New Line primps for HD with 'Hairspray'

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New Line Home Entertainment is the latest studio to jump into high-definition DVD waters, saying Tuesday that its first next-generation release will be this year's musical version of "Hairspray."

The film, which grossed $107.3 million in theaters, will be released Nov. 20 on standard DVD and Blu-ray Disc. An HD DVD edition will follow, though no firm release date has been set.

The fact that New Line is supporting both next-generation formats isn't surprising, given that the label is distributed by Warner Home Video. Paramount's recent defection from the Blu-ray camp left Warner as the only major studio to support both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD.

"Clearly, there isn't a format winner at this point, so we're going to adopt the strategy from Warner, our sister company, and mirror what they are doing," said Matt Lasorsa, New Line's executive vp marketing. "And by supporting both formats, we are giving consumers the ultimate choice."

Lasorsa said the HD DVD version of "Hairspray" likely will be released in the first half of next year. He attributes the delay to region coding issues; Blu-ray has region coding, but HD DVD does not. "And since we sell to independent international distributors," Lasorsa said, "we have to be more sensitive to their release dates than a major studio."

After "Hairspray," most New Line titles will be released the same day on standard DVD and Blu-ray Disc, with a lag for the HD DVD version. "But for second-party acquisitions to which we don't have international rights," Lasorsa said, "we will be day-and-date on all three formats."

Also gearing up for its high-def disc debut is Starz Home Entertainment, which will begin rolling out Anchor Bay Entertainment horror titles on Blu-ray Disc only beginning Oct. 2. The first wave of titles includes "Day of the Dead," "Evil Dead II" and the original "Halloween." Each release will come with many of the same extras found on the DVD, as well as "Fast Film Facts," an exclusive Blu-ray pop-up trivia track. Two more Blu-ray titles are due Oct. 16: "Masters of Horror Volume 1" and "Masters of Horror Volume 2."

New Line's complete home entertainment release plans for "Hairspray" call for both a single-disc DVD and a two-disc "Shake and Shimmy" edition packed with extras. Bonus materials include a new musical number, "I Can Wait"; a making-of documentary and several commentaries; deleted scenes; a featurette on the film's various dances; and dance lessons.

The two-disc Blu-ray Disc edition will have all the extras on the "Shake and Shimmy" DVD, as well as an exclusive picture-in-picture option that lets viewers watch behind-the-scenes footage and on-screen commentary while they are watching the movie.

Also available is a gift set with a metal school locker and a "Hairspray" tote bag. The locker will be available in two colors: Penny Pink and Link Lime.
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