Cruella

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Disney;
Comedy;
Box Office $86.1 million;
$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $43.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some violence and thematic elements.
Stars Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Water Hauser, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mark Strong, John McCrea, Kayvan Novak.

The visually spectacular Cruella offers a fun, comedic take on the origins of one of Disney’s most enduring villains.

Emma Stone sinks her teeth into the title character, the younger version of Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians, though the film is more of a reboot than a direct prequel to any of the previously filmed versions of the story.

In the film, Cruella begins as Estella, a trouble-making young girl who gets kicked out of school, forcing her mother to seek financial help from a wealthy patron. When a serious of unfortunate events leaves her mother dead in an accident at the patron’s estate, Estella is left orphaned on the streets of London, where she meets young Jasper and Horace, her future henchmen. The trio turn to grifting to get by, aided by Estella’s innate flair for fashion design.

Hoping to help her realize her dreams, Jasper and Horace arrange for Estella to get a job at a local department store, where her talents get her recruited by the Baroness (Emma Thompson), a famed yet unpleasant fashion designer. When Estella realizes that the Baroness is the patron her mother was seeing, and was responsible for her death, she vows revenge by organizing the greatest con of all — taking over her fashion empire by becoming the trendy Cruella — an up-and-coming designer who performs outrageous stunts to promote herself and upstage the Baroness’ fashion shows.

Set against the backdrop of the 1970s punk rock scene, Cruella perfectly captures the rebellious vibe of the era, while also laying the groundwork for its own future version of the 101 Dalmatians story.

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The Blu-ray edition contains two relatively insubstantial deleted scenes that run about a minute each, plus a two-minute blooper reel and more than 40 minutes of behind-the-scenes featurettes.

The best one for Disney fans is the three-and-a-half-minute “Cruella 101,” which covers the history of the character and how Cruella references the animated film.

Other featurettes include the 10-minute “Cruella Couture,” about the films’ eccentric costumes; the six-minute “New Dogs … Old Tricks,” which deals with the animals in the film; the five-and-a-half-minute “The Sidekick Angle,” about Jasper and Horace; the 11-minute “The Two Emmas,” which focuses on the interplay between the two lead actresses; and the six-and-a-half-minute “The World of Cruella,” about the film’s locations.

‘Cruella’ Now Available for Digital Purchase — Free Preview of First Nine Minutes Available via Fandango

Disney’s Cruella became available for digital purchase June 25, and online movie hub Fandango is offering an exclusive free preview of the film’s first nine minutes.

The film, a prequel to 101 Dalmatians, stars Emma Stone as a young Cruella de Vil when she was a young grifter named Estella during the punk rock revolution in 1970s London. One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman (Emma Thompson), setting off a chain of events that leads Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella. The cast also includes Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Mark Strong.

The preview is available through the FandangoNow Extras YouTube channel and Fandango’s social media accounts, and available to buy for $29.99 in standard-definition, high-definition and 4K ultra-high-definition through Fandango-owned transacational video services Vudu and FandangoNow.

The preview is embedded here:

The film was previously available as a $29.99 Premier Access add-on to the Disney+ streaming service, and was simultaneously released in theaters, where it has earned more than $162 million worldwide. Cruella will be released on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Sept. 21.

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‘Cruella’ Digital Release Set for June 25, Disc Coming Sept. 21

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution will make Cruella available through digital retailers June 25, with a release on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD to follow on Sept. 21.

The film, a prequel to 101 Dalmatians, follows the early years of the villainous Cruella de Vil (Emma Stone), when she was a young grifter named Estella during the punk rock revolution in 1970s London. One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman (Emma Thompson), setting off a chain of events that leads Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.

The cast also includes Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Mark Strong.

The film earned $43.7 million at the domestic box office and is also available as a $29.99 Premier Access add-on to the Disney+ streaming service.

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The 4K disc will include Dolby Atmos, while the regular Blu-ray will feature 7.1 DTS-HDMA. Extras include bloopers, two deleted scenes and several featurettes:

  • “The Two Emma’s” — about the two lead actresses and how they prepared for their roles;
  • “The Sidekick Angle” — about Fry and Hauser as Jasper and Horace;
  • “Cruella Couture” — a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most fashionable moments in the movie;
  • “The World of “Cruella” — an exploration of the city locations and elaborate sets of Cruella;
  • “New Dogs … Old Tricks” — a look at the animal actors of the film;
  • “Cruella 101” — a look at Easter eggs hidden in the film and connections to other movies.

 

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Merchandising: A Disney Vault Made of Steelbook

Retailers mostly eschewed attaching exclusives to the Sept. 24 new releases in lieu of giving special treatment to a handful of Disney catalog titles.

The day saw the release of new “Signature Collections” of 1959’s animated Sleeping Beauty and 1961’s animated 101 Dalmatians, as well as a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition of 2014’s Maleficent.

The titles arrived without much fanfare or advanced promotion, leading to considerable speculation among home entertainment pundits and enthusiasts that the studio was hastily re-releasing its catalog on disc in new editions and new formats to wring some more incremental revenue from them before turning its attention to Disney+, which will become the new home of the famed “Disney Vault” when much of the studio’s catalog will be accessible to subscribers of the pending monthly SVOD service.

However, the titles also have some value as marketing tie-ins for upcoming Disney theatrical releases. In particular, the Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent re-releases herald the Oct. 18 theatrical release of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, the sequel to the 2014 live-action adaptation.

Disney is also making a new 101 Dalmatians movie, the live-action prequel Cruella, with Emma Stone as the villainous character, due for theaters in 2021.

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Best Buy offered Steelbook editions of all three Blu-rays, $29.99 for the new animated editions and $34.99 for the Ultra HD Maleficent. That’s $5 more than the standard versions of each release.

Best Buy’s ‘101 Dalmatians’ Steelbook
Best Buy’s ‘Maleficent’ 4K Steelbook

Target offered the Blu-rays of the animated movies with special storybook packaging for $28.99 each.

Target’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Blu-ray with storybook
Target’s ‘101 Dalmatians’ Blu-ray with storybook

Among the smattering of additional exclusives, Best Buy offered a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition of Warner’s 2019 version of Shaft for $27.99. Only the Blu-ray and DVD versions were made widely available.

Target offered a DVD of Nickelodeon’s Jojo Siwa: Sweet Celebrations with a pack-in sticker sheet for $9.99.

Target also has a buy-two-get-one-free deal on all music, books and movies, excluding new releases, preorders and clearance.

Disney Moving All ‘Vault’ Movies to Streaming Service

Disney plans to move all legacy original movie franchises such as The Lion King, 101 Dalmatians, Bambi and The Little Mermaid from its “vault” and onto the pending Disney+ subscription streaming service.

CEO Bob Iger alluded to the change March 7 during the media giant’s annual shareholder meeting in St. Louis.

“At some point fairly soon after launching, [Disney+] will house the entire Disney motion picture library,” Iger said. “So, movies that have traditionally been kept in the vault, and basically been brought out every few years, will be on the [streaming] service,” Iger said.

The Disney Vault was a marketing plan originated by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment that put select packaged media release movies, animated features and sequels on retail moratorium.

Disney advertising urged consumers to purchase select titles before they “go into the vault” for a period of years, a move studio marketers felt heightened retail demand.

The marketing was successful as Finding Nemo and Beauty and the Beast rank as the top-selling DVD and sixth best-selling Blu-ray Disc titles, respectively, in the United States.

Nemo, which was released in 2003, has generated more than $677 million from sales of nearly 39 million DVDs. Beast has generated $102 million from 4.5 million Blu-ray units sold.