Blu-ray starting to see big franchises

2 min read
7

Ray. Blu-ray.

With the introduction of any new format, be it CD, DVD or Blu-ray, the size of the market it lures over as first-generation adopters has historically depended heavily on the content that was available on the format at the time. Considering that early adopters of technology are usually the gadget-enthusiasts – who are not the largest demographic you could be hunting for – it becomes clear that for a new format like Blu-ray to succeed, there has to be content that appears to the mainstream consumer. Up to now, the pickings have been decidedly slim on the Blu-ray side – no-one is going to spend R4500 to buy a Blu-ray player to watch Ultraviolet. The only real ‘must-own’ title that has received universal praise from every corner has been the awesome Planet Earth. However, things look to be changing.

It’s no secret that Blu-ray isn’t being adopted quite as fast as Sony would like, but it is definitely making significant inroads by attracting some big-name franchises that were either committed to HD-DVD or have been held back to see which format ‘wins’.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder that the entire collection of Bond films is heading to Blu-ray, starting this November, with the release of Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Thunderball, For Your Eyes Only, Live and Let Die and Die Another Die on Blu-ray. At least two of those Bond films don’t suck, with the rest depending on how high your tolerance for Roger Moore/Pierce Brosnan and ridiculous, BS gadgets happen to be.

How I feel about Bond movies starring Roger Moore:

BS-Meter

Pic courtesy of The Spoony Experiment.

Anyway, this is pretty big news for the format, considering that Casino Royale was the biggest selling Blu-ray (as well as regular DVD) title last year in the UK and the US.

Another franchise that will soon make it’s way over to Blu-ray is Batman, starting with Batman Begins. Warner Bros., distributors of all the Batman films, was a longtime supporter of HD-DVD, but now that the battle is pretty much over, has decided to start milking the particular cash cow.

So here’s the question: is there any franchise/film that would convince you to invest in a Blu-ray player (like the PS3) by merely being published in the format?

I’d have to say that the Lord of the Rings trilogy would convince me to buy a Blu-ray player if I didn’t own one.

Last Updated: June 19, 2008

Etienne

Once upon a time, in a land long forgotten, I wrote for this site. The details were gobbled up by an errant database, so instead you’re reading this painfully obtuse default bio.

  • Fox1

    Can’t I get those films already in DVD? Anyway, those films are old so I don’t see the point in wanting to see any of the old Bonds or even Batman in HD.

  • darthdad

    You can get them on VHS as well if you look hard enough.
    And who collects old movies anyway? 🙄

  • Jak

    Yes LOTR is the only thing i would ever buy! Without a doubt the greatest series ever!

  • Chevron

    LOL at the first two posters.

    A god movie doesn’t get worse the older it gets. Do you think someone runs around the entire planet looking for old movies and changes scenes to make them worse?

    Sigh.

    I’d love Back to the Future on Blu Ray.

  • What would the quality difference be on a movie like back to the future on blu-ray vs dvd? Obviously no where near what you would see on the new movie. would it be worth it then if you already owned these titles on dvd? i mean the back to the future series has already undergone a huge re master to make it worthwhile being on DVD.

    Gazza ZA’s last blog post..Call of Duty 5 Trailer Premiere

  • kabraal

    That depends on how good the original prints are after years of storage and how much love is put into the transfer by the relevant studio. You’re right though, usually older movies struggle to get up to the PQ and especially AQ of the newer ones.

    There are however examples of how a BD version of an old film can deliver the goods. With Blade Runner (25 years old), Warner put in a huge effort for the HD DVD and BD release. They cleaned out all the prints, scanned them into a 4k master and then slightly tweaked the resultant images to their taste, before transferring it to a hi bit rate codec. That movie got 5 stars for both PQ and AQ on Hidef digest and very few new films reaches that bar.

    Then there are also examples of older films being “copy and pasted” from DVD to BD which obviously yields no positive results, with the noise, macro blocks and everything which DVD was prone to, still being prevalent on the BD.

    So I suppose it’s all about how much time and money the studio wants to put into re-mastering the film

  • kabraal

    You’ll probably have to wait a while for those big AAA blockbuster catalogued movies like for example Star Wars, Indy, or even Back to the Future. How long did we wait for Indy to make it to DVD? Can’t remember but it was quite some time.

    The problem is ‘ol George Lucas / Steven Spielberg won’t release their “IP” just yet on a new format when the returns won’t be that big. New Line cinema (and Warner) owns a movie like LotR so they can do with it what they want. Problem with a movie like Indy is that even though it’s a Paramount film, Spielberg still calls the shots when it comes to DVD/BD/Special edition releases.

    The BD install base is still too small for those big catalogue titles. That’s why you saw studios testing the waters with their lower budget movies through out 2006 first. As the thing steam rolls into a bigger audience, bigger budget movies will be released.

    For some reason this all applies to AAA catalogued titles only, I assume it’s due to the fact that catalogued titles can’t really make money from DVD anymore so they’re all waiting for the right time to get maximum returns from BD. Day – date releases of BDs are almost always the same day as the DVD release.

    LotR is apparently in development for release Jan ’09 or something

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