For November 1997


The most recent news always appears at the top of the following section:


For Immediate Release


Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Fellini, Cocteau, Truffaut, Renoir mark start of eminent home film library in new format.

November 12, 1997 - Laserdisc pioneers The Criterion Collection made a long-awaited announcement today that they would begin publishing DVD editions in February of 1998.

On laserdisc, The Criterion Collection's black top-banner has become a mark of distinction for discriminating film lovers. Since the launch of DVD in the spring, vocal early adopters have wondered what Criterion might do with the new format.

"Our mission on DVD will be the same as it has been on laserdisc. We are going to provide a coherent, truly remarkable annotated film library for the home viewer," said Peter Becker, director of the collection. "Our curatorial mission is to gather the greatest films from around the world under a single banner so that the consumer never has to doubt that a Criterion film is a classic of its kind."

Six towering masterpieces from around the world will mark the beginning of The Criterion Collection on DVD: Alfred Hitchock's The Lady Vanishes, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, Federico Fellini's Amarcord, Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast, François Truffaut's The 400 Blows, and Jean Renoir's Grand Illusion, all under exclusive license from the Classic Collection, a joint venture of Janus Films and PMI/Home Vision Cinema.

Criterion also announced that it would release two milestones from Hong Kong action master John Woo, Hard Boiled and The Killer, under exclusive license from Image Entertainment and Fox-Lorber Home Video. Criterion's best-selling laserdisc special editions of these titles have won numerous industry and consumer awards.

A Night to Remember, the original film masterpiece about the Titanic tragedy, under exclusive license from Janus Films and the Rank Organisation, rounds out the Criterion announcements. The 1958 Academy Award nominee is a cinematic landmark for its elaborate, realistic special effects and historically accurate details, and is widely recognized as the inspiration for James Cameron's blockbuster, Titanic.

During the past fourteen years, Criterion has been known not only for what pictures it released, but also for how it released them. As a pioneer in the laserdisc industry, Criterion almost single-handedly popularized letterboxing, audio commentaries, and supplements that included everything from production designs and storyboards, to deleted scenes and interactive essays.

"Each Criterion disc is a collaboration of film historians, technicians, producers, and filmmakers," said Mr. Becker. "We aim to present each film as the filmmaker would want it seen in the best possible version, in a pristine transfer made from the best available elements. Laserphiles have come to know what it means for these films to get 'the Criterion treatment.'"

"In many cases we will also include supplemental materials that will enhance the viewer's understanding and enjoyment of the film," he said. "It's not a matter of 'added value.' Good supplementary materials should give you a context in which to appreciate a film. Trailers are great fun,but a strong, carefully-built audio commentary can open up a whole new world of film appreciation."

The detailed contents of each release are expected to be made public within two weeks. Most are expected to include intelligent menus, interactive essays, and commentary tracks, while some will include the more elaborate video supplements for which the company has been known in recent years.

Prices for Criterion's initial releases will range from $29.99 to $39.99.

Since 1984, the Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films on laserdisc, has attracted many of the world's greatest filmmakers to create first-class laserdisc editions of their work. The ever-expanding library of laserdiscs produced under the Criterion banner continues to set the benchmark for quality and content in the home-video industry. Visit the Criterion Collection web site at


November 12, 1997

CHATSWORTH, CA -- Image Entertainment, Inc. and Criterion today announced a deal in principle giving Image Entertainment distribution rights for The Criterion Collection on DVD.

The Criterion Collection, long acknowledged as the video collector's choice for laserdisc, will begin releasing DVD editions of their classic titles in February 1998. All titles will be presented in their original theatrical aspect ratios, a practice pioneered by Criterion in the early days of laserdisc. Retail pricing will range from $29.99 to $39.99. Many of these DVDs will also feature the breadth of ancillary materials that have established Criterion as the leading producer of special edition programming for home video.

Titles to be released as part of The Criterion Collection on DVD will include John Woo's contemporary action classics The Killer and Hard Boiled, A Night to Remember, the definitive British telling of the Titanic disaster, Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast, François Truffaut's 400 Blows, Federico Fellini's Amacord, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and the Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece The Lady Vanishes.

Martin W. Greenwald, Image's CEO and President, commenting on the agreeent said "We are honored to be selected to bring Criterion's prestigious DVD programming to market. This evolution in technology, from laserdisc to DVD, is a natural for us. We will position Criterion's new DVD line in the same manner in which we will continue to present their product on laserdisc."

Peter Becker, President of Criterion and Director of the Collection, stated "We have had a long and beneficial relationship with Image Entertainment as our exclusive laserdisc distributor. Their knowledge of, and belief in, The Criterion Collection coupled with their ideal distribution channel made them the perfect choice to bring this highly anticipated DVD line to the street."

Image Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ/NMS: DISK) is the largest licensee and distributor of laserdiscs in North America, with the most extensive library of titles in the industry. The Company also has exclusive DVD license and distribution agreements with a number of program suppliers. Some of Image's exclusive laserdisc program suppliers include Disney's Buena Vista Home Video, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video, MGM Home Entertainment, New Line Home Video, PolyGram Home Video, Orion Home Video, The Criterion Collection, Playboy Home Video and Central Park Media.

Visit Image Entertainment on-line at


According to the November 10, 1997 issue of Video Business magazine, "20th Century Fox Home Entertainment plans to release its first DVD titles in early 1998, it reportedly told members of the National Association of Video Distributors that it and other studios met with Nov. 6 in Los Angeles...

"...Fox reportedly told distributors of plans to issue three waves of 12 titles each in the first half of 1998, including Independence Day and top catalog product, at $29.98 each. A Fox spokesman told Video Business, 'It will be news when and if we ever decide to enter the DVD market. Speculation has long been our industry's favorite pasttime.'

"Paramount said it still has no release plans for open DVD."

With regard to DIVX, the article went on to say "...Sources at the meeting said representatives of studios that have committed to Divx expressed serious doubt about the encrypted format's potential, but said the tens of millions of dollars guaranteed them up-front by Divx was too good to refuse."


The following laserdisc titles were cancelled during the month of November 1997:

  • Nothing yet...


The following DVD titles were cancelled during the month of November 1997:

  • Back to the Future (Universal)
  • Casper (Universal)
  • Custer of the West (Simitar - cancelled due to technical mastering problems; will likely be reannounced at a later date)
  • Flintstones, The (Universal)
  • Jurassic Park (Universal)
  • Land Before Time, The (Universal)
  • Lang, k.d.: Live in Sydney (Warner Reprise)
  • McClintock! (UAV)
  • Night Falls on Manhattan (Republic)
  • Royal Hunt of the Sun (Simitar - cancelled due to technical mastering problems; will likely be reannounced at a later date)
  • Thin Red Line, The (Simitar - cancelled due to technical mastering problems; will likely be reannounced at a later date)


The following laserdisc titles were discontinued during the month of November 1997:

  • Nothing yet...

Created: 04/01/97

Last Updated: 11/30/97