‘The Upside’ Climbs to Top of FandangoNow Chart

The comedy The Upside was the top film purchased and/or rented on FandangoNow for the week ended May 19.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional VOD service.

The Universal film stars Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston as an out-of-work ex-con and a wealthy quadriplegic who unexpectedly come together and help each other bring back their zest for life. It earned $108.2 million in theaters.

Lionsgate’s Cold Pursuit, starring Liam Neeson, jumped up two spots to No. 2. In the film, which earned $32 million at the box office, Neeson plays a grieving snowplow driver who seeks revenge against the drug dealers who killed his son.

Taking the third spot was Universal’s Fighting With My Family, a comedy about World Wrestling Entertainment star Paige featuring Dwayne Johnson. It made $23 million in theaters.

Another Universal title, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the series about a boy and his dragon, dropped two spots to No. 4. It made $160 million at the box office.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Boosted by the May 17 theatrical debut of the third installment in the Lionsgate series, the double feature of John Wick and John Wick 2, starring Keanu Reeves as a hitman out for revenge, jumped five spots to No. 5 on the week’s chart.

Entering the chart at No. 10 was Universal’s horror sequel Happy Death Day 2U. The follow-up to 2017’s Happy Death Day earned $28 million at the box office.

The top 10 films purchased and/or rented on FandangoNow for the week ended May 19 were:

  1. The Upside (Universal)
  2. Cold Pursuit * (Lionsgate)
  3. Fighting With My Family (Universal)
  4. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World * (Universal)
  5. John Wickand John Wick: Chapter 2 (Double Feature) * (Lionsgate)
  6. What Men Want* (Paramount)
  7. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part* (Warner)
  8. Glass* (Universal)
  9. Aquaman * (Warner)
  10. Happy Death Day 2U* (Universal)

*Available in 4K

Lionsgate’s ‘Cold Pursuit’ Hot on Redbox Charts

Lionsgate’s Cold Pursuit traveled to the top spot on both the Redbox disc rental and digital charts for the week ended May 19.

The actioner, starring Liam Neeson as a grieving snowplow driver who seeks revenge against the drug dealers who killed his son, debuted in the No. 1 spot on the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, as well as the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals. The film earned $32 million at the box office.

Another new release, Universal’s Fighting With My Family, a story about a wrestling family featuring Dwayne Johnson, debuted on both charts at No. 2. The film earned $23 million in theaters.

The only other new release in the top 10 was Universal’s horror film Happy Death Day 2U, which landed at No. 5 on the disc chart and No. 7 on the digital chart. The sequel earned $28 million at the box office.

The previous week’s top title, the Paramount comedy What Men Want, fell two spots to No. 3 on both charts, while the previous week’s No. 2, Warner’s The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, fell to No. 4 on the disc and No. 5 on the digital chart.

Lionsgate’s Keanu Reeves actioner John Wick made an appearance at No. 4 on the digital chart as the latest installment in the series, John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, hit theaters.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended May 19:

  1. Cold Pursuit(New) — Lionsgate
  2. Fighting With My Family (New) — Universal
  3. What Men Want — Paramount
  4. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part — Warner
  5. Happy Death Day 2U (New) — Universal
  6. Glass— Universal
  7. Serenity (2019) —Universal
  8. The Mule — Warner
  9. Miss Bala (2019)— Sony
  10. A Dog’s Way Home— Sony

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended May 19:

  1. Cold Pursuit — Lionsgate
  2. Fighting With My Family — MGM
  3. What Men Want — Paramount
  4. John Wick — Lionsgate
  5. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part — Warner
  6. Glass — Universal
  7. Happy Death Day 2U — Universal
  8. The Mule — Warner
  9. Aquaman — Warner
  10. Serenity(2019) — Universal

Fighting With My Family

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 5/14/19;
Universal/MGM;
Comedy;
Box Office $22.96 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for crude and sexual material, language throughout, some violence and drug content.
Stars Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughn, Dwayne Johnson, Stephen Merchant.

The notion that professional wrestling is “fake” is pervasive enough that most people don’t realize it’s a world just as competitive as any sport. It’s just the indicators of success aren’t strictly focused on the results in the ring.

As is made abundantly clear in the very entertaining Fighting With My Family, while the results of wrestling matches are more or less fixed as a means of storytelling and showmanship, the athleticism on display is just as genuine as any contest where the results aren’t predetermined.

The film tells the story of WWE superstar Paige, who emerged from a family of wrestlers in England to become one of the top female performers in the world’s biggest pro-wrestling promotion.

With her family’s small promotion struggling to get by, Paige (Florence Pugh) and her brother, Zak (Jack Lowden) are invited to a WWE tryout. But when Paige is the only one deemed worthy of potential superstardom, the siblings must come to terms with the notion that one’s dream and one’s destiny might lead to separate paths.

For Paige, that means leaving her family to train in America, and dealing with the hardships of trying to fit in when it seems she doesn’t quite fit in. For Zak, it means coming to terms with the idea that maybe his place isn’t in the spotlight, but quietly working behind the scenes to further the traditions of his family profession.

Fighting With My Family is based on a British TV documentary about Paige and her family and their passion for professional wrestling. Director Stephen Merchant has refocused the story into a rather typical sports movie underdog tale, playing fast-and-loose with the reality it for a more concise narrative.

Vince Vaughn’s character of Hutch Morgan, for example, is a composite of a variety of WWE authorities Paige would have encountered during her training in the NXT developmental program, essentially the minor leagues of wrestling.

The movie also skips over dealing with NXT’s own championship hierarchy, where using it might have giving a better sense of Paige’s progress within the company aside from her reactions to a few contentious exchanges with Hutch, and some encouraging words from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who pops in to play himself.

As such, the film’s climactic result seems a bit forced within the context of the story beats the movie itself has established, a development owing more to being a re-creation of the real event than something the film’s version of events has earned. Merchant’s comedic background serves the offbeat moments of the story well, but he admittedly wasn’t aware of the inner workings of professional wrestling before taking on the task of helming the film, and a few beats focused more on the mechanics of pro-wrestling storytelling might have been warranted.

Still, aided by some great performances by the main cast, the film offers plenty of heartfelt sentiment in celebrating the power of family to fuel the pursuit of a lifelong dream and find comfort and contentment when things don’t always go according to plan.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Home video extras include nine minutes of deleted scenes, a three-minute gag reel, a nine-minute behind-the-scenes featurette and a three-minute video about training for the physicality in the film. Merchant also provides an audio commentary for the film.

The Blu-ray also features an “unrated director’s cut” of the film, but the alterations are so minor that its inclusion seems like more of a marketing gimmick than anything of consequential artistic value. That being said, based on the few identifiable differences, my preference tends to lean toward the unrated cut, which actually runs three seconds shorter than the theatrical version.

The changes don’t alter the story in any way and consist mostly of alternate takes featuring slightly cruder dialogue to get the same message across.

I’ve managed to identify five alterations:

1) A slightly faster edit for a key joke during the dinner scene of Zak’s girlfriend’s parents meeting his family;
2) The Rock having a slightly different reaction to Paige’s shock at meeting him for the first time;
3) A more grotesque line of dialogue from an audience member reacting to Paige’s first introduction to an NXT crowd;
4) A faster edit of Zak getting into a bar fight; and
5) An obscenity as Hutch is testing Paige’s comebacks to potential crowd insults.

Also note that while Universal is distributing the Blu-ray, the film is an MGM production and thus the digital copy is not compatible with Movies Anywhere, but redeemable only through iTunes.

‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ Flies to Top of FandangoNow Chart

The animated How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World was the top film purchased and/or rented on FandangoNow for the week ended May 5.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional VOD service.

The Universal film, the third in the series about a boy and his dragon, made $160 million at the box office. The “How to Train Your Dragon Trilogy” came in at No. 9, showing there was strong interest in the franchise for the week.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Landing at No. 2 was the Warner romantic comedy sendup Isn’t It Romantic, starring Rebel Wilson. Wilson and Anne Hathaway star in the current theatrical release The Hustle, which perhaps boosted interest in the Wilson title.

Universal’s Glass, from filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, came in third on the FandangoNow chart, while Universal’s Fighting With My Family, a wrestling story starring Dwayne Johnson, landed at No. 4.

In the No. 5 spot was Lionsgate’s Cold Pursuit, starring Liam Neeson as a grieving snowplow driver who seeks revenge against the drug dealers who killed his son. The film earned $32 million at the box office.

The top 10 films purchased and/or rented on FandangoNow for the week ended May 5 were:

  1. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World *
  2. Isn’t It Romantic *
  3. Glass *
  4. Fighting With My Family
  5. Cold Pursuit *
  6. Aquaman *
  7. Serenity
  8. The Mule *
  9. How to Train Your Dragon Trilogy *
  10. Arctic *

 

*Available in 4K

‘Fighting With My Family’ Director’s Cut on Digital April 30, Disc May 14

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release MGM’s Fighting With My Family digitally April 30, and on Blu-ray and DVD May 14.

Written and directed by Stephen Merchant, the comedy set in the world of professional wrestling is based on the true story of WWE Superstar Paige (Florence Pugh). Born into a tight-knit wrestling family, Page and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) are invited to try out for the WWE. But when only Paige earns a spot in the competitive training program, she must dig deep to prove she can become a star. The cast includes Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Vince Vaughn and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who plays himself and also produced the film.

Fighting With My Family earned $22.5 million at the domestic box office.

Subscribe HERE for FREE Daily Newsletter!

The Blu-ray combo pack will include a director’s cut of the film with new and extended scenes not seen in theaters.

The DVD and Blu-ray will include deleted and extended scenes, a gag reel, a commentary with Merchant, the featurette “A Family’s Passion: A Making Of” and a “Learning the Moves” featurette about depicting the wrestling scenes in the film.

Warner’s ‘A Star Is Born’ Shoots to No. 1 on Redbox Charts

It may have picked up just one Academy Award (Best Original Song) from its eight nominations, but A Star Is Born triumphed on both Redbox charts the week leading up to the Oscar ceremony Feb. 24.

Warner’s 2018 update of the classic film story landed at No. 1 on both the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, and the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), both electronic sellthrough (EST) and streaming, the week ended Feb. 24.

The film, which earned $210.9 million at the box office and debuted on disc Feb. 19, stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga — both nominated for Oscars for their performances — as two musicians who come together on stage and in life in a complex journey through the beauty and heartbreak of a relationship struggling to survive.

Subscribe HERE to our FREE daily newsletter!

Four other new releases appeared on the Redbox disc chart for the week. Lionsgate’s Robin Hood, another retelling of a classic story, starring Taron Egerton as Robin Hood and Jamie Foxx as Little John, debuted at No. 2. Paramount Pictures’ Overlord, a story produced by J.J. Abrams about a team of American paratroopers who encounter Nazi super-soldiers, entered the chart at No. 4. Lionsgate’s Backtrace, an action thriller starring Sylvester Stallone, debuted at No. 8. And 20th Century Fox’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? — which earned three Oscar noms, for Best Actress (Melissa McCarthy), Best Supporting Actor (Richard E. Grant) and Best Adapted Screenplay — entered the disc chart at No. 10.

Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which won all but one of the five Oscars for which it was nominated, including Best Actor for Rami Malek, finished its second week in disc release at No. 3, falling from No. 1.

On the digital chart, Bohemian Rhapsody fell one spot to No. 2, behind A Star Is Born, which shot up the chart from No. 10 the previous week. Robin Hood took the third spot, followed by Paramount’s Tyler Perry comedy Nobody’s Fool at No. 4 (from No. 2 the previous week), Overlord at No. 5 and Can You Ever Forgive Me? at No. 6.

Interestingly, two titles released in the fall of last year appeared on the digital chart. Sony Pictures’ Nov. 13 release Searching, which stars John Cho as a distraught father who sifts through his missing daughter’s digital footprint determined to find her, appeared at No. 9. And Universal Pictures’ Sept. 25 release Skyscraper, an actioner starring Dwayne Johnson, came in at No. 10.

 

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Feb. 24:

  1. A Star Is Born (2018) (New) — Warner
  2. Robin Hood (2018) (New) — Lionsgate
  3. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox
  4. Overlord (New) — Paramount
  5. The Grinch — Universal
  6. Nobody’s Fool — Paramount
  7. Widows — Fox
  8. Backtrace (New) — Lionsgate
  9. The Girl in the Spider’s Web — Sony
  10. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (New) — Fox

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Feb. 24:

  1. A Star Is Born (2018) — Warner
  2. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox
  3. Robin Hood (2018) — Lionsgate
  4. Nobody’s Fool — Paramount
  5. Overlord — Paramount
  6. Can You Ever Forgive Me? — Fox
  7. The Grinch — Universal
  8. Widows — Fox
  9. Searching — Sony
  10. Skyscraper — Universal

Fourth Season of ‘Ballers’ Due on Digital from HBO Nov. 5

Ballers: The Complete Fourth Season, featuring Dwayne Johnson, will be available for digital download Nov. 5 from HBO Home Entertainment.

In the fourth season of the series exploring the glamorous and often cutthroat world of pro football, Spencer (Johnson) and Joe Krutel (Rob Corddry) expand their empire in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Ricky (John David Washington) eyes a comeback.

Guest stars include Russell Brand, Tony Hawk, Joy Bryant and Ernie Hudson.

Netflix Picks Up Rights to Dwayne Johnson Film About John Henry

Netflix has secured the rights to a feature currently titled John Henry and The Statesmen to be directed by Jake Kasdan and star Dwayne Johnson in a follow up to their teaming on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

The film is an original pitch from writer Tom Wheeler (The Lego Ninjago Movie) and developed with Hiram Garcia, president of production, Seven Bucks Productions.

Johnson will serve as a producer on the film in addition to starring as John Henry and leading an ensemble cast of the most popular figures from folklore and legend from all around the world, according to a Netflix release.

“Netflix is the perfect partner and platform for us to continue entertaining our global audience in a disruptive way,” said Johnson in a statement. “These diverse characters speak to a legacy of storytelling that is more relevant than ever and span across a worldwide audience regardless of age, gender, race or geography.”

“Dwayne is a global superstar, inarguably one of the most popular actors in the world,” said Scott Stuber, head of Netflix’s film group, in a statement. “He and Jake are a tremendous duo with a proven track record of entertaining audiences worldwide. This is a story with universal appeal and we can’t wait to bring these characters to families around the globe.”

Kasdan will also produce alongside Seven Bucks Productions’ Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia and Beau Flynn of FlynnPictureCo.

“We have been committed to an international storytelling model for more than a decade,” said Dany Garcia in a statement. “Our partnership with Netflix is giving us an incredible opportunity to reach a broad and diverse audience in the most accessible and intimate manner. We are absolutely thrilled with the opportunity.”

“Developing an expansive universe of characters that present a needle-moving premise while entertaining our domestic and international audiences, is priority for Seven Bucks Productions,” Hiram Garcia added in a statement. “Tom’s brilliant concept aligned perfectly with our company’s creative sensibilities. We are ecstatic to develop this shared universe populated by a vast library of American and international folk heroes. The possibilities are limitless.”

“Over the past decade, FlynnPictureCo. and Seven Bucks Productions have been focused on creating global event feature films to entertain the worldwide audience, and we have cultivated a direct relationship with our fans in the US and overseas,” said Flynn in a statement. “So, to be able to partner with Netflix and utilize their immediate reach to 190 countries is a game-changing opportunity for us to develop a brand-new franchise in John Henry and The Statesmen.

Seven Bucks Productions and FlynnPictureCo. most recently wrapped Johnson’s Jungle Cruise for Disney. Johnson and Seven Bucks are currently filming Universal’s Hobbs and Shaw in London. Kasdan is in pre-production on a sequel to Jumanji, which Sony will release in December 2019. Wheeler is currently show running the Netflix original series Cursed, based on a book he authored, illustrated by Frank Miller.

Seven Bucks Productions was co-founded by Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia and creates original content for television, film, emerging technologies and digital networks. Its productions have included Disney’s Jungle Cruise, Universal’s Hobbs and Shaw, Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Legendary’s Skyscraper, New Line’s Rampage, Universal’s Red Notice and Warner Bros. The King. The company’s original television programming includes HBO’s “Ballers,” NBC’s “The Titan Games,” BET’s “Finding Justice,” Paramount Network’s “Rock the Troops” and HBO Documentary Films’ “Rock and a Hard Place.”

Skyscraper

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 10/9/18;
Universal;
Action;
Box Office $67.8 million;
$24.98 DVD, $39.98 Blu-ray, $44.98 3D BD, $44.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of gun violence and action, and for brief strong language.
Stars Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber, McKenna Roberts, Noah Cottrell.

Writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber pivots from comedies to action in this slick hybrid of the Die Hard and Towering Inferno formulas that provides plenty of excuses for Dwayne Johnson to run around and beat people up.

An added twist to the Johnson tough-man routine this time around is that his character is an amputee — a former FBI agent who lost a leg during a hostage negotiation gone wrong in the film’s opening scene.

Cut to 10 years later and Johnson’s Will Sawyer character is now a security consultant for a new, mile-high skyscraper in Hong Kong. The top half of the building is mostly unpopulated since it’s so tall the developers are having trouble securing sufficient insurance to allow people to move into the residential floors, with Sawyer and his family the only residents aside from the owner in the penthouse suite.

An inspection by representatives of the insurance company thus gives some bad guys an opportunity to take control of the building and set it on fire as they carry out an agenda against the guy who built it.

As the plot unfolds around him, Sawyer learns his wife (Neve Campbell) and two children are still in the building, he embarks on a series of breathtaking action scenes to get to them, even as he’s being framed for sabotaging the building’s fire-suppression systems. (You can best believe Sawyer’s fake limb will make for a handy tool when the story requires it.)

The filmmakers have no qualms about any comparisons between this film and the original Die Hard. There’s even a jokey deleted scenes in which Sawyer ponders that his next step should be to call Bruce Willis.

What sets Skyscraper apart, to a degree, is the way the building itself becomes a character in the story — imbued with plenty of design quirks to aid in setting up a variety of action scenes. It even has a multi-leveled park halfway up so that Sawyer’s family can find themselves in the middle of a forest fire 2000 feet in the air.

The top-notch production design really gives the film a visual flair that is only enhanced by the film’s ability to get down and dirty with its characters. Campbell’s character in particular is allowed to evolve beyond the typical wife-in-distress role, given a military background that pays off as she holds her own in several fight scenes of her own.

Otherwise, though, the villains are mostly a cookie-cutter assortment of disposable henchmen inserted when needed into the story to provide more obstacles for the Sawyers to overcome.

The Bu-ray includes about 18-and-a-half minutes of traditional-style behind-the-scenes featurettes that focus on developing some of the key characters and finding the right actors to portray them. There’s also a cute story about how Thurber pitched the film to Johnson, with whom he previously worked on Central Intelligence.

Most of the details of the making of the film are revealed in a feature-length solo commentary from Thurber, who says he has envisioned making a movie like this since he was 8 (he’s 43 now).

The Blu-ray also includes more than 22 minutes of deleted and extended scenes, including a lot of excised exposition that offers more details about how the bad guys’ plan is supposed to work. These are fine to have on the record but ultimately would have worked against the pacing of an action film that ended up a tight hour and 42 minutes (which Thurber points out in optional commentary available with the scenes).

Also included with the deleted material are alternate versions of scenes involving the primary Hong Kong police characters in which they speak English in one version and Cantonese in the other. Thurber shot these scenes in both languages before deciding that having the Chinese characters speaking their native language better served the film.

Universal Building ‘Skyscraper’ on Digital Sept. 25, on Disc Oct. 9

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release the action movie Skyscraper through digital retailers and Movies Anywhere Sept. 25, followed by Blu-ray, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray and on demand Oct. 9.

The film stars Dwayne Johnson as a security expert trying to rescue his family from a fire in the world’s tallest building and clear his name after being framed for setting the blaze in the first place.

The cast also includes Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller, Pablo Schreiber and Hannah Quinlivan. Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber. the film has earned $66.8 million at the domestic box office.

Bonus materials include feature commentary from Thurber; deleted scenes and extended scenes with optional commentary; the featurette “Dwayne Johnson: Embodying a Hero”; the featurette “Inspiration,” focusing on the real-life inspiration for Johnson’s character; “Opposing Forces,” a focus on the film’s female stars; “Friends No More,” an in-depth look at a key fight scene; “Kids in Action,” a look at some of the stunts involving the children in the cast; and “Pineapple Pitch,” a recollection from Johnson about how Thurber pitched the film to him.