Criterion is set to release its first Blu-ray Discs. The classic film distributor who was a pioneer of Laserdisc technology will finally enter the hi-def realm, with four titles on Dec. 16 and two more in January. However, you’ll have to look closely for these Blu-ray discs because the packaging will look like standard DVDs.
Rather than the Blu-ray Disc blue plastic case, the Criterion Collection Blu-ray releases will simply have a blue sticker on the front of the box. Titles scheduled for Dec. 16 include: The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976); Chungking Express (1994); The Third Man (1949); and Bottle Rocket (1996).
Further releases include nine Academy Award winner The Last Emperor (1987) on Jan. 6, and El Norte (1983) on Jan. 20. All titles are available for pre-order from Amazon.
Criterion’s technical director Lee Kline told Video Business, “If our Blu-ray discs are going to come out, then they’d better look right. We had to make sure that the compression was right, that the audio encoding was up to par. And we had to make sure that the discs played on all players, particularly the older generation models, as well as PlayStation 3.”
Criterion distributes films by more than 150 filmmakers including well-known and celebrated directors such as Bernardo Bertolucci, Jean Renoir, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean Cocteau, and Akira Kurosawa.