Blu-ray Sapphire Series Announced with Braveheart, Gladiator and Forrest Gump

June 22, 2009

Paramount Home Entertainment has confirmed longstanding rumors this morning for three of their most sought-after catalog titles by announcing Gladiator, Braveheart, and Forrest Gump are coming to Blu-ray Disc later this year.

Each film will be presented in Paramount's new Sapphire Series which can best be described as their version of the Criterion Collection. In Paramount's words. Each film in the collection will have optimum audio and video and extensive extras in two-disc sets.

Gladiator and Braveheart will be first out the gate on September 1 though their specs are not identical.

Gladiator

Paramount is treating Gladiator as fans have requested by including the theatrical and extended cuts on the same disc. Both films will be presented in 1080p video and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and bonus features will span more than four hours including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Audio Commentary—Two separate commentaries accompany the original theatrical version and extended version of the film.
  • The Scrolls of Knowledge—The original trivia track has been newly enhanced with focus points allowing viewers to access a series of new behind-the-scenes featurettes exploring key scenes and how they relate to the historical accuracy depicted in the film. The extended version of the film also includes a deleted scene marker.
  • Visions From Elysium: Topic Marker—Viewers can tag moments of interest throughout either version of the film, allowing them to create "shopping lists" of topics to learn more about. Thanks to the Blu-ray player's memory, the topics will automatically be loaded when Disc 2 is inserted, giving viewers immediate access to featurettes and galleries of interest.
  • Strength And Honor: Creating The World of Gladiator—The definitive documentary on the origin, production and impact of the Oscar-winning classic. The documentary includes an all-new Enhanced Viewing Mode allowing viewers access to additional interviews and behind-the-scenes material.
  • The Making of Gladiator—HBO First Look special.
  • Gladiator Games: The Roman Bloodsport—Learning Channel special.
  • Hans Zimmer: Scoring Gladiator—An exploration of the rousing soundtrack.
  • My Gladiator Journal—Personal diary of the young actor who played Lucius.
  • Image & Design—Featurettes and galleries covering the production design, storyboards, costumes and more.
  • Abandoned Sequences & Deleted Scenes
  • VFX Explorations: Germania & Rome—Shot deconstruction with the visual effects artists.

Braveheart

Unlike Gladiator, Braveheart's audio will be 5.1 Dolby TrueHD rather than DTS-HD MA, but the video transfer will of course be in 1080p. Its bonus features span over two hours including, at minimum, the following:

  • Interactive Timelines—Three distinct timelines featuring a combination of video, images, text and audio that can be accessed linearly or randomly.
    • Production: A comprehensive chronology of the motion picture from conception through theatrical release, from a behind-the-scenes point of view.
    • Historical: Chronological modules feature Scotland's greatest patriot, along with historical places, figures and events surrounding his life and struggle.
    • Fiction: A comprehensive timeline identifying the chronological events of the film.
  • Braveheart: A Look Back— Features new interviews with members of the cast and crew reminiscing about their experiences making the film and its enduring impact on cinema.
  • Smithfield: Medieval Killing Fields—Relates the remarkable history of Smithfield, which for centuries was regularly filled with the roars of crowds, regal fanfares and rowdy games. Smithfield is also known as the site of William Wallace's execution, along with other terrifying spectacles when heretics, rebels and criminals were put to death.
  • Battlefields of the Scottish Rebellion— Two major Scottish battlefields, Falkirk and Bannockburn, will be presented as 3D models that can be explored for further investigation into the military strategies and timetables employed in each. Topography, weapons, troop movements, and leadership data can also be accessed. An alternate playing mode will allow the story of each battle to unfold in an "automated" fashion, much like the interactive dioramas displayed at historical site museums around the world.

Forrest Gump will be released roughly two months later on November 3. No additional information on Gump is available at this time.

Retail pricing has not been confirmed for the Sapphire Series though a good bet is in the $39.99 range per Amazon's Braveheart listing. While we work on acquiring more information, check out a sneak peek of the cover art for each title below and be sure to Comment on which titles you plan on picking up.

Click here to pre-order Braveheart on Blu-ray at Amazon.

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