Kelly LeBrock Starring in Big Screen Entertainment Group’s First Streaming Video Series

Eighties siren Kelly LeBrock (Weird Science, The Woman in Red) stars in Big Screen Entertainment Group’s pending over-the-top mystery series streaming on Facebook Watch, BSEG’s YouTube channel and IGTV, Instagram’s new video platform.

“Tales From a Hidden Chamber” is an eight-part series with episodes running upwards of 15 minutes each. The series, about what lurks behind a two-way mirror, also stars Erin Cahill (“How I Met Your Mother”) and aims to expand BSEG’s online presence.

Big Screen’s recent theatrical releases include the reboot of Papillion, starring Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”) and Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot,” Bohemian Rhapsody); Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis, and Wild Oats, starring Shirley MacLaine, Jessica Lange and Demi Moore.

“Our goal is to make Big Screen a well-known brand over social media,” says Sandro Monetti, BSEG’s head of content development.

Creating content for the Web increases visibility, awareness and sales of the company’s films, according to “Hidden Chamber” creator/director Stephen Eckelberry.

“The days of relying solely on distributors to promote independent product are over,” said Eckelberry, adding that with self-distribution on the Internet a reality, social media is the key to boosting sales and expanding one’s brand.

This series will be released the third week of April.

 

MoviePass Films Inks Bruce Willis for Three New Projects

While its parent company – Helios and Matheson Analytics – lost $137 million in the most-recent fiscal period, with the stock worth about 1.6 cents, that hasn’t stopped MoviePass Films from signing Bruce Willis to a three-film deal.

Willis, who recently finished filming drama 10 Minutes Gone for Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, agreed to the new deal with the production company he has made 14 movies (such as 16 Blocks and Lay the Favorite) for over his career.

Helios and Matheson Analytics, which owns and operates fiscally-challenged subscription theatrical ticket service, MoviePass, acquired Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films earlier this year, renaming the unit MoviePass Films.

Willis’ first movie in the new deal is Trauma Center, which reportedly begins filming in Miami in February.

“After 15 years, I look forward to continuing to work with Randall [Emmett] and George [Furla] in the coming year,” Willis said in a statement.

 

Fox Releases New ‘Die Hard’ Christmas Trailer

Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

While the debate over that question continues to rage online, 20th Century Fox is certainly marketing the heck out of the premise that it is.

Using a banner labeling the film “The Greatest Christmas Story Ever Told,” Fox is touting its Die Hard Blu-ray re-releases with a new holiday-themed trailer for the film.

While the action film is set during Christmas and the holiday season is a key element of the film’s plot, its lack of a cheery family atmosphere and ‘R’ rating have left many viewers hesitant to rank it with the likes of It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Elf and A Christmas Story.

On the other hand, the film’s screenwriter, Steven E. de Souza, has said it should be considered a Christmas movie.

For his part, star Bruce Willis weighed in by saying it was a “Bruce Willis movie” during his recent Comedy Central roast.

Fox, in announcing the new trailer, also released a “Die Hard” Christmas poem:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, at Nakatomi Plaza,
The office party was festive, but soon interrupted by drama.
Hans Gruber and his men, had forced their way in,
And taken everyone hostage, trapping them within.
But how could they know, there was a cop up above,
John McClane had arrived, to win back his wife’s love.
He would take them all out, winning everyone’s praise,
Welcoming Christmas Day, with his favorite catchphrase.
YIPPEE KI YAY!

The trailer ends with the tagline “Christmas Movie? Yippee Ki Yes!”

Fox recently released a Die Hard: Christmas Edition Blu-ray for the film’s 30th anniversary that comes with Christmas sweater box art and four exclusive holiday cards.

In addition, all five “Die Hard” films are now available on 4K digital.

MGM Studios Ups Q3 Home Entertainment Revenue 30%

MGM Studios Nov. 15 reported third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) home entertainment revenue of $21.8 million, which was up 30% from revenue of $16.9 million during the previous-year period.

The studio attributed the increase to digital sales of Tomb Raider and ongoing domestic home entertainment distribution of Death Wish and Every Day, plus continued distribution of library content.

Indeed, the Tomb Raider prequel rebootwith Alicia Vikander reprising Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft character, has generated $12.6 million in combined DVD/Blu-ray Disc units sales since its June 12 release by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, according to The-Numbers.com. The film is the 28th best-selling disc in 2018.

Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis in a remake of the classic 1973 revenge thriller that starred the late Charles Bronson, has sold $7.4 million in disc sales since its June 5 retail street date.

Home entertainment revenue for the prior-year’s quarter primarily included distribution of The Belko Experiment, The Magnificent Seven and library content.

In television programming, home entertainment and related revenue was $7.9 million, which was largely in line with $8 million in revenue last year. Revenue in each period was primarily driven by the strong retail performance of The Handmaid’s Tale (seasons 1 and 2).

The latter doesn’t include disc sales of season 2, which isn’t available until Dec. 4 from MGM Studios Home Entertainment.

Through nine months of the fiscal year, home entertainment movie revenue is up 16% to $78.1 million from $67.5 million last year. Revenue drivers included previously mentioned movie titles, in addition to ongoing revenue from Spectre, The Hobbit trilogy and additional library content.

Television program home entertainment revenue increased 26% to $26.9 million from $21.3 million last year – again driven by The Handmaid’s Tale.

MoviePass Films Invests in Sports-Themed Documentary

MoviePass Films, the theatrical ticket subscription service’s content acquisition unit, Nov. 1 announced an agreement with Art of Sport, the newly-formed, sports-centric distribution entity behind upcoming feature-length documentary, In Search of Greatness.

MoviePass Films, which is owned by MoviePass parent Helios and Matheson Analytics, has come on as an investor and strategic marketing partner ahead of the film’s early-November theatrical release.

In Search Of Greatness, directed by documentarian Gabe Polsky, best known for Red Army, which debuted in Cannes in 2014, and his work on Nat Geo’s Emmy-award-winning TV show, “Genius,” examines the importance of creativity in determining athletic ability, in addition to analyzing the roles nature and nurture play in the development of young athletes.

The film, which includes interviews with hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, superstar wide receiver Jerry Rice, and soccer icon Pele, opens in 11 major U.S. markets on Nov. 2, and expands to theaters across North America by mid-month.

“We are pleased to be able to continue supporting independent creators and helping them bring their artistic visions to life on the big screen,” MoviePass Films chairman Ted Farnsworth and co-CEO Randall Emmett, said in a statement.

The investment follows a busy month of deal-making for the MoviePass Films. In September, it partnered with indie distributor Neon to co-release Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Sundance award-winner Monsters and Men (currently in theaters), and is preparing to co-release the second film in that partnership, Ali Abassi’s Cannes award-winner Border (which debuts in theaters this week).

MoviePass Films also recently wrapped production on its Bruce Willis-starrer 10 Minutes Gone and green-lit Neil Marshall’s The Reckoning, which starts production in Wales in January. The MoviePass Films team intends to produce 10-12 films annually, in addition to acquiring 8-10 films per year, starting in 2019.

MoviePass Films via MoviePass and Moviefone, will mount a marketing campaign to support the film’s success, while in theaters. In Search of Greatness will be made available to MoviePass subscribers as a “Bonus Movie,” which will not count toward their monthly in-theater movie ticket allotment. MoviePass™ subscribers will also have a chance to attend the films’ red-carpet premieres and receive other special perks throughout the duration of the partnership.

 

 

‘Schlock,’ ‘Twelve Monkeys,’ Italian ‘Torso’ Due on Blu-ray From Arrow and MVD in October

A collection of horror, a sci-fi classic and a British classic are coming out on Blu-ray from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group in October.

Schlock from director John Landis hits Blu-ray Oct. 16. The comedy pays tribute to monster movies of the past as it follows a prehistoric ape named Shlock on a rampage throughout southern California. The genre mashup launched the career of Landis and makeup effects wizard Rick Baker. The Blu-ray comes with a new 4K restoration. Special features include an audio commentary with both Landis and Baker; a new video interview with author and critic Kim Newman; “Birth of a Schlock,” a 2017 video interview with Landis; an archival video interview with cinematographer Bob Collins; 1972, 1979 and 1982 U.S. theatrical trailers; and U.S. radio spots.

Due Oct. 23 is Jim Van Bebber’s blood-soaked cult classic Deadbeat at Dawn. It’s the story of Goose, a gang leader trying to go straight until his girlfriend is brutally murdered by his rivals. Now pulled back into the world he was desperately trying to escape, Goose is hell-bent on getting retribution. The 1980s feature comes with a new 2K restoration and bonus content including a new audio commentary with Van Bebber, actor Paul Harper and guest Cody Lee Hardin, moderated by filmmaker Victor Bonacore; Jim VanBebber, Deadbeat Forever!, a new retrospective documentary on VanBebber and the Deadbeat legacy by filmmaker Victor Bonacore, featuring first-time interviews, rare footage, VanBebber’s college films and more; an archival 1986 behind-the-scenes documentary,  Nate Pennington’s VHS documentary on a failed Deadbeat shoot; outtakes, newly transferred in HD; four newly-restored VanBebber short films; “Jim VanBebber Music Video Collection,” featuring never-before-seen director’s cuts; Chunkblower, a promotional trailer for an unfinished Gary Blair Smith-produced gore-soaked feature film; an image gallery; and a reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain.

Oct. 30 comes Sergio Martio’s Italian film Torso on Blu-ray. The giallo about a sex-craved maniac prowling the streets of Perugia looking for his latest victim is a favorite of Quentin Tarantino’s. The Blu-ray features a new 2K restoration of both the 94-minute Italian cut and the 90-minute English cut. Bonus features include new audio commentary by Kat Ellinger, author of All the Colours of Sergio Martino; a new video interview with co-writer/director Martino; a new video interview with actor Luc Merenda; a new video interview with co-writer Ernesto Gastaldi; a new video interview with filmmaker Federica Martino, daughter of Martino; a new video interview with Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film; a 2017 Abertoir International Horror Festival Q&A with Martino; Italian and English theatrical trailers; and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais.

Also coming Oct. 30 on Blu-ray is Terry Gilliam’s 1990s sci-fi classic, Twelve Monkeys. Based on a short film by Chris Marker, Twelve Monkeys opens up in 1996 with a group known as the Army of Twelve Monkeys releasing a deadly virus upon the world. Flash forward to the year 2035 where Bruce Willis is ordered to travel back in time to find a cure. The film was nominated for two Oscars. The Blu-ray features a new 4K restoration approved by Gilliam. Bonus features include audio commentary by Gilliam and producer Charles Roven; The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys, a feature-length making-of documentary by Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe (Lost in La Mancha); an image galley; a theatrical trailer; and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin.

In a change of pace Oct. 23, Arrow Academy will release Distant Voices, Still Lives on Blu-ray. The debut from director Terence Davies allows viewers to peer into the life of a working-class family in 1940s and 1950s Liverpool, England. The new 4K restoration was carried out by the British Film Institute. Bonus features include commentary by Davies; an interview with Davies; an Interview with art director Miki van Zwanenberg; a theatrical trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jennifer Dionisio; and for the first pressing only, an Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Christina Newland plus archive essays.

Action Movie ‘Reprisal’ Arrives on Disc and Digital Oct. 16

Lionsgate will release the action film Reprisal on Blu-ray, DVD and digitally Oct. 16.

The film stars Frank Grillo as a bank manager who, after his co-worker is killed in a heist, teams with an ex-cop neighbor (Bruce Willis) to track down the thief and avenge the assault, all while trying to keep his family safe.

The Reprisal Blu-ray, DVD and digital release includes a making-of featurette and interviews with the cast and filmmakers.

The film is currently available on demand.

 

MGM Studios Home Entertainment Revenue No ‘Death Wish’

Home entertainment sales of movies and TV shows has come back strong for MGM Studios.

The venerable studio Aug. 14 said second-quarter (ended June 30) global home entertainment revenue for film content topped $37.1 million, an increase of $18.2 million, or 97%, as compared to $18.9 million in revenue for the previous-year period.

Primary (physical and digital) drivers included the domestic home entertainment reboots of Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis, and Tomb Raider, featuring Alicia Vikander, plus ongoing distribution of library content. By comparison, home entertainment revenue for the prior-year quarter included distribution of Spectre, The Hobbit trilogy and other library content.

Home entertainment and other revenue for television content reached $8.5 million, up $3.8 million, or 79%, as compared to $4.7 million last year. The increase was primarily driven by the continued strong home entertainment performance of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Through the first six month of the year, worldwide home entertainment revenue for film content reached $56.3 million, an increase of $5.6 million, or 11%, as compared to $50.7 million for the six months ended June 30, 2017.

Home entertainment and other revenue for TV content was $19 million for the six months, an increase of $5.7 million, or 43%, as compared to $13.3 million last year.

Bruce Willis Signed for First MoviePass Films Original Movie

Helios and Matheson Analytics, parent of fiscally-challenged MoviePass, has a market cap of just $118,600 with shares worth 7 cents each. The stock traded more than 308 million times Aug. 7 as day-traders played ping-pong attempting to glean incremental gains on a penny stock.

That didn’t stop subsidiary MoviePass Films from announcing its first feature film production, 10 Minutes Gone, starring Bruce Willis.

The veteran actor plays a man who loses 10 minutes of his memory after being hit by a stray bullet in a bank heist gone wrong.

10 Minutes is the first original production since MoviePass Films acquired indie studio Emmett Furla Oasis Films last year. Previous MoviePass Films deals including acquiring distribution rights to heist drama American Animals and John Travolta’s Gotti biopic.

Filming is set to begin in September.

 

Death Wish (2018)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Fox;
Action;
Box Office $34.02 million;
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody violence, and language throughout.
Stars Bruce Willis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Dean Norris, Kimberly Elise, Beau Knapp, Camila Morrone.

A knee-jerk reaction to director Eli Roth’s new version of Death Wish in these politically charged times is that it’s some sort of glorification of gun culture and a celebration of vigilante justice. This would be an oversimplification of any intent the film actually has, which would be the psychological examination of what it would take to push a reasonable person to the point of wanting to take the law into their own hands. If anything, the pro-gun crowd is portrayed a bit satirically and even a bit buffoonish.

A remake of the 1974 Charles Bronson film that was based on a 1972 novel by Brian Garfield, the new Death Wish is methodical in its set-up and leans more toward character drama than the kind of intense action one might expect by the casting of Bruce Willis in the vigilante role. It’s an unexpected approach given Roth’s horror credentials, though when the action comes, Roth knows how to ramp it up, even if the middle section of the film turns into a bit of a cartoon.

The psychological elements are pretty straightforward as well. Willis plays Dr. Paul Kersey, whose wife is murdered and daughter left in a coma after an interrupted burglary at their upper-crust residence in the suburbs of Chicago. With the police seemingly unable to make any headway on the case, Paul finds himself heavily weighing the words of his father-in-law, a Texas rancher who tells him that people have to protect what’s theirs and not rely on anyone else.

At one point, Paul discovers an unregistered gun among the possessions of a shot-up thug brought into his hospital, and he uses it to train himself to shoot. Inspired, he begins to patrol the streets to take out criminals, inspiring a wave of less-than-effective copycats and prompting the city’s media, including real-life radio personalities Mancow and Sway to debate the morality of vigilante justice.

Eventually Paul uncovers clues to discovering the gang that murdered his wife, giving him a measure of revenge that was largely missing from the story of the original film.

It also, to a degree, negates Paul’s reasoning for taking the law into his own hands, given that he has to withhold the evidence the police are looking for to crack the case. But that’s a debate for another day.

Roth in his audio commentary points out many clues he subtly layered into the film to hint at what in Paul’s backstory could have led to his decision to take drastic action in dispensing his own brand of justice.

It’s a very good conversational commentary between Roth and producer Roger Birnbaum, two guys who enjoy making movies and have no shortage of things to talk about with this film, from casting to staging to influences and all the themes they were trying to explore.

The Blu-ray also includes six minutes of deleted scenes with optional commentary from the pair. The scenes offer some nice bits of additional emotional context to the main story of the film. The disc also includes six-and-a-half minutes of extended footage from the Mancow and Sway segments filmed for the movie.

There’s also a 12-minute behind-the-scenes featurette. But the most fun extra is a version of the film’s trailer presented in the style of a 1970s grindhouse movie.