I do not for the life of me understand the rational of studios like Sony and Paramount (think Star Trek II) quietly dropping some of their best catalog films in 4K as digital exclusives with no fanfare while bypassing physical 4K Ultra HD. There is only one message this sends to 4K fans and it’s loud indeed: Your studio isn’t committed to physical 4K Ultra HD. It makes no sense whatsoever, except that some random studio executive is married to the idea of waiting for an anniversary to release a disc. But damn it, these are some of the most awaited 4K titles! Releasing them as downloads only kills your disc sales! It’s moronic. And it either has to stop, or your studio just need to come out and say that you’re not committed to discs anymore.
UGH. I really can’t believe this is where we are in 2019. Anyway...
Now then, a follow up on a title we mentioned a few weeks ago. I’ve confirmed the following once again with Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment here in the States, which has confirmed once again with their Chinese distributor: The Indiana Jones films are NOT likely to be released in 4K Ultra HD in 2019. We’re not sure if this was wishful thinking on someone’s part, but it was more likely something that was being talked about and just hasn’t officially materialized. But we are told once more than it’s NOT happening this year, despite what UHD Club has been posting in recent weeks. So adjust your expectations accordingly and don’t kill the messenger.
Here’s a 4K title that IS likely to be released this year: the Batman Anthology in 4K. Various sources around the Net have been reporting this (including Batman-Online) and our industry sources appear to confirm it. June 19th marks the 30th anniversary of Tim Burton’s Batman (1989). So it appears that all four films in the anthology are coming to 4K thus summer, including Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin. Also coming to 4K from Warner this summer is Joe Dante’s Gremlins, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.
Speaking of Warner, we don’t know this film is coming to 4K this year, Warner would be crazy not to release it given that 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. So how about The Right Stuff in 4K? We throw that out there to plan a bug.
We do however, think you might see The Wizard of Oz from Warner in 4K Ultra HD in 2019, given that this year marks the film’s 80th anniversary.
Lionsgate is preparing a 4K release of Robert Eggers’ The Witch for release on 4/23.
And one other 4K note today: We’re starting to see retail rumblings that Universal may be planning to release Backdraft and Field of Dreams on physical 4K later this year. We’ve added them to our 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits and we’ll update you as we learn more.
On the Blu-ray front, Kino Lorber Studio Classics has set a Fantomas 1960: Three Film Collection for release on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/30, set to include Fantômas (1964), Fantômas Unleashed (1965), and Fantômas vs. Scotland Yard (1967). On 4/23, look for a joint release with the BFI of The Informer (1929), Underground (1928), and Shooting Stars (1928). Also that day, KL Studio Classics will release The House of the Seven Gables (1940), The Strange Door (1951), and Scream and Scream Again (1970) on Blu-ray. And on 4/2, look for a joint Lobster Films Blu-ray and DVD release of a RKO Classic Romances: Five Film Collection, including Millie (1931), Kept Husbands (1931), The Lady Refuses (1931), The Woman Between (1931), and Sin Takes a Holiday (1930), and a RKO Classic Adventures: Three Film Collection, including The Painted Desert (1931), The Pay-Off (1930), and The Silver Horde (1930).
Scream Factory will release The Chosen on Blu-ray on 5/14. Shout! Factory will also release the Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton film Boom! as a Shout Select Blu-ray on 5/28. And the company has added Ethan Hawke’s Blaze (2018) for release on Blu-ray on 5/7.
And for you UK fans, Eureka! Entertainment has announced its April Blu-ray slate, which is set to include Henry King’s The Song of Bernadette (1943) and Erik Blomberg’s The White Reindeer (1952) on 4/8, Billy Wilder’s One, Two, Three (1961) on 4/15, and Sergey Loznitsa’s Donbass (2018) on 4/26. Look for them to street on 4/8 and 4/15.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned...