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.

‘Die Hard’ 30th Anniversary Edition Disc Coming in May

A 30th anniversary edition of the classic action film Die Hard is on the way from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The studio on May 15 will release an all-new 4K Ultra HD remaster as well as a regular Blu-ray Disc.

The 1988 film, which launched a five-film franchise, stars Bruce Willis as a New York City police officer who flies to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve to visit his wife at a party in her company’s elegant high-rise (the same Century City building that is now headquarters for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment). A group of terrorists seize the building and take everyone hostage except for Willis, who must single-handedly save the day.

Fox also has partnered with Walmart to issue the Die Hard 5-Film Box Set, a steelbook-encased collection of all five “Die Hard” movies: the 1988 original, Die Hard 2 (1990), Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Live Free or Die Hard (2007) and A Good Day to Die Hard (2013). The five-film set is also due May 15 and will be available only at Walmart stores.

The Blu-ray Disc reissue features no new bonus content, just the same extras as on a previous release:

  • Commentary by director John McTiernan and production designer Jackson DeGovia
  • Scene-specific commentary by special effects supervisor Richard Edlund
  • Subtitle commentary by various cast and crew members
  • “The News Casts” featurette
  • Interactive style gallery
  • Interactive articles from Cinefex and American Cinematographer
  • Full-length screenplay
  • Trailers and TV spots

‘Death Wish’ Debuts May 22 on Digital, June 5 on Disc

Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis, will come out digitally on 4K Ultra HD and HD May 22 and Blu-ray, DVD and video-on-demand 4K Ultra HD and HD services June 5 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and MGM.

The film earned $33.9 million in U.S. theaters.

In director Eli Roth’s reimagining of the 1974 revenge thriller, Dr. Paul Kersey (Willis) is a surgeon who only sees the aftermath of his city’s violence as it’s rushed into his ER – until his wife (Elisabeth Shue) and college-age daughter (Camila Morrone) are viciously attacked in their suburban home. With the police overloaded with crimes, Kersey hunts for his family’s assailants to deliver justice.

Updated from the original novel by Brian Garfield, the film also stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Dean Norris and Kimberly Elise.

Special features include  commentary with Eli Roth and producer Roger Birnbaum; deleted scenes with optional commentary with Roth and Birnbaum; “Mancow Morning Show” extended scenes; “Sway in the Morning” extended scene; “Vengeance and Vision: Directing Death Wish”; and Grindhouse trailer.

Lionsgate Releasing ‘Acts of Violence’ on Disc March 27

Lionsgate has slated the action-thriller Acts of Violence for a Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD release March 27. The film is currently available through on-demand channels.

The film stars Cole Hauser, Bruce Willis, Sophia Bush, Ashton Holmes, Shawn Ashmore and Mike Epps in the story of a man who recruits a team to rescue his fiancée from human traffickers.

The Blu-ray and DVD will include a director’s commentary, making-of featurette, and cast and crew interviews.