Despite what the Ancient Mayans may lead you to believe, 2012 will be another good year for the Blu-ray format, with a solid batch of new summer blockbusters, along with many more classics from the back catalogue which have yet to see a high definition release. Let's take a look at what beauties we have to look forward to.
Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's visualisation of Herge's classic The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn will arrive in both 2D and 3D versions in the second quarter. The maligned and unnecessary remake of the 80's disco classic Footloose has yet to be set. Before the release of the last part in the saga, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 will see a release, Dreamwork's Shrek spin-off character Puss In Boots will see a 2D and eventual 3D release, Disney's revitalised The Muppets will bow in the second quarter, the blink-and-you'll-miss-it cinema release of The Three Musketeers might find a larger audience on disc in both 2D and 3D versions, the remake of John Carpenters The Thing would be best avoided (trust me). The hilarious Horrible Bosses will definitely be a keeper in January, Sony's The Smurfs was much better than expected and is released in 2D and 3D versions in January and the monstrosity known as The Zookeeper shouldn't be, but will be released in January.
The forthcoming cinema releases will all receive a Blu-ray release before the end of the year pending any sort of disaster, including; Men In Black 3, The Avengers, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Dark Knight Rises, GI Joe: Retaliation, Red Tails, Underworld: Awakening, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, Wrath of the Titans, Battleship, Snow White and the Huntsman, Madagascar 3, Brave, Prometheus, The Amazing Spider-Man, Total Recall, War Horse.
Whilst the last few years has mined a lot of gold, including the late 2011 release of the much loved Jurassic Park Trilogy and the Star Wars Saga, 2012 will continue filling out the gaps in the Blu-ray back catalogue.
Headlining the 100th anniversary of Paramount Pictures will be the release of at least the first Indiana Jones adventure - Raiders of the Lost Ark, but likely the entire trilogy of unreleased titles. Spielberg's Jaws has been confirmed for later in the year and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial has been rumoured, and likely considering the titles 30th anniversary. To coincide with theatrical release of The Secret World of Arietty, Madman are due to release one of Miyazaki's best, Howls Moving Castle. Sony will release the mediocre Men In Black 2 before the release of the third film, Paramount have set a February release for Transformers: Dark of the Moon in a 3D special edition, to tap into the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster Fox will theatrically re-release Titanic in April, and a 3D and 2D Blu-ray release will follow soon after. Similarly, Fox will return to the Star Wars well to release the Phantom Menace in cinemas and a 3D Blu-ray release will likely follow.
Disney plan to fill out the gaps in the classic animation collection with confirmed February releases of Lady and the Tramp Pocahontas, late 2012 release of Cinderella, but releases of Robin Hood, Tarzan and possibly The Hunchback of Notre Dame are all widely tipped. Sony's multi-year restoration of Lawrence of Arabia is finally set for a mid-year release, and their much delayed release of Bad Boys 2 will finally see the light of day. Monty Python and The Holy Grail will return in a 35th anniversary set mid year. Fox will release one of the final entries in the classic Rogers and Hammerstein collection The King and I later in the year. Panasonic's timed exclusitivity for the 3D Blu-ray release of Avatar expires in February, so a wide retail release can be expected along with a new transfer of The Terminator which will likely take centre stage to a special edition Blu-ray re-release, along with first time releases of True Lies and The Abyss. Hitchcock's Dial M For Murder will likely see a 2D and 3D release midyear from Warner, and Universal will unleash The Birds around the same time.
To coincide with the theatrical release of the latest James Bond title Skyfall in November, now that MGM's financial woes are over, look for all of the outstanding James Bond titles including my personal favourite GoldenEye, along with Tomorrow Never Dies, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, The Spy Who Loved Me, Octopussy and the truly awful A View To A Kill.
Finally, if all goes to plan with the current transfer and restoration of the 35mm elements of Star Trek: The Next Generation, we should be able to unwrap a high definition of Season for Christmas.
So save your pennies folks, there is a hell of a lot to look forward to over the course of 2012.