My Two Cents
Friday, 17 November 2017 16:06

Celebrating CE3K’s 40th, Interstellar/Transformers 4K & Pink Panther cartoon BDs official & we answer the question “Why No 3D?”

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All right, we’ve got a few things for you today...

First, our own Michael Coate posted a great new History, Legacy & Showmanship retrospective last night celebrating Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind on the occasion of the film’s 40th anniversary. Michael’s column looks back at the film’s initial theatrical run and features another great roundtable discussion of film historians. It’s a good read, so be sure to give it a look.

Now then... a quick commentary. Almost every day, I get asked this question in some form via email or social media: “Why no 3D?” As in: My favorite film was available in 3D in the theater, but how come the studio didn’t release it on Blu-ray 3D for the home? [Read on here…]

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The answer is simple: The mainstream home entertainment industry – including both the leading Hollywood studios and also consumer electronics manufacturers – has pushed the pause button on 3D in the home. Sure, there are still Blu-ray 3D titles released, but they tend to be produced by indie distributors and they’re done in limited production runs. Every once in a while a major Hollywood studio will still release a Blu-ray 3D SKU of a major feature film, but it tends to be the exception and not the rule. Often, they’re done as retail exclusives. Or the European release may have 3D but the US release does not. It’s frustrating for fans of Blu-ray 3D, but the reality is that the discs don’t sell well beyond a core niche market of enthusiasts.

Hollywood is actually taking their lead from the consumer electronics industry, which went big on 3D several years ago only to discover that mainstream consumers didn’t really care much about it. Most consumers who had the 3D feature on their TVs rarely used it, for lack of easily available content and – frankly – the fact that they hated wearing the glasses. The glasses gave them headaches, they were inconvenient, needed to be charged, stopped working, and were easily damaged, broken, or lost by the kids. And most were expensive to replace. So the whole display industry basically moved on to marketing 4K and HDR, which consumers have been more receptive to. Home theater projector manufacturers are still bullish about 3D and so many models of projector continue to have the feature. If a home theater projector is an option for you, you may wish to consider it (check out our review of the Epson 5040UB here at The Bits to get a sense of what it’s all about).

But don’t lose hope on the future of 3D. It’s still very popular in theaters, so lots of movies are being produced with 3D options. More importantly, the consumer electronics industry is continuing to work on autostereoscopic 3D display technology in their labs. This is 3D for flat panel displays that doesn’t require glasses of any kind. The challenge here is that you need very high frame rates and processing power. But I’ve seen demonstrations at CES (and in visits to manufacturers) and let me tell you: Every year it gets better. At some point in the next 5-10 years, when the technology is ready, every major display manufacturer will be back with 3D-capable displays... no glasses needed. And since Blu-ray 3D is display format agnostic, all of your existing discs should work on those new displays. Until then, fans of Blu-ray 3D will have to take where we can get it.

All right then... let’s get to a bit of announcement news...

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has just officially set The Mountain Between Us for release on Blu-ray, DVD, 4K Ultra HD, and Digital on 12/26. The film stars Kate Winslet and Idris Elba. Extras on the Blu-ray version include 3 featurettes (Love and Survival: Creating Chemistry, Mountain Between Them: Shooting in Isolation, and The Wilds: Survival Stunts), plus deleted scenes, and an image gallery. In a rare exclusive, the 4K Ultra HD format will also include commentary by director Hany Abu-Assad. For those tracking such things, the Digital Intermediate resolution on this one is 2.4K (with digital capture in 2.8K and 6.5K). Audio will be 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio on both Blu-ray SKUs.

Paramount has finally officially announced the 4K Ultra HD release of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar on 12/19, complete with all the Blu-ray special features. The DI is native 4K on this one, with HDR10 and audio in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Also now officially announced to be coming on 12/5 are the 4K Ultra HD versions of Michael Bay’s Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Transformers: Age of Extinction. Those all come from 2K DIs (though some have 4K and 6K capture), but they all have Dolby Atmos audio. We’re checking with the studio to see if the HDR is Dolby Vision as well, as it was on Transformers: The Last Knight.

HBO Home Entertainment has set The Deuce: The Complete First Season for Blu-ray and DVD release on 2/23, with the Digital release due on 11/27. Extras will include 2 featurettes (The Deuce in Focus and The Wild West: New York in the Early ’70s), plus audio commentaries on Episodes 1 and 8 with the cast and crew.

Kino Lorber has now made it official: They’re releasing Blade Edwards’ The Pink Panther: Cartoon Collection – Volume 1 (1964-1966) on Blu-ray and DVD on 1/31/18. Each will feature the first 20 animated shorts in chronological order with the original audio (no laugh tracks). Select shorts will feature audio commentary by film historians (including author Mark Arnold, historian Jerry Beck, filmmaker Greg Ford, cartoon writer William Hohauser, music scholar Will Friedwald, and veteran DePatie-Freleng story-man Bob Kartz) interspersed with “archival sound-bites from animation pioneer and DePatie-Freleng Enterprises co-founder, Friz Freleng himself.” Pretty damn cool. You can see the art to the left and below and Amazon pre-orders are now open.

By the way, Kino is also working on new Blu-ray and/or DVD releases of The Martian Chronicles (1980 – both formats, coming soon), No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948 – both formats, coming soon), The Grissom Gang (1971 – both formats, coming soon), The Taking of Beverly Hills (1991 – both formats on 1/16), The Cemetery Club (1993 – both formats, 1/16), Jack the Giant Killer (1962 – both formats, coming soon), The Way West (1967 – Blu-ray, coming soon), Trouble Bound (1993 – BD via Scorpion Releasing), Emmanuelle and the Deadly Black Cobra (1976 – both formats, 1/19 via Code Red), and Irma La Douce (1963 – both formats, coming in 2018).

Meanwhile, Shout! Factory has officially set The Trip to Spain for Blu-ray and DVD release on 12/12.

AGFA Films, Something Weird, and MVD Entertainment are going to be releasing Ed Wood’s The Violent Years on Blu-ray on 11/21, mastered from a new 4K scan.

Cartoon Network is releasing Steven Universe: The Complete First Season on DVD only on 1/30, including all 52 episodes.

And Lionsgate has released a clip from a feature on their forthcoming 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack release of James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day due on 12/16. You can watch it here...

All right, we’ll leave you with a look at the cover artwork for some of the titles we’ve mentioned above, with pre-order links if available (and if you guys would consider pre-ordering though our affiliate links, we’d surely appreciate it!)...

The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 1 (Blu-ray Disc) Night of the Living Dead (Criterion Blu-ray Disc) The Silence of the Lambs (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)

Interstellar (4K Ultra HD) Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (Blu-ray Disc) The Deuce: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Disc)

Have a great weekend, everyone! Stay tuned...

- Bill Hunt

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

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