My Two Cents
Thursday, 13 July 2017 17:00

Universal sets Mummy for 9/12, plus Spy Who Loved Me at 40 & Disney doesn’t seem to know re: Guardians 2 4K & Dolby Vision

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All right, we’ve got a couple of things for you today, including a little bit of follow-up on this Disney/Guardians Vol 2 4K Dolby Vision thing. More on that in a moment...

First, Michael Coate has a great new History, Legacy & Showmanship column for you today that celebrates Sir Roger Moore and the 40th Anniversary of the classic Bond installment The Spy Who Loved Me. Michael is joined by another fine roundtable of Bond experts to discuss the film and I think you’ll really enjoy reading what they have to say. So you’ll find that here.

Now then... some announcement news: Universal has officially set The Mummy (2017) for Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD release on 9/12, with the Digital HD release expected on 8/22. [Read on here…]

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Extras on the Blu-ray editions will include audio commentary (with director and producer Alex Kurtzman, and cast members Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, and Jake Johnson), Deleted and Extended Scenes, 8 featurettes (Cruise & Kurtzman: A Conversation Rooted in Reality, Rooted in Reality, Life in Zero-G: Creating the Plane Crash, Meet Ahmanet, Cruise in Action, Becoming Jekyll and Hyde, Choreographed Chaos, and Nick Morton: In Search of a Soul), and the Ahmanet Reborn animated graphic novel. Both the Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD will include Dolby Atmos audio. There’s no word of Dolby Vision, but the 4K will certainly have HDR-10. You can see the cover artwork to the left and below.

Shout! Factory has announced the Hype!: Collector’s Edition as their newest Shout Select Blu-ray release, due on 9/29. Extras are TBA, but will include “a new audio commentary with Director Doug Pray, vintage Interviews and performances, Peter Bagge’s animated short Hate, outtakes, and a new featurette with interviews and insights from some of the original characters in Hype! two decades later.”

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has just announced more TV titles for DVD only release in August and September, including Tyrant: The Complete Season 2 and Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll: The Complete Second Season on 8/8, and Better Things: Season 1 and You’re the Worst: Season 3 on DVD on 9/6.

Retail sources are now starting to confirm that Sony will release Close Encounters of the Third Kind on 4K Ultra HD in September. It may (or may not) be a retail-exclusive title, but Best Buy will certainly have an exclusive Steelbook-packaged version on 9/19 (see this link).

RLJ Entertainment has set Once Upon a Time in Venice for Blu-ray and DVD on 8/15.

And here’s something fun: Kino Lorber has just revealed a new Studio Classics title for release on 9/2: Tobor the Great (1954)! It’ll have a new HD master and audio commentary by historian Richard Harland Smith. Also coming on 9/12 is the Jerry Lewis comedy Visit to a Small Planet (1960), along with Custer of the West (1967), and Krakatoa, East of Java (1968). And on 9/5, look for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969) and The Birthday Party (1968).

All right... back to Disney and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. After checking directly with Disney’s press reps NO LESS THAT TWICE to confirm that the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 4K Ultra HD disc would have Dolby Vision HDR, and being assured that yes, it would... NOW, I’m being told that: hang on, they’re not sure and we’ll get back to you. And because the big D23 convention starts in Anaheim tomorrow, it might take a few days for Disney’s PR team to find out for sure what they’re sure of on the subject.


To quote a funny man in a funny film: “Mother puss bucket...!”

So... I don’t fault these press people. They’re great folks, doing the best they can. The fault lies with Disney leadership up in Burbank, and especially Home Video leadership. The job of site like The Digital Bits, which caters to the most enthusiastic consumers of Blu-ray, DVD, Blu-ray 3D, and 4K Ultra HD, is to try and get the best available information from the studios to those consumers, so that those consumers feel comfortable buying discs. That really it, along with sharing our own love of films in general and these formats in particular. Now, there was a time when the senior Home Video leadership at the major Hollywood studios understood that, and understood the VALUE to their business of that. ENTHUSIASTS BUY DISCS. The more enthusiastic they are, the more discs they buy. So the more good information and support you can give them, the better.

Over the first 10-15 years of the videodisc business, starting with DVD back in 1997, there were very senior people at all of the major studios who knew that it was important to communicate with the enthusiast press directly – to evangelize for these formats and answer questions, so that we can pass that information on to the enthusiasts themselves. But that’s changed these days. Now, those executives don’t want to be bothered dealing with either the press or enthusiasts. They want all communication with the outside world to go through the studio PR department, which often doesn’t understand this technology at anywhere near the level that enthusiasts do. Nor do they really even speak the same technical language. Mostly, the studio’s PR effort with regard to Home Video formats these days boils down just blasting simple messages out on social media. And it’s almost exclusively a one-way communication.

Meanwhile, sites like The Bits, doing what we’ve done for 20 years now, are getting LOTS AND LOTS of technical questions from consumers. Not only are the studios not helping to get us accurate answers to those questions, in some cases they’re actively making it impossible for us to do so by deliberately putting more and more impenetrable layers of studio secrecy, ignorance, and apathy between their people with the answers and the press. Not only do we not have authorized studio contacts who are willing to talk with us to provide answers and responsive enough to our inquiries to do it effectively, they they’re deliberately making it harder and harder for us to find anyone who can. So the only people willing to talk are studio insiders who are afraid to do so for fear of getting in trouble with their bosses. When they do talk, they have to do it anonymously or off the record.

Frankly, in an industry that’s trying to promote a new home video format like 4K Ultra HD, that is a fucking OUTRAGEOUS situation. It really is.

Now, I’m going to have more to say about this on Monday. But first, I need to take a couple days off. Because we’ve been dealing with this situation for a few years now, and it’s only gotten worse and more frustrating each year. And if you can’t tell, I’m a little pissed about it. After TWENTY YEARS of working to promote these discs we love, and to bring the studios together with their best customers in a positive way, to be dealing with a situation like this is really insane. And it’s not just The Bits – I talk regularly with other enthusiast bloggers and writers who’ve been doing this a while, and all of them are having similar troubles. “Hey, do you have a contact over at...?“ is a question I get from them on a regular basis. And the answer given, more and more often lately, is “No.”

If the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format is ever going to be more than just a blip in the radar, that situation HAS TO CHANGE. And the change that needs to happen has to start with senior studio Home Video leadership. Guys, 15-20 years ago, there were people in your jobs who knew how to grow a format. Making it impossible to get good accurate information about that format IS NOT how to do it.

Anyway, like I said, I’m going to cool off for a couple days – because I NEED to cool off for a couple days – and I’ll talk more about this on Monday. In the meantime, there’s a chance I’m going to be at D23 this weekend myself. If so, I’ll try to get to the bottom of this directly. If and when I finally do get accurate final word about Dolby Vision on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 4K, I’ll let you know ASAP – likely first on my personal Twitter and Facebook pages, so be sure to follow those if you’re interested.

I’d like to apologize to all of you for the confusion on this... and for my dysfunctional industry that’s allowed confusion about such things to become the rule and not the exception. It’s embarrassing. There is nobody more frustrated about this than we are, believe me.

All right, here’s some new BD and 4K cover artwork for you to check out (with Amazon links if available)...

The Mummy (Blu-ray Disc) The Mummy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray) Get Out (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)

Split (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray) Van Helsing (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray) Dracula Untold (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)

Now, I’m going to go and take a blood pressure pill… maybe pour a bourbon. Back on Monday, or sooner if we get word from Disney. Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)


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