My Two Cents
Tuesday, 02 January 2024 14:45

Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, plus The Abyss: SE in 4K on Apple TV, Ferrari, Se7en & lots more Blu-ray & UHD announcement news!

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Well, folks... it’s a new year and time to get right back into the thick of things in terms of physical media news. And we have a bunch to catch you up on here at The Bits today.

Before we get started though, I wanted to call your attention to Michael Coate’s latest History, Legacy & Showmanship column here at The Bits, which we posted on New Year’s Eve. It features a great retrospective and roundtable interview with film historians celebrating the 50th anniversary of George Lucas’ classic American Graffiti (1973). Its 9 pages and 17 chapters are packed with great reading, so do be sure to check it out.

I’d also like to start the new year by with another quick Patreon pitch: If you believe in the work we do here at The Bits in support of physical media, we’d like to ask you to consider becoming a supporter of the site on Patreon. I’ve been sharing exclusive blog posts there, and it’s becoming a great little community—a fun and welcoming place to share your love of Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD with fellow enthusiasts. You can join for as low as $6 a month (or as much as you’d like to contribute) and it really makes a difference in helping us to grow and continue our work here at the site. So thank you!

Now then, the big news item this afternoon is that Lionsgate has just officially set Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes for Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD release on 2/13, with the Digital release due on 1/30. There will also be a Walmart-exclusive 4K Steelbook release on 2/13. The 4K and Blu-ray will include the following special features: audio commentary with Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson, the 8-part Predator or Prey: Making The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes documentary (note that both the commentary and documentary are exclusive to the physical release), Rachel Zegler’s The Hanging Tree music video, the A Letter to the Fans featurette, and the theatrical trailer. You can see the 4K cover art at left and also below.

FYI, Lionsgate is also releasing John Woo’s Silent Night (2023) on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/30. The film stars Joel Kinnaman (of For All Mankind fame). [Read on here...]

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It’s not technically physical release news, but friend of The Bits and soundtrack album producer Neil S. Bulk has brought it to our attention that James Cameron’s The Abyss: Special Edition is now available in 4K on iTunes and Apple TV. The only trick is that you have to search for it, but then it does come up. And if you’ve purchased The Abyss digitally, it should appear in 4K.

By the way, there’s still no sign yet of US Amazon pre-orders for the March 12th physical 4K UHD Cameron titles (The Abyss, True Lies, and Aliens) though we do expect them to appear in the next week or so.

Kino Lorber Studio Classics has just revealed a whole slew of classic Blu-ray releases that it’s working on for the coming months, including Patrice Leconte’s Half a Chance (1998), Charles Marquis Warren’s Back from the Dead (1957), Robert Enrico’s Ho! (1968), Charles Frend’s The Cruel Sea (1953), Jack Gold’s Aces High (1976), Gilles Grangier’s Gas-Oil (1955), and the Sci-Fi Chillers Collection which includes Charles Marquis Warren’s The Unknown Terror (1957), Eugene Lourie’s The Colossus of New York (1958), and Francis D. Lyon’s Destination Inner Space (1966). The company is also working on William Friedkin’s Rampage (1987), which features music by Ennio Morricone, for both Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD. All of these are listed as “coming soon” with street dates TBA.

It appears that Michael Mann’s Ferrari will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on 3/12 from Decal and Neon, at least if Amazon is to be believed (click here for the pre-order page). No sign yet of a 4K UHD release.

Also not yet officially announced but available for pre-order on Amazon is David Fincher’s Se7en (1995) in 4K Ultra HD. The strange thing is that Amazon US currently has the UK all-region box sets listed as streeting on 1/12/24—just ten days from now. This includes an Ultimate Collector’s Edition release and a more elaborate What’s in the Box? Ultimate Collector’s Edition. Either this is an error, or Warner is about to make their official announcement. But we wouldn’t be surprised if the title slips a few weeks (or even a month or two). We’ll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, here’s what they look like (and you can click on the images below to pre-order each of them)...

Se7en: Ultimate Collector’s Edition (4K Ultra HD)

Se7en: "What's in the Box?" Ultimate Collector’s Edition (4K Ultra HD)

We’ve covered this recently, but as a reminder: Imprint’s February Blu-ray slate will include Ingmar Bergman’s Face to Face (1976), Peter Yates’ The Dresser (1983), Bob Rafelson’s Mountains of the Moon (1990), Diane Kurys’ A Man in Love (1987), Gabriele Salvatores’ I’m Not Scared (2003), and Majid Majidi’s Children of Heaven (1997). Street date is on or about 2/28. Also coming in February are “standard edition” Blu-ray reissues of Byron Haskin’s Conquest of Space (1955), Karel Reisz’s The Gambler (1974), John Schlesinger’s Day of the Locust (1975), John Frankenheimer’s Black Sunday (1977), and Gus Van Sant’s Drugstore Cowboy (1989).

Meanwhile, on the way to Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment in February and March are Robert Harmon’s The Hitcher (1986), Jon Avnet’s Red Corner (1997), Paul Verhoeven’s Flesh + Blood (1985), Robert Lynn’s Dr. Crippen (1963), Takashi Miike’s Auditon: 25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition (1999), Hammer Horror: Volume 2—including John Gilling’s Shadow of the Cat (1961), Peter Graham Scott’s Night Creatures (1962), and Terence Fisher’s Phantom of the Opera (1962)—and Edward Dmytryk’s Blue Beard (1972) all on 2/21, followed by Brian Trenchard-Smith’s Dead End Drive-In: Collector’s Edition (1986) (4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray), Na Hong-jin’s The Chaser (2008), David Moreau and Xavier Palud’s Them (Ils) (2006), and Larry Clark’s Bully (2001) all on 3/20.

On the TV front, CBS is releasing Gomer Pyle USMC: The Complete Series on Blu-ray on 2/13.

Paramount is also releasing Eddie Murphy: Raw on Blu-ray on 1/9.

Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment is reissuing Smallville: The Complete Series on Blu-ray on 2/27. Also coming that day from the BBC via Warner is a reissue of Orphan Black: The Complete Series on Blu-ray.

The Warner Archive Collection’s January slate is set to include James L. George and Bob Seeley’s animated Rover Dangerfield (1991), Vincente Minnelli’s Cabin in the Sky (1943), William Keighley’s The Prince and the Pauper (1937), Sam Wood’s Marx Brothers classic A Day at the Races (1937), John Payson’s Joe’s Apartment (1996), and Harry Beaumont’s Faithless (1932) on Blu-ray on 1/30.

Mill Creek Entertainment is releasing Brian Volk-Weiss’ Icons Unearthed: Star Wars on Blu-ray on 3/12.

ETR Media has set Jack Bennett’s Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary for Blu-ray release on 2/27.

Crunchyroll is releasing Makoto Shinkai’s Suzume (2022) on Blu-ray, DVD, and Limited Edition Blu-ray on 3/12, but there’s no sign of a 4K Ultra HD release yet.

VCI will release a 4K Ultra HD double feature of Frank De Felitta’s Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981) and J.D. Feigelson’s Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2 (2022) on 3/26.

Blue Underground will release Jess Franco’s Night of the Blood Monster (1970 (aka The Bloody Judge) on 4K Ultra HD on 3/26.

Severin Films will release Stephen Wallace’s Stir (1980) on Blu-ray on 3/26.

And Grindhouse Releasing has set William Grefé’s Impulse (1974) for release on Blu-ray on 3/12. The film stars William Shatner.

We’ll leave you with a look at the cover artwork for a few of the titles mentioned above and more, with pre-order links if available. Remember that when you click through one of our links before starting to shop at Amazon, you’re helping to support our work here at The Bits and we appreciate it!

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (4K Ultra HD) The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Blu-ray Disc) The Conan Chronicles (4K Ultra HD)

The Shootist (Blu-ray Disc) Suzume: Limited Edition (Blu-ray Disc) Never Surrender (Blu-ray Disc)

Stay tuned...!

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



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