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Watchmen, Coraline, 300 & Pushing Daisies on DVD/Blu-ray

WATCHMEN and CORALINE make their DVD/Blu-ray bows, along with the "complete experience" Blu-ray of 300 and the DVD/Blu-ray debut of season two ABC's whimsical series PUSHING DAISIES.

300: The Complete Experience on Blu-ray

Experience 300 in a whole new way when the cutting-edge, heart-pounding visual masterpiece from filmmaker Zack Snyder (WATCHMEN) marches onto home screens as 300: The Complete Experience in Blu-ray July 21, to coincide with Snyder's WATCHMEN and WATCHMEN Director's Cut DVD and Blu-ray debut. All are from Warner Home Video.

The epic graphic novel by Frank Miller (SIN CITY) assaults the screen with the blood, thunder and awe of its ferocious visual style faithfully recreated in an intense blend of live-action and CGI animation. Retelling the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, the film depicts the titanic clash in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans faced off against Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his massive Persian army. In spite of insurmountable odds, they fought to the death to defend their honor and freedom, inspiring all of Greece to unite against the enemy.

In 2008, 300 remained in the top 5 for theatrical catalog titles and was among the top 20 best-selling Hi-Def titles. With intense action-packed and visually stunning CGI graphics, it is the perfect film for an enhanced Blu-ray experience now with two hours of new bonus content.

As is fitting in producing an epic, Snyder employed a battalion of artists, compositors, visual effects technicians and consultants around the world to bring 300 to life frame-by-frame. Shot in Montreal for 60 days in the summer of 2005, since then Snyder and his visual effects supervisor Chris Watts worked with 10 vfx companies around the world to create the movie's 1,300 visual effects shots, which were then amazingly edited together into one cohesive film. VFXWorld talked to Snyder, Watts and two of the vfx houses -- Animal Logic and Screaming Death Monkey -- to get the story on how 300 came together.


First up, Warner Home Video adds a new dimension with the special feature: The Complete 300: A Comprehensive Immersion, an interactive picture-in-picture experience that allows viewers to explore exclusive behind-the-scenes features and interviews from three unique perspectives -- all while watching the film.

Also included is the Warner Bros. BD-Live features Media Center (to view exclusive content); Live Community Screenings (virtual screenings for friends to watch together, now invited through Facebook) and My WB Commentary (lets you record and post a Picture-in-Picture commentary right over the film, then share it and rate it).

Additional bonus features include a new full length picture-in-picture commentary by director Snyder, interviews with Frank Miller, plus a bonus digital copy of the theatrical version of 300. 300: The Complete Experience will be packaged in a collectible 40-page Blu-ray book and will retail for $39.99 SRP.

Special Features Include:

The Complete 300: A Comprehensive Immersion-- Includes an introduction by Zack Snyder detailing how the feature functions.-- NEW interactive picture-in-picture experience provides 3 unique perspectives to explore while watching the film:* Creating A Legend: Frank Miller and Zack Snyder Interpret a Classic Tale - Holding true to Frank Miller's love of history and the importance of bringing a pure adaptation to screen in this tale-based account.* Bringing The Legend To Life: Building a World From a Comic - Blending the most talented and creative minds together to bring Frank Miller's art to life in cinematic form. * The History Behind The Myth: The Real Story of The Hot Gates - A rich and historical perspective on the Spartans and this legendary landmark.

Plus a Special Features Army:-- Bluescreen Picture-In-Picture - Join director Zack Snyder on a personal and fascinating commentary as he compares the Bluescreen composite to the feature.-- Audio Commentary by director Zack Snyder, writer Kurt Johnstad and director of photography Larry Fong.-- The 300- Fact or Fiction? - Historians, authors and filmmakers reveal how much of the movie is based on fact. (HD)-- Who Were The Spartans: The Warriors of 300 - The customs and ways of life of the Spartans used by the actors and filmmakers to build their characters. (HD)-- Preparing for Battle: The Original Test Footage - See how Frank Miller's images were used in a video montage that evolved into the fight scene test and ultimately convinced the studio to make the movie. (HD)-- Frank Miller Tapes - We'll show how the outspoken Miller continued to push his limits to realize his epic graphic novel, 300, in the world of theatrical film. (HD)-- Making of 300 -- A look at how the movie was made -- Making 300 in Images -- Rapid fire stills from the first day of production to the last-- Webisodes - Behind the scenes peeks on the set of 300. -- Production Design-- Wardrobe-- Stunt Work-- Lena Headey; Adapting The Graphic Novel-- Gerard Butler; Rodrigo Santoro;Training The Actors-- Culture of The Sparta City/State-- A Glimpse from the Set - Making 300 the Movie-- Scene Studies from 300-- Fantastic Characters of 300-- Additional Footage - Deleted scenes with introduction by Zack Snyder * Warner Bros. BD Live - Features include Media Center , My WB Commentary, and Live Community Screening * Media Center is a hub for trailers, features and content -- You can get sneak peeks of upcoming Warner Bros. films, and rate trailers -- You can access Exclusive Content such as interviews, featurettes, and more only seen through WB BD-Live-- You can access Photo Galleries and other special features * Live Community Screenings -- Now connected to Facebook, you can send invitations to all of your friends across the country for virtual screenings at a specified time and chat online with each other as the movie plays on each person's Blu-ray player. You can host your own Live Community Screening with your buddy list or participate in a WB hosted Warner Bros. BD-Live community event* My WB Commentary lets you record and post a Picture-in-Picture commentary right over the film, then share it and rate it. Using a web-camera, you can record your own comments and play them back as a Picture-in-Picture feature over the film scene you have chosen and share it with your friends or the entire Warner Bros. BD-Live Community

-- Bonus Digital Copy on Disc -- Theatrical version of the film compatible with iTunes and Windows Media.-- 38-Page Book Packaging -- Includes a comprehensive walk-through of the navigation of The Complete Experience and additional production notes and biographies.

CORALINE on DVD and Blu-ray

From the visionary imagination of filmmaker Henry Selick, director of THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, and based on the award-winning novel by Newbery Medal winner Neil Gaiman (THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, SANDMAN) comes the remarkable handmade, stop-motion animated feature film CORALINE, available on Blu-ray Hi-Def combo pack, 2-Disc Collector's Edition DVD and single disc DVD July 21, 2009 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

While all editions feature both the 2-D and 3-D versions of the film and four pairs of 3-D glasses, the Blu-ray Hi-Def and 2-Disc Collector's Edition DVD also include a digital copy of the movie, as well as an astounding array of bonus features that take you inside the intricate hand-crafted world of this incredibly unique film. The Blu-ray Hi-Def combo pack also includes a standard definition DVD of the film, as well as even more bonus features, including additional filmmaker interviews and behind-the-scenes exclusives within Universal's U-Control and BD-Live features.

An instant classic that will captivate audiences, CORALINE, the first feature film from Portland Oregon-based animation studio LAIKA, is the first stop-motion animated feature originally produced in stereoscopic 3-D. A startlingly original tale, CORALINE's vibrant flights of fantasy will keep kids and adults enthralled as it underlines one of life's most essential truths: be careful what you wish for.

11-year-old Coraline Jones (voiced by Dakota Fanning) has just moved with her parents (Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman) to a new home in Oregon. With no friends and her parents distracted by work, the feisty and adventurous Coraline sets out to find some excitement in her isolated new environment. She is befriended -- or, as she sees it, pestered -- by a local boy close to her age, Wybie Lovat (Robert Bailey Jr.) and visits her older neighbors, eccentric British actresses Miss Spink and Miss Forcible (Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French) as well as the arguably even more eccentric Russian, Mr. Bobinsky (Ian McShane). Just as she's beginning to think her new home is utterly uninteresting, she uncovers a secret door which leads to a parallel existence much like her own life -- but much better. The adults, including the solicitous Other Mother (also voiced by Teri Hatcher) welcome her warmly. And Coraline gets far more attention there -- even from the mysterious Cat (Keith David). She begins to think that this Other World might be where she truly belongs. But when her wondrously off-kilter, fantastical visit turns dangerous, Coraline must summon all her resourcefulness, determination and courage to get back home -- and save her real family.

Read more about the making-of the film and an interview with Henry Selick at Animation World Magazine: here and here.

CORALINE's stellar voice cast includes Dakota Fanning (WAR OF THE WORLDS), Teri Hatcher (DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES), John Hodgman (THE DAILY SHOW), Ian McShane (DEADWOOD) and Keith David (CRASH), with an enchanting musical score by Bruno Coulais (WINGED MIGRATION, THE CHORUS). Henry Selick is one of the leading directors working in animation today. He directed the 1993 film THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, which has achieved classic status and the remastered 3-D version is bringing Selick a whole new generation of fans.

Selick is also the director of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, which won the top prize for animated feature at the Annecy Film Festival, and MONKEYBONE. He also created the celebrated animation sequences for Wes Anderson's THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU. CORALINE is based on Neil Gaiman's book, a New York Times and international bestseller and enormous critical success. Among its many honors are: the British Science Fiction Award, the Hugo, the Nebula, the Bram Stoker and the Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla awards. Preorder close is June 2, 2009. CORALINE on Blu-ray Hi-Def is priced at $39.98 SRP. The 2-Disc Collector's Edition DVD is priced at $34.98 SRP and the single disc DVD is priced at $29.98 SRP.

Blu-ray-Exclusive Special Features Include

-- U-Control ON 2-D Feature -- Universal's exclusive signature feature allows viewers to delve into the making of the film with the click of the remote without ever leaving the movie. Through picture-in-picture, fans can enhance their understanding of how the movie was made by viewing tours of the sets, animatics and behind-the-scenes moments, including voiceover sessions.-- Creepy CORALINE -- Director and screenwriter Henry Selick and CORALINE author Neil Gaiman take fans deeper into the darker intricacies of CORALINE's alternative worlds.-- BD-Live -- Fans can access exclusive online and interactive features through their Internet connected Blu-ray player, including:-- My Scenes Sharing -- Show your BD-Live friends your favorite scenes from the film.-- The World According To Henry – In this feature, director Henry Selick discusses his approach to the film adaptation of the award-winning book and what he loves about CORALINE.

2-Disc Collector's Edition DVD and Blu-ray Special Features Include:

-- Deleted Scenes-- The Making Of CORALINE -- Director and screenwriter Henry Selick hosts this behind the scenes feature about how this hand-crafted, stop-motion animated film was made. -- Voicing The Characters -- CORALINE's acclaimed cast and filmmaker Henry Selick talk about their experiences working on the film, including defining the perfect voice for their characters.-- Digital Copy Of CORALINE -- Transfer the included digital copy to your iPod, Mac or PC and experience CORALINE anywhere, anytime!

Single-Disc DVD, 2-Disc Collector's Edition DVD and Blu-ray Special Features Include:

-- Feature Commentary With Director Henry Selick & Composer Bruno Coulais

PUSHING DAISIES: The Complete Second Season on DVD

The most dazzling flower blooming in the TV-on-DVD landscape this summer promises to be PUSHING DAISIES, whose second season is set for release July 21, 2009 on both DVD and Blu-ray hi-def from Warner Home Video (WHV). Titled PUSHING DAISIES: The Complete Second Season, this Emmy Award-winning series follows the unusual story of Ned, a young pie maker who's able to revive the dead. This DVD will feature all 13 delightful episodes from this clever and imaginative show, as well as a generous helping of never-before-seen bonus features. This release will retail for $39.98 SRP (standard DVD) and $49.99 SRP (Blu-ray).

The plot thickens with a delicious mix of secrets and mysteries in Season Two of PUSHING DAISIES. Olive Snook (Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth) joins a convent in order to keep Lily's (Emmy winner Swoosie Kurtz) secret about Chuck's (Anna Friel) real birth mother. Chuck becomes more independent and moves out of Ned's (Lee Pace) apartment. Ned learns he has identical twin half-brothers and also receives news of his estranged father. Detective Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) secretly yearns for his long lost daughter. Chuck does her best to dodge her aunts, Lily and Vivian (Tony Award nominee Ellen Greene), who don't know she's alive. Meanwhile, Lily and Vivian wrangle over a mystery man.

During Season Two, the group's murder-solving escapades take them to the most unlikely places to solve some of the weirdest cases, including a honey-based cosmetics company where a spokesmodel is found stung to death; a circus where people keep turning up dead; a convent where a truffle-savvy nun is murdered; a Dim Sum restaurant that serves up illegal gambling; a magic castle whose main attraction dies during his act and even a lighthouse to investigate the death of its keeper.

Originally created by Bryan Fuller (DEAD LIKE ME, WONDERFALLS, HEROES), PUSHING DAISIES follows the whimsical story of Ned, a handsome, wistful pie maker who can resuscitate the dead with his touch.

However, there is a caveat to his talent. If something he's revived remains living for more than one minute, then something nearby of similar life value will die. If he touches the resurrected a second time, that life will die permanently -- a stipulation which proves to be a great strain when Ned resurrects his beautiful childhood sweetheart, Charlotte "Chuck" Charles. The results are bittersweet as they attempt to carry on a romantic relationship, and Ned is left traumatized by both his gift and his unfulfilled longing for Chuck.

Ned owns a restaurant called the Pie Hole, which he runs with kooky, lovelorn waitress Olive Snook. To earn extra money, Ned strikes a deal with the gruff but lovable private investigator Emerson Cod in which they temporarily bring murder victims back to life in order to inquire about the circumstances of their death. They use the information to solve their cases and collect reward money.

The series is narrated by Jim Dale (HARRY POTTER audio books). Among the guest stars featured in Season Two are French Stewart, Autumn Reeser, Diana Scarwid, David Arquette, Jennifer Elise Cox, Stephen Root, Wendie Malick and others.

PUSHING DAISIES originally premiered October 3, 2007 on ABC and aired for two seasons. The show earned three Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Television Series. It was nominated for 12 Emmy Awards and won three.

Entity FX of Santa Monica is working on a big chunk of the massive effects needed for each episode of PUSHING DAISIES. Detailing the type of work they do on any given episode, Kymber Lim, exec producer at Entity FX says, "There are a bunch of flashback sequences and we are doing a lot more of the creative work in those sequences." Visual Effects Supervisor Eli Jarra at Entity FX continues, "The biggest challenge has been bringing things back to life. In the third episode, 'The Fun in Funeral,' Ned is bringing back fireflies and is experimenting as a kid to discover his powers. We were bringing back fireflies and spiders were being animated to die. It's a wide variety of things to do." Lim continues, "We modeled and animated the flies, a spider and for a series of maybe 19 shots that we did for that sequence."

DVD Special Features Include:

-- The Master Pie Maker -- Hop into creator Bryan Fuller's mind to discover the inner secrets of PUSHING DAISIES!-- From Oven to Table -- Follow the production challenges of taking one of Bryan Fuller's script ideas, involving a lighthouse and an egg, and crafting it into reality.-- Secret Sweet Ingredients -- Learn how composer Jim Dooley's music shapes a scene in ways most viewers aren't even aware of.-- Add a Little Magic -- Watch the visual effects team bring a 2-ton rhino to life and learn about the challenges of executing a scene to rival JUMANJI!

PUSHING DAISIES is from Living Dead Guy Productions, The Jinks/Cohen Company in association with Warner Bros. Television. PUSHING DAISIES is executive produced by Dan Jinks & Bruce Cohen, Barry Sonnenfeld, Bryan Fuller and Peter Ocko.

WATCHMEN on DVD and Blu-ray

Someone's killing our super heroes. The year is 1985 and super heroes have banded together to respond to the murder of one of their own. They soon uncover a sinister plot that puts all of humanity in grave danger. The super heroes fight to stop the impending doom only to find themselves a target for annihilation. But, if our super heroes are gone, who will save us?

WATCHMEN is also the perfect fit for Visual Effects Supervisor John DJ DesJardin (THE MATRIX RELOADED and REVOLUTIONS, FANTASTIC FOUR and X-MEN: THE LAST STAND), who is a self-proclaimed comic geek. DesJardin oversaw 1,100 vfx shots, divided among several studios, including Sony Pictures Imageworks, MPC Vancouver, Intelligent Creatures, CIS and Rising Sun Pictures. McDowell and DesJardin provide an overview of their work in the first part of our coverage, while we offer a more detailed survey of the studios' contributions in the second part.

"WATCHMEN is all about details... it's all about telescoping time," McDowell insists. "The editorial tool is the way to turn the graphic novel into the film; you can get so much information across in a parallel way, and we approached the design that way. So this idea that you can embed these threads and cram stuff in parallel time really came across. But WATCHMEN is a traditional film in many ways. And for the designer, it's the density that's the challenge: the actual complexity was logistic. "There were many, many more sets than I've ever built in a movie (around 200) because of all the layering of time and space that we had to deal with, the character threads, there has to be so much material that has to be created to carry the story."

Read more of VFXWorld's in-depth WATCHMEN coverage here and here.

Special Edition DVD Features Include:

WATCHMEN: Director's CutThe Phenomenon: The Comic that Changed ComicsWATCHMEN: Video Journals (over 30 min)Music Video: My Chemical Romance "Desolation Row"Digital Copy -- Theatrical Version

Blu-ray Special Features:

WATCHMEN: Director's CutWarner Bros. Maximum Movie ModeWATCHMEN: Focus Points (over 30 minutes)BD LiveThe Phenomenon: The Comic that Changed ComicsReal Super Heroes, Real VigilantesMechanics: Technologies of a Fantastic WorldMusic Video: My Chemical Romance "Desolation Row"Digital Copy -- Theatrical version