They're aiming for a May or June release. Amongst others it will include a new 50 minute documentary called Anatomy Of A Classic. Check out the posts by Ken Barnes on the messageboard at http://www.laureatedvd.com/ for all this info.
Ken Barnes has produced quality SE DVD's of Man With The Golden Arm, Holiday Inn and Meet John Doe which all have good picture quality (Meet John Doe was extensively digitally cleaned up as is shown on the disc in a before and after comparison). Although it more than likely will not feature the Warner restoration, I am confident that his Citizen Kane will be special as well and not recycle the old R2 single disc. Although, with Universal UK you never know (says someone who once briefly owned their horrible 4:3 P&S El Cid disc).
I am afraid the Laureate discs are a bit of a mixed bag. Meet John Doe is excellent both in terms of picture quality and extras. Charade is passable but Royal Wedding is derived from a poor print.I suppose when you are dealing with public domain films fine prints are hard to come by. I hope Universal R2 Citizen Kane does get a clean-up but I don't think any new release will be derived from a brand new print because as far I know Universal have the rights to Welles classic in Europe.
I think the Region 1 double disc will continue to be the definitive Citizen Kane DVD. The only worry I have about that is its continued availablity after Warners legal battle with Welles' family. I've only listened to one Ken Barnes commentary on the musical Royal Wedding which was alright enlivened a bit by Fred Astaire's daughter Ava. Any documentary about Kane will have a hard time matching The Battle Over Citizen Kane (I recently seen it on the Discovery Channel)which although it didn't concentrate on the making of the film provided an excellent context to the creation to the greatest achievement of Hollywood's studio system.
Warner Bros will very likely simply pay off Beatrice Welles and we will hear no more of her lawsuit. Her main aim is not promoting her father's work, but rather making money off of it, so it wouldn't help her to have the film taken out of circulation. As for Battle Over Citizen Kane, it's a piece of junk, taking the stand that Welles and Hearst were "destined" to do battle, despite the fact that Kane was Welles' third choice of film, after the planned productions of Heart of Darkness and Smiler With a Knife were rejected.
Further, the documentary posits that Kane was the high point of Welles' career as well as what "destroyed" him, failing to take into account The Magnificent Ambersons, which really damaged his Hollywood standing, as did the failure of Lady From Shanghai and Macbeth a few years later. It also ignores the great work Welles did post-Hollywood. But that's not as melodramatic a story.
And to claim that Kane is the greatest work of the studio system is rather ironic, as Kane was hardly a studio product in the traditional sense, given Welles' extraordinary latitude in making the film, and its cast of primarily radio/stage actors from the Mercury Theater. Kane would never have been made, unless the studio system had stepped aside, so to speak, to make it possible.
Well what you say is correct to a certain extent but I still maintain that the Battle Over Citizen Kane is excellent when it discusses the background to both Welles and Hearst. What documentary would you recommmend, possibly the BBC Welles biography which really should be the one on the new Universal/Laureate Special Edition ? I'll admit I've never been a great Wellesian. I think he was a fine actor in films like The Third Man and A Man For All Seasons but I don't rate him very highly as a director apart from Kane. The Magnificent Ambersons despite its innovative use of sound was butchered by the studio. I don't like The Lady from Shanghai or Touch of Evil much. Probably my favourite Welles directed film after Kane is The Stranger which I think is under-rated while some of the others are over-rated. It helps that this is readily available as a public domain title : the print I have is passable. I'm not too familar with Welles post Hollywood work. While I see your point about Citizen Kane not being strictly a product of the studio system it did emerge from that system. Are Hitchcock's thrillers which all bear the distinctive mark of the director not products of the studio system or James Whale's horror films ? I don't believe the studio system was as suffocating or restrictive to creative talent as you seem to suggest.
I've got a feeling that this is a different transfer than the Warner/Lowry transfer. I can't see how Warner would allow the master to be used by Universal/Laureate; I'm sure that Warner would have loved to release their own DVD in Britain, and helping Universal is not exactly something they are known for.