Disney Confirms They Don't Support 3D with Announcement of "The Finest Hour"

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So... I'm sad to say my suspicions were correct about Disney.  In a post a few days ago I addressed growing optimism that Disney was back to supporting BluRay 3D in the states.  I pointed out that all the movies that were getting 3D releases were from Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, who all operate separately from the Mouse (he just distributes and takes his cut).  I mentioned that unless we got "The Finest Hours" and "Zootopia" on BluRay 3D I remained unconvinced that Disney had turned their ship around.  Yesterday confirmed my suspicions as Disney sent out a press release for "The Finest Hours" coming to BluRay, DVD, and HD Digital.  No where in the release does it mention a BluRay 3D release and there is no reason to suspect we will get one.  Now, we might still get a 3D download on Vudu and Europe will certainly get a BluRay 3D that will more than likely be playable on American BluRay players.  So that is the good news.  For those who wanted to buy the BluRay 3D in America though... sorry, looks like you'll still have to play the import game.  Full press release below.

ONE OF THE GREATEST RESCUE STORIES EVER TOLDStarring Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster and Eric Bana


Disney Presents


The Film Storms Home on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, Digital HD, Disney Movies Anywhere,

and Packaged with A Host of Bonus Features Including An All-New Documentary With A Look at the True Life Heroes Behind the Story, Making-of Featurettes and Deleted Scenes

BURBANK, Calif., March 25, 2016 — “THE FINEST HOURS,” a heroic action-thriller based on the true story of a 1952 U.S. Coast Guard rescue, storms home on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD, Disney Movies Anywhere, and On-Demand on May 24th, 2016. Starring Chris Pine (the “Star Trek” films), Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominee Casey Affleck (“Interstellar”), Ben Foster (“3:10 to Yuma”) and Eric Bana (“Lone Survivor”), “THE FINEST HOURS” makes its in-home debut packaged with a host of bonus features about the making of the movie and the remarkable true-life events that inspired it.

Based on the acclaimed non-fiction book of the same name by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias, viewers can enjoy diving into the thrilling eye of the storm with: An all-new documentary “Against All Odds: The Bernie Webber Story,” in which real-life residents of Chatham recall the events that set the stage for the film’s historic rescue mission; Four making-of featurettes highlighting cast members experiences and reflections by members of the U.S. Coast Guard; as well as two never-before-shared Deleted Scenes.

Directed by Craig Gillespie (“Million Dollar Arm”), “THE FINEST HOURS” stars Chris Pine (the “Star Trek” films); Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominee Casey Affleck (“Interstellar”); Ben Foster (“3:10 to Yuma”); Holliday Grainger (“Cinderella”); John Ortiz (“Silver Linings Playbook”); and Eric Bana (“Lone Survivor”). The film is produced by Jim Whitaker (“Cinderella Man”) and Dorothy Aufiero (“The Fighter”), the screenplay is by Oscar® nominee Scott Silver (“8 Mile”) and Oscar nominees Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson (“The Fighter”) based on the acclaimed non-fiction book of the same name by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias. Doug Merrifield(the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films) serves as executive producer.


Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD, Digital SD, Disney Movies Anywhere

· AGAINST ALL ODDS: THE BERNIE WEBBER STORY – Visit the quaint and close-knit town of Chatham, and experience the events surrounding the most heroic Coast Guard rescue ever through the eyes of the people who witnessed them.

· BROTHERHOOD – Cast members reflect on the bonds they forged during the shoot.

· TWO CREWS – Chris Pine and Casey Affleck share insights into Bernie Webber and Ray Sybert, men who led their respective crews against all odds.

· WHAT IS YOUR FINEST HOUR? – A Coast Guard member recounts an incredible rescue.

· THE FINEST INSPIRATION: THE U.S. COAST GUARD Meet the people who put their lives on the line for others.


o A Desperate Idea

o The Story of How They Met




*Bonus Features may vary by retailer


Feature Run Time: Approximately 117 min.

Rating: PG-13 in U.S.; PG in CE; G in CF

Aspect Ratio: Blu-ray Feature Film = 1080p High Definition / 2.39:1

DVD Feature Film = 2.39:1

Audio: Blu-ray = English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, French-Canadian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Latin Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital

DVD = 5.1 Dolby Digital (English, French, & Spanish), English 2.0 DVS Dolby Digital

Languages/Subtitles: English, English SDH, French & Spanish





This heroic action-thriller is based on the extraordinary true story of the greatest small-boat rescue in Coast Guard history. In 1952, a massive winter storm strikes off the coast of Cape Cod, ripping a T-2 oil tanker in half and trapping more than 30 sailors inside its rapidly sinking stern. When word of the disaster reaches the U.S. Coast Guard, four men led by Captain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) set out in a 12-seat boat on a daring mission to rescue the stranded men, braving freezing cold, 60-foot waves and hurricane-force winds, and guided by Webber’s vow that “We all live, or we all die.” Packed with thrilling, larger-than-life action and anchored in a belief in the strength of the human spirit, The Finest Hours is a triumph.


Upcoming Panasonic Ultra HD Player to Support 3D!


The biggest threat in the upcoming 4K revolution is the fact that many of the major TV manufacturer's are trying to phase out the 3D option from future sets.  I don't know why manufacturer's feel like they need to phase out 3D rather than just make it an additional feature... but I'll write about that at a later date.  In the meantime 4K TV's are the new "it thing" in the home theater world, and with shiny new TV's comes a shiny new format called UltraHD BluRay.  During the announcement there were many questions asked about whether or not it would support 3D (so much for there being no interest in the format) and pretty much everyone said that while the players don't support 3D at the moment, the hardware can be upgraded should companies want to revisit the idea in the future.  This was obviously disappointing news to many fans of the format, however some good news has come that there will be at least one Ultra BluRay player that will be compatible with BluRay 3D right out of the box: The Panasonic DMP-UB900!

This device is made with 4K TV's in mind, will play the new UltraHD BluRay format, and it will be compatible with your DVD's, BluRay's, and BluRay 3D's (owners who have HD-DVD's are still out of luck).  As of this writing the device is only available in Europe, but Panasonic has confirmed it will be released statewide later in the year.  We will keep you updated when that is.  While it would be nice if more of these players were compatible with BluRay 3D disks, it is nice to know fans can get at least one player that will support them, so now you can safely upgrade your TV without the fear of never being able to watch "Avatar" in the only format that makes any sense.


"Divergent Series" Sheds 3D

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Considering how slow 3D news has been these days (with select TV manufacturer's phasing it out this year) it's interesting that I somehow managed to miss one of the more obvious stories that was starring me right in my face: "The Divergent Series: Allegiant" was released to theaters this weekend WITHOUT a 3D version to accompany it!  To my knowledge the film was announced to be in 3D, but it is being released only in 2D and I'm not even aware of the Chinese market getting a 3D version.  Part of me is kicking myself for missing such an obvious story, but I think this may actually speak more about the problems the franchise is having in general than it does about me.  The first film is the series was not released in 3D.  With "The Divergent Series: Insurgent" though, Summit Entertainment made the announcement the series would be jumping into the realm of 3D, and thus that film became the first in the series to get the 3D treatment.

At the same time it was announced that the final book in the series would be split into two movies: "The Divergent Series: Allegiant - Part 1" and "The Divergent Series: Allegiant - Part 2." Both were also announced to be in 3D.  Amazing what a difference a year makes though.  So what happened?  I've got a few theories.  Keep in mind these are more or less speculative guesses, but I think they're strong ones.  After splitting the final 'Hunger Games' movie into two parts proved to be a creative (and critical) nightmare for Lionsgate (who also happens to distribute "The Divergent Series"), some changes were made.  The first thing that needed to go was the whole "Part 1 and Part 2" thing.  Look, it may have worked for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," but that novel was almost 800 pages long.  "Mockingjay" and "Allegiant" COMBINED barely make 700 pages, yet both these books were being split into two movies to keep the franchises alive just a little longer!

The thing about this is that fans are getting tired of the film splitting.  They see it for what it really is, and if they didn't before, they certainly did when "The Hobbit" was forced to be a trilogy.  I have a saying that goes "you can't keep people stupid forever," and that was starting to show in the box office returns and reviews.  Thus "The Divergent Series: Allegiant - Part 1" became just "The Divergent Series: Allegiant" while the sequel was renamed as "The Divergent Series: Ascendant.". Granted, this is STILL splitting one book into two, but at least the studios are sort of trying to hide the fact now!  That goes a long way to showing that they are aware of the public scorn for this practise.  The second thing they did was move the release date for the final film up a few months to give the film makers more time to work on the film.  This series has had one of the fastest production schedules of any major franchise, and it shows in how people have received the final projects.

With each new installment the reviews get worse and worse, and there is probably some hope that giving the film makers a few more months to tweak the final movie might give them a better final project (hey, it worked for "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2").  Finally, we get to the 3D.  Although the 3D surcharges did add some money to 'Insurgent's' final box office tally, the film still grossed less than its predecessor.  3D upconversion can still add at least several million dollars to the budget, so since the format didn't bring in the extra money the studio wanted, they decided to cut their loss on it and not use it for the next films.  This ultimately seems like a wise move as the latest movie grossed much less than the previous two films and has the worst reviews of the bunch.  It is ironic that the movie opened number two at the box office to "Zootopia," a movie that is in it's third week I release and is kicking serious butt in the 3D and IMAX formats.  I have to laugh because it just goes to show you that nobody knows anything in Hollywood.

I would like to point out if there is a lesson to be learned in all of this, it's that ultimately formats can be used to enhance any movie and it doesn't matter which genre you apply them to, it just matters how the movie uses them.  "Zootopia" was a movie that was predicted to be a disappointment because no one goes to see animation in 3D or IMAX anymore.  The movie has proved them wrong.  On the other hand conventional wisdom says that these formats would benefit 'The Divergent Series.' They did not.  All the number crunching in the world can't predict what 3D movies will be embraced and which ones will be shunned.  It's not about what types of films use the format; it's how the films use the format.  With manufacturers scaling back on production of 3D TV's, who knows if this lesson will ever truly sink in.  I suppose we'll have to wait and see what happens with "Avatar 2."


Is "Zootopia" Coming to BluRay 3D?

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In the midst of the home 3D market collapsing, the one company that has been the most difficult to figure out in terms of their support for the BluRay 3D format is Disney.  I have been getting e-mails from people who mention that Disney is changing their ways.  That they once were lost, but now they see (the 3D).  After backing off from the BluRay 3D support, we've seen a vast majority of their films get 3D releases on disk.  I want to say upfront this makes me happy, this is obviously a step in the right direction, but...I'm not completely sold on the idea Disney is back in this market.  I say this mainly because the movies they've released in the BluRay 3D format have not technically been Disney films: They've been movies from Pixar and Marvel.  Pixar, Marvel, and (now) Lucasfilm are owned by Disney, but they operate independently from the main studio.  They have resources to the Mouse's money, connections, and talent, but they largely control how their movies are made, seen, and released...largely.

This explains why "Inside Out" and "Ant-Man" have BluRay 3D releases.  This also explains why Lucasfilm announced upfront that "Stars Wars: The Force Awakens" will be getting a 3D release in the future (most likely in a massive collectors edition that will be way overpriced but...ah, who am I kidding, I'm still going to buy it).  When it comes to Disney themselves I have seen little evidence that they are changing their minds.  This is especially true when it comes to their animated features.  At this point they've not made a domestic 3D version of both "Frozen" and "Big Hero 6."  They also passed on the 3D release of "Maleficent" and "Need for Speed."  Three of these movies have either won Academy Awards or have been nominated, and the fact they can't seem to be bothered to release the films in their intended viewing format is maddening.  With that said, there is a chance that maybe - just maybe - things might be turning around.

As you are well aware, Disney's 55th animated feature "Zootopia" opened this weekend to glowing praise and unexpectedly good box office results.  It broke a few records, 3D tickets were a huge chunk of those sales, and it even had one of the biggest IMAX openings in history, proving almost everyone at IMAX wrong for turning their back on animated films because they felt families didn't pay premium ticket prices for cartoons (they obviously do as you can see).  The movie is being heavily advertised as being a 3D experience in all the ads.  My opinion is that the 3D is certainly good, but in terms of being a make-or-break visual experience...eh, maybe the 2D experience is just as good this time around.  I still want to own it in 3D and will import another disk if I have to.  We may not have to though as I discovered this on Best Buy's website...

Yep, that's a pre-order button for "Zootopia" on BluRay 3D!  I haven't found another store that is pre-ordering the title for 3D (including Amazon) and "Frozen" had pre-orders for a 3D version that ultimately never came out.  I'm going to be cautiously optimistic this time around.  Stores like Best Buy make a killing in pre-orders these days, and the last thing they want to do is have to refund people on a product that never came out.  If they have a BluRay 3D up for pre-order, then there might be a chance we'll see one.  In the meantime, if you DO want the title on 3D, it couldn't hurt to vote with your wallet and pre-order a copy now.  This will let them know you're interested in the product.  If it ultimately doesn't come out, the order is canceled with you being charged a penny, and we can move onto importing the steelbook release from Zavii!  And to wrap up what I said before, Disney needs to start releasing their own movies on BluRay 3D to completely convince me that they are back in the game.  So until "Zootopia" and "The Finest Hour" get 3D releases in America, they are still of questionable reliability in my book.


"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Announced for BluRay (Will We Get it in 3D?)

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The big announcement today is that "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is coming to BluRay on April 5th.  This has been one of the worst kept secrets in Hollywood the past few weeks, but I suppose it's nice to have it official.  Disappointingly there will be NO BluRay 3D release on the 5th, but the press release has made mention that a 3D version is coming out later this year.  It doesn't specify whether that will be on disk or via a streaming site like Vudu, but it's nice to know we're at least getting something later on.  I will share my thoughts on why the release may be a good thing in the long run if Disney is doing what I think they will be doing, but for now you can read the press release here.  I personally won't be buying the movie until a 3D release is announced myself, but I know a lot of you won't be able to help yourselves, so be prepared to be double dipped on this one.