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Breaking News: Universal Announces Blu-ray plans!


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#1 of 88 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted April 17 2008 - 04:28 AM

NEWS RELEASE


UNIVERSAL UNVEILS INAUGURAL SLATE OF
FILM AND TV OFFERINGS COMING TO
BLU-RAY™ DISC DAY AND DATE WITH DVD


“Heroes: Season Two” Will Mark the Studio’s First Global Event Release


Lineup to Include Summer 2008’s Most Anticipated Films From Universal Pictures:

THE INCREDIBLE HULK, Wanted, Hellboy II: The Golden Army,

Mamma Mia! and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,

As Well as Some of the Studio’s Other Biggest Titles


Universal City, California, April 17, 2008—Universal Studios Home Entertainment revealed its initial lineup of film and television properties arriving later this year on Blu-ray™ Disc, day and date with DVD, it was announced today by Craig Kornblau, President, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures Digital Platforms. Marking the rollout of the studio’s first global release on Blu-ray™ will be the “Heroes: Season Two,” which will debut beginning August 26, 2008.

The highly anticipated premier of the sophomore season of NBC’s “Heroes” will be buoyed by the simultaneous debut of “Heroes Season One” on Blu-ray™ . Later in the year and in time for the holidays, five of the year’s most promising feature films will arrive in high definition: THE INCREDIBLE HULK, the action-packed new chapter of one of the most popular Super Hero sagas of all time that stars Edward Norton, William Hurt and Liv Tyler; Wanted, the action-thriller from stunning visualist director Timur Bekmambetov that stars Morgan Freeman, James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie; Hellboy II: The Golden Army, the epic vision of imagination from acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro; Mamma Mia!, the musical romantic comedy in which Meryl Streep leads an all-star cast in the adaptation of the beloved musical; and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, the next installment in The Mummy franchise in which Jet Li, Maria Bello, Michelle Yeoh and newcomer Luke Ford join the returning Brendan Fraser and John Hannah for a supernatural adventure that shifts the series to the Far East.



“We’re thrilled that our preliminary slate of Blu-ray™ offerings comprises such a brilliant collection of high-def centric fare,” said Mr. Kornblau. “As awareness for Blu-ray™ continues to grow, consumers will learn to rely on the superior quality picture, sound, interactivity and connectivity that only high-definition home entertainment delivers.”

The first wave of Universal Blu-ray™ releases, which hits U.S. stores July 22nd, gives fans of The Mummy franchise a chance to relive the iconic blockbuster films’ thrilling beginnings in crystal-clear high-definition. The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, starring Brendan Fraser, and the hugely successful action-packed spin-off The Scorpion King, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, all will be released on Blu-ray™ for the first time that day.



The first of Universal’s new theatrical Blu-ray™ releases hitting store shelves this summer day and date with its DVD counterpart is the apocalyptic thrill-ride DOOMSDAY, starring Rhona Mitra, Malcolm McDowell and Bob Hoskins. Other titles on deck for 2008 include American Gangster, Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Miami Vice, End of Days, U-571 and Land of the Dead, among others.

Furthering Universal’s aggressive rollout of Blu-ray™ product globally, Universal Pictures International Entertainment, the company’s international home entertainment arm, is concurrently announcing its initial slate of Blu-ray™ releases for the international marketplace today.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment is a unit of Universal Pictures, a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com). Universal Studios is a part of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% owned by Vivendi.

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 88 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted April 17 2008 - 04:59 AM

I'm READY! =)

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#3 of 88 OFFLINE   Jeff_HR

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Posted April 17 2008 - 05:09 AM

I'm underwelmed. Posted Image
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#4 of 88 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted April 17 2008 - 05:29 AM

You expected all 150 previously released HD-DVD titles at once? 1/4th of that by the end of the year, plus some new to HDM titles is pretty good, IMO.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#5 of 88 OFFLINE   Eric F

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Posted April 17 2008 - 06:08 AM

That's not too bad. Heroes S1 and S2 is a pretty solid release. I'm hoping Battlestar Galactica will be high up on their release next.

#6 of 88 OFFLINE   Chris Gerhard

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Posted April 17 2008 - 06:12 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Conway
You expected all 150 previously released HD-DVD titles at once? 1/4th of that by the end of the year, plus some new to HDM titles is pretty good, IMO.

I agree, it is a couple of months later than I expected but I have no complaints. All we need now is Paramount.

Chris

#7 of 88 OFFLINE   Chris S

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Posted April 17 2008 - 06:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric F
I'm hoping Battlestar Galactica will be high up on their release next.

O'yes! I imagine they'll probably wait until the end of the currently airing Season 4 but I'm very eager to have this entire series in HD.
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#8 of 88 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted April 17 2008 - 06:44 AM

I'm going to have to second Sam on his post. Given how quiet it's been with the releases, I'm looking forward to a variety of Blu-ray and standard def review material by the summer.

Sam, I'll be happy to help with the overflow if we see a wave of catalogue releases. That's going to get complicated due to some releases being ports of the previous HD-DVDs, and others being new transfers. Not to mention the audio mixes. It's going to be an interesting year, and I'm looking forward to it.

#9 of 88 OFFLINE   Paul_Stachniak

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Posted April 17 2008 - 06:50 AM

Wow, that's an awful list. Not even the new Bourne film. Or Apollo 13 - anything decent.

Still, nice to see they're getting underway.
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#10 of 88 OFFLINE   WillG

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Posted April 17 2008 - 07:10 AM

I was hoping for "The Thing"
STOP HIM! He's supposed to die!

#11 of 88 OFFLINE   Craig Beam

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Posted April 17 2008 - 07:11 AM

Damn it, where's Vertigo???? 2008 is the 50th anniversary!!!

#12 of 88 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted April 17 2008 - 07:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Beam
Damn it, where's Vertigo???? 2008 is the 50th anniversary!!!
Does anyone (besides fans) really care about anniversaries? I know some companies still have the rare "#th Anniversary Edition" banner across the top of their releases but that seems to have mostly died away. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see Vertigo but I don't think Universal cares about its 50th anniversary and will just release it whether it's the 50th or 51st or 53rd anniversary.

#13 of 88 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted April 17 2008 - 07:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillG
I was hoping for "The Thing"
It's mentioned in one of the articles about the press release. Can't remember where, though.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#14 of 88 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted April 17 2008 - 07:25 AM

Quote:
That's going to get complicated due to some releases being ports

Not all of the re-releases are ports. Some are being re-encoded for BD-50s with a higher video bitrate.

#15 of 88 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted April 17 2008 - 07:28 AM

Quote:
You expected all 150 previously released HD-DVD titles at once? 1/4th of that by the end of the year, plus some new to HDM titles is pretty good, IMO.

I agree. A lot of those titles came out to have title support during the format war. As a whole catalog didn't sell well on either format, so I am suprised to see as many catalog titles announced as they did. I consider them a bonus and am happy to have the day and date going forward (although I wish they would hurry up and do Charlie Wilson's War).

#16 of 88 OFFLINE   Craig_Ehr

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Posted April 17 2008 - 07:39 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gregorich
Not all of the re-releases are ports. Some are being re-encoded for BD-50s with a higher video bitrate.

I am hopeful that this would indeed be true, but as WB has shown with recent clarifications pertaining to the encodes for 'Batman Begins', 'V for Vendetta', et al on BD, I'll believe it when I see it (literally.)

#17 of 88 OFFLINE   TheBat

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Posted April 17 2008 - 07:42 AM

I would hope that would release the first hulk movie.. since the new one is coming out and they had it on HDDVD.

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#18 of 88 OFFLINE   Jari K

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Posted April 17 2008 - 07:54 AM

Good news. I personally don´t need these Mummy-films and such, but this is a good start. "40 titles in the second half of the year" is not bad at all. Now I feel a bit silly that I bought all those Universal HD DVD-titles from the recent sales. I should´ve just saved my money (since I doubt that these catalog-titles will be that expensive..).

Both "American gangster" and "Miami Vice" include two versions (theatrical/dir.cut) on these HD DVD combo-releases. It´s interesting to see that will they just "drop" that other version.. Hope not, of course. 50gb is now in use and all. And Universal has always been pretty good to include all the extras and such (not the case with "American gangster", though.. Posted Image ).

"Doomsday", "Hellboy 2", "The Incredible Hulk".. Bring it on! Posted Image

#19 of 88 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted April 17 2008 - 08:16 AM

Quote:
Now I feel a bit silly that I bought all those Universal HD DVD-titles from the recent sales. I should´ve just saved my money

It will be a while before all their HD DVD catalog comes out on BD. If you got a good deal enjoy them.

#20 of 88 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted April 17 2008 - 08:35 AM

I'm impressed they want to get two large multi-disc tv sets out so early. S1 of Heroes is one of my favorite HDM releases. I haven't been following response to S2, apart from some early disappoinment from a few people- what's the concensus so far from fans that have been following it?
I do hope they don't wait till mid 09 to begin releasing Galactica. Otherwise, between all the ports and new releases I'm not interested in, Universal is likely to save me a lot of money over the next couple of years.


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