Samsung and Universal in Content Pact on Next-Gen HDR10+

Samsung Electronics and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will bring to market titles mastered with HDR10+, according to a Samsung press release.

HDR10+ is an open source-based, next-generation high dynamic range video standard led by Samsung. HDR adds brightness and contrast dynamically for each scene, delivering brighter brights and deeper darks, according to the release.

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Samsung and UPHE will collaborate on a wide selection of new release and catalog fare with HDR10+ technology, according to the release.

“We are delighted to team with Samsung Electronics on HDR10+ to deliver this striking, cutting-edge technology to entertainment consumers, providing them the opportunity to enjoy unparalleled, state-of-the-art movie-watching experiences across an array of Universal physical and digital titles,” said Michael Bonner, EVP, digital distribution, UPHE, in a statement.

“We have launched a new era of picture-quality technology with HDR10+, providing an amplified vivid viewing experience for consumers” said Hyogun Lee, EVP of the R&D team, visual display business, at Samsung Electronics. “Based on Samsung Electronics’ unique technology and proficiency, we will continue to expand our alliances with premier partners like Universal to provide consumers with the best HDR content possible.”

Samsung Electronics has been collaborating with various companies such as movie studios and OTT operators since the formation of the HDR10+ LLC in August 2017, according to the release. In addition to efforts in Korea, Japan and the United States, Samsung will continue to strengthen the HDR10+ logo and certification program partnership in other territories around the world, according to the release.

Additional details on the HDR10+ certification/logo operating program can be found at www.hdr10plus.org. Logo and technology fees are free.

Dolby also has a dynamic metadata, scene-by-scene, next-gen HDR format, Dolby Vision, requiring a licensing fee.

Paramount to Bow 1989’s ‘Pet Sematary’ on 4K UHD in Time for Theatrical Release of Remake

Written for the screen by author Stephen King based on his bestseller, director Mary Lambert’s 1989 horror film Pet Sematary will stalk home entertainment on 4K Ultra HD combo pack and Blu-ray March 26 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

The film, which earned more than $57 million to become the highest grossing horror film of the time, according to the studio, is being re-released in time for the debut of the studio’s theatrical remake April 5. The story follows the Creed family who, after their cat is accidentally killed, takes the advice of a friendly neighbor and buries it in a mysterious nearby cemetery. When the cat comes back, it’s only the beginning of an unthinkable evil.

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Pet Sematary will mark its 30th anniversary newly remastered in 4K under the supervision of Lambert with new bonus content, which includes the cast and crew of Paramount’s new adaptation discussing the original film’s impact and the lasting legacy of its story; a new interview with Lambert about her memories making the film, the restoration, and King’s enduring influence; and new photo galleries with behind-the-scenes images, original storyboards and vintage ads.

The 4K Ultra HD disc also features Dolby Vision.  For the 4K restoration, Lambert and Paramount went back to the original film negative to rescan it in order to recapture the original detail.

“The shadows are much softer and the colors are richer…and it looks amazing,” said Lambert in a statement.

In addition to the new bonus material, both the 4K Blu-ray and Blu-ray feature access to a digital copy of the film and previously released bonus material, including commentary by Lambert, a guided tour of the locations led by King along with an exploration of the origins of the novel, an introduction to the cast and characters, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film.

Jason Statham Actioner ‘Crank’ Due on 4K May 21 From Lionsgate

Crank, featuring action star Jason Statham, is heading to digital in 4K Ultra HD and 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and digital) May 21 from Lionsgate.

In the fast-paced thriller, Statham stars as professional assassin Chev Chelios, who learns his rival has injected him with a poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops. Also starring are Amy Smart, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Efren Ramirez, Carlos Sanz and Dwight Yoakam.

The releases feature Dolby Vision  HDR, and the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack features Dolby Atmos audio.

Extras include five featurettes, two of which are new.

‘Godzilla’ Stomping to 4K UHD May 14 From Sony

Godzilla, the 1998 monster spectacle, debuts on 4K Ultra HD May 14 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

From Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, the filmmaking team behind Independence DayGodzilla stars Matthew Broderick (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and Jean Reno (Léon: The Professional) as the unlikely heroes out to save New York City from the giant, fire-breathing monster and its babies hatching in Madison Square Garden. Following French atomic bomb tests in the South Pacific, an unknown creature is spotted passing through the Panama Canal. Scientist Niko Tatopolous is called in to investigate the matter, and he quickly arrives at the conclusion that a giant, irradiated lizard has been created by the explosions. Godzilla then makes its way north, landing in Manhattan to begin wreaking havoc in the big city.

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Remastered in 4K from the original camera negative with High Dynamic Range, Godzilla also also includes Dolby Atmos sound. Bonus materials include a visual effects commentary, a behind-the-scenes segment with Charles Caiman, all-time best-of-Godzilla fight scenes, the “Heroes” music video by The Wallflowers, and three trailers.

Godzilla earned just over $136 million in U.S. theaters, considered a disappointment and prompting Sony Pictures to scrap plans for a sequel. It was the 23rd “Godzilla” movie, the first coming out in 1954 in Japan.

Panasonic 4K OLED TV Designed With Hollywood Help

Panasonic Jan. 7 announced the launch of the GZ2000, featuring a Professional Edition 4K OLED panel tuned in Hollywood that incorporates custom hardware improvements by Panasonic.

“Optimized by a leading Hollywood colorist, the new panel highlights unparalleled color accuracy and significantly better than average brightness levels,” according to a Panasonic press release.

Panasonic announced it is the world’s first TV to support the high dynamic range formats HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, as well as the HLG Photo format, the new still image format which brings still photography into the HDR world.

“Together, Dolby and Panasonic are bringing best-in-class audio and imaging technology to Panasonic’s TVs,” said John Couling, SVP, commercial partnerships, in a statement. “Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos perfectly complement the GZ2000’s advanced display, transforming it into an entertainment powerhouse.”

The GZ2000 is also “the world’s first TV with built-in upward-firing speakers capable of delivering Dolby Atmos immersive audio with total ease and convenience,” Panasonic announced. “The total audio system has also been tuned by Technics engineers.”

Supporting both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, the GZ2000 can integrate with a smart home setup.

Available in 65-inch and 55-inch screen sizes, the GZ2000 OLED features the color-tuning skills of Stefan Sonnenfeld. Sonnenfeld, founder and CEO of Company 3, is “a trusted collaborator of some of the world’s best filmmakers,” Panasonic announced, applying his skills as a colorist to such features as A Star Is Born, Wonder Woman, Man of Steel, Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World and 300. He uses Panasonic OLED screens as large-format client reference monitors in his daily workflow, according to the release.

The TV’s average brightness level has been boosted significantly and contrast handling improved, resulting in increased dynamic range, the release stated.

“HDR content now looks even more impactful, with the GZ2000 effortlessly able to reproduce tricky scenes of variable brightness and contrast — often found in live sports broadcasts and in action movies,” the release stated. “Because of this level of customization, combined with the exceptional color-optimizing skills of Sonnenfeld, Panasonic has created some of the most accurate, cinematic images ever seen on a TV.

“Additionally, in response to requests from Hollywood’s professional users, Panasonic has extended the range and reduced the interval between calibration steps at the darkest end of the RGB and gamma scales.”

The GZ2000 is also compatible with Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), an HDR format expected to be widely adopted by TV broadcasters, the release stated.

The GZ2000 also features Panasonic’s new My Home Screen 4.0, which allows viewers to tailor the TV user interface to their own preferences, the release stated. The layout of the home screen can be reconfigured to allow customized layouts. Access to VOD and broadcast content is also easier thanks to a redesigned GUI that includes icons for decks that provide shortcuts to live TV, connected devices and apps such as Netflix, Amazon and YouTube. Viewers can even add frequently watched TV stations to the home screen.

BluFocus First North American Authorized Test Center for HDR10+

BluFocus, a division of Blu., has been approved as the first North American Authorized Test Center (ATC) for HDR10+ technology.

HDR10+ advances the current industry standard of High Dynamic Range (HDR), HDR10, by including dynamic metadata for every scene and frame, enabling more accurate true-to-life pictures.

BluFocus ensures the compliance of products submitted for HDR10+ licensing with testing resources that include certification for display performance, metadata processing and display management.

“It’s always gratifying when BluFocus is selected by the media industry to help a new technology standard like HDR10+ reach its full potential,” said Paulette Pantoja, CEO of Blu. “Being approved as an HDR10+ Authorized Test Center is a logical extension to our ATC’s expertise in display technology certifications.”

HDR10+ Technologies, a joint venture among 20th Century Fox, Panasonic Corp. and Samsung Electronics, established the licensing and logo certification program for HDR10+ technology.

“A technological step forward for next generation displays, HDR10+ improves the viewing experience for audiences on a wide range of TVs and displays,” said Danny Kaye, EVP of 20th Century Fox and managing director of the Fox Innovation Lab. “In order to uphold this, ATCs, like BluFocus, are critical to ensuring that HDR10+ compliant products meet the highest quality standards.”

For more about the HDR10+ logo, license and certification program visit https://www.hdr10plus.org/.

For more information about Blu., visit http://www.BLU.team.

Thriller ‘A Simple Favor’ to Be Offered on Digital Dec. 11, Disc Dec. 18

A Simple Favor will be offered on digital Dec. 11 and 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD and on demand Dec. 18 from Lionsgate.

The film earned $52.3 million in theaters.

Anna Kendrick (Pitch PerfectTrolls) and Blake Lively (The ShallowsThe Age of Adaline, TV’s “Gossip Girl”) star in this thriller from director Paul Feig (BridesmaidsGhostbusters, TV’s “Freaks and Geek,” TV’s “The Office”), based on the novel by Darcey Bell. The film also stars Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians), Andrew Rannells (TV’s “Girls,” TV’s “The Knick”), Linda Cardellini (TV’s “Freaks and Geeks,” Hunter Killer) and Rupert Friend (TV’s “Homeland”).

The story follows Stephanie (Kendrick), a mommy vlogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily’s (Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town. Stephanie is joined by Emily’s husband Sean (Golding).

Special features on digital, 4K UHD and Blu-ray include three audio commentaries with the cast and crew, eight making-of featurettes, a gag reel, deleted scenes, and an alternate ending. The DVD special features include all of these except there are six making-of featurettes, instead of eight.

The 4K UHD includes Dolby Vision HDR.

‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ to Debut on 4K Ultra HD Dec. 18 From Warner

As part of the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the groundbreaking science fiction epic on 4K Ultra High Definition Blu-ray in premium collectible packaging Dec. 18.

The classic returned to U.S. theaters in May following the debut of an “unrestored” 70mm print at the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival. The film is playing throughout the summer at select theaters. For the first time since the original release, new 70mm prints were struck from pristine printing elements made from the original camera negative. A longtime admirer of the Kubrick, director Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk, Interstellar, Inception) worked closely with the team at Warner throughout the mastering process. Building on the work done for the new 70mm prints, the 4K UHD with HDR presentation was mastered from the 65mm original camera negative. The 4K UHD also includes both a remixed and restored 5.1 DTS-HD master audio track, as well as the original 1968 six-track theatrical audio mix (formatted for 5.1 DTS-HD master audio).

2001 to me is the most cinematic film that has ever been made and it has been an honour and a privilege to be able to share the film with a new generation,” Nolan said in a statement. “4K UHD allows the closest recreation of viewing the original film print in your own home. Kubrick’s masterpiece was originally presented on large format film and the deeper color palette and superior resolution comes closest to matching the original analogue presentation.”

Originally released in the 70mm Cinerama roadshow format on April 4, 1968, 2001: A Space Odyssey was directed and produced by Kubrick and written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, inspired by Clarke’s short story “The Sentinel.”

The 2001: A Space Odyssey 4K UHD Blu-ray with premium packaging ($41.99) includes the feature film in 4K resolution with HDR (including Dolby Vision HDR), a remastered Blu-ray disc, a Blu-ray disc with the special features in HD, and a digital version of the feature film. The premium packaging also includes a collectible booklet and art cards featuring iconic images from the film.

The remastered Blu-ray Disc will also be available as a standalone product at $19.98.

2001: A Space Odyssey is also available for purchase in 4K UHD from select digital retailers, including iTunes, Google and Vudu on October 30.

The 2001: A Space Odyssey 4K UHD contains the following 4K and Blu-ray elements:

  • 4K UHD Blu-ray with Commentary from Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood
  • Remastered Blu-ray with Commentary from Dullea and Lockwood
  • “The Making of a Myth”
  • “Standing on the Shoulders of Kubrick: The Legacy of 2001
  • “Vision of a Future Passed: The Prophecy of 2001
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey – A Look Behind the Future”
  • “What Is Out There?”
  • “2001: FX and Early Conceptual Artwork”
  • “Look: Stanley Kubrick!”
  • a Nov. 27, 1966 Interview with Stanley Kubrick (audio only)
  • the original Theatrical Trailer
  • a premium booklet
  • art cards

The 2001: A Space Odyssey Blu-ray disc contains the remastered Blu-ray with commentary from Dullea and Lockwood.

Update: This story previously posted June 21, 2018, has been altered to reflect a change in street date from Oct. 30 to Nov. 20, later changed to Dec. 18.

Imax and DTS Form Home Entertainment Partnership

Imax Corp. and DTS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Corp., have announced a new home entertainment partnership with the launch of the Imax Enhanced program.

The new certification and licensing program combines the high-end consumer electronics products with Imax digitally re-mastered 4K HDR content and DTS audio technologies to offer consumers a new level of quality in immersive sight and sound experiences for the home, according to a press release from Xperi.

The companies also announced that a number of global consumer electronics and entertainment market leaders have joined the program as launch partners, including Sony Electronics, Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and Sound United – parent company to Denon and Marantz.

To be accepted into the program, which launches this fall, consumer electronics manufacturers must design top-of-the-line 4K HDR televisions, A/V receivers, sound systems and other home theater equipment to meet a carefully prescribed set of the highest audio and video performance standards, set by a certification committee of Imax and DTS engineers and Hollywood’s leading technical specialists, according to the release.

Imax and DTS developed the program “to make it easier for consumers to select the products and content that will deliver the highest-quality, sharpest 4K HDR images and powerful, immersive sound at home,” according to the release.

“The companies are designing an Imax Mode for the enhanced devices that will be meticulously optimized to play digitally re-mastered content as the filmmaker intended in the home,” the release stated.

Consumers can access content from Hollywood studios as well as select Imax documentaries through the Imax Home Entertainment division. The company will also work with its global studio and other content partners to make available enhanced versions of blockbuster movies and additional programming, according to the release.

“While the Imax theatrical experience continues to be the gold standard in blockbuster movie-going, today we are launching an exciting new program that applies components of Imax’s and DTS’ technology and expertise to deliver consumers a level of quality never before experienced at home,” said Imax CEO Richard L. Gelfond in a statement. “This is a natural extension of our core business in experiential entertainment. By partnering with a well-established consumer electronics licensing leader, we can leverage both our brand and key technology innovations through DTS’ global licensing platform, without having to make the direct investments often necessary to build a new revenue stream. DTS will build that new business and we will share in the benefits from the program. We’re encouraged by the strong interest from our launch partner companies and look forward to working with DTS to grow the program further over time.”

“DTS has a rich history in delivering premium entertainment experiences to the theater and at home, and the Imax Enhanced program is an exciting opportunity to stay at the forefront of home entertainment,” said Xperi CEO Jon Kirchner in a statement. “Through the combined engineering and licensing efforts of the DTS and Imax teams, as well as support from a number of the world’s leading device and content partners, the Imax Enhanced program will bring a completely new, enhanced experience to the home while also supporting the continued penetration of DTS decoders, bringing premium sound to consumers’ devices.”

The program will use a proprietary post-production process developed by Imax to digitally re-master content to produce more vibrant colors, greater contrast and sharper clarity, according to the release. The companies will also partner with Hollywood sound mixers to use a special variant of the DTS:X codec technology integrated in home audio equipment to deliver an Imax signature sound experience.

‘Schindler’s List’ Coming in 4K to Theaters, Home Market From Universal

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the release of director Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, Universal Pictures will re-release the film with picture and sound digitally remastered —including in 4K, Dolby Cinema and Dolby Atmos — for a limited theatrical engagement on Dec. 7 across the United States and Canada.

The remastered film will also be available in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound on home entertainment platforms subsequent to the theatrical release.

Schindler’s List, starring Liam Neeson as a German businessman who saves more than 1,000 Jews during the holocaust, won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

“It is difficult to believe that it’s been 25 years since Schindler’s List first arrived in theaters,” said Spielberg in a statement. “The true stories of the magnitude and tragedy of the Holocaust are ones that must never be forgotten, and the film’s lessons about the critical importance of countering hatred continue to reverberate today. I am honored that audiences will be able to experience the journey once again on the big screen.”

“We are proud to bring the remastered Schindler’s List, one of the most important movies of the 20th century, to a new generation of filmgoers,” said Ron Meyer, vice chairman of NBCUniversal, in a statement. “The lesson that one person — during one of the darkest chapters in humankind’s history — can make a difference is as relevant now as ever before.”

In advance of the re-release, free educational screenings of the film — coordinated by USC Shoah Foundation — will be available for high-school educators and their students in selected AMC, Regal, Cinemark, Marcus Theatres, Cineplex, Harkins and National Amusements locations in major markets in North America Dec. 4 and Dec. 5.

“As curators of the world’s largest collection of firsthand accounts about the consequences of hatred, USC Shoah Foundation is uniquely positioned to educate and inspire humanity to counter hate through empathy and action,” said Spielberg, who established the Shoah Foundation after his experiences filming Schindler’s List, in a statement. “Those who engage with this eyewitness testimony make deeply meaningful connections, develop critical thinking and empathy, and learn to reflect on the choices they can make to counter hatred.”

The film score by John Williams also will be released by La-La Land Records with never-before-heard material, and the remastered version of Schindler’s List will be re-released in theatres internationally across select territories in early 2019.

USC Shoah Foundation — under its Stronger Than Hate initiative — will work with partner organizations to provide classroom-ready resources through its educational website IWitness to accompany the theatrical and home entertainment releases of the film.