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Major SONY BD release announcement... including first AVC disc!


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#1 of 22 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 09 2007 - 06:42 AM

(My comments) Open Season will be Sony's first AVC-compressed Blu-ray disc. This is a sign of progress. Annoucment below:



SPHE ANNOUNCES Q1 BLU-RAY SLATE

-- CASINO ROYALE TO MAKE ITS DEBUT ON HIGH DEF --

FULL-LENGTH ANIMATED FEATURE OPEN SEASON
FIRST MPEG-4 AVC ENCODED TITLE FROM SPHE

FEBRUARY PACKED WITH 50GB RECENT RELEASE TITLES INCLUDING
STRANGER THAN FICTION & RUNNING WITH SCISSORS


CES, LAS VEGAS (January 8, 2007) –Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) President David Bishop today announced, as part of the company’s first quarter Blu-ray line-up, that Bond will be making his way to Blu-ray with the much anticipated release of Casino Royale on March 13. Casino Royale, starring Bond newcomer Daniel Craig, grossed more than $400 million at the box office worldwide and will debut on a 50GB dual-layer disc encoded in MPEG-4 AVC. Consumers can see even more of Craig who also stars in Layer Cake, a riveting thriller set in the U.K. underworld, when it hits Blu-ray (50GB) that same day.

“With software sales up 700 percent since the mid-November launch of Playstation 3 and other Blu-ray hardware from manufacturers, the market is poised for maximum impact blockbusters like Casino Royale,” said David Bishop, President, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. “We’re proud to be the first to deliver Bond on Blu-ray with the best picture and sound quality available today. This is just the tip of the iceberg for Blu-ray in 2007.”

Sony Pictures Animation's first full-length animated feature, Open Season, starring Ashton Kutcher and Martin Lawrence, will mark the debut of the first MPEG-4 AVC encoded BD title from SPHE on January 30. In addition to Casino Royale, three more dual-layer 50GB box office hits were announced for Q1. Gridiron Gang, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, will be available January 16 followed by Running with Scissors, with Annette Bening in a Golden Globe®-nominated performance, on February 6 and Stranger Than Fiction, featuring writer and producer Will Ferrell, February 27.

Catalog titles announced include Resident Evil: The Apocalypse, featuring Blu-Wizard™, January 16 and Vertical Limit, February 20 (50GB). Also upcoming from the SPHE catalog are Hostel, Jerry Maguire and A Few Good Men.

SPHE has released a broad selection of Blu-ray Disc titles since the format’s initial launch June 20, 2006. The studio was the first to deliver a 50GB Blu-ray Disc title with the release of Click
October 10, followed by Black Hawk Down November 14 and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby on December 12.

GRIDIRON GANG – January 16
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (The Rundown, Walking Tall) stars in this gritty and inspirational movie, based on a true story, about a group of teenage delinquents given a second chance to redeem themselves by playing football. The 50GB Blu-ray Disc features:
• Commentary with the writer and director
• Deleted Scenes
• Deleted Scenes Commentary with the writer and director
• Gridiron Gang: Football Training
• Phil Joanou Profile
• The Rock Takes the Field
• Multi-Angle Football Scenes
o Theatrical Teaser Trailer
• Uncompressed audio

RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE – January 16
After narrowly escaping the horrors of the underground Hive facility, Blu-ray beauty Milla Jovovich is thrust into a war raging above ground between the living and the undead in the nightmare sequel to the 2002 sci-fi action hit Resident Evil. Resident Evil: Apocalypse is the second Blu-ray Disc title to feature SPHE’s Blu-Wizard™, a unique playlist technology that allows users to customize special features to create a personalized “Playlist” that can be viewed as a supplement to the feature film. Special features consumers may customize on the Resident Evil: Apocalypse Blu-ray Disc include:
• Filmmaker Commentary with director Alexander Witt, producer Jeremy Bolt and executive producer Robert Kulzer
• Cast Commentary with Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr and Sienna Guillory
• Writer and producer Commentary with writer/producer Paul W.S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt
• Game Over: RESIDENT EVIL Reanimated (a six-part making-of documentary)
o Game Plan
o Running, Jumping, Fighting
o Zombie Choreography
o Building Raccoon City
o Big Guns
o Smoke and Mirrors
• Featurettes
o Game Babes
o Symphony of Evil
o Corporate Malfeasa
• Deleted Scenes

o Weather Report
o Extended Stairway Chase
o Extended Gate Scene
o Terry’s Big Break
o The Lord’s Judgment
o Pray for Help
o “What the hell was that?”
o Alpha-Team Base
o Stay Alive
o “Save your ammo!”
o Graveyard Melee
o Umbrella Laboratory
o “What are you staring at?”
o Just Say No…
o “You be on the weather!”
o I Was A Ghetto Superstar
o Point, Pull, Repeat Pt. 1
o Point, Pull, Repeat Pt. 2
o Dogs in the Kitchen

o Closure


• Poster Gallery
• Cast Outtakes
• Uncompressed Audio


OPEN SEASON – January 30
Sony Pictures Animation's first full-length animated feature, Open Season, chronicles the journey of a domesticated grizzly bear (Martin Lawrence) and a fast-talking mule deer (Ashton Kutcher) who unite the woodland creatures and take the forest back before open hunting season. Encoded in MPEG-4 AVC, Open Season on Blu-ray Disc features hours of activities. The disc contains loads of added-value features in high-definition including:
• Boog and Elliot's Midnight Bun Run Short
• Behind the Trees Featurette
• The Voices Behind the Stars Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
o Forest 102
o Facial Tick
• Music Video: Deathray - "I Wanna Lose Control (Uh Oh)" by Deathray
• Inside the Animals Studio Commentary
• Commentary with the Filmmakers Behind Open Season
• Activities
o Voice-A-Rama
o Wheel of Fortune: Forest Edition
o "Swept Away" Scene Deconstruction
• Ringtales
o Rabbitball
o Security Camera
o Camouflage
• Galleries
o Environments
o Characters
o Beat Boards
• Uncompressed Audio

RUNNING WITH SCISSORS – February 6
A poignant film based on the personal memoirs of Augusten Burroughs, Running with Scissors is the critically acclaimed story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock-therapy machine could provide entertainment. The 50GB Blu-ray Disc features:
• Inside Outsiders Featurette
• A Personal Memoir by Augusten Burroughs
• Creating the Cuckoo’s Nest Featurette
• Uncompressed Audio


THE TAILOR OF PANAMA – February 6
Based on the 1996 novel, The Tailor of Panama stars Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush in an espionage thriller set amidst the controversy of the handover of the Panama Canal from Panama to America in late 1999. The 50GB Blu-ray Disc contains:
• Commentary by John Boorman
• The Perfect Fit: A Conversation with Pierce Brosnan and Geoffrey Rush
• Alternate Ending
• Uncompressed Audio

VERTICAL LIMIT – February 20
K2, a 28,250-foot mountain in Pakistan's Karakoram Range, is the perfect showpiece for Blu-ray’s high definition picture quality and theater quality audio in this adrenaline-pumping action-adventure film. The capability of the 50GB Blu-ray Disc allows viewers to see every detail of the breathtaking scenery in true high definition and comes loaded with special features including:
• Commentary with director Martin Campbell and producer Lloyd Phillips
• Surviving the Limit
• Search and Rescue Tables
o Vertigo Magic
o As Easy as Falling off a Cliff
o Avalanche!
o The Death Zone
o Peak Performers
o The Elixir of Life
o Credits and Acknowledgements
• Uncompressed Audio

STRANGER THAN FICTION – February 27
Will Ferrell shines in the original comedy Stranger Than Fiction, a tale about the journey of self-discovery to find the meaning of life. The 50GB Blu-ray Disc is filled with bonus features including:
• Actors in Search of a Story – A discussion with director Marc Forster and cast members
• “Building the Team” – The importance and contributions of Forster’s production, costume, photography, writing, special effects and editorial teams
• “On Location in Chicago” – An in-depth look into the Windy City
• Words on the Page – Dual interview with producer Lindsay Doran and writer Zach Helm discussing the film’s relevance
• Script to Screen – Shooting script available as a gallery
• Outtakes and Deleted Scenes
• Audio Commentaries from the filmmaker and cast members
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• On the Set- A montage of funny on the set moments
• Picture a Number: The Evolution of a G.U.I.- A look at the special features
• Uncompressed Audio

CASINO ROYALE – March 13
Casino Royale introduces James Bond to the world as he is earning his “00” status and is sent on a dangerous mission to trump a high stakes poker game that could take down one of the world’s largest terrorists organizations. Added-value features in high-definition on the Casino Royale 50GB MPEG-4 AVC encoded Blu-ray Disc include:

• Becoming Bond – An intimate look at how Daniel Craig stepped into the role of the 6th James Bond
• Bond Girls Are Forever – A closer look at Bond’s Leading Ladies (standard-def)
• Chris Cornell Music Video, “You Know My Name”
• Uncompressed Audio

LAYER CAKE – March 13
Layer Cake is a riveting thriller set in the drug underworld of the U.K. and explores the dangerous world of sex, drugs, deception and money. The film stars Daniel Craig in a role that undoubtedly helped him prepare for his stint as James Bond in Casino Royale. The 50GB Blu-ray Disc is equipped with loads of added-value including:
• Director and Writer Commentary
• Deleted and Extended Scenes

o Duke at the Café
o Lunch at Jimmy’s
o Charlotte
o How to Find Charlotte
o Fishing
o Tiptoes Has Been Calling
o Guarding the Goods
o XXXX in Bed with the Gun
o On the Staircase
o On the Rooftop
o Sidney and Sam
o Setting Up the Meeting
o Where is My Prisoner?
o Meeting at Gene’s
o Driving Away Alternate Ending
o Alternate Ending

• Q&A Screening with Matthew Vaughn and Daniel Craig
• Behind the Scenes Featurette
• Uncompressed Audio


About Sony Pictures Home Entertainment:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is a division of Sony Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. Sony Pictures Entertainment's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries. Information on Sony Pictures Entertainment and Blu-ray can be found on the World Wide Web at www.sonypictures.com/bluray.
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#2 of 22 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

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Posted January 09 2007 - 08:27 AM

nice...i'm lovin' 2007!

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#3 of 22 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted January 09 2007 - 09:12 AM

I like the announcements and films selected for release. The only thing that would make me happier is for MGM/Fox to start packaging some of the other Bond titles for Blu-ray.

#4 of 22 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 09 2007 - 09:31 AM

Agreed.

I'm most excited by the fact that not only are TWO of these releases using MPEG4/AVC compression (which looks great on eight-below by Disney) which is a first for Sony getting away from MPEG2, but BOTH of those titles will also be on BD50 meaning that Sony plans to use the space gained from better video compression for bonus matierals or other things (ie, they're not using AVC just to try to fit the film on a BD25 disc).
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#5 of 22 OFFLINE   ppltd

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Posted January 09 2007 - 10:08 AM

Other than Casino Royale, I don't see alot to get excited about from Sony. Maybe when Spiderman gets released.
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#6 of 22 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 09 2007 - 11:11 AM

It's hoped that spiderman might be a "stealth" 2007 release not mentioned here at CES. Lots of us have been letting the Sony insider/rep who posts at AVS know how much we all want to see those spidy-films on BD.

Of course, I really want sony to do them RIGHT then they do them. That means 50 gig AVC properly compressed with lossless audio and great extras. So I'm patient if it means Sony's going to do a better job because of the wait.
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#7 of 22 OFFLINE   Harminder

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Posted January 09 2007 - 11:35 AM

I love this line:

Uncompressed Audio

Quite possibly the sweetest 2 words to my home theater calibrated ears Posted Image.

I'm liking what I see from Blu-Ray.

#8 of 22 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted January 09 2007 - 12:40 PM

if only there were a new spider-man film coming out soon...then we might get a chance to see the movies in HD.


oh wait a second, there is. Do ya really think there might be a chance now Posted Image

that someone would even question the possiblity of not seeing these this year.
It's just as silly on the HD DVD side with all the yahoos getting ready to light their torches and storm Burbank because Warner hasn't released Harry Potter as per the enclosed flyer. Uh, there is a new movie coming out soon fellas...
You would think all these guys just fell off the turnip truck and have no experience waiting for synergistic releases.

#9 of 22 OFFLINE   Dave_P.

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Posted January 09 2007 - 03:30 PM

Yep, the titles listed are 1st Quarter only anf probably not even complete. Spidey 3 is a 2Q movie.

#10 of 22 OFFLINE   Jeff Adkins

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Posted January 09 2007 - 04:01 PM

Quote:
I'm most excited by the fact that not only are TWO of these releases using MPEG4/AVC compression (which looks great on eight-below by Disney) which is a first for Sony getting away from MPEG2, but BOTH of those titles will also be on BD50 meaning that Sony plans to use the space gained from better video compression for bonus matierals or other things (ie, they're not using AVC just to try to fit the film on a BD25 disc).

I really don't care so much about the codec. The highest-rated title for PQ so far has been The Covenant, which was MPEG2. It's less efficient, but seems to produce equal results.

#11 of 22 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted January 09 2007 - 05:51 PM

Yes, but what happens when they start using multiple lossless audio streams, HD extras, and a myriad of other interactive features? The use of MPEG2 could result in some other aspect of the release being compromised. Using AVC or VC1 would eliminate potential space conflicts......at least until they figured out how to fill up 50GB of space. Posted Image

MPEG2 needs to be retired as soon as possible. The AVC compressed discs from SONY may be an indicator that even SONY, who was committed to use of MPEG2, is rethinking its use.
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#12 of 22 OFFLINE   Jeff Adkins

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Posted January 09 2007 - 06:52 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwin-S
Yes, but what happens when they start using multiple lossless audio streams, HD extras, and a myriad of other interactive features? The use of MPEG2 could result in some other aspect of the release being compromised. Using AVC or VC1 would eliminate potential space conflicts......at least until they figured out how to fill up 50GB of space. Posted Image

I agree with that. I definitely wouldn't want extras left off or quality compromised. Good point. But if it's a 90 minute film with a 15 minute featurette, it could be MPEG2 for all I care.

Quote:
MPEG2 needs to be retired as soon as possible. The AVC compressed discs from SONY may be an indicator that even SONY, who was committed to use of MPEG2, is rethinking its use.

Sounds like it. If it helps BD in the eyes of the consumer, then it is a good move.

#13 of 22 OFFLINE   TwoKings

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Posted January 09 2007 - 07:08 PM

This is great news. I was hoping that Casino Royale would not be in MPEG2 and my wish was granted.

I can't wait for this...and uncompressed audio!!

#14 of 22 OFFLINE   Hank_P

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Posted January 09 2007 - 11:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaViD Boulet
(My comments) Open Range will be Sony's first AVC-compressed Blu-ray disc. This is a sign of progress. Annoucment below:




You are just mean David, mean I tell you. You say Open Range, but you really mean Open Season. Posted Image I loved the movie Open Range, one of the best sounding gunfights on DVD. I keep making this mistake also when I talk about "Open Seasons" release. Posted Image

#15 of 22 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 10 2007 - 12:21 AM

Ooops! Typo fixed... open *season*... sorry to get up any false hopes!

dave Posted Image
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#16 of 22 OFFLINE   AlexBC

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Posted January 10 2007 - 01:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harminder
I love this line:

Uncompressed Audio

Quite possibly the sweetest 2 words to my home theater calibrated ears Posted Image.

I'm liking what I see from Blu-Ray.


Couldn't agree more with you Harminder ; )
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#17 of 22 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted January 10 2007 - 02:58 AM

ok so since i dont know can someone tell me why i should be excited about this AVC/
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#18 of 22 OFFLINE   Grant H

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Posted January 10 2007 - 03:26 AM

Just hope that Spider-Man (the first film, anyway) gets a new transfer. It was NOT a flawless Superbit and will receive a Fifth Element-like backlash if the same transfer hits HD.

Lots to get excited about regarding Blu-ray. I'm just waiting for a 2nd generation Panasonic player to emerge. I'd get the 1st-gen model when the price drops, but it seems silly to not wait for a model with HDMI 1.3 at this point.

Regarding Bond, doesn't it seem like there should be an Ultimate Bond Blu-ray set: 007 in 2007 and all. It would be nice to get them all in one mega-set.
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#19 of 22 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 10 2007 - 04:17 AM

Quote:
ok so since i dont know can someone tell me why i should be excited about this AVC

AVC is a high-end version of MPEG4 (not the MPEG4 you remember from the internet webstreaming) which basically adds new tricks and improves upon the MPEG2 backbone. Basically, it's the MPEG version of VC1 if you want to think of it that way (just a rough comparison here, not a technical one).

The problem with MPEG2 isn't that it can't produce a great picture... it's that it needs LOTS of bandwidth and bit-space to do it. So basically you need a 50GB BD using MPEG2 with a 2.5 hour movie to get the same quality you'd get using a single-layer BD with AVC (or Microsoft's VC1).

The beauty of using more efficient video codecs like AVC and VC1 with 50GB discs is that then the added space *really is* added space... it can now be used for 1080p bonus material and other stuff.

Sony has political and financial ties to the MPEG codec which is why they'll use AVC (which is tied to MPEG) rather than Microsoft's own VC1 codec.
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#20 of 22 OFFLINE   ppltd

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Posted January 10 2007 - 05:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaViD Boulet
AVC is a high-end version of MPEG4 (not the MPEG4 you remember from the internet webstreaming) which basically adds new tricks and improves upon the MPEG2 backbone. Basically, it's the MPEG version of VC1 if you want to think of it that way (just a rough comparison here, not a technical one).

To my estimation, this is the only real positive news from Sony. It is about time.
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