‘Tenet’ Repeats at No. 1 on ‘Watched at Home’ Chart; ‘Parallel’ Sole New Entry

With few new releases, the weekly “Watched at Home” chart remains largely unchanged from the prior week.

Warner Bros.’ Tenet is again No. 1 on the chart for the week ended Jan. 9, while Universal Pictures’ Honest Thief and The War With Grandpa switched places their sophomore week to place at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

The “Watched at Home” chart tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, but not premium VOD or disc rental) compiled from studio and retailer data and presented by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

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Paramount’s Love and Monsters is the week’s biggest gainer, moving up to No. 4 from No. 9 the previous week due to its Jan. 5 release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray Disc and DVD. The film also was the week’s top disc seller (see related story).

Love and Monsters is a post-apocalyptic action film about a man (Dylan O’Brien) traveling through a world populated by monsters in order to reconnect with his girlfriend (Jessica Henwick). The monsters were created when chemical fallout from the destruction of an asteroid headed for Earth caused all cold-blood creatures to mutate into ferocious monsters. Love and Monsters was released theatrically and on VOD in October 2020.

Rounding out the top five is season three of perennial favorite “Yellowstone,” from Paramount.

Warner Bros. “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy re-entered the chart at No. 16. The set made its 4K Ultra HD debut in December 2020.

The sole new entry on the “Watched at Home” chart was Lionsgate’s Parallel, bowing at No. 20. A Vertical Entertainment release, Parallel revolves around a group of friends who stumble upon a mirror that serves as a portal to a “multiverse,” only to discover that importing knowledge from the other side in order to better their lives brings increasingly dangerous consequences. The film’s cast includes Alyssa Diaz, Kathleen Quinlan Martin Wallstrom, David Harewood and Georgia King.

  1. Tenet (Warner)
  2. Honest Thief (Universal)
  3. The War with Grandpa (Universal)
  4. Love and Monsters (Paramount)
  5. Yellowstone: S3 (Paramount)
  6. Yellowstone: S1 (Paramount)
  7. Yellowstone: S2 (Paramount)
  8. The Office: The Complete Series (Universal)
  9. Unhinged  (Lionsgate)
  10. Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  11. RuPaul’s Drag Race S:13 (VH1)
  12. The Craft: Legacy (Sony)
  13. The Informer (Vertical)
  14. Buddy Games (Paramount)
  15. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Warner)
  16. The New Mutants (20th Century)
  17. Hunter Hunter (IFC Films)
  18. The Phenomenon (1091)
  19. The Upside (STX, 2019)
  20. Parallel (Lionsgate)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended Jan. 9.

Bumblebee

 BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 4/2/19;
Paramount;
Sci-Fi;
Box Office $127.2 million;
$29.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray, $34.99. UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of sci-fi action violence.
Stars Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Ortiz, Jason Drucker, Pamela Adlon, Stephen Schneider, Glynn Turman, Len Cariou. Voices of Dylan O’Brien, Angela Bassett, Justin Theroux, Peter Cullen.

It’s hard to deny that the five live-action “Transformers” films have just about worn out their welcome even among the most avid fans of the franchise and toy line on which it’s based. With the movies for the most part having devolved into spectacles of mind-numbing action, incomprehensible plotting, unrecognizable characters and a jumble of references to the iconic “Transformers” lore established in the old cartoons and comic books, it was clear a change in direction was in order.

Bumblebee, directed by stop-motion animation veteran Travis Knight, is just the creative spark the franchise needed to re-connect with the audience, returning to the basics of the brand’s premise without over-complicating the story with an abundance of jokey characters and a fetish for the military industrial complex.

As the sixth live-action “Transformers” film, Bumblebee could be seen as either a prequel to the other five, or as a reboot, depending on what direction producers decide to take it in the future. There are obvious references to the other films embedded throughout, so if further movies didn’t materialize then it plays pretty well as a prequel, with some mental gymnastics employed to explain away moments where the story seems to completely ignore what has been established in the earlier films.

It’s somewhat evident that an earlier iteration of the movie was meant to more closely align with Bay’s world, particularly since a comic book prelude released before the film depicts Bumblebee working with the British secret service in the 1960s, playing off his involvement in World War II in the fifth film. Bumblebee, on the other hand, shows him landing on Earth in 1987, which isn’t necessarily inconsistent, but raises a few questions. An alternate opening sequence — included among the Blu-ray’s 19 minutes of deleted scenes — is a bit more vague about Bumblebee’s arrival on Earth.

So, in the same vein as X-Men: First Class, it wouldn’t be surprising if future sequels didn’t bother connecting to the existing continuity, though, recently one of the film’s producers indicated future installments would lean more toward the Bay continuity after all.

Bumblebee plays like a throwback to a 1980s Steven Spielberg movie, while the story is somewhat of a gender-swapped version of the set-up to the 2007 film, in which Shia LeBeouf came across Bumblebee in a used-car lot.

Fleeing from the Decepticon conquest of his home planet of Cybertron, Bumblebee crashes on Earth and loses his memory. Having taken on the disguise of a 1960s Volkswagen Beetle, he is discovered in a junkyard by Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), a mechanically inclined rebellious teenager looking for meaning in her life following the sudden death of her father. She repairs Bumblebee and learns that he’s an alien robot with the ability to transform into a car. And he’s being pursued by the U.S. military and Decepticon bounty hunters. With Charlie’s help, Bumblebee starts to regain his identity enough to remember the mission given to him by Autobot leader Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) to protect Earth from the Decepticons so the Autobots can use it as a base to regroup.

The film comes to life with seamless visual effects that look great on Blu-ray, and a soundtrack peppered with some of the top hits of the 1980s.

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The girl and her living car angle might also bring to mind Herbie: Fully Loaded, which itself was an attempt to freshen up a shopworn franchise. For the most part, though, Bumblebee offers up a good chunk of the kind of “Transformers” fun that fans have been waiting to see since the 1980s, particularly the battles on Cybertron.

The Blu-ray also comes with a mini-comic featuring Bumblebee’s next adventure, in which he tussles with another Decepticon who has come looking for him. One of the extras on the disc is a motion comic containing this story with an extended ending that more explicitly ties Bumblebee to the events of the first Bay movie.

The disc also contains 10 minutes of outtakes, a four-minute profile of various “Transformers” characters with their “Generation One”-inspired designs, and 47 minutes of decent behind-the-scenes featurettes.