Australia, Wonder Woman, Watchmen Motion Comic on DVD/Blu-ray for March 3

AUSTRALIA, WATCHMEN MOTION COMIC, WONDER WOMAN and BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA hit Blu-ray and DVD on March 3, along with the DVD releases of SPONGEBOB VS. THE BIG ONE and volumes of CHOWDER and THE SMURFS.

AUSTRALIA on DVD and Blu-ray

Venture down under into an epic and romantic action-adventure set in a country on the brink of war when AUSTRALIA debuts on Blu-ray and DVD March 3 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Ent. with vfx by Animal Logic, Photon VFX, Complete Post, Digital Pictures Iloura, Evil Eye Pictures, Framestore, Fuel VFX, Hydraulx, The LaB Syndney, Lola Visual Effects and Rising Sun Pictures.

Filmed on-location in the vast outback, AUSTRALIA marks Baz Luhrmann's third collaboration with Nicole Kidman and is the first feature film produced as part of a planned trilogy of epic works. The film also represents the work of his wife and creative partner, double Oscar-winning costume designer Catherine Martin (MOULIN ROUGE!, ROMEO + JULIET). Featuring performances from many Aussie natives, the film also stars David Wenham (THE LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING), Jack Thompson (MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL), Bryan Brown (ALONG CAME POLLY) and young Aboriginal Brandon Walters in his feature film debut.

Set in Australia on the brink of World War II, Lady Sarah Ashley, an English Aristocrat (Kidman), travels to the faraway continent where she has inherited a cattle ranch, owned by her late husband. When Australian cattle barons plot to take her land, she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn local known as The Drover (Hugh Jackman) to drive 2,000 head of cattle across hundreds of miles of the country's most unforgiving land, only to still face the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese forces that had attacked Pearl Harbor. When tragedy strikes and Lady Sarah becomes unofficial guardian to a "half-caste" boy, the unlikely couple must come to terms with a prejudiced society, dishonorable business associates and the impending arrival of the Japanese.

Luhrmann tapped Rising Sun Pictures, based in Sydney and Adelaide, to create more than 150 shots for the film, including animating the cattle for the drove sequences using the facility's in-house crowd system, Posse.

CG Supervisor Carsten Kolve says that when Rising Sun started on the project 18 months ago, it evaluated all the crowd system options and stuck with Posse.

"We basically decided the amount of work that it takes to integrate it into our pipeline might as well be spent investing into our own infrastructure and bringing that up to speed and then not having to deal with issues like high license costs," he explains.

Posse also was already tied into Venom, Rising Sun's in-house 3D infrastructure. Venom's ability to let visual effects artists create geometry as late as the render phase provided the kind of flexibility the project required, Kolve adds.

"We're dealing with just skeletons most of the time directly in Maya and then, when it comes to render time, we would actually bind the skeleton with the geometry applied the shader and render the complete individual cow or many of them on demand, which made the whole rendering process very efficient," he says.

Blu-ray Special Features Include:

-- Australia: The people, the history, the location featurette-- Deleted Scenes-- Behind-the-Scenes: Photography, Production Design, Costume Design, Locations, Cinematography, Sound, Editing, Music, Visual Effects

DVD Special Features Include:

-- Deleted Scene: What about the drove?-- Deleted Scene: Angry staff serve dinner

BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA on DVD and Blu-ray

A pampered pooch gets caught up in a "ruff"-and-tumble comedy adventure in BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA, available on DVD and Blu-ray on March 3, 2009 from Walt Disney Studios Home Ent. When a diamond-clad, bootie-wearing Beverly Hills beauty gets lost on a Mexican vacation, she proves that good things really do come in small packages. The film's vfx was by Tippett Studio, Cinesite, Image Engine Design, K.N.B. Effects Group, Kerner Optical, Proof, Realscan 3D and Svengali Visual Effects.

Bonus features include an all-new animated short, deleted scenes and bloopers -- plus Blu-ray exclusives that take viewers behind-the-scenes of the breakout hit that has captured the hearts of families and canine lovers across the nation. Beverly Hills Chihuahua features live-action performances from Jamie Lee Curtis and Piper Perabo, the voice talents of Drew Barrymore, George Lopez, Andy Garcia, Cheech Marin and Paul Rodriguez, and 200 of the cutest canines north or south of the border.

In the 13 years since the talking animals of BABE earned a visual effects Oscar for Rhythm & Hues, we've seen increasingly articulate menageries on screen. BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA features a chattering class comprised of all manner of pooches, voiced by an enviable cast that includes Drew Barrymore, Andy Garcia, George Lopez, Edward James Olmos, Cheech Marin and Paul Rodriguez. Director Raja Gosnell also brought his experience integrating digital character animation into live action films, having directed two movies starring SCOOBY DOO.

But BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA required more than the muzzle replacements of real dogs and a bevy of their digital doubles. It also called for all-CG animals that could deliver lines and look real enough to be believable alongside photographed dogs. "This movie is very much in the vein of SHAGGY DOG," says James W. Brown, animation supervisor at Tippett Studio. The Northern California shop has become known for its animation of CG critters, especially recent characters like Templeton the Rat in CHARLOTTE'S WEB and the chipmunk Pip in ENCHANTED. BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA featured two CG critters that had to have acting chops: The hyper Manuel the Rat (voiced by Marin) and the laid back Iguana Chico (Rodriguez). "Yes, another rat," laughs Brown. "We've got rats down pretty good. But this is a family film, so we didn't go for complete realism. We didn't want anybody to be grossed out by a rat."

DVD Special Features Include:

-- LEGEND OF THE CHIHUAHUA -- an all-new animated short-- Blooper Scooper-- Deleted Scenes-- Audio Commentary (Widescreen Only)

BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA on Blu-ray contains all of the DVD bonus features, plus the following exclusives:-- Pet Pals: The Voices Behind the Dogs-- Hitting the Bark: On Set with the Dogs of Beverly Hills Chihuahua-- Additional Deleted Scenes-- BD-Live

CHOWDER Vol. 2 on DVD

Now on DVD from Warner Home Video and Cartoon Network, this volume includes the following CHOWDER episodes:

"The Wrong Address"/"The Wrong Customer""The Burple Nurple Stand"/"Shnitzel Makes A Deposit""Gazpacho Stands Up"/"A Taste Of Marzipan""The Puckerberry Overlords"/"The Elemelons""Sniffleball"/"Mung On The Rocks"

Marzipan City is a place where anything can happen and the unorthodox is commonplace. In the middle of this bizarre city is a quaint little shop known as Mung Daal Catering, which is owned by Mung Daal, one of the most accomplished chefs and well known in the entire world. However, things have become a bit hectic in the kitchen as of late, as Mung Daal has recently acquired a young apprentice named Chowder, whom he wishes to pass along all of his knowledge towards. Chowder is an energetic young lad who wishes to become the greatest chef in the world, but his love of food and his extremely short attention span often results in him causing unintended havoc.

However, theyre not alone. Truffles works at Mung Daal Catering and she takes the orders that her husband, Mung Daal, must prepare. Shnitzel, a rock monster, also helps out in the kitchen as he has worked for Mung Daal for years. Along the way, theyll meet the many colorful and zany residents of Marzipan City, though there will always be new dishes to prepare and exciting recipes to follow.

FRANNY'S FEET: PRINCESS FRANNY on DVD

Peace Arch Home Ent, ContentFilm with Decode Ent., have released of the beloved and award-winning PBS Kids children's series FRANNY'S FEET, now available for the first time on DVD.

FRANNY'S FEET is a delightful animated preschool series that features exciting stories of a little girl whose fantastic feet take her on magical adventures. The journey begins every time Franny tries on a new pair of shoes in her grandfather's repair shop. In each episode Franny travels to a different part of the world where she meets fascinating characters with unusual problems. The first title in the series, FRANNY'S FEET: PRINCESS FRANNY features six "frantastic" episodes from the series.

FRANNY'S FEET was a finalist at the 2007 New York Festival for Children's Program, as well as the 2006 winner for Outstanding Product by the iParenting Media Awards. It was also featured in the 2006 Chicago International Children's Film Festival.

Peace Arch Home Ent. will be releasing FRANNY'S FEET: PRINCESS FRANNY on DVD on March 3, 2009. The DVD will be available for $14.99 SRP at all major retailers across the United States.

THE SMURFS, Vol. 1 on DVD

Warner Home Video has a "smurfa- licious" treat for consumers on March 3, 2009 with the DVD release of THE SMURFS: Volume 1. This title will feature five uncut episodes of the award-winning animated series along with a special bonus featurette.

Consumers will be swept away into the enchanting world of the Smurfs with this charming collection of five captivating cartoons (more than 90 minutes total) guaranteed to delight and entertain viewers with favorite characters (Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy, Scaredy), new villains (including a marsh monster and an evil potion-maker) and marvelous adventures involving the Firefly Festival, a freaky snowstorm, a fearsome flower and more. To top it all off, viewers will also meet the Smurfs' human friends Johan and Peewee.

For those who can't get enough of the loveable Smurfs, this DVD also includes a bonus feature titled "Meet the Smurfs," a Smurf Village chock full of character profiles, trivia and other treats.

The Smurfs are a group of over 100 bluish, three-apple tall creatures who live in the mushroom homes of Smurf Village. They are led by 543-year-old Papa Smurf (who doesn't look a day over 530). Their lives would be perfect were it not for their villainous Gargamel, a wizard who spends his days trying to capture them to eat, turn into gold, or for other evil reasons. Gargamel's cat Azrael adds to the menace, always looking for a tasty, Smurfy snack.

Produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, THE SMURFS originally premiered as part of NBC's Saturday morning programming lineup. The Emmy-nominated series ran for nine seasons on NBC earning a 42% share of the U.S. Saturday morning audience. THE SMURFS: Season 1, Volume 1 and THE SMURFS: Season 1, Volume 2, were both released by WHV in 2008.

SPONGEBOB VS. THE BIG ONE on DVD

SpongeBob and his pals may never return to Bikini Bottom! In SPONGEBOB VS. THE BIG ONE, SpongeBob and his pals are swept out to sea by a giant wave, and the crew learns from Jack Kahuna Laguna, voiced by Oscar-nominated actor Johnny Depp, that they must learn surf the once in a lifetime legendary wave known as The Big One. However, they only have a matter of days to learn. Created by Nickelodeon Home Ent. and distributed by Paramount Home Ent., the direct-to-DVD release will be available on March 3.

SPONGEBOB VS. THE BIG ONE features seven episodes, along with exclusive special features including Plankton's Special Sinister Commentary and a music video, "Ridin' the Hook."

Episode Synopses:

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS VS. THE BIG ONEIn the half-hour special SPONGEBOB VS. THE BIG ONE, SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward and Mr. Krabs are swept away by a giant wave while trying to sell Krabby Patties to hungry surfers in the waters of Goo Lagoon. Mr. Krabs is carried off into the haunted waters of the Dutchman's Triangle, and the other three find themselves stranded on a remote tropical island where they meet an enigmatic surf guru named Jack Kahuna Laguna (voiced by Depp). Jack informs them that the only way back to Bikini Bottom is to surf the legendary wave called The Big One and he helps them rise to the challenge. But it remains to be seen if SpongeBob and the gang shred the surf or wipeout on the ride of their lives.

"A Life In A Day"Everyone is in awe of Larry the Lobster's dardevil ways, especially SpongeBob and Patrick. Patrick decides that it's time for them to start living like Larry, but SpongeBob isn't so sure.

"Sun Bleached"Everybody who's anybody is going to a big party in Bikini Bottom, but you have to be a certain shade of tan to get in. SpongeBob and Patrick decide to get tan so they can go to the party, but SpongeBob accidentally goes too far and turns sun-bleached white! Now, not only is he the wrong shade, but he can barely move without cracking and turning to dust.

"Giant Squidward"When Squidward gets spritzed with plant growth spray, he becomes monstrously huge. SpongeBob and Patrick are thrilled because they now have a giant buddy to play games with. But the citizens of Bikini Bottom are terrified of the monster, and they want him out.

"No Nose Knows"When Patrick realizes that he is the only one out of his friends without a nose, he decides he needs to get a nose, too. Patrick is soon introduced to a whole new world full of aromas -- including the stinky ones.

"The Patty Caper"The secret ingredient to the Krabby Patty has been stolen. SpongeBob has to get to the bottom of this case, or it could be the end of the Krusty Krab.

"Plakton's Regular"Plakton has a customer who loves his chum and eats at the Chum Bucket every day- and no one is more surprised than Plankton. Could this mean competition for the Krusty Krab?

Special Features Include:

-- Plankton's Special Sinister Commentary-- "Ridin' the Hook" Music Video

STARGATE: THE ARK OF TRUTH on Blu-ray

This thrilling feature-length film from MGM Home Ent. picks up where STARGATE SG-1, left off, thrusting the Stargate team -- Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), Vala (Claudia Black), Teal'c (Christopher Judge), Sam (Amanda Tapping) and Cam (Ben Browder) -- into their most exciting adventure yet. In search of an Ancient artifact they hope can defeat the oppressive Ori, the team learns that the Ori are set to launch a final assault on Earth and a double-crossing I.O. operative is aboard the Odyssey.

Special Features Include:

-- Commentary with Writer, Director and Producer Robert C. Cooper, Actor Christopher Judge and Director of Photography Peter Woeste-- Trailers-- Featurette: "The Road Taken: Prelude to The Ark of Truth"-- Stargate at Comic-Con-- Uncovering The Ark of Truth

WATCHMEN: The Complete Motion Comic on DVD and Blu-ray

Re-live the acclaimed graphic novel WATCHMEN in a whole new way or experience it for the first time prior to the highly-anticipated film's theatrical opening when Warner Premiere's WATCHMEN: THE COMPLETE MOTION COMIC arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on March 3 from Warner Home Video.

Overseen by WATCHMEN illustrator Dave Gibbons, WATCHMEN: THE COMPLETE MOTION COMIC contains all 12 chapters of WATCHMEN, the most celebrated graphic novel of all time, adding motion, voice and sound to the book's strikingly drawn panels, spanning everything from the mysterious demise of the Comedian to the crisscrossed destinies of loosely allied superheroes to their fateful impact on the world. The 12 approximately 30-minute chapters were previously available exclusively as iTunes downloads.

Produced by WATCHMEN and 300 director Zack Snyder, WATCHMEN: THE COMPLETE MOTION COMIC was colored by John Higgins and narrated by Tom Stechschulte.

The 2-disc standard and Blu-ray sets includes nearly 6 hours of content and both include Movie Cash, good for $7.50 off of a movie ticket for WATCHMEN beginning on March 6. In addition, the Blu-ray includes a first look at the theatrical film with an action-packed scene from the movie available exclusively through Warner Bros. BD-Live. and Dave Gibbons' video journal.

WATCHMEN: THE COMPLETE MOTION COMIC will be available in a 2-disc set for $29.98 and a Digital Copy Special Edition Blu-ray set for $34.99.

DVD includes "Wonder Woman: The Amazon Princess" enhanced content.

WONDER WOMAN on DVD and Blu-ray

Embark on a journey of untold beauty, grace and strength as Princess Diana uses her remarkable gifts and evolves into WONDER WOMAN, the world's most renowned female superhero. Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation are set to release the all-new animated original movie WONDER WOMAN on March 3, 2009, distributed by Warner Home Video. WONDER WOMAN will be available as a Single Disc DVD for $19.98 (SRP), 2 Disc Special Edition DVD for $29.98 (SRP) and Blu-ray Disc for $34.99 (SRP). Order due date for all versions is January 20, 2009. The animated original movie will also be available OnDemand and Pay-Per-View as well as available for download day and date, March 3, 2009.

Produced by the multiple Emmy Award winning animation legend Bruce Timm, WONDER WOMAN is an origin story and features a stellar celebrity voice cast including Keri Russell (WAITRESS, FELICITY), Nathan Fillion (DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES), Alfred Molina (SPIDER-MAN 2), Virginia Madsen (SIDEWAYS), Rosario Dawson (SIN CITY), Oliver Platt (THE WEST WING) and David McCallum (NCIS).

WONDER WOMAN begins on the mystical island of Themyscira, where a proud and fierce warrior race of Amazons resides. They have raised Princess Diana, a daughter of stunning beauty, extraordinary strength and incredible fighting prowess. Diana possesses a host of super human powers granted to her by the gods and goddesses of Olympus and her strength and stamina are unparalleled. When Air Force fighter pilot Steve Trevor crash lands on the island, the rebellious and headstrong Diana defies Amazonian law by accompanying Trevor back to civilization. Meanwhile, Ares (the God of War) has escaped his imprisonment at the hands of the Amazons and has decided to exact his revenge by starting a world war that will destroy them all. It is up to Princess Diana to save her people and the world by using her gifts to become the ultimate WONDER WOMAN.

WONDER WOMAN: 2 Disc Special Edition and Blu-Ray versions will feature collectible packaging as well as 185 minutes of incredible bonus features such as:

-- WONDER WOMAN: A Subversive Dream -- She is one of the pillars of DC Comics. We examine why Wonder Woman is important in the grand scheme of the DC Super Heroes and how her raw strength and power helped define a new generation of empowered women, who realized that their gifts of intellect and strength were just as powerful as their male counterparts.

-- WONDER WOMAN The Daughters of Myth -- The riveting documentary historically defines the meaning of the Amazons and how this links in with the evolution of the Wonder Woman character from comics to screen.

-- Audio Commentary -- featuring commentary by Gregory Noveck (Senior Vice President, Creative Affairs, DC Comics), Bruce Timm (Producer), Lauren Montgomery (Director) and Michael Jelenic (Screenplay).

-- Bruce Timm's Top PicksPopular episodes from the Warner Bros. archive of Justice League/Justice League Unlimited animation featuring Wonder Woman; all personally selected by Bruce Timm, producer of this Wonder Woman feature film. All formats include "To Another Shore" and "Hawk and Dove." Exclusive additions for the Blu-Ray and 2-Disk formats: "Paradise Lost, Parts 1 & 2."

-- Digital Copy Download -- Warner Bros. is including a Digital Copy of WONDER WOMAN on the DVD which will provide fans a legitimate means to enjoy their favorite action hero anywhere they want on their portable video device. Formats supported include: iTunes, Windows Media Player. Restrictions apply. Consult product packaging for details.

-- Sneak Peak -- The next DCU Animated Original Movie.

-- WONDER WOMAN: The Amazon Princess -- This featurette includes both a thumbnail history of the character of Wonder Woman featuring interviews with DC Comics creators and artists (Paul Levitz, Dan DiDio), and behind the scenes footage of the upcoming made-for-DVD release punctuated with interviews from the production staff and voice talent behind the film (Keri Russell, Alfred Molina, etc.).

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