‘Easy Rider’ Released on 4K Digital for 50th Anniversary

The road trip classic Easy Rider is now available on 4K digital with high dynamic range from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, marking the 50th anniversary of the film.

Starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, directed by Hopper, and co-written by Fonda, Hopper and Terry Southern, the counterculture classic focuses on two bikers who set off on a cross-country road trip. The cast also includes Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Antonio Mendoza and Phil Spector.

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Digital extras available through participating platforms include a Hopper commentary and a behind-the-scenes featurette.

The 4K restoration premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, mirroring the film’s original debut at the festival in 1969.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The film made $65.8 million in domestic theaters.

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

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

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

The 4K version includes Dolby Vision HDR.

Movies Anywhere to Support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos Beginning With ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and Other Titles July 30

Movies Anywhere will begin supporting Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound beginning with the July 30 digital release of Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame.

Consumers who have purchased 4K Ultra HD titles from participating digital retailers or are activating a Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD digital code will be able to stream in these entertainment experiences using Movies Anywhere on connected TVs.

Recently released titles Alita: Battle Angel from Twentieth Century Fox, Aquaman and Pokémon Detective Pikachu from Warner Bros., and Miss Bala from Sony Pictures Entertainment will also be available in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos July 30.

Additional previously released films from Movies Anywhere-backed studios are also being added and will be available throughout the summer and into the fall.

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“We will always strive to deliver the best playback technology possible for movie purchasers who are passionate about quality,” said Karin Gilford, GM, Movies Anywhere, in a statement. “Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos deliver an exceptional home viewing experience, while staying true to filmmakers’ creative intent and vision. This is part of our ongoing commitment to super serve movie fans with the films they love, when, where and how they want to watch them.”

Dolby Vision offers high dynamic range 4K experiences, with increased brightness, contrast, color and detail, according to Movies Anywhere, while Dolby Atmos offers moving audio that flows all around listeners.

‘Zombieland’ Heading to 4K Ultra HD Oct. 1 From Sony

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Zombieland will come out on 4K Ultra HD Oct. 1 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in time for the theatrical debut of its sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap.

Directed by Ruben Fleischer and starring Academy Award nominees Woody Harrelson (2017, Best Supporting Actor, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, 2017), Jesse Eisenberg (2010, Best Actor, The Social Network) and Abigail Breslin (2006, Best Supporting Actress, Little Miss Sunshine) and Academy Award-winner Emma Stone (2016, Best Actress, La La Land), the film follows a shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the last Twinkie, and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park, who join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.

Remastered in 4K with High Dynamic Range, the release includes a Dolby Atmos audio track, along with the original theatrical 5.1 audio.

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The 4K UHD release features a new special feature with the cast offering a look back at the original film; a behind-the-scenes featurette; and “Shootin’ Zombies with Ruben Fleischer.” Special features on the Blu-ray include “Beyond the Graveyard Picture-in-Picture Track”; audio commentary with filmmakers and cast; the “In Search of Zombieland” featurette; the “ Zombieland is Your Land” featurette; deleted scenes; and visual effects progression scenes.

Former Fox Exec Hanno Basse Joins Live Planet

Live Planet, creator of systems for virtual reality and blockchain tracking of entertainment content, has appointed Hanno Basse, former chief technology officer at 20th Century Fox Film Corp., president of its Decentralized Media Solutions division.

“Basse brings Live Planet his extensive expertise in driving the adoption of emerging technologies to catalyze new media experiences and services, expanding the company’s innovations in immersive and linear video production, distribution and monetization,” according to a Live Planet press release.

Basse will expand the company’s global footprint, building on its end-to-end virtual reality video streaming and publishing solution and its blockchain-based video infrastructure platform, the VideoCoin Network.

He will be based in Los Angeles, reporting to Live Planet founder and CEO Halsey Minor.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to mark the next stage of growth for Live Planet with the addition of Hanno to our world-class team of media and technology experts. Hanno brings a truly unique level of senior experience to Live Planet that will be extremely valuable to us as we help our customers meet the increasing demands of streaming video and next-generation on-demand services,” said Minor in a statement. “The addition of a technology pioneer of Hanno’s caliber is emblematic of Live Planet’s strategic direction and I look forward to an incredibly exciting journey ahead.”

“The media processing and distribution technologies Halsey and his team have built are among the most groundbreaking I’ve seen. They provide the basis for a new generation of solutions that media, telco and corporations will eagerly embrace as our world moves toward increased decentralization, higher-speed communication and edge-based compute,” said Basse in a statement. “I cannot wait to show the world what we will deliver next.”

Basse was appointed chief technology officer at 20th Century Fox Film Corp. in 2012, At Fox, Basse was responsible for technology strategy for the film studio, covering production/post-production, theatrical distribution and home entertainment. He created partnerships with Samsung, Ericsson and Barco, among others, which led to the founding of the Fox Innovation Lab. While at Fox, he also served as the first chairman of the UHD Alliance where he helped launch the 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc format and, in partnership with Samsung, established High Dynamic Range technology as a consumer product. He also served as the Fox board member of Movielabs.

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Prior to joining 20th Century Fox, Basse was with DirecTV, where he served as SVP of broadcast systems engineering. In that role, he was responsible for the design and implementation of DirecTV’s broadcast infrastructure and served as the technical lead for the introduction of many technologies to DirecTV’s platform, including HD, 3D and on-demand services.

Basse studied radio communications technology at the Engineering College of the Soviet Air Defense Forces in Kiev, Ukraine, and received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Officer’s College of the Air Force in Kamenz, Germany.

The Live Planet VR System is an end-to-end solution for easily creating and delivering live and recorded picture-perfect stereoscopic VR video programming and applications, according to the company.

The VideoCoin Network provides video infrastructure for the blockchain-enabled internet, delivering decentralized video encoding, storage and content distribution.

‘Gremlins’ Coming to 4K UHD for 35th From Warner

The 1984 classic Gremlins will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and digital for its 35th anniversary Oct. 1 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Directed by Joe Dante (Innerspace, The ‘Burbs) and written by Chris Columbus (The Goonies), the film stars Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton and Randall Peltzer, along with the voices of Frank Welker as Stripe and Howie Mandel as Gizmo. At times a horror film and others dark comedy, Gremlins follows a teenager who gets a new pet as a gift and finds it has strange transformative powers.

The Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc with the feature film and special features. Fans can also own Gremlins in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers.

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Extras include filmmakers’ commentary with Dante, producer Michael Finnell and special effects artist Chris Walas; cast commentary with Dante, Galligan, Cates, Dick Miller and Mandel; behind-the-scenes featurettes; additional scenes with commentary; a featurette on the creation of the creatures; and motion comics.

Dolby Vision Making Inroads at Fox After Disney Acquisition?

A byproduct of Disney’s acquisition of Fox may be more Dolby Vision titles, if the most recent announcement of a Fox home entertainment release is any indication.

Previously, Fox was a supporter of HDR 10+, a no-license-fee competitor to Dolby Vision, but Fox’s recently announced Alita: Battle Angel will be available in 4K UHD Blu-ray with HDR 10, HDR 10+ and Dolby Vision, according to press release. Dolby Vision and HDR 10+ employ dynamic metadata, allowing the picture to adjust scene by scene.

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“Twentieth Century Fox aims to deliver the best possible viewing experience for consumers,” according to a Fox statement provided to Media Play News on the subject. “The formats for each title release are determined on a case-by-case basis in partnership with the filmmakers.”

Disney has been a supporter of Dolby Vision.

‘The Shining’ to Terrify in 4K UHD Oct. 1 From Warner

Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic The Shining will come out on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digital Oct. 1 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The 4K remastering, done using a new 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging, is of Kubrick’s original 144 minute version of the film which premiered in the United States May 23, 1980. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg and Kubrick’s former personal assistant  Leon Vitali worked closely with the team at Warner Bros. during the mastering process. May 17 the restored 4K version of the film will be screened at The Cannes Film Festival.

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The Shining, based on the Stephen King novel, was directed and produced by Kubrick, who wrote the screenplay with Diane Johnson. It stars Jack Nicholson in an iconic role as Jack Torrance, Shelley Duval as Wendy Torrance, Scatman Crothers as Dick Halloran, and Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrance. In the film, Jack Torrance becomes the winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block. He settles in along with his wife, Wendy and his son Danny, who is plagued by psychic premonitions. As Jack’s writing goes nowhere and Danny’s visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.

In 2018, The Shining was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”  The film ranked 29th on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Thrills list, and Jack Torrance was named the 25th greatest villain on the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains list.  Additionally, the quote “Here’s Johnny” from the film was ranked 68th on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes list.

The Shining Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc with the film in high definition and the special features in high definition, and a digital version of the movie. Fans can also own The Shining in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers.

The Ultra HD Blu-ray of The Shining will include more than three hours of previously released special features, including:

  • audio commentary by Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown and Kubrick biographer John Baxter;
  • “Video from the Overlook: Crafting The Shining”;
  • “The Visions of Stanley Kubrick,” a detailed look at one of cinema’s greatest visual storytellers and his unique ability to move audiences through the magic of unforgettable images;
  • “The Making of The Shining,” a cinema verité documentary offering a rare glimpse into the directing style of Kubrick as he interacts with Nicholson, Duvall and others;
  • “Wendy Carlos, Composer,” in which composer Wendy Carlos reflects on working with Kubrick and developing music scores for The Shiningand A Clockwork Orange.

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.