Former Fox Exec Hanno Basse Joins Live Planet

Live Planet, creator of systems for virtual reality and blockchain tracking of entertainment content, has appointed Hanno Basse, former chief technology officer at 20th Century Fox Film Corp., president of its Decentralized Media Solutions division.

“Basse brings Live Planet his extensive expertise in driving the adoption of emerging technologies to catalyze new media experiences and services, expanding the company’s innovations in immersive and linear video production, distribution and monetization,” according to a Live Planet press release.

Basse will expand the company’s global footprint, building on its end-to-end virtual reality video streaming and publishing solution and its blockchain-based video infrastructure platform, the VideoCoin Network.

He will be based in Los Angeles, reporting to Live Planet founder and CEO Halsey Minor.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to mark the next stage of growth for Live Planet with the addition of Hanno to our world-class team of media and technology experts. Hanno brings a truly unique level of senior experience to Live Planet that will be extremely valuable to us as we help our customers meet the increasing demands of streaming video and next-generation on-demand services,” said Minor in a statement. “The addition of a technology pioneer of Hanno’s caliber is emblematic of Live Planet’s strategic direction and I look forward to an incredibly exciting journey ahead.”

“The media processing and distribution technologies Halsey and his team have built are among the most groundbreaking I’ve seen. They provide the basis for a new generation of solutions that media, telco and corporations will eagerly embrace as our world moves toward increased decentralization, higher-speed communication and edge-based compute,” said Basse in a statement. “I cannot wait to show the world what we will deliver next.”

Basse was appointed chief technology officer at 20th Century Fox Film Corp. in 2012, At Fox, Basse was responsible for technology strategy for the film studio, covering production/post-production, theatrical distribution and home entertainment. He created partnerships with Samsung, Ericsson and Barco, among others, which led to the founding of the Fox Innovation Lab. While at Fox, he also served as the first chairman of the UHD Alliance where he helped launch the 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc format and, in partnership with Samsung, established High Dynamic Range technology as a consumer product. He also served as the Fox board member of Movielabs.

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Prior to joining 20th Century Fox, Basse was with DirecTV, where he served as SVP of broadcast systems engineering. In that role, he was responsible for the design and implementation of DirecTV’s broadcast infrastructure and served as the technical lead for the introduction of many technologies to DirecTV’s platform, including HD, 3D and on-demand services.

Basse studied radio communications technology at the Engineering College of the Soviet Air Defense Forces in Kiev, Ukraine, and received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Officer’s College of the Air Force in Kamenz, Germany.

The Live Planet VR System is an end-to-end solution for easily creating and delivering live and recorded picture-perfect stereoscopic VR video programming and applications, according to the company.

The VideoCoin Network provides video infrastructure for the blockchain-enabled internet, delivering decentralized video encoding, storage and content distribution.

Universal Puts Bonus Content Menus Front and Center on New Blu-ray Disc, DVD Releases

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment aims to drum up consumer awareness of Blu-ray Disc and DVD bonus content, which the studio believes is a key selling point for its physical product.

Beginning with the urban horror film Us, which arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on June 18, the studio is introducing a new “bonus features” menu that is prominently displayed on the opening screen, instead of being buried behind layers of disc menu options.

The new menu also features compelling visual clips, rather than mere lines of text, that can be accessed with a single click of the remote.

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To further drive consumer awareness of a disc’s bonus content, supplemental features will begin playing automatically after film’s credits.

Hilary Hoffman, EVP of global marketing for Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, told Media Play News that the studio is playing up bonus content because a new Attitude & Usage study indicates that bonus content continues to be an important selling point for home entertainment enthusiasts, especially among the premium formats.

Heavy buyers are influenced the most, with 34% saying they check for bonus content before they buy a disc. The percentage is even higher (52%) among 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray buyers.

“Our consumers have clearly indicated that bonus content is a vital part of the physical disc offering,” Hoffman said. “By continuing to evolve our products and create a greater, more enhanced viewing experience, we reinforce for them the value in ownership and keep them connected and engaged to our products and the category.”

In addition, Hoffman said, bonus features are often the deciding factor in whether a consumer buys instead of streams. Forty percent of buyers choose to purchase rather than stream because they want the bonus content.

“Only through change and innovation can we hope to keep pace with our consumers’ ever-evolving habits and preferences,” Hoffman said. “We are optimistic that Universal’s latest design enhancements will serve to further buoy consumer engagement in our products. Our hope is to see the entire industry move in this direction.”

At least one other studio also is looking at ways to increase the visibility of bonus content. “Paramount is always looking at improving the experience consumers get when they purchase our movies on Blu-ray or digitally,” said Vincent Marcais, EVP of marketing for Paramount Home Entertainment.  “We are evaluating the bonus menu options while continuing to focus on 1) providing even better ‘extras’ such as alternate endings and deleted scenes on the upcoming  Pet Semetary and 2) presenting our extras on digital platforms so our customers can have even more incentive to purchase.”

Faith Film ‘Breakthrough’ Breaks Out on Digital July 2, Disc July 16

The faith-based film Breakthrough will come out on digital July 2 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD July 16 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

In the film, when Joyce Smith’s (Chrissy Metz, “This Is Us”) adopted son John (Marcel Ruiz) falls through an icy Missouri lake, all hope seems lost as John lies lifeless. In the face of every bleak medical case history and dire scientific prediction, Joyce’s unwavering belief inspires her community to pray for John’s recovery.

Along with producer DeVon Franklin (Miracles from Heaven), the film was adapted for the screen by Grant Nieporte (Seven Pounds) from Joyce Smith’s book (The Impossible). The film also stars Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama), Topher Grace (“That ‘70s Show”), Mike Colter (“Luke Cage”), Sam Trammell (“This is Us”) and Dennis Haysbert (“24”).

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The film has been awarded the Dove Seal of Approval for all ages.

Extras on the discs include a making of featurette; “Carry My Soul,” a Phil Wickham deleted scene with optional audio commentary by Franklin and director Roxann Dawson; “Trapped in Icy Waters”; audio commentary by Franklin and Dawson; and a photo gallery.

‘Gremlins’ Coming to 4K UHD for 35th From Warner

The 1984 classic Gremlins will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and digital for its 35th anniversary Oct. 1 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Directed by Joe Dante (Innerspace, The ‘Burbs) and written by Chris Columbus (The Goonies), the film stars Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton and Randall Peltzer, along with the voices of Frank Welker as Stripe and Howie Mandel as Gizmo. At times a horror film and others dark comedy, Gremlins follows a teenager who gets a new pet as a gift and finds it has strange transformative powers.

The Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc with the feature film and special features. Fans can also own Gremlins in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers.

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Extras include filmmakers’ commentary with Dante, producer Michael Finnell and special effects artist Chris Walas; cast commentary with Dante, Galligan, Cates, Dick Miller and Mandel; behind-the-scenes featurettes; additional scenes with commentary; a featurette on the creation of the creatures; and motion comics.

‘Shazam!’ Flying to Home Video in July From Warner

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the DC Comics superhero movie Shazam! digitally July 2, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray July 16.

The film tells the story of Billy Batson (Asher Angel), a teenager in foster care who is empowered by a wizard (Djimon Hounsou) to become the superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi) to defend the realms of magic from the evil Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong).

The cast also includes Jack Dylan Grazer, Faithe Herman, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Marta Milans and Cooper Andrews.

The film earned $138.2 million at the domestic box office.

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The character first appeared in comic books published by Fawcett in 1940 under the name Captain Marvel, and was later acquired by DC.

To avoid confusion with the Marvel Comics character of Captain Marvel (whose own movie will be available for digital download May 28 and on disc June 11), DC eventually changed the character’s name to Shazam, the word Billy says to transform into the adult superhero (also the name of the Wizard who gives Billy his powers).

Shazam is an acronym derived from the names of the six mythological heroes from which the character draws his power: the wisdom of Solomon, strength of Hercules, stamina of Atlas, power of Zeus, courage of Achilles and speed of Mercury.

The Shazam! Blu-ray and special-edition DVD will include an exclusive Shazam motion comic, deleted scenes, a gag reel, a breakdown of the carnival scene, and the featurettes “The Magical World of Shazam,” “Super Fun Zac,” “Shazamily Values” and “Who is Shazam?”

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Shazam! will feature Dolby Vision HDR and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

A 3D Blu-ray is listed for preorder at WBshop.com as well.

Oliver Stone’s ‘The Doors’ Arrives on 4K Ultra HD July 23

Lionsgate will release Oliver Stone’s 1991 Jim Morrison biopic The Doors on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digital 4K July 23.

The film stars Val Kilmer as Morrison in the story of the rock group The Doors, with a cast that includes Meg Ryan, Kevin Dillon, Kathleen Quinlan and Kyle MacLachlan.

The Doors: The Final Cut features a new 4K restoration supervised by director Oliver Stone, plus Dolby Vision HDR and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

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“During the many concert sequences, the sound now fills the auditorium above the audience, behind it, and all points in between,” said director Oliver Stone. “I wanted the film to be as immersive as possible to a real ‘60s Doors experience.”

Stone also cut three minutes from a scene he said was superfluous to the ending, “which helps close out the film in a more powerful way.”

Bonus materials include new interviews with Stone and sound engineer Lon Bender, and an audio commentary with Stone.

 

New Horror Adaptation of ‘Pet Sematary’ Comes Home on Digital June 25, Disc July 9

The new adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary will arrive on digital June 25 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and VOD July 9 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

It made $54.5 million in U.S. theaters.

Based on the King novel, the film follows the Creeds, who relocate from Boston to rural Maine, where they soon discover an ancient burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home. When tragedy strikes, the grief-stricken father is driven by the cemetery’s sinister power, setting off a perilous chain of events.

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The digital, 4K Ultra HD, and Blu-ray releases include more than 90 minutes of special features, including deleted and extended scenes, an alternate ending, a look at the main characters, behind-the-scenes footage, and cast interviews. Digital extras vary by retailer.

The film also boasts a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray combo packs include access to a digital copy of the film.

‘The Shining’ to Terrify in 4K UHD Oct. 1 From Warner

Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic The Shining will come out on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digital Oct. 1 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The 4K remastering, done using a new 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging, is of Kubrick’s original 144 minute version of the film which premiered in the United States May 23, 1980. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg and Kubrick’s former personal assistant  Leon Vitali worked closely with the team at Warner Bros. during the mastering process. May 17 the restored 4K version of the film will be screened at The Cannes Film Festival.

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The Shining, based on the Stephen King novel, was directed and produced by Kubrick, who wrote the screenplay with Diane Johnson. It stars Jack Nicholson in an iconic role as Jack Torrance, Shelley Duval as Wendy Torrance, Scatman Crothers as Dick Halloran, and Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrance. In the film, Jack Torrance becomes the winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block. He settles in along with his wife, Wendy and his son Danny, who is plagued by psychic premonitions. As Jack’s writing goes nowhere and Danny’s visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.

In 2018, The Shining was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”  The film ranked 29th on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Thrills list, and Jack Torrance was named the 25th greatest villain on the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains list.  Additionally, the quote “Here’s Johnny” from the film was ranked 68th on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes list.

The Shining Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc with the film in high definition and the special features in high definition, and a digital version of the movie. Fans can also own The Shining in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers.

The Ultra HD Blu-ray of The Shining will include more than three hours of previously released special features, including:

  • audio commentary by Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown and Kubrick biographer John Baxter;
  • “Video from the Overlook: Crafting The Shining”;
  • “The Visions of Stanley Kubrick,” a detailed look at one of cinema’s greatest visual storytellers and his unique ability to move audiences through the magic of unforgettable images;
  • “The Making of The Shining,” a cinema verité documentary offering a rare glimpse into the directing style of Kubrick as he interacts with Nicholson, Duvall and others;
  • “Wendy Carlos, Composer,” in which composer Wendy Carlos reflects on working with Kubrick and developing music scores for The Shiningand A Clockwork Orange.

‘Captain Marvel’ Soaring to Digital May 28, Disc June 11 From Disney

Captain Marvel will fly to digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD (including Movies Anywhere) May 28, and land on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray June 11 from Disney, Direct to Consumer and International.

The home release dates were revealed during the May 8 espnW Summit NYC, at which Marvel Studios hosted a Captain Marvel panel.

The film, which has surpassed $1 billion at the box office worldwide, chronicles the origin story of the female superhero.

The release includes featurettes that highlight the transformative journey of Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) and her character’s impact on audiences around the globe; the influence of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) on significant events within the Marvel Cinematic Universe; the pairing of directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck; the ongoing conflict between the Skrulls and the Kree; and the talent behind the feline named Goose. Viewers also gain access to six deleted scenes, director commentary, a gag reel, and never-before-seen concept art and production photography.

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The digital release includes two exclusive features, including a behind-the-scenes visit with the visual effects team and an inside look at the team effort that goes into an action sequence in a Marvel Studios film.

At the panel, Marvel also unveiled a new trailer.

‘Space Station’ Circulating to 4K UHD From Mill Creek

Space Station, the first cinematic journey to the International Space Station, is soaring to 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and digital combo pack July 9 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

Audiences can experience life in zero gravity aboard the space station in this top-grossing Imax documentary narrated by Tom Cruise that explores the orbiting laboratory where astronauts develop technologies to make possible future voyages to Mars and provide solutions to earthbound problems.

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The release includes one hour of bonus footage, including interviews with Tom Cruise, director Toni Myers and the astronauts aboard and two tours of the station.