Actioner ‘Universal Soldier’ Shooting to 4K Nov. 5 From Lionsgate

The 1992 actioner Universal Soldier will come out on 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital) and digital 4K Nov. 5 from Lionsgate.

Directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, upcoming World War II epic Midway), Universal Soldier stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren, alongside Ally Walker and Ed O’Ross. The film follows soldiers Luc Deveraux (Van Damme) and Sgt. Andrew Scott (Lundgren), who killed each other in Vietnam. But their demise proves to be just the beginning for the U.S. government, which brings both men back to life decades later for a secret anti-terrorism program.

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Special features include:

  • audio commentary by Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin, Van Damme and Lundgren
  • audio commentary by Emmerich and Devlin
  • the “A Tale of Two Titans” Featurette
  • the “Guns, Genes, and Fighting Machines” Featurette
  • an alternate Ending
  • the “Behind the Scenes” Featurette and
  • a trailer.

Three’s a Harm in Zombie Trilogy

Writer-director Rob Zombie confronted a problem when mounting a new installment in his bloody serial killer series that includes House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and The Devil’s Rejects (2005) — his lead baddies had been shot and presumably killed.

Leave it to Zombie to bring them back from the dead. He came up with the idea of a faux documentary, explaining the miraculous survival of the lead trio.

“I’ve always been obsessed with this one documentary on [Charles] Manson that came out in 1970 I think it was. It’s all real footage. The filmmakers got in there, shot him going out of court, and I thought this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. … Serial killers have now achieved this fame, which they always seem to do,” Zombie said in the sequel’s disc extras. “Why don’t we just explain it through this documentary that takes it to a whole other place?

“I thought it’s a good way to explain what happened and make it realistic.”

Thus, the revived killers — Baby Firefly (Sheri Moon Zombie), Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley) and Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) — make a repeat appearance in 3 From Hell, which debuts on digital and 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD and on demand Oct. 15 from Lionsgate. Special features include an audio commentary with Zombie and a four-part making-of featurette. Additionally, the 4K and Blu-ray discs feature the unrated cut.

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Unfortunately, Haig was sick during filming and appears only in the initial documentary. He passed away in September.

“It became clear that Sid was not physically capable,” Zombie recalled in the featurettes.

Richard Brake stars as Winslow Foxworth Coltrane, a new killer in the series.

Still, the director felt three was the magic number and created a new half-brother in the murderous clan, Winslow Foxworth Coltrane (Richard Brake), to assist in the mayhem. He also explored the progression of the characters: “What would it be like 15 years later with the characters?”

“I didn’t want to just make a sequel,” Zombie said, adding, “I wanted there to be a purpose to doing it. I think a lot of times the sequels that don’t work are the ones that you’re feeding the fans everything they think they want.”

Thus, the crazy Baby is even more off the wall. In fact, her jail scenes are shot in the very prison that the deranged female Manson followers occupied.

“Everything she does is bizarre, even to Otis,” the director noted.

Otis has become an elder statesman in the killing clan, prompting Winslow to continuously attempt to gain his approval.

“Now in 3 From Hell I seem to be the wise old owl of the trio,” said Moseley in the featurettes. “That’s kind of funny and strange. You know, I’m a psychopathic killer.”

Zombie’s horror projects, including 3 From Hell, are unique in tone. “When I look at what people really consider a horror movie, people being shocked in the theater, reacting to the scares, that’s not what we are doing at all,” Zombie said.

“There’s different layers to it,” added Jeff Daniel Phillips, who plays the prison warden, in the featurettes. “It’s not so simple. This isn’t just a horror film. This is a thriller. This is a road picture. There’s a dark comedic thing in it without being a comedy.”

Indeed, the film is an amalgam of Zombie’s passions and experiences that he calls “a post-modern sort of crazy bloody western.”

“I’ve taken all these things I’ve loved my whole life and sort of jammed them together,” he said.

Three for the Road

The first two titles in the Zombie serial killer series, House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, will be included with 3 From Hell in a digital-only triple feature from Lionsgate.

House of 1000 Corpses introduces audiences to the sadistic backwater family as two young couples traveling in Texas to investigate urban legends of murder end up as their prisoners.

In The Devil’s Rejects, the murderous, backwoods Firefly clan takes to the road to escape a vengeful police force.

Actioner ‘Angel Has Fallen’ Arrives on Digital Nov. 12, Disc — Including 4K— Nov. 26 From Lionsgate

The actioner Angel Has Fallen will come out on digital Nov. 12 and on 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD, and on demand Nov. 26 from Lionsgate.

The film stars Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick, Tim Blake Nelson, Nick Nolte and Danny Huston.

When there is an assassination attempt on U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Freeman), his trusted confidant, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Butler), is wrongfully accused and taken into custody. After escaping from capture, he becomes a man on the run and must evade his own agency and outsmart the FBI in order to find the real threat to the president. Desperate to uncover the truth, Banning turns to unlikely allies to help clear his name, keep his family from harm, and save the country from imminent danger.

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Special features include six making-of featurettes and a three-part audio commentary with director Ric Roman Waugh.

The 4K release includes Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

‘The Swan Princess’ Swims to Blu-ray and 4K Digital Oct. 29 for 25th Anniversary

The animated film The Swan Princess will be released Oct. 29 in a collectible anniversary edition Blu-ray and in 4K HDR on digital from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for its 25th anniversary.

One of the last major theatrically-released films in the U.S. to utilize a hand drawn, hand painted cel animation style, the film went on to receive a 1995 Golden Globe nomination and become the top selling home video title in the United States when first released.

To celebrate the new release, creator and producer Seldon Young is bringing the film back to the big screen for a special Pink Carpet Premiere event showcasing the new, fully remastered version at the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood Oct. 24.

“For the restoration and remastering process we retrieved the vintage, vaulted negatives and set to work using the amazing advances in HD conversion technology, to create an even more vivid and stunning film than ever before,” said Young in a statement.

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The story is inspired by the German fairytale and ballet about a princess who is swan by day and princess by night. Princess Odette is transformed into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s spell. Held captive at an enchanted lake, she befriends Jean-Bob the frog, Speed the turtle and Puffin the bird. Despite their struggle to keep the princess safe, these good-natured creatures can do nothing about the sorcerer’s spell, which can only be broken by a vow of everlasting love.

The Blu-ray release includes a new featurette entitled “A Look Back, Tease Ahead,” plus a variety of additional archival features.

FandangoNow Launches Imax Enhanced

FandangoNow, the transactional VOD service from Fandango — in collaboration with Imax Corp. and DTS — Oct. 1 announced the launch of Imax Enhanced on select Sony 4K Android TVs in the United States.

Additional devices will be added in the coming months.

Imax Enhanced combines exclusive, digitally remastered 4K HDR content and DTS audio technologies with the high-end consumer electronics.

Starting Oct. 1, fans can rent Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Spider-Man: Far From Home — featuring 45 minutes of Imax’s exclusive expanded aspect ratio. In addition, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and The Angry Birds Movie 2, as well as Paramount Pictures’ Bumblebee, among other blockbuster movies, will be part of FandangoNow’s exclusive line-up of Imax Enhanced titles.

The collaboration with Imax Enhanced will add dozens of new titles to FandangoNow.

FandangoNow meets Imax Enhanced’s standard for 4K HDR streaming and uses a special variant of the DTS codec technology integrated in home audio equipment to deliver an Imax signature sound experience with more immersive, powerful sound, according to the company.

Imax Enhanced is supported by participating studios such as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Paramount Pictures, as well as a roster of 15 device partners across televisions, projectors and A/V receivers — all of which have met performance requirements set by Imax, DTS and leading technical specialists throughout Hollywood.

‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ Hits Digital Oct. 22, Disc Nov. 5, Including 4K

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, based on the popular children’s books, arrives on digital Oct. 22 and on 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD and on demand Nov. 5 from Lionsgate.

The film made $65.8 million in domestic theaters.

The adaptation of the book series brings some of Alvin Schwartz’s scariest stories to life and is produced by Academy Award winner Guillermo del Toro with a screen story by del Toro, Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan.

It’s 1968 in America. Change is blowing in the wind, but seemingly far removed from the unrest in the cities is the small town of Mill Valley, where for generations the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large. It is in their mansion on the edge of town that Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time. For a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying home, the stories become all too real.

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Special features include six featurettes on the 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and digital releases and two featurettes on the DVD looking at the development of the creepiest creatures in the film, as well as the process of taking the classic tales from page to screen.

The 4K version includes Dolby Vision HDR.

Dynamic Enhancement and HDR

Dynamic Metadata, as opposed to static (HDR10), is considered by many to be the pinnacle of high dynamic range, adjusting the picture scene by scene.

Two forms of dynamic metadata enhancement are in the market, one licensed and one license-free.

Dolby Vision is a propriety licensed-based feature from Dolby, which also licenses the sound enhancement Dolby Atmos. There are now more than 500 movies and more than 1,500 episodes of original TV series available in Dolby Vision and more than 500 movies and more than 800 original TV episodes featuring Dolby Atmos, according to the company, and all major Hollywood studios have now released movies for home distribution in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Titles released this past year in Dolby Vision and/or Dolby Atmos include Stranger Things 3 (Netflix), “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” (Amazon), Avengers: Endgame (Disney) and Alita: Battle Angel (Fox).

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Nine streaming services around the world are delivering the combined Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos experience, according to the company, and Disney recently announced that it will support both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos its upcoming Disney+ streaming service. Dolby Vision is available on more than 140 4K UHD Blu-ray discs.

As far as devices, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos devices are now widely available at prices between $200 and $300, according to the company, and more than 30 CE manufacturers have launched products featuring Dolby Vision. Apple recently announced it would support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos on its latest iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV 4K devices. Amazon also launched its first product to support both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, the Fire TV Stick 4K, which is available at prices below $50.

“Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos continue to play a primary role in delivering the highest quality and value to the 4K consumer experience across content, platforms and devices,” said Ron Geller, VP of worldwide content relations at Dolby. “As consumers broaden their engagement with 4K content from a growing variety of sources, Dolby technologies are at the forefront to ensure a spectacular experience across transactional digital, disc and the growing list of direct-to-consumer offerings.”

HDR10+ is a royalty-free technology, which backers tout as a key advantage. A joint venture among 20th Century Fox, Panasonic Corp. and Samsung Electronics, the technology’s ecosystem includes 81 adopting companies globally. In September, the consortium released an updated technical specification to respond to the industry’s request for new device categories and codecs expanded to include AV receiver/soundbar and VP9 compatibility via WebM.

The HDR10+ logo and certification program currently supports displays, including mobile displays; distribution devices, including UHD Blu-ray player and OTT streaming devices; and content, including UHD Blu-ray Disc and OTT.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment debuted HDR10+ on UHD Blu-ray with The Secret Life of Pets 2 and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, respectively, adding to the UHD Blu-ray discs already released from 20th Century Fox and others.

On the mobile side, Samsung announced the Galaxy S10 as the first mobile device featuring HDR10+ playback and recording. Other mobile devices followed, such as OnePlus 7, Samsung Note 10, and Galaxy Tab S6, which is the first HDR10+ tablet device.

“All our latest media products such as the Galaxy S10 line-up, the WALL Pro & Lux and all our UHD TVs include HDR10+ support to provide the best HDR image from Amazon Prime to major studio UHD Blu-ray releases,” said EVP Hyogun Lee from Samsung Visual Display. “Samsung is working with the HDR10+ LLC and the industry to continuously increase this ecosystem.”
Globally, companies such as Rakuten TV, Chili, The Explorers, Megogo, DT, Molotov, Videociety and Enteractive from Europe will feature HDR10+ technology.

Supporting companies also include TCL and Shout! Factory.
While dynamic metadata adds to quality viewing, consumers aren’t so keen on the competing technologies, which each require different hardware.
“I think a lot of people are frustrated by it,” said Bill Hunt of The Digital Bits.

Home Theater Forum’s Adam Gregorich bought equipment that supported Dolby Vision before the advent of HDR10+.

“I’m in no rush to upgrade really expensive displays,” he said, adding “if I had to buy one today I’d consider it.”

Q&A: Director Duncan Jones

Media Play News talked to director Duncan Jones about the advantages of 4K Ultra HD with HDR, especially on his feature Moon, just out on the format this summer.

MPN: How important is HDR?
Jones: Important is an interesting way to think about it. I’d say how dangerous is it? … High dynamic range means that we can go back into the grade and push and pull detail that we may never have originally considered accentuating. It’s a rabbit-hole for filmmakers, as we could go on tweaking and playing forever, but as it stands, I think we took the opportunity to really bring the best out of the original shot 35mm, and maybe made a few fixes and improvements here and there that bring a new vitality to what we already had.

MPN: How involved were you with the process?
Jones: You know that rabbit-hole I was just talking about? I needed to be reminded that eventually we had to stop fiddling!

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MPN: Specifically, what were some of the things you are concerned with in the process of preparing your film for 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray?
Jones: Moon was done on a very small budget. It was an independent movie. Some parts of our set were built out of items that you might buy at an IKEA. When you know that the detail and resolution is going up, you can’t help but be concerned that what you got away with at 2K might start to become noticeable at 4K. Fortunately, we had the tools and time to smooth out those issues and create a disc that I think really holds onto the original magic … and if you are eagle-eyed, you may notice a “Poäng” here or an “Ektorp” there!

MPN: How important is picture and sound quality in the home to you — as far as your own viewing experience and viewers of your films in general?
Jones: We wouldn’t put in the work we do to get the picture and audio quality right if we didn’t care. As a dad of little kids, getting out to the movies is becoming a rarer event these days. I know I am not alone. It’s lovely to see spectacles on the biggest screen possible, with a kick-ass sound system. But with the cost of going out a high hurdle for many these days — especially when you have kids — and the incredible strides made in home entertainment tech, watching in the comfort of your own home, at your own time, and with the audience you want there, is a big deal. I mean, you can get a home Atmos system now for goodness sake! Basically, home entertainment and going to the movies is now a choice between two equally valid options, not between a better one and a fallback. Do you want to see and hear a film with all its detail and audio balancing at home or with a crowd of people? With today’s tech, you can have both.

MPN: What’s your home entertainment setup?
Jones:
Here’s the thing about 3-year-olds. They break stuff. Right now, I am watching movies on a pretty standard 50-inch monitor in the kitchen, because my adorable son, Stenton, smashed our 85-inch Sony 4K TV with a train. The new one. I am being zen about this. For now, I am watching movies from a hard wooden chair when my daughter does not insist it’s time for “Peppa Pig” and “Hey Duggee.”

MPN: What does 4K UHD with HDR bring to your films for home viewing?
Jones: Parity. I think that’s really what filmmakers are always hoping for. We want the experience at home to be as close to the theatrical experience as possible. That is traditionally the bar we are setting for ourselves, and even with the explosion in formats and streamers out there, I see that continuing to be the gold standard all home entertainment strives for.

MPN: Is there a particular scene or sequence that really blew you away when you saw it in the new 4K format? If so, what in particular did you notice about the picture quality?
Jones:
Moon is a unique film in the amount of old-fashioned VFX used, blended with more modern post production techniques. Certainly unusual for its budget! I think what I was most pleased with is that the subtle use of what was contemporary VFX work from 10 years ago still looks damn good as it was done with such a delicate hand, there to enhance the beautiful prop and model miniature work that was already there as a foundation. It certainly becomes more of a challenge when more of the shoot is virtual than in camera. In a way, the idiosyncratic model work of Moon has become one of its strongest assets, keeping the look of the film fresh and detailed, no matter which viewing format or technology is thrown at it.

 

Over the Moon for 4K

Filmmakers have long championed new home viewing technologies, but their support of 4K Ultra HD — particularly in director Duncan Jones’ case — is “over the moon.”

Jones directed Moon, a 2009 science-fiction cult favorite that won a BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. And he was thrilled that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment decided to celebrate the film’s 10th anniversary in July with a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray  release.

Moon was a tiny little independent sci-fi film from England,” said Jones, who went on to direct Source Code (2011), Warcraft (2016) and Mute (2018). “The fact that we got a theatrical run in America at all was a thrill, but even with that run, a lot of people never would have had the chance to see the film in the fidelity of those who were able to see the screenings back in 2009. Fortunately the film has lived on and grown in cult status over the decade, but up until now has only been a shadow of its original self! Now we finally get to give our fans what they remember from those early, limited screenings.”

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Jones — who also happens to be the son of the late rock legend David Bowie — is by no means alone. Directors such as Oliver Stone and others in the creative community applauded Blu-ray Disc when that format was introduced more than a decade ago, but their cheers are even louder and more enthusiastic for 4K Ultra HD — with high dynamic range (HDR), of course.

“It’s astounding how far home theater tech has come in the last 20 years,” said director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) at a recent UHD Alliance event. “I think we’re really kind of in a golden age right now of home theater technology, and it’s only getting better in every single aspect of our TVs at home. Everything in resolution, dynamic range, the size of the screens, everything has gone up through the roof recently, while prices of all the tech has gone down so it’s in the reach of most consumers, and that for me is really, really exciting. I love that my mom has a great TV that she can watch at home. I love watching movies at home.”

The resolution of 4K is four times sharper than HD, while HDR offers brighter brights and darker darks — as well as wider color gamut — to create a more vivid and lifelike picture. What that means is that home viewers can replicate the theatrical experience more closely than ever — and since directors are all about the “Big Screen,” they see 4K Ultra HD as the best way to archive their artistic vision for future generations.

“I think for anyone who spends time and effort making a film, we desperately want the audience to see all the little details and care we put into our work,” Jones said. “Especially for those who are lucky enough to make ‘world-building’ films. From production design, to wardrobe, make-up and, in Moon’s case, model miniatures, just about everything is created to hold up to scrutiny in a close up. 4K UHD with HDR gives us the pleasure of knowing you are going to see all that hard work!”

Studio executives, too, see 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as packaged-media’s most effective bulwark against total domination by streaming media. It remains the optimum way to watch a movie, despite steady advances in bandwidth capacity.

“The collector in the enthusiast market wants to buy discs,” said Bill Hunt, editor of home entertainment enthusiast site TheDigitalBits.com.

So, apparently, do a lot of other people. Ultra HD TVs were in about 53.4 million households at the end of the first quarter, an increase of 55% from the prior year, according to CTA numbers cited by the DEG. Meanwhile, the number of households with at least one 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray playback machine rose 63% to 14 million. According to the CTA, the total TV category will ship 38.8 million units in 2019 (a 1% increase) with upgrades driven by big-screen models and sets featuring 4K UHD resolution and HDR technology. This year, 4K UHD sets will account for 17 million of those units (a 6% increase).

IHS Markit estimates that by 2022, 60% of North American households will own at least one UHD video display.

Software continues to expand as well. Nearly 600 titles have been released on 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc, according to Media Play News research. And digital outlets tout the feature, and sometimes charge a premium for it.

Indeed, consumer interest in 4K UHD with HDR continues to grow.
“I think people are definitely into it. I think interest is growing; demand is growing,” said The Digital Bits’ Hunt. “There’s no shortage of people who read my website that are eager for every piece of news on 4K.”

Retailers of both digital and physical content are serving the rabid 4K consumer. Netflix offers 4K UHD content under its premium plan for $15.99 a month (up to four screens at once). Amazon also offers 4K streaming on certain titles. At transactional VOD site FandangoNow, 4K is a major selling point, noted Fandango VP of home entertainment Cameron Douglas.

“We saw there was audience demand,” he said. “It just kept growing.”

Redbox in March reported it more than doubled the number of cities offering 4K Ultra HD movie rentals — bringing 4K to a total of 15 markets. Rental pricing for 4K UHD titles is $2.50 per night.

“Our customers have spoken — they love the quality of 4K content,” said Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox. “We’re happy to make 4K rentals available to even more movie fans, giving them more format choices than ever before so they can make the most of their movie night.”

New markets included Colorado Springs, Colo.; Des Moines, Iowa; Kansas City, Mo.; Minneapolis; Portland, Ore.; Reno, Nev.; San Diego; San Francisco; and Spokane, Wash. They joined preview markets Austin, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Seattle.

“4K UHD continues to experience strong and steady growth across physical and digital, buoyed by the significant retail commitment and CE support, and an increasing number of titles being released,” said Eddie Cunningham, president of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

“4K UHD is no longer an early adopter format and has widely established itself as the best way to watch our content at home,” said Jessica Schell, EVP and GM of film at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

“We’re enthusiastic about the rapid consumer and retail adoption and the ability to present our films in the highest possible quality for the home,” added Lexine Wong, senior EVP of worldwide marketing at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

“The popularity of 4K continues to grow as evidenced by the wide range of titles now in the market,” noted Vincent Marcais, EVP of worldwide marketing for Paramount Home Entertainment.

Indeed, content available on 4K UHD is varied, from new releases to classic catalog.

“Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, a leader in the 4K Ultra HD market, consistently delivers premium product for the growing consumer base,” said Sony’s Wong. “To date, we have over 80 4K UHD titles available — including the global tentpoles Men in Black: International and Spider-Man: Far From Home, along with key library titles such as the commemorative 35th anniversary release of the original Ghostbusters and the fully remastered modern classic Stand By Me.”

“At Paramount, we just released Rocketman, and over 15% of our physical sales are 4K to date,” noted Marcais. “In addition, we will be releasing the perennial favorite It’s A Wonderful Life on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for the first time in October. The studio spent over a year restoring the film from the original negative and we wanted to make sure that enthusiasts and long-time fans could truly appreciate the vibrant and detail-rich picture, which 4K makes possible for home viewing like never before.”

“The continued diversification of content available in 4K HDR ranges across not just our new-release films, but also includes more and more evergreen classic catalog titles like 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Wizard of Oz and The Shining,” said Warner’s Schell.

“Catalog in particular has surged to become a meaningful driver of consumer engagement, with newly available classic franchises fueling a 25% growth in 4K UHD disc sales across the industry,” added Universal’s Cunningham.

Readers of enthusiast websites have feasted on new-release and a growing list of catalog classics that have greatly expanded this year.

“You had your big, splashy, superhero titles, but then you had Alien and Apocalypse Now,” noted Adam Gregorich, co-owner/editor of enthusiast site Home Theater Forum. “It’s not just new releases that people are interested in.”

“The biggest problem that people that are into 4K have is that there are titles that they want that they can’t get,” said The Digital Bits’ Hunt. “Fans are really starting to jones for those big titles now.”

Hunt’s readers are particularly looking forward to the 4K catalog releases on tap for the end of the year, including The Wizard of Oz, due Oct. 29.

“That film will look tremendous on 4K,” he noted.

“There is a ton of excitement for both The Wizard of Oz and It’s a Wonderful Life,” added Gregorich. How black and white films, such as Wonderful Life, would fare on 4K elicited “some concern,” Gregorich noted, “but then people pointed out Schindler’s List,” which translated and was enhanced very well.

Both Gregorich and Hunt agreed that the best way to experience 4K UHD with HDR is on Blu-ray Disc, which doesn’t suffer from the potential delivery dilution of streaming due to bandwidth.

Still, streaming is gaining.

“Stuff that I want to buy I want to buy on disc,” Hunt said. “The younger audience doesn’t seem to have that problem.”

“I think that discs are still more popular, but streaming has made up a huge amount of ground,” added Gregorich.

Soon, technology may offer a streaming assist, and studios are prepared to deliver 4K UHD wherever the consumer goes.

“With the expansion and adoption of 5G wireless service allowing faster access to streaming 4K UHD video, the demand for high-definition content will continue to grow rapidly,” said Warner’s Schell. “We are committed to delivering the best possible viewing experience of our wide array of film and television content, and we will continue to adapt, along with other studios and content providers, to the ever-changing technological landscape that dictates our business.”

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray All-Time Top 50 Sellers as of 8/24/19
All-Time Top 4K UHD BD Market Share as of 8/24/19

‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ Actors Reveled in Chaperone Hijinks

They may play poor chaperones who tend to lose students — notably Spidey alter ego Peter Parker — but the antics of J.B. Smoove (Mr. Dell) and Martin Starr (returning as Mr. Harrington) provide plenty of comic relief in Spider Man: Far From Home.

The latest Spidey superhero flick is available now on digital and on 4K Ultra HD combo pack, Blu-ray combo pack and DVD Oct. 1 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In playing the teacher/chaperones on a European trip with Parker and his friends, Smoove and Starr were encouraged to improvise and try alternate jokes.

“The writers were there as we were shooting it, so that there were a lot of things changing on the fly,” said Starr. “[Director] Jon Watts had a lot of ideas that he gave us to just play with, so we were given a fair amount of freedom to play.”

Smoove found comedy in playing it straight.

“Even when we had our arguments about everything that was going on — that he was messing up, losing tickets and didn’t have the hotel reservations right — I played it like I was mad as hell at this guy for not going his job,” Smoove noted.

One comic scene featuring the duo that ultimately didn’t make it into the film is included on the extras under “Teachers’ Travel Tips.”

“Jon Watts had an idea that, as we had gone on, Mr. Dell keeps thinking that I’m cursed, and it became like a running joke that we would throw into different scenes that Mr. Harrington is just cursed, so every hotel that he sets up, every city that they visit, every opportunity that they have for like going to the opera, everything becomes really just about me being cursed,” Starr said.

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The duo played it as if the attack of the Elementals is part of that affliction.

“There’s a moment where [the curse] comes to a climax, where the Elementals are fighting in the river and I take responsibility, and I’m like, ‘Kids, go save yourselves. I’m the one they want,’” Starr said. “And then Mr. Dell leaves, too. And then I’m like screaming at the Elementals, ‘Take me! Take me!’ And I think it was the last thing to get cut.

“It was so close to being in the movie.”

As comic book fans themselves, both were thrilled to play supporting characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“It was very cool,” Starr said. “Spider-Man was the only comic book that I had a subscription to. I’ve read a number of different comic books. X-Men and Spider-Man were the two that I read the most, but Spider-Man I had a subscription to, so it actually came to my house. This was very cool to become a part of this particular story.”

Smoove, too, relished comic books growing up.

“I would hop on the train in Mount Vernon and go to the Bronx,” he recalled. “They had this huge comic book store there. We would spend three or four hours there. Between buying stuff, and reading stuff until the guy told us to stop reading stuff and buy it, we would be there all day.”

He added, “I still have comic books somewhere in boxes in plastic. I might be sitting on a good hundred thousand dollars. If things go bad…”

Starr and Smoove Sept. 17 continued their chaperone duties by taking journalists and others on a “field trip” in Los Angeles to uncover some of the visual magic behind Spider-Man: Far From Home. The group visited The Third Floor Visualization, which created the pre-vis graphics for the film; Ironhead Studio, which designed costumes; and ended at The Magic Castle, where illusionist Jason Latimer used science to create illusions.