Complete ‘Batman: The Long Halloween’ Coming to 4K Disc Sept. 20

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Batman: The Long Halloween — Deluxe Edition Sept. 20 as a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack, a standalone Blu-ray and for digital sellthrough. The deluxe edition combines both parts of “Long Halloween” previously released separately on Blu-ray into a single two-hour 48-minute film that makes its 4K debut.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and based on the 1990s DC Comics storyline written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by the late Tim Sale, Long Halloween begins as atrocious serial killings on holidays in Gotham City send Batman into action — confronting both organized crime and a unified front of classic DC supervillains — while attempting to stop the mysterious murderer.

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The voice cast includes Jensen Ackles as Batman, the late Naya Rivera as Catwoman, Josh Duhamel as Harvey Dent, Billy Burke as Commissioner Gordon, Katee Sackhoff as Poison Ivy, Titus Welliver as Carmine Falcone, Julie Nathanson as Gilda Dent, David Dastmalchian as Calendar Man and the Penguin, Troy Baker as The Joker, Amy Landecker as Barbara Gordon and Carla Vitti, Jack Quaid as Alberto, Fred Tatasciore as Solomon Grundy, Alyssa Diaz as Renee Montoya, and Alastair Duncan as Alfred.

The deluxe edition will include the new featurette “Batman: The Long Halloween — Evolution of Evil,” a comprehensive look at Long Halloween with Loeb and the filmmakers.

Animated Movie ‘Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons’ Flying to 4K, Blu-ray and Digital Oct. 18

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the animated movie Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and for digital purchase Oct. 18.

Warner Bros. Animation’s first all-CG animated feature-length film finds the children of Batman and Superman tasked with saving their famous fathers – and the world.

The ‘PG-13’-rated film based on DC Comics characters begins with Superman’s 11-year-old half-Kryptonian son Jonathan Kent (Jack Dylan Glazer) discovering he has superpowers and being introduced to the complicated world of superheroes and supervillains. When the world is attacked by the malevolent mind-controlling alien force known as Starro, Jonathan must join forces with Batman’s son Damian Wayne (Jack Griffo), the former assassin now serving as Robin.

The voice cast also includes Troy Baker as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Travis Willingham as Superman/Clark Kent, Laura Bailey as Lois Lane, Darin De Paul as Lex Luthor and Starro, Tom Kenny as Green Arrow and Penguin, Zeno Robinson as Jimmy Olsen and Melvin Masters, Nolan North as Jor-El, and Myrna Velasco as Wonder Girl and Lara.

The home release includes the featurette “Rival Sons: Jonathan and Damian.”

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‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ Available for Digital Purchase July 19

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is making Zack Snyder’s Justice League available for digital purchase starting July 19.

The four-hour director’s cut of the 2017 Justice League film was released as an HBO Max exclusive in 2021. It was later released on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD disc and DVD, but those copies did not include access to a digital edition of the film, and it remained a digital exclusive to HBO Max.

A sequel to 2013’s Man of Steel and 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the film tells the story of Batman and Wonder Woman’s attempts to recruit a team of heroes to defend Earth against an alien threat. During production, director Zack Snyder clashed with the studio over the creative direction of the film, particularly in the wake of lackluster box office results for BvS. He eventually left the project following the death of his daughter, and was replaced by Joss Whedon, who conducted extensive reshoots to reduce the film to a studio-mandated two-hour running time.

Fans of Snyder’s previous two films who felt the Whedon cut didn’t match their tone or wrap up the storylines in a satisfactory way began petitioning the studio to “Release the Snyder Cut,” which become a popular meme. Studio bosses didn’t seem interested in providing the funds for Snyder to complete the visual effects for his longer cut of the film, until former corporate parent AT&T decided to pursue the project as a selling point for the new HBO Max streaming service.

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The cast includes Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg and Ezra Miller as The Flash. Screenplay credit for Zack Snyder’s Justice League goes to Chris Terrio, from a story by Chris Terrio & Zack Snyder and Will Beall, based on characters from DC Comics. The film’s producers are Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder, with executive producers Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas, Wesley Coller, Jim Rowe, Curtis Kanemoto, Chris Terrio and Ben Affleck.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be available to own digitally in high-definition or standard-definition from participating digital retailers.

Bonus materials, which will vary by retailer, include a six-minute  “Building a Scene” featurette about bringing the film to life; the 24-minute “Road to Justice League” in which Snyder reflects on making his DC trilogy; and the “Justice is Gray” version of ZSJL that presents the film in noirish black-and-white.

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A trilogy bundle also will be available starting July 19 that will contain Man of Steel, the Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition (the three-hour director’s cut of that film), and Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

 

The Batman

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 5/24/22;
Warner;
Action;
Box Office $369.3 million;
$19.99 DVD, $24.99 Blu-ray, $29.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for strong violent and disturbing content, drug content, strong language, and some suggestive material.
Stars Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Jayme Lawson, Andy Serkis, Colin Farrell.

Director Matt Reeves’ The Batman brings an indie sensibility to the realm of the big-budget superhero. The film feels more like a 1970s crime saga than the slick, CGI-heavy spectacles most blockbuster comic book movies have become lately.

Unlike with many of the earlier adaptations, The Batman emphasizes the character’s skills as a detective rather than as a gadget-happy vigilante — though there is plenty of that to go around as well. The story finds Batman (Robert Pattinson) teaming with Lt. James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) to investigate the murder of Gotham City’s mayor by the Riddler (Paul Dano), who leaves a series of clues that threaten to unravel Gotham’s criminal underworld and bring chaos to the city.

Drawing inspiration from the grittier Batman comic storylines of the late 1980s and 1990s, the film presents the caped crusader as raw and unpolished, so obsessed with his vigilante pursuit of justice that he neglects his life as Bruce Wayne, much to the chagrin of his butler and caretaker, Alfred (Andy Serkis). Along the way, Batman finds an unlikely ally in proto-Catwoman Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz), who has her own motivations for taking down the city’s mob bosses, including Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) and the Penguin (Colin Farrell, unrecognizable in heavy makeup).

Taking place a couple of years into Batman’s war on crime in Gotham City, The Batman almost feels like it could take place after Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, sharing that film’s interest in grounding Batman more in realism than his more fantastical comic book roots. The film’s darker mood is helped immensely by a relentless, haunting musical score by Michael Giacchino.

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The Batman clocks in at a lengthy three hours and feels it, taking its time to establish the grungy hopelessness of Gotham City and not rushing through the particulars of the case at hand. Just as the film seems to reach an emotional catharsis through the resolution of one central mystery, it still has 50 minutes or so to contend with the Riddler’s grand plot, a pivot that feels more akin to a streaming miniseries. Ironically, after two hours of aping film noir, the film’s third act is the one that starts to feel most like a traditional Batman movie.

The film’s production design gives Gotham an appropriately worn out look, with a color palette awash in oranges and browns, grays and blacks, toning down any potential splashes of real color. The Batsuit and Batmobile feel homemade — Pattinson’s Batman a crusader with dirt under his fingernails as he tours the city on a motorcycle with his costume in a backpack, ready to jump into action.

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The Blu-ray includes a couple of deleted scenes. The most notable, running nearly six minutes, features Batman visiting a familiar Arkham Asylum prisoner to gain insights into the Riddler case, a la Silence of the Lambs. While interesting on its own, the scene spoils the character’s more-effective cameo that’s in the final film, and overall just doesn’t seem to mesh well with the proceedings. The other scene, running about two minutes, provides some interesting character dynamics as Selina is propositioned by the Penguin as she’s trying to infiltrate his nightclub to gain clues for Batman. Both scenes contain optional director’s commentary by Reeves.

A comprehensive and insightful commentary for the entire film is offered by Reeves as an iTunes exclusive — available to those who purchase the film directly from Apple or use Apple TV to view a digital copy redeemed through Movies Anywhere.

Also included with the home video extras are about two hours of behind-the-scenes material featuring interviews with the key filmmakers, including Reeves sporting a bushy mustache that makes him look like a Commissioner Gordon stand-in himself.

The headliner, running nearly 54 minutes, is “Vengeance in the Making,” which provides a comprehensive look at the entire production. 

The eight-minute “Vengeance Meets Justice” looks at some of the parallels between Batman and Riddler; the six-minute “The Batman: Genesis” offers Pattinson and Reeves exploring their approach to Batman; the eight-and-a-half-minute “Becoming Catwoman” and the eight-minute “A Transformation: The Penguin” look at Kravitz’s and Farrell’s takes on their iconic characters; the 11-minute “The Batmobile” unveils the creation of this film’s iteration of Batman’s famous car; the five-minute “Looking for Vengeance” focuses on making the fight sequences; while the six minute “Anatomy of the Car Chase” and six-and-a-half-minute “Anatomy of the Wingsuit Jump” break down two key action scenes. The six-minute “Unpacking the Icons,” which is the only one of the featurettes offered on the DVD version, looks at the film’s tone and costume design.

Movies Anywhere offers an additional minute-long featurette called “Discover: Batmobile, Batsuit & Gadgets.”

HBO Max Orders DC Limited Series ‘The Penguin’ Starring Colin Farrell

HBO Max has given a straight-to-series order for “The Penguin” (working title), a limited series starring Colin Farrell in the title role.

The DC drama expands upon the world filmmaker Matt Reeves created for Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Batman and centers on the character played by Farrell in the film.

The series is executive produced by Matt Reeves, Dylan Clark, Farrell and Lauren LeFranc, who writes and serves as showrunner. Based on characters created for DC by Bob Kane with Bill Finger, “The Penguin” is produced by Reeves’ 6th & Idaho Productions and Dylan Clark Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, where Reeves and 6th & Idaho are under an overall deal. 6th & Idaho’s Daniel Pipski and Adam Kassan also serve as executive producers, and Rafi Crohn is co-executive producer.
 
“We are thrilled to bring audiences a new version of this iconic DC character that they have never seen before,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max, said in a statement. “It is incredible to be working with Matt, Dylan and Lauren on continuing this story and to see Colin take his already exceptional performance in The Batman to the next level.”
 
“Colin exploded off the screen as the Penguin in The Batman, and having the chance to thoroughly explore the inner life of that character on HBO Max is an absolute thrill,” Reeves said in a statement. “Dylan and I are so excited to work with Lauren in continuing Oz’s story as he grabs violently for power in Gotham.” 

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“I have long been a fan of the world of The Batman, and Matt’s film is such a powerful and bold entry into the canon,” LeFranc said in a statement. “I am excited and humbled to continue telling stories in the grimy world of Gotham City — and what better excuse to channel my inner villain than to tell the story of Oswald Cobblepot? I am thrilled to work with Colin, Matt, Dylan, 6th & Idaho, Warners, and HBO Max as we work to bring this story to the screen.”

“The world that Matt Reeves created for The Batman is one that warrants a deeper gaze through the eyes of Oswald Cobblepot,” Farrell said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more excited about continuing this exploration of Oz as he rises through the darkened ranks to become The Penguin. Will be good to get him back on the streets of Gotham for a little madness and a little mayhem.”
 
Released in theaters in North America on March 4, 2022, and internationally beginning March 2, 2022, The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson, grossed $134 million at the North American box office and $124 million internationally in its first weekend for a $258 million global launch. 

Batman: The Long Halloween — Part Two

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 8/10/21;
Warner;
Animated;
$34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for some violence and bloody images.
Voices of Jensen Ackles, Josh Duhamel, Naya Rivera, Billy Burke, Katee Sackhoff, Titus Welliver, David Dastmalchian, Troy Baker, Amy Landecker, Julie Nathanson, Fred Tatasciore, Alastair Duncan.

The second half of The Long Halloween delivers a satisfying conclusion to the animated adaptation of the famed 1990s Batman comic book story.

In Part Two, Gotham’s mob bosses struggle to maintain control of their traditional criminal enterprises as Gotham City continues to be overrun by costumed supervillains in the wake of Batman’s rise as the city’s protector. Picking up from the post-credits scene of Part One, Poison Ivy (Katee Sackhoff) has enthralled Bruce Wayne (Jensen Ackles) into signing over his assets to mafia kingpin Carmine Falcone (Titus Welliver), but the scheme is thwarted by Catwoman (Naya Rivera). Meanwhile, the serial killer known as Holiday continues to wage war on Gotham’s crime families, leading to rampant speculation over the murderer’s true identity.

When suspicion falls upon district attorney Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel), a surprise attack leaves him physically scarred, transforming him into the villainous Two-Face, and sealing the fate of Gotham’s future once and for all.

Part Two is darker and bloodier than the first half, with graphic animated violence throughout.

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Neither of the Blu-rays for parts one or two includes a featurette about the source material, which is pretty common for the DC Universe animated movies, so perhaps one is being saved for the upcoming 4K Blu-ray that combines both halves into a single longer film, which is slated for next year.

The Part Two Blu-ray does include featurettes about several earlier DC movies, plus a 10-minute preview of the upcoming Injustice animated movie based on the video game about DC heroes fighting each other.

The Blu-ray also includes the excellent two-part “Two-Face” episode depicting the villains origin on “Batman: The Animated Series.”

Also included is the 15-minute DC Showcase animated short Blue Beetle, which is a hilarious homage to the style of superhero cartoons from the 1960s and ’70s, even down to the goofy theme song. The story involves Blue Beetle (Matt Lanter) investigating a villain who uses soda to brainwash people into becoming his henchmen.

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Batman: The Long Halloween — Part One

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner;
Animated;
$29.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence, bloody images, language and some smoking.
Voices of Jensen Ackles, Josh Duhamel, Billy Burke, Titus Welliver, David Dastmalchian, Troy Baker, Amy Landecker, Julie Nathanson, Jack Quaid, Fred Tatasciore, Jim Pirri, Alastair Duncan, Naya Rivera.

Originally released in 1996 and 1997 and best known today as a graphic novel collection, the comic book miniseries “Batman: The Long Halloween” is considered one of the seminal works of the Batman canon.

Taking place over the course of a year early in Batman’s career, “The Long Halloween” tells the story of how Gotham City transitioned from gangland violence to being overrun with costumed supervillains, while also tracking the toll it takes on new district attorney Harvey Dent, who eventually becomes the villain Two-Face.

This first half of the two-part animated adaptation (the second half coming in a month) is heavily focused on the mafia side of things, and feels very much like Batman (Jensen Ackles) has been dropped into the plot of The Godfather.

This is a Batman still perfecting his skills as a vigilante. He makes obvious mistakes, isn’t too adept at jumping from roof to roof just yet, and he doesn’t seem interested in being a detective. He forms a pact with Dent (Josh Duhamel) and police Capt. Gordon (Billy Burke) to clean up the gang wars, but this only puts more of a target on Dent’s back, much to the chagrin of his wife. It also opens the door for the costumed crazies that Batman has inspired, such as the Joker (Troy Baker) and Catwoman (voiced by the late Naya Rivera in one of her final roles), as a serial killer begins targeting key mob personnel each month on a festive holiday.

Batman fans already familiar with the “Long Halloween” arc should appreciate the adaptation, which matches the animation style of the earlier Superman: Man of Tomorrow and Justice Society: World War II, potentially putting it in the same shared universe as those adventures. Long Halloween was reportedly intended to kick off this new continuity years ago, but was delayed when it looked as if Matt Reeves’ The Batman would be doing the storyline.

Casual Bat-fans who don’t know the graphic novel will likely recognize many aspects of the story, particularly the troika of Batman, Dent and Gordon, and the focus on Gotham’s mob bosses, from Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, which was heavily influenced by Long Halloween.

The Blu-ray includes a nine-minute preview of the upcoming part two, which delves further into Dent’s transformation into Two-Face.

There are also showcases for previously released Batman animated movies The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 and Gotham by Gaslight.

As is customary for these DC Universe releases, the Blu-ray also contains two cartoons from the Warner Bros. catalog that are thematically similar to the movie — in this case, the “Batman: The Animated Series” episodes “Christmas With the Joker” and “It’s Never Too Late.”

Also included is the newest DC Showcase animated short film, the 16-minute The Losers. This one’s about a special forces unit during World War II caught up in a mission on an island overrun by dinosaurs brought from the past by a powerful energy barrier. The premise seems cobbled together from a few familiar sources and as a whole the short doesn’t amount to much, but the implications of some of the plot developments could be intriguing if explored further.

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‘Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two’ Set for Digital Release July 27, Blu-ray Aug. 10

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two for digital purchase July 27 and on Blu-ray Disc Aug. 10.

The film continues the storyline from Part One, due June 22, which is based on the 1996-97 comic book storyline that takes place early in Batman’s vigilante career, as the young crimefighter forms a pact with the city’s only two uncorrupt lawmen, police Capt. James Gordon and DA Harvey Dent, to take down organized crime in Gotham City, only to be tested by a serial killer who murders his victims on holidays throughout the year.

The voice cast includes Jensen Ackles as Batman, Josh Duhamel as Harvey Dent, Billy Burke as Jim Gordon, Katee Sackhoff as Poison Ivy, Titus Welliver as Carmine Falcone, David Dastmalchian as Calendar Man, Troy Baker as Joker, Amy Landecker as Barbara Gordon, Julie Nathanson as Gilda Dent, Fred Tatasciore as Solomon Grundy, Jim Pirri as Sal Maroni, Alastair Duncan as Alfred, and the late Naya Rivera as Catwoman in one of her final performances, recorded before her death in 2020.

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A 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Batman: The Long Halloween will arrive in 2022 with both parts combined into a longer film.

The Part Two Blu-ray and digital edition (through participating retailers) will also include the DC Showcase animated short film Blue Beetle, a 1960s cartoon throwback with the Silver Age Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, teaming with fellow superheroes Captain Atom, The Question and Nightshade to battle Doctor Spectro.

Other extras include a preview of the next DC Animated movie, Injustice, and the “Two-Face” two-parter from “Batman: The Animated Series.”

The film is rated ‘R’ for some violence and bloody images.

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First Part of Animated ‘Batman: The Long Halloween’ Arrives June 22

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment June 22 will release Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One on Blu-ray Disc and via digital purchase.

The newest entry in the DC Universe animated movie franchise is based on the 1996-97 comic book storyline that takes place early in Batman’s vigilante career, as the young crimefighter forms a pact with the city’s only two uncorrupt lawmen, police Capt. James Gordon and DA Harvey Dent, to take down organized crime in Gotham City, only to be tested by a serial killer who murders his victims on holidays throughout the year.

The voice cast includes Jensen Ackles as Batman, Josh Duhamel as Harvey Dent, Billy Burke as Jim Gordon, Titus Welliver as Carmine Falcone, David Dastmalchian as Calendar Man, Troy Baker as Joker, Amy Landecker as Barbara Gordon, Julie Nathanson as Gilda Dent, Jack Quaid as Alberto, Fred Tatasciore as Solomon Grundy, Jim Pirri as Sal Maroni, Alastair Duncan as Alfred, and the late Naya Rivera as Catwoman in one of her final performances, recorded before her death in 2020.

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The adaptation will be broken into two parts, with the second half released at a later date. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Batman: The Long Halloween will arrive in 2022 with both parts combined into a longer film.

The Part One Blu-ray and digital edition (through participating retailers) will also include the DC Showcase animated short film The Losers, about a rag-tag team of World War II outcasts who find themselves marooned on an uncharted island in the South Pacific that is completely overrun with dinosaurs.

Other extras include a preview of Part Two, and two episodes of “Batman: The Animated Series” — “Christmas With the Joker” and “It’s Never Too Late.”

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The film is rated ‘PG-13’ for violence, bloody images, language and some smoking.

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One will available through Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles, starting July 6.

Batman: Soul of the Dragon

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 1/26/21;
Warner;
Animated;
$29.98 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD;
Rated ‘R’ for some violence.
Voices of David Giuntoli, Mark Dacascos, Kelly Hu, Michael Jai White, James Hong, Josh Keaton.

The latest DC Comics animated movie offers a rollicking throwback to the action movies of the 1970s, with a touch of James Bond for good measure, and a supernatural storyline that harkens back to Bruce Wayne’s training before he became Batman.

While it’s billed as a Batman movie, Soul of the Dragon puts less of a focus on the Dark Knight and puts him among an ensemble of DC action stars, primarily Richard Dragon (voiced by Mark Dacascos), a secret agent who seems to have been deliberately drawn to resemble Bruce Lee.

Dragon uncovers a plot by a cult called Kobra to open a portal to a demon dimension. To do so, they have acquired a mysterious doorway once possessed by Dragon’s old mentor, O Sensei (James Hong), who sacrificed himself years earlier to keep it sealed.

To aid him in stopping Kobra, Dragon recruits other students he trained with, including Bruce Wayne (David Gluntoli), Shiva (Kelly Hu) and Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White, who previously played a live-action version of the character on “Arrow.”)

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The movie weaves in some of the more bizarre characters from DC Comics and serves as a nice reminder of how wacky Batman comics from the 1970s could get. The core cast brings some nice chemistry to the proceedings and their mission results in some entertaining, if bloody, cartoon violence that should leave comic book movie fans satisfied.

The only real drawback might be an animation style that seems a bit stilted and modern for the subject matter.

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The Blu-ray includes a great half-hour featurette called “Batman: Raw Groove” — a retrospective about the pop culture of the 1970s that inspired Soul of the Dragon, particularly kung fu and blacksploitation movies.

The making of the film is covered more in the 18-minute “Producer Jim Krieg’s Far-Out Highlights,” which offers several filmmaker interviews, with special emphasis on Krieg, who is known for appearing in costumes appropriate to the movie he is promoting.

Rounding out the Blu-ray package are a pair of “Batman: The Animated Series” episodes — “Day of the Samurai” and “Night of the Ninja” — plus several previews for other DC Universe animated movies, including an eight-minute preview of the upcoming Justice Society: World War II.

In the 4K combo pack, all the extras are on the standard Blu-ray Disc. The 4K disc contains just the movie and its spectacular color palette.