The Digital Bits
My Two Cents
So... you remember how we said that for every piece of good DVD news this week, there was a piece of bad news? Well... how 'bout we end the week on a REALLY great note, sans the dark could? You may have heard the word from Daily Variety this morning. Yes... Ridley Scott's Blade Runner is FINALLY, officially, coming to DVD. It's going to be coming to HD-DVD. And it's going to be coming to Blu-ray Disc as well. This is real... it's happening... and it's going to be very, very cool.
First a bit of background on the reason for the title's delay. Warner had been planning a 2-disc special edition of the film early last year... but suddenly realized that their rights to the title were about to lapse. However, the studio ponied up the big bucks to get back what is arguably one of their primo Cadillac catalog titles (dare you to say that three times fast). The ownership situation now resolved, Warner has set in motion plans to really do something special with the film. You might recall back in January when I asked them about the film at their 2006 catalog press event, they hinted that things were looking good for a 2007 release. Privately, we were told that there were BIG things in the works, but were also told that if we leaked too much about the project, we might end up like Fredo Corleone (or WORSE, that the project itself could be complicated). Needless to say, though we've been dying to talk about this for months now (and we get about two e-mails a day asking about the title), we've kept largely silent on the subject. Now that the project is finally out in the open, however, we can finally say a few things. Keep in mind that the major portion of the release is still over a year away. But here's the basic plan...
This coming September, there will be a new limited DVD release (HD-DVD & Blu-ray Disc are also planned) of the restored 1992 Director's Cut (you know... the one that isn't really a director's cut). This will be available for just four months. We believe this is basically the 2-disc release that Warner had originally planned to bow LAST year.
Then next year, just in time for the film's 25th anniversary, Ridley Scott's ultimate Blade Runner: The Final Cut will hit theaters for a limited run. This will be a REAL director's cut, with restored scenes and more - all the stuff that Ridley's always wanted to do with the film but hasn't really been given the chance to do before. That will be followed later in the year by an Ultimate Blade Runner DVD release. You can expect a multi-disc box set (again, likely with a simultaneous HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc release) that will contain at least four different versions of the film... ALL in full anamorphic widescreen, we might add. You'll get the film's original U.S. theatrical cut, you'll get the expanded international theatrical cut, you'll get the 1992 Director's Cut and you'll get the new Final Cut as well. Now... we realize at this point, you may have questions. Keep in mind, there's a TON of additional material that's going to be included in this set that hasn't been announced and can't be talked about yet - all-new material that you've never seen before. The set is pretty early in the planning and production stage, so it's way too early to talk details, but trust us... some very cool stuff is in the works.
You veteran Bits readers will also be thrilled to learn that longtime Ridley Scott DVD producer Charles de Lauzirika and his team are involved in project, and have already been working on the set for a while now. Lauzirika, as you may know, was the producer responsible for Fox's 9-disc, massively comprehensive Alien Quadrilogy box set, as well as the 4-disc special editions of Scott's Gladiator (from DreamWorks), Black Hawk Down (from Sony) and Kingdom of Heaven (recently available from Fox), among others. You should also know that Lauzirika and his team are big fan of Blade Runner themselves. Rest assured that they know what you guys all want to see on this release, and they're working very hard to make it as good as it can be. Trust us when we say that this project is in EXACTLY the right hands.
Alight, Replicants... here's a little eye candy from artist Drew Struzan to salve yer synthetic souls in the meantime...
Blade Runner poster art by Drew Struzan
So how's that for a helluva great way to end a strange week? In fact, I don't think there's anything else to say for it except that we'll see you back here on Tuesday (Monday being a work holiday here in the States) with a bunch of those new HD-DVD reviews.
WARNER HOME VIDEO ACQUIRES LONG-TERM WORLDWIDE RIGHTS T0 RIDLEY SCOTT'S BLADE RUNNER
1992 Director's Cut, Restored and Remastered,
Debuts on DVD in SeptemberBlade Runner: The Final Cut
, Scott's definitive new version, follows in 2007 with 25th Anniversary Special Edition
Burbank, CA (May 26, 2006) -- Warner Home Video (WHV) announced today that it has acquired worldwide rights to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner
and plans two new DVD releases of the futuristic classic. Rights had lapsed a year ago, but negotiations for a long-term license have now been completed, and the film will again be available to the public.
First, a restored and remastered DVD version of the 1992 Director's Cut will debut in September in the U.S. for a special four-month limited release, after which it will be placed on moratorium by WHV.
Later in 2007, to celebrate the film's 25th anniversary, the studio will unveil Blade Runner: The Final Cut
, Scott's definitive new version of his science-fiction masterpiece. The film will be released theatrically in select major U.S. cities, followed by a multi-disc Special Edition DVD release which will also contain three alternate version of Blade Runner
: the Original U.S. Theatrical Cut, the Expanded International Theatrical Cut and the 1992 Director's Cut. Ample, ground-breaking bonus features will also be included.
In making the announcement, Jeff Baker, WHV's Senior VP and General Manager, Theatrical Catalog said: "This is clearly Ridley's signature film and we are thrilled to have it back. While details of the new DVDs will be announced later, we wanted to get this great news to the many serious film buffs and ardent Blade Runner
fans who've been so patient, despite besieging us with thousands of annual requests in recent years for new Blade Runner
Continued Baker, "A number of people have told me that in the start-up days of DVD, Blade Runner
was absolutely the first DVD title they wanted, so much so that they purchased it even before their first DVD player! I guarantee these fans our new DVDs will be well worth waiting for."Blade Runner
-- starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos and Daryl Hannah -- made its first appearance in U.S. theaters on June 25, 1982, dazzling audiences with its stylish, brooding look into the future. From its intelligent, provocative story line to its stunning camera work and state-of-the art special effects, Blade Runner
opened the door to a new view of tomorrow.
Set in a multi-ethnic, overcrowded, high-tech city of the future, Blade Runner
was also a benchmark in production design and helped propel the "cyberpunk" look into mainstream American consciousness.
With operations in 90 international territories, Warner Home Video, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, commands the largest distribution infrastructure in the global video marketplace. Warner Home Video's film library is the largest of any studio, offering top quality new and vintage titles from the repertoires of Warner Bros. Pictures, Turner Entertainment, Castle Rock Entertainment, HBO Home Video and New Line Home Entertainment.End Of Release