Universal Pictures abandons ‘Tower Heist’ early VOD release

Following staunch opposition from theater owners, Universal Pictures has abandoned its controversial plan to make the movie “Tower Heist” available to consumers via video on demand just three weeks after it opens in theaters.

"Universal Pictures today announced that in response to a request from theater owners, it has decided to delay its planned premium home video on demand (PVOD) experiment,'' the studio said in a statement Wednesday. "Universal continues to believe that the theater experience and a PVOD window are business models that can coincide and thrive and we look forward to working with our partners in exhibition to find a way to experiment in this area in the future."

Universal did not say when it would attempt to launch another similar VOD release.

Universal recently said it would make “Tower Heist,“ which opens in theaters Nov. 4, available to about 500,000 cable subscribers of Universal's corporate  parent, Comcast Corp., in two markets, Atlanta and Portland, Ore., for $59.99 via video-on-demand.


Actress Kelly McGillis on life after ‘Top Gun’

Few actors are lucky enough to make a single movie that stands the test of time. Former Berks County resident Kelly McGillis starred in three of them: "Witness" (1985), "Top Gun" (1986) and "The Accused" (1988).

With a 25th anniversary Blu-Ray edition of "Top Gun" hitting stores on Tuesday, the actress admits she's surprised there's still so much interest in her '80s triumphs.

"It never would have occurred to me when I was making 'Top Gun,' that I'd still be talking about it 25 years later … I don't look back. I don't have favorites of my films. I learned important lessons from all of them so they've all been big gifts to me."


‘Citizen Kane’ Arriving on Blu-ray

Citizen Kane, one of the most acclaimed movies of all time, will premiere on Blu-ray on Sept. 13 with a 70th anniversary collector's edition.

The movie, frequently cited as the best American movie ever made and the movie chosen by the American Film Institute as the No. 1 film of all time, was co-written, directed and produced by then 25-year-old Orson Welles, who also starred in the pic, which told the life of a controversial publishing tycoon. It was nominated for nine Oscars and won for best original screenplay.

Warner Home Video is going back to the original nitrate for a hi-definition restoration in 4K resolution.


Why has Bu Ray failed to catch on?

My VCR is stashed in a closet, right next to a couple of CD-ROM players, a laser disc player, and other forgotten electronics. Is my Blu-ray player about to join them?

Strategy Analytics researcher Peter King recently said his analysts were surprised that DVD player sales continued to be so strong against Blu-ray players. That reminded me of what some critics have suspected: Blu-ray really hasn't caught on -- and probably never will.

"I'm surprised DVDs have continued to hang on," said King, referring to the fact that player sales of over 20 million units in the U.S. last year were pretty much evenly split between DVD and Blu-ray models. His figures show that Blu-ray player sales will surpass DVD sales by the end of this year ... but only slightly.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/04/19/feeling-blue-blu-ray/#ixzz1JztxfSZC

‘Mad Men’ DVD features look at Ford Mustang

As many of us sulk over news that the next season of AMC's Mad Men isn't going to air until sometime next year, at least there is a consolation prize for car-loving buyers of the Season 4 DVD and Blu-ray disc set. It's one of the bonus features, a history of the creation of the Ford Mustang.

The feature is quite a pleasant surprise. The series, after all, traces a fictitious Madison Avenue advertising firm through the 1960s, complete with the boozing and skirt-chasing. It doesn't have much connection to the the auto industry at the time, or its own drinking and womanizing.

But the half-hour-long feature is actually pretty compelling. That's a sample in the video, above. You'll see the cars that led up to the Mustang and the marketing secret --hence the Mad Men tie-in -- that led to the pony car becoming the breakthrough car of the era. Worth watching.

As DVD Sales Drop, Hollywood Finds a Nimble New Revenue Stream — Old Movies

With the DVD market in free fall, Hollywood studios are getting creative about finding new ways to pump up the home-entertainment dollar.

Now you can have a custom-made copy of Anne Bancroft’s “The Pumpkin Eater” or Noel Coward’s 1933 Best Picture winner “Cavalcade.”

Over the last year, MGM, Warner Brothers, Sony and others have begun to offer obscure, previously unavailable movies via DVD-on-demand and streaming. For a fee of approximately $20, many of the major studios will now burn select titles to disc


Learning from DVD extras

Learning from DVD extras

One of the long-standing myths about filmmaking is that occasionally a sloppy director will let a boom mic wander into the top of a shot. The truth is that sloppy projectionists are the ones to blame - the film is meant to be properly framed on the screen to avoid such slips.

Even so, it's useful to be reminded that there's a world outside the motion- picture frame, and it can be instructive and sometimes quite fun to have a peek at it. So here's roundup of facts, figures and quotations gleaned from a year's worth of DVD extras. Roll 'em!

1. The long game, Part 1: Stephen Lang tried out for James Cameron's 1986 film Aliens but wasn't cast. However, Cameron remembered him and offered him the role of Col. Quaritch in Avatar. Says Lang: ``You audition, and 20 years later, you get the part.''

2. The long game, Part 2: Not only did 26-year-old John Morris reprise his role as the voice of Andy in Toy Story 3; Sid, the toys' nemesis from the first movie, voiced by Erik von Detten, returns in a cameo as a garbage collector - wearing the same T-shirt (in a larger size) as in the first movie.

3. Take that, Chekhov: Francis Ford Coppola says he introduces a gun in the first act of Tetro, but it never gets fired.


DVD extras vanishing on DVD rentals

DVD extras on DVD rentals vanishing

It appears that as movie studios realize that their cash cow of DVD revenues are drying up, they are resorting to penny pinching on the DVD extras that come with rentals.

Hacking Netflix posted a mildly disturbing post earlier today. Entitled "Studios Crippling Netflix Rental Discs to Encourage DVD Sales" it cites two recent examples where distributors stripped out bonus features out of the rental discs they give to Netflix in order to encourage people to buy the films (and, I suppose, to discourage them from using Netflix). For example, if you get "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" from Netflix, and go to the Special Features page, you don't get special features. You get a disclaimer:

"This disc is intended for rental purposes and only includes the feature film. Own it on Blu-ray or DVD to view these bonus features and complete your movie watching experience."

The Good Wife: The First Season

The Good Wife: The First SeasonStudio: Paramount Home Video Release Date: 09/14/2010 Run time: 996 minutes Rating: Nr

Price: $62.99

Click here to buy from Amazon

Upcoming Avatar DVD makes waves with 16 minutes of new footage

The Avatar DVD is already out on release. However it doesn't have any special features worthy of mention. The special edition DVD (and Blu Ray) comes out in November and will contain many extra special features that director James Cameron himself supervised.

In November, you can buy a box set with all the bells and whistles. It’s got like forty-five minutes of unfinished deleted scenes that exist in a supplement where you can just play the scenes individually.

But it’s all a big negotiation with the studios; how much money do they want to spend on these sort of revisionist versions of the movie?


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