My Two Cents
Friday, 10 March 2023 18:58

A Cliffhanger 4K Steelbook, Criterion’s Pasolini 101, Columbo on Blu-ray & Bob Iger reveals that Disney may pivot back to physical media!

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We’re rounding things up this week with more new disc reviews, a little bit more new announcement news, and some potentially very significant Disney news. The reviews first...

Stuart has weighed in today on three recent Blu-ray titles, starting with Kino Lorber Studio Classics’ François Truffaut Collection, which includes The Wild Child (1970), Small Change (1976), The Man Who Loved Women (1977), and The Green Room (1978). He’s also checked out a pair of Dwayne Buckle documentaries, including The First VCR and Cassettes Go Hi-Fi from the folks at Vinegar Syndrome. And he’s reviewed the classic BBC series Maigret: Season 1 from Network and Kino Classics.

Also today, Stephen has taken a look at Buzz Kulik’s Sergeant Ryker (1963) on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, as well as Jeff Wamester’s animated DC Universe Movie Legion of Super-Heroes in 4K Ultra HD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

And Dennis has checked in with a review of Jack Fessenden’s Foxhole (2021) on Blu-ray from Yellow Veil Pictures. [Read on here...]

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In announcement news today, Kino Lorber Studio Classics has revealed that they’re going to be releasing the classic TV series Columbo on Blu-ray later this year in two box sets loaded with special features. Details will no doubt follow in the weeks and months ahead, but you can read a little more here on the company’s Facebook page.

KLSC has also set Luc Besson’s Kamikaze (1986) for release on Blu-ray on 5/9.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced a new 4K Steelbook edition of Renny Harlin’s Cliffhanger for release on 5/30 in celebration of the film’s 30th anniversary. In addition to the previous extras, this new 4K presentation will feature Dolby Vision HDR (the 2019 4K release had HDR10 only) along with 17 deleted and alternate scenes, including some that are previously unseen. You can see the cover artwork below.

Also, the Criterion Collection has announced a new Blu-ray collector’s set entitled Pasolini 101. Due on 6/27, the set will include the films Accatone (1961), Mamma Roma (1962), Love Meetings (1964), The Gospel According to Matthew (1964), The Hawks and the Sparrows (1966), Oedipus Rex (1967), Teorema (1968), Porcile (1969), and Madea (1969). All but Teorema are new to Blu-ray. Again, you can see the cover artwork below.

And Via Vision Entertainment has announced more new Blu-ray and DVD titles for release in Australia (non-Imprint titles) in April, including Magpie Murders: Season One (DVD), the Michael J Fox Film Collection (Blu-ray – Secret of My Success, The Hard Way, and For Love or Money), Mr. Baseball (Blu-ray), and Sons & Daughters: Years One and Two (1982-1983) (DVD) on 4/5, and The Ken Follet Miniseries Collection (Blu-ray and DVD – The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End), Round the Twist: The Complete Series Remastered (DVD), Bullpitt! The Complete Series (DVD), Days of Our Lives: Beyond Salem – Chapter Two (DVD), Morning Show Mysteries: 6-Film Collection (DVD), a Dirty Dancing: The Keepsake Limited Edition (DVD), and the Gidget Film Collection (Blu-ray and DVD – Gidget Goes Hawaiian, Gidget Goes to Rome, and Gidget Gets Married) on 4/19.

Via Vision has also set Reservoir Dogs for 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray release on 5/31. This will be essentially the same disc released here in the States by Lionsgate last year.

Now then, let’s get to some potentially significant Disney news. My industry sources have been telling me for a while now that returning Disney CEO Bob Iger’s reorganization would likely be looking at the possibility of pivoting back to traditional home video formats, given the uncertainty in the theatrical business and the slow ramp-up of streaming and digital. And now Iger appears to have confirmed this while speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in San Francisco yesterday. Our friends at Media Play News have reported thusly (see link here)...

Disney reported a Q1 operating loss of $212 million on revenue of $2.46 billion in its “content sales/licensing and other” segment, in part due to a dearth of home entertainment releases. The decrease in home entertainment results were due to lower unit sales of new release titles, reflecting fewer releases, and catalog titles.

Iger believes the push toward streaming theatrical titles undermined the licensing and retail businesses.

“Home video, at one point as we called it, was extremely lucrative for our company,” Iger said. “We’re looking at all of that [again].”

The CEO believes content can co-exist on traditional distribution platforms and streaming without damaging either due to differing platform audiences.

“It’s already clear to us that the content exclusivity that we felt would be so valuable in growing subscribers was not as valuable as we thought,” Iger said. “While eventually everything will migrate to streaming. We’re not there yet.”

Well, it certainly took the studio long enough to realize that there’s still quite a bit of money to be made selling content on Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD, but thank goodness it finally seems to be happening!

Now here’s the thing: Nothing is official yet, and it might be a few months before these plans start to become more concrete, if indeed this decision is made. But it does appear that Iger’s re-org is considering making physical media more of a priority again. Beyond the James Cameron titles we know are coming to 4K and Blu-ray, it’s likely that consumers won’t really start to see the tangible results of any shift in strategy until 2024. But if this shakes out the way we think it could in the coming months, more Disney and Fox catalog titles may actually start arriving on physical media at long last. Rest assured, we’re all over this story and will have more to say in the coming weeks.

We’ll leave you today with a look at the cover artwork for Cliffhanger, Pasolini 101, and Max Fleischer’s Superman (1941-1943). pre-order links will be added the moment they go live...

Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1943 (Blu-ray Disc) Cliffhanger (4K Ultra HD Steelbook) Pasolini 101 (Criterion Blu-ray box set)

Have a great weekend. Stay tuned!

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)



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