‘The Hurt Locker’ Coming to 4K Ultra HD Digital Feb. 4 From Lionsgate

Director Kathryn Bigelow’s Academy Award-winning war film The Hurt Locker will arrive on digital 4K Ultra HD and on demand Feb. 4 from Lionsgate.

The film won six Oscars, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.

It has been remixed in Dolby Atmos by Academy Award-winner Paul N.J. Ottosson (part of the team responsible for The Hurt Locker’s Best Sound Editing/Best Sound Mixing wins) for the home entertainment release.

The Hurt Locker stars Academy Award-nominee Jeremy Renner (2009, Best Actor, The Hurt Locker; 2010, Best Supporting Actor, The Town), Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty and Evangeline Lilly, with Ralph Fiennes, David Morse and Guy Pearce.

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The film follows Staff Sergeant William James, head of an elite squad of soldiers tasked with disarming bombs in the heat of combat. To do this nerve-shredding job, it’s not enough to be the best: you have to thrive in a zone where the margin of error is zero and think as diabolically as a bomb-maker.

‘Shutter Island’ Heads to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Feb. 11 for 10th Anniversary

Martin Scorsese’s atmospheric thriller Shutter Island will arrive for the first time on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Feb. 11 from Paramount Home Entertainment for its 10th anniversary.

The 4K Ultra HD release will be available in a limited collector’s edition steelbook.

Based on the best-selling novel by Dennis Lehane, Shutter Island follows U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he navigates what appears to be a routine investigation that quickly turns sinister. The film also stars Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Syndow and Michelle Williams.

Special features include the previously released featurettes “Behind the Shutters” and “Into the Lighthouse” on the Blu-ray.

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Walmart Black Friday Deals Include DVDs Under $2, 4K Discs Under $8 and 4K TVs Under $200

Walmart’s Black Friday ad features deals for DVDs at $1.96, 4K Blu-ray Discs at $7.96 and 4K TVs as low as $198.

The Black Friday in-store sale starts at 6 p.m. Nov. 28 (Thanksgiving) and the online sale starts Nov. 27 at 10 p.m. EST.

The more than 50 titles at $1.96 include The Peanuts Movie, Trolls and The Fate of the Furious. Other price points include $3.96, $5.96, $7.96 and $9.96. 4K Blu-ray Discs at $7.96 include Avengers: Endgame, Wonder Woman, Venom, Aquaman and John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.

4K TV deals include an onn Roku 5o-inch smart TV model at $148, an onn Roku 58-inch smart TV model at $198, a Philips 65-inch Android smart TV model at $278, a Vizio 65-inch smart TV model at $398, a Samsung 55-inch smart TV model at $328 and a Samsung 50-inch smart TV model at $278.

There’s also a 40-inch 1080p 2K Roku smart TV at $98.

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‘Angry Birds Movie 2’ Brings New Characters to the Game-Based Universe

Turning an online game into a movie has its challenges, but it also provides some room for creativity, said executives who have worked on the films based on the iconic web product Angry Birds.

“When you have a project based on a book or comic book series, so much of that has been defined,” said producer John Cohen. “Everything is set in a mythology, and you’re translating it  into a movie and trying very hard not to veer from what’s already been created. But with Angry Birds we’ve had this amazing opportunity where not a lot had been defined.”

Cohen and co-director Johnny Rice attended a special event for the home entertainment launch of The Angry Birds Movie 2 Nov. 9 at the Los Angeles Zoo. The sequel was available Oct. 29 on digital and debuted Nov. 12 on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Joining the returning cast, which includes Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Bill Hader, Danny McBride and Peter Dinklage, are Leslie Jones (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”), Rachel Bloom (TV’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians), Sterling K. Brown (TV’s “This Is Us”) and Eugenio Derbez (Dora and the Lost City of Gold).

In the sequel, a new threat emerges that puts both Bird and Pig Island in danger. Red (Sudeikis), Chuck (Gad), Bomb (McBride) and Mighty Eagle (Dinklage) recruit Chuck’s sister Silver (Bloom) and team up with pigs Leonard (Hader), his assistant Courtney (Awkwafina), and techpig Garry (Sterling K. Brown) to forge an unsteady truce and form an unlikely team to save their homes. Jones stars as Zeta, a new villain threatening the islands.

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“We’ve got a lot of new characters; of course, the Leslie Jones Zeta character is a big new character,” said Rice. “She’s bigger than life in every way. Leslie brought a voice to the character that is just incredible. She really stands out in the movie as a huge force. And it’s kind of interesting as that’s the way our story works as well. She’s a force that comes into the world, into the birds’ world and the pigs’ world that just changes everything.”

“Our other big new character is Silver, voiced by Rachel bloom, and Silver is actually Chuck’s sister,” added Cohen. “Chuck, the Josh Gad character, is the bird who moves very fast. Everything about him is quick. He talks fast. He moves fast. And we started to ask ourselves, well, if he had a sister who shares the DNA, what would she be like? Silver’s superpower is that she thinks fast. And so she is hypersmart and is an engineering major at Avian Academy, which is the college on Bird Island. And when the birds and pigs come together in the movie and have to team up to fight these mortal enemies and for the very first time have to work together, Silver ends up as the leader of the group because she’s just the smartest and kind of the best people person.”

Co-director/animator Johnny Rice drew the character Red at a Nov. 9 event for The Angry Birds Movie 2 at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Because the animators are filling out the online game, “we bring our own experiences, our own life experience and attitudes into it,” said Rice. “I really connected with Red on the first one and in the second one as well, where I felt like I totally understood who he was. And the voice actors add a lot to that of course.”

Animators use the performances of the accomplished comedians who play the characters to inform the animation.

“Their comedic sensibility and their ad-libs and improvisation do so much to bring that character to life in a way that you couldn’t have even imagined,” Cohen said.

“The animators pay a lot of attention to every nuance in the voice,” Rice said.

“We film the actors to see their mannerisms. Even an eye movement or just a gesture can inform the animation of the character,” Cohen added.

The actors often recognize themselves in the animated pigs and birds that end up in the movie, Cohen said.

Bonus features on the sequel disc include a new mini movie “Live Stream,” DIY activities inspired by the film, behind-the-scenes featurettes with cast and crew, a feature on the birds at the L.A. Zoo, and six Hatchling shorts directed by Rice.

The baby bird Hatchling characters are played by children, rather than adults using child-like voices, which brings an authentic humor to the characters, said Rice and Cohen. The child actors are encouraged to be themselves, which provides for some surprising humor.

“They do the funniest things,” Rice said.

“It’s not ad-libbing in the traditional sense,” Cohen said. “It’s more just the weird things and the surprising things that kids might say and the way in which they would say them. We love to capture real kids’ voices and that’s what’s given the Hatchlings so much charm.”

The Hatchlings in Angry Birds 2 are played by Alma Versano, daughter of Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman); Genesis Tennon, daughter of actress Viola Davis; Brooklynn Prince (The Florida Project); Jojo Siwa (TV’s “Dance Moms”); and Sunday and Faith, daughters of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban.

“Most of them it was their first time ever acting, and they were really, really fantastic,” Cohen said.

Animated ‘Abominable’ Stomping to Digital Dec. 3, Disc Dec. 17 Including 4K

The DreamWorks Animation film Abominable is coming out on digital Dec. 3 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and on demand Dec. 17 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

With the biggest opening for an original animated film this year, according to Universal, Abominable features the voice talents of Chloe Bennet (Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”), Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winner Sarah Paulson (“American Horror Story”), Eddie Izzard (Cars 2), Tenzing Norgay Trainor (“Liv and Maddie”), Albert Tsai (“Fresh Off the Boat”), Tsai Chin (The Joy Luck Club) and Michelle Wong (“Scandal”).

The film made $166.6 million at the worldwide box office.

In the story, teenage Yi (Bennet) encounters a young Yeti on the roof of her apartment building in China. She and her friends Jin (Trainor) and Peng (Tsai) name him “Everest” and embark on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family at the highest point on Earth. The trio of friends has to stay one-step ahead of Burnish (Izzard), a wealthy man intent on capturing a Yeti, and zoologist Dr. Zara (Paulson) to help Everest get home.

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Bonus content includes two original shorts, deleted scenes, and family activities.

‘The Wizard of Oz’ 80th Anniversary 4K Release Is the Ultimate Makeover, Say Warner Execs

The Wizard of Oz has gotten a facelift for its 8oth birthday 4K debut, and it looks better than ever, according to Warner executives.

“Never before has a film this old been released in the 4K HDR format,” said George Feltenstein, SVP of theatrical catalog marketing at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, during an Oct. 28 presentation about the restoration on the studio lot. “This is really a huge leap for our company, but it’s representative of the commitment we have for the finest presentation of one of our crown jewels.”

The 1939 classic is being released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack and 4K digital Oct. 29. Directed by Victor Fleming and starring Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz received five Academy Award nominations, two Oscars, Best Song (“Over the Rainbow”) and Best Original Score, plus a special award for Outstanding Juvenile Performance by Garland. Adapted from L. Frank Baum’s children’s tale about a Kansas girl’s journey over the rainbow, The Wizard of Oz also stars Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley. The film appears on multiple AFI lists, and in 1989, was part of the inaugural group of films selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

The studio went back to the original three-strip negative (retrieved from storage at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, N.Y.) to achieve clarity and color suitable for the new home entertainment format. The classic’s nitrate negative is stored offsite because of its flammability, and the Warner lot can only protect a limited amount of nitrate.

“You’ve heard the term, ‘Fire in a movie theater.’ That’s where it came from,” noted Bob Bailey, VP of operations and sales at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging, which handled the new scan.

Warner improved on the 8K, 10 bit scan made 10 years ago for the Blu-ray HD release with an 8K, 16 bit scan and used updated technology.

“You’re going to see a panoply of colors that you could never see before, and yet it is faithful to what was captured on the negative in 1938 when the film was shot,” said Feltenstein.

The process was overseen by Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging colorist Janet Wilson, who has supervised every remaster of The Wizard of Oz for the past 20 years.

“With this format, I can have the full range of color that’s available to me in a Technicolor element,” said Wilson.

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As in the HD restoration, those working on the new version had to make judgment calls about when to remove wires that showed up in the more detailed picture, but they left in much of the original work, including the makeup details.

“That we left, we didn’t touch,” Wilson said. “Because part of the sort of handmade quality of this film is seeing some of those edges on the makeup, and some of those details you don’t want to obscure. You can see things like the burlap on the face of the Scarecrow and the rivets on the head of the Tinman. If you start smoothing out too many things you start to lose some of the details that are there that you want to preserve.”

Improvements in technology also allowed Wilson to better color correct complex scenes such as the move from sepia tone to color when Dorothy first opens the door to Oz.

“Some of the satisfaction doing it this time for me was that I had better tools, and I could see things better,” she said.

The result, Warner executives said, is a version of the film that stays true to the original while making it look fresh.

“I’d like to think that the people who made this film 80 years ago would see this and be amazed by what they see and see that their artistic work was recreated with reverence because we haven’t changed anything,” Feltenstein said. “We’ve just made it look better than it’s ever looked before.”

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc will feature Dolby Vision HDR.

“It’s really unprecedented that a film of this age is being released using this cutting-edge state of the art technology,” said Feltenstein. “The disc right now is the highest form of quality of reproduction in the home. And unless you are in a Dolby Vision cinema, you can’t even see it look this good in a theater.”

Special features on the 4K Blu-ray disc include commentary by John Fricke with Barbara Freed-Saltzman, Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, John Lahr, Jane Lahr, Hamilton Meserve, Dona Massin, William Tuttle, Buddy Ebsen, Mervyn LeRoy and Jerry Maren, as well as the 1990 CBS Special “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic.”

Special features on the Blu-ray (included in the combo pack) include:

  • “The Making of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”;
  • “The Wonderful Wizard of OzStorybook” (narrated by Angela Lansbury);
  • “We Haven’t Really Met Properly: Frank Morgan”;
  • “We Haven’t Really Met Properly: Ray Bolger”;
  • “We Haven’t Really Met Properly: Bert Lahr”;
  • “We Haven’t Really Met Properly: Jack Haley”;
  • “We Haven’t Really Met Properly: Billie Burke”;
  • “We Haven’t Really Met Properly: Margaret Hamilton”;
  • “We Haven’t Really Met Properly: Charley Grapewin”;
  • “We Haven’t Really Met Properly: Clara Blandick”;
  • “We Haven’t Really Met Properly: Terry”;
  • a music and effects track;
  • the original mono track;
  • sing along tracks;
  • an audio jukebox;
  • the “Leo is on the Air” radio promo;
  • the “Good News of 1939” radio show;
  • the 12/25/1950 Lux radio broadcast;
  • stills galleries; and
  • trailers.

80-Year-Old ‘Wizard of Oz’ Gets Makeover for 4K

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment hosted a presentation on the studio lot Oct. 28 to talk about the restoration of The Wizard of Oz for the 4K UHD release. The studio went back to the three-strip Technicolor negative to restore the film in 8K, 16 bit resolution for the film’s 80th anniversary release.  The classic debuts Oct. 29 on 4K UHD with HDR, including Dolby Vision, on Blu-ray Disc and digital.

‘It: Chapter Two’ Stalks to Digital Nov. 19, Disc Dec. 10 Including 4K

The horror sequel It: Chapter Two will arrive on digital Nov. 19 and 4K UHD combo pack, Blu-ray combo pack and DVD Dec. 10 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Evil resurfaces in Derry as director Andy Muschietti reunites the Losers Club in a return to where it all began with the conclusion to the highest-grossing horror film of all time. The sequel made $209.9 million at the domestic box office.

It: Chapter Two, based on the novel by Stephen King, stars James McAvoy as Bill, Jessica Chastain as Beverly, Bill Hader as Richie, Isaiah Mustafa as Mike, Jay Ryan as Ben, James Ransone as Eddie and Andy Bean as Stanley. Reprising their roles as the original members of the Losers Club are Jaeden Martell as Bill, Wyatt Oleff as Stanley, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie, Finn Wolfhard as Richie, Sophia Lillis as Beverly, Chosen Jacobs as Mike and Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben. Bill Skarsgård returns in the role of Pennywise.

In the sequel, set 27 years after the Losers Club defeated the shape-shifting clown Pennywise, he has returned to terrorize the town of Derry once more. Now adults, the Losers have long since gone their separate ways. However, people are disappearing again, so Mike, the only one of the group to remain in their hometown, calls the others home. Damaged by the experiences of their past, they must each conquer their deepest fears to destroy Pennywise once and for all.

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The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of It: Chapter Two will feature Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+, both sporting dynamic metadata for better picture, as well as Dolby Atmos sound.

Special features on the Blu-ray and 4K release include five featurettes and commentary with Muschietti. The DVD includes the five featurettes.

Actioner ‘Universal Soldier’ Shooting to 4K Nov. 5 From Lionsgate

The 1992 actioner Universal Soldier will come out on 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital) and digital 4K Nov. 5 from Lionsgate.

Directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, upcoming World War II epic Midway), Universal Soldier stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren, alongside Ally Walker and Ed O’Ross. The film follows soldiers Luc Deveraux (Van Damme) and Sgt. Andrew Scott (Lundgren), who killed each other in Vietnam. But their demise proves to be just the beginning for the U.S. government, which brings both men back to life decades later for a secret anti-terrorism program.

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Special features include:

  • audio commentary by Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin, Van Damme and Lundgren
  • audio commentary by Emmerich and Devlin
  • the “A Tale of Two Titans” Featurette
  • the “Guns, Genes, and Fighting Machines” Featurette
  • an alternate Ending
  • the “Behind the Scenes” Featurette and
  • a trailer.

Three’s a Harm in Zombie Trilogy

Writer-director Rob Zombie confronted a problem when mounting a new installment in his bloody serial killer series that includes House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and The Devil’s Rejects (2005) — his lead baddies had been shot and presumably killed.

Leave it to Zombie to bring them back from the dead. He came up with the idea of a faux documentary, explaining the miraculous survival of the lead trio.

“I’ve always been obsessed with this one documentary on [Charles] Manson that came out in 1970 I think it was. It’s all real footage. The filmmakers got in there, shot him going out of court, and I thought this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. … Serial killers have now achieved this fame, which they always seem to do,” Zombie said in the sequel’s disc extras. “Why don’t we just explain it through this documentary that takes it to a whole other place?

“I thought it’s a good way to explain what happened and make it realistic.”

Thus, the revived killers — Baby Firefly (Sheri Moon Zombie), Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley) and Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) — make a repeat appearance in 3 From Hell, which debuts on digital and 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD and on demand Oct. 15 from Lionsgate. Special features include an audio commentary with Zombie and a four-part making-of featurette. Additionally, the 4K and Blu-ray discs feature the unrated cut.

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Unfortunately, Haig was sick during filming and appears only in the initial documentary. He passed away in September.

“It became clear that Sid was not physically capable,” Zombie recalled in the featurettes.

Richard Brake stars as Winslow Foxworth Coltrane, a new killer in the series.

Still, the director felt three was the magic number and created a new half-brother in the murderous clan, Winslow Foxworth Coltrane (Richard Brake), to assist in the mayhem. He also explored the progression of the characters: “What would it be like 15 years later with the characters?”

“I didn’t want to just make a sequel,” Zombie said, adding, “I wanted there to be a purpose to doing it. I think a lot of times the sequels that don’t work are the ones that you’re feeding the fans everything they think they want.”

Thus, the crazy Baby is even more off the wall. In fact, her jail scenes are shot in the very prison that the deranged female Manson followers occupied.

“Everything she does is bizarre, even to Otis,” the director noted.

Otis has become an elder statesman in the killing clan, prompting Winslow to continuously attempt to gain his approval.

“Now in 3 From Hell I seem to be the wise old owl of the trio,” said Moseley in the featurettes. “That’s kind of funny and strange. You know, I’m a psychopathic killer.”

Zombie’s horror projects, including 3 From Hell, are unique in tone. “When I look at what people really consider a horror movie, people being shocked in the theater, reacting to the scares, that’s not what we are doing at all,” Zombie said.

“There’s different layers to it,” added Jeff Daniel Phillips, who plays the prison warden, in the featurettes. “It’s not so simple. This isn’t just a horror film. This is a thriller. This is a road picture. There’s a dark comedic thing in it without being a comedy.”

Indeed, the film is an amalgam of Zombie’s passions and experiences that he calls “a post-modern sort of crazy bloody western.”

“I’ve taken all these things I’ve loved my whole life and sort of jammed them together,” he said.

Three for the Road

The first two titles in the Zombie serial killer series, House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, will be included with 3 From Hell in a digital-only triple feature from Lionsgate.

House of 1000 Corpses introduces audiences to the sadistic backwater family as two young couples traveling in Texas to investigate urban legends of murder end up as their prisoners.

In The Devil’s Rejects, the murderous, backwoods Firefly clan takes to the road to escape a vengeful police force.