The thriller Hell Hath No Fury will be released on Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 21 from Well Go USA Entertainment.
The film is available now for digital purchase.
Inspired by true stories of courageous acts by women during World War II, the film stars actress, singer/songwriter and model Nina Bergman (Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 video game, Assassin X, The Wayshower) as a French national branded a traitor by her countrymen. She is rescued by American soldiers on one condition: to survive, she must lead them to a cache of gold hunted by the Nazis, the French resistance and the Americans alike.
Directed by Jesse V. Johnson (Triple Threat, Avengement), the film also stars Daniel Bernhardt (“The Matrix” franchise, John Wick, Atomic Blonde), Louis Mandylor (The Debt Collector, My Big Fat Greek Wedding I and II), Timothy V. Murphy (“Snowpiercer,” “Sons of Anarchy”), former French Foreign Legion Special Forces soldier and knife-fighting technician Dominiquie Vandenberg (Triple Threat, The Mercenary, Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York) and Josef Cannon (Helsing University).
The Searchlight Pictures horror thriller Antlers will be released digitally Dec. 21, and on Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 4 from Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution.
Directed by Scott Cooper and produced by Guillermo del Toro, the film explores the myth of the dreaded “wendigo” as a small-town Oregon teacher (Keri Russell) and her brother (Jesse Plemons), the local sheriff, seek to help a troubled young boy who possesses a strange secret.
The children’s title Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Season 1 will be released on DVD and digital Nov. 16 from NCircle Entertainment and Distribution Solutions.
Viewers peek into the everyday life of Barbie in this animated series and join her as she embarks on adventures with her family and friends — including Ken. From fun road trips to sister shenanigans, Barbie discovers that with a little bit of help and a whole lot of laughter you can be anything.
The series features the voice of America Day as Barbie and Kirsten Day as Skipper.
RLJE Films has set a Dec. 7 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release date for the critically acclaimed horror-comedy whodunit Werewolves Within.
The film was released theatrically by IFC Films in June 2021 and became available through digital retailers and on VOD in July.
Directed by Josh Ruben from a script by Mishna Wolff, the films stars Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, George Basil, Sarah Burns and Michael Chernus, among others.
The DVD will carry a suggested retail price of $27.97, with the Blu-ray Disc retailing for $28.96.
The film is about a mysterious creature terrorizing the small town of Beaverton, where a proposed pipeline has created divisions among the townsfolk. When a snowstorm traps its residents together inside the local inn, newly arrived forest ranger Finn (Richardson) and postal worker Cecily (Milana Vayntrub) must try to keep the peace and uncover the truth behind the strange creature.
The comedy Bigfoot Famous and The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre are among the titles coming to DVD in November from Gravitas Ventures.
Bigfoot Famous is available now. In the film, when a viral video of Bigfoot emerges, a once popular influencer goes on a mission to film a vlog with Bigfoot and regain her fame. The comedy stars Stephanie Barkley, Chris Kleckner, Sam Milman, Lauren Howard Hayes, Anthony Ma, Kelsey Gunn, Marlon Webb and Chris Guerra.
The action horror comedy The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie is due Nov. 9. In the zombiefest, Wrestling’s most hated tag team, The Manson Brothers, now in the twilight of their careers and relegated to doing smaller wrestling promotions, take a midnight cage match on Halloween night, only to find themselves trapped in the arena with wrestlers and fans infected with a mutated rabies zombie virus. Armed only with their wrestling skills, and enchanted lucha libre masks, they must fight for their lives and ensure the virus is contained to prevent an all-out massacre and pandemic. It stars Max Martini, Adrian Pasdar, Randy Couture, Bas Rutten and D.B. Sweeney.
The drama The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain comes out Nov. 16. The film is based on the true story of the events that led to the death of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., an elderly African American veteran with bipolar disorder, who was killed during a conflict with police officers who were dispatched to check on him. It stars Frankie Faison, Steve O’Connell and Enrico Natale.
The sci-fi film Repeat will be released Nov. 19. A zealous cognitive psychologist stumbles across an unbelievable discovery-a way of communicating with the other side. His joy is short-lived, however, as his daughter is put into potentially grave danger. It stars Charlotte Ritchie, Nina Wadia, Ellila-Jean Wood and Tom England.
The documentary Lady Bugs is due Nov. 26. From a Latinx LGBTQ activist to a Black Catholic school principal, six small businesswomen hit California’s newly legal cannabis trade. But as aggressive regulations bogart the market, can they each keep their green American dream alight?
The actioner Hustle Down will be release Nov. 30. A two-bit hustler finds himself relying on bounty hunter, to evade the grasps of a merciless assassin, and vicious thugs led by a rival gang leader, after he steals a money car stuffed with cash meant for his boss. It stars Tom Sizemore, Bai Ling, Kevin Gage, Paul Sidhu, Noel Gugliemi, Vanessa Angel and Raymond J. Barry.
While much of the discussion among panelists at the virtual American Film Market running Nov. 1-5 has been about digital distribution, independent supplier speakers have also noted that physical disc is still an important part of the pipeline.
“We still will release a DVD and Blu-ray on each film,” said Michael Murphy, president of Gravitas Ventures. “That’s going to be manufacture-on-demand in most cases. Our filmmakers like that, and if we can do it in a cost-effective manner, it’s still worth it.”
Disc revenue is still hanging on and filling the coffers at Screen Media.
“At Screen, DVD has been a surprisingly stubborn revenue stream,” said Michael Messina, EVP of distribution at Screen Media. “And it’s actually grown for us in recent years after obviously dropping for a very long time. The past two to three years we’ve seen strong DVD sales.”
J.J. Caruth, president of domestic marketing and distribution at The Avenue, noted Redbox is a key part of keeping the disc spinning.
“We’re still seeing some DVD revenue and, of course, Redbox is a part of that,” he said. “If you can do a deal with Redbox, there’s definitely some money to be made there as well for the right genre of movie.”
The horror films The Resonator: Miskatonic U and Mania Killer will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc Nov. 9 from Full Moon Features and MVD Entertainment Group.
In horror fantasy The Resonator: Miskatonic U (2021), genre stars Michael Pare (Streets of Fire, Eddie and the Cruisers), Amanda Wyss (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Fast Times at Ridgemont High) and Empire Pictures alumni Jeffrey Byron (The Dungeonmaster, Metalstorm) join a cast of newcomers in a tale of visionary Miskatonic University student Crawford Tillinghast, who follows in his late father’s footsteps and becomes obsessed with completing work on The Resonator, an inter-dimensional device that opens doorways to other worlds. With the aid of his closest friends, they manage to get the machine running — with terrifying results.
In Mania Killer (1987), a malevolent religious cult stalks a French village, kidnapping prostitutes and subjecting them to unimaginable torments under the guise of saving their souls. When a young man’s girlfriend is taken by the sect, he teams up with a mob of angry pimps to track down the maniacal, holy rolling killers and put an end to their bloody mission, once and for all. The film stars Bo Svenson (Walking Tall Part 2), Robert Ginty (The Exterminator) and Chuck Connors (Tourist Trap). Full Moon is presenting this obscure shocker totally uncut and remastered from the best available materials found in the Eurocine vaults.
Fewer titles, empty new-release shelves and understaffed departments are just a few of the issues still affecting packaged-media retailers due to the pandemic, based on observations from weekly store visits in Southern California by Media Play News.
Over the past few months, many Target stores, a number of which have been redesigning their layouts and specialty departments in general, have seemingly cut in half the amount of shelf space in their electronics departments devoted to packaged-media movies and TV shows.
A typical Target layout now involves a new-release display up front, with a single aisle of high-profile catalog and recent releases. Aisles dedicated to 4K Ultra HD discs and boxed sets have largely disappeared, as more shelf space is being devoted to collectibles such as Funko Pops, increasingly popular manga comics, and more books and vinyl records (the latter, ironically, as CD shelf space decreases).
The story is similar at Best Buy locations, many of which now have just a new-release display near the front entrance, and a single aisle of recent discs toward the middle or back of the store closer to the HDTVs. Best Buy locations had been shrinking their DVD and Blu-ray sections for years to make room for a larger mobile phone footprint, a trend seemingly accelerated by the pandemic. A store in Costa Mesa, Calif., converted the area in the center of the store once dominated by DVDs and Blu-rays into a staging area for online order pickups.
“I think a lot of the shelf space issues have to do with COVID,” said Bill Hunt of packaged-media enthusiast site TheDigitalBits.com. “Retailers had been stocking less physical media even before the pandemic.”
One casualty of Target’s reduction in shelf space for discs is the removal of an area dedicated to promoting the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format. In fact, aside from new releases, 4K copies of movies are hard to come by at Target and Walmart physical stores. Likewise, bulkier TV boxed sets and movie collections are now mostly absent from physical locations. Most chains now prefer to make 4K discs, collector sets and other niche catalog fare available through their online stores.
In many instances, retailers such as Target, Best Buy and Walmart have been slow to stock new-release shelves on Tuesdays, the traditional date for new Blu-ray Disc and DVD releases. Depending on the location, shoppers used to seeing updated new-release displays on Tuesday mornings now might have to wait well into the afternoon or evening, if not the next day, to find the titles they are looking for on shelves.
Discussions with store clerks point to product that might be late in arriving to stores, a side effect of lingering supply chain issues such as the number of replication facilities where the discs are made being reduced as the physical home entertainment industry continues to lose market share to digital delivery and streaming year after year.
This often leads to shelves looking empty as they haven’t been stocked with the new titles, or the limited supplies they have made available have sold out.
“While there are more titles coming out than ever, studios and replicators are having trouble getting a sufficient supply of product out to retailers on street date. So they’re all doing more business selling online,” Hunt said. “What I’m also hearing, in chatting with employees at the local Targets and Best Buys here in Orange County (Calif.), is that retail stores are having to make due with fewer workers,” Hunt said. “The stores have fewer people stocking the shelves. And the focus is on keeping shelves stocked with high-demand consumable goods — food, home supplies, medicine and personal care items. Movie discs aren’t a high priority.”
In one instance, a Walmart employee pointed to a box of DVDs sitting behind the counter and said they were waiting for a third-party vendor to arrive to set up the new-release display for that week.
A different week, a Target employee who was just getting around to resetting the shelf tags on the new-release kiosk on a Tuesday afternoon, when asked about a title released that day, said they were still in the back and that no one could have them until someone had the time to bring the box out (typically a store clerk, when asked for a specific item the computer says is in stock, will at least go to the back and pull one from storage even if no one has been able to bring the rest of the boxes out).
The week of April 27, Disney-owned Searchlight Pictures perfectly timed the Blu-ray release of Nomadland for two days after the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony at which the film won the Oscar for Best Picture. However, copies of the film were nowhere to be found at major retail shelves on the day of its release. Target, Walmart and Best Buy all relegated the Nomadland Blu-ray to their online store. It received worse treatment at Amazon, which didn’t even list it until the day it came out, and even then only as available from third-party marketplace sellers (meaning Amazon isn’t selling it directly — likely another casualty of the e-commerce behemoth’s long-running disputes with Disney over physical media availability). Best Buy at least paired the Nomadland Blu-ray with a deal to get a month of Internet TV service Philo for $1.
One title that seemed to most epitomize retailer supply issues was Paramount’s four-movie “Indiana Jones” 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray boxed sets released June 8. Many fans reported a hard time finding them at retail, and even Amazon buyers took to Twitter and Facebook to complain about shipping delays because the online retailer didn’t have copies in stock yet. Target listed the 4K edition of the “Indiana Jones” collection as an online exclusive at $86.99, while touting the standard Blu-ray set as in stores at $39.99 in its weekly ad circulars, though shoppers reported little luck in finding any. Store locations in Santa Ana and Tustin, Calif., didn’t even have shelf tags for it.
The Digital Bits’ Hunt posted on social media that a clerk at his local Southern California Target store said that since they didn’t stock the 4K version, they were worried that just putting the Blu-ray edition on shelves would confuse customers, so they kept it in the storeroom.
Some shoppers reported a bit better luck at Best Buy, finding a handful of the exclusive $99 Steelbook version of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set (which included a digital copy, but not standard Blu-ray versions). Unsurprisingly, many shoppers took to social media to say the set was sold out in their area.
A Walmart in Tustin, Calif., didn’t have the four-movie set, but did have a new Blu-ray and DVD version of just Raiders of the Lost Ark (reportedly just a repackaging of previously released disc configurations). The Blu-ray (with digital copy) was readily available at most online retailers for around $14.99, but the DVD version was a Walmart exclusive at $9.96.
Exclusive editions such as Best Buy’s “Indiana Jones” Steelbook and Walmart’s Raiders DVD continue to be a valued promotional tool for retailers to attract consumers looking for new titles, even as the packaged-media industry continues to decline.
“I think the exclusives tend to be produced further in advance and in small batches, so those are easier to prioritize,” Hunt said.
Savvy collectors know which exclusives certain retailers tend to prefer. Best Buy is well known for its Steelbook sets — packing Blu-ray combo packs into metal cases with special box art.
Since the beginning of June, Best Buy’s Steelbooks for 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack new releases have included Warner’s Godzilla vs. Kong, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Injustice and The Suicide Squad; Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II and Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins; Universal’s F9: The Fast Saga and Old; Disney’s Luca, Black Widow, Cruella and Free Guy; and Lionsgate’s Spiral: From the Book of Saw and Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. New regular Blu-ray Steelbooks included Batman: The Long Halloween — Part One and Part Two.
Best Buy’s 4K catalog Steelbooks the past five months have included Lionsgate’s Sicario, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, 3 From Hell, American Psycho and Apocalypse Now;
Paramount’s Scream; Disney’s Unbreakable; Warner’s Space Jam, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, The Shawshank Redemption and A Clockwork Orange; Universal’s Backdraft, Howard the Duck, Mortal Engines, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Rear Window, Vertigo and 1982’s The Thing; and Sony Pictures’ Snatch.
Regular Blu-ray Steelbook boxed sets have included Paramount’s Friday the 13th 8-Movie Collection and Funimation’s Darling in the Franxx: Season 1 anime set.
Best Buy has released so many Steelbooks that most stores have a special Steelbook section in the disc aisle. Online, Best Buy created the Steelbook Collector Hub, a page to provide information about the chain’s Steelbooks and to poll collectors about which new Steelbooks to produce. The Steelbook page also includes a section profiling a Steelbook collector with a brief Q&A.
Target also occasionally releases Steelbook exclusives, though not at the frequency of Best Buy. Examples the past few months have included Lionsgate’s Sicario and 31, both catalog titles.
Instead, Target’s go-to exclusives tend to be to pack the 4K or Blu-ray combo pack with collectible art cards or a booklet of behind-the-scenes material.
For example, Target packed Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad and F9: The Fast Saga
Blu-rays with character cards, while Luca, Free Guy and Cruella Blu-rays came with art cards. Gallery booklets came with the 4K combo pack of Black Widow and the regular Blu-ray of Universal’s The Boss Baby: Family Business Blu-ray.
Walmart’s exclusive preferences tend to the more eclectic. These may range from lenticular covers (such as for The Suicide Squad), or gift sets (for example, pairing The Boss Baby: Family Business Blu-ray with a jigsaw puzzle, or family films with plush dolls).
Recent Disney Blu-rays such as Luca and Cruella have come with Walmart-exclusive box art and paired with an e-book tie-in to the movie.
For many Warner Bros. titles, Walmart might put out a DVD version with minimal extras that runs a few dollars cheaper than the widely released DVD. Or, in cases where the wide release is only 4K or Blu-ray, Walmart will have the DVD exclusively — typically the case with DC animated superhero movies such as Injustice and both parts of Batman: The Long Halloween, but also multi-movie sets such as The Conjuring 3-Movie Collection and Space Jam 2-Film Collection. Walmart also recently released exclusive DVD collections such as Universal’s Fast & Furious 9-Movie Collection and, from Warner, the Mortal Kombat 3-Movie Collection and a Godzilla/Kong 3-Film Collection.
Walmart focusing so many of its exclusives on plain-old DVD points to the stalwart format remaining the workhorse of retail disc sales even as it approaches its 25th anniversary (the first DVD players and discs were available in November 1996 in Japan), despite the existence of several next-generation HD formats.
Whether due to consumer stubbornness, the cheaper price during the pandemic, or chains such as Walmart continuing to champion it, DVD continues to dominate market share among the disc formats.
According to Media Play News research estimates, DVD has accounted for 74.4% of all disc unit sales for the first nine months of 2021, up from 71.5% the first three quarters of 2020. The average price of a DVD and Blu-ray through nine months of 2021 is $10.32 and $19.40, respectively, compared with $9.90 per DVD and $18.13 per Blu-ray during the same period in 2020.
Walmart’s exclusive DVD editions account for a considerable portion of a title’s total sales, despite being available at just one of the big three major national home entertainment retailers, demonstrating Walmart’s outsized influence on the market. For instance, the Space Jam 2-Film Collection released Oct. 15 has seen about 44% of its total sales come from the Walmart-exclusive DVD version.
The full-length animated family film Tom and Jerry Cowboy Up! is set for release digitally and on DVD Jan. 25 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, the film finds the cat and mouse duo in the Wild West where they help save a ranch from the hands of a villain. The rivals team up to help a cowgirl and her brother save their homestead from a greedy land-grabber. Jerry’s three precocious nephews join in the action, and Tom rounds up a posse of prairie dogs.
Tom and Jerry Cowboy Up! features the voice talents of George Ackles as The Marshal, Sean Burgos as Bumpy, Trevor Devall as Duke, Chris Edgerly as August Critchley, Georgie Kidder as Scruffy, Justin Michael as Bentley, Kaitlyn Robrock as Betty, Isaac Robinson Smith as Zeb, Kath Soucie as Tuffy, Stephen Stanton as Virgil, Fred Tatasciore as Clem, and Kari Wahlgren as Duffy and Jane.
The Many Saints of Newark arrives for premium digital ownership at $24.99 and premium digital rental at $19.99 on Nov. 19 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The title will be available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on Dec. 21.
The film, about the origins of Tony Soprano of the series “The Sopranos,” is directed by Alan Taylor (TV’s “Game of Thrones,” TV’s “Mad Men”) from a screenplay by series creator David Chase and Lawrence Konner, based on characters created by Chase. It stars Alessandro Nivola (Disobedience, American Hustle), Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr. (Broadway’s “Hamilton,” Murder on the Orient Express), Jon Bernthal (Baby Driver, The Wolf of Wall Street), Corey Stoll (First Man, Ant-Man), Michael Gandolfini (TV’s “The Deuce”), Billy Magnussen (Game Night, The Big Short), Michela De Rossi (Boys Cry, TV’s “The Rats”), John Magaro (The Finest Hours, Not Fade Away), Ray Liotta (TV’s “Shades of Blue,” Goodfellas) and Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air, “The Conjuring” films).
In the film, young Anthony Soprano (Michael Gandolfini) is growing up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark’s history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters begin to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family’s hold over the increasingly race-torn city. Caught up in the changing times is the uncle he idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti (Nivola), who struggles to manage both his professional and personal responsibilities — and whose influence over his nephew will help make the impressionable teenager into the all-powerful mob boss we’ll later come to know: Tony Soprano.