Warner Home Video Joins 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Fray

Initial release slate includes 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'San Andreas,' 'Lego Movie' and 'Pan'

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Courtesy of Warner Brothers

Warner Home Video become the third major studio to announce 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc releases Wednesday, announcing that it will initially release four titles on the new format: “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “San Andreas,” “The Lego Movie” and “Pan.”

The studio gave no specific release date, but said these four titles will be “quickly” followed by new theatrical features issued on the same day as their regular Blu-ray Disc and DVD releases, along a selection of catalog titles throughout the year including “Man of Steel” and “Pacific Rim.”

By the end of 2016, Warner says it will have over 35 titles available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. To complement the disc releases, Warner Bros. will also expand the titles available on 4K Ultra HD with HDR via digital retailers. Dolby Atmos will also be included on select titles for a truly immersive home theater experience.

“We are excited to take this next technological leap which will allow us to bring our audiences the best possible home viewing experience with crystal clear images and immersive audio,” said Ron Sanders, president, Warner Bros. Worldwide Home Entertainment Distribution. “4K Ultra HD with HDR is the next, and most exciting, advancement in home entertainment, and with the anticipated proliferation of Ultra HD televisions in the coming years, our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray product offerings will truly complement the stunning capabilities of this new generation of home entertainment hardware. Warner Bros. is fully committed to releasing a wide range of Ultra HD Blu-ray titles, including both new release titles and offerings from our vast catalog.”

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs feature four times the resolution of HD and include high dynamic range (HDR), which produces brilliant highlights, vibrant colors and greater contrast on compatible displays. Many titles also support next-generation immersive audio formats.

In November, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) became the second studio to announce 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc releases, with an initial slate that includes “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “Salt,” “Hancock,” “Chappie,” “Pineapple Express” and “The Smurfs 2,” followed “by a growing roster of titles including new release film and television content.”

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment was the first studio to announce 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc releases. At IFA 2015 in Berlin in early September, on the heels of a press conference in which Samsung announced plans to produce the world’s first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc player, 20th Century Fox announced its intent to release new movies on Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc on the same day as standard Blu-ray and Digital HD. The studio also will go back and reissue recent hit films in Ultra HD, including “Kingsman: The Secret Service, “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” “Life of Pi” and “Fantastic Four.”

In November, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group announced that discs in Ultra HD would be branded “4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc.” DEG also said it has developed new artwork and other design elements for 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc packaging.

Lionsgate has also disclosed plans to re-master its top 100 movies in 4K ultra high-definition for digital and broadcast release, according to Steve Beeks, co-COO and president of the motion picture group.