December 2020

All right, as expected today, the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) held its January virtual expo and released a summary of its preliminary Year-End 2020 Home Entertainment Report. This expo is typically an in-person industry reception held at CES in Las Vegas, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic both CES and the DEG Expo have of course gone virtual this year. And as expected, this year’s report offers both good news and bad news, but also some rather dramatic big-picture observations.

Let’s knock out the bad news first: Sell-Through (read: physical media) consumer spending for 2020 was $2.45 billion, a drop of 25.6% from 2019.

A few days ago, we previewed the likely number for 2020 using the weekly Media Play News disc sales data here at The Bits, which indicated an overall drop in physical media sales of 20.46%. Well... it turns out that, based upon the official DEG data, the drop was about 5% more severe than we anticipated. As I mentioned a week ago (back January 20), that’s still in line with my general prediction from July, which was that 2020 would see a decline of anything between 9-30% in physical media sales. Obviously, there were just too many wildcards in the midst of the pandemic to be more specific. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we have a few interesting news items for you today. But first, another review...

Dennis has turned in his thoughts on Robert Siodmak’s 1944 film noir The Suspect, now available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

Now for the most surprising piece of news... Engadget has confirmed that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has now completed a six-year effort to upgrade the classic 1990s J. Michael Straczynski science fiction TV series Babylon 5 for the digital age. Babylon 5 Remastered is now available for viewing on HBO Max, and it’s also available for download on iTunes and Amazon. The new HD presentation includes all five seasons of the show with live action film elements scanned in 4K from the original camera negative, digitally cleaned and properly color graded, with VFX upsampled from the original SD. The entire series is available in its original 4x3 broadcast format. The 1998 version of the series’ original pilot film, The Gathering, has also been included, though it’s unremastered and so in 16x9 (as the original film elements were lost during the Northridge earthquake in 1994). [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, we’re starting things off this week with more new disc reviews. Four of them, in fact...

Tim has posted his thoughts on Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend (1945) on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, as well as Michel Lemoine’s Seven Women for Satan (1975) on Blu-ray from Mondo Macabro, and John Guillermin’s 1976 remake of King Kong, a Paramount title on Region B-locked Blu-ray from our friends down at Umbrella Entertainment.

And Dennis has turned in his thoughts on The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 4 on Blu-ray from the Cohen Film Collection, an excellent release that includes Go West (1925) and College (1923).

All of the above are worth a look if you’re interested. And we’ve got more reviews on the way all week, so be sure to watch for them. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We’re starting things off today with two more new Blu-ray reviews...

Tim has checked out Luigi Cozzi’s The Black Cat (1989) on BD from Severin Films.

And Dennis has shared his thoughts on Frank Darabont’s Buried Alive (1990) on BD from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. Enjoy!

The big announcement news today is that Paramount Home Entertainment has officially revealed the 4K Ultra HD release of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1956), staring Charlton Heston, on 3/30 just as we expected. Per the studio’s press release, the original VistaVision negative was scanned in 6K as part of the 2010 restoration effort and those files were the basis for this new Dolby Vision presentation. “In addition, Paramount spent well over 150 hours doing new color work and clean-up on the scan. The move to Dolby Vision created the opportunity to further improve the look of the film: blacks are enhanced and improvements were made to smooth out special effects mattes to create the most vibrant and pristine image possible. 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.” [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

We’ve got three more reviews for you today, plus some industry news. And we’re going to give you a preview of the final home media sales numbers for 2020. But first those reviews...

Tim has posted his thoughts on William Nigh’s The Ape (1940), staring Boris Karloff, and the joint-effort comedy Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) both now available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

Meanwhile, Dennis has offered up his thoughts on Cornel Wilde’s Beach Red (1967), also new on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

More reviews are on the way, so be sure to watch for them. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Evening, folks. We’ve got a quick news update for you here today at the site.

But first, a new disc review: Tim has just posted his thoughts on William Lustig’s Vigilante (1982) on 4K Ultra HD from the good folks at Blue Underground. And it sounds like it’s a pretty terrific release if you like the film, which stars Robert Forster and Fred Williamson. Do check it out.

Also a reminder today: We posted a new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our own Michael Coate on Friday—a piece that was delayed from the very end of 2020 due to all of the site maintenance we’ve been doing over the past several weeks. This one is a look back at the early 70mm cut of The Empire Strikes Back, featuring a new roundtable discussion with historian and soundtrack producer Mike Matessino along with director Saul Pincus. We think you’ll really enjoy it, so do give that a look here if you missed it.

Now then... there’s not a lot of release news to report today, but we do have a few things worth mentioning. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Hey everyone! Well... another week is officially in the can and, as promised, I’ve got an update for you on some release news and whatnot.

First up, I wanted to alert you to a 4K Ultra HD deal: Amazon currently has Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite available in 4K for just $11.00 for a limited time only. So click here to order a copy if you’re interested.

Also today, we’ve got a great new History, Legacy & Showmanship column from our own Michael Coate—one that was delayed from the very end of 2020 due to all of the site maintenance we’ve been doing over the past several weeks. This one is a terrific look back at the early 70mm cut of The Empire Strikes Back, featuring a new roundtable discussion with historian and soundtrack producer Mike Matessino along with director Saul Pincus. We think you’ll really enjoy it, so do give that a look here.

Now then, in announcement news today, Severin Films has revealed that it’s working on a new 4K Ultra HD release of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Santa Sangre (1989) that’s due on 4/27. The title will also be released on Blu-ray and DVD. You can see the cover artwork for the 4K at left. Click here to pre-order on Amazon: 4K, Blu-ray, DVD.

But that’s not the only 4K catalog title we now know is coming from our retail sources... [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

All right, thanks for your patience everyone. As you’ve probably noticed, news updates here at the site have been sparing over the past week or two, and there’s been a couple of reasons for that.

First, we’ve had to do a round of software updating and patching on The Bits website software—routine maintenance type of stuff, required to keep the site going—but every time we do that it inevitably breaks a couple of things that have to be hunted down and fixed. So that process has been ongoing.

Also, we’ve switched to a great new advertising network partner that we hope is going to bring in more revenue, which in turn will helps us to keep the site going indefinitely. We’re tweaking the layout on some of that, and trying to figure out the right amount and placement of ads that do what we need them to without being obtrusive. But obviously times are tight and we need to survive, so we appreciate your understanding. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Afternoon, folks. We’ve got another new disc review for you today, and some more interesting release news as well.

First up, that review: Tim has taken a look at Henry Levin and Mario Bava’s The Wonders of Aladdin (1961), now available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

In terms of announcement news, Visual Entertainment is releasing Stargate Universe: The Complete Series on Blu-ray Disc on 1/15. This includes all 40 episodes, plus over 2 hours of extras. This, by the way, follows in the wake of the company’s recent release of Stargate SG-1: The Complete Series on Blu-ray. The latter features the early seasons upscaled, while the later seasons were native HD. We believe Stargate Universe was produced in HD, so it should be of fairly good quality. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Afternoon, folks. And welcome to 2021!

The news in the home video industry is pretty slow this week, as we’d expect given the recent holiday and the still unfolding (and industry-slowing) pandemic.

But we do have a couple new 4K Ultra HD reviews for you all to enjoy this afternoon.

First, Tim has taken a look at Don Coscarelli’s The Beastmaster (1982), as newly-remastered in 4K by our friends over at Vinegar Syndrome. The limited release appears now to be back in stock at the Vinegar Syndrome website, and we expect it to eventually be released in more traditional Amaray packaging on Amazon at some point in the coming months. [Read on here...]

Published in My Two Cents

Bits Latest Tweets

The Digital Bits
Bits #4K Review – @stephenbjork spins Shawn Levy's FREE GUY starring Ryan Reynolds—now available on #4K #UltraHD and #Bluray. @BillHuntBits thedigitalbits.com/item/free-guy-…
The Digital Bits
Today on The Bits – The Great Escape, Cry Macho, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl in #4K #UltraHD, plus reviews, new #Bluray announcements and more thedigitalbits.com/columns/my-two…