Editor's Note (June 7, 12:10am ET): It has been correctly pointed out to us that despite statements to the contrary in this article, the first high-def release to carry the THX moniker was, in fact, Lionsgate's 2006 Blu-ray release of 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day.' We regret the error.
In a possible indicator of things to come for the U.S. high-def market, the European HD DVD release of 'Pan's Labyrinth' will carry THX-certification, making it the first-ever HD DVD title to receive the high-end seal of approval.
The THX certified process, famously invented in the '80s by George Lucas and his team at Lucasfilm to ensure quality control in theatrical presentations, eventually found its way into the home video industry, including various movie releases on Laserdisc, VHS and DVD.
So far, however, there has not been a single HD DVD
or Blu-ray disc release to bear the esteemed moniker.
But that is set to change later this year, when Guillermo Del Toro's highly-acclaimed fantasy epic 'Pan's Labyrinth' debuts in overseas territories on HD DVD as a THX-approved release.
'Pan's Labyrinth' is not currently scheduled for a domestic high-def release (its U.S. rights holder, New Line Cinema, has yet to release to release a single high-def release on either format), so there's no telling whether its eventual domestic high-def debut will also boast THX certification.
There is also some question of just how strong the appeal of THX certification may remain to early adopters. The THX label arguably enjoyed its greatest cache during the heyday of laserdisc, but in the ten years since the DVD format launched, there have been little more than 300 THX-certified DVD titles released -- and only about a dozen of those titles were produced in the last few years. The numbers would seem to suggest that the THX name doesn't quite hold the same marketing power it once did.
In any case, we'll certainly keep you posted on any upcoming news of a domestic high-def release of 'Pan's Labyrinth,' and any other THX-certified HD DVD or Blu-ray titles. Stay tuned!