Amman, Jordan-based Rubicon, Washington, DC-based Layalina Prods. and Los Angeles-based Fat Rock Ent. have teamed up to create a 13-episode series addressing the cultural gap that exists between the United States and the Arab world. Heading the project will be Rubicon ceo Randa Ayoubi, Layalinas chairman Richard Fairbanks and Fat Rock ceo David Pritchard, who created the series. The project is intended to be a direct-to-DVD production, but will also air on satellite and television broadcast networks both in the Middle East and the U.S. The budget for the project is set at $5 million.
Category: Home Entertainment
Due to "overwhelming consumer demand and retailer orders for Buena Vista Home Entertainment's WALT DISNEY TREASURES WAVE 3," the highly anticipated and collectible limited series has been pushed back from December 2, 2003 to May 18, 2004. Apparently Technicolor is backed up with manufacturing orders (including FINDING NEMO, THE LION KING and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN), because, according to an official statement, "demand for the four titles in the upcoming wave has exceeded BVHE's ability to manufacture enough [units]."
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment plans to up the D-VHS ante by debuting five new titles this holiday season on JVC's D-VHS format, featuring JVC's D-Theater encryption and introducing for the first time optional DTS digital surround sound at the full bit rate of 1509 kbps. The titles include: X2 (Nov. 25), LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN (Dec. 16), MOULIN ROUGE (Nov. 25), SPEED (Dec. 16) and TRUE LIES (Dec. 16).
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.
The popular KRAZY KAT cartoon series from King Features Syndicate back in the early '60s lands on DVD Nov. 11, 2003 in a two-disc set (Koch Vision, $29.98). Newly remastered and containing four hours of classic animation, the collection includes 39 episodes, including two extended bonus entries, featuring lovable Krazy Kat, Ignatz, the brick-throwing little mouse, and Offissa Pupp, inspired by cartoonist George Herriman's off-beat strip in 1913.
On the heels of Ridley Scott's new director's cut of ALIEN comes ALIEN QUADRILOGY, the ultimate box set of the sci-fi franchise and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment's (TCFHE) most ambitious DVD project yet. Due Dec. 2, 2003 and priced at $99.98, QUADRILOGY contains four films, nine discs and 45 hours of bonus materials. Plus new vfx in ALIEN and ALIEN3 supplied by TCFHE and five houses (Svengali, R!OT, Encore, Frantic and Modern Video). There are 15 new CG shots in ALIEN, including CG blood, CG fire, wire removal and star fields.
Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment announced that the FINDING NEMO DVD and VHS set a new first day sales record of eight million units sold, bringing in approximately $130 million, reported VARIETY. This feat beats Columbia TriStar's SPIDER-MANs first day sale record of 7 million units. The ocean adventure brought in $340 million at the box office making it the biggest grossing film of the year so far and estimates have the home entertainment versions of the fishy flick bringing in nearly $400 million in its first week.
Adam Sandler's first animated foray, EIGHT CRAZY NIGHTS, comes to DVD (Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, $26.95) Nov. 4, 2003, with lots of Sandler bonuses underlying the somewhat autobiographical holiday riff.
Originally written for SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, Sandler's new version of his beloved and nearly classic Chanukah song, specially written for the movie and coupled with his talent to voice multiple characters, makes for a kosher comedy this season.
After breaking the box office record for animation, Disney/Pixar's beloved FINDING NEMO (Walt Disney Home Video, $29.99) sets its sights on a DVD record as well, streeting Nov. 4, 2003. The two-disc set of Pixar's computer-animated phenomenon not only looks and sounds digitally great, as you would expect, but the extras just keep getting better and better, thanks in large part to Bill Kinder, who has produced Pixar's DVDs since A BUG'S LIFE. They are witty, inventive and always informative.
Cutting Edge VFX of Australia (www.cuttingedge.com) recently completed the animated opening and closing credits for Disney's just-released DVD premiere GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE 2 (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $29.99).
Finally, the long-awaited THE LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION (Warner Home Video, $64.92) hits DVD Oct. 28, 2003 with thunderous, anvil-dropping fanfare. 56 classic Warner Bros. shorts, restored and remastered uncut to a bright and shiny Technicolor glory, thanks to the patience and prodding of historian Jerry Beck, who aided in the production of this indispensable four-disc set.
Renowned anime director Satoshi Kons critically acclaimed, award-winning second feature, MILLENNIUM ACTRESS, makes its highly anticipated debut on DVD on Oct 28, 2003 (DreamWorks Home Entertainment, $19.99). The movie showcases Kons starting visual style and unique storyline by seamlessly blending fantasy and reality, memory and perception, into an epic adventure of fate, destiny and the history of Japanese cinema.
Ang Lees controversial, angst-ridden adaptation of the popular Marvel comic, HULK, premieres Oct. 28, 2003 on DVD (Universal Home Entertainment, $26.98). The complex, tragic story aside (the scientific sins of the father are truly visited on the son), theres the more intriguing issue of Industrial Light & Magics CG work on the Hulk to reconsider. No matter what your views on the aesthetic choices, the technical advances in character animation make the Hulk a marvel to watch.
The highly anticipated DVD release of CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE streets Oct. 21, 2003 in both theatrical and un-rated versions (Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, $27.94). Directed once again by McG and starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu, the sequel capitalizes on more creative stunts, sexy costumes and a pulsating soundtrack.
With great fanfare, the INDIANA JONES trilogy comes to DVD Oct. 21, 2003 (Paramount Home Entertainment, $49.95) in a handsome four-disc set. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (now bearing the INDIANA JONES AND THEmoniker), INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM and INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE have never looked or sounded better at home. They've been digitally cleaned up by Lowry Digital Images and remastered by THX. And the extras on disc 4 are like archaeological treasures.
Noodlesoup Prods, an animation studio moving up the ranks in New York City, and The Johnson Group, a rapidly growing independent production firm in McLean, Virginia, are developing FRESH SPINS, a direct-to-video childrens series featuring a modernized animated version of favorite fables and fairy tales.
The Emmy Award-winning TAKEN, produced by DreamWorks Television and exec produced by Steven Spielberg, was Sci Fi Channel's highest rated program ever. The 10-part miniseries comes to DVD Oct. 21, 2003 in a lavish five-disc set (DreamWorks Home Entertainment, $89.95). Spanning 50 years of habitual alien abductions among three American families, TAKEN expands on many of the themes Spielberg first introduced in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, obviously with a stronger emphasis on family.
Whether you were mesmerized or mystified by THE MATRIX RELOADED, you get another chance to experience the Wachowski brothers second installment on this sharp and lavish DVD, available Oct. 14, 2004 (Warner Home Video, $29.95). As far as value-added features, the 30-minute doc on the impressive 12-minute freeway chase (courtesy of ESC Entertainment and Animal Logic Films) is all we get in terms of any vfx depth.
At long last, Disney's mega hit, THE LION KING, arrives on DVD Oct. 7, 2003 (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $29.99) in a special edition worthy of the phenomenon. For starters, the two-disc set contains gorgeous transfers of both the theatrical release and the extended edition featuring the Elton John/Tim Rice song from the play, "Morning Report," digitally cleaned and enhanced in painstaking fashion by the original filmmakers from Feature Animation.
SINBAD: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN SEAS (DreamWorks Home Entertainment, $19.95), DreamWorks' last traditionally animated feature for the foreseeable future, bows on DVD Nov. 18, 2003.
Back in the late '50s, Frank Capra's BELL SCIENCE films (a combination of live-action and animation) were a regular favorite on CBS. Two volumes of these WONDERS OF LIFE are available Sept. 30, 2003 on DVD (Image Entertainment, $14.99) featuring animation from Shamus Culhane, the only animator to work on the first four Disney animated features, and other artists from Disney and the UPA Studio. The first volume contains HEMO THE MAGNIFICENT and UNCHAINED GODDESS, and the second contains the Emmy Award winner OUR MR. SUN (best editing, Frank Keller) and STRANGE CASE OF COSMIC RAYS.
On September 30, 2003, FUNimation Prods, Ltd. will release the BLUE GENDER box set and will give fans the opportunity to win five animation cels from the series in a trivia promotion. By answering five trivia questions about the show, fans are entered to win one of five animation cels used in the production. All cels, valued at $250 each, come complete with multiple matching sketches.
HOLES, the family adventure concerning an ancient family curse and kids forced to dig holes to build character, comes to DVD (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $29.99) on Sept. 23, 2003. Starring Stanley Yelnats (Disney Channel's EVEN STEVENS), HOLES is based on the Newberry award-winning book by Louis Sachar.
The WB's popular SUPERMAN spinoff series, SMALLVILLE, comes to DVD in THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON set (Warner Home Video, $64.92) on Sept. 23, 2003. The deluxe six-disc package offers the origins of the characters, numerous plotlines and deleted scenes and other bonus features.