Warner’s ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ Looking to Replace ‘Wonka’ Atop Christmas Weekend Box Office

An extended Christmas weekend box office finds Warner Bros. Pictures looking to expand upon its late-year theatrical success (beyond last week’s Wonka) with the new DC superhero sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom — again featuring Jason Momoa in the title role.

The movie is projected to generate upwards of $40 million in North American ticket sales, according to new data from Box Office Pro. That would continue DC’s underwhelming theatrical run in 2023, underscoring moviegoers’ increased fickleness toward the superhero genre in general.

Quite a difference from 2018 when the original Aquaman opened with $100 million in Christmas weekend ticket sales enroute to a $1.1 billion global box office run through April 19, 2019.

Regardless, the opening the Lost Kingdom tally could be enough to hold off the second weekend of Wonka, which is projected to generate upwards of $37 million across its second weekend of release.

Universal/Illumination’s latest animation feature film Migration is projected to open with about $25 million in ticket sales — a reality check for the studio, whose last feature — The Super Mario Bros. Movie — realized an Easter weekend opening box of more than $166 million.

Other new releases include Columbia Pictures romance comedy Anyone But You ($8 million), featuring Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell; Warner’s musical adaption of The Color Purple ($22 million); and Amazon/MGM’s college rowing drama The Boys in the Boat ($5 million) — the latter starring Joel Edgerton.

Warner Bros. Discovery Licenses DC Studios Superhero Movies, TV Shows to Tubi

Warner Bros. Discovery is reportedly licensing the bulk of its DC Studios’ superhero movies to Tubi, the ad-supported streaming video platform of the Tubi Media Group, a division of Fox Corporation that oversees the company’s digital businesses.

The non-exclusive deal includes immediate access to Batman, Batman Returns and Batman Forever, as well as Superman: The Movie and Superman II, and TV series, “Batwoman,” “Gotham” and “Krypton”. Other titles include The Batman, Suicide Squad, Black Adam, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, among others.

The pact also includes the launch of 10 new WBD-branded free ad-supported streaming television channels, in addition to the renewal of 13 existing FAST channels.

WBD CEO David Zaslav has made no secret his desire to mine incremental revenue licensing proprietary content to third-party distribution platforms beyond the media giant’s Max streaming service. Indeed, the majority of the DC Universe content catalog had been limited to streaming on Max.

“The addition of recent blockbuster movies and fan-favorite series from the DC library is a monumental offering for Tubi viewers,” Tubi chief content officer Adam Lewinson said in a statement.

And Tubi is expanding beyond catalog content and into live sports. The streamer last month inked a deal with the NBA G League, the NBA’s official development league, to stream select games on the NBA G League TV channels. The channel features more than 75 live games each season, including more than a dozen G League Ignite games and select G League Playoff games.

The WBD/Tubi agreement was first reported by Variety.

Animated ‘Legion of Super-Heroes’ Movie Arriving Feb. 7 on Blu-ray, 4K and Digital

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Legion of Super-Heroes, the latest animated adventure in the DC Universe franchise, for digital purchase and on Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Feb. 7, 2023.

In the film, Supergirl (voiced by Meg Donnelly) travels to the 31st century to help adjust to life on Earth by attending the Legion Academy, where heroes hone their powers with hopes of joining the Legion of Super-Heroes. Supergirl quickly makes new allies, as the Legion must confront a mysterious group known as the Dark Circle that seeks a powerful weapon stored in the Academy’s vault.

The voice cast also includes Harry Shum Jr. as Brainiac 5, Cynthia Hamidi as Dawnstar, Gideon Adlon as Phantom Girl, Ely Henry as Bouncing Boy, Robbie Daymond as Timber Wolf &and Brainiac 4, Yuri Lowenthal as Mon-El, Eric Lopez as Cosmic Boy and Chemical King, Darin De Paul as Brainiac and Solomon Grundy, Ben Diskin as Arms Fall Off Boy and Brainiac 2, Victoria Grace as Shadow Lass, Jennifer Hale as Alura, Daisy Lightfoot as Triplicate Girl, and Zeno Robinson as Invisible Kid and Brainiac 3.

In addition, Darren Criss, Matt Bomer and Jensen Ackles reprise their roles as Superman, The Flash and Batman, respectively, from previous entries in the ongoing Justice League continuity of movies.

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Extras include the featurettes “The Legion Behind the Legion,” in which the filmmakers discuss the making of the movie; “Meet the Legionnaires,” about the characters; “Brainiac Attack: The Intellect Behind the Super-Villain,” a profile of the lineage of the “Brainiac” character; and “Down to Earth: The Story of Supergirl,” in which the filmmakers discuss why they centered the movie on Superman’s cousin.

New ‘Green Lantern’ Animated Movie Arriving on Disc and Digital July 26

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Green Lantern: Beware My Power on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and for digital purchase on July 26.

The animated film based on DC Comics characters will focus on John Stewart (voiced by Aldis Hodge), a discharged Marine sniper who receives an alien ring that gives him the powers of the guardian of Earth. However, the ring doesn’t come with instructions, forcing Stewart to learn on the fly as an interplanetary horde is set on eliminating every Green Lantern in the universe.

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The voice cast also includes Jimmi Simpson as Green Arrow, Ike Amadi as Martian Manhunter, Brian Bloom as Adam Strange, Jamie Gray Hyder as Hawkgirl, Mara Junot as Lyssa Drak and Banth Dar, Jason J. Lewis as Ganthet and Captain Kantus, Keesha Sharp as Vixen, Simon Templeman as Sardath and Console Voice, Rick D. Wasserman as Sinestro, Sunil Malhotra as Power Ring and Rannian Commander, and Nolan North as various characters.

The home video release will include the featurette “John Stewart: The Power and the Glory.”

New ‘Constantine’ Animated Short Anchors Latest ‘DC Showcase’ Collection

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release DC Showcase — Constantine: The House of Mystery on Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD digital download May 3.

The ‘R’-rated collection of animated short films features stories based on DC Comics’ library of characters.

Matt Ryan reprises his live-action and animated role as the Hellblazer himself in Constantine: The House of Mystery. In the all-new short, John Constantine wakes up in the eerie House of Mystery with no recollection of how he got there. Camilla Luddington and Ray Chase reprise their roles from Justice League Dark: Apokolips War as Zatanna and Jason Blood/Etrigan, respectively, while Robin Atkin Downes and Damian O’Hare reprise their roles from Constantine: City of Demons as Negral and Chas, respectively. In addition, Grey Griffin and Lou Diamond Phillips join the cast of the short, which is directed by Matt Peters (Injustice) from a script by Ernie Altbacker (Batman: Hush).

The collection will also include the shorts Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth!, The Losers and Blue Beetle, which were previously released as companions to recent DC Universe animated movies.

Also included as an extra is the featurette “DC Showcase: One Story at a Time,” a look at the history of the animated shorts with interviews from producer Rick Morales and directors Matt Peters and Milo Neuman as they explore the featured heroes and villains, the comics that inspired them, and these adventures’ place in the bigger picture of the DC animated universe.

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Injustice

4K ULTRA HD REVIEW:

Warner;
Animated;
$29.98 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for bloody violence.
Voices of Justin Hartley, Anson Mount, Laura Bailey, Zach Callison, Brian T. Delaney, Brandon Micheal Hall, Edwin Hodge, Oliver Hudson, Gillian Jacobs, Yuri Lowenthal, Derek Phillips, Kevin Pollak, Anika Noni Rose, Reid Scott, Faran Tahir, Fred Tatasciore, Janet Varney. 

While comic book superheroes have been likened to a modern form of mythology, stories about the characters tend to be constrained by a desire for them to inhabit a reality that for the most part mirrors our own.

This needs stems mostly from the nature of a recurring medium that allows the storytelling to remain topical to the times. Rather than exploring how the heroes could use their powers to impact problems on a global scale, most stories tend toward the heroes fighting evil counterparts of themselves, the supervillains, whose defeat allows humanity to continue along its own course while giving the heroes something to do.

Occasionally, though, the writers of these stories do explore how such characters could change the world if they were real, usually in the form of one-off adventures outside of ongoing continuity.

Marvel famously did this on a regular basis with the “What If…?” comics that were adapted into the Disney+ animated series. DC Comics did something similar with its “Elseworlds” branding, which had been preceded decades earlier by the “imaginary story” that put its characters in situations that didn’t have to return to the status quo for the next month.

Along those lines, Injustice asks what if the superpowered heroes of DC Comics decided to impose their own sense of justice upon the world.

The animated movie is based on the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us and its comic book tie-ins, the plot serving essentially as an excuse for a versus game that allowed various DC heroes to fight each other “Mortal Kombat” style.

The hero at the center of the story of Injustice is Superman, who learns Lois is pregnant with his child. Before he can celebrate, however, the Joker unleashes a scheme that involves tricking Superman into killing Lois and setting of a nuclear bomb that destroys Metropolis.

Consumed by the grief of losing his true love, Superman (voiced by Justin Hartley) and declares his intentions to impose order on the world so that such acts of evil can never happen again. Giving into his anger, Superman begins a killing spree against the Justice League’s enemies, anointing himself the world’s judge, jury and executioner and setting him down the path of tyranny. His change in philosophy fractures this Justice League, with some joining him on his new mission, while others, led by Batman (Anson Mount) vow to stop him.

The ensuing conflict is brutal, as the film earns its ‘R’ rating with bloody fight sequences that yield a high body count of heroes that normally couldn’t be killed off so casually.

Fans of the Injustice games and comics have voiced misgivings over the way the movie omitted many storylines and changed others while cramming as much as it could into a 78-minute running time. Those who are able to engage the film on its own merits, however, might find it to be an engaging superhero allegory that speaks to the heated political times in which we live.

The story plays into an underlying debate over security vs. freedom that has some obvious real-world parallels. At various points in the story, Superman decides to implement covert surveillance on all of humanity, while demanding an extreme version of gun control.

While the film isn’t afraid to go dark, it’s not without its lighter side and the occasional moment of levity. One highlight is the pairing of Harley Quinn (Gillian Jacobs) with Green Arrow (Reid Scott) in an oddly effecting partnership.

The Blu-ray includes one featurette, the half-hour “Adventures in Storytelling: Injustice — Crisis and Conflict,” a roundtable discussion of some of the films’ creators talking about the source material and the different themes explored by the story.

Also included is the two-part “Injustice for All” two-part episode of the “Justice League” animated series that originally aired in 2002.

‘Catwoman: Hunted’ Animated Movie Bowing Feb. 8

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the animated movie Catwoman: Hunted for digital purchase and on Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Feb. 8.

The ‘PG-13’ film finds Catwoman (Elizabeth Gillies) attempting to steal a priceless jewel, putting her squarely in the crosshairs of both a powerful consortium of villains and the ever-resourceful Interpol, not to mention Batwoman (Stephanie Beatriz). The voice cast also includes Jonathan Banks as Black Mask, Steve Blum as Solomon Grundy, Lauren Cohan as Julia Pennyworth, Keith David as Tobias Whale, Zehra Fazal as Talia al Ghul and Nosferata, Jonathan Frakes as King Faraday and Boss Moxie, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Barbara Minerva/Cheetah, Kelly Hu as Cheshire, Andrew Kishino as Mr. Yakuza and Domino 6, Eric Lopez as Domino 1, Jacqueline Obradors as La Dama, and Ron Yuan as Doctor Tzin.

Extras include the featurettes “When the Hunter Becomes the Hunted,” about the backstory of the films’ villains, and “Catwoman: The Feline Femme Fatale,” about Catwoman’s history.

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Catwoman: Hunted kicks off a 2022 DC animated slate that also includes Green Lantern: Beware My Power and Battle of the Super Sons, as well as a film for younger fans, Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse. The year will also see the presentation of DC Showcase — Constantine: House of Mystery, a new compilation of animated shorts; and the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Batman: The Long Halloween — Deluxe Edition, which combines the two parts previously released on Blu-ray.

Warner Releasing 10th Anniversary Commemorative Edition of Animated Movie ‘Batman: Year One’

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will re-release 2011’s Batman: Year One Nov. 9 in a new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition and for digital purchase to mark the 10th anniversary of the animated film.

Batman: Year One — Commemorative Edition will include a fully remastered version of the film with a new bonus featurette, “Reinventing Gordon.” The film makes its 4K debut in a combo pack with a 4K disc with HDR, a regular Blu-ray and a digital copy.

Based on DC Comics’ 1987 miniseries written by Frank Miller and illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, the film depicts young Bruce Wayne’s return to Gotham City in his first attempts to fight injustice as a costumed superhero. The playboy billionaire chooses the guise of a giant bat to combat crime, creates an early bond with a young police lieutenant named James Gordon by helping his fight against corruption within the police department, inadvertently plays a role in the birth of Catwoman, and helps to bring down a crooked political system that infests Gotham City.

The voice cast is led by Bryan Cranston as James Gordon, with Bruce Wayne/Batman voiced by Ben McKenzie (who himself would go on to play a young Gordon on the TV series “Gotham”). Other voices include Eliza Dushku as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Katee Sackhof as Det. Sarah Essen, the late Alex Rocco as crime lord Carmine Falcone, the late Jon Polito as Commissioner Loeb, Jeff Bennett as Alfred, Grey Griffin as Barbara Gordon and Vicki Vale, Robin Atkin Downes as Harvey Dent, Keith Ferguson as Jefferson Skeevers, Fred Tatasciore as Detective Flass, Stephen Root as Brendon, Liliana Mumy as Holly, and Nick Jameson as Merkel.

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The “Reinventing Gordon” featurette, which examines the history of James Gordon through comics, animation and feature films, will be previewed at the DC Fandome fan event Oct. 16.

The Batman: Year One — Commemorative Edition combo pack will also include extras from the original 2011 Blu-ray release such as an audio commentary; “Conversations With DC Comics,” in which the DC Comics creative team discusses the influence of Batman: Year One; the featurette “Heart of Vengeance: Returning Batman to His Roots,” a documentary about Miller’s work with Batman from The Dark Knight Returns to Batman: Year One; and the DC Showcase animated short Catwoman.

The 4K set will also include featurettes about other recent DC animated movies, including Batman: Soul of the Dragon, and Batman: The Long Halloween parts one and two.

Animated DC Comics Movie ‘Injustice’ Slated for Blu-ray and Digital Release Oct. 19

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the newest DC Universe animated movie, Injustice, on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and via digital sellthrough Oct. 19.

Inspired by the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game and the Injustice: Gods Among Us — Year One graphic novel based on it, the film is set in an alternate world gone mad, where The Joker has duped Superman into killing Lois Lane, sending the Man of Steel on a deadly rampage. Unhinged, Superman decides to take control of the Earth for humanity’s own good. Determined to stop him, Batman creates a team of like-minded, freedom-fighting heroes, leading to an all-out superhero war.

Justin Hartley of “This Is Us” provides the voice of Superman, returning to the DC realm after playing Green Arrow on “Smallville.” Anson Mount of “Star Trek: Discovery” voices Batman. The voice cast also includes Janet Varney as Wonder Woman; Brandon Micheal Hall as Cyborg; Kevin Pollak as Joker and Jonathan Kent; Anika Noni Rose as Catwoman; Reid Scott as Green Arrow and Victor Zsasz; Edwin Hodge as Mr. Terrific and Killer Croc; Gillian Jacobs as Harley Quinn; Oliver Hudson as Plastic Man; Laura Bailey as Lois Lane and Rama Kushna; Faran Tahir as Ra’s al Ghul; Derek Phillips as Nightwing and Aquaman; Yuri Lowenthal as Mirror Master, Flash and Shazam; Zach Callison as Damian and Jimmy Olsen; Brian T. Delaney as Green Lantern; Fred Tatasciore as Captain Atom; and Andrew Morgado as Mirror Master Soldier.

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The film is rated ‘R’ for bloody violence.

The Injustice 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack includes the film on a 4K disc with HDR and on a regular Blu-ray. Both the 4K and Blu-ray editions include a digital copy.

Extras include the making-of featurette “Adventures in Storytelling – Injustice: Crisis and Conflict,” plus the “Injustice for All” two-parter from the “Justice League” cartoon that aired in 2002, and featurettes about previously released DC movies The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen.

A sneak peek of Injustice will be available at the DC FanDome virtual event Oct. 16.

 

‘Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two’ Set for Digital Release July 27, Blu-ray Aug. 10

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two for digital purchase July 27 and on Blu-ray Disc Aug. 10.

The film continues the storyline from Part One, due June 22, which is based on the 1996-97 comic book storyline that takes place early in Batman’s vigilante career, as the young crimefighter forms a pact with the city’s only two uncorrupt lawmen, police Capt. James Gordon and DA Harvey Dent, to take down organized crime in Gotham City, only to be tested by a serial killer who murders his victims on holidays throughout the year.

The voice cast includes Jensen Ackles as Batman, Josh Duhamel as Harvey Dent, Billy Burke as Jim Gordon, Katee Sackhoff as Poison Ivy, Titus Welliver as Carmine Falcone, David Dastmalchian as Calendar Man, Troy Baker as Joker, Amy Landecker as Barbara Gordon, Julie Nathanson as Gilda Dent, Fred Tatasciore as Solomon Grundy, Jim Pirri as Sal Maroni, Alastair Duncan as Alfred, and the late Naya Rivera as Catwoman in one of her final performances, recorded before her death in 2020.

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A 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Batman: The Long Halloween will arrive in 2022 with both parts combined into a longer film.

The Part Two Blu-ray and digital edition (through participating retailers) will also include the DC Showcase animated short film Blue Beetle, a 1960s cartoon throwback with the Silver Age Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, teaming with fellow superheroes Captain Atom, The Question and Nightshade to battle Doctor Spectro.

Other extras include a preview of the next DC Animated movie, Injustice, and the “Two-Face” two-parter from “Batman: The Animated Series.”

The film is rated ‘R’ for some violence and bloody images.

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