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Three Close Encounters Land on Blu-ray

Steven Spielberg's CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (with landmark vfx supervised by Doug Trumbull) arrives Nov. 13 on Blu-ray Disc as CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND: 30TH ANNIVERSARY ULTIMATE EDITION (Sony Pictures Home Ent., $49.95). There is also a standard DVD set that retails for $39.95. The two-disc set incorporates all three versions of the film for the first time, including the first-ever DVD of the 1977 original theatrical edition, as well as the re-edited 1980 theatrical Special Edition and Spielberg's definitive Director's Cut (released in 1998 as the Collector's Edition).

So now you can decide which version you prefer: the original that nearly blew the roof off of the Cinerama Dome; the Special Edition with a little less of the obsessive Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) tearing up his yard and new footage shot in India along with the glimpse inside the mother ship; or the mix and match Director's Cut minus the glimpse inside the mother ship.

Bonus material on the 30th ANNIVERSARY ULTIMATE includes a new interview with Spielberg created specifically for this release, in which he explains, among other things, the devil's bargain he made for the Special Edition: Columbia would let him shoot the footage in India that he craved if he would show what was inside the mother ship. Spielberg also admits that editing the final 25 minutes still remains the most difficult chore of his career.

The stunning high-definition presentation contains all three cinematic versions on just one 50 GB Blu-ray Disc, with bonus material included on a second disc, and is made possible by new breakthroughs in home entertainment technology. This marks the first classic Spielberg film ever to be released on a pre-recorded high-definition disc format.

The Blu-ray release provides for all three versions of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS to be included on one 50GB disc through a process known as "seamless branching," made possible with the added interactivity of Blu-ray's software and the robust processing power of the second-generation players. This process identifies the differences between each version of the film and segments the footage accordingly. These segments are then encoded and assembled into three unique playlists, thus allowing footage used in all three films to be included on the Blu-ray disc only once. Based on the viewer's selection of the original version, Special Edition or definitive Director's Cut, each film will be presented seamlessly in its original form by use of its respective playlist.

Blu-ray Disc bonus features also include:

* All New "Storyboard to Scene Comparisons"* Retrospective Documentary* The Original 1977 "Watch the Skies" Featurette* Original Theatrical Preview

Sony Pictures Home Ent. is a Sony Pictures Ent. company (www.sonypictures.com). SPE is a division of Sony Corp. of America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corp. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital contest creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries.

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