The supernatural horror thriller The Exorcism of God arrives on Blu-ray plus digital and DVD April 19 from Lionsgate.
The film follows Father Peter Williams, an American exorcist, who hides a dark secret. Possessed by a demon he was trying to expel, he committed a terrible sacrilege. To atone for this sin, Peter devotes his life to charity work in a small town in Mexico. Eighteen years later, his deeply buried secret comes to light when the demon from his past returns, possessing a girl and unleashing a deadly disease. Now Peter must choose between saving his own soul and saving the people he loves most in one final, epic battle against the evil within.
The film features Will Beinbrink (It Chapter Two, “Queen of the South”), María Gabriela de Faría (“The Moodys,” “Deadly Class”), Joseph Marcell (The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”), Hector Kotsifakis (“Malverde: El Santo Patrón,” “Enemigo Íntimo”) and Irán Castillo (“SOS Me estoy enamorando,” “La mexicana y el güero”).
Netflix March 31 announced it is partnering with organizers of the Tour de France bicycle race for an eight-episode, reality-based documentary series on the 2022 edition of the famous sports spectacle. The series is expected to launch in 2023.
Following months of speculation, Netflix said it would work with France Télévisions and Quadbox, a joint venture between Quad and Box to Box Films (Producer of Netflix’s successful “F1 Drive to Survive” auto racing series), to follow eight teams taking part in the 2,000-mile race taking place from July 1 to 24.
The 45-minute episodes will follow as closely as possible all the actors of the Tour de France, from cyclists to team managers, to understand the multiple stakes of a race that has become a true international symbol, broadcasted in 190 territories.
The backstory of eight professional teams will be unveiled, from the preparation phase to the finish line. The teams include AG2R Citroën Team, Alpecin-Fenix, Bora-Hansgrohe, EF Education-EasyPost, Groupama-FDJ Cycling Team, Ineos Grenadiers, Team Jumbo-Visma and Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl.
“This is a unique opportunity to dive into the stories of its inspiring characters,” Dolores Emile, manager of EMEA Unscripted & Doc Series (France) at Netflix, said in a statement.
France Télévisions will broadcast a 52-minute documentary on the series a few days before the start of the Tour de France in 2023.
“Through a narrative approach, which is additive to the competition itself, the public will be able to discover how the Tour de France represents the ultimate challenge for the competitors,” said Yann Le Moënner, directeur général d’A.S.O. “This project is part of our overall ambition to make our sport more accessible and meet an even wider audience.”
Paramount Home Entertainment’s DVD and Blu-ray release of the fourth season of the hit cable series “Yellowstone” remained No. 1 the week ended March 26 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales.
It’s the third consecutive week in the top spot for “Yellowstone,” a drama from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Taylor Sheridan and starring Kevin Costner as the head of a multi-generational family that controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States.
However, with just 21% of its total unit sales on Blu-ray Disc, the “Yellowstone” season was only No. 6 on the Blu-ray Disc chart.
The good news for Paramount was that the top-selling Blu-ray for the week was another of the studio’s titles: The Godfather Trilogy boxed set re-released on 4K for the first time to commemorate the 50th anniversary of director Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 original. Sales of new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set comprised 78% of total trilogy sales for the week, with 10% from regular Blu-ray and 12% from the legacy DVD (the set was re-released on Blu-ray as well, but not DVD). The Godfather Trilogy was No. 3 on the overall disc sales chart.
Maintaining its No. 2 position on the overall sales chart for a third week was Warner’s The Matrix Resurrections, which dropped to No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart after two weeks in the top spot there. It sold about 87% as many copies as the “Yellowstone” fourth-season disc.
Disney’s animated Encanto dropped to No. 4 on the overall sales chart but remained No. 3 on the Blu-ray Disc sales chart. Encanto won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the March 27 Academy Awards ceremony, after the weekly cutoff for this reporting period.
The No. 5 overall disc seller, and No. 10 on the Blu-ray Disc chart, was another TV show to disc release from Paramount — Dexter: New Blood. The limited series serves as a capper to the 2006-13 series about a serial killer who murders bad guys while working for the police. Dexter: New Blood had 29% of its total unit sales come from Blu-ray Disc.
The only other new release in the overall top 20 was Disney-owned Searchlight Pictures’ Nightmare Alley, which landed at No. 8 overall and No. 4 on the Blu-ray Disc chart. From director Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley is a psychological thriller about a down-on-his-luck grifter (Bradley Cooper), based on the 1946 novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham. It had 45% of its sales come from 4K Ultra HD, and an additional 28% from regular Blu-ray, for a total of 73% from Blu-ray formats.
The No. 5 Blu-ray Disc, and No. 6 overall seller, was Sony Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended March 27 had the same top five as the previous week, with Matrix Resurrections in the top spot for a third time.
Sony Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Afterlife remained No. 2, followed by Universal and MGM’s House of Gucci at No. 3, Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ The King’s Man at No. 4, and Lionsgate’s American Underdog remaining No. 5.
Hulu’s “Under the Banner of Heaven” was the top anticipated new show, Netflix’s “Russian Doll” was the most anticipated returning show, and Sony Pictures’ Morbius was the top anticipated movie on the Whip Media charts for April.
Starring Andrew Garfield, “Under the Banner of Heaven” starts streaming on Hulu April 28. The limited series, inspired by the true-crime bestseller, follows the events that led to the 1984 murder of Brenda Wright Lafferty and her baby daughter in a suburb in Salt Lake Valley, Utah.
The second season of “Russian Doll” starts streaming on Netflix April 20. The series follows Nadia (Natasha Lyonne), a woman caught in a time loop in which she dies repeatedly.
Morbius, debuting in theaters April 1, is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It stars Jared Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius, who becomes a vampire after he cures himself of a rare disease.
Former Columbia TriStar Home Video president Walter Patrick “Pat” Campbell has died.
Campbell, of East Hampton, N.Y., passed away on March 28, according to an announcement in the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was 76.
Campbell was president of what is now Sony Pictures Home Entertainment from 1989 until 1994. He began his tenure there in 1984 when he was asked to head the recently formed entertainment joint venture between RCA and Columbia Pictures, RCA/Columbia Pictures International Video, to distribute tapes overseas. He was named worldwide president in 1989 and remained at the helm after the company’s 1991 rebranding to Columbia TriStar Home Video. Top VHS releases during Campbell’s presidency included Total Recall, Flatliners, Misery, Boyz n the Hood, Ghostbusters II and Sex, Lies and Videotape.
In an interview with the LaSalle University Winter Magazine in 1997, 30 years after he graduated from the school with an undergraduate degree in political science, Campbell said RCA/Columbia was a unique business because it acquired as well as produced movies. “We took the video company worldwide,” Campbell said. “We were the only ones that had more revenue overseas than we did domestic because we recognized that there was a tremendous overseas market. We were number one in market share even though the flow of products from our studio was number seven. I was very proud of that. And we also developed some people who are now very significant in the entertainment business.”
Campbell said his most difficult challenge was “dealing with the talent.” “At one point we were producing about 20 films a year and buying hundreds of others around the world,” he told the LaSalle Winter Magazine. “Generally when you’re dealing with first-time talent it’s fairly easy. But boy, when they have a success or two, that took all of your wits and patience.”
In the interview, Campbell said that while his division enjoyed a string of successful VHS releases, there also was one big miss. A staffer woke him early one morning at the Cannes Film Festival to watch a rough cut of an independent film partially subtitled in American Indian. “By about 9:30, I hadn’t had breakfast and I was hungry,” Campbell told the publication. “I said, ‘There’s no way I want to touch this film.’ And we walked away from it.”
That film was Dances with Wolves.
“He was respected by his team and innovative in the area of making independent films for the home video marketplace,” said Ben Feingold, CEO of Samuel Goldwyn Films, who succeeded Campbell as president of Columbia TriStar Home Video in 1994.
Campbell left Columbia TriStar in January 1994 to join Ameritech, one of seven Regional Bell Operating Companies, or “Baby Bells,” created following the breakup of AT&T in 1984. As EVP of corporate strategy and business development, he helped negotiate the $81 billion merger of Ameritech and SBC Communications, one of the largest corporate mergers in history at that time. The Winter 1997-98 edition of the LaSalle Winter Magazine called Campbell “one of the key players on the Information Superhighway.”
In an interview with Supermarket News, Campbell talked about tech companies recruiting home video executives. “The reality is the information superhighway is coming and is going to be an exciting, vibrant thing to work on, but it is a ways into the future,” he said. “Video is an incredibly important aspect of the entertainment business right now.”
Campbell was born on Feb. 9, 1946, in Philadelphia. A 1967 graduate of LaSalle University with an undergraduate degree in political science, he began his career at Proctor-Silex in Philadelphia and later held a series of progressively more responsible positions at McGraw Edison, and Norelco.
Campbell is survived by his wife, Kathleen Campbell; daughter Megan Officer and her husband, Graham; daughter Kristin Doble and her husband, Hunter; and grandchildren Campbell and Colin Officer and Katharine, Emily and Graham Doble.
Following his retirement, Campbell continued to serve on the board of directors of Jefferies Financial Group and Black and Veatch, according to the announcement.
There will be a Celebration of Life for him on April 3 from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Flourtown Country Club in Flourtown, Penn.
The Netflix original limited series “Inventing Anna” again topped Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 streamed content across U.S. televisions for the period ended March 6. The Shonda Rhimes-led production, starring Julia Garner as alleged German heiress Anna Sorokin, led all programming with more than 1.16 billion minutes streamed across nine episodes. That topped all eight episodes of “Vikings: Valhalla,” with 1.08 billion minutes, and “Worst Roommate Ever,” with 1.03 billion minutes across five episodes.
Topped streamed movies included animated musical Encanto on Disney+ with 864 million minutes, and Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming on Netflix with 746 million minutes.
The buddy comedy Dog will be released on digital April 19 from MGM and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD May 10 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
The film, starring and co-directed by Channing Tatum, follows the misadventures of two former Army Rangers paired against their will on a road trip. Army Ranger Briggs (Tatum) and Lulu (a Belgian Malinois dog) buckle into a 1984 Ford Bronco and race down the Pacific Coast in hopes of making it to a fellow soldier’s funeral on time. Along the way, they drive each other crazy, break a small handful of laws, narrowly evade death, and learn to let down their guards.
From MGM in association with FilmNation Entertainment, Dog is directed by Reid Carolin and Channing Tatum in their directorial debut. In addition to Tatum, the film stars Jane Adams (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Kevin Nash (Magic Mike), Q’orianka Kilcher (TV’s “Yellowstone”), Ethan Suplee (Remember the Titans), Emmy Raver-Lampman (TV’s “The Umbrella Academy”) and Nicole LaLiberte (TV’s “Dexter”).
Two Japanese Ultraman titles, Ultraseven X: The Complete Series and Superior 8 Ultra Brothers, are heading to Blu-ray Disc April 5 from Mill Creek Entertainment.
Superior 8 Ultra Brothers unites three generations of Ultra Heroes for an interdimensional adventure. The story begins in 1966 as three boys named Daigo, Asuka, and Gamu watch the premiere of a new television series called Ultraman. Captivated from the start, they continue to follow and be inspired by the ongoing exploits of Ultraman and his fellow Ultra Brothers. Decades later, Daigo is working for the tourism board in Yokohama when he witnesses a strange mirage of a dying world ravaged by giant monsters. Additional visions soon follow, including one in which the friendly shopkeepers Hayata, Dan, Goh and Hokuto transform into the famous Ultra Brothers from TV. Daigo confides in Asuka and Gamu, who begin to have similar dreams in which they become Ultramen called “Dyna” and “Gaia.” The sudden appearance of Monster Guesra and the hero Ultraman Mebius convince Daigo that his visions are coming true, and his world is in great danger.
In Ultraseven X: The Complete Series, available on Blu-ray and digital, a young man is awoken from a fevered dream and barely recognizes himself. A mysterious woman hands him a spectacles-shaped item, says the key holds tremendous power, and tells him it is his duty to save the world. Before asking any more questions, he and the woman are torn apart by a violent explosion. Soon, he is contacted by a secret organization named Deus. He is told he is Agent Jin and his job is to rid this world of vicious alien invaders.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi,” the new Disney+ limited series from Lucasfilm, will debut exclusively on the streaming service May 27.
The series stars Ewan McGregor, reprising his role as the iconic Jedi Master.
The story begins 10 years after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat — the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.
The series also marks the return of Hayden Christensen in the role of Darth Vader. Joining the cast are Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell and Benny Safdie.
“Obi-Wan Kenobi” is executive-produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Deborah Chow, Ewan McGregor and Joby Harold.
The series was originally set to premiere May 25, the 45th anniversary of the theatrical premiere of the original Star Wars in 1977. However, in a video announcement posted March 31, McGregor announced that Disney+ was pushing series premiere back two days to Friday, May 27, but will make the first two of six planned episode available that day. The new Friday release date coincides with the Star Wars Celebration fan event taking place May 26-29 in Anaheim, Calif.
Apple TV+ is set to begin streaming for free select “Friday Night Baseball” games — beginning April 8 with the Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels, and Washington Senators vs. New York Mets — as part of a seven-year, $595 million deal that affords the subscription streaming platform access to two Major League Baseball games a week. This is Apple’s first move into live sports programming.
For the first six weeks of the season, “Friday Night Baseball” will be available for free without subscription on Apple TV+ in the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom.
Streamers in the U.S. will also have access to “MLB Big Inning,” a live show featuring highlights and look-ins airing every weeknight during the regular season. North American streamers will also have access to a new 24/7 livestream with MLB game replays, news and analysis, highlights, classic games, and more, as well as a full complement of on-demand programming, including highlights and MLB-themed original content.
“Baseball has a special place in the heart of so many Apple customers — not just in the United States, but in many countries around the world. We’re proud to make Apple TV+ the home for great baseball moments throughout the season,” Peter Stern, VP of Services at Apple, said in a statement earlier this month.