Blu-ray News: Rumored Gladiator Re-release

Consider this a rumor at this point, but The Digital Bits, quoting industry sources, is reporting that Paramount and Universal will be re-issuing Gladiator on Blu-ray later this year, either around the time of the theatrical release of Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood or his bow on home video. (My money is on home video with retailers offering bundle discounts if purchased on the same receipt.)

The news is sure to infuriate those who have already purchased Gladiator on Blu-ray last fall, when it was a big seller on or around Black Friday, retailing for as low as ten dollars. But when the disc came out, reviews rated the video quality of the theatrical version as low, while the extended cut of Gladiator scored above average.

The new release will have a brand-new 1080p transfer that was completed just a few months ago. The Digital Bits’ Bill Hunt says the transfer was done “after Paramount and Universal realized how bad the first one was done.” Now did the studios know how bad the video transfer was before or after the reviews started trickling in? If it was before, and it went unpublicized, then the studios should institute some kind exchange program when the re-released version comes out. So far there is no word on if an exchange program will happen.

This incident is the just latest in quality control issues that plagued the releases of Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, which was just re-released on Blu-ray with a new video transfer, and Goodfellas. The latter film celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and Warner Bros. will release it in a Digibook package. However, the disc is the same one that came out in 2007. It still has the same video inconsistencies and substandard audio soundtrack, which is no better than the DVD release.

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