Archive for the ‘Disc News’ Category

Summer Hiatus Over... Fortune Star's Legendary Collections All Covered

So it’s been a long summer of false starts and disappointments. Asian blu-ray releases were few and far between. In a way , I’m happy I took a break during this down time, because it looks like things are starting to pick up real quick. Chief among the companies trying to make some waves is Fortune Star (with the help of Kam & Ronson), which announced in May that it would be releasing the Police Story trilogy, the Once Upon a Time trilogy, and a quartet of Bruce Lee classics this past July.

Of course, as many of you probably know, only The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Police Story, and Once Upon a Time in China have been released so far. But the good news is, although we do not have any release dates for the remaining titles, we do have some cover art scanned from an insert/booklet included with a copy of the Police Story blu-ray (apparently, not all copies contain this insert–we’ll investigate further).

Let’s hope the wait isn’t too long for the rest of these!

Check it out:

Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li Delayed by Fortune Star Until Mid-July?

Okay, so June came and went with a whimper and those of you who’ve been following the Hong Kong blu-ray scene know that was not supposed to happen.

As we reported in late May, Fortune Star and Kam & Ronson announced that they were joining forces to release a slew of blockbuster catalogue titles this June. The list? How about: Bruce Lee’s The Big Boss, The Way of the Dragon, Enter the Dragon and Fist of Fury. Jackie Chan’s Police Story Trilogy. And Jet Li’s Once Upon a Time in China Trilogy.

So what happened? No one’s really telling, but more importantly, when is it coming out? For the first time, a source privy to the proceedings stated that Fortune Star has pushed back the titles until Mid-July. Is this set in stone? Well, this is really just a timeframe rather than a fixed date. Besides, based on the track record for Hong Kong releases in general, let’s not hold are breathes just yet. On the other hand, it certainly makes us feel better about the prospect of seeing these movies on blu-ray sometime this summer.

We’ll keep you posted.

Police Story and Once Upon A Time In China Trilogies Headed for Blu-ray

As excited as we were to hear about the June release of a quartet of Bruce Lee movies on blu-ray from Fortune Star/Kam & Ronson, we are even more thrilled today to report on what may be the biggest Hong Kong blu-ray releases of the year.

According to The Hollywood Reporter and other news sources, Fortune Star intends to release both the Police Story and Once Upon a Time in China trilogies in June. Yes, you read that right. These are arguably the seminal works for both Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and without a doubt some of the most sought after Chinese blu-ray titles since the inception of the hi-def format.

Jackie Chan’s Police Story and Jet Li’s Once
Upon a Time in China headed for blu-ray!

Actually, we’re not sure how we (and other blu-ray resource websites) missed this little tidbit, since a press release with this information seems to have been circulating through the news wires since May 15. But it also looks like two versions of that press release may have been used; one with the mention of these titles and one without. Hence the confusion.

So in summary, two of the all-time favorite martial arts trilogies are coming to blu-ray in less than 30 days! It’s important to note that the distributor has yet to reveal specific release dates for these titles or any specs and features. It will also be interesting to see if they decide to release these films as box-sets only or if we’ll be able to buy them individually.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Bruce Lee Returns to Blu-ray in June

This is as exciting as is gets for fans of martial arts movies. Marketing Interactive reports that Fortune Star, which owns the copyrights to a library of over 600 movies (mostly from Hong Kong), has struck a deal with Hong Kong based distributor Kam & Ronson to release a number of titles on Blu-ray.

More Bruce Lee coming to Blu-ray!

First on the release calendar are four beloved Bruce Lee movies: The Big Boss, The Way of the Dragon, Enter the Dragon and Fist of Fury. These titles are scheduled for a mid-June release and based on Kam & Ronson’s track record on Blu-ray so far, should have English subtitles.

We’re especially excited to hear that this seems to be a long-term arrangement that should help fuel the release of many more catalogue Hong Kong titles fans have been clamoring for. We’ve added the four new Blu-rays to our Release Dates section.

Source: Marketing Interactive

The State of Blu: Steady Wave of Hong Kong Distributors Join Blu-ray

2008 was an exciting year for Asian film fans who owned a Blu-ray player. We saw many good titles come out from a range of Hong Kong distributors, but perhaps just as importantly, the majority of the discs put out had terrific audio and picture quality. Distributors who made the jump last year included Universe Laser (Sparrow), Edko Films (Secret, Lust Caution, and Fearless), Mei Ah (An Empress and The Warriors, Mad Detective, PTU, La Lingerie, Butterfly Lovers, and Red Cliff), and Tai Seng (Dragon Tiger Gate, House of Fury). And while some may lament the lack of quantity, I for one was quite encouraged by the consistent quality of the releases.

It was a banner year for Asian Blu-ray movies,
and Red Cliff was a shinning star among them.

Now, just a couple of weeks into 2009, two new distributors have already entered the Blu-ray fray: Panorama Entertainment (Painted Skin, Danny the Dog) and Joy Sales (Connected). These two new players in the high definition domain not only represent a significant bump in the number of active Blu-ray distributors, they also increase the possibility of a large number of Asian movies whose rights belong to these companies to see life in 1080p.

Panorama, for example, owns the rights to the DVD releases of Johnny To’s Election and Election 2, whereas Joy Sales owns an extensive library of catalogue DVD titles including Jackie Chan movies like The Myth, Rob B Hood, and New Police Story (just to name a few).

While we cannot confirm that the Blu-ray rights to the aforementioned movies are locked in with either Panorama or Joy Sales, it can only be encouraging to see companies like these make the investment in Blu-ray. As they say: “if you build it, they will come.” Let’s hope they keep building.

Painted Skin Blu-ray Slightly Delayed

Panorama has pushed back the release date of Painted Skin on Blu-ray. Fans of the sword and sorcery fantasy tale will have to wait until January 2nd, 2009 to see the film in high definition.

However, the special features and specs have not changed. The original release date was set for December 24th, 2008.

Painted Skin Director's Cut Coming to Blu-ray on Christmas Eve

As is the norm for most Hong Kong distributors, a late announcement came this week for Painted Skin on Blu-ray. The title has been scheduled for release by Panorama on December 24th, 2008. This is director Gordon Chan at his quirky best. Probably one of Chan’s most successful films, Painted Skin was a dominant force at the Chinese box office this year.

The most exciting news about this Blu-ray release is the fact that it, unlike the DVD release, will contain the Director’s Cut version of the film with an additional 15 minutes of footage not seen in theatres.

The Blu-ray will also include many special features, including a Making Of featurette and a music video. We’ve updated our Release Dates page accordingly.

Akira Kurosawa Box Set Headed for Blu-ray

The Akira Kurosawa Blu-ray Box (Limited Edition) has been annouced for release in Japan on February 6th 2008, and it will feature four of the acclaimed director’s films, including Rashomon, Ran, Madadayo, and The Quiet Duel (Shizukanaru Ketto).

Known technical specs as of today for the four-disc set, includes 1080p video and a mono PCM Japanese soundtrack. While no English subtitles have been announced, this limited edition set will ship with a special booklet.

Chocolate Coming to Blu-ray

Magnolia Home Entertainment has announced that they will release the Thai hit Chocolate to Blu-ray on February 10th, day-and-date with the DVD release. Produced by the same team of director Prachya Pinkaew and fight choreopgraher Panna Rittikrai behind Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong, Chocolate stars new Thai action sensation Yanin Vismistananda.

 Chocolate on Blu-ray |

No technical specs have been announced for the release, but extras will include an audio commentary and a behind-the-scenes featurette.

Chungking Express and The Last Emperor Get Delayed

Criterion Collection has announced that they have delayed their first Blu-ray releases. Chungking Express has been pushed back until December 16th, while The Last Emperor is now only coming out on January 6th. Both were originally set to hit stores November 25th.

While no reason was given by Criterion for this delay, no changes to technical specs or special features have been announced. It’s a shame we have to wait another month for these great movies but hopefully Criterion will make up for it with top-notch releases.