This week's retailer exclusives gives me a great opportunity to talk about SteelBooks (SB) and my own SteelBook collection and the little bit of drama (for Bond Blu-ray enthusiasts anyway) that surrounded the original debut of Secret Agent 007 onto high definition.
Quantum of Blu
I've mentioned before that I'm not an enthusiastic SB fan. But just for the sake of having some examples of them in my Blu-ray collection (which ultimately came in handy during some product design assignments I got to work on), I ended up finding a fun motivation to pick a few up. The motivation: The name is Bond. James Bond.
The year was 2008, but unlike the release that took place earlier this month when the Bond 50 box set debuted, the films were released in two waves of smaller groups three or four films at a time over a period of several months.
But some retail chains were allowed to offer exclusive SB packaging for selected titles. I love me some James Bond every now and then, so I figured this would be a fine way to get some SBs in my library. And since this is a film series, I realized having all my James Bond films sharing the same SB packaging would look nice on my shelf.
So that's how I started my SB and James Bond collection.
The first wave was released on October 21, 2008. And Best Buy was the first retailer to offer them exclusively in SBs. I picked up Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Thunderball and For Your Eyes Only.
The second wave of Bond Blu-rays debuted on March 24, 2009 and this time, Amazon offered them in SBs exclusively. I picked up two more, Goldfinger and The World Is Not Enough.
By this time, 11 out of the 20 total pre-Daniel Craig James Bond films were out on Blu-ray. The titles that were out that I didn't add to my collection were Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, Moonraker, Licence To Kill and Die Another Day. Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008) both debuted on Blu on October 21, 2008 and March 24, 2009 respectively, but were not offered on SB in the US. I figured that Craig's Bond films defined an entirely new era of 007 movies, so I was content to own those two in the standard plastic Blu-ray cases.
But of the original Bond classics, there were nine left still to come out. Did they release them? No. Why not? For the same reason it took four years for there to be a Bond film made between Quantum of Solace and the upcoming Skyfall. MGM was broke.
Licence to Blu - Uh...NOT!
Even as Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace were being produced, MGM, a co-distributor with Columbia Pictures of the James Bond films, was mired by over $3 billion in debt. This prevented any more home videos releases until their financial state was resolved.
After spending several months soliciting bids from studios and other investors to buy itself, MGM finally filed for bankruptcy on November 3, 2010. It came out of bankruptcy the following month and was able to finaiize distribution deals that not only allowed production of Skyfall to proceed but eventually lead to the January 2012 announcement of a new 22-movie Bond 50 box set and further releases of each of the movies separately.
For Your Blu Eyes Only...
The new Bond 50 box set went on sale October 2, 2012 in both Blu-ray Disc and DVD formats. It includes 22 James Bond films produced by EON Productions plus a bonus disc exclusive to the box set. Two other well-known James Bond films, Never Say Never Again and the 1966 spoof Casino Royale, were not produced by EON, so they are not included in this set. But they each have been released on Blu-ray already.
The remaining nine classic Bond films that we were waiting for when the other eleven were released finally got their individual releases on Blu-ray. However, for a short period of time, you'll need to do some hunting to find them as they are all retailer exclusives, each available only either at Best Buy, Target or Walmart.
Target Retailer Exclusives - Available Now
Walmart Retailer Exclusives - Available Now
Best Buy Retailer Exclusives - Available October 23, 2012
This exclusivity is a limited time thing. I expect in about three or four months, the titles will be available to buy from other retailers. And of course, the previous eleven titles that debuted back in 2008 and 2009 have also been re-issued individually with updated packaging art.
...but not on SteelBook
However, none of the nine new individual releases will arrive in SteelBook packaging in the US. There will be one title released on SB this December, GoldenEye, from an online UK retailer Play.com. But it's a Region B disc, and like we talked about last week, this UK release will only play on Region B Blu-ray players.
So for GoldenEye, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Tomorrow Never Dies and maybe The LIving Daylights (just to have a token Dalton Bond even tho' I really didn't enjoy his Bond), I will have to be patient and wait maybe until next year to see if somebody finally offers these on SB in the US. I mean, I just can't have my classic Bond collection not be all SteelBooks now, right?
Here's a video diary of my five hours waiting in line to enter Disney California Adventure on its Grand Re-Opening Day condensed into eight minutes.
On June 15, 2012, I got in line at four in the morning to join those who had been waiting in line since 6:30 pm the night before! However, when I first saw this line filled with hundreds of people, it was nothing compared to what I encountered seven years ago in the same spot. That was 2005, the year Disneyland celebrated its 50th birthday. And on July 17 that year, I arrived here at three in the morning to be among the first to enter the park when it opened, and there were thousands already in line. Coincidentally, Disney used DCA to stage the long line before its sister park opened at 7 am.
The video above shows the size of the line in the Promenade when I first got there and how it continued to grow over the next couple of hours. At 7am, the park's Re-Dedication Ceremony was broadcast in a live feed onto a jumbotron we could see, so some excerpts from that are included too. And from my place in line right at the main entrance, I got a nice, short piece of video of Disney CEO Robert Iger and Chairman of Parks and Resorts Tom Skaggs at the front gates opening them up themselves so we could finally come in.
I had a great time. So if you want to enjoy a special Disney event vicariously through the eyes of a Disney geek, here's your chance. Enjoy!
With Disney California Adventure officially opening to the public tomorrow, I've been reading online about fans debating whether or not it's worth it to get in line at 11pm tonight and stay up all night to be there when DCA opens for its official Grand Re-Opening Friday morning. It reminded me of a very similar event I attended seven years ago.
I went through my archived photo CDs to find the photos I took on July 17, 2005, the day Disney celebrated Disneyland's 50th Anniversary. They're up on my Flickr account now. You can reach them clicking the photo at the bottom. Because I wanted to get them up quickly, I didn't editorialize my selections, I just posted every shot, saved down to low res quality.
To briefly describe the day as I can recall off the top of my head, I got there around 3am to get in a line that snaked through DCA. I passed by scores of fans who were huddled under blankets or inside sleeping bags under an eerie but still exciting dark, early morning sky. Exciting because what park guest ever gets a chance to be here at three in the morning? I later learned I arrived about the time Disney estimated 7000 were in line. I believe between 9000 and 10000 arrived by the time the park opened at 7am.
As we slowly left DCA and entered the promenade between the two parks, we were surprised by cast members standing along the stanchioned walkway into Disneyland, who waved at us saying "Welcome back!" We received the same warm welcome as we entered Disneyland, walked through the tunnel under the railroad track and onto Main Street, USA. Cast members everywhere were waving and cheering at us saying "Welcome back!" It was a fantastic surprise, very heart-warming, and you could tell the cast members were just as thrilled to be there as we were!
At 10am, an official ceremony was scheduled in the Hub with Disney dignitaries and celebrities there to add to the pomp and circumstance. Julie Andrews was that year's official Disney ambassador, so she spoke during the ceremony, as did Art Linkletter who was there 50 years ago as one of the co-hosts during the televised opening of the park. Christina Aguilera performed a song and then there was doves and fireworks.
I made friends with the people I was in line with, and we spent the rest of the day together enjoying the park. I left Disneyland around 4:30p, after speakers throuplayed Walt Disney's dedication speech, the famous one he spoke to open the park 50 years ago to the time and day.
The rest of the details I'll leave for you to interpret from the pictures. Most should be self-explanatory.
And you ask, "Was it worth it?" Yes!
I will already remember this weekend as my "magical weekend", but not simply because "I was there" for Disneyland's birthday. The day before, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince arrived in bookstores. I picked mine up early that Saturday morning and then spent the entire day reading it. I managed to finish reading the entire book by around 1am, which released me from any worries I had about anyone spoiling the book for me! I then took a quick shower and headed off to Anaheim, ready to focus on the next half of my truly magical weekend.
All About Me
A fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Batman, comic books, Blu-rays, Disney, soundtracks, taking pictures, theatre and...Barry Manilow!