Hollywood Reporter – New world for Scott’s ‘Runner’ DVD
By Thomas K. Arnold
Warner Home Video has acquired worldwide rights to Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” and is preparing two DVD editions of the landmark 1982 science fiction classic.
In September, Warner will release a restored and remastered version of the film’s 1992 director’s cut, which debuted on DVD in 1997 as one of the first movies to appear on the format. This version of “Runner” will only be available for four months.
Next year, to celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary, Warner will release “Blade Runner: The Final Cut,” which it is billing as Scott’s “definitive new version” of the film. After a limited theatrical release, the newly spruced-up “Runner” will be released in a multidisc special edition DVD that also will include the original theatrical cut, the expanded international theatrical cut and the 1992 director’s cut.
“This is clearly Ridley’s signature film, and we are thrilled to have it back,” Warner senior vp and general manager of theatrical catalog Jeff Baker said.
He said that while specifics about the two DVD editions will be announced later, Warner wanted to announce its release plans early “to get this great news to the many serious film buffs and ardent ‘Blade Runner’ fans who have been so patient, despite besieging us with thousands of annual requests in recent years for new ‘Blade Runner’ DVDs.”
“‘Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut’ was one of the very first titles to be released on DVD, and so it came out before optimal formatting standards had been established,” said Doug Pratt, editor of the DVD-LaserDisc Newsletter. “Shortly afterwards, it went into moratorium. The early adopters who bought the title have long since wished to see it upgraded, while other fans, who came into DVDs later on, have been unable to find it at all. It is the only ‘big’ sci-fi spectacle currently unavailable on DVD.”
“Runner” stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos and Daryl Hannah and won plaudits — as well as two Oscar nominations — for its dark, bleak vision of the future. Ford heads the cast as Rick Deckard, a futuristic cop — the film is set in 2019 Los Angeles — who needs to kill four errant human clones who hijack a space ship back to Earth after escaping from exile in an off-world colony.
The film bowed in theaters in summer 1982, and while it only grossed $26.2 million, it quickly became a cult classic. The film is based on the novel by late science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, whose prose also led to such films as “Total Recall,” “Minority Report” and “Paycheck.”
Variety – Marathon ‘Runner’ 26/5/06
WB preps ‘final cut’ of sci-fi classic
By DIANE GARRETT
Warner homevid has disentangled “Blade Runner’s” famously thorny rights issues to pave the way for a September reissue of the remastered “Director’s Cut” version [from 1992], followed by a theatrical release of a [new] version promised to be truly Ridley Scott’s final cut.
Warner’s rights to “Blade Runner” lapsed a year ago, but the studio has since negotiated a long-term license. The pic, now considered a sci-fi classic, has had a troubled history from the start: When Scott ran overbudget, completion bond guarantors took control of it and made substantial changes before its 1982 theatrical release, adding a voiceover and happy ending. That version was replaced by the much better-received director’s cut in 1992, but Scott has long been unhappy with it, complaining that he was rushed and unable to give it proper attention.
The helmer started working on the final cut version in 2000, but that project was shelved by Warner soon after, apparently because the studio couldn’t come to terms with Jerry Perenchio over rights issues.
The restored “Director’s Cut” will debut on homevid in September, and remain on sale for four months only, after which time it will be placed on moratorium. “Blade Runner: Final Cut” will arrive in 2007 for a limited 25th anniversary theatrical run, followed by a special edition DVD with [the Final Cut and] the three previous versions offered as alternate viewing: Besides the original theatrical version and [the 1992] director’s cut, the expanded international theatrical cut will be included. The set will also contain additional bonus materials.
The massive “Blade Runner” project comes on the heels of Scott’s four-disc treatment for “Kingdom of Heaven,” released this week by Fox homevid, less than a year after the pic’s initial homevid release.
And here’s a few words from me:
Speculation is that the brief re-release of the 1992 Director’s Cut (the rushed one that Scott was not satisfied with) may be to finance the completion of the 2007 Final Cut (which promises to be the real Director’s Cut that all fans have hoped Scott would someday be able to do).
So far there’s no word on whether the excellent UK documentary film On the Edge of Blade Runner will be included as part of either of these packages, but I am going to speculate that it will be included as part of the 4-month-only re-issue of the 1992 Director’s Cut (Update: My speculation was incorrect). Whereas it is sensible to assume the 2007 Final Cut box set will have extras created anew. That is pure speculation, but it would give an incentive for everyone to buy the 4-month-only re-issue of the 1992 Director’s Cut who might otherwise simply wait for the 2007 set. I know I would. If it is on neither, I hope the hoopla will inspire the producers of On the Edge of Blade Runner to go ahead and take the financial risk of releasing this documentary as a stand-alone product.
I have to sit back and say that with the news of this release, as well as last week’s news that the animated version of The Tick would finally be coming out on DVD, my personal aspirations insofar as DVD collecting are fulfilled. Sure, there are some favorite classics I never got around to buying (Lawrence of Arabia), and other anticipated titles I’d love to have if they are ever released in the United States (the four-hour version of Wim Wender’s Until the End of the World), but with these two titles – Blade Runner and The Tick – my personal world of projected images now feels complete. Or will be come 2007. Wow.