‘Maniac Cop 2’ and ‘3’ Due on 4K Ultra HD Nov. 16 From MVD

The horror films Maniac Cop 2 and Maniac Cop 3 are being released on 4K Ultra HD Nov. 16 from Blue Underground and MVD Entertainment Group.

In the sequel Maniac Cop 2, the “Maniac Cop” is back from the dead and stalking the streets of New York once more. Officer Matt Cordell was once a hero, but after being framed by corrupt superiors and brutally assaulted in prison, he sets out on a macabre mission of vengeance, teaming up with a vicious serial killer to track down those that wronged him and make them pay.

Robert Davi (Die Hard), Claudia Christian (The Hidden), Michael Lerner (Barton Fink), Laurene Landon (Hundra), Leo Rossi (Halloween II), Robert Z’Dar (Tango & Cash), Charles Napier (The Silence of the Lambs), and Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead) star in this sequel written by Larry Cohen (It’s Alive) and directed by William Lustig (Maniac). Maniac Cop 2 has been scanned in 4K from the original camera negative and supervised by director of photography James Lemmo. It is presented with Dolby Vision HDR and a new Dolby Atmos audio mix. Special features include audio commentary and a making-of featurette.

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In Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence, when Officer Kate Sullivan storms a hostage situation, the whole incident is captured on tape by an unscrupulous media crew who edit the footage to show Kate killing a helpless victim. Now in a coma, Kate’s only hope is Detective Sean McKinney, who desperately tries to clear her name. But unbeknownst to him, “Maniac Cop” Matt Cordell takes it upon himself to exact revenge upon those responsible for smearing her name.

Returning stars Robert Davi and Robert Z’Dar are joined by Paul Gleason (Die Hard), Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), Julius Harris (Super Fly), Doug Savant (“Melrose Place”), and Robert Forster (Jackie Brown) in this third entry from Maniac Cop creator Larry Cohen. The film is scanned in 4K from the original uncensored negative, presented with Dolby Vision HDR and a new Dolby Atmos audio mix. Special features include audio commentary, the theatrical trailer, a making-of featurette, and deleted and extended scenes.

Italian Thrillers ‘Deep Red,’ Gaillo Classics Hitting Disc This Fall From Arrow and MVD

Dario Argento’s Deep Red in 4K and a “Giallo Essentials” collection are being released on Blu-ray Disc Oct. 26 and Nov. 30, respectively, from MVD Entertainment Group and Arrow Video.

From legendary director Argento (Suspiria, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage), Deep Red is being released on 4K Ultra HD Oct. 26 with a new 4K restoration of both the original 127-minute Italian version and the 105-minute export version from the original negative by Arrow Films. In the film, one night, musician Marcus Daly (David Hemmings, Blow Up), looking up from the street below, witnesses the brutal axe murder of a woman in her apartment. Racing to the scene, Marcus just manages to miss the perpetrator — or does he? As he takes on the role of amateur sleuth, Marcus finds himself ensnared in a bizarre web of murder and mystery where nothing is what it seems.

Three films from the Italian export genre giallo — films steeped in mystery and intrigue, delivered with stylized violence — are available Nov. 30 in the first of a multi-volume series of “Giallo Essentials,” including The Possessed (1965), The Fifth Cord (1971) and The Pyjama Girl Case (1978). The films feature a raft of talent in front of and behind the camera with each film restored from the original camera negatives and presented with a range of contextualising interviews and featurettes. The Possessed is based on one of Italy’s most notorious crimes. It tells the story of a depressed novelist (Peter Baldwin) in search of his old flame (Virna Lisi) who has disappeared under suspicious circumstances, prompting an investigation that finds him plunged into a disturbing drama of familial secrets, perversion, madness and murder. The Fifth Cord boasts a complex, Agatha Christie-esque plot of investigation into a series of brutal assaults. As the body count rises, whisky swilling journalist Andrea Bild (Franco Nero) finds himself under suspicion, making it all the more imperative he crack the case. The Pyjama Girl Case, inspired by a real-life case, takes viewers to Australia where former inspector Timpson comes out of retirement to crack the case of a young woman, found on the beach, shot in the head, burned to hide her identity and dressed in distinctive yellow pyjamas.

‘Demons’ and ‘Demons 2’ Due on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Oct. 19 From MVD and Synapse

Lamberto Bava’s two Italian horror films, Demons and Demons 2, are being released Oct. 19 on 4K Ultra HD and remastered Blu-ray in brand-new 4K restorations from Synapse Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

Produced by Dario Argento (Suspiria), Demons and Demons 2 are available in two-disc sets in both formants.

In Demons (1985), a masked man offers tickets to a horror movie sneak preview at the mysterious Metropol cinema. When a patron is scratched by a prop displayed in the theater lobby, she transforms into a flesh-ripping demon. One by one, the audience members mutate into horrible creatures hell-bent on destroying the world. In the 1986 sequel Demons 2, a televised horror film spells doom for the residents of a luxury high-rise apartment, as demons are unleashed through the TV screen at a young girl’s birthday party. As more and more residents are infected and transformed into blood-thirsty demons, a young couple fights to survive as they try to escape.

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Both releases are packed with special features, including two versions of Demons, the full-length original cut in English and Italian and the shorter U.S. version featuring alternate dubbing and sound effects.

‘Beyond Darkness,’ ‘Retribution’ Among Four Horror Films Due on Blu-ray Oct. 26 From Severin and MVD

Four horror films from Severin Films will be available Oct. 26 on Blu-ray from MVD Entertainment Group.

 Blood for Dracula (1974) will have its North American 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray premiere with new special features. Immediately after completing Flesh for Frankenstein, writer-director Paul Morrissey and star Udo Kier created this Euroshocker. Desperate for virgin blood, Count Dracula (Kier) journeys to an Italian villa only to discover the family’s three young daughters are also coveted by the estate’s Marxist stud (Joe Dallesandro). Stefania Casini (Suspiria) and Bicycle Thieves director Vittorio De Sica co-star with a cameo by Roman Polanski in this film scanned uncut in 4K from the original negative for the first time ever. Special features include “Trans-Human Flesh and Blood,” an interview with director Paul Morrissey; “Rubinia’s Homecoming,” an interview and location visit with actress Stefania Casini; “Blood for Udo,” an interview with Kier; “Little Big Joe,” an interview with actor Joe Dallesandro; “Conversation with a Vampire,” an audio interview with actress Milena Vukotic; “Bloodthirsty,” an interview with assistant director Paolo Pietrangeli; “Black Cherry,” an interview with art director Gianni Giovagnoni; “The Blood of These Whores,” an interview with Murderous Passions author Stephen Thrower; “Sad, Romantic Dracula,” an interview with soundtrack composer Claudio Gizzi; “The Roman Connection,” an interview with producer Andrew Braunsberg; trailers; and the original motion picture soundtrack composed, orchestrated and conducted by Claudio Gizzi.

An Angel for Satan (1966) is having its first-ever authorized American release. In the final film of her Italian gothic period, Barbara Steele (Black Sunday) stars in the erotic shocker. When a cursed statue is recovered from a villa’s lake, a young heiress (Steele) will inflict a torrent of depraved seduction and homicidal madness on the local village. Anthony Steffen (The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave), Claudio Gora (Danger: Diabolik) and Marina Berti (Night Train Murders) co-star in this film scanned in 2K from the original negative with both the Italian and thought-lost English tracks recently discovered in a Rome vault. Special features include audio commentary with Steele and horror film historian David Del Valle; audio commentary with Kat Ellinger, author of Daughters of Darkness; “The Devil Statue,” an interview with actor Vassili Karis; “Barbara & Her Furs,” a 1967 short film by Pierre Andro based on “Venus In Furs,” starring Steele with optional partial commentary by Steele; and trailers.

Shortly after completing Troll 2, writer/director Claudio Fragasso and co-writer Rossella Drudi (Shocking Dark) returned to America to combine elements of The Exorcist, Poltergeist and The Beyond in Beyond Darkness (1990). When a Satanic child killer is executed, she transforms the new home of a young reverend and his family into a portal to Hell. Gene LeBrock (Metamorphosis), David Brandon (Caligula 2) and Michael Paul Stephenson (child star of Troll 2 and director of Best Worst Movie) star in this film shot by Joe D’Amato with costumes by Laura Gemser and a score by Carlo Maria Cordio (Night Killer). Released in Italy as Evil Dead 5, the release features new interviews produced exclusively for this edition, including “Beyond Possession,” an interview with Fragasso; “The Devil in Mrs. Drudi,” an interview with Drudi; and “Sign of the Cross,” an interview with actor David Brandon. It also includes the soundtrack CD and the trailer.

Retribution (1987), the feature film debut of co-writer/director Guy Magar, comes in a three-disc collection. In the film, on the seedy side of Hollywood, an emotionally fragile painter miraculously survives a horrific suicide attempt. But when a series of grisly murders rocks the city, he discovers he may be possessed by the vengeful spirit of a murdered local hoodlum. Dennis Lipscomb (Eyes of Fire), Leslie Wing (The Frighteners), Suzanne Snyder (Weird Science) and Hoyt Axton (Gremlins) star in this film featuring a score by Alan Howarth (They Live, Prince of Darkness) and scanned in 2K from recently discovered pre-print elements. Special features include audio commentary with co-writer/director Guy Magar; “Writing Wrongs,” an interview with co-writer Lee Wasserman; “Shock Therapy,” an interview with actress Leslie Wing; “Angel’s Heart,” an interview with actress Suzanne Snyder; “Santa Maria, Mother of God, Help Me!,” an interview with actor Mike Muscat; “Settling the Score,” an interview with soundtrack composer Alan Howarth; “Visions of Vengeance,” an interview with special effects artist John Eggett; “The Art of Getting Even,” an interview with artist Barry Fahr; “Living In Oblivion,” an interview with production designer Robb Wilson King; “BINGO,” a student short by Guy Magar with optional director commentary; trailers; a stills and poster gallery; and the CD soundtrack.

Warner Issuing ‘Mad Max’ Sequels, Anthology on 4K Disc Nov. 16

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release two “Mad Max” movies and a franchise boxed set on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and Digital HD Nov. 16.

This marks the 4K debuts for the first two sequels in the franchise, 1981’s The Road Warrior and 1985’s Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The original 1979 Mad Max was released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray by Kino Lorber in November 2020. The fourth film, 2015’s Mad Max Fury Road, has been available on 4K since 2016.

Created by George Miller and Byron Kennedy, the “Mad Max” franchise focuses on the character of Max Rockatansky, a drifter in a post-apocalyptic world. Miller directed or co-directed all four films. Mel Gibson starred as Max in the first three films and Tom Hardy took over the lead role in the fourth film.

The Mad Max Anthology 4K UHD release, along with the 4K UHD releases of The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, are from scans of the original camera negatives. The 4K UHD remasters were supervised by the mastering team at Motion Picture Imaging. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs of Road Warrior, Beyond Thunderdome and Fury Road feature a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

The Road Warrior will include previously released extras such as an introduction by Leonard Maltin, commentary by Miller and cinematographer Dean Semler, and a making-of featurette.

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Update (10/12/21): Release date changed from Nov. 2 to Nov. 16.

Kurosawa’s ‘Ran’ Available on 4K Ultra HD Steelbook Exclusively at Best Buy

Director Akira Kurosawa’s Ran will be released Nov. 16 on 4K Ultra HD Steelbook from Lionsgate, exclusively at Best Buy.

Kurosawa’s (Rashomon, Seven Samurai) samurai epic blends King Lear, 16th century feudal Japan, and his own notions of loyalty and honor to tell the story of aging Lord Hidetora, whose decision to bequeath his kingdom to his three sons sparks a power struggle that leads to chaos and madness.

Winner of the 1985 Oscar for costume design, Ran is being release with new artwork from artist Zi Xu as well as the special feature “Ran: The Restoration.”

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‘Evil Dead Groovy Collection’ Due Nov. 16 From Lionsgate

The original two “Evil Dead” films, as well as the three-season “Ash vs. Evil Dead” series will be released in The Evil Dead Groovy Collection, arriving Nov. 16 on 4K Ultra HD plus Blu-ray plus digital from Lionsgate.

Wisecracking ladies’ man Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell, Army of Darkness, Bubba Ho-Tep, TV’s “The Last Kids on Earth”) is reborn as a slayer of Deadites in The Evil Dead (4K plus Blu-ray) after a vacation in the country is ruined by the reading of an ancient demon-summoning text. In Evil Dead II (4K plus Blu-ray), a chainsaw-armed Ash is pushed to the brink of madness by unhinged evil yet again, while the series “Ash vs. Evil Dead” (Blu-ray) follows an older, grayer Ash over three seasons as he reckons with his bloody past in the face of a Deadite plague.

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The release includes The Evil Dead bonus content DVD, with more than three hours of features revisiting the film’s cast, crew and legacy. The Evil Dead 4K Blu-ray includes audio Commentary with writer-director Sam Raimi, producer Robert G. Tapert and Campbell. Evil Dead II includes audio commentary with Raimi, Campbell, cowriter Scott Spiegel and special makeup effects artist Greg Nicotero, as well as numerous Blu-ray special features. “Ash vs Evil Dead” includes numerous extras for each season.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray: The Collector’s Format

In a world where everything “virtual” and “digital” is all the rage, the physical disc collector is still an important and avid customer of the home entertainment business — and for disc devotees, the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray remains the gold standard.

“If I love a film, I want the best possible image and sound experience of that film at home,” says Bill Hunt, editor of enthusiast site The Digital Bits. “That’s what 4K is  all about.”

Indeed, for collectors who look for the highest standard in home entertainment, nothing can compare with the physical 4K disc with high dynamic range, a format that isn’t beholden to a wireless system or other delivery mechanisms that may downgrade the experience.

The advantages of the crisper picture and wider color gamut are preserved in the physical disc experience in a way that digital still cannot match.

And, with titles shifting from streaming service to streaming service, and rights constantly up in the air, owning a top-quality disc of their favorite titles is essential to collectors.

Quality Counts

For 4K disc aficionados, quality of picture and sound is top of mind.

“I believe, first and foremost, the improved resolution and picture detail you get with 4K over Blu-ray is the reason for purchase,” says Ron Epstein of enthusiast site The Home Theater Forum, who has more than 100 4K discs in his collection.

“It’s 100% the image and sound quality,” adds Hunt, who counts close to 400 4K titles in his disc collection. “New extras are great, too, and the more the better. But if the image is remastered and there’s an improved sound mix, that’s what’s most important to collectors.

“Second to that would be that the new release at least carries over the previous extras, so people don’t need to hang on to multiple editions if they’d prefer not to.”

Collector Neil Middlemiss of Mint Hill, N.C., just outside of Charlotte, says that the increase in image quality is the primary attraction of 4K disc releases, although he also prizes a Dolby Atmos audio track. He has 140 4K discs in his library and will replace a title he owns in another format to get the quality of 4K.

“If a 4K disc is released of a film I already own, I am typically interested in making the upgrade,” he says. “I do tend to wait for the high initial price point to pass before picking up a copy, but in some cases I will get it right away, such as when the 2014 Godzilla was released on 4K UHD. I picked up a copy upon release so I could watch it ahead of the new Godzilla vs. Kong movie. Classic films I love that I think belong in everyone’s collection, like 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, Alien and Jaws, are the kind I snap up instantly.”

Brian Dobbs of Camas, Wash., says he loves “the potential that HDR has to offer.” (High dynamic range creates brighter brights and darker darks on 4K Ultra HD titles.)

“Atmos and HDR are absolutely the best reasons to go for a UHD disc, and it’s a huge disappointment when titles don’t embrace those options,” says Sam Posten, of Aberdeen, Md., who has just over 100 4K discs in his more than 1,000-disc collection. “I want all my favorites on the highest quality I can buy.”

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Extra, Extra

While the quality of the picture and sound are the top draw among 4K collectors, they also find special features and packaging important.

“Of course, we collectors love to show off our collections, both on the screen and on our shelves, and the bigger the boxes the better,” Posten says.

“Quality has always been the true benchmark for collectors, and 4K Ultra HD is just that — the best possible means of watching a movie outside the theater,” says Aaron Gershman, VP of creative services at Lionsgate. “When that movie’s in premium packaging with excellent artwork, it’s not just worthy of being in a collection, it’s a display piece.”

“With our ‘Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection’ series, we’ve taken that experience to the next level for a selection of our studio’s most acclaimed films, with pristine 4K restorations and a rich assortment of special features, all assembled in limited-edition collectible packaging — perfect for the passionate 4K movie fan,” says Jeremy Glassman, director of global brand marketing for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Middlemiss prizes good packaging, but only on his all-time favorite films. He doesn’t put a premium on special features unless they are “deep behind-the-scenes examinations of the production.”

Still, others pay close attention to special features on 4K releases.
Posten bemoans titles that have only standard-definition extras “recycled from the ’90s.”

“I love special features and usually watch most or all of them,” Dobbs says. “These are gold and, as a filmmaker, offer me insights into the film to satisfy my curiosity about how everything was produced.”

Studio Support

Despite a pivot to serving a growing digital audience, the major studios have continued to cater to these avid collectors — and they are seeing resulting sales.

“Our industry is constantly evolving as consumer habits change and new technologies and distribution platforms emerge,” says Jim Wuthrich, president of content distribution for WarnerMedia. “Digital transactions have become the first choice for some of our consumers, but for others physical ownership of a disc is still their preference as it is what they are used to and comfortable with.

“While the ease and convenience of being able to watch digital content anywhere and on any device cannot be understated, there is still something to be said for the weekend activity of putting a disc in a player and watching with your family. Additionally, the quality of 4K with HDR at home offers our consumers the best viewing experience.”

“Every year, more consumers are recognizing that 4K Ultra HD delivers the very best at-home viewing experience for new and classic films of all genres,” says Bob Buchi, president, worldwide, of Paramount Home Entertainment. “We’ve continued to see sales of 4K discs climb for each of our new releases, with the most recent success being A Quiet Place Part II, for which 4K made up nearly 20% of overall disc sales.

“As for library titles, the 4K releases of both Top Gun last year and the ‘Indiana Jones Collection’ this year sold incredibly well, and there has been great anticipation for the original ‘Star Trek’ films coming to the format this month.”

It’s all about offering the collector a superior product, studio executives say.

“There has been substantial strength in premium disc offerings such as 4K, Steelbooks and special collections across both new-release and catalog,” notes Kathleen Gallagher, EVP of global physical home entertainment for Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. “There is a core group who continue to place significant value on ownership, wanting the standout, collectible version that looks and sounds incredible and delivers the ultimate viewing experience.

“We’ve seen strong lift as of late for 4K catalog product in particular, with nostalgic titles such as Jaws and National Lampoon’s Animal House as well as cult-favorites like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World performing at exceptional levels.”

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Independent Spirit

While the major studios have been releasing 4K Ultra HD discs for some time, independent film distributors have been slower in joining the market. But, now, with an eye to the strong desire among collectors, many are committed to serving the 4K Ultra HD disc aficionado and are offering some big releases with a plethora of extras. They aim to give titles just the kind of premium treatment collectors want.

“The studios continue to do a great job porting over extras from the Blu-ray release,” notes the Home Theater Forum’s Epstein. “However, it’s the boutique labels that are releasing some terrific studio-licensed catalog product that contain a treasure chest of newly-acquired special features.”

The attraction to collectors, first and foremost, is “truer and sharper picture quality, 3840 x 2160p compared to the 1920 x 1080p on Blu-ray,” notes Kino Lorber’s Frank Tarzi, VP of acquisitions and business development. Kino began releasing 4K Ultra HD discs in April 2019 with Hannibal. The company has released five 4K disc titles so far and plans on releasing a few dozen more.

Well Go USA Entertainment, too, jumped into the market in 2019 with Shadow, an “amazing and beautifully shot martial arts genre film with very high production value,” says EVP Tony Vandeveerdonk. “Performance at retail exceeded our initial forecasts,” he says.

“The strong visual and ultra-sound experience in home theater on 4K drives the attraction for disc collectors,” he adds, noting that the constrained availability of limited editions also increases collectors’ appetites.

Well Go USA has released a total of five titles on 4K.

Blue Underground got into the market in 2020.

“We’ve gone all in on 4K UHD since releasing our first two titles in May 2020,” says Greg Chick, production manager. “So far, we’ve restored and released nine of our best-selling catalog titles on the format, with several more in the works.”

Collectors are driving the upgrades.

“Disc collectors want their favorite films in the best available quality, with additional bells and whistles,” Chick says. “Blue Underground prides itself in offering pristine film restorations in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision HDR, restored and remixed Dolby Atmos audio, and hours of special features.

“In addition to the films on 4K UHD and Blu-ray, our deluxe limited editions include bonuses like booklets, soundtrack CDs, and slipcovers. For Dead & Buried, we even offered consumers the choice of three different lenticular slipcovers featuring the theatrical artwork and two shocking scenes from the film. Some collectors bought all three covers.”

Genre fans are a key constituency. Last January, Shout! Factory scored big with two horror and sci-fi films on 4K Ultra HD: Prince of Darkness and They Live.

Shout! came early to the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray party. Since 2016, the company has released 18 4K Ultra HD titles, beginning with Journey to Space, narrated by Patrick Stewart.

“Our loyal hardcore horror and sci-fi fans continue to support HD physical media, as it is still the best format in which they can watch their favorite films in the best possible presentation and doesn’t put them at the mercy of which preferred digital platforms may (or may not) carry their content, and buffering issues,” says Jeff Nelson, senior marketing director at Shout! Factory. “They are also collectors at heart and there is a special sense of joy when they have something tangible — like physical media — in their hands to display and post about on social media.

“The 4K format further enhances the experience for them because the video quality is crisper and more detailed than ever before. It’s this ‘fresh coat of paint’ effect that we believe is attracting them to the format.”

Arrow Films got into the 4K disc market in August 2020 with Pitch Black. Since then, the company has released more than a dozen 4K Ultra HD discs — including Flash Gordon, Dune (1984), The Bird with the Crystal Plumage,
Tremors and True Romance (U.K. only). The company has many more in the pipeline.

“There is a real appetite from fans to rediscover classics and cult films in 4K UHD, and the format has really been embraced by our audience,” says Arrow Films’ Louise Buckler. “Titles such as Flash Gordon and Dune have exceeded our initial expectations. However, all of our 4K UHD releases have seen strong sales and great feedback from fans and reviewers alike.”

Again, the format’s quality is what attracts collectors, she says.

“We feel that the ability to present films in the highest-quality standard, replicated as closely to their 35mm origins as possible — while taking full advantage of the wider color spectrum and increased image detail that 4K HDR allows — are huge drivers for 4K UHD collectors,” Buckler says. “Careful consideration is undertaken when choosing which titles would truly benefit from the 4K UHD format. In order for the format to thrive, our 4K restorations have to look stunning while at the same time maintaining our long-held commitment to historical accuracy, which is something we believe UHD collectors and cinephiles truly value and appreciate.”

Perennial Favorites and Wish Lists

Each collector has both a selection of favorite titles and a wish list of titles they’d like to see on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

“There are just some films that beg to be watched in 4K, with its superior colors and contrast,” says the Home Theater Forum’s Epstein. “Though I can sit here and recommend films like Mad Max, Blade Runner 2049 and 1917 as the best in class, I am more impressed with how the studios have been able to breathe new life into classics like Lawrence of Arabia and Spartacus. I recently watched The Elephant Man in 4K and found its black and white presentation to be the pinnacle of what I thought the format had to offer.”

Tops on his 4K wish list are more classics from the 1930s through the 1960s, such as Gone With the Wind and Ben-Hur (which he notes is rumored to be coming).

“There are some beautiful Technicolor films from that time period that would look amazing in 4K,” he says.

Home Theater Forum moderator and classic film expert Robert Crawford wants to see the following films in color and widescreen formats on 4K: Singin’ in the Rain, The Searchers, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The King and I, West Side Story, North by Northwest, Oklahoma! and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Middlemiss also is looking for classics.

“I’d like to see more classic films make it to the format, if for no other reason than the work that goes into a quality release also serves to preserve the film (Paramount and Sony’s work in this area is of note),” he says. “I also love it when a surprising title gets picked, and I’d love to see more ’80s and ’90s movies make their way to the format. The work of John Carpenter like They Live and The Fog are wonderful examples of titles that have made their way to 4K UHD.

“I’d also like to see films that barely made it to Blu-ray enjoy the wonders of what 4K can do. The source material doesn’t always make it possible, but I’d love to see some of Steve Martin’s films, like L.A. Story, All of Me and Planes, Trains and Automobiles, surprise us in UHD. We have good odds that the more celebrated filmmakers will see their works arrive on UHD, as we are seeing of Spielberg, but I’d love to see David Fincher’s work like The Game, Panic Room and Zodiac debut on 4K as well.

“My holy grail title is my favorite film, Aliens (1986). And I’d like to see other Cameron films debut on the format, particularly the long-promised-but-yet-to-materialize The Abyss.”

The Abyss is also on the long list of titles Hunt of The Digital Bits would like to see hit 4K.

“There are so many great catalog titles that deserve 4K release — Fox titles, Disney titles, Touchstone titles, Miramax titles,” Hunt says. “I could make a list of 10 to 20 titles right now that if they came out in 4K would sell like gangbusters — Kingdom of Heaven, Aliens, Tombstone, Speed Racer (2008), Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Rock, The English Patient, Kill Bill 1 & 2, Pulp Fiction, Armageddon, Dark City, King Kong (1933), Forbidden Planet, The Right Stuff, The Abyss, True Lies, etc. I’d like to see more of those sorts of films in 4K.”

The studios do have an ear to the ground about these much-desired classics.

“In addition to releasing a great number of our theatrical and TV new-release titles on 4K, remastering and releasing older titles from our catalog is still an important part of our business that has a dedicated and vocal consumer base,” says Warner’s Wuthrich. “As long as the demand exists for our classic content in the highest quality, we will continue to offer restored and remastered titles for our audiences.”

As the holidays approach, collectors are making lists of top titles to purchase for the season and beyond.

“The ‘Star Trek’ set is fantastic; Dune is fantastic,” Hunt says. “This new Middle-Earth 4K set [of Peter Jackson films from Warner] looks interesting. I’m really looking forward to some of these new Criterion 4K titles — especially what they might be working on for next year. Kino Lorber Studio Classics has some nice MGM catalog titles coming. The Godfather films are coming from Paramount next year. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll finally get some classic James Bond films on physical 4K Ultra HD for the 60th anniversary of that franchise next year. There are lots of titles to be excited about.”

“This fourth quarter has some titles I cannot wait to get my hands on,” says Middlemiss. “Mulholland Dr. is one I am eagerly awaiting, not just because it’s among Criterion’s first foray into UHD, but it’s a stunning film with a particular look, and 4K can often show us films we love as if it’s the first time we’re seeing them, and that has always been the power of new home media formats. Other titles I am looking forward to are Kino Lorber’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Inglourious Basterds, Hard Target (the Jean-Claude Van Damme film), The Wolf of Wall Street and Denis Villeneuve’s Dune if it gets announced.”

Sam Posten has a list as well: Free Guy, The Thing, The Shawshank Redemption, F9, Green Knight, The Suicide Squad, Black Widow, Jungle Cruise and A Quiet Place Part II.

“There’s a lot of good stuff heading our way,” says Epstein.

“Columbia/Sony is releasing volume 2 of their ‘Classic Film Collection.’ Universal has its ‘Classic Monsters Collection,’ The Thing, Inglourious Basterds and Carlito’s Way on tap for release. Coming off of a stellar 4K release of Willy Wonka, Warner continues to put out exceptionally popular titles that include The Shawshank Redemption and The Outsiders. Criterion just announced their first set of 4K releases that include Citizen Kane and Mulholland Dr. Paramount has Scream and The Addams Family on 4K for the very first time. Disney has this year’s theatrical Jungle Cruise and classic titles Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Unbreakable coming out for the holiday season.

“As you can see, my wallet is going to be very busy.”

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray All-Time Top 50 Sellers as of 8/28/21

‘Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within’ Arriving on 4K Ultra HD Nov. 16

The animated action adventure Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001) is coming to 4K Ultra HD for its 20th anniversary Nov. 16 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, the year is 2065, and a meteor has crashed onto Earth unleashing millions of alien creatures who roam around decimating field and city alike, threatening to extinguish life itself. The film features the voices of Alec Baldwin and Steve Buscemi.

Legacy bonus features on the Blu-ray include two feature-length commentaries, the interactive documentary “The Making of Final Fantasy,” the original opening, “Aki’s Dream Reconstruction,” “On the Set with Aki,” character profiles, vehicle scale comparisons, compositing builds, joke outtakes, “The Gray Project” and theatrical trailers.

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‘The Protégé’ Due on Digital Sept. 21, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 19

The action thriller The Protégé will come out on digital Sept. 21 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray combo pack, DVD and on demand Oct. 19 from Lionsgate.

The story of a deadly assassin out for vengeance stars Michael Keaton, Maggie Q, Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Patrick.

In the film, rescued as a child and raised by legendary assassin Moody (Jackson), Anna (Maggie Q) was trained to become the world’s most skilled contract killer. When Anna learns that Moody has been brutally killed, she vows revenge. On the murderer’s trail, Anna is entangled with an enigmatic hit man (Keaton) and, as their confrontation turns deadly, the loose ends of a life spent killing weave themselves ever tighter in this action-thriller from the director of Casino Royale.

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The Protégé home entertainment release also includes two behind-the-scenes featurettes, audio commentary from director Martin Campbell, and a previously unreleased deleted scene. Hosted by Campbell, “Scars of the Past: Making The Protégé” offers an inside look at the making of the film. “Anna vs. Rembrandt” focuses on the chemistry between Maggie Q’s and Keaton’s characters.