Paramount highlights fan favorites and true classics with their new Paramount Presents limited edition label.
Paramount - as with many studios - have been somewhat lax or at the very least inconsistent with their back catalog of titles. Old favorites that have long deserved a true and proper Blu-ray release sat by the wayside while some films enjoy a new special edition practically every other year. The studio aims to fix that with their new Paramount Presents label dedicated to issuing new editions of fan favorites but also dig up those old classics and give them the Blu-ray release they've long deserved - all sourced from new or recent 4K transfers! To add a little extra prestige to the mix, each disc in this new collection will have a spine number - so if you're a fastidious collector that doesn't like gaps or hates an incomplete numerical presence on a shelf - you might be in trouble!
April 21st saw the release of the first three inaugural titles of the Paramount Presents label - Fatal Attraction, King Creole, and To Catch A Thief. Each Blu-ray was sourced from a 4K transfer, housed in a snazzy looking clear case with interior photos when you open the case, and the cardboard slipcover opens up to reveal the original poster artwork for the film. With the black numbered spines these are certainly classy releases for a pair of fan favorites and a new to Blu-ray release. You can take a look at the individual reviews in the links below:
Read our review of Paramount Presents Fatal Attraction
Read our review of Paramount Presents King Creole
Read our review of Paramount Presents To Catch A Thief
What I liked about the Paramount Presents releases so far:
- Showing Some Catalog Love
As I mentioned at the outset, older titles are often sidelined in favor of new releases, franchise collections, or the perceived idea that no one wants to buy old movies anymore. While Fatal Attraction and To Catch A Thief already had great Blu-ray releases, it's nice to see Paramount is willing to give them an upgrade. Fatal Attraction certainly gets a visual boost while To Catch A Thief - which already looked great - enjoys a new Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mix that serves the film nicely. The big win for this launch is King Creole which amazingly enough was never released on Blu-ray until now.
- The Range of Titles
From Hitchcock to Tom Cruise, Paramount is offering collectors a nice variety of titles. You get classics musicals and thrillers with action films, dramas, and comedies. If we get more 70s thrillers like The Parallax View, Black Sunday, the original theatrical cut of The Warriors - or hell even The Keep - this will be a promising label for the studio and something for fans to invest in.
- Commitment To Quality Transfers
Older titles - namely anything that wasn't made in the 21st Century - tend to get shoved down the priority ladder when it comes to gaining quality restorations and transfers. When boutique labels like Twilight Time or Kino Lorber's Studio Classics were launched, studios licensed titles as a "come as they are" without much care for restorations. On that front, it's nice to see that Paramount is giving each of these releases the best they've got.
- Classy Artwork and Packaging
While not traditionally a make it or break it point for me, I like how Paramount approached the packaging. The key cover art for these titles offer some modern updates that aren't garish or hideously ugly while in line with the covers we've seen since the VHS days. The gatefold cover revealing the original poster art is a cool feature that reminds me of the old MGM/United Artists DVD slipcovers.
What I want to see from Paramount Presents releases:
- More deep catalog titles that haven't been released before
Looking at the release slate announced for Paramount Presents (including the three now available), only two titles have never been released on Blu-ray before - King Creole and Pretty In Pink. That's only two out of the first eight titles. Granted 25% isn't terrible, but there are a few others I'd like to see make the collection before another release of Airplane! or Ghost.
- Why no 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray support?
While I appreciate making sure each title in the collection is sourced from a 4K transfer, why not an actual 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray too? This is especially frustrating for titles like Fatal Attraction that is available to stream in 4K UHD with Dolby Vision. If not on disc at least maybe include a digital copy slip? This is especially odd since Days of Thunder will be getting a 4K disc release separate from this collection - why not combine efforts?
- All archival bonus features need to be available
While Fatal Attraction got a new bonus feature in addition to the archival materials, To Catch A Thief is missing the bulk of the bonus features that were available on the 2012 disc. Again, it's great that there is a focus on providing a quality transfer, but if that doesn't take up the bulk of a BD-50 disc, then there shouldn't be any reason to not include all of the bonus features.
A promising start to a new catalog-focused label
With the first round of Paramount Presents titles, this is a solid start. I hadn't picked up Fatal Attraction or To Catch A Thief so I was happy to add these to my collection. I wasn't much of an Elvis as an actor fan, I'd only seen a couple that didn't really impress me but King Creole proved to be a nice surprise. It was far better than I'd expected and it showed Elvis' range plus it's a gorgeous looking black and white classic that hadn't been available on Blu-ray before now. With an upcoming slate that includes Pretty in Pink, Airplane!, Ghost, and Flashdance - it's an exciting slate for sure. Hopefully, we'll get a few more first-time releases, but with the commitment to quality transfers, it's a firm foundation for a studio prestige label. Hopefully Paramount will support actual 4K UHD discs in this collection in addition to these Blu-ray, but for now, it's nice to see a studio commit to supporting the back catalog.
Preorder Paramount Presents Airplane!
Preorder Paramount Presents Pretty In Pink
Preorder Paramount Presents Flashdance
Preorder Paramount Presents Days of Thunder
Paramount Presents Ghost is not up for pre-order yet - due Summer 2020
- Discs mentioned in this article: (Click for specs and reviews)
Fatal Attraction (Paramount Presents) (Blu-ray)
King Creole (Paramount Presents) (Blu-ray)
To Catch A Thief (Paramount Presents) (Blu-ray)