Oscar-Lauded ‘Whiplash’ Coming to 4K UHD Sept. 22 From Sony

The Oscar-launded film Whiplash is coming out on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Sept. 22 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Written and directed by Academy Award-winner Damien Chazelle and starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons in an Oscar-winning performance, the 2014  film is newly remastered in 4K with High Dynamic Range and Dolby Atmos audio. The 4K Ultra HD release also includes the film and special features on Blu-ray, plus a digital version of the film.

The story follows Andrew Neyman (Teller), an ambitious young jazz drummer, single-minded in his pursuit to rise to the top of his elite east coast music conservatory. Terence Fletcher (Simmons), an instructor known equally for his teaching talents and his terrifying methods, discovers Andrew and transfers him into his band. Andrew’s passion to achieve perfection soon spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher continues to push him to the brink of both his ability and his sanity.

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Bonus materials include:

  • commentary with writer/director Chazelle and Simmons
  • “An Evening at the Toronto International Film Festival” with Teller, Simmons and Chazelle
  • “Timekeepers,” in which famous drummers discuss their craft and passion for drumming
  • the Whiplashoriginal thort film with optional commentary
  • a deleted scene
  • the theatrical trailer.

Lionsgate Heroes Get Dads Into Action for Father’s Day

Lionsgate has an army of heroes ready to ramp up the action for dads on Father’s Day, June 21. The studio’s catalog is filled with classics that feature iconic characters, including Rambo, John Wick and the Highlander; the genre’s top directors, including James Cameron, Paul Verhoeven and Roland Emmerich; and the genre’s biggest stars, including Sylvester Stallone, Keanu Reeves, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis and many more.

All five installments in the saga of Sylvester Stallone’s John Rambo are available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from Lionsgate. In First Blood (1982), Stallone originates the role of the war hero, an ex-Green Beret haunted by memories of Vietnam. In Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), with a screenplay by Stallone and James Cameron (Titanic), Rambo’s survival skills are tested on a top-secret mission that takes him back to the jungles of Vietnam in search of American POWs. In Rambo III (1988), the veteran has finally begun to find inner peace inside a monastery — until his friend and men-tor Col. Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) shows up to ask for his help on a top-secret mission in Afghanistan. Rambo (2008) finds the hero leading a group of battle-scarred, combat-hardened mercenaries on a mission to rescue aid workers in war-torn Burma. Finally, Rambo: Last Blood, billed as the last chapter of Rambo’s story, finds Stallone’s tortured warrior in a brief moment of relative peace before he must unearth his ruthless combat skills to exact revenge in a final mission.

Lionsgate’s catalog also includes the saga of another hero driven by vengeance, John Wick. Keanu Reeves stars as Wick in three chapters available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital. In John Wick (2014), the ex-hitman comes out of retirement to hunt down the gangsters that killed his dog and took everything from him. The sequel John Wick: Chapter 2 finds Wick returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt with a large bounty on his life. In John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, Wick has a $14 million price tag on his head after killing a member of the High Table, the shadowy international assassins’ guild.

No action catalog is complete without Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Lionsgate has two of his iconic movies, Terminator 2, available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital, and Total Recall, available on Blu-ray plus Digital HD, DVD and Digital. In the science-fiction classic Total Recall (1990), directed by Paul Verhoeven, Schwarzenegger plays a mild-mannered construction worker who takes a virtual vacation and finds himself embroiled in espionage on Mars unable to determine if the experiences are real. Director James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) has the action star in another sci-fi classic, reprising his role as a robotic killing machine — this time on the side of humans Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and her son John (Edward Furlong).

Another classic 1990s action film, Universal Soldier, is available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from Lionsgate. The Roland Emmerich-directed science-fiction actioner (1992) pits Jean-Claude Van Damme against Dolph Lundgren in a story of military experiments gone wrong.

Lionsgate has two star-studded ensembles in 2010’s RED and The Expendables. RED, on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital, stars Bruce Willis as a former black-ops agent who reassembles his old team to battle an assassin. It also stars Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and Mary-Louise Parker. Boasting a who’s who of action stars, The Expendables features Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren and many more in the story of a CIA operative who hires a team of mercenaries to eliminate a Latin dictator and a renegade CIA agent. It features an appearance by Schwarzenegger and is also available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital.

Government intrigue also figures into Sicario, about an idealistic FBI agent enlisted by a task force to aid in a drug war at the border. Available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital, the 2015 dramatic action film stars Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro.

Finally, Lionsgate’s catalog features action-filled adventures Cutthroat Island (1995) and Highlander (1986). Directed by Renny Harlin, Cutthroat Island, available on Blu-ray and DVD, stars Geena Davis as a pirate racing against rivals to find a hidden island harboring treasure. Highlander, also available on Blu-ray and DVD, stars Christopher Lambert as an immortal Scottish swordsman battling through time.

‘Trolls World Tour’ to Debut on Digital June 23, Disc — Including 4K — July 7 From Universal

DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour will debut on digital June 23, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD July 7 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The “Dance Party Edition” includes an interactive dance party mode in which viewers are introduced to dance moves to learn while they watch the film, lyrics to sing along, and surprises featuring the characters. This Dance Party Edition also includes bonus content, such as an exclusive original short film starring the Tiny Diamond, deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes exclusives with the musical cast of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Mary J. Blige, George Clinton and more.

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Queen Poppy (Kendrick), Branch (Timberlake), and the rest of the trolls are back for another musical adventure  in Trolls World Tour. Poppy and Branch discover that their kingdom is only one of six musical realms — Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop, and Rock — that were once united in perfect harmony. When the power-hungry ruler of the Rocker Trolls threatens to silence all other music so her tribe can reign supreme, Poppy and Branch must embark on an epic quest to unite the realms of Trollskind, before the songs in their hearts are lost forever.

The film is currently available on premium VOD.

Sony Pictures Expands Imax Distribution in the Home With Hundreds of New Movies

Sony Pictures Entertainment May 4 announced an expansion of its theatrical distribution with Imax Corp., encompassing hundreds of new movies in the 3D format over the next two years, including all upcoming SPE theatrical releases. The “Imax Enhanced” releases include hundreds of catalog titles, as well as theatrical releases for home entertainment available across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific regions.

Imax markets branded in-home “Imax private theatre” packages that include the required technology, screen and audio features for the well-heeled costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. The set-up can also screen Blu-ray releases, including 4K UHD.

The distribution format features digitally remastered 4K HDR content and DTS premium audio delivered through high-end consumer electronics and streaming platforms.

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The Imax Enhanced content library includes Spider-Man: Far From Home, Jumanji: The Next Level, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Venom, Bad Boys for Life, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Only the Brave, Men In Black: International, Zombieland: Double Tap, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Little Women (2019), and Charlie’s Angels (2019).

“The success that SPE has enjoyed in collaborating with Imax and DTS has inspired the decision to significantly increase our volume of content,” Pete Wood, SVP of new digital distribution at Sony Pictures, said in a statement. “SPE’s investment in the Imax Enhanced program ensures that we will continue to deliver even more of our films to audiences who now expect to experience movies at the highest technical quality — even in their own homes.”

Imax CFO Patrick McClymont said working with Sony Pictures and DTS is helping deliver ever-expanding roster of “movie favorites” across multiple genres.

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“We look forward to continuing to drive momentum on all fronts by working tirelessly with our leading consumer electronics and streaming partners on delivering breakthrough technology and content experiences for consumers around the world,” McClymont said.

Bill Neighbors, GM of Imax parent Xperi, said that with consumers looking for new ways to access movie content, Sony Pictures’ content library is a “seamless fit” with the Imax brand.

“[The deal is] preserving the films’ best-in-class sight, sound and scale for an at-home entertainment experience that truly stands out,” Neighbors said.

Now available on four streaming platforms in 14 countries and across 17 consumer electronics manufacturers, Imax Enhanced uses proprietary digital remastering technology to deliver ultra-vivid 4K HDR picture with more vibrant colors. Select content features Imax’s expanded aspect ratio — enabling viewers the full scope and scale of the picture. Imax and DTS have also partnered with Hollywood sound mixers to use a special variant of the DTS:X codec technology integrated in home audio equipment to deliver a signature sound experience with more immersive, powerful audio.

To ensure optimized playback of fully immersive Imax Enhanced content, the two companies are also designing “Imax Mode,” calibrated to deliver the best viewing and listening experience in the home.

‘Jaws’ Swimming to 4K Ultra HD June 2 for 45th Anniversary

Director Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster Jaws will come out in a 45th anniversary limited edition on 4K Ultra HD for the first time ever June 2 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The thriller, winner of three Academy Awards, including Best Original Score (John Williams), will come out in a combo pack with lenticular packaging and will include a 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and digital code of the film along with more than three hours of bonus features and a 44-page booklet with introductions, rare photos, storyboards and more from the archives.

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In Jaws, when the seaside community of Amity finds itself under attack by a dangerous great white shark, the town’s chief of police (Roy Scheider), a young marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a grizzled shark hunter (Robert Shaw) embark on a desperate quest to destroy the beast before it strikes again.

Bonus features on 4K and Blu-ray include:

  • The Making of Jaws
  • The Shark Is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of Jaws
  • Jaws: The Restoration
  • Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
  • From the Set
  • Theatrical Trailer

 

Additional bonus features on Blu-ray include:

  • Storyboards
  • Production Photos
  • Marketing Jaws
  • Jaws Phenomenon

Sony to Bow Six Classics in 4K UHD Exclusively in Limited Edition Set

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment June 16 will bow six classics — Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Lawrence of Arabia, Jerry Maguire, Dr. Strangelove, Gandhi and A League of Their Own — exclusively in a limited-edition set called the “Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection.”

The six films are only available on 4K Ultra HD disc within this special collector’s set with a limited-edition run of fewer than 8,000 units in the United States. Included with the collection is a hardbound 80-page book, featuring in-depth sections about the making of each film within the set via an all-new essay written by film historian Julie Kirgo. In addition, the set also includes an exclusive disc featuring excerpts from Columbia Pictures’ televised 50th anniversary special, which originally aired in 1975 and has never been officially available. These excerpts feature rare on-camera insights from such luminaries as Frank Capra, Phil Silvers and Orson Welles. The exclusive disc also includes the vintage behind-the-scenes documentary “Mr. Attenborough and Mr. Gandhi,” which was filmed on the set of Gandhi and features interviews with cast and crew.

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In a recent Sony Pictures Home Entertainment poll, consumers were asked which modern classics they wanted to see included in a 4K gift set. Out of more than 30,000 responses, A League of Their Own and Jerry Maguire were picked as No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Racing to Digital Early March 31, Debuting on Disc May 19

Sonic the Hedgehog will debut early for digital purchase March 31 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

The film, which made $306.8 million at the global box office, will be available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and for rental on demand May 19.

The family film based on the video game character follows the incredibly speedy Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz), aka The Blue Blur, who embraces his new home on Earth. That is, until he accidentally knocks out the power grid and sparks the attention of evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). It’s super-villain vs. super-sonic in an all-out race across the globe to stop Robotnik from using his unique power for world domination. Sonic teams up with The Donut Lord, aka Sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), to save the plane.

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Bonus features on digital, 4K Ultra HD combo pack and Blu-ray combo pack include commentary by director Jeff Fowler and Schwartz; “Around the World in 80 Seconds,” Sonic’s next adventure; deleted scenes; bloopers; the “Speed Me Up” music video; “For the Love of Sonic,” in which Carrey and the cast discuss what Sonic the Hedgehog means to them; “Building Robotnik with Jim Carrey”; “The Blue Blur: Origins of Sonic”; and “Sonic On Set,” a set visit with Schwartz.

The 4K Ultra HD Digital and 4K Ultra HD disc releases present the film in Dolby Vision with a Dolby Atmos sound.

 

‘Zombie’ and ‘Maniac’ Coming to 4K UHD Blu-ray May 26 From MVD and Blue Underground

Restorations of Zombie and Maniac will come out on 4K Ultra High Definition Blu-ray with Dolby Vision HDR and a new Dolby Atmos audio mix May 26 from MVD Entertainment Group and Blue Underground.

“We put a lot of time and work into restoring films like Maniac and Zombie,” said William Lustig, president of Blue Underground. “We’re thrilled that fans can now view them at home in true 4K Ultra HD, with Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range and new Dolby Atmos audio mixes.”

Known in England as Zombie Flesh Eaters and banned as obscene, Zombie (1979) stars Tisa Farrow (The Grim Reaper), Ian McCulloch (Contamination), Al Cliver (Cannibals) and Richard Johnson (The Haunting) in a splatterfest directed by “Maestro of Gore” Lucio Fulci (The House by the Cemetery, The New York Ripper).

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Zombie will be released in a two-disc combo pack.

Special features on the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc include:

  • audio commentary with Troy Howarth, author of Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films;
  • audio commentary with Star McCulloch and Diabolik magazine editor Jason J. Slater;
  • “When the Earth Spits Out the Dead,” an interview with Stephen Thrower, author of Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci;
  • theatrical trailers;
  • TV spots;
  • radio spots;
  • a poster and still gallery; and
  • an intro by director Guillermo del Toro.

 

Special features on the Blu-ray disc include:

  • “Zombie Wasteland,” featuring interviews with McCulloch, Johnson and Cliver, and actor/stuntman Ottaviano Dell’Acqua;
  • “Flesh Eaters on Film,” an interview with co-producer Fabrizio De Angelis;
  • “Deadtime Stories,” featuring interviews with co-writers Elisa Briganti and (uncredited) Dardano Sacchetti;
  • ‘World of the Dead,” featuring interviews with cinematographer Sergio Salvati and production and costume designer Walter Patriarca;
  • “Zombi Italiano,” featuring interviews with special make-up effects artists Gianetto De Rossi and Maurizio Trani and special effects artist Gino De Rossi;
  • “Notes on a Headstone,” an interview with composer Fabio Frizzi;
  • “All in the Family,” an interview with Antonella Fulci; and
  • “Zombie Lover,” in which Oscar-winning filmmaker del Toro talks about one of his favorite films.

 

Maniac (1980) follows Frank Zito (writer/executive producer Joe Spinell, Rocky, The Godfather), a deeply disturbed man, haunted by the traumas of unspeakable childhood abuse. When these horrific memories begin to scream inside his mind, Frank prowls the seedy streets of New York City to stalk and slaughter innocent young women. Frank begins a relationship with a beautiful photographer (Caroline Munro, The Spy Who Loved Me), yet his vile compulsions remain. Directed by Blue Underground president William Lustig (Maniac Cop 2, Vigilante) and featuring gore effects by Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead, Friday the 13th), the film was originally banned or censored all over the world due to its graphic violence.

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Maniac will also be released in a two-disc combo pack.

Special features on 4K UHD disc include:

  • audio commentary by Lustig and producer Andrew Garroni;
  • audio commentary by Lustig, Savini, editor Lorenzo Marinelli, and Spinell’s assistant Luke Walter;
  • theatrical trailers;
  • TV spots; and
  • radio spots.

 

Special features on Blu-ray disc include:

  • outtakes
  • “Returning to the Scene of the Crime with William Lustig”;
  • “Anna and the Killer,” an interview with Munro;
  • “The Death Dealer,” an interview with Savini;
  • “Dark Notes,” an interview with composer Jay Chattaway;
  • “Maniac Men,” an interview with songwriters Michael Sembello and Dennis Matkosky;
  • “The Joe Spinell Story”;
  • the “Mr. Robbie: Maniac 2” promo reel;
  • publicity for the film; and
  • controversy about the film.

 

‘Ip Man 4: The Finale’ Due on Digital April 7, Disc — Including 4K — April 21 From Well Go

Martial arts superstar Donnie Yen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) reprises his role as the legendary Wing Chun master for Director Wilson Yip (“Ip Man” franchise) in the grand finale of the saga Ip Man 4: The Finale, due on digital April 7 and DVD, Blu-ray combo and 4K Ultra Blu-ray combo pack April 21 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

The “Ip Man Complete Collection” will be available exclusively on digital April 7.

In this final chapter, Ip Man (Yen) travels to San Francisco following the death of his wife, in order to ease tensions between the local kung fu masters and his star student, Bruce Lee, while searching for a better future for his son.  Also returning for the final installment of the franchise are Scott Adkins (Wolf WarriorDoctor Strange) and Kwok-Kwan Chan (Kung Fu League) as Bruce Lee.

Bonus features include an English language dub and a making-of featurette.

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Honoring History With ‘Midway’

Director-producer Roland Emmerich is known for epic science-fiction battles between humans, aliens and monsters, but it was the film of an actual battle in World War II that he waited two decades to make.

While collaborating with Emmerich on another project, screenwriter Wes Tooke asked the director, “What’s the one that got away?”

Emmerich told him it was the story of the battle of Midway, the 1942 clash between the American fleet and the Imperial Japanese Navy that marked a pivotal turning point in the Pacific Theater. He’d tried to make it while at Sony 20 years earlier, but the budget and subject weren’t right for the studio. Thus, with Tooke as screenwriter, Emmerich got together a production team to film Midway, based on the real-life events of this heroic feat, telling the story of the leaders and sailors in the battle.

Midway is available on digital, DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate.

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“I wanted to make this movie for 20 years, and I’m glad I finally made it,” said Emmerich in the disc commentary.

“Roland insisted that we make every effort to make all aspects of the film as accurate as possible,” Tooke said. “Everything that happens onscreen, in terms of historical events, is factual and in chronological order. It begins in December 1941 with Pearl Harbor and ends in June with the Battle of Midway. It is the most dramatic six months in the history of warfare.”

The cast includes Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Darren Criss, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid and Woody Harrelson.

Quaid plays Admiral William “Bull” Halsey.

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“Midway is an amazing story, and it has never been told right,” he noted in the extras.

Harrelson is legendary Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who is given the position of Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, famously termed “the most difficult job in the world,” after the attack at Pearl Harbor.

“Everybody was very conscientious about trying to make it real, and I think they got it right,” said Harrelson in the extras.

One hard-to-believe fact about the Midway battle is the harrowing way the dive-bombers attacked the Japanese ships. It was one of the aspects of the battle that got Emmerich interested in telling the story. In the film, viewers travel along with the pilots as they plummet precipitously toward the target, drop the bomb and pull up at the last minute.

“I wanted to show how incredibly dangerous these dives were,” Emmerich said in the extras. “What these people did — they were pretty much missiles, what we do today with missiles. They were manned missiles, these planes. The later you deployed a bomb, the more chance you had to hit a target.”

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The authenticity didn’t stop there. Filmmakers were scrupulous in recreating the era and the weapons of World War II, building replicas of both the torpedo- and bomb-dropping planes, as well as other equipment right down to the screws, nuts and bolts that aren’t used anymore. They were also able to shoot at historic locations.

“When you’re looking at a building that has bullet holes on the side of it from the attack in 1941, you know, ‘OK, we’re going to tell this story as truthfully as we can,”’ said Wilson, in the extras.

Nick Jonas plays radioman Bruno Gaido in ‘Midway.’

Wilson plays Edwin Layton, a U.S. Navy intelligence officer, just one of the actual participants in the battle who are memorialized in the film. Nick Jonas, who was offered many parts, chose to play radioman Bruno Gaido, known for heroically shooting down a Japanese plane before it hit his carrier. He was later lost in the battle. “I wanted to do justice to Bruno because he was a real American hero,” he said. Skrein is Dick Best, the unsung hero pilot of Midway who destroys Japanese ships, but never flies again due to injury.

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Emmerich was also careful to acknowledge the bravery of the Japanese, casting several renowned Japanese actors.

“When you make a war movie and you show one side as the bad guys and the other side as the good guys, I think you don’t do war justice because I think you have to understand what was the Japanese side,” he said in the extras. “It enlightens people. It shows that they are also human. They’re also brave.”

The director hopes the film is able to stand as a testament to the Greatest Generation.

“I’m thrilled that we had the opportunity to tell this story because young people today don’t always know the stories about those who fought for their freedom,” Emmerich said. “I think that without the generation who fought in WWII, our world would be very different.”

4K ULTRA HD / BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio Commentary by Roland Emmerich
  • “Getting It Right: The Making of Midway” Featurette
  • “The Men of Midway” Featurette
  • “Roland Emmerich: Man on a Mission” Featurette
  • “Turning Point: The Legacy of Midway” Featurette
  • “Joe Rochefort: Breaking the Japanese Code” Featurette
  • “We Met at Midway: Two Survivors Remember” Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer

 

DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio Commentary by Roland Emmerich
  • “Getting It Right: The Making of Midway” Featurette
  • “The Men of Midway” Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer