My Two Cents
Wednesday, 05 August 2015 15:44

Blu-ray News – BDA to begin UHD BD licensing, plus Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Supreme, Star Wars Saga re-issue & more

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All right, we’ve got some very cool and interesting release news for you today...

But first, our own Michael Coate has posted a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column featuring a look back at Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief in celebration of the film’s 60th anniversary! He’s got release details, plus a great roundtable interview with film historians John Cork, Steven DeRosa, and Martin Hart. It’s a great read, so don’t miss it.  [Read on here…]

All right, let’s get to those announcements...

First up, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has launched a new Supreme Cinema Series line of Blu-ray titles, featuring 1080p presentations mastered from 4K transfers and featuring Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible). The first title to be released as part of this new line is Bram Stoker’s Dracula on 10/6 (SRP $38.99). It comes in new all-new clear case packaging with a 24-page book of rare photos. There’s also a regular edition Blu-ray due that same day (SRP $19.99). New extras will include a rare 1993 audio commentary with director Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Coppola and Greg Cannom, and 2 new featurettes (Reflections in Blood: Francis Ford Coppola and Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Practical Magicians: A Collaboration Between Father and Son). You’ll also get the older extras including deleted scenes, 4 legacy featurettes, an intro by director Francis Ford Coppola, and another audio commentary by Coppola. Here’s what the limited version will look like (click to pre-order on Amazon)...

Bram Stoker's Dracula: Supreme Cinema Series

Here’s something that’s kind of cool, but also kind of disappointing. The Star Wars films are all getting re-released on Blu-ray Disc on 11/10 (pre-orders begin this Friday, 8/7) in new Steelbook packaging, but with no new content, extras, or transfers. The Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray set will also be re-issued in new packaging that day. So this is just a re-package, not a new release. You can read more here at Star Anyway, here’s what the Steelbook cover artwork will look like (we’ll post the Amazon links on Friday)…

Star Wars (Original Saga Blu-ray Steelbooks)

Star Wars (Prequel Trilogy Blu-ray Steelbooks)

Meanwhile, Universal is releasing what may be Studio Ghibli’s last film, When Marnie Was There, on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/6 (SRP $24.79 for the Blu-ray). Extras will include 3 featurettes (The Making of When Marnie Was There, Yohei Taneda Creates the Art of When Marnie Was There, and Behind the Scenes with the Voice Cast), the film in feature-length storyboard version, trailers, and TV spots.

Also today, Mill Creek Entertainment has revealed that they’re going to be releasing Lonesome Dove on Blu-ray on 10/20 (SRP $19.98), followed by That ’70s Show: The Complete Series on Blu-ray on 11/3 (SRP $149.98).

Kino has set Diary of a Lost Girl for Blu-ray and DVD release on 10/20 (SRP $29.95) as part of their Kino Classics line-up.

And Paramount’s Escape from Alcatraz is now up for pre-order on Blu-ray on Amazon for release on 10/13 (SRP $14.98).

Finally today, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has just announced that they’re going to begin licensing of Ultra HD Blu-ray to the studios and consumer electronics manufacturers on 8/24, with the expectation that the first products will arrive in stores in time for the holidays this year. Here’s more from their official press release:

“Los Angeles – August 5, 2015 – The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) will commence licensing the Ultra HD Blu-ray™ format starting August 24, 2015.  The format represents the work of global leaders from the consumer electronics, IT and content creation industries and will enable consistent and reliable delivery of Ultra HD content to the rapidly growing number of Ultra HD households, expected to grow from 11.7 million Ultra HD TVs in 2014 to 95.6 million in 2019.* (*IHS Technology)

Ultra HD Blu-ray is a critical component of the expanding Ultra HD ecosystem that re-defines in-home entertainment through advances in resolution, contrast, color and audio, providing a sensory experience that replicates the richness of life’s sight and sounds and more accurately reflects the content creator’s intent.

“Ultra HD is expected to ramp up quickly over the next few years as it grows in popularity, availability, and affordability within the market for TV sets,” according to Paul Erickson, senior analyst at IHS Technology. “The ability to consume Ultra HD content during this time, however, is a question mark due to variables such as Ultra HD broadcast offerings and household bandwidth for Ultra HD streaming. Ultra HD Blu-ray aids consumer adoption of Ultra HD by providing an immediate, tangible way to watch Ultra HD content that completely bypasses service provider and bandwidth-based variables.”

The Ultra HD Blu-ray format will deliver high dynamic range content that significantly expands the range between the brightest and darkest elements and gives the consumer a more life-like viewing experience. Additionally, the format provides expanded color range, high frame rate (up to 60fps) and up-to 3840x2160 resolution.  The Ultra HD Blu-ray format will also deliver next-generation immersive, object-based sound formats. And, with the optional “digital bridge” feature, the specification enhances the value of content ownership by embracing the notion that a content purchase can enable the consumer to view their content across a wide range of in-home and mobile devices.

“Ultra HD Blu-ray enables the delivery of an unparalleled, consistent and repeatable experience that will set the standard for Ultra HD entertainment, the same way Blu-ray Disc did for high definition viewing,” said Victor Matsuda, chair, BDA Promotions Committee.  “With the commencement of licensing we would anticipate product announcements from various companies as we approach the 2015 holiday season.”

Ultra HD Blu-ray players will also be required to play back current HD Blu-ray Discs.  This requirement, coupled with the upscaling capabilities of players and TVs alike, gives consumers access to the vast library of more than 10,000 titles currently available on Blu-ray Disc.”

We’ll leave you with a little more new Blu-ray cover artwork...

Bram Stoker's Dracula: Supreme Cinema Series (Blu-ray Disc)    Bram Stoker's Dracula (Blu-ray Disc)    When Marnie Was There (Blu-ray Disc)

Diary of a Lost Girl (Blu-ray Disc)    Modern Girls (Blu-ray Disc)    Escape from Alcatraz (Blu-ray Disc)

All right, back with more tomorrow. Stay tuned…

Bill Hunt


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