Trilogy of Vintage B-Movie Sci-Fi Films Headed to Blu-ray Disc from Kino Lorber

Kino Lorber on May 28 will release a collection of three vintage sci-fi films on Blu-ray Disc.

The Sci-Fi Chillers Collection, carrying a suggested retail price of $49.95, includes 1957’s The Unknown Terror, 1958’s The Colossus of New York, and 1966’s Destination Inner Space.

All three films come to Blu-ray from new HD masters (from Paramount Pictures) made from 4K scans of the original camera negatives and feature new audio commentaries by film historians.

The Unknown Terror was directed by Charles Marquis Warren and stars John Howard, Mala Powers, Paul Richards and May Wynn. The film follows a group of explorers who, while searching for a missing man, come across the “Cave of the Dead,” filled with parasitic fungi and foamy, fungus-covered monster men. The film was released theatrically by 20th Century Fox. Its only prior home release was an “unauthorized” version that was issued on VHS and DVD in 2004.

The Colossus of New York, released by Paramount Pictures, was directed by Eugène Lourié and stars Ross Martin, Otto Kruger, John Baragrey, Mala Powers, Robert Hutton, and Charles Herbert. After an accident, Jeremy Spensser’s brain is transplanted by his scientist father into the huge body of an unattractive, frightening cyborg. Soon, the son’s brain becomes transformed by the experimental procedure, losing key attributes that make him human and define his personality. The film was last released on Blu-ray Disc in 2012.

Destination Inner Space, from United Artists, was directed by Francis D. Lyon and stars Scott Brady, Sheree North and Gary Merrill. The film follows a group of scientists as they investigate a flying saucer found in the area of an underwater laboratory. They board the craft and discover a mysterious cylinder, which they take back to the lab for closer inspection. The lab is then attacked by a colorful aquatic humanoid monster who they fear may be the first in an alien invasion. The film was previously released on DVD in 2011.

XFronts Opens Tomorrow With Record Ad Agency Participation

OTT.X’s XFronts, held tomorrow (May 21) at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, has attracted such agencies as Canvas Worldwide, Casanova / McCann, Kargo, OMD, Quigley Simpson, R2 Media, Revive Media, RPA Media, and Starcom.  

“Participation from agencies and marketing companies is significantly greater than previous years,” said OTT.X interim president Eric Hanson. “It’s clear the ad community has embraced the value of advertising on OTT platforms. It’s incredibly exciting to see the XFronts take off this way.” 

Now in its third year, the OTT.X XFronts brings together organizations and professionals from across the ad-supported streaming ecosystem to learn about the latest content offerings from major streaming platforms and channels and to explore the latest trends in ad-supported video worldwide.  

This year’s agenda includes an “exchange” consisting of pitches and presentations by prominent and up-and-coming AVOD and FAST platforms, networks, and channels to an audience of brands, advertisers, and ad agencies. 

The conference program is designed to educate media buyers on the ins and outs of the AVOD and FAST landscapes through a series of panels, presentations, research findings, and interactive roundtable discussions focused on the growth of FAST and how it’s being utilized to get the most out of advertising spends, as well as revenue opportunities, operational issues, and projections for the future. 

‘Civil War’ to Become Available for Home Viewing on May 24

A24 May 15 announced that Alex Garland’s sci-fi epic Civil War will be available for digital purchase May 24 through digital retailers such as Fandango at Home and Prime Video.

The premium VOD sales price is $24.99.

The film, which earned $65.2 million in North American theaters according to Box Office Mojo, stars Kirsten Dunst, Cailee Spaeny, Wagner Moura, Stephen McKinley Henderson and Nick Offerman.

Civil War takes the increasing political polarization of the United States one step further, following a fictional journey across a dystopian future America by a team of military-embedded journalists as they race against time to reach Washington, D.C. before rebel factions descend upon the White House.

Hulu to Launch New Stand-Up Comedy Brand in November

Hulu has announced the launch of its comedy stand-up brand, “Hulu’s Laughing Now,” which will officially bow in November.

Comedian Jim Gaffigan made the announcement at the Disney Upfront presentation on May 14 in New York City. Gaffigan will be the first comedian to host a stand-up special as part of the new brand, with his special “The Skinny” launching on Hulu on Nov. 22. “Hulu’s Laughing Now” will feature 12 comedy specials per year, adding one new comic per month.

Outside the United States, the Gaffigan special — which was taped earlier this year in Boston at the Wilbur Theater — will stream on Disney+.

“With the launch of ‘Hulu’s Laughing Now,’ we are excited to round out Hulu’s world-class comedy offering with a lineup of some of the funniest voices in stand-up comedy today,” said Craig Erwich, president of Disney Television Group. “Our slate is a true celebration of the art of stand-up, and we plan to make this a best-in-class destination for comedic talent through partnerships with other areas of The Walt Disney Co., bringing these comedians into our family in a meaningful way.”

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Gaffigan recently co-headlined with Jerry Seinfeld for a sold-out multi-city arena tour. He was also recently hailed for being the first comedian to reach 1 billion streams on Pandora. Gaffigan regularly does humorous commentaries on “CBS Sunday Morning,” for which he has won three Emmys.

Additional comics, and launch dates for their specials, will be announced at a future date. Hulu also is planning to launch a curated collection of licensed stand-up specials ranging from iconic comedy specials to recent releases from 800 Pound Gorilla and Comedy Dynamics, among others.

New Teaser Trailer Unveiled for Max Original Drama Series ‘Dune: Prophecy’

A first-look teaser trailer of the new Max Original drama series “Dune: Prophecy” was unveiled May 15 at Warner Bros. Discovery’s Upfront presentation by Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO, HBO and Max Content.

The six-episode season debuts this fall on Max.

“Dune: Prophecy” takes place 10,000 years before the ascension of Paul Atreides. The series follows two Harkonnen sisters as they combat forces that threaten the future of humankind and establish the fabled sect that will become known as the Bene Gesserit. “Dune: Prophecy” is inspired by the novel Sisterhood of Dune, written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. 
 
The cast includes Emily Watson, Olivia Williams, Travis Fimmel, Jodhi May, Mark Strong, Sarah-Sofie Boussnina, Josh Heuston, Chloe Lea, Jade Anouka, Faoileann Cunningham, Edward Davis, Aoife Hinds, Chris Mason, Shalom Brune-Franklin, Jihae, Tabu, Charithra Chandran, Jessica Barden, Emma Canning and Yerin Ha.

Third Annual OTT.X ‘XFronts’ Consolidated Into Single-Day Event May 21 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles

The 2024 edition of the OTT.X XFronts is being consolidated into a single-day event.

The third annual XFronts, produced by streaming trade association OTT.X, will be held May 21 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Las Angeles.

The decision to pare down the event into one day — the first two XFronts were spread out over a day and a half — was made in the interests of being respectful of attendees’ time, said Eric Hanson, the trade group’s interim president.

“We just felt it would be a better experience for everyone — attendees, speakers, sponsors, commuters — as well as the environment,” Hanson said. “By focusing on the core aspects of the event including pitches, expert keynotes and panels, as well as the latest research, we’re able to deliver all the value of the XFronts in a single day.”

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Now in its third year, the OTT.X XFronts brings together organizations and professionals from across the ad-supported streaming ecosystem to learn about the latest content offerings from major streaming platforms and channels and to explore the latest trends in ad-supported video worldwide. 

This year’s agenda includes an “exchange” consisting of pitches and presentations by prominent and up-and-coming AVOD and FAST platforms, networks, and channels to an audience of brands, advertisers and ad agencies.

The conference program is designed to educate media buyers on the ins and outs of the AVOD and FAST landscapes through a series of panels, presentations, research findings, and interactive roundtable discussions focused on the growth of FAST and how it’s being utilized to get the most out of advertising spends, as well as revenue opportunities, operational issues, and projections for the future.

Last year’s event drew nearly 600 attendees. 

Registration is open now through May 21.

Max Promotes Season 2 Debut of ‘House of the Dragon’ With ‘Remix Challenge’ Contest

To promote the June 16 debut of “House of the Dragon,” Max is staging a contest in which viewers are invited to submit remixes of the series’ theme song.

See the just-released trailer for Season 2 of “House of the Dragon”

The “House of the Dragon Remix Challenge” is being staged in partnership with the electronic music hub Beatport. Remixes can be submitted using stem files, which can be downloaded from the Beatport-owned platform Loopcloud.com.

The contest runs through May 29.

Submissions will be judged by select cast members from HBO’s “House of the Dragon,” Beatport, and Ed Banger Records.

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Two winners will be selected from the remix challenge — one winning Green remix and one winning Black remix. Each winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize, along with an official release on WaterTower Music, a one-year subscription to Beatport Studio, a one-year subscription to Beatport Pro or Beatsource Pro Streaming, and 100 LabelRadar credits.

Four runners-up will receive a six-month Beatport Studio Subscription, a six-month Beatport Pro or Beatsource Pro Streaming subscription, and 50 LabelRadar credits.

Remixes may be submitted here.

‘The First Omen’ Gets Digital, Physical and Streaming Release Dates

The horror prequel The First Omen, from the Disney-owned (and rebranded) 20th Century Studios, will make its home-viewing debut May 28 when it becomes available for sale through digital retailers.

Two days later, on May 30, the film — a prequel to the original The Omen, directed by Richard Donner and one of the top-grossing films of 1976 — will begin streaming on Hulu.

A DVD and Blu-ray Disc release will follow on July 30.

The First Omen is set in 1971 and stars Nell Tiger Free (“Game of Thrones”) as American nun-to-be Margaret, who travels to Rome to take the veil. There, she uncovers a sinister conspiracy to bring about the birth of the Antichrist, Damien.

To promote the release, all five earlier “Omen” films are now streaming on Hulu.

The First Omen  was directed by Arkasha Stevenson, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Tim Smith and Keith Thomas (Firestarter). The cast also includes Tawfeek Barhom (Mary Magdalene), Sonia Braga (Kiss of the Spider Woman), Ralph Ineson (The Northman), Maria Caballero and Bill Nighy (Living). The screenplay is based on a story by Ben Jacoby.

Bonus features on the physical and digital editions include three featurettes:

  • “The Mystery of Margaret” — Director Stevenson and stars Free, Nighy and Caballero dive into the character of Margaret, her relationships with other characters, and how she’s manipulated while trying to solve the film’s horrifying mystery.
  • “The Director’s Vision” — Stevenson talks about her love of horror films, the opportunity to expand on The Omen legacy, and crafting The First Omen entirely through a female lens. She also describes shooting in Rome.
  • “Signs of The First Omen” Stevenson and some of the film’s artists reveal some of the symbolism within the set designs and the costumes. 

 

‘Daisy Miller’ Gets May 21 Blu-ray Disc Date From Kino Lorber

Kino Lorber May 21 will release on Blu-ray Disc the 1974 romantic dramady Daisy Miller, from famed director Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon).

Based on The Turn of the Screw, the classic novella by Henry James, Daisy Miller stars Cybill Shepherd as a free-spirited young American living abroad in Europe with her daffy mother and bratty kid brother. A woman who does as she pleases, but seldom pleases anybody but herself, Daisy is very liberated and very much ahead of her time as her behavior scandalizes the Victorian high society of 1878. The film costars Bogdanovich favorites Barry Brown (The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid), Mildred Natwick (Barefoot in the Park), Eileen Brennan (The Sting) and Cloris Leachman (Young Frankenstein).

Daisy Miller comes to Blu-ray from a new HD master created from a 4K scan of the 35mm original camera negative.

The release also includes two new special features: a 10-minute interview with Shepherd and an audio commentary by film historian critic Peter Tonguette. Also included are several previously available extras, including an audio commentary and introduction by Bogdanovich, and the original theatrical trailer.

Nominations Open for Media Play News’ ’40 Under 40,’ Class of 2024!

Media Play News is now accepting nominations for its seventh annual 40 Under 40 issue, which recognizes rising as well as established young executives in home/digital entertainment.

This year, the 40 Under 40 issue moves up a month to July.

This prestigious annual list honors people under the age of 40 (before Aug. 1, 2024) who are on their way up, or already in a position of prominence, at a studio, independent film company, streaming service, AVOD/FAST provider, retailer, distributor or tech company.

Honorees will be selected by the Media Play News staff based on their contributions to their companies, their role in their industry, and the likelihood of them becoming a key leader in their field.

Nominations are due Friday, May 31, for possible inclusion in the July 

The nomination form may be accessed here or at the link below:

40 Under 40 Nomination Form