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Deadlands 2: Trapped Bucks the Trend & Will Be an HD DVD

A press release came across our desks today that reminded us how often truth is stranger than fiction. Here we were thinking the war between HD DVD and Blu-ray had been decided months ago when WetNWildRadio Films and Anthem Pictures announced that on October 27th the independent zombie horror film Deadlands 2: Trapped will be making its way to … HD DVD. Kind of ironic that a zombie film would be helping HD DVD try to come back from the dead, no?

When asked why he was releasing the film in this defunct format, Deadlands 2 writer/director Gary Ugarek, an avid HD DVD collector, had this to say:

Over the last 18 months, since HD DVD’s demise, I and a small group of HD DVD enthusiasts have scoured every part of the planet trying to obtain the leftover releases of HD DVD material. We were early adopters of the format and still feel to this day the format shouldn’t have been left to die off. So I did some research and realized the following: During HD DVD’s release over 1,000,000 player units were sold and over 800 titles were released for the format. At the end of its tenure the market penetration still remained strong, and the format built a dedicated fanbase.

I set out to see if these HD DVD owners would be interested in a brand new release. I presented all the information about the film, gave them access and links to trailers, the press kit and the technical aspects. and you know what? THEY LOVED THE IDEA. The feedback was unbelievable. Within 36 hours of putting the question out there, I received over 200+ emails, within 96 hours I had 380+ requests from HD DVD fans asking me to make this happen.

I presented the idea to Anthem Pictures, the distributor, and they liked it and immediately jumped behind it.

One wouldn’t think a $6,000 zombie film would be a candidate for such a release, but Deadlands 2: Trapped somehow is. The HD DVD release will be limited to 500 copies only, with each disc noting the fact it is a LIMITED COLLECTOR’S EDITION. Each disc will also come with a Certificate of Authenticity numbering which copy the purchaser received.

When asked if he’s at all a supporter of the Blu-ray format, Ugarek replied, “I am, but when you have a fanbase for a format like HD DVD does, and you see the passion of its supporters, I immediately knew I wanted to do this for the fans. I want to give them something special.

Special it is. Writer/director Ugarek is in fact filming some new special HD DVD only content. The tentative features thus far include:

  • 1920×1080 version of the UNRATED CUT
  • The full work print version of the film, which contains an alternate score and footage not available in the unrated edition
  • A brand new director’s commentary for the HD DVD release.
  • A newly recorded commentary for the work print version, not available on DVD release
  • Featurette on indie filmmaking from the director’s POV (HD DVD exclusive)
  • Featurette on the cineplex location (HD DVD exclusive)
  • A synopsis of the flick is as follows: Deadlands 2: Trapped stars Jim Krut (Dawn of the Dead) and Josh Davidson (Perkins 14) and tells a story in which the United States Government has developed a highly effective nerve gas that is unleashed upon the residents of a small Maryland city. During the top secret exercise the infected citizens begin to convert the other residents into a sort of living zombie until only 6 people, total strangers, remain, trapped inside a movie theater cineplex.

    Gary Ugarek's Deadlands 2 Being Released in HD DVD

    Click here to access Anthem Pictures’ special page to pre-order Deadlands 2: Trapped, and feel free to write directly to Gary Ugarek (click here) with any questions you may have about the film or his decision to release it on HD DVD.

    Debi Moore

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    Debi Moore

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    • techstar25

      Is it cheaper to release (licensing and manufacturing costs) your movie as a HD DVD vs. Blu Ray?
      If you want to release your movie in a high def format, it makes sense to go with the least costly option. Could HD DVD become the independent filmmakers high def format of choice? With one million HD DVD players out there, it’s not a bad idea.

      • DjfunkmasterG

        Yes and No. Licensing fees for HD DVD no longer exist because of Toshiba letting the format die off, but Blu-Ray fees are very costly for licensing.

        Even licensing the Dolby Digital Plus sound system is a cost of $7000.00 which is why we opted for straight PCm and Regular dolby digital 5.1

    • Cash Bailey

      …And the format war re-ignites!!

      I’ve long-since adopted Blu-Ray (had no choice!) but I still stand by my irrefutable knowledge that HD-DVD WAS the superior format.

      • DjfunkmasterG

        I wouldn’t say re-ignites. Just a small niche items for the hard core HD DVD fan.

        In fact when this is released, the artwork for the HD DVD was done by an HD DVD fan. I put the option out there and three people submitted artwork.

        The entire disc build was based off feedback from HD DVD fans, something studios and filmmakers never do for their releases.

    • WLKNDED

      Great I Really want something new to play in my HDDVD Player.
      Damn you sony and blu-ray.

    • Didn’t See It Coming

      A sequel to a terrible movie released on a dead format. Brilliant.

      • DjfunkmasterG

        Actually Deadlands 2 is not a direct SEQUEL… it only carries the Deadlands name and is more of an episode #2. The only common theme is zombies… otherwise it is a completely different story.

        And HD DVD is not really that dead of a format as we have already had 60% sell through on pre-orders for the HD DVD

        • Didn’t See It Coming

          60% of what? Like a number. The format is dead. If new HDDVDs were made, they would sell, sure because people have players, but since no studio/distribution house is supporting them, yeah, they’re dead. Congrats on the sales though.

          • DjfunkmasterG

            300 out of 500 discs being printed have been sold.

            • Didn’t See It Coming

              Sorry man, but 300 HD DVDs isn’t a lot. Put it on Blu-ray and see how much better it sells.

            • DjfunkmasterG

              Oh it may come to Blu-Ray, but I did this for the fans of HD DVD and chose to forego the Blu-Ray release to do this for them, and as a cinephile who prefers the HD DVD format.

              However, Anthem has said a Blu-Ray edition could come next year.