Anime everywhere, a new full-length FUTURAMA adventure and Academy-Award nominee PERSEPOLIS, all on DVD and Blu-ray today.
FUTURAMA: THE BEAST WITH A BILLION BACKS On DVD
Twentieth Century Fox Home Ent. presents the second of four all-new feature-length adventures when FUTURAMA: THE BEAST WITH A BILLION BACKS invades Earth on DVD June 24. In their latest extraterrestrial exploits, Bender, Fry, Leela and crew encounter a repulsive, planet-sized creature with billions of probing tentacles, and soon find themselves involved in a disturbing -- yet sensuous -- interplanetary love story.
With guest appearances from David Cross (ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT), Brittany Murphy (KING OF THE HILL, SIN CITY), Dan Castellaneta (THE SIMPSONS) and world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, THE BEAST WITH A BILLION BACKS may finally meet its match!
FUTURAMA: THE BEAST WITH A BILLION BACKS is jammed with bonus material, including commentary from Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, cast members Billy West, John DiMaggio and Maurice LaMarche, director Peter Avanzino, and producers Claudia Katz, Lee Supercinski, and Michael Rowe; an entire 30-minute "Lost Futurama Adventure"; featurettes "Meet Yivo!" (behind the scenes with David Cross) and "A Brief History of Deathball"; a sneak peek at the next Futurama epic, BENDER'S GAME; storyboard animatic; deleted scenes; bloopers, and more.
This will be the studio's second carbon-neutral DVD release -- its first being FUTURAMA: BENDER'S BIG SCORE -- solidifying Futurama, Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Home Ent. commitment to reducing their impact on climate change. For more information on how the carbon emissions were reduced during the production of FUTURAMA: THE BEAST WITH A BILLION BACKS, visit www.newscorp.com/energy
In FUTURAMA's latest and most tentacle-packed epic, space itself rips open, revealing a gateway to another universe. But what lies beyond? Horror? Love? Or maybe both, if it happens to contain a repulsive, planet-sized monster with romantic intentions. Nothing less than the fate of human and robot-kind is at stake as the Futurama crew takes on THE BEAST WITH A BILLION BACKS.
--Commentary By Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Michael Rowe, Claudia Katz, Peter Avanzino and Lee Supercinski
--FUTURAMA THE LOST ADVENTURE -- A Long-Lost, Full-Length Adventure Produced for the FUTURAMA Video Game
--Audio Commentary By Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Michael Rowe, J. Stewart Burns and Lee Supercinski
--Meet Yivo! Featurette with David Cross
--"A Brief History Of Deathball" Featurette
--Blooperama: The Futurama Cast At "Work"
--3D Models With Animator Discussion
--Storyboard Animatic: THE BEAST WITH A BILLION BACKS, Part One
--Fry and Colleen Meeting
--St. Asimov Parade
--Zapp and Scientists
--Amy, Fry and Leela
--Scruffy, the Janitor
--FUTURAMA: BENDER'S GAME -- A sneak peek at the Next FUTURAMA epic.
PERSEPOLIS On DVD And Blu-Ray
The critically acclaimed, Academy Award nominated film PERSEPOLIS (2008 Best Animated Feature Film) arrives on DVD and Blu-ray HD from Sony Pictures Home Ent. on June 24, 2008.
Based on the popular autobiographical graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi and directed and written by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, this Sony Pictures Classics Film won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film and was named Best Animated Feature by the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the New York Online Film Critics as well as winning the Freedom of Expression Award from the National Board of Review. PERSEPOLIS will be available for $38.96 for Blu-ray High-Def and $29.95 for DVD. The DVD special features will include cast and crew commentary on select scenes, behind the scenes featurettes and more.
A remarkably striking animated film, PERSEPOLIS was filmed in French and features the voice talents of Chiara Mastroianni (READY TO WEAR), Academy Award nominee Catherine Deneuve (1993 Best Actress, INDOCHINE, DANCER IN THE DARK) and Danielle Darrieux (NOUVELLE CHANCE, 8 WOMEN).
The DVD of PERSEPOLIS will also include a dubbed English version, with Mastroianni, Academy Award winner Sean Penn (2004 Best Actor in a Leading Role, MYSTIC RIVER, DEAD MAN WALKING), Deneuve, Academy Award nominee Gena Rowlands (1981 Best Actress in a Leading Role, GLORIA; 1975, Best Actress in a Leading Role, A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE) and rocker/actor Iggy Pop (COFFEE AND CIGARETTES).
PERSEPOLIS is the poignant story of a young girl in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It is through the eyes of precocious and outspoken nine year old Marjane that we see a people's hopes dashed as fundamentalists take power -- forcing the veil on women and imprisoning thousands. Clever and fearless, she outsmarts the "social guardians" and discovers punk, ABBA and Iron Maiden. Yet when her uncle is senselessly executed and as bombs fall around Tehran in the Iran/Iraq war, the daily fear that permeates life in Iran is palpable.
As she gets older, Marjane's boldness causes her parents to worry over her continued safety. And so, at age fourteen, they make the difficult decision to send her to school in Austria. Vulnerable and alone in a strange land, she endures the typical ordeals of a teenager. In addition, Marjane has to combat being equated with the religious fundamentalism and extremism she fled her country to escape. Over time, she gains acceptance, and even experiences love, but after high school she finds herself alone and horribly homesick.
Though it means putting on a veil and living in a tyrannical society, Marjane decides to return to Iran to be close to her family. After a difficult period of adjustment, she enters art school and marries, all the while continuing to speak out against the hypocrisy she witnesses. At age 24, she realizes that while she is deeply Iranian, she cannot live in Iran. She then makes the heartbreaking decision to leave her homeland for France, optimistic about her future, shaped indelibly by her past.
DVD/Blu-Ray Bonus Features Include:
--English Language version of the film featuring the voices of Chiara Mastroianni, Sean Penn, Catherine Deneuve, Gena Rowlands and Iggy Pop
--"The Hidden Side of Persepolis" Featurette: The making of the French version
--"Behind the Scenes of Persepolis": The Recording of the English version
--Audio Commentary by Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud and Chiara Mastoianni on select scenes
--Animated Scene Comparisons with Commentary by Marjane Satrapi
--2007 Cannes Film Festival Press Conference Q&A with Cast and Crew
10,000 BC On DVD And Blu-Ray
Roland Emmerich directs 10,000 BC
, the eye-filling tale of the first hero, out on DVD June 24 from Warner Home Video. That hero is young hunter D'Leh who sets out on a bold trek to rescue his kidnapped beloved and fulfill his prophetic destiny. He'll face an awesome saber-toothed tiger, cross uncharted realms, form an army, and uncover an advanced but corrupt Lost Civilization. There, he will lead a fight for liberation -- and become the champion of the time when legend began.
The director's demanding vision led the vfx team to push the boundaries of visual effects technology, especially in terms of fur simulation. Double Negative (170 shots) and MPC (150 shots) shared the bulk of the workload. Machine and The Senate Visual Effects provided additional effects, while Nvizage handled previsualization.
At Double Negative, Visual Effects Supervisor Jesper Kjolsrud oversaw a team that included Compositing Supervisor Andy Lockley, CG Supervisors Alex Wuttke and Rodney McFall and VFX Producers Dominic Sidoli and Stuart McAra. "One of the most exciting things about this project was that it allowed us to delve into creature animation on a very large scale," Wuttke recalled. "We were in charge of creating the saber tooth tiger and the terror birds. Double Negative is mainly known for its work on environments and invisible effects. So, 10,000 BC came as a perfect opportunity to stretch our muscles in the animation realm. Coincidentally, while working on this movie, we were also creating Grawp for HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX. Both movies were a turning point for us."
The first step was to build a creature pipeline that could withstand the needs of the project. Maya, associated with many proprietary tools, formed the basis of the platform, along with RenderMan and Shake. "We invested a lot of time into developing a proprietary fur system from the ground up," Wuttke noted. "We wanted to have the flexibility to groom the fur exactly the way we needed."
THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES On DVD And Blu-Ray
From the best-selling series of books comes an extraordinary fantasy adventure THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES
from Paramount Home Ent., revealing the unseen world that exists all around us. From the moment the Grace family moves into a secluded old house peculiar things start to happen. Unable to explain the accidents and strange disappearances, the Grace children, Jared, Simon and Mallory start to investigate and find the unbelievable truth of the Spiderwick Estate and the amazing creatures that inhabit it.
Directed by Mark Waters (MEAN GIRLS), the film features an all-star cast including Freddie Highmore (CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY), Mary Louise Parker (WEEDS), Sarah Bolger (IN AMERICA) David Strathairn (GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK), Nick Nolte (TROPIC THUNDER) and the voices of Seth Rogen (SUPERBAD) and Martin Short (JIMINY GLICK IN LALAWOOD).
The amount and variety of unusual creatures from the five volumes was so daunting that the visual effects had to be shared by two studios: San Francisco's Industrial Light & Magic and Berkeley's Tippett Studio. Visual effects pioneer Phil Tippett was creature supervisor for the overall production. On set during the entire principal photography, he worked with the visual effects team from his own studio along with the team from ILM to coordinate the nightmarish logistics involved in combining live action with CG.
The team at Tippett Studio included in-house Creature Supervisor Joel Friesch, who also served as co-visual effects supervisor with Blair Clark, CG Supervisor Russell Darling and Animation Supervisor Todd Labonte.
Explained Clark: "We did all of the animation and design work on Hogsqueal, the Troll, Redcap, the goblins and bull goblins, as well as lighting, texturing and compositing and doing the final output."
At least, they knew what they were getting into from the very beginning. In fact, Tippett Studio openly pitched Paramount to secure the project as Clark elaborates. "We had a lot of people who were very aware of Tony DiTerlizzi's books, myself included, and I always thought they would be really cool turned into a movie... So, we were very interested when we heard that it was being looked at [for a feature film]. We had a little bit of down time after finishing a show (CHARLOTTE'S WEB), and we had an elite modeler, Sven Jensen. He had some time and we asked him to make a little 3D goblin based on Tony DiTerlizzi's drawings in the books and in the field guide, which pretty much all through the production was always used as the bible."
THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES two-disc Special Collector's Edition DVD and Blu-ray presentations boast multiple behind-the-scenes featurettes including a Making Of, a look at the cast and characters, "The Magic of Spiderwick", "Spiderwick: It's All True," an exploration of the Spiderwick world and more, plus deleted scenes and a peek inside Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide. THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES also will be available as a single disc DVD in full screen or widescreen.
THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES Special Collector's Edition DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround, French 5.1 Surround and Spanish 5.1 Surround and English, French and Spanish subtitles. The Blu-ray presentation will be 1080p High Definition with English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.
The two-disc sets include the following special features:
--Spiderwick: It's All True! (HD)
--It's A Spiderwick World! (HD)
--Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide (HD and Interactive on Blu-ray)
--Spiderwick: Meet the Clan (HD)
--Making Spiderwick (HD)
--The Magic of Spiderwick (HD)
--A Final Word of Advice...(HD)
--Deleted Scenes (HD)
--Nickelodeon TV Spots
--Theatrical Trailers (HD)
THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES also will be available as a single-disc DVD in either widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs or full screen with Dolby Digital English, French and Spanish 5.1 Surround.
The single-disc DVD includes the following:
--Spiderwick: It's All True!
--It's A Spiderwick World!
--Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide
PIANO: THE MELODY OF A YOUNG GIRL'S HEART On DVD
Anime producer and distributor Right Stuf and Nozomi Ent. have released all three volumes of PIANO: THE MELODY OF A YOUNG GIRL'S HEART at a new, lower price of $9.99 per volume on June 24, 2008.
The series, a favorite of librarians, features direction by Norihiko Sudo (COMIC PARTY, TO HEART 2), character designs by Kosuke Fujishima (creator, OH MY GODDESS! and YOU'RE UNDER ARREST) and art direction by Junichi Higashi (MIDORI DAYS, SUPER GALS!).
Miu Nomura once loved to play the piano. As a little girl, the music made her heart soar, and she eagerly shared her songs with all of those around her. Now an introverted teenager, Miu has become too shy to express her feelings -- even through her music. Her playing has suffered, and her piano teacher, the moody Mr. Shirakawa, has become impatient with her inability to reach the next level. When Miu develops a crush on upperclassman Takahashi, her best friend Yuuki is the first to notice. Unfortunately, Yuuki's too distracted with her own emotional troubles: She's fallen hard for third-year track star Takizawa! However, Mr. Shirakawa has also noticed something, a sudden and remarkable change in Miu's playing. Can he help her rediscover the joy of the piano and find the courage to share her heart and music once more? Contains episodes 1-3.
--Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo audio for English and Japanese dialogue
--English subtitles and English on-screen translations
--Line art gallery
--Original character sketches
--Special Epilogue #1 by Miu's Japanese voice actress (Ayako Kawasumi)
--English production notes
--Booklet containing Piano Side Story #1: "The Melody of the Hydrangea"
--Right Stuf/Nozomi Entertainment trailers
IN BRUGES On DVD
From Universal Studios Home Ent. comes IN BRUGES, starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes in a cool, irreverent and simply outrageous action comedy. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, with cinematography by Eigil Bryld, IN BRUGES is a Focus Features film, in association with Film4, produced by Blueprint Pictures in association with Scion Films.
Bruges, the most well-preserved medieval city in the whole of Belgium, is a welcoming destination for travelers from all over the world. But for hit men Ray (Farrell) and Ken (Gleeson), it could be their final destination. A job gone wrong has resulted in the pair being ordered to go and cool their heels in the storybook Flemish city for a couple of weeks. Christmas is coming, as they await the arrival of their London boss, Harry (Fiennes). Very much out of place amidst the gothic architecture, canals, and cobbled streets, the two hit men fill their days living the lives of tourists. When the call from Harry does finally come, Ken and Ray's vacation becomes a life-and-death struggle of darkly comic proportions and surprisingly emotional consequences.
Framestore CFC Senior Colorist Adam Glasman worked with the production team for several weeks in January 2008 to complete the final element of the film making process. This was Cinematographer Eigil Bryld's second DI project at Framestore CFC; 2007's BECOMING JANE being the first.
"It was a great job from my perspective," Glasman said. "Lovely clients, and a very dark, very funny film. Eigil knows the DI routine -- what we can offer him as a cinematographer -- and he was very hands off about the whole process. The DI itself was very straightforward -- the only time we did any real tweaking was during the chase sequence, when we pushed up the contrast a bit. For the rest off it, we tried to emphasize the warm and Christmassy look that Eigil and Martin McDonagh were aiming for, so we pushed the highlights up on shots where there were Christmas lights around, for instance."
--Gag Reel -- A hilarious compilation of outtakes from the set.
--"When In Bruges" -- Set in one of Europe's most scenic cities and filled to the brim with tourists, this behind-the-scenes featurette captures Academy Award winner Martin McDonagh making his feature debut with this comedic tale of the fates of two hit men.
--"Strange Bruges" -- A look at the town of Bruges and how it's used as the fourth major character in the film.
--"A Boat Trip Around Bruges" -- See the beautiful city of Bruges from a boat ride through the cities canals.
--"F*Cking Br*Ges" -- A comprehensive look at the language of IN BRUGES.
EMMA: A VICTORIAN ROMANCE Season 1 On DVD
Anime producer and distributor Right Stuf and Nozomi Ent. have released EMMA: A VICTORIAN ROMANCE, which makes its North American DVD debut with the release of its Season 1 DVD Collection on June 24, 2008.
A historical drama set in late 19th-century London, the series chronicles the love story -- and the complications that result -- when Emma, an honest and hardworking young maid, and William, an earnest suitor and member of the "gentry" class, fall for each other.
Spanning a total of 24 episodes between the two seasons, this anime adaptation of Kaoru Mori's manga features direction by Tsuneo Kobayashi (THE TWELVE KINGDOMS, GLASS MASK OAV, SUPER GALS!) and scripting by Mamiko Ikeda (SGT. FROG, FRUITS BASKET, PRINCESS TUTU). The original manga was honored with an Excellence Prize at the 2005 Japan Media Arts Festival and is available to North American readers via DC Comics' CMX Manga imprint.
EMMA will be released as two "season" box sets with Japanese audio and English-language subtitles.
The initial box set release will contain the 12-episode first season in its entirety and include a 96-page "Victorian Gazette," featuring background information and illustrations that explore the Victorian era depicted in the series, from period fashions and travel in England to architecture and day-to-day life. The second box set (Fall 2008) will include the 12 episodes of the series' "Second Act," plus "Episode 0: Intermission," a recap/preview that aired prior to the start of the Season 2 telecast in Japan.
In 19th-century London, class lines are sharply drawn, and the social standing to which people are born dictates the paths their lives will follow. Emma, an honest and hardworking young maid, never felt her place in life to be a burden. But then she met William, a member of the gentry and the eldest son of a wealthy family. His warm smile and earnest affection threaten to capture her heart, but can love truly conquer all? Contains the complete 12-episode first season.
--Scene access, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo audio for Japanese dialogue, English subtitles and English on-screen translations.
--Japanese promotional commercial, Japanese TV spots, Japanese DVD commercials
--U.S. Season One and Season Two trailers and Right Stuf/ Nozomi Entertainment trailers
--A 96-page "Victorian Gazette," featuring background information and illustrations that explore the Victorian era depicted in the series, from period fashions and travel in England to architecture and day-to-day life. This book also includes a full glossary, with in-depth, historical explanations, plus comments and comics by Kaoru Mori, the creator of the EMMA manga. This exclusive extra is a compilation of the booklets that were previously available with the Japanese limited-edition DVD releases of EMMA.
MAIKO HAAAAN!!! On DVD
VIZ Pictures has released MAIKO HAAAAN!!!, a zany romantic slapstick comedy, directed by Nobuo Mizuta, about a nerdy Japanese office worker and his obsession with the little-seen Maiko (apprentice Geisha) world. MAIKO HAAAAN!!! features English subtitles, and will be distributed by VIZ Media with an anticipated retail price of $24.98. A dedicated web site is also available at www.maikothemovie.com
From acclaimed screenwriter Kankuro Kudo of PING PONG, YAJI AND KITA: THE MIDNIGHT PILGRIMS and TAKASHI MIIKE'S ZEBRAMAN, MAIKO HAAAAN!!! is a slapstick comedy with an energetic twist of manic Japanese humor that centers on a geeky salary man named Kimihiko Onizuka (Sadawo Abe, from KAMIKAZE GIRLS) who dumps his girlfriend because he believes he can only fall in love with an apprentice Geisha, otherwise known as a "Maiko."
He decides to pursue his dream of courting a real Maiko in Kyoto. The lavish and private Maiko Houses become a social barrier partly caused by a rival who is actually also a millionaire baseball player (Shinichi Tsutsumi). But Kimihiko remains undaunted and embarks on a wild journey using some outlandish premises to gain entry to the Geisha inner sanctum. Meanwhile, Kimihiko's girlfriend (Kou Shibasaki) tries to win him back by leaving Tokyo to become a Maiko herself.