MVD Releasing ‘Flash Gordon’ and ‘Pitch Black’ as Arrow’s First 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays

Arrow Video is set to release its first-ever 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray titles — the sci-fi cult movies Pitch Black, starring Vin Diesel, and Flash Gordon, featuring an iconic soundtrack by the rock band Queen.

Restored in 4K with Dolby Vision, the releases include numerous extras. The titles, distributed by MVD Entertainment Group, will also be available on as standalone Blu-rays.

“At Arrow we have always sought to have the best standards in home video presentation so it seemed a logical step that we would embrace this new format, to present you with the best versions of the finest cult and classic films,” said Francesco Simeoni, Arrow Video’s director of acquisitions and business development, in a statement.

Arrow is producing a slate of 4K releases, many completed in-house, but also in partnership with world leading labels.

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“Whilst we are focused on new releases, we do have select releases we are planning to release from our catalog in 4K with Dolby Vision,” said Simeoni in a statement. “For this year this will be releasing all upcoming UHD titles in separate UHD and new Blu-ray editions. This development will not change our processes at Arrow, and you can continue to expect the same variety of special and limited editions for our UHD releases as you have our Blu-rays. Whilst we would love to release certain titles on UHD, rights restrictions and materials will not make all releases possible. Any releases currently planned for Blu-ray will not have plans for subsequent UHD releases.”

Arriving Aug. 18 is Flash Gordon, produced by Dino De Laurentiis (Dune, Barbarella), which brings Alex Raymond’s classic cartoon strip and the long running movie serial to the big screen with director Mike Hodges at the helm. With camp style and the sonic stylings of rock band Queen, the film stars include Max von Sydow, Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Ornella Muti, Timothy Dalton and Brian Blessed.

The director-approved limited edition 4K Ultra HD release includes:

  • A new 4K restoration by Studiocanal from the original camera negative approved by director Hodges;
  • a booklet featuring new writing on the film by critics and film historians including Neil Snowdon, Dennis Cozzalio, John-Paul Checkett, A.K. Benedict, and Kat Ellinger illustrated with original stills;
  • a fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork;
  • six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions, alternative posters and promotional images; and
  • limited edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais.

 

Disc one (4K Ultra Blu-ray) has Flash Gordon (1980) and special features, including:

  • archival audio commentary with Hodges;
  • archival audio commentary with Blessed;
  • interviews with actors Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Blessed, Queen icon Brian May, composer Howard Blake, and poster designer Renato Casaro;
  • “Behind the Scenes of Flash Gordon,” an archival documentary on the making of the film;
  • archival interviews with Hodges, screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. and comic book artist Alex Ross;
  • “Lost in Space: Nic Roeg’s Flash Gordon,” a new documentary program exploring the version Roeg (The Man Who Fell to Earth) had originally planned to make with producer Dino De Laurentiis;
  • “Gremlin’s Finest Hour,” an episode from the animated “Flash Gordon” TV show written by J. Michael Reaves from November 1982;
  • deleted scenes and original endings with prop collector Bob Lindenmayer discussing dropped sequences and sequel ideas;
  • a 35th anniversary greenroom featurette, in which Hodges meets the cast for the first time since filming at the 35th anniversary reunion;
  • a 35th anniversary reunion featurette, in which the cast and crew discuss Flash Gordon;
  • Entertainment Earth on Flash Gordon merchandise;
  • a storyboards gallery;
  • a stills gallery;
  • the original trailer; and
  • Easter eggs.

 

Disc 2 (Blu-ray) has Life After Flash and special features, including:

  • 2017 feature length documentary by filmmaker Lisa Downs on the rollercoaster life of Sam J. Jones since his role in Flash Gordon, featuring the main cast and crew as well as a host of fans. including Stan Lee, Robert Rodriguez, Mark Millar and more;
  • “Sam J. Jones,” a variety of interviews and featurettes including coverage of a script read from the Chattanooga Film Festival, Sam discussing his career in Mexico, his “prayer walk,” and more;
  • “Melody Paintings Extended,” in which actress Melody Anderson talks about her love of painting and talks about various pieces displayed in her home;
  • “Topol,” a variety of interviews with the actor on his collections, awards and charity work;
  • “Brian Blessed,” in which the actor recounts amusing stories about Flash Gordon;
  • “Late, Great Wyngarde,” in which actor Peter Wyngarde discusses his experiences filming Flash Gordon and his relationship with Hodges;
  • “Deep Roy,” in which the actor raps about ambition and recounts an amusing story about “Eastbound & Down”;
  • “Alex Ross Talks Early Art,” in which the artist talks about Flash Gordon and the many pieces of art he created for it from childhood to modern day;
  • “Tell Me More About the This Man Houdini,” in which actor Rich Fuller and Jason Lenzi, founder of toy brand Bif Bang Pow, discuss a scene from Flash Gordon;
  • a Comic-Con early draft, a featurette looking at the phenomenon that is Comic-Con, featuring interviews with attendees and a host of regular talent including Sam J. Jones, Rich Fulton, Jason Mewes, Michael Rooker, Claudia Wells and more;
  • an interview with Lisa Downs, the director of Life After Flash, exploring her motivation to make the film and experiences during the production;
  • “Life After Flash on the Road,” a variety of featurettes on the film travelling to various festivals and production including Q&A excerpts with the Flash Gordon cast, behind-the-scenes footage and the Kickstarter funding video;
  • a trailer.

 

The director-approved special edition 4K Ultra HD release includes:

  • new 4K restoration by Studiocanal from the original camera negative approved by director Hodges;
  • archival audio commentary with Hodges;
  • archival audio commentary with Blessed;
  • interviews with actors Jones, Anderson, Blessed, Queen icon Brian May, composer Howard Blake, and poster designer Renato Casaro;
  • “Behind the Scenes of Flash Gordon,” an archival documentary on the making of the film;
  • archival interviews with Hodges, screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. and comic book artist Alex Ross;
  • “Lost in Space: Nic Roeg’s Flash Gordon,” a new documentary program exploring the version Roeg (The Man Who Fell to Earth) had originally planned to make with producer Dino De Laurentiis;
  • “Gremlin’s Finest Hour,” an episode from the animated “Flash Gordon” TV show written by J. Michael Reaves from November 1982;
  • deleted scenes and original endings, in which prop collector Bob Lindenmayer discusses dropped sequences and sequel ideas;
  • a 35th anniversary greenroom featurette, in which Hodges meets the cast for the first time since filming at the 35th anniversary reunion;
  • a 35th anniversary reunion featurette, in which the cast and crew discuss Flash Gordon;
  • Entertainment Earth on Flash Gordon merchandise;
  • a storyboards gallery;
  • a stills gallery;
  • the original trailer;
  • Easter eggs; and
  • a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais.

 

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Arriving Sept. 1, pushed back from its original Aug. 18 street date, is the 2000 film Pitch Black.

Starring Vin Diesel, the film is about the crew of a crashed spaceship fighting for survival, is a creature-feature in which the monsters outside finally meet their match against a monster within. The release includes director’s cuts of the film and a host of behind-the-scenes featurettes. They include:

  • A new 4K restoration by Arrow Films of the theatrical and director’s cuts of the film, approved by director David Twohy;
  • archive commentary with Twohy and stars Diesel and Cole Hauser;
  • archive commentary with Twohy, producer Tom Engelman and visual effects supervisor Peter Chiang;
  • “Nightfall: The Making of Pitch Black,” a newly filmed interview with director/co-writer Twohy;
  • “Black Box: Jackie’s Journey,” a newly filmed interview with actor Rhiana Griffith
  • “Black Box: Shazza’s Last Stand,” a newly filmed interview with actor Claudia Black;
  • “Black Box: Bleach Bypassed,” a newly filmed interview with cinematographer David Eggby;
  • “Black Box: Cryo-Locked,” a newly filmed interview with visual effects supervisor Peter Chiang;
  • “Black Box: Primal Sounds,” a newly filmed interview with composer Graeme Revell;
  • “The Making of Pitch Black,” a short behind-the-scenes featurette;
  • “Pitch Black Raw,” a comparison between early CG tests and the final footage
  • additional behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the film;
  • 2004 archive bonus features, including an introduction by Twohy, “A View Into The Dark,” and “Chronicles of Riddick Visual Encyclopedia”;
  • “Johns’ Chase Log,” a short prequel narrated by Cole Hauser detailing the character’s hunt for Riddick;
  • “The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury,” an animated short film directed by Peter Chung that acts as a bridgepoint between Pitch Blackand The Chronicles of Riddick, featuring vocal performances by Diesel, Keith David and Griffith reprising their roles;
  • “Dark Fury” bonus features, including “Bridging the Gap,” “Peter Chung: The Mind of an Animator,” “A View Into The Light” and a “pre-animation” version of the film;
  • “Slam City,” a motion comic from the film’s official website;
  • “Into Pitch Black,”a TV special offering an alternative non-canon glimpse into what happened before and after the events of the film;
  • “Raveworld: Pitch Black Event,” footage of a dance music event held to promote the film;
  • theatrical trailers, plus trailers for the two sequels and video game
  • image galleries; and
  • a reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned ‘night’ and ‘day’ artwork by Luke Preece.

 

For the first pressing only, editions include a collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Simon Ward on the film’s creature designs (including a new interview with creature designer Patrick Tatopolous), original production notes and information from the film’s official website, and an archive interview with Vin Diesel from Starlog magazine.

Docs ‘The Vote’ and ‘Mae West: Dirty Blonde’ Among Titles Due on Disc and Digital in August From PBS

The documentary American Experience: The Vote, season seven of “Endeavour,” American Masters: Mae West — Dirty Blonde, Asian Americans, Nova: Eagle Power, and season two of “Poetry in America” are coming to disc and digital from PBS Distribution in August.

Due on DVD and digital Aug. 11 is American Experience: The Vote, honoring the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment of women’s suffrage on Aug. 18, 1920. The documentary tells the story of the crusade waged by American women for the right to vote. Focusing primarily on the movement’s final decade, the film charts American women’s determined march to the ballot box, and illuminates the myriad social, political and cultural obstacles that stood in their path. Mae Whitman voices Alice Paul, Audra McDonald voices Ida B. Wells, Laura Linney voices Carrie Chapman Catt, and Patricia Clarkson voices Harriot Stanton Blatch.

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Season seven of “Endeavour” comes out Aug. 25 on Blu-ray, DVD and digital. In the seventh installment in “Masterpiece” program, Endeavour and his colleagues enter a new decade and era of change. Opening on New Year’s Eve 1969, normal order has been resumed and the team reunited at Castle Gate CID, with Chief Superintendent Bright back in charge. However, the events of the past year have left their mark: old friendships will be challenged and new relationships will blossom. Amidst the dawn of women’s liberation, social progression and scientific growth, the 1970s begin for Oxford’s finest with the discovery of a body at the canal towpath on New Year’s Day. With the only clue in the investigation being a witness who heard whistling on the night of the crime, the team have their work cut out to uncover their culprit.

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Due Aug. 11 on DVD and digital is American Masters: Mae West — Dirty Blonde. The documentary chronicles the life of Hollywood icon Mae West, who achieved great acclaim in every entertainment medium that existed during her lifetime, spanning eight decades of the 20th century. A full-time actress at 7, a vaudevillian at 14, a dancing sensation at 25, a Broadway playwright at 33, a silver screen ingénue at 40, a Vegas nightclub act at 62, a recording artist at 73, a camp icon at 85 — West left no format unconquered.

Also due Aug 11 on DVD and digital is Asian Americans, a five-part documentary program that delivers a new perspective on the Asian American experience. It traces the story of Asian Americans, spanning 150 years of immigration, racial politics, international relations and cultural innovation.

Nova: Eagle Power, coming Aug. 11 on DVD and digital, explores the bald eagle, a North American legend with a deep connection to Native American cultures and emblematic status that helped it make a remarkable journey back from the brink of extinction. What makes this iconic predator so extraordinary? And how does it fit into the global family of some 60 eagle species spread across six continents? “Nova” takes viewers into the lives of these spectacular birds, revealing their exceptional strength, eyesight and flying skills.

Finally, coming Aug. 25 on DVD and digital, is the second season of “Poetry in America,” which covers poets, public figures and members of various communities who join series creator Elisa New to engage in intimate readings of a single American poem. The poems include “Urban Love Poem” — Marilyn Chin, “One Art” — Elizabeth Bishop, “The Fish” — Marianne Moore, “This Your Home Now” — Mark Doty, “Finishing the Hat” — Stephen Sondheim, “You and I Are Disappearing” – Yusef Komunyakaa, “This Is Just to Say” — William Carlos Williams, and “Leaves of Grass” — Walt Whitman.

Universal’s ‘Trolls World Tour’ Tops U.K. Official Film Chart for Third Straight Week

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Trolls World Tour finished atop the weekly Official Film Chart in United Kingdom for the third consecutive week following its release DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K UHD Blu-ray.

With 76% of its sales on disc for the week ended Aug. 5, Trolls World Tour comfortably held its position against perennial competitors Frozen II (Disney) at No. 2, Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog (No. 4) and eOne’s 1917 (No. 5).

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Best-placed new entry among the Top 10: Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope. The 1977 sci-fi classic starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford hadn’t previously featured in the Official Film Chart, but finished No. 3 thanks to the release of a limited-edition 4K Blu-ray Steelbook.

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Warner’s Joker claimed the sixth spot for the third week, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s adventure-comedy Jumanji: The Next Level finished seventh for a second week. Dolittle (Universal) dropped three spots to No. 8, as Lionsgate U.K.’s Knives Out finished ninth. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s starring roles in Sony Pictures’ Bad Boys For Life clinched another week in the chart, in 10th.

Finally, further notable Top 20 entries come from sci-fi horror, Deep Blue Sea 3, brand new at No. 12; Bruce Willis and Chad Michael Murray’s latest action thriller, Survive The Night, rising six places to 13th; and a double feature of Trolls and Trolls World Tour at No. 15.

Doc ‘1275 Days’ Available on Disc and Digital From Filmrise and MVD

A special edition of the documentary 1275 Days will come out on Blu-ray, DVD and digital from Filmrise and MVD Entertainment Group.

The film follows 15-year-old Blake who, after a botched home invasion, finds himself facing a virtual life prison sentence for felony murder. With the unwavering support of his single mother and teenage girlfriend, Blake embarks on a David-and-Goliath uphill battle in Elkhart, Indiana, taking on the system in hopes of a second chance.

Extras include deleted scenes, “Experts on Retroactivity,” a photo gallery and the theatrical trailer.

It was an official selection at the 2019 Heartland International Film Festival and an official selection and 2019 DOC NYC.

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‘Inner Sanctum Mysteries’ Starring Lon Chaney Jr. Coming on Blu-ray Sept. 22 From Mill Creek

Inner Sanctum Mysteries, a six-film collection starring Lon Chaney Jr., is due on Blu-ray Sept. 22 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

The collection ($69.98), presenting the films on Blu-ray for the first time, will include more than 80 minutes of new special features.

Based on the radio shows of the 1940s, the six features on the set of Universal’s classic “Inner Sanctum Mysteries” are Calling Doctor Death, Weird Woman, Dead Man’s Eyes, The Frozen Ghost, Strange Confession and Pillow of Death.

Daniel Griffith of Ballyhoo Motion Pictures serves as producer of the new Blu-ray bonus features.

“I am thrilled to be working with Mill Creek Entertainment and developing new featurettes for the ‘Inner Sanctum’ film series,” Griffith said in a statement. “The behind-the-scenes story of the book series turned radio show turned movie franchise is a subject that has never been documented with as much detail and care as we are on this exciting release.”

“Daniel’s incredible knowledge and expertise of film history makes him the ideal partner,” said J.W. Starrett, director of product development for Mill Creek Entertainment, in a statement.

Extras include “This is the Inner Sanctum: Making a Universal Mystery Series”; “The Creaking Door: Entering the Inner Sanctum,” a history of the radio series with author/radio historian Martin Grams Jr.; “Mind Over Matter: An Archival Interview With Actor Martin Kosleck (The Frozen Ghost)”; a 28-page color booklet with a detailed franchise history, Lon Chaney Jr. biography, detailed film guide, trivia and more; and three feature-length commentaries.

Calling Dr. Death (1943) features commentary from screenwriter/film historian C. Courtney Joyner and Regina LeBorg (daughter of director Reginald LeBorg). Weird Woman (1944) features commentary from author Justin Humphreys (The Dr. Phibes Companion) and Del Howison (Dark Delicacies Horror). Strange Confession (1945) features commentary from screenwriter Peter Atkins (Hellraiser II, III and IV) and screenwriter/film historian C. Courtney Joyner.

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“More than half-a-century after their release, the ‘Inner Sanctum’ films endure as part of Universal’s history of classic horror and mysteries of the ‘30s and ‘40s,” stated Joyner, author/contributor to the bonus features, in a statement.  “Built as showcases for Lon Chaney, the six films are prime examples of old-school studio product, made by skilled craftsmen for audiences eager for an hour of chills with one of horror’s most enduring figures.”

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Mill Creek’s transactional VOD service movieSpree will feature a digital bonus in standard-def of Lady of Burlesque (1943) and Inner Sanctum (1948), and three “Inner Sanctum Mysteries” radio episodes, “The Tell-Tale Heart” featuring Boris Karloff, “The Black Sea Gull” featuring Peter Lorre, and “Melody of Death” featuring Mary Astor.

‘Back to the Future’ Trilogy Travels to 4K Ultra HD Oct. 20 for 35th Anniversary

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy, containing all three movies in the series, Oct. 20 on 4K Ultra HD to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the release of the first film.

All three “Back to the Future” films will also be available on 4K Ultra HD digitally for the first time ever. The trilogy will also be available on Blu-ray and DVD.

The release comes in time for “Back to the Future Day” Oct. 21.

In 1985, Director Robert Zemeckis, executive Producer Steven Spielberg and producer/screenwriter Bob Gale began the three-part journey with Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and a time traveling DeLorean to the past, present and future, setting off a time-shattering chain reaction that disrupts the space-time continuum.

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The collection, featuring discbook packing, comes with a bonus disc with more than an hour of new content, such as rare audition footage from actors Ben Stiller, Kyra Sedgwick, Jon Cryer, Billy Zane, Peter DeLuise and C. Thomas Howell; a tour of the film’s props and memorabilia hosted by Gale; a sneak peek at the new musical show; and a special episode of the YouTube series “Could You Survive The Movies?”

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Exclusives include the 4K trilogy with levitating hoverboard replica at Amazon, the Blu-ray trilogy with levitating hoverboard replica at Target, and steelbook editions at Best Buy.

 

Comic-Con@Home Panel Plumbs the Depths of Shooting Underwater in ‘Deep Blue Sea 3’

There were several challenges when making the third installment in the “Deep Blue Sea” feature franchise, including overcoming the usual difficulties with shooting on water (a la Steven Spielberg’s legendary struggles with Jaws) and coming up with a new premise that didn’t involve an underwater lab, as the two previous movies had.

Global warming came to the rescue on the script. Screenwriter Dirk Blackman did some research on small islands sinking as the oceans rise and had a moment of inspiration.

“I thought, ‘Let’s sink the town,’” he said during a July 24 online panel at Comic-Con@Home for the July 28 digital and Aug. 25 Blu-ray combo pack and DVD release of Deep Blue Sea 3 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The film follows Dr. Emma Collins and her team, who are spending the summer on a sinking island studying the effect of climate change on great white sharks. Their routine is disrupted when a team led by her ex-boyfriend and marine biologist Richard shows up looking for three rogue bull sharks.

Director John Pogue discussed the logistics of shooting four major underwater action sequences at the South African location.

“We figured out a way to be 360 with our water set so that we could have all of the sets gathered around this cove and most of the rest of everything else was made up digitally,” he said.

The underwater scenes got an assist from some professionals.

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“There are so many additional safely issues with shooting around water, from what can happen with electricity to people falling in, so safety was paramount,” Pogue said. “We were very fortunate in that we had this incredible South African team called the Frog Squad that do underwater projects all over the world. They are essentially South African SEALs that also make movies.”

The actors spent time training and getting scuba certified before the shoot, noted Emerson Brooks, who plays Shaw, a sort of brother/father figure for Emma.

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“I think all the training that we did, all the real underwater experience … that really added to it, that put you in it, certainly,” added Tania Raymonde (Emma).

The water in the winter in South Africa was cold, and “we were always wet, always wet,” she recalled.

Shooting in water posed challenges for the director as well.

“I think about 30 % of the time it went as planned— so many things would break,” Pogue said. “The communication underwater is super challenging. You’re basically talking to 20 people with a giant underwater megaphone that no one can really understand.”

Mumbling like the teacher a “Charlie Brown” special, Nathaniel Buzolic (Richard) demonstrated what the actors could hear underwater.

“There was this underwater megaphone that looked like something from the Victorian era, which is like a box with a string on it that was threaded all the way down into the water,” added Raymonde. “Once you suit up and you’ve got your regulator and they make sure you’ve got air in the tank and check all your levels and you’ve got everything on and you go under, it’s kind of a pain to get back up to the surface, take everything off, go get notes from John and come back in. So once we were in the tank and underwater, we were pretty much underwater and stuck and that was it. … And when you’re under there, you don’t hear anything because your regulator is so loud. Every time you take a breath there are bubbles everywhere, you can’t hear anything.”

The Frog Squad helped interpret by using a sort of “sign language,” she said.

“[The process] definitely influenced the tone of the movie in that there’s a more realistic as opposed to a controlled, stylized feel to the movie, where we’re trying to sort of use those happy accidents that happen as a result of this chaos,” Pogue said.

He credited the cast for being game to go the extra mile in shooting the action sequences.

“During the casting process, one of the things that we talked about was, given the resources that we’ve got, that you’re going to have to do your own diving and your own stunts,” he recalled. Deep Blue Sea 3 wasn’t “one of those movies where we just sort of stop everything and bring in your double,” he said.

“In many of the key sequences, it was very important that we see your faces, we see you experiencing what’s happening in the action,” he said.

Bren Foster, a martial arts expert who plays Lucas, noted the action on land was equally intense.

“You kind of bring it above the water, and all hell breaks loose,” he said.

Inspired by another shark movie The Deep, screenwriter Blackman added a fight.

“I don’t expect to see a fight, necessarily, in a shark movie, so we have a fight,” he said.

Comic-Con@Home Panel Discusses Bugs Bunny’s History, 80th Anniversary Blu-ray Collection and New HBO Max Series

Three voices of Bugs Bunny — Billy West, Jeff Bergman and Eric Bauza — joined “Looney Tunes Cartoons” executive producer Pete Browngardt, movie historian/author/TV personality Leonard Maltin, animation historian/author Jerry Beck, and George Feltenstein, SVP, theatrical catalog, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, for a Comic-Con@Home panel July 23 to discuss Bugs Bunny’s history, the new HBO Max series “Looney Toons Cartoons” and the character’s upcoming Blu-ray collection.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Nov. 3 will release the “Bugs Bunny 80th Anniversary Blu-ray Collection,” featuring 60 remastered cartoons starring the wily rabbit.

“This is gonna be something that fans have wanted for a very long time,” Feltenstein said. “It’s been many years since the company has put together a collection on Blu-ray Disc dedicated to what I consider to be one of the most popular Warner Bros. cartoon stars, Bugs Bunny. He’s right up there with Bette Davis and [Humphrey] Bogart, who created the DNA of the studio’s history. What we meant to do here is have 20 cartoons that had been out before, but that are basically essential, and then have 40 cartoons that either had never been on Blu-ray or never been remastered at all or they were not released in the proper aspect ratio. … It goes from the great classic early cartoons to the very end of Bugs’ tenure [in the mid-60s].”

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The collection includes some titles not available previously, including “Racketeer Rabbit” (1946), “Rabbit Every Monday” (1951), “Jack-Wabbit and the Beanstalk” (1943) and “What’s Cookin’, Doc?” (1944).

“If you’re collecting Bugs Bunny, as you should be on video, I can’t say you’re going to complete the collection, but you’re going to have literally most — 90% or more — of all the Bugs Bunnys when you get this set,” added Beck.

Panelists mused about the lasting appeal of the cartoons, which were designed as mere amusing precursors to the main feature.

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“These cartoons were considered throwaways as far as the industry at large,” said West (Space Jam, “Futurama,” “Doug”). “While people were getting popcorn and Coca-Colas, that was what was playing on the screen. … They’re more famous and more well-known than any of the movies they opened up for.”

“If something is great entertainment, it will transcend time,” Feltenstein said.

The online panel screened “A Wild Hare,” considered the first official appearance of Bugs Bunny, supervised by Tex Avery.

“When Tex Avery arrived on the scene … he started pushing the cartoons toward wackier, crazier gags,” noted Maltin.

It’s those early Bugs iterations that inspired the new “Looney Toons Cartoons” on HBO Max, said executive producer Browngardt.

“We kind of tried to go back in time to a Bugs that was sort of before the [director Chuck] Jones Bugs had sort of taken over,” he said. “We felt like the character was a little bit more dynamic then. He had flaws. He would actually lose from time to time in a few cartoons and was a little bit surreal at times as well. We purposefully went back to that.”

They gave the character yellow gloves, which created controversy on the web, but helped differentiate the new Bugs. Bugs also got an updated vocabulary, saying things such as “fake news” and “Is that organic, Doc?”

“’Looney Toons Cartoons’ was definitely a different direction as far as getting out of the half-lidded, sarcastic Bugs from the Jones era and into more of the manic, unhinged energy that [voice actor] Mel Blanc had,” added Bouza, the voice of Bugs in the new series.

Each discussed their favorite Bugs Bunny cartoons, the many adversaries he has faced over the years and what they liked about the character.

“He’s a genuine, great hero,” Browngardt said. “He stands up for the little guy when he’s put upon. We all wish we could be the smartest guy in the room, wish we could take on every bully and not be cut down to size.”

“We all want to be Bugs Bunny, but we’re stuck with Daffy Duck is who we are,” added Bergman (“Tiny Toon Adventures,” “Our Cartoon President”).

Feltenstein credited Warner Bros. for taking care of these gems of cartoon history.

“I’m so grateful to our company that we have a preservation program that will see to it that they will remain available for people to see for years to come,” he said.

‘Gamera: The Complete Collection’ Blu-ray Boxed Set Coming Aug. 18 From MVD

The limited edition “Gamera: The Complete Collection” Blu-ray box set will come out Aug. 18 (Aug. 17 in the U.K.) from MVD Entertainment Group and Arrow Video.

The set ($179.95) includes all 12 tales of the adventures of the titanic terrapin, tracing the decades-long evolution of Gamera from the “friend of all children” in his more light-hearted earlier films to the Guardian of the Universe in the groundbreaking 1990s reboot series, often hailed as three of the best kaiju films ever made.

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The collection includes Gamera the Giant Monster, Gamera Vs. Barugon, Gamera Vs. Gyaos, Gamera Vs. Viras, Gamera Vs. Guiron, Gamera Vs. Jiger, Gamera Vs. Zigra, Gamera Super Monster, Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris and Gamera the Brave.

The set features limited collectors’ edition packaging, housed in a large-format rigid box, fully illustrated by Matt Frank; a casebound, illustrated disc book containing eight Blu-ray discs; HD (1080p) versions of all twelve films, with lossless original Japanese audio and a complete collection of English dub tracks, including classic American International dubs on the Showa-era films remastered from original MGM elements; a hardback 130-page comic book including a color reprint of the four-issue Gamera comic series originally released by Dark Horse Comics in 1996, and the first-ever English-language printing of the prequel comic The Last Hope by Matt Frank and Joshua Bugosh; an 80-page book including a new retrospective on the series by Patrick Macias, an archive interview with Noriaki Yuasa by David Milner, kaiju X-ray illustrations by Jolyon Yates, Fangoria set reports on the Heisei trilogy by Norman England, and a viewers’ guide to the English-dubbed versions of the films; a double-sided four-panel poster of “Gamera’s Map of Japan” in both Japanese and English; and collectors’ art cards for each film, featuring new artwork by Matt Frank.

 

Scream Factory Releasing ‘Tales From the Darkside: The Movie’ Blu-ray Aug. 25

Shout! Factory’s horror imprint, Scream Factory, will release a collector’s edition Blu-ray Disc of the anthology movie Tales From the Darkside: The Movie.

From the clever and creepy minds of Stephen King (Pet Sematary), Michael McDowell (Beetlejuice), George A. Romero (Dawn of the Dead) and Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes), comes an all-star anthology of horror.

In the 1990 movie featuring stories by Stephen King, Michael McDowell, George A. Romero and Arthur Conan Doyle, a young paperboy weaves three twisted stories to distract a modern-day witch (Deborah Harry) so she won’t eat him. In “Lot 249,” a vengeful college student (Steve Buscemi) resuscitates an evil mummy to teach unsuspecting student bodies (Julianne Moore) a lesson in terror. “The Cat From Hell” focuses on a furry black feline who cannot be killed, but those who cross his path are not so lucky. In “Lover’s Vow,” a stone gargoyle comes to life to commit murder.

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Extras include the new six-chapter feature-length documentary Tales Behind the Darkside: The Making of Four Ghoulish Fables, featuring director John Harrison, producer Mitchell Galin, director of photography Robert Draper, production designer Ruth Ammon, special make-up and creature effects artists Robert Kurtzman, Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger, creature performer Michael Deak, actors James Remar and Rae Dawn Chong, and editor Harry B. Miller.

Other extras include a new audio commentary with co-producer David R. Kappes; an archival commentary with Harrison and Romero; a behind-the-scenes gallery; a behind-the-scenes footage compilation; and publicity material including the theatrical trailer, TV spots, radio spots and a stills gallery.

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