Blu-Ray News: Criterion Collection Announces 4K UHD!

Courtesy of The Criterion Collection
The Criterion Collection has been at the forefront of boutique home video releasing labels for the past forty years, beginning with their laserdisc heyday in the 1980s through the late 1990s before their foray into the DVD and Blu-Ray disc market where they more or less represented the pinnacle of elite film curation, restoration and distribution.  Always known for their eclectic choices of film projects to pursue, their comprehensive extras and their strive to delivery the very best in terms of technical quality from sound to picture, The Criterion Collection has been the zenith of home video film collectors for as long as the formats have existed.
But over the last few years or so after the introduction of a new Blu-Ray format of higher picture and sound quality now known as 4K Ultra-HD, collectors began to notice something curious about The Criterion Collection and their refusal for the longest time to adopt the format into their distribution plan.  For whatever reason while companies like Arrow Video, Vinegar Syndrome and now Severin Films have since gone 4K UHD disc with many of their releases, Criterion and its favorite sales partner Barnes & Noble dug their heels in the ground and proceeded forward with 1080p disc releases of titles that already had 4K releases elsewhere.  The move put Criterion behind the times and for the first time the company saw most of its core customer base going elsewhere for some of their high-profile releases.
After much incessant suggestion (and backlash from the Blu-Ray community), Criterion have unveiled what could be their greatest and wisest game changer with an announcement this morning that the company will at long last finally be going full 4K Ultra-HD disc!  A smattering of titles have been teased in their pre-release announcement which include Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, Jane Campion’s The Piano, The Hughes Brothers’ Menace II Society, Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes and finally Richard Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night!  Each disc will include a standard Blu-Ray release and select titles will include Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound!
To say this is a major piece of news regarding 4K UHD, The Criterion Collection and the film collecting community in general is putting it mildly.  For decades Criterion remained the indefatigable monument of cinema curation around the world and that status was unchanged until the proliferation of the highest quality home video format currently available became a new norm among videophiles.  Now, realizing its time they caught up with the rest of us, Criterion’s move has shown that yes they are listening to their core customer base and that they have exciting new developments for their collection in sore for us!  In the coming weeks more titles will be announced but for now this calls for a celebration!

--Andrew Kotwicki