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Criterion’s October slate (and possible UHD news), plus Misery 4K, Disney & Pixar’s Luca, Random Space Media & much more

July 16, 2021 - 3:17 pm   |   by

All right, we’ll likely have at least one more review for you to check out later today, and we’re all working on more over the weekend. But in the meantime, we have a couple of quick site updates for you and some big announcement news to catch you all up on...

First, our own Michael Coate has delivered a great new History, Legacy & Showmanship column here at The Bits, featuring a look back at the theatrical release of Richard Lester’s Superman II. The retrospective includes an interview with our old friend Jim Bowers of the excellent Caped Wonder website. And we’d like to dedicate the piece to the memory of director Richard Donner, without whom the film would not be possible. So here’s Battle on Planet Houston: Remembering Superman II on its 40th Anniversary. Enjoy!

Also today, we’ve just posted a major update of our Release Dates & Artwork section, featuring lots of new Blu-ray and 4K UHD cover artwork and pre-order links. As always, whenever you order literally anything from the retailer after clicking through to them from one our links, you’re helping to support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it.

Now then, let’s have some news... [Read on here...]

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We’ll start with our friends at the Criterion Collection, who have just announced their October release slate. Look for it to include an upgrade of Kaneto Shindo’s Onibaba (Spine #226 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 10/5, Raoul Walsh’s High Sierra (Spine #1099 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 10/12, Jack Arnold’s The Incredible Shrinking Man (Spine #1100 – Blu-ray and DVD) and Lynne Ramsay’s Ratcatcher (Spine #62 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 10/19, and Josh and Benny Safdie’s Uncut Gems (Spine #1101 – Blu-ray and DVD – a Netflix Originals title) and Satyajit Ray’s Devi (Spine #1102 – Blu-ray and DVD) on 10/26.

That’s a great slate of titles and you can see the cover artwork above left and also below, where you’ll also find links to pre-order each of these titles on We’ve also updated the relevant Criterion Spines Project pages here at the site accordingly.

But while we’re on the topic of Criterion, here’s something very interesting: We now have multiple industry sources suggesting to us that the company may finally be getting ready to announce its first physical 4K Ultra HD titles. As we’ve reported previously, Criterion was evaluating 4K releases way back in late 2019, but of course the COVID pandemic happened and a lot of things got put on hold. Now it looks like the company has finally circled back to the subject and may be preparing to announce titles before the end of 2021. I know (from multiple sources) of at least three titles the company is either working on or considering. It’s too early to start discussing the specific titles here at The Bits, because we’d like to see Criterion adopt 4K as much as anyone, and we’d rather not complicate their work for them. But one of the titles celebrates a major anniversary this year, and—if you’re a longtime fan of Criterion—it makes perfect sense for them. In any case, we hope to hear official announcements in the weeks and months ahead.

Speaking of 4K, the good people of Kino Lorber have just announced that Rob Reiner’s Misery (1990)—a much-loved psychological horror film and a Stephen King adaptation to boot—will join their Studio Classics line on 4K Ultra HD and remastered Blu-ray on 10/12. (We’ve updated our 4K Ultra HD Release List here at The Bits accordingly.) As many of you will no doubt be aware, this is an MGM title. And Kino Lorber has signed a deal with the studio for the rights to release a number of their classic catalog titles in Blu-ray and 4K, so we expect more such titles to follow in the months ahead. Note that you can see the artwork for Misery 4K below.

In other 4K news today, Disney and Pixar have officially set their CG-animated Luca for release on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD on 8/3. The 4K UHD will have Dolby Atmos audio and HDR10 high dynamic range. Extras will include deleted scenes, 3 behind-the-scenes featurettes (Our Italian Inspiration, Secretly a Sea Monster, and Best Friends), and more TBA. Target will have retail-exclusive packaging. Here’s what the wide-release 4K looks like...

Luca (4K Ultra HD)

Universal has finally revealed the cover art for their 4K UHD singles of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Rear Window. (See below.) Those too are now available for pre-order on Amazon, with a street date of 9/7.

And for those of you who have been waiting, John Carpenter’s The Thing has finally been listed in 4K Ultra HD on Amazon, also with a street date of 9/7. Here’s our affiliate link (and you’ll find it with the cover artwork below as well).

In regular Blu-ray news, CBS has just set their recent TV series adaptation of The Stand for release on Blu-ray on 10/5.

Also, we’d like to call your attention to an indie home entertainment label called Random Space Media. They distribute lots of Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K UHD titles in the Australian market, particularly from Universal and Sony. Among the titles they’ve released on Blu-ray are Breaking Bad: The Complete Series (with El Camino), Sound of Metal, The Great: Season One, and French Exit. They have a Battlestar Galactica: The Definitive Collection Blu-ray set that includes the Ron Moore series (with Razor, The Plan, and Blood & Chrome), the widescreen version of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica series, Galactica 1980, and even a newly-remastered 1080p version of Caprica. (We’ll be reviewing this box here at The Bits in the weeks ahead.) They also have Jumanji: The Next Level, Venom, and Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse available in Blu-ray 3D. And many of these titles appear to be region free. You can visit their website here, so do give them a look. Here’s a look at the Battlestar Galactica, Breaking Bad, and Sound of Metal, which are listed as Region Free on the Random Space website (you can order them on by clicking on the covers)...

Battlestar Galactica: The Definitive Collection (Blu-ray Disc) Breaking Bad: The Complete Series (Blu-ray Disc) Sound of Metal (Blu-ray Disc)

And finally, here’s an interesting development: Media Play News is reporting that Lionsgate has acquired a 20% investment stake in much of the Spyglass Media Group library of titles, which includes around 200 titles in all, among them Fruitvale Station, The King’s Speech, Scream 4, Scary Movie 5, Spy Kids 4, Paddington, Silver Linings Playbook, The Butler, Django Unchained, Inglourious Basterds, and The Hateful Eight. This would seem to indicate the possibility of Blu-ray remasters (or at least re-issues) of some of these, not to mention potential 4K UHD releases. You can read more here.

All right, we’ll leave you all with a look at the cover artwork for a bunch of the titles mentioned above and more (again click on the art for the Amazon pre-order links if available)...

The Thing (4K Ultra HD) Vertigo (4K Ultra HD) Rear Window (4K Ultra HD)

High Sierra (Criterion Blu-ray Disc) Uncut Gems (Criterion Blu-ray Disc) Incredible Shrinking Man (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)

Onibaba (Criterion Blu-ray Disc) Devi (Criterion Blu-ray Disc) Ratcatcher (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)

In the Heights (4K Ultra HD) The Stand (2021) (Blu-ray Disc) Misery (4K Ultra HD)

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you back here on Monday.

Stay tuned!

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