Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the horror film Toys of Terror for digital sellthrough Oct. 27, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Jan. 19 (order date Dec. 15).
In a movie that re-creates the nostalgia of stop motion holiday specials, Dayo Ade and Kyana Teresa play David and Hannah Cashman, who have promised their family a fun Christmas getaway. But when they arrive at a grand, old house in the snowy woods of Washington and are greeted by a familiar construction foreman, the kids realize their parents’ plan to make it a working vacation, renovating the place in the hopes of flipping it. Alicia (Verity Marks) and her young siblings (Saul Elias and Zoe Fish), though annoyed, find themselves distracted after they find a stash of old toys in an abandoned playroom of creepy mansion. Before long, they seem to be inseparable from their new playthings, much to the consternation of their nanny (Georgia Waters), who senses that something in the house is not quite right.
The film was written and executive produced by Dana Gould, directed by Nicholas Verso, and produced by Blue Ribbon Content in association with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Syfy, where the movie will make its broadcast debut in December.
Blu-ray and DVD extras include the featurettes “Toys of Terror Come to Life” and “A Terrifying Weekend: Making of Toys of Terror.”
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the animated movie Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons through digital retailers Aug. 4, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 18.
The film offers a new take on the DC Comics character Deathstroke, a mercenary and master assassin named Slade Wilson. The film finds him living two lives, one as a relentless killer, the other as a dedicated family man. When his worlds are forced together by the terror group known as H.I.V.E., the killer in Slade must fight to save his loved ones.
The voice cast includes Michael Chiklis as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, Sasha Alexander as Wilson’s wife, Chris Jai Alex as The Jackal, Faye Mata as Jade/H.I.V.E Queen, Griffin Puatu as Joseph/Jericho, Imari Williams as President Nichols, Asher Bishop as Young Joseph, Colin Salmon as William Wintergreen, Delbert Hunt as Bronze Tiger, Panta Mosleh as Lady Shiva, Noshir Dalal as Kapoor, Castulo Guerra as General Suarez, and Minae Noji as the Secretary of State.
The latest entry in the DC Animated Movies line was produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Blue Ribbon Content, Warner’s specialty arm for digital platform programming. Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons was originally presented as a series of animated shorts that appeared on CW Seed. The movie version includes 50 minutes of never-before-seen footage, including the climax.
The Blu-ray combo pack will include a digital copy and the featurette “Deathstroke: One-Man Death Machine.” Bonus material is also offered with the digital edition through select retailers.
Of all the ways to revive an iconic children’s show, turning it into a bloody horror film isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Yet that’s what Warner Bros. has done with “The Banana Splits.”
The 1968-70 Hanna-Barbera variety series “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour” consisted of songs and comedy sketches starring an offbeat rock band consisting of four funny oversized animals. The group returns in The Banana Splits Movie, available digitally Aug. 13, and on Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 27 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
In the film, a family attends a taping of the Banana Splits show, only for the robots that comprise the band to start murdering the audience after learning the series is being canceled.
The reboot is produced by Warner’s digital series production unit, Blue Ribbon Content, in conjunction with the Syfy channel, where the movie will air later this year.
The movie’s writers, Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas, joined cast members at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con International July 18 for the film’s premiere and other promotional events.
“When they said do you guys want to make a horror movie out of the Banana Splits, we said absolutely, 100%, we know what to do, we got this, just leave us alone,” Elinoff said. “This is the price we all pay for having too much fun.”
The writers said they wanted to explore the trust that people tend to inherently have with cute costumed characters.
“With these children’s characters in full costume, be it mascots or characters at amusement parks, the first thing we do is we shove our kids in their faces and we tell them this is someone they can trust,” Thomas said. “But it’s a total stranger. We don’t know who’s in that suit. They could be a horrible person. They could go home and do awful things. So we really wanted to play that up.”
“Anytime you have a character where you don’t see their face, you don’t see their eyes, you don’t know what they’re thinking, I think naturally you can think one of two things,” Elinoff said. “You can think, ‘Oh, this is safe and fun,’ or ‘There’s a murderer in there and we’re all gonna die.’ In a lot of ways, it wasn’t that big a stretch to move from happy things to murderous things. It just gets scarier and scarier and scarier until it’s a bloodbath.”
“It’s not a huge leap to go from sort of silly beloved characters in full animal costumes to terrifying murderers in full animal costumes,” Thomas said. “Any kids show, if you change the soundtrack to the theme from Halloween or something, if it’s ‘Barney’ or it’s ‘Teletubbies,’ it’s freaky. We really enjoyed starting the movie in the beloved world of the Banana Splits, and then letting them go off the rails.”
The writers said making the characters robots opened up possibilities for the story.
“In the world of the movie, their show has been on since the 1960s, so when they hear it’s about to be canceled, it sort of violates their prime directive of ‘The show must go on,’” Elinoff said.
“We thought back to the original movie of Westworld, with Yul Brynner as the robot that goes crazy,” Thomas said. “That’s really what we drew inspiration from — what if the original movie Westworld met ‘Yo Gabba Gabba!’?”
Still, they said, fans of the characters should appreciate the efforts made to re-create the look and feel of the old show.
“We took some of the gags from the original show, and we also came up with some new ones because we needed to build this world out,” Thomas said. “We knew the soundstages were going to be the locations for the show and also the kills once they went crazy. So we kind of created an environment for each character, and their kill is specific to those environments.”
The writers said they enjoyed the idea of the film having a different meaning for different audiences, be it nostalgia for longtime fans, or new viewers just having fun with a silly slasher movie.
“I think that would be great, just the idea that somebody watches this thing having no idea what they are, and think this movie was so fun,” Elinoff said. “And then learn it was a TV show.”
“I think the idea with this is do something so loud that, love it or hate it, you get people talking about the Banana Splits again,” Thomas said. “Now you look on Twitter and people are Tweeting about it like every 15 minutes, where as before no one really remembered it. And who knows, now that everybody knows what the Banana Splits are again, maybe they’ll come back and be beloved children’s characters again.”
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Blue Ribbon Content have commenced principal photography on A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
The fifth installment in the “Cinderella Story” franchise stars Laura Marano of the Disney Channel series “Austin & Ally” as Kat, an aspiring singer-songwriter working as an elf at a local billionaire’s Christmas Tree lot, where she starts to fall for Nick (Gregg Sulkin), the lot’s new Santa. But her efforts to attend a prestigious winter gala with Nick are thwarted by her stepfamily. The cast also includes Isabella Gomez as Kat’s best friend, Barclay Hope as the billionaire, Johannah Newmarch as Kat’s stepmother, and Lillian Doucet-Roche and Chanelle Peloso as the stepsisters.
The original A Cinderella Story in 2004 starred Hilary Duff, Chad Michael Murray and Regina King; Subsequent installments included Another Cinderella Story (2008), with Selena Gomez and Jane Lynch; A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song (2011), featuring Lucy Hale; and A Cinderella Story: If The Shoe Fits (2016) with Sofia Carson.
A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish is written and directed by Michelle Johnston, who also directed the fourth installment. She also choreographed the first four and served as a producer on the past three. Dylan Sellers returns as producer, a role he has served since the first film.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the “Scooby-Doo” prequel spinoff Daphne & Velma on Blu-ray, DVD and digital May 22. The live-action movie stars Sarah Jeffery (Disney’s “Descendants: Wicked World”) as Daphne and Sarah Gilman (ABC’s “Last Man Standing”) as Velma on their first adventure together to solve the mystery of students disappearing at their high school.
“Young girls will be delighted to discover how these clever heroines come together for their very first mystery,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, WBHE VP of TV marketing, family and animation.
Daphne & Velma is produced by Blue Ribbon Content, a division of Warner Bros. Television Group that develops and produces live-action content for digital platforms, in conjunction with Blondie Girl Productions.
Bonus materials include a gag reel and the featurettes “Daphne & Velma: A New Ambition,” “An Updated Classic Mystery” and “Iconic Styles of Daphne & Velma Reimagined.”