Daily Column: It's Doogan Day at The Bits, plus a shout out for Shout Out! http://t.co/cGO1kkJ8U8
Wow… what do you know? We have a rare Rumor Mill update for you today! We’re so deep into the Blu-ray format now, there just aren’t all that many stories that really merit a separate Rumor Mill post. I mean, after the Star Wars films finally hit BD, the biggest topic of Rumor Mill discussion was made moot! But it turns out there are still a few titles worth talking about here.
Anyway, we’ve been hearing for over a year and a half now from our industry (and studio) sources that Fox was slowly and quietly working to bring James Cameron’s True Lies and The Abyss to Blu-ray Disc at long last. Back in September we reported that Cameron was finally taking time from deep sea diving and planning Avatar 2 to work on a new HD transfer and master of the films for Blu-ray, but that actual releases were at least 12 or more months away.
Well… now we have reports that actress Eliza Dushku was on Chris Hardwick’s The Nerdist program on BBC America on Saturday night. When asked by the host what she’s been up to, she apparently blurted out that she’d just finished participating in work on a True Lies Blu-ray. You’ll recall she played Harry Tasker’s daughter in the film – one of her early roles. (Thanks to all the Bits readers who e-mailed to report this!) So it seems that work continues on True Lies at least, and probably The Abyss too. As to when they might hit store shelves, our best information says next year – 2014 just happens to be the 25th Anniversary of The Abyss and the 20th for True Lies.
Speaking of Fox, we’ve also learned that the post facility HTV is involved in the effort to bring The X-Files TV series to Blu-ray Disc. Which is good in that it’s further confirmation that The X-Files is coming to Blu-ray (something we first revealed here in The Rumor Mill back in November)… but it’s bad because we’ve also heard there’s some up-conversion going on of original footage (rather than a full HD upgrade and restoration). As it happens, HTV was the company that did the remastering work on CBS’ Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Two (which really wasn’t up to the quality standard set by CBS Digital’s in-house team on Seasons One or Three). So draw your own conclusions. Let’s hope that all the series’ dark, gritty goodness isn’t just digitally scrubbed away. [Editor's Note: I should be clear, it's not a complete upconversion. Like Star Trek, all the original camera negative is being rescanned in high resolution. However the original VFX work was done in low resolution and much of this is simply being upconverted rather than being re-rendered. And any stock footage used – shots of the Hoover Building for example – is being upconverted.]
Finally, while we’re talking CBS… we’ve had additional confirmation that the company is working to being more catalog TV series to Blu-ray, following the success of Star Trek: The Original Series and The Next Generation, including David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. More on that in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned…
- Bill Hunt
All right, we haven’t had a Rumor Mill update in a very long while, so now that we’re up and running on the newly-redesigned Bits, it feels like it’s time to get the Mill going again, yes? And with a nice Cold War-era, espionage-inspired logo to boot!
So here’s today’s dispatch: A number of our industry sources are now telling us that Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is planning (and in fact may already be gearing up to) release their classic TV series The X-Files on Blu-ray. As fans will already be aware, the first four seasons of the show were produced in 4x3 format, like many TV programs of its era. The series then went to a 16x9 widescreen format for the remainder of its run, as anamorphic widescreen displays were starting to become common. The entire show was still broadcast in standard definition – not actual high-definition – and the visual effects and post-production were finished in SD. (Note that the first actual HD broadcast on Fox was for the 2004 NFL season, while X-Files ended its run in 2002.) Our sources say Fox has likely decided to “rebuild” the seasons in high-definition, in much the same way that CBS has done with Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Provided all the original camera negative has been properly stored and archived, it’ll presumably be an easier task as the show featured fewer and less elaborate visual effects.
This wouldn’t be the first time Fox has upgraded a show to Blu-ray: They did something roughly similar with Firefly on Blu-ray back in 2008, although to be fair all of the show’s visual effects were upconverted to HD rather than re-rendered in actual high-definition to save costs.
If all goes well, we’re told the first seasons of The X-Files could appear on BD sometime in late 2013. We’ll post additional updates as they come in. Stay tuned…
- Bill Hunt
Okay... the following should be considered VERY tentative. However, we've now heard it from multiple independent sources, including reliable industry insiders, so.... Sources are telling us that director James Cameron has been (or it about to begin) working on a new high-def transfer and master of The Abyss, presumably for eventual Blu-ray Disc release.
As many of you know, The Abyss is a title that doesn't even have an anamorphic widescreen DVD release (neither does True Lies for that matter) so it's LONG overdue. We've been hearing this might soon happen from industry insiders for a couple of months now, but the most recent report on this comes from a longtime Bits reader (thank you, Jon H!) who actually had the chance to meet Cameron a few weeks ago. He asked specifically about the possibility of The Abyss coming to Blu-ray, and Cameron said that he was about to start work on a new transfer using the same process he did with the Aliens Blu-ray. Cameron then proceeded to say that he was really excited about how good Aliens looks on the format. So... fingers crossed... maybe we'll finally see those remaining Cameron titles on Blu-ray in the next 12 months or so...
As always, none of this should be considered official until the studios make their official yadda, yadda... You all know the drill by now. Stay tuned!
- Bill Hunt
So... for those of you who might be wondering about the release dates for a few of the remaining, as-yet-unannounced Summer films on DVD and Blu-ray, retail sources have checked in with a couple hints.
First, our sources are telling us to expect 20th Century Fox's The A-Team, Universal's The American and Sony's The Other Guys to hit stores on or around 12/14. Sony's Salt is currently expected to follow on or around 12/21. Do keep in mind, these dates could shift a little bit and should be considered tentative until the studios make their final, official announcements.
- Bill Hunt
All right... as most of you Stanley Kubrick fans are no doubt already aware, Warner Home Video has released Blu-ray Disc versions of 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut and Full Metal Jacket. Universal recently released Spartacus, albeit in a mediocre Blu-ray edition with a substandard quality HD master. Meanwhile, Sony's done a fine job of Dr. Strangelove on Blu, and Criterion is preparing a Blu-ray release of MGM's Paths of Glory on 10/26. So a lot of you have probably been wondering, where are Warner's Blu-rays of Lolita and Barry Lyndon?
Well... that's a question we here at The Bits have been asking the folks at Warner Home Video for months now. And today, they surprised us with an answer! Yes, both Lolita and Barry Lyndon are currently being prepared for Blu-ray Disc release by the studio in 2011. And here's the even better news: They hinted that the films are going to be available both as singles AND as part of a new Stanley Kubrick Blu-ray Collection! We're waiting on more details, and no doubt it will be a while before the release gets officially announced, but it appears that Warner plans to really do their Kubrick catalog up right on Blu-ray in the new year!
What with Criterion having licensed Paths of Glory from MGM for DVD and Blu-ray release, could they have obtained rights for Kubrick's The Killing and Killer's Kiss from MGM as well? And with so much new Kubrick Blu-ray product on the way, might Universal see fit to give Spartacus a fresh high-def transfer and re-release the title in a better Blu-ray edition? (Believe me, judging by the hundreds of e-mails we've gotten in recent weeks, a LOT of you would love for that to happen. Rest assured, I strongly suggested it to the studio on my recent visit.)
In any case, the next year or so should prove to be very exciting for fans Stanley Kubrick who, like us here at The Bits, are eager to see ALL his films in high-definition!
- Bill Hunt