The second season of FUTURAMA, Matt Groening's Emmy-Award-winning JETSONS-meets-SIMPSONS satire of pop culture hits DVD shelves on Aug. 12, 2003 (Fox Home Entertainment, $49.98). Life among the beer-fueled robots in the year 30003, starring Bender, Fry, Leela and Nibbler, was vastly improved the second time around, according to many fans. And the digital animation was better too.
Category: Home Entertainment
Walt Disney Home Entertainment ups the LILO & STITCH ante with a new DVD board game, LILO & STITCH'S ISLAND OF ADVENTURES ($29.99), available Nov. 11, 2003. In keeping with the home entertainment division's "immersive" theme, the DVD provides nearly 60 minutes of new content that expands the home theater family experience. Players interact with favorite and new characters from Disney's beloved animated film. They'll race around the game board in a quest to capture Stitch's lost cousins, while playing dynamic on-screen games, singing, dancing and having fun.
All 26 episodes comprising the first season of ROCKY & BULLWINKLE & FRIENDS, from 1961, arrives in a must-own four-disc set on Aug. 5, 2003 (Sony Music Video, $39.98). Certainly one of TV's wittiest animated series, producer Jay Ward, partner Bill Scott (the voice of Bullwinkle and others) and their wacky writing staff never pandered to children. Despite the dated Cold War material, painful puns and other cultural clichés, the cartoons hold up very well.
The Ben Affleck superhero actioner, DAREDEVIL, based on the Marvel comic book, comes to DVD (Fox Home Entertainment, $29.98) armed with more features than fearless protagonist Matt Murdock. Among them is an hour-long collection of interviews with people that worked on the comic, including creator Stan Lee, Frank Miller and director Kevin Smith.
PIGLET'S BIG MOVIE (Buena Vista Home Entertainment, $29.99) hits the DVD shelves July 29, 2003 featuring extra goodies such as PIGLET'S BIG BOOK OF MEMORIES (find Piglet's lost drawings) and THE WORLD ACCORDING TO PIGLET (a 3D book of memories filled with favorite "Pigletisms"). The movie provides the lovable pink fellow with his first starring role (voiced by John Fiedler in his 35th year doing the cherished role). PIGLET was directed by Francis Glebas (FANTASIA 2000's "Pomp & Circumstance"), produced by Disney Toon Studios and animated by Walt Disney Animation Japan.
With FINDING NEMO overtaking THE LION KING as the box office leader in animation, Buena Vista Home Entertainment has announced that the Disney/Pixar blockbuster will debut on DVD on Nov. 4, 2003. The two-disc Collector's Edition ($29.99) will feature a new original short film, EXPLORING THE REEF WITH JEAN-MICHEL COUSTEAU, the classic Pixar short, KNICKKNACK, and the following extras: Filmmakers' visual commentary (including deleted scenes and recording sessions).
DKP Effects recently partnered with Rhino Home Video and Warner Strategic Marketing to bring a new interactivity to the booming DVD format: DVDn. The first title, SCOURGE OF WORLDS: A DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ADVENTURE ($24.95), released earlier this summer, is intended to be a true hybrid of features and gaming.
The wait is over: Warner Home Video is finally releasing the first of its LOONEY TUNES DVD box sets on Oct. 28, 2003. The digitally remastered, four-disc set, titled THE LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION ($64.92) contains 56 classic toons devoted to BUGS BUNNY (disc one), PORKY PIG and DAFFY DUCK (disc two), plus two survey discs that are billed as PREMIERE COLLECTION VOL. ONE and TWO.
U.K.-based Entertainment Rights Plc has signed an exclusive distribution deal with Rhino Home Video for the North American home video and DVD distribution rights to Hasbro's TRANSFORMERS ARMADA animated TV series. Previously, Entertainment Rights secured the international television, and video and DVD rights to the series. The company announced the sale of the show to more than 70 countries, including Sky One and GMTV in the U.K., Teletoon in France, Cartoon Network and Telecinco in Spain, Fox Kids in Italy and Cartoon Network in Australia. The series currently airs in the U.S.
In anticipation of The SCI FI Channel's new four-hour BATTLESTAR GALACTICA miniseries (premiering December 2003), Universal Home Video will launch the landmark 1978 TV series on DVD, Oct. 21, 2003. The six-disc Complete Epic Series collection is priced at $119.98, while the subsequent feature is repriced at $19.98.
EM.TV & Merchandising AG made a substantial move in the home entertainment field, signing a three-year license agreement with Universal Family Entertainment, to exploit the German entity's libraries of DVD, VHS, music cassette and CD media sectors. The contract, according to EM.TV, is in the lower single-digit million euro area.
KOCH Entertainment Distribution, a growing music and video distributor in Port Washington, New York, signed an exclusive distribution deal with AnimEigo, a leading Anime label that specializes in releasing the finest Japanese Animation and Samurai films in the North American market. KOCH will distribute AnimEigo's entire catalog, which includes well-known classic titles such as MACROSS (the series that became the core of ROBOTECH), BUBBLEGUM CRISIS, URUSEI YATSURA, KIMAGURE ORANGE ROAD, OH MY GODDESS!
KING OF THE HILL SEASON ONE, the start of the Texas-sized redneck comedy by Mike Judge (BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD) and Greg Daniels (THE SIMPSONS), bursts onto DVD (Fox Home Entertainment, $39.98), July 1, 2003. The collectible three-disc set follows the daily lives of "propane and propane accessories" salesman Hank Hill and his wild family and friends. More than seven million fans tune in each week to enter this ruckus world of BBQ and power tools animated by Film Roman.
MUTANT ALIENS, the latest feature by maverick animator Bill Plympton, who is graphic in both his art and point of view, resurfaced in a fully-loaded DVD on July 1, 2003 (Ventura Distribution, $19.90). In MUTANT ALIENS, an astronaut left in space returns after 20 years with a vengeance after being betrayed by a greedy corporate shark.
That elusive kangaroo from down under made his DVD debut on June 24, 2003, when KANGAROO JACK (Warner Home Video, $27.98) hit stores with a host of supplements. With VFX by The Secret Lab and animatronics by Neal Scanlan Studio, you can get a closer look at the celebrated work. Visual effects supervisor Hoyt Yeatman contributes audio commentary to go along with segments on animal casting sessions, gags and outtakes and marsupial magic.
COWBOY BEBOP THE MOVIE makes its eagerly awaited DVD debut on June 24, 2003 (Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, $26.95) in a worthy special edition. Based on the popular anime TV series, the feature couldn't be more topical with the unleashing of a deadly viral infection by terrorists. The film not only looks striking in this widescreen anamorphic transfer (the production companies include Bandai Visual Co.
Only two days after its North American TV broadcast, WALKING WITH CAVEMEN hits the DVD shelves on June 17, 2003 (BBC Video, $19.99). The Discovery Channel/BBC co-production breaks the mold of DINOSAURS and PREHISTORIC BEASTS by combining CGI, animatronics and actors dressed in prosthetics in recreating our earliest ancestors.
Don't look now, but Frostbite Falls will be getting closer than you think with the DVD debut of Rocky and Bullwinkle on Aug. 12, 2003. ROCKY & BULLWINKLE & FRIENDS: COMPLETE SEASON 1, a 4-disc set featuring 26 episodes of the classic Jay Ward series, will retail for $39.98 and be distributed by Sony Music. It's the first release from Bullwinkle Studios, a joint venture formed last year between New York-based Classic Media and Jay Ward Prods. (headed by Tiffany Ward).
Disney's JUNGLE BOOK 2, which premiered in theaters earlier in the year, comes to DVD (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $29.99) on June 10, 2003. The sequel to the popular 1967 feature (the last under Walt's reign), was produced by DisneyToon Studios under the supervision of director Steve Trenbirth and producers Chris Chase and Mary Thorne. In the production notes, Trenbirth states "computer imaging was crucial during the 'W-I-L-D' musical sequence. Meanwhile, art director Mike Peraza says he rediscovered, among other things, how "circular designs and soft shapes are non-threatening and very well received by kids." The voice cast is headed by John Goodman (Baloo) and Haley Joel Osment (Mowgli).
Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Cabbage Patch Kids, IDT Media is developing two animated projects, a music video and an active play video through its 3D animation unit, Digital Productions Solutions (DPS), which recently bought a majority stake in Film Roman Inc. This marks the first-ever computer-animated depiction of the franchise, and the latest indication of DPS' aggressive pursuit of dolls and action figures to animate. The Cabbage Patch Kids is licensed by Original Appalachian Artworks (OAA) and represented exclusively by 4Kids Entertainment.
20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, Disney's first live-action star vehicle (Kirk Douglas, James Mason and Peter Lorre), is available on DVD in a lavish two-disc special edition ($29.99 suggested retail price from Buena Vista Home Entertainment).
The much ballyhooed anthology of nine MATRIX shorts premiered June 3, 2003 on DVD ($24.98 suggested retail from Warner Home Video), with its unprecedented fusion of computer animation and anime, delving deeper into the complex virtual world of the Matrix and featuring some of the top anime creators, including Yoshiaki Kawajiri (VAMPIRE HUNTER D), Shinchiro Waanable (COWBOY BEBOP) and Koji Morimoto (AKIRA'S animation supervisor).
DIE ANOTHER DAY, the record-breaking 20th James Bond feature starring Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry, shipped more than 16 million units worldwide on DVD June 3, 2003, becoming MGM Home Entertainment's best-selling title. The two-disc special edition a first for a Bond film, retails for $29.98, and offers seven hours of bonus features, including an inside look at the stunts and action sequences, especially the franchise's first foray into CGI, courtesy of Cinesite, Double Negative, Framestore CFC, Mill Film and The Moving Picture Co.
The fearless explorers from ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE are back in a brand new direct-to-video, ATLANTIS: MILO'S RETURN (Buena Vista Home Entertainment, $29.99). Toby Shelton (MICKEY'S ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS) and Victor A. Cook (THE LEGEND OF TARZAN) share directing duties, while several original cast members return, including Cree Summer, John Mahoney, Don Novello and Phil Morris. Working from Mike Mignola's inspiration, the animation team from Walt Disney Television Animation was headed by supervising character designer Greg Guler (THE LEGEND OF TARZAN), lead prop designer Chuck Puntuvatana (X-MEN: EVOLUTION), lead background painter Sy Thomas (HOUSE OF MOUSE) and lead color stylist Tracy Jones (HOUSE OF MOUSE).
Ardustry Home Entertainment has created a new kids division for the acquisition and marketing of children's DVD and interactive entertainment. The new unit has already signed a deal with Santa Monica, California-based children's entertainment company Bali Hai Titles included in the deal are INVISIBLE DAD, A KID CALLED DANGER, CLUBHOUSE DETECTIVES, DEAR SANTA, MY BROTHER THE PIG, MY MAGIC DOG, JUNGLE BOY, TREASURES OF PIRATES POINT, MY TEACHER ATE MY HOMEWORK, THE ROBIN HOOD GANG and P.U.N.K.S.