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Paramount Debuts Blu-ray Sapphire Series

22 Jun, 2009 By: Thomas K. Arnold


Paramount Home Entertainment today announced the launch of a new premium Blu-ray Disc line that will be reserved for its most celebrated movies.

The “Sapphire Series” will consist of two-disc special editions capitalizing on the advanced, high-definition picture and sound quality of the Blu-ray Disc format. The line kicks off Sept. 1 with the release of two of the studio’s most requested films not yet available on Blu-ray, Braveheart and Gladiator, each of which won five Academy Awards. Forrest Gump, which won six Oscars, will follow Nov. 3. Each release includes extensive, never-before-seen special features.

Rob Moore, vice chairman of Paramount Pictures, said it’s “absolutely fitting that we’re presenting the best films in the Paramount library on the finest home entertainment format available.”

“Because of Blu-ray’s phenomenal capabilities,” he said, “the Sapphire Series will deliver the best pictures in the best picture.”

Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis said he’s glad his film has been chosen as one of the first releases in the Sapphire Series, “so that fans can enjoy it at home with pristine picture and sound along with a wealth of special features to give the film context.”

“It’s wonderful that Paramount is taking the time to produce exceptional Blu-ray presentations of these classic films,” he said.

Forrest Gump celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2009. Extras on the Blu-ray Disc edition will include a new roundtable discussion. More details will follow later in the year.

Braveheart will include more than two hours of new special features, including three interactive timelines chronicling the film’s production, storyline and historical background of Scotland’s greatest patriot. Also on tap are a restrospective documentary featuring new interviews with cast and crew members, a documentary on the medieval killing fields of Smithfield, and 3-D models of two major Scottish battlefields.

The Blu-ray Disc edition of Gladiator will include both the original theatrical and an extended version of the film, plus more than four hours of bonus materials. Highlights include the HBO First Look special “The Making of Gladiator”; the diary of Spencer Treat Clark, the young actor who played Lucius; shot deconstructions with the visual effects artists; and a “topic marker.” The topic marker lets viewers tag moments of interest through either version of the film and create “shopping lists” of topics about which they want to learn more. These topics will then be automatically loaded when Disc 2 is inserted, giving viewers immediate access to featurettes and galleries of interest.

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