Paramount Home Entertainment (PHE) has announced today that on September 1st, 2009 they will be introducing the first two Blu-ray titles in their new “Sapphire Series” line. Braveheart and Gladiator will arrive on Blu-ray on September 1st, followed a month later by Forrest Gump on November 3rd.
Paramount says The Sapphire Series will capitalize on the pristine picture and sound of the Blu-ray format to present each release in the highest quality for the first time in two-disc, high definition sets. Each release will include extensive, never-before-seen special features for the ultimate presentation.
Rob Moore, Vice Chairman, Paramount Pictures, said, “It’s absolutely fitting that we’re presenting the best films in the Paramount library on the finest home entertainment format available because of Blu-ray’s phenomenal capabilities, the Sapphire Series will deliver the best pictures in the best picture.”
Robert Zemeckis, director of Forrest Gump, added, “I’m delighted that Forrest Gump is going to be a part of Paramount’s Sapphire Series so that fans can enjoy it at home with pristine picture and sound along with a wealth of special features to give the film context. It’s wonderful that Paramount is taking the time to produce exceptional Blu-ray presentations of these classic films.”
The Forrest Gump Saphire Series release will arrive on November 3 in time for the film’s 15th anniversary in 2009. It will feature new material including a brand new roundtable discussion. More details will follow from Paramount later in the year.
Details for Braveheart and Gladiator Sapphire series are as follows:
Braveheart Blu-ray Details:
Winner of five Academy Awards® including Best Picture, the exhilarating epic Braveheart is one of the most anticipated films on Blu-ray according to Amazon.com and continues to be beloved by fans and critics alike. The film will be presented in 1080p High Definition with English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English, English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. Among the more than two hours of new special features to be included on Braveheart are:
Interactive Timelines—Three distinct timelines featuring a combination of video, images, text and audio that can be accessed linearly or randomly:
- Production: A comprehensive chronology of the motion picture from conception through theatrical release, from a behind-the-scenes point of view.
- Historical: Chronological modules feature Scotland’s greatest patriot, along with historical places, figures and events surrounding his life and struggle.
- Fiction: A comprehensive timeline identifying the chronological events of the film.
- Braveheart: A Look Back— Features new interviews with members of the cast and crew reminiscing about their experiences making the film and its enduring impact on cinema.
- Smithfield: Medieval Killing Fields—Relates the remarkable history of Smithfield, which for centuries was regularly filled with the roars of crowds, regal fanfares and rowdy games. Smithfield is also known as the site of William Wallace’s execution, along with other terrifying spectacles when heretics, rebels and criminals were put to death.
- Battlefields of the Scottish Rebellion— Two major Scottish battlefields, Falkirk and Bannockburn, will be presented as 3D models that can be explored for further investigation into the military strategies and timetables employed in each. Topography, weapons, troop movements, and leadership data can also be accessed. An alternate playing mode will allow the story of each battle to unfold in an “automated” fashion, much like the interactive dioramas displayed at historical site museums around the world.
Gladiator Blu-ray Details:
Director Ridley Scott’s triumphant Gladiator is an unparalleled combination of vivid action and extraordinary storytelling that earned five Oscars® including Best Picture and is also on Amazon.com’s top 10 list of most anticipated Blu-ray titles. The Blu-ray presentation will include both the original theatrical version of the film as well as the extended version in 1080p High Definition with English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, as well as English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Korean subtitles. The two-disc set also will feature over four hours of bonus material including, but not limited to, the following:
- Audio Commentary—Two separate commentaries accompany the original theatrical version and extended version of the film.
- The Scrolls of Knowledge—The original trivia track has been newly enhanced with focus points allowing viewers to access a series of new behind-the-scenes featurettes exploring key scenes and how they relate to the historical accuracy depicted in the film. The extended version of the film also includes a deleted scene marker.
- Visions From Elysium: Topic Marker—Viewers can tag moments of interest throughout either version of the film, allowing them to create “shopping lists” of topics to learn more about. Thanks to the Blu-ray player’s memory, the topics will automatically be loaded when Disc 2 is inserted, giving viewers immediate access to featurettes and galleries of interest.
- Strength And Honor: Creating The World of Gladiator—The definitive documentary on the origin, production and impact of the Oscar®-winning classic. The documentary includes an all-new Enhanced Viewing Mode allowing viewers access to additional interviews and behind-the-scenes material.
- The Making of Gladiator—HBO First Look special.
- Gladiator Games: The Roman Bloodsport—Learning Channel special.
- Hans Zimmer: Scoring Gladiator—An exploration of the rousing soundtrack.
- My Gladiator Journal—Personal diary of the young actor who played Lucius.
- Image & Design—Featurettes and galleries covering the production design, storyboards, costumes and more.
- Abandoned Sequences & Deleted Scenes
- VFX Explorations: Germania & Rome—Shot deconstruction with the visual effects artists.
The Braveheart and Gladiator Sapphire Series Blu-ray releases will both retail for a suggested retail price of $39.99 each.