The weird array of home video releases in any given week is stunning. Those few mainstream titles that cycle through Redbox and Blockbuster are just the tip of the iceberg. Every Tuesday brings a flood of material on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download — foreign films, classic reissues, independent movies, TV collections, concert films, documentaries, kids’ programming, sports packages, cartoons, stand-up comedy specials and a surprising number of obscure educational titles.
And that’s not even counting the hundreds of, um, specialty films you can order from boutique distributors. My tastes run to a certain subset of Gothic S&M you have to mail order from Berlin. But, you know, to each his own.
Two new releases this week suggest the variety of choices out there, even just within the mainstream end of the spectrum.
By most metrics the biggest movie ever made, TITANIC is out in the marketplace yet again, this time in a DVD/Blu-ray/digital package with another helping of previously unreleased extras. Director James Cameron has pioneered a new model of distribution in which his movies are rolled out in iterations, among various platforms, over a period of years. He knows what he’s doing — this summer’s theatrical re-release of Titanic in 3D grossed nearly $60 million.
Still, Titanic is an undeniably great movie, a sweeping love story and epic tragedy in the old Hollywood tradition. The new retail package is very generous. The four-disc set includes high-def and standard (DVD) copies of the film plus (deep breath …) two new documentaries, 30 deleted scenes, 60 behind-the-scenes features, three different commentary tracks, photos, storyboards, schematics and random goodies like SNL’s Titanic skit and the handy time-saver Titanic in 30 Seconds. The re-release is also available in a four-disc Blu-ray 3D set, or two-disc DVD-only set.