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Home Theater Forum Goes to Hollywood: Warner

27 Oct, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

BURBANK, Calif. — Closing out their whirlwind, week-long tour of every major studio, members of the Home Theater Forum Oct. 24 received a behind-the-scenes tour of Warner Bros. Studios, and were privy to the studios Blu-ray Disc plans for some of the biggest movies ever.

Both Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz will see Blu-ray releases for their 70th anniversaries in 2009, said George Feltenstein, SVP of Warner Home Video’s classic catalogue, telling Forum members, “I think you will be very, very pleased.”

Estimating that he’s been a part of 17 marketing campaigns for The Wizard of Oz, Feltenstein promised an impressive release of the film on high-def.

“We have a big initiative behind [it]. We planned on releasing The Wizard of Oz right at the beginning [of high-def],” he said, but the studio changed its mind, holding off for the anniversary. “It will knock your socks off,” he promised.

BD Live will help Warner Bros. offer whatever content the studio can’t fit on the disc, he added.

Forum members were shown before-and-after video of An American in Paris and A Star is Born, both being cleaned up for Blu-ray releases.

“At the time we pretty much thought that was the bee’s knees,” Feltenstein said of the An American in Paris DVD transfer. “As you can see, it’s improved.”

Responding to questions about when other, older films might exit the vault for Blu-ray, Feltenstein responded: “I basically won’t rest until everything is available. In other words, I probably won’t get much sleep.”

Lastly, Feltenstein hinted that The Lord of the Rings trilogy could see a Blu-ray release “in the near future.”

Earlier in the day, Forum members were treated to a tour of Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging (MPI), something the general public can’t do. Bob Bailey, VP of sales for MPI, showed off the studios massive vault and a step-by-step clean up of North by Northwest. That impressed Forum Administrator Adam Gregorich.

“Just the chance to go in and see the shows you grew up with, they’re right there! And the different steps they take to scan a film was impressive,” he said.

Bailey said, “We’ve never had that many people in here at one time.”

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