YouTube TV Bows 4K Content, Will Launch Mobile Phone Video Tool to Compete with TikTok

Online TV platform YouTube TV has 3 million subscribers, 85 channels and access to the MLB World Series and the NFL, among other high-profile events. Now, the Google-owned platform is offers subs access to 4K content (4K HD TV required), offline content, and unlimited concurrent streams at home so the whole family can stream on different screens at once.

YouTube TV now supports a combination of SD, HD, 4K, VR, HDR and live video, as well as DVR on nearly every device with an Internet connection —from desktops to mobile, and gaming consoles to VR headsets.

“While the majority of YouTube videos are watched on mobile, our fastest area of growth is the TV,” Neal Mohan, chief product officer, YouTube, wrote in a blog post. “Later this year, we’ll launch a redesign of the YouTube VR app homepage to improve navigation, accessibility and search functionality.”

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Separately, Google in March will rollout YouTube Shorts, a mobile phone-centric platform that aims to compete with TikTok, enabling creators and artists to shoot snappy videos. Currently, Shorts is available in beta in India. Since the beginning of December, the number of Indian channels using Shorts creation tools has more than tripled, and the YouTube Shorts player is now receiving more than 3.5 billion daily views globally, according to the company.

“In the coming weeks, we’ll begin expanding the beta to the U.S., unlocking our tools to even more creators so they can get started with Shorts,” Mohan wrote.

2012

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Sony Pictures;
Sci-Fi;
$30.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense disaster sequences and some language.
Stars John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Danny Glover and Woody Harrelson
.

There’s nothing like a Roland Emmerich disaster film to brighten your day during a pandemic, making our current situation look rosy by comparison.

The director (The Day After TomorrowIndependence Day) has given us many an epic about the end of the world, but none perhaps so gloriously catastrophic as 2012, in which we watch cities collapse and continents crumble as John Cusack mugs his way through the chaos famously predicted by the ancient Mayans. Basically, it’s something about planets aligning, solar flares, the center of the Earth heating up and the world ending in 2012 (Transpose the last two numbers and you get 2021. Hmmm…). But honestly Emmerich fans don’t really dwell too much on the whys and hows of it all. They’re too busy waiting for the next earthquake, volcano explosion and tsunami to wipe out America and the world. Iconic shots include Los Angeles sliding into the ocean, St. Peter’s Basilica rolling over worshippers, and the John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier toppling onto the White House — all of which look disastrously wonderful in 4K with HDR.

Woody Harrelson offers some scene-chewing dark humor as a conspiracy theorist waiting at Yellowstone National Park for the explosion of the super volcano. The president (Danny Glover) and his daughter, a scientist who predicts it all, a Russian oligarch and his mistress, and a plane-flying stepdad all make appearances, but at the core of the film is Jackson Curtis (Cusack), a struggling writer and limo driver who is trying to save his ex-wife and children from pending doom. The actors add to the fun with performances that are, as always in an Emmerich film, bordering on the cartoonish, but just convincing enough to keep audiences relishing the action and going with the premise.

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The 4K disc features Dolby Atmos sound and the Discovery Channel’s 2012 Apocalypse featurette, which speculates on the likelihood of the disastrous events in the film using footage from the movie. Actually, the featurette is interesting because it answers some of the scientific questions one might have about how probable this all is. (Basically, it’s not. Whew!)

Bonus features on the Blu-ray in the combo pack include an interactive Mayan calendar; five featurettes on bringing the epic to life; deleted scenes; an alternate ending; “Picture-in-Picture: Roland’s Vision”; feature commentary; and an Adam Lambert music video.

2012 is one of those 4K discs that enthusiasts are going to want pop into their player to show off their home theater.

2014 Epic ‘Godzilla’ Due on 4K Disc and Digital March 23

The 2014 action-adventure Godzilla will be released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack and digital on March 23 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla marked the long-awaited big-screen return of the King of the Monsters. The adventure pits Godzilla against malevolent creatures that, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

Directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) from a screenplay by Max Borenstein and a story by David Callaham, Godzilla is based on the character “Godzilla,” owned and created by Toho Co. It stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass), Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Inception), Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame),  Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Cosmopolis), and Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), alongside David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck, The Bourne Legacy) and Bryan Cranston (Argo, TV’s “Breaking Bad”).

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The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray disc of “Godzilla” will feature a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. The Ultra HD Blu-ray contains the previously released special features “MONARCH: Declassified,” offering new evidence not contained in the film that unravels the massive cover-up to keep Godzilla’s existence a secret, and “The Legendary Godzilla,” a behind the scenes look at the monsters in the film.

DeMille Classic ‘The Ten Commandments’ Arriving on 4K Ultra HD March 30

Director Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 epic The Ten Commandments will arrive on 4K Ultra HD for the first time on March 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

The release commemorates the film’s 65th anniversary and is available in time for Easter.

Filmed in Egypt and the Sinai with one of the biggest sets ever constructed for a motion picture, DeMille’s last motion picture made Charlton Heston, who plays Moses, a superstar. In the classic story of Moses, once favored in the Pharaoh’s (Yul Brynner) household, Moses turns his back on a privileged life to lead his people to freedom.

As part of the restoration done in 2010, the film was scanned in 6K and those files were the basis for this Dolby Vision version, which “shows off the full beauty of the original VistaVision negative,” according to a Paramount release. The VistaVision format used special cameras to feed 35mm film into the camera horizontally in order to capture a wider image spread over two 35mm film frames, giving VistaVision twice the resolution of regular 35mm film. In addition, Paramount spent more than 150 hours doing new color work and clean-up on the scan, according to the release. The move to Dolby Vision created the opportunity to further improve the look of the film with blacks enhanced and improvements made to smooth out special effects mattes.

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The 4K film presentation contains an introduction by DeMille, an intermission, an overture/exit music card, and an entr’acte card, along with a DTS-HD 5.1 lossless soundtrack.

The new set includes a 4K Ultra HD disc, two Blu-ray discs, and access to a digital copy of the film.

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The disc contents include:

4K Ultra HD Disc

  • 1956 feature film in 4K Ultra HD
  • Commentary by Katherine Orrison, author of “Written in Stone: Making Cecil B. DeMille’s Epic The Ten Commandments”

 

Blu-ray Disc One

  • 1956 feature film in high definition (Part 1)
  • Commentary by Katherine Orrison, author of “Written in Stone: Making Cecil B. DeMille’s Epic The Ten Commandments”

 

Blu-ray Disc Two

  • 1956 feature film in high definition (Part 2)
  • Commentary by Katherine Orrison, author of “Written in Stone: Making Cecil B. DeMille’s Epic The Ten Commandments”
  • Newsreel footage of the film’s New York premiere
  • Theatrical trailers, including at 10-minute “making of” trailer

LG to Bow QNED Mini LED TVs at Virtual CES

LG Electronics will introduce its first-ever QNED Mini LED TVs at the virtual CES 2021 as part of its 2021 premium LCD TV lineup.

The 2021 lineup includes 10 new 4K and 8K models covering screen sizes of up to 86 inches.

“As the first TVs to combine quantum dot and NanoCell technology in one product, LG QNED Mini LED TVs produce incredibly accurate colors while the advanced LED backlight offers better contrast and deeper blacks for images of exceptional vibrancy and realism,” according to the press release.

The TVs have a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, according to the company.

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LG’s Mini LED backlighting comprises up to almost 30,000 tiny LEDs that produce a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 when paired with up to 2,500 dimming zones and advanced local dimming technology for the 86-inch 8K QNED.

“Our new QNED Mini LED series is a premium home entertainment option that expands and improves the LCD TV space and gives consumers another terrific viewing choice,” Nam Ho-jun, SVP of R&D at LG’s Home Entertainment Company, said in a statement. “These TVs deliver an experience that set them apart from other LCD TVs and speak to our commitment to innovation and pushing the standard forward.”

LG’s 86-inch 8K QNED TV will be on display in LG’s virtual exhibition booth during CES 2021 starting Jan. 11.

Warner Releasing ‘V for Vendetta’ on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Nov. 3

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release 2005’s V for Vendetta on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digital Nov. 3.

Based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, V for Vendetta was adapted and produced by the Wachowskis (The Matrix), and directed by James McTeigue. The film stars Natalie Portman as a woman in futuristic Britain who becomes the unlikely accomplice of a mysterious freedom fighter (Hugo Weaving) in his radical effort to rid the country of oppression. The cast also includes Stephen Rea, Stephen Fry, John Hurt and Tim Pigott-Smith.

The 4K Ultra HD release of V for Vendetta comes from a new scan of the original camera negative and includes HDR and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. The combo pack includes a 4K disc with three new extras, a regular Blu-ray Disc with previously released extras, and a digital copy of the film.

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New extras on the 4K disc include the featurette “V for Vendetta Unmasked”; a conversation between McTeigue and Lana Wachowski; and Portman’s previously unreleased audition footage.

Extras from the previously released Blu-ray include a theatrical trailer; a montage of Cat Power music played to images of the film; a “Saturday Night Live” digital short Easter Egg; and the featurettes “Making V for Vendetta,” “Designing the Near Future,” “Remember, Remember: Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot” and “England Prevails: V for Vendetta and the New Wave in Comics.”

Horror Films ‘House by the Cemetery’ and ‘New York Ripper’ Coming to 4K From MVD

Two horror films from “The Godfather of Gore” Lucio Fulci, The House by the Cemetery and New York Ripper, are coming out on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from Blue Underground and MVD Entertainment Group Aug. 25.

Both feature Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound.

In 1981’s The House by the Cemetery, a young family moves from their cramped New York City apartment to a spacious new home in New England. But this is no ordinary house in the country: the previous owner was the deranged Dr. Freudstein, whose monstrous human experiments have left a legacy of bloody mayhem. Now, someone — or something — is alive in the basement, and home sweet home is about to become a horrific hell on earth.

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The film stars Catriona MacColl (The Beyond), Paolo Malco (The New York Ripper), Ania Pieroni (Tenebre), Carlo De Mejo (City of the Living Dead) and Dagmar Lassander (Hatchet for the Honeymoon).

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Special features include audio commentary with Troy Howarth, author of Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films; a deleted scene; theatrical trailers; a TV spot; poster and still galleries; “Meet the Boyles,” interviews with stars Catriona MacColl and Paolo Malco; “Children of the Night,” interviews with Stars Giovanni Frezza and Silvia Collatina; “Tales of Laura Gittleson, an interview with star Dagmar Lassander; “My Time With Terror,” an interview with star Carlo De Mejo; “A Haunted House Story,” interviews with co-writers Dardano Sacchetti and Elisa Briganti; “To Build a Better Death Trap,” interviews with cinematographer Sergio Salvati, special make-up effects artist Maurizio Trani, special effects artist Gino De Rossi, and actor Giovanni De Nava; “House Quake,” an interview with co-writer Giorgio Mariuzzo; a Catriona MacColl Q&A; and “Calling Dr. Freudstein,” an interview with Stephen Thrower, author of Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci.

The 1982 film The New York Ripper, co-written and directed by Fulci, follows a blade-wielding psychopath on the loose in the Big Apple killing beautiful young women. As NYPD detective Fred Williams (Jack Hedley) follows the trail of butchery from the decks of the Staten Island Ferry to the sex shows of Times Square, each brutal murder becomes a sadistic taunt.

Extras include audio commentary with Troy Howarth, author of Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films; “The Art of Killing,” an interview with co-writer Dardano Sacchetti; “Three Fingers of Violence,” an interview with star Howard Ross; “The Second Victim,” an interview with co-star Cinzia de Ponti; “The Broken Bottle Murder,” an interview with co-star Zora Kerova; “I’m an Actress!,” a 2009 interview with Kerova; “The Beauty Killer,” an interview with Stephen Thrower, author of Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci; “Paint Me Blood Red,” an interview with poster artist Enzo Sciotti; NYC locations then and now; the theatrical trailer; and a poster and still gallery.

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. The standalone Blu-ray version is still slated for Aug. 18.

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.

Arrow announced that due to a printing error, its UHD versions of Pitch Black in all territories will no longer include a slipcase.

‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Racing to Digital Early March 31, Debuting on Disc May 19

Sonic the Hedgehog will debut early for digital purchase March 31 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

The film, which made $306.8 million at the global box office, will be available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and for rental on demand May 19.

The family film based on the video game character follows the incredibly speedy Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz), aka The Blue Blur, who embraces his new home on Earth. That is, until he accidentally knocks out the power grid and sparks the attention of evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). It’s super-villain vs. super-sonic in an all-out race across the globe to stop Robotnik from using his unique power for world domination. Sonic teams up with The Donut Lord, aka Sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), to save the plane.

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Bonus features on digital, 4K Ultra HD combo pack and Blu-ray combo pack include commentary by director Jeff Fowler and Schwartz; “Around the World in 80 Seconds,” Sonic’s next adventure; deleted scenes; bloopers; the “Speed Me Up” music video; “For the Love of Sonic,” in which Carrey and the cast discuss what Sonic the Hedgehog means to them; “Building Robotnik with Jim Carrey”; “The Blue Blur: Origins of Sonic”; and “Sonic On Set,” a set visit with Schwartz.

The 4K Ultra HD Digital and 4K Ultra HD disc releases present the film in Dolby Vision with a Dolby Atmos sound.