OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD -- AGAIN?
Seventy years after it was first released, MGM's enduring The Wizard of Oz is receiving yet another facelift. An expensive one. Warner Bros. Home Video, which owns the rights to the classic, said that it has rescanned the original Technicolor negatives using 8K resolution -- twice that of the most recent DVD release. (The Technicolor process required three black-and-white camera reels of film running simultaneously behind colored filters. Using a dye-transfer process, the images from each of the reels was printed with ink -- not developed -- onto celluloid. The new process combines the three images digitally.) The Blu-ray 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition of the movie, to be released on September 29, will carry a retail price of $84.99. A DVD version will cost $69.92. The package will include about four hours of new extras plus a digital copy as well as souvenirs, including a coffee-table book and a crystal watch.
3D AT HOME?
Seventeen percent of consumers would like to see movies that are released theatrically in 3D released in 3D as well when they come out on Blu-ray and DVD, according to a study by the NPD Group titled "Entertainment Trends in America." While 17 percent may not seem like a lot, the research group said Tuesday that it regards the figure as "significant" and it expects it to grow. "As they encounter new methods of watching movies and new film technologies, home video aficionados will begin to expect the same experience in-home as in the theater, not unlike the evolution of surround sound," said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD. "Although usage and interest in some of these formats is low today, we expect they will grow as the technology improves -- and as consumers become more familiar with the latest available options." The study also found that 24 percent of consumers want movies released on Video On Demand on the same day they are released on DVD
IMAX STOCK FALLS ON HARRY POTTER DELAY
As if they weren't already upset about the growing bad-mouthing of what critic Roger Ebert calls "IMAX Lite" screens being installed in multiplexes, IMAX investors learned Tuesday that the movie most had expected to become the biggest hit of the year won't be available on IMAX screens until two weeks after it begins playing in conventional theaters. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which opens theatrically on July 14, won't begin showing in IMAX theaters until July 29 because IMAX has a month-long agreement with Paramount to screen Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Shares of IMAX have fallen nearly 6 percent on word of the Potter delay.
TWILIGHT SEQUEL TRAILER DRAWS RECORD ONLINE VIEWERS
The first trailer for The Twilight Saga: New Moon available online has been viewed 10.6 million times since it was uploaded onto MySpace.com and MTV.com last week, according to published reports. On MySpace, the trailer set a new record, with 4.2 million views on its online debut. What makes those figures even more astounding is the fact that the movie won't even be released theatrically until November 20.
LAWYER FOR ACCUSED PAKISTANI BOMBER SEEKS TO HALT MOVIE
The lawyer for the only man captured alive in the terrorist attacks on Mumbai last November is seeking to halt the release of an unauthorized movie about him titled Total Ten, the London Times reported today (Wednesday). Attorney Abbas Kazmi said that the release of the movie about his client, Azam Amir Kasab, who has been charged with 166 counts of murder and waging war against India, "would jeopardize the [court] proceedings." (The Times points out that the movie ends with Kasab being sentenced to death and hanged.) However, Sugath Kumar, one of the movie's producers, told the newspaper, "We are only showing what was shown to the world by TV channels live. ... The best part is that we have a Kasab lookalike playing the role."