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'Black Hawk Down' Gets Fourth DVD Release

30 Mar, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

When the topic of DVD double-dipping comes up, Terminator 2 is quickly held up as the most blatant example. Over a six-year period, Lionsgate went to the well three times, releasing a bare-bones edition in 1997, an “Ultimate Edition” in 2000 and an “Extreme Edition” in 2004.

But now, there's new champ in the wings: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has just announced that on June 6 it will release the “extended cut” edition of Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down, the fourth time the studio has issued the Academy Award-winning war movie on DVD.

According to Sony, the film has been “completely digitally remastered for the best-quality picture and sound” and features eight additional minutes not seen in the theatrical cut — or the three previous DVD versions, for that matter.

Black Hawk Down was initially released on DVD in June 2002, six months after its theatrical debut, with just a single behind-the-scenes featurette. A three-disc “deluxe edition,” loaded with extras, arrived in stores in June 2003, followed a year later by a “Superbit” edition, aimed at technophiles, that used a high bit-rate digital encoding process for optimum video quality.

Why a fourth version, particularly now that high-definition is on the horizon and a growing chorus of industry leaders say the next time they revisit their catalog films it will be on either Blu-ray Disc or HD DVD? Even director James Cameron said last fall's three-disc “special collector's edition” of Titanic marked the film's final appearance on DVD.

“We were able to offer the consumer something new and better,” said Fritz Friedman, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's SVP of worldwide publicity. “And as these options become available, we like to make them available to the consumer.”

Aside from its better picture and sound and additional scenes, the new Black Hawk Down is cheaper than any of the previous editions. It lists for $19.94, 10 bucks less than the original and Superbit editions and $20 less than the deluxe model.

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