Merchandising: Plenty of Exclusives for ‘The Batman’

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s The Batman arrived on disc May 24 with exclusive editions from each of the big three retail chains.

The reboot of the comic book franchise from director Matt Reeves stars Robert Pattinson as the caped crusader, as he investigates The Riddler (Paul Dano), who is murdering Gotham City government officials. It earned $369 million at the domestic box office.

Best Buy, per usual, offered the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack of The Batman with Steelbook packaging for $34.99.

Best Buy’s ‘The Batman’ 4K Steelbook

Target offered the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack of The Batman with an exclusive slipcover offering unique cover art, plus an additional 15-minute featurette, “Gotham Planning,” about the design of the city in the film, for $26.99 (a $2 premium over the regular Blu-ray combo pack). Target’s version replaces the bonus disc in the combo pack with its expanded bonus disc.

Target’s ‘The Batman’ Blu-ray combo pack slipcover

Walmart offered a beefy gift set of The Batman Blu-ray and 4K editions: The disc case came housed in a bigger box containing special artwork and a tin sign of Batman’s chest logo, with a stand. It was $34.96 for the Blu-ray version and $39.96 for the 4K version, but the gift set seems to have sold out pretty quickly as it no longer appears in searches for The Batman on disc at Walmart.com.

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‘Uncharted’ Maintains Top Spot on Redbox Charts

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Uncharted for a second week was No. 1 on both Redbox’s disc rental chart and the Redbox On Demand chart the week ended May 22.

The adaptation of the popular video game franchise of the same name stars Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg as a pair of treasure hunters seeking hidden gold from the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan. It earned $147.7 million at the domestic box office.

The comedy Dog remained No. 2 on both the disc rental chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at Redbox’s thousands of red kiosks, and the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital VOD and sellthrough transactions. The film stars Channing Tatum as an Army Ranger transporting a fallen commander’s dog to the funeral. Dog is distributed through digital channels by MGM and on disc by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Paramount’s sci-fi actioner Infinite debuted at No. 3 on the disc rental chart. Starring Mark Wahlberg and Chiwetel Ejiofor and directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film is based on the book The Reincarnationist Papers by D. Eric Maikranz. The film follows characters who must use memories and skills from past lives to protect the future of humanity in a race against time in the fight between good and evil. It was No. 5 on the digital chart.

The No. 3 Redbox On Demand title was the new-to-digital-sellthrough Morbius from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Based on Marvel Comics characters, the film stars Jared Leto as a doctor whose attempts to cure his disease give him vampire-like powers. It earned $73.25 million at the domestic box office.

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Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: No Way Home slipped a spot to No. 4 on both charts.

The No. 5 disc rental was Universal Pictures’ Liam Neeson actioner Blacklight. It was No. 10 on the digital chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended May 22:

  1. Uncharted — Sony Pictures
  2. Dog — Warner
  3. Infinite — Paramount
  4. Spider-Man: No Way Home — Sony Pictures/Marvel
  5. Blacklight — Universal
  6. Vendetta — Vertical
  7. Moonfall — Lionsgate
  8. Sing 2 — Universal
  9. Panama — Paramount
  10. Black Site — Redbox

 

Top Digital (VOD + Sellthrough), Redbox On Demand, Week Ended May 22:

  1. Uncharted — Sony Pictures
  2. Dog — MGM
  3. Morbius — Sony Pictures
  4. Spider-Man: No Way Home — Sony Pictures/Marvel
  5. Infinite — Paramount
  6. Spider-Man: All Roads Lead to No Way Home — Sony Pictures
  7. Moonfall — Lionsgate
  8. The Bad Guys — Universal
  9. Vendetta — Vertical
  10. Blacklight — Universal

 

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Thriller ‘9 Bullets’ Heading to Blu-ray and DVD June 7

Screen Media June 7 will release the thriller 9 Bullets on Blu-ray Disc and DVD June 7.

In the film, a former burlesque dancer turned author (Lena Headey) discovers a second chance at life and redemption when she risks everything to rescue her young neighbor after he witnesses the murder of his parents. Now on the run from a local crime boss (Sam Worthington), who happens to be her longtime ex, she makes a desperate attempt to get the boy to safety.

The cast also includes Dean Scott Vasquez, Cam Gigandet, La La Anthony, Martin Sensmeier and Barbara Hershey.

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‘NCIS’ Season 19 Coming to DVD Aug. 16

CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment will release NCIS: The Nineteenth Season on DVD Aug. 16.

The five-disc collection offers all 21 episodes from the show about military investigators, including the final episodes of Mark Harmon as special agent Gibbs.

From murder and espionage to terrorism and stolen submarines, these special agents investigate all crimes with Navy or Marine Corps ties.

The DVD set also includes exclusive behind-the-scenes featurettes.

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Season 1 of ‘The Gilded Age’ Arriving on DVD July 26

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release The Gilded Age: The Complete First Season on DVD July 26. The series is available now for streaming exclusively on HBO Max.

Created by Emmy and Academy Award winner Julian Fellowes (“Downton Abbey”), “The Gilded Age” chronicles life in New York in the late 1800s during a period of immense economic change. A wide-eyed young scion of a conservative family, Marian (Louisa Jacobson), embarks on a mission to infiltrate the wealthy neighboring clan of her aunts Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski) and Ada Brook (Cynthia Nixon), dominated by ruthless railroad tycoon George Russell (Morgan Spector) and his ambitious wife, Bertha (Carrie Coon), meeting new people like aspiring writer Peggy Scott (Denée Benton), along the way.

The cast also includes Jeanne Tripplehorn, Taissa Farmiga, Blake Ritson, Simon Jones and Harry Richardson.

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The series was recently renewed for a second season by HBO.

The season one DVD includes all nine episodes, plus featurettes such as “Inside the Episodes,” “Who’s Who,” “Old Money vs New: The Heart of the Matter,” “Invitation to Set,” “Carrie Coon BTS,” “Writing Peggy” and the DVD-exclusive “All That Glitters: Creating ‘The Gilded Age.’”

 

May 24 Finds ‘The Batman’ New to Disc, ‘Sonic 2’ Arriving Digitally

The Batman leads the titles new to DVD and Blu-ray May 24, while titles available for digital sellthrough include Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

The DC Comics-based film The Batman arrives on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD May 24 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The film is directed by Matt Reeves from a screenplay by Reeves and Peter Craig, based on characters created by DC, and stars Robert Pattinson (Tenet, The Lighthouse). In the film, more than a year of stalking the streets as the Batman (Pattinson), striking fear into the hearts of criminals, has led Bruce Wayne deep into the shadows of Gotham City. With only a few trusted allies — Alfred, Lt. James Gordon —amongst the city’s corrupt network of officials and high-profile figures, the lone vigilante has established himself as the sole embodiment of vengeance amongst his fellow citizens. When a killer targets Gotham City’s elite with a series of sadistic machinations, a trail of cryptic clues sends the masked crusader on an investigation into the underworld, where he encounters such characters as Selina Kyle, the Penguin, Carmine Falcone and the Riddler. As the evidence begins to lead closer to home and the scale of the perpetrator’s plans becomes clear, the Batman must forge new relationships, unmask the culprit, and bring justice to the abuse of power and corruption that has long plagued Gotham City. The film also stars Zoë Kravitz (TV’s “Big Little Lies,” Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald) as Selina Kyle; Paul Dano (Love & Mercy, 12 Years a Slave) as Edward Nashton, aka The Riddler; Jeffrey Wright (No Time to Die, “Westworld”) as Gordon; John Turturro (the “Transformers” films, “The Plot Against America”) as Falcone; Peter Sarsgaard (The Magnificent Seven, “Interrogation”) as Gotham D.A. Gil Colson; Jayme Lawson (“Farewell Amor”) as mayoral candidate Bella Reál; Andy Serkis (the “Planet of the Apes” films, Black Panther) as Alfred; and Colin Farrell (The Gentlemen, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) as Oz, aka The Penguin. It earned $369 million at the domestic box office. Read a review here.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases the animated movie Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and for digital purchase May 24. The film from WarnerMedia Kids & Family will premiere May 28 on Cartoon Network, and June 28 will become available on the HBO Max streaming service. Based on DC Comics characters, the film finds the Teen Titans and DC Super Hero Girls reuniting to combat Lex Luthor and his unified gang of supervillains.

Paramount Pictures’ Sonic the Hedgehog 2 will be available for digital purchase May 24 from Paramount Home Entertainment. It will also be available for streaming on Paramount+. In the sequel, after settling in Green Hills, Sonic (voice of Ben Schwartz) is eager to prove he has what it takes to be a true hero. His test comes when Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) returns, this time with a new partner, Knuckles (Idris Elba), in search of an emerald that has the power to destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), and together they embark on a globe-trotting journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands. The film also stars James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, Adam Pally, Shemar Moore and Lee Majdoub. It earned $181 million at the domestic box office and arrives on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Aug 9. A bundle of both “Sonic” movies also is available.

CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment release Showtime’s Ray Donovan: The Movie on DVD May 24. Liev Schreiber, Jon Voight and Alan Alda return as Ray Donovan, Mickey Donovan and Dr. Arthur Amoit, respectively. The concluding chapter to the “Ray Donovan” series picks up where season seven left off. As the events that made Ray who he is today finally come to light, the Donovans find themselves drawn back to Boston to face the past. Each of them struggles to overcome their violent upbringing, but destiny dies hard, and only their fierce love for each other keeps them in the fight.

The thriller Umma will be released on Blu-ray and DVD May 24 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Umma, which is the Korean word for “mother,” follows Amanda (Sandra Oh) and her daughter (Fivel Stewart) living a quiet life on an American farm. When the remains of her estranged mother arrive from Korea, Amanda becomes haunted by the fear of turning into her. The film is produced by Sam Raimi and is directed by Iris K. Shim. Additional stars include MeeWha Alana Lee, Tom Yi with Odeya Rush and Dermot Mulroney.

A24’s horror film X arrives May 24 on Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital) and DVD from Lionsgate. From writer-director Ti West (The Innkeepers, The Sacrament) in his long-awaited return to horror, the film stars Mia Goth (A Cure for Wellness, Suspiria, Emma.), Brittany Snow (Prom Night, Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2), Jenna Ortega (“You,” 2022’s Scream, The Babysitter: Killer Queen) as well as Grammy Award nominee Scott Mescudi (better known as Kid Cudi, Don’t Look Up). The story follows a group of actors who set out to make an adult film in rural Texas under the noses of their reclusive hosts — an elderly couple with a farm and boarding house for rent. When the couple catches their young guests in the act, the cast finds themselves in a desperate fight for their lives in this tantalizing slasher.

The sci-fi romantic comedy Moonshot will be released on DVD and digital sellthrough May 24 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The HBO Max original film — set in a future where Mars is terraformed and colonized by the best humanity has to offer — follows Walt and Sophie, two very different college students who sneak onboard a space shuttle to the red planet in order to be united with their significant others. The film stars Cole Sprouse (“Riverdale,” Five Feet Apart), Lana Condor (“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” trilogy, Alita: Battle Angel), Mason Gooding (Scream, “Love, Victor”), Emily Rudd (“Fear Street” trilogy, “Hunters”) and Zach Braff (Cheaper by the Dozen, Garden State).

The Mel Gibson spy thriller Agent Game arrives May 24 as a combo pack with Blu-ray, DVD and digital from Lionsgate. Directed by Grant S. Johnson (Nighthawks), the movie also stars Dermot Mulroney (TV’s “Hanna,” Hard Luck Love Song, TV’s “The Purge”), Annie Ilonzeh (TV’s “Chicago Fire,” TV’s “Person of Interest,” TV’s “Charlie’s Angels”), Jason Isaacs (TV’s “The OA,” “Harry Potter” franchise, Black Hawk Down), Katie Cassidy (TV’s “Arrow,” TV’s “Gossip Girl,” TV’s “Melrose Place”), Academy Award nominee Barkhad Abdi (2013, Actor in a Supporting Role, Captain Phillips), Adan Canto (TV’s “Designated Survivor,” TV’s “Blood & Oil,” TV’s “Mixology”) and Rhys Coiro (TV’s “Entourage,” TV’s “The Walking Dead,” TV’s “A Million Little Things”). In the spy thriller, Harris (Mulroney), a CIA interrogator at an Agency black site, finds himself the target of a rendition operation after being scapegoated for an interrogation gone horribly wrong. As the team tasked to bring Harris in begins to question their orders — and each other — Olsen (Gibson), a senior intelligence officer, and his subordinate, Visser (Ilonzeh), raise the stakes. Now, it’s up to Harris and some newfound allies to uncover the truth and turn the tables.

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The action thriller Ambulance was released for digital purchase May 23  from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Directed by Michael Bay (Transformers, Armageddon), the film follows veteran Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Candyman), desperate for money, who turns to his adoptive brother Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal, End of Watch) for help. A career criminal, Danny instead offers him a huge score. When their heist goes awry, the desperate brothers hijack an ambulance with a wounded cop and paramedic (Eiza González, Fast and Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw) onboard. Will and Danny must evade a city-wide law enforcement response, keep their hostages alive, and somehow try not to kill each other, all while executing an escape. It arrives on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD June 14.

Gravitas Ventures will release the documentary The Quest: Nepal on digital platforms May 24 timed to International Everest Day May 29. It follows filmmaker and host Alex Harz’s personal journey through the culture of Nepal, including his harrowing climb of Mt. Everest. The film is a quest to deeper understand and climb the most iconic mountain in the world while unveiling the fascinating culture, history and nature of Nepal. Viewers visit one of the most surreal cities on earth, Kathmandu, before embarking with the climbers on the expedition in the film. The Quest: Nepal has won awards at the Buenos Aires International Film Festival, New York International Film Awards, Santa Monica Film Festival, Accolade Competition, Barcelona International Film Festival, Europe Film Festival U.K. (EFFUK), Las Vegas International Film & Screenplay Festival, Silk Road Film Awards Cannes and the Vegas Movie Awards.

Mutiny Pictures’ Japanese fantasy Sayo will be released on digital May 24 from Mill Creek Entertainment. In the film, Nagisa lost her twin sister Sayo two years ago. One night, on her way home, a strange taxi driver picks her up and takes her to another world, the land of the souls where she goes on a journey to reach out to her sister one last time. The fantastical twist on the road-trip genre stars Nagisa Chauveau (Sumire, Unsaid) and Jai West (Equals, Love Exposure). The film has English subtitles.

Shout! Factory May 24 releases the documentary Trekkies on Blu-ray Disc for the first time to mark the film’s 25th anniversary. Denise Crosby of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” hosts this often-hilarious examination of “Star Trek” devotees, from autograph hounds, to dentists doing their work in Federation uniforms, to the debate over “Trekkies” vs “Trekkers” as the preferred term for the franchise’s fans. In addition to interviews with hundreds of devoted fans, the 1997 film includes discussions with “Star Trek” cast members such as James Doohan, DeForest Kelley, Walter Koenig, Kate Mulgrew, Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, Brent Spiner and George Takei. Trekkies: 25th Anniversary Edition offers a new 4K scan restoration, as well as new retrospective featurette “A Trek Back” with Crosby and director Roger Nygard about the making of the film.

Mattel’s Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go — Best Friends will be released on DVD May 24 from NCircle Entertainment and Distribution Solutions. The disc features eight episodes of the series, in which Thomas and Percy are practically inseparable and everyone on the Island of Sodor knows they’re rarely seen without one another.

The Steven Seagal actioner A Dangerous Man and “Robocop: The Series” are being released on Blu-ray May 24 from MVD Entertainment Group and Liberation Hall. 

Based on the classic 1987 film by Paul Verhoeven, “Robocop: The Series” (1994) stars Richard Eden (Shootfighter: Fight to the Death) as the titular cyborg. ”Delta City” (the project OCP is trying to complete in the films) is now complete. Robocop/Alex Murphy (Eden) is now working for the Metro South Police Precinct along with his partner, Lisa Madigan (Yvette Nipar, ”21 Jump Street”), and a new set of supporting characters, including precinct head Sgt. Stan Parks (Blu Mankuma, 2012), technician Charlie Lippencott (Ed Sahely, Maximum Risk) and an adopted orphan named Gadget (Sarah Campbell, Body Parts). Starting with pilot episode (which uses an early script for RoboCop 2 as its basis), the series sees Robocop running into several new enemies including “Pudface” Morgan (James Kidnie, Bird on a Wire), Dr. Cray Z. Mallardo (Cliff De Young, The Craft), Commander Cash (Roddy Piper, WWE and They Live) and corrupt corporate executive Chip Chayken (John Rubinstein, The Boys From Brazil). Bonus features include a behind the scenes featurette, a toy commercial, a photo gallery, cast profiles, “From Cinema to the Small Screen,” “The Future of Law Enforcement: The History of RoboCop,” fun facts, “Put Down Your Weapon: The Auto 9 Gun,” “The Car” and “The Suit.”

In A Dangerous Man (2009), after serving six years for a crime he didn’t commit, Shane Daniels (Seagal), an ex-Special Forces agent, is released from prison with an apology from the State of Arizona. Within hours of his release, he unluckily witnesses the murder of a cop by members of the Chinese mafia who have kidnapped a girl and taken a bag of drug money. Shane intercedes with the help of the Russian mafia, whose boss owes him a favor for saving his son from the Chinese cop killing that set off the chain of events. Bonus features include the trailer and EPK with cast interviews.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

The Batman

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 5/24/22;
Warner;
Action;
Box Office $369.3 million;
$19.99 DVD, $24.99 Blu-ray, $29.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for strong violent and disturbing content, drug content, strong language, and some suggestive material.
Stars Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, Jayme Lawson, Andy Serkis, Colin Farrell.

Director Matt Reeves’ The Batman brings an indie sensibility to the realm of the big-budget superhero. The film feels more like a 1970s crime saga than the slick, CGI-heavy spectacles most blockbuster comic book movies have become lately.

Unlike with many of the earlier adaptations, The Batman emphasizes the character’s skills as a detective rarther than as a gadget-happy vigilante — though there is plenty of that to go around as well. The story finds Batman (Robert Pattinson) teaming with Lt. James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) to investigate the murder of Gotham City’s mayor by the Riddler (Paul Dano), who leaves a series of clues that threaten to unravel Gotham’s criminal underworld and bring chaos to the city.

Drawing inspiration from the grittier Batman comic storylines of the late 1980s and 1990s, the film presents the caped crusader as raw and unpolished, so obsessed with his vigilante pursuit of justice that he neglects his life as Bruce Wayne, much to the chagrin of his butler and caretaker, Alfred (Andy Serkis). Along the way, Batman finds an unlikely ally in proto-Catwoman Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz), who has her own motivations for taking down the city’s mob bosses, including Carmine Falcone (John Turturro) and the Penguin (Colin Farrell, unrecognizable in heavy makeup).

Taking place a couple of years into Batman’s war on crime in Gotham City, The Batman almost feels like it could take place after Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, sharing that film’s interest in grounding Batman more in realism than his more fantastical comic book roots. The film’s darker mood is helped immensely by a relentless, haunting musical score by Michael Giacchino.

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The Batman clocks in at a lengthy three hours and feels it, taking its time to establish the grungy hopelessness of Gotham City and not rushing through the particulars of the case at hand. Just as the film seems to reach an emotional catharsis through the resolution of one central mystery, it still has 50 minutes or so to contend with the Riddler’s grand plot, a pivot that feels more akin to a streaming miniseries. Ironically, after two hours of aping film noir, the film’s third act is the one that starts to feel most like a traditional Batman movie.

The film’s production design gives Gotham an appropriately worn out look, with a color palette awash in oranges and browns, grays and blacks, toning down any potential splashes of real color. The Batsuit and Batmobile feel homemade — Pattinson’s Batman a crusader with dirt under his fingernails as he tours the city on a motorcycle with his costume in a backpack, ready to jump into action.

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The Blu-ray includes a couple of deleted scenes. The most notable, running nearly six minutes, features Batman visiting a familiar Arkham Asylum prisoner to gain insights into the Riddler case, a la Silence of the Lambs. While interesting on its own, the scene spoils the character’s more-effective cameo that’s in the final film, and overall just doesn’t seem to mesh well with the proceedings. The other scene, running about two minutes, provides some interesting character dynamics as Selina is propositioned by the Penguin as she’s trying to infiltrate his nightclub to gain clues for Batman. Both scenes contain optional director’s commentary by Reeves.

Also included with the home video extras are about two hours of behind-the-scenes material featuring interviews with the key filmmakers, including Reeves sporting a bushy mustache that makes him look like a Commissioner Gordon stand-in himself.

The headliner, running nearly 54 minutes, is “Vengeance in the Making,” which provides a comprehensive look at the entire production. 

The eight-minute “Vengeance Meets Justice” looks at some of the parallels between Batman and Riddler; the six-minute “The Batman: Genesis” offers Pattinson and Reeves exploring their approach to Batman; the eight-and-a-half-minute “Becoming Catwoman” and the eight-minute “A Transformation: The Penguin” look at Kravitz’s and Farrell’s takes on their iconic characters; the 11-minute “The Batmobile” unveils the creation of this film’s iteration of Batman’s famous car; the five-minute “Looking for Vengeance” focuses on making the fight sequences; while the six minute “Anatomy of the Car Chase” and six-and-a-half-minute “Anatomy of the Wingsuit Jump” break down two key action scenes. The six-minute “Unpacking the Icons,” which is the only one of the featurettes offered on the DVD version, looks at the film’s tone and costume design.

Movies Anywhere offers an additional minute-long featurette called “Discover: Batmobile, Batsuit & Gadgets.”

‘Stranger Things’ Remains Atop Parrot’s Digital Originals Demand Chart as Fourth Season Looms

Netflix’s supernatural thriller “Stranger Things” remained No. 1 on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals U.S. rankings the week ended May 20. The series had a 22.5% rise in demand expressions, the proprietary metric Parrot uses to gauge a show’s popularity, pushing it to 61.6 times the demand of an average series. Netflix May 20 released a preview of the first half of the fourth season, which arrives May 27. “Stranger Things” was No. 2 on Parrot’s list of overall TV shows.

The Disney+ “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” remained No. 2 on the digital originals chart, grabbing 35.7 times average demand after a 1.8% rise in demand expressions.

HBO Max’s “Our Flag Means Death,” a comedy about a wealthy British fop who decides to become a pirate captain in the 18th century, rose a spot to No. 3. The show had 34.2 times average demand after a 1% drop in demand expressions.

The Paramount+ sci-fi series “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” slipped a spot to No. 4, with demand expressions down 2.2% to give it 34.1 times average demand.

The Disney+ Marvel series “Moon Knight” remained No. 5 with 31.6 times average demand after an 8.7% dip in demand expressions.

The Amazon Prime Video superhero series “The Boys” rose to No. 6 on the digital originals chart, from No. 31 the previous week, after the release of a trailer for the upcoming third season, which begins June 3. The 71.8% spike in demand expressions gave it 30.1 times average demand.

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A “digital original” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

The No. 1 overall TV series in terms of online demand was “SpongeBob SquarePants,” with 70.8 times average demand.

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Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures demand for TV content in a given market through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites. Results are expressed as a comparison with the average demand for a TV show of any kind in the market.

 

Licorice Pizza

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Universal/MGM;
Comedy;
Box Office $17.32 million;
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for language, sexual material and some drug use.
Stars Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bradley Cooper, Benny Safdie.

Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson, whose films typically emphasize mood over story, adds to his oeuvre with Licorice Pizza, his reflection on life growing up in Los Angeles in the early 1970s.

The centerpiece of the film is an unconventional love story between a 15-year-old child actor and a listless 25-year-old woman he hits on during photo day at his high school.

Cooper Hoffman, son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, a frequent Anderson collaborator, makes his feature debut as Gary Valentine, a young hustler loosely based on producer Gary Goetzman. He is instantly attracted to the sassy Alana (Alana Haim, a musician also marking her film debut), who finds herself intrigued by his forwardness despite being 10 years older than him.

Gary, as an actor whose mother is involved with marketing several restaurants around the San Fernando Valley, seems to have connections all over town and is quick to exploit any opportunity for profit. First, he starts a business selling water beds, recruiting several of his friends, including Alana, to help run it.

Things are going swimmingly until the oil crisis inflates the costs of plastics needed for his beds, forcing him to close up shop, but not before one last installation at the home of eccentric Hollywood personality Jon Peters (Bradley Cooper), leading to a wild night around town.

Questioning her life choices, Alana turns to political activism, allowing Anderson to dramatize the real-life mayoral campaign of closeted L.A. councilman Joel Wachs (Benny Safdie).

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Like most of Anderson’s films, Licorice Pizza is carried by quirky characters and unconventional dialogue. The title is a reference to a defunct chain of record stores, which Anderson likened to evoking the feeling of childhood memories. The film is somewhat ethereal in that regard, more like a series of vignettes connected through character arcs. Its wistful quality might make it feel disconnected to some viewers, though PTA fans should enjoy his usual touchstones embedded throughout.

Fans of Hollywood history will also enjoy the numerous references to the entertainment industry of the 1970s, not unlike how Once Upon a Time In Hollywood paid tribute to Hollywood in the 1960s.

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The Blu-ray includes a handful of extras but nothing too exciting. Most interesting is a two-minute deleted scene that pays off a pretty important joke that’s in the movie. There’s also Gary filming a fake commercial for his waterbed store.

Also included are four minutes of camera tests and a 10-and-a-half-minute behind-the-scenes featurette that just shows scenes being filmed, without any interviews or context. In fact, the Blu-ray doesn’t really offer any filmmaker discussion, leaving the film’s messaging to pretty much stand on its own. Curious viewers looking for such insights will have better luck on the internet.

Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022)

STREAMING REVIEW:

Disney+;
Comedy;
Rated ‘PG’ for mild action and rude/suggestive humor.
Stars Andy Samberg, John Mulaney, KiKi Layne, Will Arnett, Eric Bana, Flula Borg, Dennis Haysbert, Keegan-Michael Key, Tress MacNeille, Tim Robinson, Seth Rogen, J.K. Simmons, Da’Vone McDonald, Rachel Bloom.

The new Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers isn’t so much a reboot of the 1989-90 cartoon show of the same name as it is a hilarious spoof of the entire animation industry.

A staple of the Disney Afternoon animation block of the late 1980s and early 1990s, “Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers” repurposed Disney’s mischievous chipmunk duo Chip and Dale as heads of a detective agency that took on animal-based crimes. The pair had been created in 1943 and were featured in 23 animated shorts through 1956, mostly as annoyances to more-prominent Disney characters such as Donald Duck or Pluto.

Produced by the Lonely Island comedy troupe, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers reimagines Chip and Dale as actors who once starred in the “Rescue Rangers” TV show in a Who Framed Roger Rabbit-type world where Toons exist in the live-action world (as do Muppets, puppets and Claymation characters).

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Best friends from high school in the 1980s, the pair have gone their separate ways in the 30 years since the show ended. Chip (voiced by John Mulaney) has become an insurance salesman, while Dale (Andy Samberg) is an internet celebrity cashing in on his fleeting fame by touring fan conventions alongside other washed up cartoon characters (including a rather pointed slam of the botched marketing of a recent movie from another studio). Dale’s also undergone a procedure to give him a CGI upgrade — this world’s equivalent to plastic surgery — while Chip remains his traditional 2D appearance.

The pair are reunited by the pleas of their desperate “Rescue Rangers” co-star Monterey Jack, whose cheese addiction has put him in debt with some unsavory characters. When Monterey disappears, Chip and Dale join forces with a local cop (KiKi Layne) to free him from Sweet Pete (Will Arnett), a disgruntled former child star with a reputation for re-animating Toons in order to force them to star in cheap DVD bootleg ripoffs of their own movies. The premise gives director Akiva Schaffer and screenwriters Dan Gregor and Doug Mand plenty of ammunition to skewer the tropes of animated movies and reboots.

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The film avoids cameos from any of Disney’s major characters, but, like Roger Rabbit, serves up a ton of casual appearances from well-known minor characters, many of which feature in other studios’ properties. The fun blast of nostalgia will instantly appeal to anyone who grew up in the Disney Afternoon era, but also aren’t a distraction from the main story, which mixes in enough generic archetypal characters so that audiences of any age can appreciate the film without needing to understand any additional history of animation.