29/08. You'll get audio commentary from director Seth Gordon,
producer Ed Cunningham, associate producer Clay Tweel and associate
producer Luis Lopez, a second commentary with from the editor of
IGN.com and the founder of
i am 8-bit, a number of
featurettes with bonus footage, and the animated A
Really, Really Brief History of Donkey Kong short.
Meanwhile, Sony has set Bob Odenkirk's The
Brothers Solomon for release on DVD on 12/26 (SRP
$26.96). Also coming to DVD from the studio on 1/2/08 is September
Dawn (SRP also $26.96).
Warner has set Perfect Strangers: The
Complete First & Second Seasons for release on
20th Century Fox has announced 2 Days in
Paris for DVD release on 2/5/08.
And Universal has Mr. Bean's Holiday
coming to DVD and the DVD/HD-DVD Combo format on 11/27. Illegal
Tender follows on DVD only on 12/18.
Around the Net today, you Battlestar
fans who missed it during Friday night's Flash
Gordon episode on the Sci-Fi Channel will definitely want
to check out the latest Razor
"flashback" clip. It features a nice look at space
combat from the first Cylon war, including a look at classic Raiders
and Baseships. November 24th can't come fast enough.
Finally this morning, those of you who are interested have until
10/26 to pick your favorites in
Media's fourth annual TV DVD Awards. Click on the
link below to make your picks!
Afternoon, folks! Week Three of Adam's
Plaza Oktoberfest concludes today with a review of
Special Edition. By the way, Adam would like you all to
know that if you live in the L.A. area, Burbank's ever-popular
is going to be hosting a big DVD signing event tomorrow (Saturday)
starting at 2 PM. Cerina Vincent will be signing Return
to House on Haunted Hill, Kelli Maroney will be signing
Night of the Comet, and Scott
W. McKinlay, Amy Wehrell and Gerald Emerick will be signing Gag.
for all the details.
In announcement news today, 20th Century Fox has set The
Simple Life: Goes to Camp for release on 1/22/08. I know
you guys were all waiting on pins and needles for news about that
show, so now you can rest easy.
Meanwhile, on a more high-brow level, Criterion has revealed that
its January DVD titles will include Cornel Wilde's The
Naked Prey (#415 - due on 1/15), Alf Sjöberg's Miss
Julie (#416 - 1/22), Lindsay Anderson's This
Sporting Life (#417 - 1/22) and a 4
x Agnès Varda box set (#418 - 1/22). This
Sporting Life will be a 2-disc set. The 4
x Agnès Varda set will include Le
bonheur (#420), Cléo
from 5 to 7 (#73), La Pointe
Courte (#419) and Vagabond
(#74). Both of the reissued titles will feature new transfers
supervised by Varda and new extras.
But here's my favorite bit of news from Criterion today: They're
gearing up to release Eclipse Series 7:
Postwar Kurosawa on 1/15 (SRP $69.95), which will be a
5-disc box set containing I Live in Fear,
The Idiot, No
Regrets for Our Youth, One
Wonderful Sunday and Scandal!
So many of Kurosawa's older films have been unavailable in good
quality on DVD here in the States, making this about the best news
we've heard since Warner announced Blade
Runner: The Final Cut. Let's hope for another Eclipse box
down the road with the remainder of the director's older films (Sanshiro
Sugata, The Most Beautiful,
They Who Step on the Tiger's Tail,
Sanshiro Sugata, Part II and
Those Who Make Tomorrow - we
also believe Criterion is working on a regular collection release of
Dodes Kaden for release in
2008, which would complete the release of the Kurosawa catalog on
DVD in R1).
Also today, Warner has set A Dennis the
Menace Christmas for DVD release on 11/6.
Staying in the Time Warner family for a moment, Warner Bros.
Records is releasing Live Earth: The
Concerts for a Climate in Crisis as a 3-disc set (1 CD/2
DVD) on 11/20. The DVD portion will include basically one track from
every major artist or band involved, while the CD will contain a
sampling of the same. You'll find the complete details and track
at The Police.com (The Police, of course, being one of the
In other release news, Buena Vista has announced that Eagle
vs. Shark and Golden Door
will debut on DVD on 1/8. Long before that, however, Talespin:
Volume 2 will street on 11/13, with Wish
Gone Amiss will following on 11/27. The studio also wants
you all to know that the following animated titles will "go
back into the vault" on 1/31/08: Cinderella:
Platinum Edition, Cinderella
II: Dreams Come True - Special Edition, Cinderella
III: A Twist in Time, Aladdin:
Special Edition and the Aladdin
II and III Two Pack. So you know... plan accordingly.
Moving on, Universal has set Balls of
Fury for release on 12/18, on full frame and anamorphic
widescreen DVD (SRP $29.98 each) as well as DVD/HD-DVD Combo format
Paramount will release Beauty and the
Beast: The Third Season on 2/5/08.
Finally, Lionsgate has Cloma: The
Musical due on 11/20.
Elsewhere around the Net today, Genre
Online's Mark Rivera has posted
review of the forthcoming Battlestar Galactica: Razor,
which debuts on the Sci-Fi Channel here in the U.S. on 11/24 (and
arrives on DVD as an extended version from Universal on 12/4). By
the way, on a related note, Bits
reader Boris S. e-mailed last night to say that the version of Battlestar
Galactica: Season Three that's now available in Europe is
almost completely extras free. He particularly noted that the Battlestar
Galactica: The Resistance "webisodes" were
missing from the set (they're missing from all international
versions apparently)... which could actually be one of the reasons
for the delay in releasing the DVDs here in the States. You might
recall that there was some controversy with the Writer's Guild over
the webisodes when they were first available online. The Hollywood
studios generally feel that Internet content (like webisodes) should
be considered strictly promotional material, and are thus reluctant
to pay writers for it, much to the WGA's chagrin. As you might also
know, there's a major writer's strike looming in Hollywood, so it
COULD be that Universal wants to wait and see how the situation
resolves itself, in the hopes of including the webisodes on the
eventual R1 DVD release. There have been rumors that the studio
wants to splice all the webisodes together with extended footage to
effectively create a near-full "3x00" episode of the
season for the DVD release. We'll see...
Also this afternoon, Bits
reader James M. has informed us that Paramount's Jack
Ryan Collection HD-DVD box set will apparently be
released in Canada next week as planned, with the correct art (not
mentioning any extras). Just FYI.
There's word that Sony has officially dropped the price of its
Blu-ray equipped 80GB PlayStation 3 to $500 (down $100). The company
is also launching a 40GB PS3 for just $400 on 11/2, packed with Spider-Man
3 on Blu-ray (note that the 40GB model will not be
backwards compatible with PS2 software, and will have only 2 USB
ports). You can read more
at Home Media.
One other quick note: We'd like take a moment this afternoon to
acknowledge the recent passing of comedian
Bishop and actress
Kerr. Kerr appeared in many films, including such classics as
The King and I, An
Affair to Remember and From
Here to Eternity. She was 86. Bishop, of course, was a
member of Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack and appeared as such in the
original Ocean's Eleven. He
was 89. Both will be missed.
Around the site today, we've updated some of the DVD and high-def
format stats we track (above).
Finally, we'll close out the week with a look at more new DVD cover
art. Here's Criterion's Drunken Angel
(11/27), Postwar Kurosawa,
The Naked Prey and This
Sporting Life, along with the final cover art for Sony's
Superbad: Theatrical Edition
and Superbad: 2-Disc Unrated Extended
Edition (both due 12/4)...
Have a great weekend, everyone! Peace out.
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