Filmmaker Christopher Nolan to Receive DEG’s Vanguard Award

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group will present its inaugural Vanguard Award to Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Christopher Nolan.

The award presentation will take place during a reception at the 4K Ultra HD Summit to be held Nov. 6 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

The DEG Vanguard Award is in recognition of Nolan’s place at the forefront of filmmakers using groundbreaking technology to deliver increased scale and resolution, enhanced color and immersive audio to film audiences both in cinemas and in the home theater environment. Nolan has been a longtime advocate of the best home viewing experience available to consumers.

The director, writer and producer most recently earned dual Academy Award nominations, for Best Director and Best Picture, for Dunkirk, which in July 2017 received the largest 70mm release in the last quarter century. His filmography also includes InterstellarInception, The Dark Knight TrilogyThe Prestige, and Memento, for which he received his first Oscar nomination, for Best Original Screenplay.

With the December 2017 release of the seven film “The Christopher Nolan Collection” in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Nolan became the filmmaker with the largest number of films available in the most advanced home-based viewing format, according to the DEG.

The 4K Ultra HD Summit, presented by the DEG and the Ultra HD Alliance, will advocate and educate about the benefits of 4K Ultra HD televisions and content while highlighting the changes to all things 4K. The goal of the Summit is to help consumers understand the benefits of 4K UHD with HDR and provide information about new hardware and software products for the holiday buying season.

The program will focus on advancements in 4K UHD technology, increasing affordability of the technology, and widening availability of content.

For information about attending The 4K Ultra HD Summit, email Shannon@degonline.org.
For sponsorship opportunities, email Andi@degonline.org.
For speaking opportunities, email Marcy@degonline.org.

Spike Lee’s ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Due on Digital Oct. 23, Disc Nov. 6 From Universal

BlacKkKlansman, director Spike Lee’s film of the true story of Ron Stallwortth, an African-American police officer who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan, will arrive on digital (including Movies Anywhere) Oct. 23 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and on demand Nov. 6 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Based on the book Black Klansman by Stallworth, BlacKkKlansman stars John David Washington (“Ballers,” Malcolm X), Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force AwakensLogan Lucky), Topher Grace (Interstellar, “That 70’s Show”), Laura Harrier (Spider-Man: HomecomingThe Last Five Years), Alec Baldwin (“Saturday Night Live,” Mission Impossible – Fallout), Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta ComptonKong: Skull Island), Ryan Eggold (“The Blacklist,” “Sons of Liberty”) and Paul Walter Hauser (I, TonyaSuper Troopers 2).
In the early 1970s Stallworth (Washington) becomes the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department where he sets out to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. He recruits a seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Driver), into the undercover investigation.

Special features on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD and digital include “A Spike Lee Joint,” in which producer Jordan Peele, cast and film subject Ron Stallworth discuss working with Lee, and the extended trailer featuring Prince’s “Mary Don’t You Weep.”

BlacKkKlansman will be available on 4K Ultra HD in a combo pack which includes 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and digital. The 4K Ultra HD disc will include the same bonus features as the Blu-ray version, all in 4K resolution.

Season Two of ‘The Crown’ Coming to Disc Nov. 13 From Sony

The Crown: Season Two debuts on Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 13 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The second season of the Emmy-winning Netflix series ushers in the revolutionary era of the 1960s, following Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) from 1956 to 1964 as she continues to navigate her changing role on the global stage. From the Suez Canal crisis to the resignation of British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan under scandal, and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the season follows the challenges and triumphs of her reign.

The Blu-ray and DVD will include all 10 episodes along with two featurettes, “The Royal Rules of Etiquette” and “Horses & Hounds: The Queen’s Companions” and a gallery of on-set photography. The Blu-ray also includes an additional exclusive featurette, “Fact or Fiction with Robert Lacey: Breaking Down the Pivotal Scandals,” which dives into which royal plot points were real vs. “imagined,” and “Tea Time Trivia” which pops up trivia about the Royal family and the making of the show, for every episode.

In addition to Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, Matt Smith stars as (TV’s “Doctor Who,” Terminator: Genisys) as the Duke of Edinburgh, Vanessa Kirby (Me Before You, Everest) as Princess Margaret and Matthew Goode (TV’s “Downton Abbey,” The Imitation Game) as Tony Armstrong-Jones, all of whom were nominated for Emmy Awards for their performances. The series also stars Victoria Hamilton (TV’s “Victoria & Albert,” Mansfield Park), Jeremy Northam (Eye in the Sky, Glorious 39), Greg Wise (Blackwood, Effie Gray), Jodi Balfour (TV’s “True Detective”) and Michael C. Hall (TV’s “Dexter” and “Six Feet Under”).

Foy recently won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for the role.

VHS-Era ‘Prehysteria’ Coming on Blu-ray Disc for First Time Oct. 9 From Full Moon and MVD

From horror and fantasy film studio Full Moon Features comes 1993’s Prehysteria on Blu-ray Disc Oct. 9 for the first time from MVD Entertainment Group.

Founded by producer/director Charles Band in 1989, Full Moon released the film under its fantasy label for children and families, Moonbeam Entertainment. Anticipating the success of Jurassic Park, this VHS-era title follows the misadventures of Jerry Taylor (Austin O’Brien, The Last Action Hero), a 12-year-old, Elvis-loving kid, and his sister Monica (Samantha Mills), whose farmer dad Frank (Brett Cullen, Ghost Rider) accidentally brings home a bundle of rare eggs unearthed in the rainforest by a sinister museum curator. Suddenly, the eggs hatch, unleashing a pack of diminutive dinosaurs.

The film features stop-motion special effects by David Allen (Puppet Master, Laserblast) and a remastered, high-definition transfer taken from the original 35mm camera negative.

Neil Simon, Burt Reynolds DVD Sets Due Nov. 13 From Mill Creek

Mill Creek Entertainment will honor recently passed actor Burt Reynolds and writer Neil Simon with DVD collections Nov. 13.

Due on DVD at $14.98 is the “Burt Reynolds Collection” two-disc, four-film set, including The Man Who Loved Women, directed by Blake Edwards and co-starring Julie Andrews and Kim Basinger; Shamus, co-starring Dyan Cannon; Physical Evidence, co-starring Theresa Russell and Ned Beatty; and Switching Channels, co-starring Kathleen Turner and Christopher Reeve.

Coming to DVD at $19.98 is the three-disc set of eight “Neil Simon Comedies,” including The Slugger’s Wife, Lost in Yonkers, The Cheap Detective, Chapter Two, Only When I Laugh, Jake’s Women, London Suite and The Sunshine Boys.

Stage Production ‘Moses’ Coming to DVD Oct. 16 From Virgil Films

Moses, a theatrical stage production, will hit DVD Oct. 16 from Virgil Films at $19.99.

Filmed in front of a live audience at Sight & Sound in Lancaster, Penn., Moses is an original stage production experienced by nearly 2 million people. It follows the life of Moses, set adrift as a baby and wandering in the wilderness — until God calls him into action to lead God’s people to the promised land.

The filming took place in a 2,000-seat theater with live animals and special effects including the burning bush, the parting of the Red Sea, a ship on stage, and the death angel, floating above the audience.

Fathom will mount a three-day theatrical event for Moses on Sept. 13, Sept. 15 and Sept. 20 in more than 800 Theaters.

The title has an all ages rating from the Dove Foundation.

DEG Announces Board of Directors

As it begins its 22nd year as a home entertainment trade organization, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group has announced its incoming board of directors.

The officers of the DEG board are elected to a two-year term. They are former vice chair Matt Strauss of Comcast Cable, who will now serve as chair; former CFO Sofia Chang of HBO, who will now serve as vice chair; Bob Buchi of Paramount, who will serve as CFO; and Jim Wuthrich of Warner Bros. Worldwide Home Entertainment & Games, who will serve as secretary. In recognition of his tenure and significant contribution as former chair, the board has appointed Mike Dunn of 20th Century Fox to serve as ex-officio.

Matt Strauss

The officers are responsible for providing leadership and oversight of the DEG’s agenda.

“We welcome all of our new DEG board directors,” said Amy Jo Smith, CEO and president, DEG, in a statement. “The board of directors represents the diversity of the entertainment industry and strives to produce deliverables that meet the needs of the industry at this time of rapid change in technology and consumer behavior. DEG is grateful for all of the directors’ commitment, and for the robust participation of our members in their election.”

Board members include Todd Mathers, SVP content and programming group, AT&T; Sergei Kuharsky, EVP, franchise and digital enterprise, BBC Studios — Americas; Bill Sondheim, president, Cinedigm Entertainment Group; Gerald Hensley, UDN media sales, Ericsson; a member to be determined from Fandango; Jonathan Zepp, head of media and entertainment, Android and Google Play, Google; Rick Hack, head of media and entertainment partnerships, Intel; Tim Alessi, director, new product

Sofia Chang

development, LG Electronics USA; Ron Schwartz, president, home entertainment, Lionsgate; Dametra Johnson-Marletti, GM, digital stores, category, MG, Microsoft; Andrea Downing, co-president, PBS Distribution; Marty Gordon, VP, strategic partnerships and alliances, Philips; Chad Bautista, director, CE product planning, Samsung Electronics; Mike Fasulo, president and COO, Sony Electronics; Darren Stupak, EVP, U.S. sales and distribution, Sony Music Entertainment; and Eddie Cunningham, president, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Hulu and Discovery Ink New Distribution Agreement

Discovery and Hulu have announced a distribution agreement that will extend Discovery’s portfolio brands to Hulu’s on-demand and live TV subscription streaming services.

The multi-year agreement increases Hulu’s offering of top Discovery programming to nearly 4,000 episodes of popular shows, including “Deadliest Catch,” “MythBusters,” “Say Yes to the Dress,” “Naked and Afraid,” “Property Brothers,” “Gold Rush,” “Street Outlaws,” “Chopped,” “Chopped Jr.,” “Fixer Upper,” “House Hunters” and “House Hunters International,” available outside of Discovery’s networks exclusively to Hulu across all of its subscription plans.

The deal will also bring five additional Discovery networks, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Motor Trend, the rebranded Velocity network and Animal Planet, to Hulu’s live television plan, Hulu With Live TV. The networks join HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel, which have been available on the service since its launch through a previous agreement with Scripps Networks Interactive, now owned by Discovery. The five additional channels will be available to stream live beginning in December.

“At Discovery, we are committed to bringing our portfolio of high-quality, safe family friendly brands and content to viewers across every screen, service and device around the world,” said Eric Phillips, president of affiliate distribution at Discovery, in a statement.  “Our new agreement with Hulu affirms the strength of our brands and their value to viewers in a marketplace with an increasing array of options.”

“As the only streaming service offering a complete television experience, Hulu continues to strike strategic, efficient deals with top brands that bring extraordinary value to all of our subscribers,” said Lisa Holme, VP of content acquisition, and Reagan Feeney, VP of network partnerships, at Hulu in a statement. “Discovery’s brand is synonymous with high-quality unscripted entertainment that TV fans love, which is why we are excited to bring their entire portfolio to our platform, across all of our subscription plans.”

Concurrent with the Discovery partnership, Hulu reached a licensing agreement with OWN — which is part of the Discovery Networks family — to bring four of the network’s top-rated scripted series exclusively to Hulu. All past episodes of Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots,” “If Loving You is Wrong,” “The Paynes” and “Love Thy Neighbor” are now available to stream for the first time, only on Hulu. They join the complete library of OWN series “Queen Sugar” from Ava DuVernay and Warner Horizon.

‘Afraid’,’ Asian Actioners on Tap From Well Go for the Fall

The Halloween month kicks off Oct. 2 for Well Go USA Entertainment with the horror film Afraid on DVD and digital.

Alanna Masterson (“The Walking Dead”) and George Byrne star as a couple on a romantic getaway at a secluded cabin that takes a frightening turn. Shortly into their vacation, the young couple realizes that the cabin isn’t nearly as secluded as they think because their every move is being watched by the cabin’s creepy owner. The film is directed by Jason Goldberg (co-creator, “Punk’d”).

Coming on VOD and digital Oct. 9 is the South Korean sports comedy Champion, in which a former arm-wrestling champion raised in the U.S. returns to South Korea for a tournament that could return him to glory, but finds his life complicated by the appearance of the biological family he never knew.

Due Oct. 16 is the actioner Buybust, from the Philippines, on digital, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD. In the film, after surviving the slaughter of her entire squad in a drug raid compromised by dirty cops, an anti-narcotics special operative is eager to go head-to-head with the drug cartels that hold a bloody grip on Manila. But when her new mission in the city’s most dangerous slum goes south, the angry civilians turn on her squad. Special features include a making-of featurette and a 2018 Comic-con panel.

Also on tap Oct. 30 from Well Go is the South Korean film Believer, directed by Lee Hae-Young (The Silenced), the remake of Johnnie To’s Drug War. The film is available on digital, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD. The story follows an investigator who, in an effort to bring down the boss of Asia’s biggest drug cartel, conspires with a lowly member of the gang seeking revenge against the boss.

Coming on digital Oct. 2 and DVD Nov. 6 is the Chinese film Girls Vs. Gangsters, the sequel to 2014’s Girls. After a drinking contest with some questionable local spirits at an out-of-control bachelorette party, five friends wake up naked on a beach to discover one of them is handcuffed to a locked suitcase, one has a strange new tattoo, and none of them have any clue what happened the night before.

Fox to Release ‘X-Men’ Trilogy on 4K Ultra HD Sept. 25

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release the first three films in the “X-Men” series, starring Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry, on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc on Sept. 25.

The three-film collection includes X-Men, X2: X-Men Unite and X-Men: The Last Stand. The trilogy follows the group of mutant outcasts as they learn to control their powers, join forces with their enemies to save all mutants and face the discovery of a “cure” for the mutation that starts a war.

Special features include audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, deleted/extended scenes, “The Mutant Watch,” animatics, and character and production design stills.