Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed classic, will be released on Blu-ray Disc and standard DVD in multi-disc sets as “Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition” on November 13th by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of this motion picture, which Gene Shalit called “one of the most spectacular movies ever made,” the set incorporates all three versions of the film, including the first-ever home video release of the 1977 Original Theatrical edition, as well as the re-edited 1980 theatrical Special Edition and Spielberg’s definitive Director’s Cut (released in 1998 as the Collector’s Edition). Bonus material on the 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition includes a never-before-seen interview with Spielberg created specifically for this release, a retrospective documentary and more.
The stunning high definition presentation of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition” contains all three cinematic versions on just one 50 GB Blu-ray Disc, with bonus material included on a second disc, and is made possible by new breakthroughs in home entertainment technology. This marks the first classic Spielberg film ever to be released on a pre-recorded high definition disc format.
A legendary film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind was nominated for eight Academy Awards.(1) Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws) has the starring role of electrical lineman Roy Neary, as he sets out to investigate a mysterious power outage and experiences a life-changing “close encounter.”
The Original Theatrical version of Close Encounters of the Third Kind was released on screens in 1977 and was never available on home video. Spielberg released a re-edited Special Edition theatrically and on VHS in 1980 wherein he deleted several smaller scenes and added other sequences including scenes of Dreyfuss inside the alien mother ship at the end of the film. In 1998, the Collector’s Edition was released on home video with a limited theatrical run and featured Spielberg’s definitive director’s cut with changes, some small and subtle, as well as a change eliminating the interior mother ship scenes from the end of the Special Edition, thus restoring the original ending. “The Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition” is the first collection to include all three versions of the film.
The Blu-ray release provides for all three versions of Close Encounters of the Third Kind to be included on one 50GB disc through a process known as “seamless branching,” made possible with the added interactivity of Blu-ray’s software and the robust processing power of the second generation players. This process identifies the differences between each version of the film and segments the footage accordingly. These segments are then encoded and assembled into three unique playlists, thus allowing footage used in all three films to be included on the Blu-ray disc only once. Based on the viewer’s selection of the Original Version, Special Edition or definitive Director’s Cut, each film will be presented seamlessly in its original form by use of its respective playlist.
Both the Blu-ray and the DVD of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition” are packed with bonus features, including an exclusive interview with Spielberg and a Close Encounters of the Third Kind Retrospective Documentary.
Available only with the “Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition” high definition Blu-ray Disc, are additional bonus features including all-new “Storyboard-to-Scene Comparisons,” the original 1977 “Watch The Skies” featurette and an original theatrical preview.
“Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition” will be available November 13, 2007 — nearly 30 years to the day after its original theatrical release — on Blu-ray Disc for $49.95 or DVD for $39.95.