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New Line Goes High-Def

11 Sep, 2007 By: Thomas K. Arnold

New Line Home Entertainment has become the latest studio to jump into high-definition disc waters, announcing that its first next-generation release will be the 2007 musical version of Hairspray.

The film, which grossed $107.3 million in theaters, will be released on standard DVD and Blu-ray Disc Nov. 20. An HD DVD edition will follow, although no firm release date has been set.

New Line's support of both next-generation formats isn't surprising, given that the label is distributed by Warner Home Video. Paramount's recent defection from the Blu-ray camp left Warner the only major studio to support both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD.

“Clearly, there isn't a format winner at this point, so we're going to adopt the strategy from Warner, our sister company, and mirror what they are doing,” said Matt Lasorsa, New Line's EVP of marketing. “And by supporting both formats, we are giving consumers the ultimate choice.”

Lasorsa said the HD DVD version of Hairspray most likely will be released some time in the first half of next year. He attributes the delay to region coding issues. Blu-ray has region coding, but HD DVD does not.

“And since we sell to independent international distributors,” Lasorsa said, “we have to be more sensitive to their release dates than a major studio.”

Even after Hairspray, most New Line titles will be released the same day on both standard DVD and Blu-ray Disc, with a lag for the HD DVD version.

“But for second-party acquisitions to which we don't have international rights,” Lasorsa said, “we will be day-and-date on all three formats.”

New Line's complete home entertainment release plans for Hairspray call for both a single-disc DVD and a two-disc “Shake and Shimmy” edition packed with extras. Bonus materials include a new musical number, “I Can Wait”; a making-of documentary; several commentaries; deleted scenes; a featurette on the film's various dances; and dance lessons.

The two-disc Blu-ray edition will have all the extras on the “Shake and Shimmy” DVD, as well as an exclusive picture-in-picture option that lets viewers watch behind-the-scenes footage and on-screen commentary while they are watching the movie.

Also available is a gift set with a metal school locker and a Hairspray tote bag. The locker will be available in both Penny Pink and Link Lime.

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