Displaying items by tag: DVD
Vintage Bits Interview: The Enigma of Michael Apted
[Editor’s Note: This interview was originally posted on The Digital Bits on 9/17/02, coinciding with the Columbia TriStar Home Video DVD release of Enough and Enigma. We would like to dedicate it to the memory of Michael Apted.]
There are some directors who find a genre they’re particularly comfortable with or adept at and make an entire career out of it. Think Wes Craven with horror movies or the Farrelly brothers in comedy. Michael Apted is not one of these directors. Apted is a jumper, having tackled everything from courtroom dramas to comedy to rock and roll. When you look at his filmography, the phrase you are most likely to repeat over and over is, “He directed that, too?”
Apted began his career as a researcher and director for British television. In the 1970’s, he crossed over to theatrical films with movies like Stardust, a terrific, criminally underrated movie that traces the rise and fall of a rock group (note to the studios: Stardust needs to be released on DVD and the sooner the better). His major American breakthrough came in 1980 with Coal Miner’s Daughter, for which Sissy Spacek won the Oscar as Best Actress. Since that time, Apted has worked with some of the best actors in recent memory, including Sigourney Weaver (also Oscar nominated for her work in Apted’s Gorillas in the Mist), Jodie Foster (Nell), Val Kilmer (Thunderheart), and Gene Hackman (Class Action and Extreme Measures). Oh yeah, he also helmed one of the most recent adventures of some guy named James Bond (The World is Not Enough). [Read on here...]
The Digital Bits presents: The State of Physical Media in 2020 (Mid-Year Edition)
All right, we have a new update on the health of the home entertainment market from the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) for the first half of 2020. And the numbers are not entirely unexpected...
According to the DEG, total home entertainment spending (all categories) was up about 26% for the first half of 2020 (through the end of June) compared to the same period last year.
Total digital spending was up 36% during that period (the specific breakdown was +33% for electronic sales, +33% for VOD, and +37% for subscription streaming). That’s the good news.
The bad news—which by now should not be unexpected—is that packaged goods (read: discs) were down 17.2% in the first half of this year from the same period in 2019. Specifically, Q2 2020 was down 11.11% from Q2 2019, this after a 22.4% decline in Q1 2020 (as we reported here back in early July). [Read on here...]
The Digital Bits presents: The State of Physical Media in 2020 (So Far...)
So... a friend of mine asked me last night on social media what impact the pandemic was having on physical media sales so far this year. Specifically, he wanted to know if there had been any kind of a bump in disc sales resulting from all of the coronavirus lockdowns, what with so many people suddenly forced to stay at home.
I knew, of course, what we’ve been seeing here at The Digital Bits in terms of those trends—also what we’ve been hearing from you guys, our readers, as well as our retail sources. But the question got me thinking. And then I really wanted to know: Do the actual sales numbers reflect our assumptions? Or might something be happening because of the pandemic that’s surprising in terms of physical media sales?
With that in mind, I started digging. Before long, I found myself neck deep in data—actually a pretty good place to be if you really want to get to the bottom of questions like this.
I turned to a pair of sources that are always reliable: The Digital Entertainment Group’s excellent (and quarterly) Home Entertainment Reports, and also Media Play News’ in-house home entertainment market research. [Read on here...]
BREAKING: Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures announce the merger of their home entertainment disc operations
What a way to follow-up my state of the home video industry report circa CES 2020 yesterday!
The news is breaking this morning that Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures are going to be merging their physical media distribution operations. The combined venture will distribute Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD discs in North America over the next decade, beginning in early 2021.
The merger will first have to be approved by the United States Justice Department.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment president Eddie Cunningham will lead the new venture. [Read on here...]
Remembering “The Brady Bunch” on its 50th Anniversary
“The Brady Bunch is ’comfort TV’ to the highest degree.” — Classic TV historian Herbie J Pilato
The Digital Bits and History, Legacy & Showmanship are pleased to present this retrospective commemorating the golden anniversary of the premiere of The Brady Bunch, the classic family sitcom which originally ran on ABC from 1969 to 1974 and starred Florence Henderson as Carol/Mom, Robert Reed as Mike/Dad and Ann B. Davis as housekeeper Alice.
The series (and ultimately franchise) — created by Sherwood Schwartz (Gilligan’s Island, It’s About Time) and featuring as the memorable Brady kids Barry Williams (Greg), Maureen McCormick (Marcia), Christopher Knight (Peter), Eve Plumb (Jan), Mike Lookinland (Bobby) and Susan Olsen (Cindy) — premiered 50 years ago this month, and for the occasion The Bits features a Q&A with classic television historian Herbie J Pilato, who offers some recollections and insight into the timeless series. [Read more here...]
- classic television
- History Legacy & Showmanship
- Michael Coate
- The Digital Bits
- Herbie J Pilato
- The Brady Bunch
- 50th Anniversary
- Sherwood Schwartz
- Robert Reed
- Florence Henderson
- Ann B Davis
- Maureen McCormick
- Eve Plumb
- Susan Olsen
- Barry Williams
- Christopher Knight
- Mike Lookinland
- Frank De Vol
- The Brady Bunch Kids
- Peppermint Trolley Company
- The Brady Bunch: 50th Anniversary TV & Movie Collection
Retro Release Day: Space: 1999 – 30th Anniversary Edition on DVD (2007)
Today’s Retro Release Day title here at The Bits ties into the Blu-ray news we announced earlier (see our post here). It’s A&E Home Video’s Space: 1999 – 30th Anniversary Edition box set, released on DVD on July 31, 2007.
Licensed from Network/ITV in the UK, the series was first released on DVD both in the US and UK beginning in 2001 – by A&E/New Video in the States and by Network in the UK. The US release was initially done via 8 2-disc sets (4 per season). In 2002, all 8 volumes were packaged together in a “Megaset” with an exclusive DVD bonus disc that includes the short follow-on video A Message from Moonbase Alpha.
The set you see at left and below is a repackaging of that same Megaset from 2002, re-issued in 2007 for the show’s anniversary. All 17 discs carried over, along with the bonus disc, simply packaged in ultra-thin DVD slim cases. [Read on here...]
Retro Release Day: Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition (2001)
Today’s Retro Release Day title here at The Bits is a favorite of mine personally, as well as a favorite of our readers and classic Star Trek fans overall. It’s the acclaimed 2-disc Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition DVD, released by Paramount Home Entertainment in 2001.
The film was directed by the great Robert Wise, who had previously directed the Best Picture winners West Side Story (1961) and The Sound of Music (1965), as well as The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), and who was an editor on Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941) at RKO early in his career. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released in theaters on December 7, 1979 and this year celebrates its 40th anniversary.
As many Trek fans know, Star Trek: The Motion Picture began life as an effort to return the franchise to TV with Star Trek: Phase II, but the box office success of other science fiction films convinced Paramount to try bringing the property to the big screen. The film reunited the entire original series cast, along with newcomers Persis Khambatta and Stephen Collins. The legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith was hired to score the film, which would become among his most iconic and widely-recognized works. [Read on here...]
The Criterion Channel is here (and it’s pretty great)!
Today is a day many of us in the cinephile community have been eagerly awaiting: Criterion has finally launched their streaming replacement for FilmStruck, better known as The Criterion Channel.
It officially launched this morning with apps on AppleTV, Amazon Fire, Roku, iOS and Android. You can also view it via web browser.
The good news is, the launch seems to have gone nearly flawlessly. I checked for the Roku download shortly after midnight. Finding it not yet available, I figured it was more likely to launch early AM on the East Coast, where Criterion’s offices are located. So I went to bed and checked again when I woke up here in California. [Read on here...]
Retro Release Day: Farscape: Starburst Edition – 4-disc versions (2004)
Today’s Retro Release Day title here at The Bits is one that caught the eye of more than a few of our readers in the background of photos I’ve posted of recent Retro Release Day titles. I’m speaking of ADV Films’ 4-disc Farscape: Starburst Edition DVDs!
Farscape, which celebrated its 20th anniversary on March 19, was a Sci-Fi Channel original series that debuted in 1999 from The Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment. An Australian-American production, the live action science fiction series was created by Rockne S. O’Bannon and starred Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Virginia Hey, Anthony Simcoe, Gigi Edgley, Paul Goddard, Lani Tupu, and Wayne Pygram.
The series was first released on DVD starting in 2001 by ADV Films in a regular DVD edition (with 2 episodes per set plus extras on one DVD-9 disc). This was followed in 2005 by an initial Starburst Edition release (with 6-7 episodes per set plus additional extras on 2 DVD-18 discs). Both releases presented the series in the original broadcast 1.33:1 (or 4x3) TV aspect ratio, save for Season Four which switched production to 1.78:1 (or 16x9). Audio was lossy Dolby Digital. [Read on here...]
- Rockne S O'Bannon
- Claudia Black
- Ben Browder
- The Jim Henson Company
- Starburst Edition
- New Video
- A&E Home Video
- Lionsgate Home Entertainment
- SciFi Channel
- Hallmark Entertainment
- Amazon Prime
- Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars
- Farscape: The Complete Series 15th Anniversary Edition
- Retro Release Day
- My Two Cents
- The Digital Bits
- Bill Hunt
Universal makes it official: Todd Douglas Miller’s large format Apollo 11 doc hits Blu-ray on 5/14
We mentioned this title a few days ago, but now we can officially confirm that Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Neon will be releasing Todd Douglas Miller’s acclaimed large format documentary, Apollo 11, on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on May 14th.
From the studio’s press release:
“Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future ” [Read on here...]