“We’re thrilled to be bringing our unique blend of cult and classic cinema to audiences in the US and Canada in partnership with the fantastic team at Distribution Solutions,” says Powerhouse Films’ co-founder, Sam Dunn. “We’ve been working hard unearthing and restoring a raft of incredible titles in order to put together a schedule that will surprise and delight even the most adventurous viewer.”
Rest assured, we’ll post all the details about future Indicator titles as they become available in the weeks and months ahead.
Now then, we’ve got some new 4K UHD release news for you today, as well as updates on a few titles that have been rumored in the last couple of weeks.
Let’s talk first about the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray titles that we know are coming...
Lionsgate has just announced that they’ll release the Erwin Brothers’ Kurt Warner biopic American Underdog on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 2/22. The Digital version will be available on 2/4. Audio will be Dolby Atmos. Extras will include audio commentary (with directors Andrew and Jon Erwin, and producer Kevin Downes), 7 featurettes (Inspired, Making the Cut, A Coach’s Faith, New to the Scene: Hayden Zaller, Meet the Champion, Behind the Game, and American Underdog: Behind the Story), deleted scenes with optional director’s commentary, and the theatrical trailer.
Universal will release Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture (2019) on 4K Ultra HD and 4K UHD Steelbook on 3/8. Look for the UHDs to include Dolby Vision and HDR10 as well as Dolby Atmos audio. This of course is meant to promote the release of the new sequel, Downton Abbey: A New Era, which arrives in theaters on 3/18.
Also, Vinegar Syndrome has set Mark Goldblatt’s Dead Heat (1988) for release on 4K UHD on 2/22.
And Kino Lorber Studio Classics’ planned 4K UHD release of Touch of Evil (1958) has been delayed to 3/15 from its originally-announced 2/14 street date. Adjust your plans accordingly.
Now we’ll talk about 4K titles that we know are coming (and we’ve spoken of them before here at The Bits) but that haven’t yet been announced...
Look for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to release The Matrix Resurrections and a Matrix 4-Film Collection on Blu-ray and 4K UHD sometime in March or April (the tentative street date is 3/8).
Retail sources are reporting that Paramount is planning to release The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) on 4K Ultra HD on 4/12. That film celebrates its 60th anniversary on 4/22.
Paramount’s new Scream (2022) sequel is also likely to arrive on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD in April.
And Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is planning to release the animated Heavy Metal (1981) on 4K Ultra HD in April as well—a busy month. That film celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. A French 4K SKU is already listed on Amazon.fr for 4/20 (see that here), so one might expect a US version around then too. Although given the popularity of the film in France as opposed to the rest of the world, it’s possible that a US release could follow later in the year.
Now we get into more some speculative 4K UHD catalog releases...
Rumors have appeared on social media over the past week that both The Abyss (1989) and Tombstone (1993) are coming to 4K Ultra HD later this year from Fox and Disney. Now... when rumors like this appear online, I typically start getting a LOT of Bits readers asking if there’s any truth to them. And the advantage of having done what I do for nearly 25 years is that I can typically make a few calls or emails and get a confirmation one way or another. So I’ve spent the last several days checking in with well-placed industry sources and here’s what I’ve learned: Essentially, it’s unlikely that we’ll see either title arrive on physical 4K in 2022. But before you get upset, let me break that down a little further...
We know from multiple sources now that there’s a new 4K restoration of The Abyss that’s not only been finished, it’s finally been approved by Cameron—he said as much himself in an interview with Space.com last month. The question is, is Disney likely to release it on physical 4K this year, in the lead up to the theatrical release of Avatar 2, or next year, with the physical release of Avatar 2. Our sources are telling us to expect the latter, with Cameron’s original Avatar (2009) being a more likely 2022 4K UHD release in the run-up to the sequel’s December theatrical release. The Abyss is almost certainly coming to 4K disc (and Blu-ray), but 2023 is the better bet.
Likewise, while it’s possible that Tombstone is being remastered in 4K, the film celebrates its 30th anniversary next year. So again, 2023 is the more likely timeframe for any theatrical or physical re-release. I would certainly love to be wrong on both The Abyss and Tombstone, and if I am, no one will be happier. But it’s probably best not to start holding your breath for either release this year.
Meanwhile, here’s something still more speculative (and yet I consider it much more likely): James Cameron’s Titanic (1997) celebrates its 25th anniversary in December—specifically on 12/19. Which, coincidentally, is right around the time that Avatar 2 is expected to arrive in theaters (currently 12/16). So it’s quite possible that Titanic could arrive on 4K Ultra HD around that time. Keep in mind, the film was remastered in 4K back in 2012 for its IMAX 2D and 3D release, so a 4K DI already exists. Essentially, all that would be required to release the film in 4K UHD would be a relatively straightforward re-grading for high dynamic range and probably a new Dolby Atmos mix. And while this would technically be released by Paramount here in the US (Paramount controls the assets and would likely be responsible for the remastering), it’s a Fox title internationally. Consider this title to be “rumor only” for the moment, but again I consider it more likely than either Tombstone or The Abyss in 2022. As soon as we have more information, we’ll let you know.
Here’s another interesting item today: Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation (1974) was remastered a couple of years ago in 4K, and the result is finally going to be shown theatrically. It was originally set to appear in theaters at The Film Forum in New York and at the Nuart here in LA in 2020, but that was obviously delayed by COVID. It’s finally showing at the Nuart on 1/18 (tickets available here). So it’s possible that a physical or digital 4K release could happen this year, particularly given that Coppola’s Godfather Trilogy is now coming to physical 4K on 3/22 from Paramount. Lionsgate owns the home video distribution rights to The Conversation, so rest assured we’re looking into it with them.
Finally today, we’ve already posted quite a bit of information about forthcoming catalog 4K titles from Warner Bros. in 2022. We know that their slate this year will include The Green Mile (2/22—which has been announced), and we’ve broken the first word (over the last several months) that Constantine (2005), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), The Lost Boys (1987), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), Casablanca (1942), and Poltergeist (1982) are all coming to 4K this year from the studio. Well, now we’re hearing the first word that you can tentatively add Giant (1956), Elf (2003), and A Christmas Story (1983) to that list as well.
All in all, 2022 is shaping up to be another great year for catalog 4K, particularly when you add the titles that Kino Lorber Studio Classics and Criterion have already announced (and are likely to), not to mention what else may be coming from Paramount, Universal, Sony and other studios this year.
One last bit of news on a completely unrelated topic: Science fiction fans will be thrilled to learn that Titan Books is going to be publishing an elaborate coffee table book in August called The Art of Ron Cobb. It’s a collaboration between the Concept Art Association and the Cobb estate, and thus will be the first such book to feature artwork from his entire career, including all of his film designs and videogame material too. You can pre-order the book now on Amazon by clicking here or on the cover image at the right.
And one last thing: On Sunday morning I appeared as a guest on our old friend Robert Meyer Burnett’s Let’s Get Physical Media YouTube show. Regular co-host Dieter Bastian was attending a screening of Scream (auf Deutschland!), so I filled in to chat Blu-ray, 4K, and the future of movie discs. We had a great time and the conversation was pretty interesting, so feel free to check that out here...
We’ll leave you with a look at the cover artwork for a couple of the titles mentioned above and more, with Amazon links if available...
That’s all for now. Stay tuned...!