‘Priscilla’ to Start Streaming on Max on Feb. 23, Ten Days After Disc, Digital Release

A24’s Priscilla, the controversial biopic about Elvis Presley’s wife, will start streaming on Max on Feb. 23.

As previously reported, the film becomes available on Blu-ray Disc (plus DVD and digital) on Feb. 13 from Lionsgate.

Based on the book Elvis and Me by Priscilla Presley, Priscilla has earned $29.5 million at the global box office. The film was directed and written by Sofia Coppola and is currently available for premium digital purchase and rental.

In the film, when teenage Priscilla Beaulieu meets Presley at a party, the man who is already a teen idol and rock ‘n’ roll superstar becomes someone entirely unexpected in private moments: a thrilling crush, an ally in loneliness, a vulnerable best friend. Through Priscilla’s eyes, Coppola tells the unseen side of a great American myth in Elvis and Priscilla’s long courtship and turbulent marriage, from a German army base to his dream-world estate at Graceland.

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Before she died, the couple’s daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, criticized the film as “vengeful and contemptuous,” according to Variety. The late singer’s estate also slammed the movie, denying director Coppola’s requests to use Presley’s music in the film and branding as inaccurate the sets used to depict Graceland.

Priscilla

DIGITAL REVIEW:

A24;
Drama;
$19.99 PVOD; $24.99 Premium Sellthrough;
Rated ‘R’ for drug use and some language.
Stars Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi, Tim Post, Ari Cohen, Dagmara Dominczyk, Lynne Griffin, Luke Humphrey, Olivia Barrett.

We’re at a point in film history where shoddy Elvis biopics outnumber the negligible star vehicles in which meal ticket Presley reluctantly appeared at the behest of money-spinner Col. Tom Parker. Parker is nowhere to be seen in Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla — no one is going to top Tom Hanks’ peerless performance in Baz Luhrmann’s delusional handling so why bother trying? What are the chances of this one being even remotely factual? Surprisingly good! 

We are greeted with a trio of colorfast, distinctively vivid first impressions: the sensualness of walking barefoot across shag carpeting, tapering the corner of one’s eye with a spike of winged mascara, and what the hell is a Ramones cover doing in a Priscilla Presley biopic set at a time when Joey was barely in his teens? Attribute the anachronistic soundtrack to Elvis Presley Enterprise’s refusal to allow director Sofia Coppola the rights to any of the King’s songs. No stranger to using music before its time — Marie Antionette was a big fan of Bow Wow Wow and Siouxsie and the Banshees — Coppola layered her score with cover versions and music by her husband’s band, Phoenix. Lead instrumentals to replace the lyrics viewers have already committed to heart would have worked just as well and without jumbling the time frame.

Add Priscilla Beaulieu’s name to the list of Coppola’s poor little rich girls, advantaged young women with neither the need nor desire to be tethered to the real world. She’s a direct descendant of Marie, the unattended Charlotte in Lost in Translation, the movie star’s daughter in Somewhere, and the entire cast of The Bling Ring. Priscilla had fame thrust upon her the night Terry (Luke Humphrey), one of Elvis’ army buddies (satellite pimps?) spotted the 14-year-old army brat doing her homework in a U.S. military base in West Germany. It’s always been a firm belief that so long as one heir to the Presley throne remains alive, the truth can never be told lest litigation go into extra innings. Much to my surprise and delight, Coppola comes close, so close that there are moments in Priscilla guaranteed to set the Creep-O-Meter into overdrive. Coppola possesses the requisite wisdom and maturity needed to keep the needle peaking in the red and she does so by never once judging her subject.

A mob scene waiting to happen, rather than mingle amongst the people, the King brought the party to him. (Besides, Col. Tom wouldn’t let him leave the compound.) Elvis ain’t nuthin’ but a groomer. The brow begins its long inwardly pucker on the couples’ second “date” when an innocent discussion between the most recognizable entertainer on the planet and a withdrawn ninth-grader transpires in the master bedroom. She buys the pity pitch about his dead momma just enough to consent to a make-out session. Before long he provides pep pills for her to stay awake in class and downers to pass out in Graceland. (In the spirit of Bill Cosby, the placidyl he slipped her was so strong it knocked her out for two days.) He beats her in a pillow fight. Literally. Kings don’t lose. When Elvis realizes that she’s winning, his pillow becomes a weapon to whack her hard across the head. As for inappropriate behavior, according to Ms. Presley, upon whose memoir the film is based, she remained chaste until their wedding night. This way, the subject of statutory rape need not apply. Perhaps most punishing to her psyche was a screening of John Huston’s incoherent in-joke, Beat the Devil. My guess is the reason for the selection had less to do with the picture’s quality and more to do with its royalty free positioning in the public domain.

Don’t these characters have enough money to pay a light bill? Graceland is darker than a David Fincher library at dusk. Seated at their kitchen table, the Beaulieus can barely see their forks in front of their faces. What audiences don’t see is Elvis convincing her parents to allow her to come to Graceland. The one scene always kept from view is an exchange between Capt. Beaulieu and wife Anne concerning their daughter’s future and just what was in it for them.

With his overplayed stutter (“I-I-I love your daughter a-a-and she loves me”), Jacob Elordi’s Elvis at times borders on a Vegas impersonator, while Cailee Spaeny excels at filling in Priscilla’s blank spaces. Alas, the film doesn’t conclude so much as it quickly draws to an end. She longs to be desired by a violent, ill-tempered womanizer, and when it comes time for Priscilla’s breakdown, all the director and she can muster is a little puff instead of a volcano before driving off into an underlit sunset.

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Clambake

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Sandpiper;
Musical;
$24.95 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Elvis Presley, Shelley Fabares, Will Hutchins, Bill Bixby, Gary Merrill, James Gregory, Hal Peary, Suzie Kaye.

The remark alone was enough to warrant a second look, but was Elvis correct by naming 1967’s Clambake his worst film? It’s a tough call seeing how everything that followed Phil Karlson’s Kid Galahad (1962) bore an unmistakable stamp of interchangeable mediocrity. With apologies to George Sidney (Viva Las Vegas), Karlson was the last director of merit to sign a Presley picture. No matter who received credit, Col. Tom Parker called the shots from thereon in. The majority of director Arthur H. Nadel’s career spent behind the camera was in the service of television series, with this being the first of only two theatrical releases. (I’m guessing he worked cheap.) The final obligation of a four-picture deal with United Artists, Clambake also represented the last time Elvis secured a million-dollar payday. It’s long been my contention that as an entertainment form, Elvis pictures function best as unintentionally hilarious vacations from cinema, satirically contemptuous primers on what not to do. Budding auteurs stand to learn more from studying It Happened at the World’s Fair and Harum Scarum than they would from all the college film courses in the land combined.

No matter the character’s name, profession, or lot in life, he was always Elvis. Think of the time screenwriters saved by not having to fret over small details like backstory or character development. Set in Florida, the King was loath to exit the Universal City backlot let alone the state. Elvis loved his rear screen projector and wouldn’t leave Burbank without it. To add a little open air breathing room to an otherwise suffocatingly setbound affair, a second unit crew and an elite squad of Elvis impersonators were dispatched to what the “Welcome To” sign at the Florida border hailed, the “Happy State” with not a drop of sunshine in the slogan. If anything, a happy state was someplace Elvis never frequented during the production of this picture. In his heart, Elvis longed for quality, but when it came to stretching as an actor, the closest he came was the uncomfortably songless western, Charro.

Presley’s taste in costumes was as tacky as Col. Tom’s aptitude for script selection was indefensible. Check out Scott Hayward’s (Presley) threads during his greenscreen jaunt through the opening credits. The white coat with the black stitching is more befitting a 16-inch softball than an heir to an oil fortune. Throughout his career, Presley played a string of recalcitrant contrarians, in this case the son who would rather work for a living than leech off his daddy’s (James Gregory) fortune. The same logic applies to women, particularly gals less interested in the man than the number of zeros on her future alimony checks. Col. Tom knew what his client liked and saw to it that the supporting cast and pool of background extras were stocked with hot and cold running starlets.

This would be the second of three Presley programmers to star perky teen idol Shelley Fabares as the love interest. The on-screen chemistry between the two is at best impalpable. Borrowing a page from Twain — Mark, not Shania — Prince Elvis trades places with water ski instructor Tom Wilson (Will Hutchinson), a pauper he met while gassing his Corvette Stingray en route to the Happy State. Height difference be damned. Hutchinson fits the costumes as if they were tailored for him. Playing the dual role of Tom Wilson was a rarity among Elvis pictures inasmuch as for once, babes weren’t beating down the door of a boogie boarding deadbeat.

Before moving on, may I accompany you through a brief guide to recognizing your Elvises (Elvi?). How does one determine if that’s actually Elvis in the shot? Easy! If it’s an exterior location filmed in or around the Florida Keys and/or the camera is positioned more than 10 feet from the King, it’s a sure bet that Presley was being doubled. I get that it’s Elvis, not Hitchcock, but considering the amount of money it cost to make these pictures, one would expect more than flat lighting and even flatter center scan compositions. And would it be asking too much for the rear screen backgrounds to match from shot to shot?

At what point did Elvis make the transition from matinee idol to kiddie matinees? The overall staging of the musical numbers reeks of dinner theatre. Geared for the 6-year-old ticket buyers in the crowd, Elvis musicals seldom have less to offer than the leaden “Confidence” number. The Prince and the Pauper happen across a playground with a little girl afraid to go down a giant slide, nowhere near as steep as the one Elvis’s career was taking. Elvis sings from atop a jungle gym and a stripped clean covered wagon. The motion picture industry pulled up stakes and moved west due in large part to a climate conducive to year-round exterior shooting. The hermetic staging would no doubt have fared better when captured on the back lot rather than in a sound stage.

Don’t confuse the long-take musical numbers with any form of artistic intent. Lazy Elvis was looking to get the martini shot in the can before lunch. One successful joke gives the Indiana Jones “gun-at-a-swordfight” gag a run for the money. What would an Elvis vehicle be without at least one macho fist fight? When romantic rival Bill Bixby strikes a pose and cautions, “I take karate,” Elvis follows with “Shut up” before felling him with a roundhouse sock to the jaw. The only thing funnier is Gary Merrill’s chocolate layer coiffure, the style of which words cannot describe.

Things don’t resolve so much as they simply grind to an illogical halt. When dad meets his son’s double, he never once stops to question his motivation. Elvis and dad patch things up without ever once mentioning the masquerade. For the most part, Elvis spends the majority of the picture desperately trying to look as though he’s having fun. In addition to singing and racing, Elvis does triple-duty as a chemical engineer known for inventing a hardening agent. It’s this same spirit of depth-defying logic that found Disney casting John Travolta as a man possessed by super-intelligence in Phenomenon.

The 2017 Kino pressing has long since gone out-of-print, hence this barebones Blu-ray from Sandpiper Pictures.

 

Doc ‘Reinventing Elvis: The ’68 Comeback’ in Theaters July 30 Before Aug. 15 Paramount+ Debut

The feature-length documentary Reinventing Elvis: The ’68 Comeback will have a theatrical release on 800 movie screens worldwide beginning July 30 for special one-day-only presentations.

Tickets, along with local date and showtime information, are available at www.ReinventingElvis.com

The documentary will stream on Paramount+ starting Aug. 15 in the United States and Canada and internationally on Aug. 16 in the United Kingdom, Latin America, Brazil, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy.

Premiering near the anniversary of Presley’s death, Reinventing Elvis: The ’68 Comeback reveals what really happened behind the scenes of the Elvis television special. When it aired on the night of Dec. 3, 1968, the special became the most-watched television event of the year, and nearly half of the entire TV-watching audience tuned in to see Elvis Presley, clad in an iconic black leather suit, deliver some of the greatest performances of his life, reinvigorating his career and changing the pop-culture landscape forever.

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Told from the unique perspective of Emmy Award-winning television director Steve Binder, Reinventing Elvis: The ’68 Comeback features interviews with Elvis experts and recollections from those who attended the special in person, as well as all-new versions of iconic Elvis hits interpreted by contemporary musicians, including Darius Rucker, Latin Grammy winner Maffio and “America’s Got Talent” finalist Drake Milligan, who previously starred in CMT’s hit series “Sun Records,” also streaming on Paramount+.

Blue Hawaii

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 11/15/22;
Paramount;
$39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG.’
Stars Elvis Presley, Joan Blackman, Angela Lansbury, Gilbert Roland, Nancy Walters, John Archer, Jenny Maxwell, Howard McNear.

Why did they call it Blue Hawaii? It blew in Hawaii, it blew in Akron, it blew in Pacoima, it blew in Delaware, everywhere it opened it blew. Chicago radio legend Steve Dahl deserves credit for the line, but the joke is decidedly on us. It should come as no great shock that the Presley pictures to best withstand the test of time — Michael Curtiz’s King Creole, Don Siegel’s Flaming Star, and Phil Karlson’s Kid Galahad — reflect three rare occasions in the King’s career where he teamed with directors capable of producing something more than a camera nailed to the floor drearily canning his lip-synched pursuits. (I’m a fan of Gordon Douglas and George Marshall, but Follow That Dream and Viva Las Vegas are a safe distance from both directors’ pantheons.) Blue Hawaii, Elvis’ eighth vehicle, was such a box office smash that it became standard boilerplate stuff for Col. Tom Parker, a formula for box office gold he applied to every campy money-grab that followed.

Parker’s model for success was just slightly more sophisticated than the rudimentary stories he personally selected for his star. A glamorous and/or one-of-a-kind location (Acapulco, the World’s Fair, Las Vegas) was a must. His client needed as many interchangeable, scantily clad starlets as possible to act as eyeball massaging props. The soundtrack was to be padded with enough numbers to guarantee LP sales. With 15 tunes, Blue Hawaii more than tripled the number of songs found in his previous pictures. The album topped the charts for 20 consecutive weeks, but one would still be loath to call it a musical. At 102 minutes it plays like a series of songs occasionally interrupted by patches of dialog. 

What little story there is involves Chad Gates (Presley), a soldier in peacetime back from serving a 2-year stint with Uncle Sam. His ditzy Dixie Belle mother Sara Lee (Angela Lansbury) half wishes her boy was doing something constructive like bayonetting the enemy in combat rather than twiddling his thumbs on a military base. It’s her calling to see to it that Chad rubs elbows with the finer elements on the island. In his parents’ eyes, Chad’s future is a lifetime sentence in the family’s lucrative fruit company. The fiercely independent-minded Chad wants nothing to do with nepotism, refusing to be known as the boss’s son. And if mom has any say in it, the future Mrs. Chad Gates will be a wealthy socialite, not Maile (Joan Blackman), Chad’s pre-service gal pal he spent 5 days shacking up with before having the nerve to face his mother’s suffocating, borderline-incestuous embrace. She’s the kind of mom capable of putting a son off his appetite, particularly with her constant demands for “sugar” kisses from her boy.

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You’ve heard of the Lubitsch Touch? How about a Taurog Slog? Norman Taurog signed nine Elvis vehicles. As a director, he made a great yes man, quick to move on the Colonel’s every wish. With almost 200 shorts and features to his credit, Taurog’s childish way with child actors (Boys Town, Young Tom Edison, Room for One More) must have triggered something in Parker that made him the perfect man for the job of Elvis wrangler. Taurog was Jackie Cooper’s uncle and together they teamed on Skippy, a maudlin tale of a boy trying to save his pet pooch from the dog catcher that earned the director an Oscar. (Allow me a moment to point out that Hitchcock and Welles never took home a competitive Academy doorprize, but Elvis’ director of choice did.)

Presley had style, a killer grin, charm to spare and enough rock-a-hula, baby in his hips to set an audience’s feet tapping. But on his best day, movie star Elvis couldn’t get arrested as an actor due in large part to the Colonel’s refusal to allow the King to stretch. Poor little rich kid Chad sets his bar low with a future in tourism, guiding deep-pocketed vacationers through the Islands. Elvis’ brightest moment entails a job interview with his future boss Mr. Chapman, played with customary discombobulated aplomb by Howard McNear. (You probably know him better as Floyd Lawson, Mayberry’s No. 1 barber.) Elvis’ reactions to McNear’s addlebrained state and back-tracking stammer are genuine enough to give the scene a playful bounce. McNear returns for one more spirited exchange of malapropos before it’s over and in each instance leaves the audience longing for more.

There’s double entendre to spare when Abigail Prentice (Nancy Walters), Chad’s first client, asks if he can satisfy a high school teacher and four underage students. (These gals may be underage and oversexed, but by his own admission, Chad’s no cradle robber.) There’s bookish Beverly (Christian Kay), the adorably immature Sandy (Pamela Austin), a nondescript Patsy (Darlene Thomkins), and Ellie (Jenny Maxwell), the cigarette smoking, hot-to-trot minor spurned by Chad. She’s also the one voted most likely to pull a Norman Maine at the end of A Star is Born. (The only member of the group not to show up in Chad’s bedroom before the final fade is Beverly. And not one of the girls seems bothered over finding their teacher in Chad’s room.) Don’t worry about Ellie’s suicidal bringdown hampering the fun. Her cry for help becomes a punchline with Chad bending the girl over his knee for a “This’ll hurt me more than it will you” spanking. In no time, she’s back on a Paramount soundstage seated before a rear screen projector pretending she’s on location listening to Chad croon.

While on the subject of process shots, Elvis was so famous that filming on location became a practical impossibility. Paramount’s process photography wizard Farciot Eduoart deserves to share a co-director’s credit with Taurog. See: Elvis picnic before a rear screen. Watch: Elvis take a romantic drive without ever leaving the studio! Enthrall: As Elvis leads the girls on a musical tour of the process photography lab! When it came time to sing, Elvis didn’t like to leave the studio. This became laughingly apparent as time went on, with Elvis relying heavily on green screen and an occasional body double filmed in long shot.

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Finally, what would an Elvis picture be without a violent exchange? This one’s a politically incorrect doozy. Chad and the girls relax at a late-night watering hole where his buddy’s band performs. In walk a blowsy Enid Garvey (Iris Adrian) with Tucker (Steve Brodie), her inebriated hubby in tow, eager to pounce on the young meat. Enid thinks nothing of Tucker openly slobbering over a juvenile. Patsy sticks a fork in Tucker’s hand, but this turkey’s not done by a longshot. Apparently neither are the censors who thought nothing of including a knock-down, drag-out fistfight in a film otherwise geared for families. It isn’t enough for Presley’s ego to enrapture every female in the cast, he does so in part by proving that fisticuffs make the man.

This appears to be the first Elvis picture to be given a 4K sprucing up. Why Blue Hawaii and not Jailhouse Rock or Viva Las Vegas? Refusing to knock success, Paramount chose this, Elvis’ biggest earner, to kick things off. Normally, I’m the first to observe that the movie in question hasn’t looked this good since its initial release. I’ll watch anything in dye-transfer Technicolor and that includes Elvis. When a friend back home invited me to check out his 35mm print, he didn’t have to ask twice. I have yet to see a digital transfer that comes close to capturing the lush radiance of imbibition Technicolor, but this comes close. Photographed by Paramount veteran of 20 years, Charles Lang, it’s about as pretty an Elvis feature as any filmed. The tropical vistas and nightwork are spectacular, and in spite of Taurog’s lackluster performance in the director’s chair, his cinematographer’s dedication to a near close-up-free Panavision frame is awe-inspiring. Special features include the trailer, a photo gallery and insight into Presley’s place in movie history courtesy of Jim Niebaur’s audio commentary. 

Elvis Presley 1961 Classic ‘Blue Hawaii’ Due on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Nov. 15

Elvis Presley’s 1961 classic Blue Hawaii has been newly restored for its release on both 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray for the first time Nov. 15 as part of the “Paramount Presents” line from Paramount Home Entertainment.

The Technicolor musical is available in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision and HDR-10 fully restored from the original 35mm camera negative. 

The first of three films that Elvis shot in Hawaii, Blue Hawaii celebrated the new exotic state and features the hit song “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” which was certified platinum.

For the restoration, the original negative was scanned in 4K/16bit, however the opening title sequence was very grainy because it originally used duped film. That sequence was completely rebuilt using the original film elements from the Paramount library. Brand new text overlays were created for the opening sequence.

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The “Paramount Presents” release includes the film on both 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and on Blu-ray, as well as access to a digital copy of the film.  The Blu-ray additionally includes the original theatrical trailer and the following new bonus content, commentary by historian James L. Neibaur and the Blue Hawaii photo scrapbook, which contains high-res images from the Paramount archives, including behind-the-scenes shots.

Elvis

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 9/13/22;
Warner;
Drama;
Box Office $150.29 million;
$19.99 DVD, $24.99 Blu-ray, $29.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for substance abuse, strong language, suggestive material and smoking.
Stars Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge.

Director Baz Luhrmann spotlights the career of Elvis Presley with his usual visual flair and penchant for musical embellishment. In this case, the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll’s unique rockabilly blend of country, gospel and R&B would nominally make the subject matter a nice fit for him.

Narratively, however, Luhrmann decides to examine Presley’s life through the perspective of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), who was widely considered one of the most disreputable men in the entertainment industry, and likely fleeced Elvis out of millions of dollars of potential earnings.

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Austin Butler gives an energetic performance as Elvis, pouring his heart out in the musical numbers to re-create the King’s signature stylings that made the ladies swoon.

The key role of Parker, however, doesn’t quite fit in tonally with the proceedings, as he seems less like a real person and more like it’s just Hanks with some over-the-top make-up and a bad accent. Famously, this is the role that Hanks was filming in early 2020 when he was among the first celebrities to become infected with COVID-19.

The film is presented mostly as a contrast between Elvis’ desire to have a memorable and significant life, and Parker’s efforts to control him like a figurative puppet master (coincidentally, Elvis is hitting Blu-ray not long after the release of Disney’s live-action Pinocchio, in which Hanks plays a literal puppet master, Geppetto). As presented in the film, Elvis grows to resent Parker for what he sees as hampering his fame.

Luhrmann covers the touchstones of Elvis’ career, from his fascination and incorporation of African-American musical styles, to his 1968 comeback special and his multiyear residency in Las Vegas at the International Hotel. The film’s central thesis is that Parker’s financial needs led him to push Elvis to perform to the point of burning out the superstar that he turned to drugs to cope, facilitating his early death at the age of 42.

The tug-of-war between these two aspects of the film, Elvis biopic and Colonel Tom Parker character study, don’t always make for a smooth presentation, though it’s certainly fun to watch. In addition to a steady supply of Elvis music, Luhrmann as he is prone to do mixes in some anachronistic selections such as hip-hop to really set the mood.

The film is colorful and glitzy and offers a dazzling HD presentation with such detail that viewers can practically feel the sweat dripping from Elvis’ face.

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The Blu-ray includes a number of featurettes that delve into the making of the film. The centerpiece is the 22-minute “Bigger Than Life: The Story of Elvis,” which covers the production in general. More-specific topics are covered in the seven-and-a-half-minute “Rock ‘N’ Roll Royalty: The Music and Artists Behind Elvis”; the eight-minute “Fit for a King: The Style of Elvis,” about the costumes; and the seven-and-a-half-minute “Viva Australia: Re-creating Iconic Locations for Elvis,” about the challenges of building several decades worth of historical settings in the land down under.

Also included are a lyric video for the song “Trouble,” and a “Musical Moments” mode that allows viewers to jump to specific songs as they’re performed in the movie.

 

Cinedigm Launches The Elvis Presley Channel

Cinedigm June 27 announced the launch of The Elvis Presley Channel. In partnership with Elvis Presley Enterprises and ABG Entertainment, the new streaming channel comprises Elvis Presley films and specials along with series and lifestyle programming inspired by late cultural icon — including a new, original series in development.

The Elvis Presley Channel is accessible as a free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channel on connected TVs, digital set-top boxes, media-streaming devices and online. Streaming platforms include LG Channels, Amazon Freevee, Vizio WatchFree+, Comcast’s Xumo, Plex, Allen Media Group’s Local Now and Dish Network’s Sling TV. Additionally, the Xfinity What to Watch channel will feature a curated collection of films and documentaries from the Elvis channel during primetime starting July 2.

“We see his ongoing influence today in music, movies, fashion and culture,” Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Digital Networks, said in a statement. “With the channel, we aim to not only thrill current fans and showcase Elvis’ influences and demonstrate enduring impact but to engage new generations of fans through our curated and creative program line-up.”

2022 is a banner year for Elvis with the launch of Warner Bros. Pictures’ biopic Elvis, which topped the June 26 weekend box office with more than $31 million in revenue. Graceland will honor the 45th anniversary of Elvis’ passing with Elvis Week 2022 from Aug. 9 to 17. Additionally, Netflix is slated to launch the Elvis animated action-comedy series, “Agent King” and Sony has two Elvis albums planned later this year.

The Elvis Presley Channel’s films and specials include the Elvis ’68 Comeback Special, Elvis Aloha From Hawaii,  and both the broadcast and unedited versions of “Elvis,” by the Presley’s.

Themed programming blocks including Elvis’s Favorites, Friends of Elvis, Elvis Inspired Reality and Lifestyle Programming, African-American Artists that Inspired Elvis and ’50s Rock N’ Roll Rebel Movies. Fans will be able to tune in for hours watching some of Elvis’ favorite TV and film content including “The Beverly Hillbillies,” John Wayne movies such as Angel and the Badman, Blue Steel and Riders of Destiny, as well as Bruce Lee films like Warrior’s Journey and The Man the Myth.

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“We are thrilled for fans to immerse themselves in Elvis’ world with the launch of The Elvis Presley Channel,” said Matt Abruzzo, senior director of brand management for entertainment at Authentic Brands Group (ABG), owner of Elvis Presley Enterprises, LLC. “The Elvis fandom is incredibly passionate, and when it comes to serving enthusiastic fan bases, no one does it better than Cinedigm.”

The launch of The Elvis Presley Channel continues Cinedigm’s expansion of free and subscription-based streaming channels. These include AsianCrush (pan-Asian), Bloody Disgusting (horror), Cocoro (kids/family), Comedy Dynamics (comedy), CONtv (fan culture), CONtv anime (anime), Crime Hunters (crime and paranormal), Dove Channel (family), Docurama (documentaries), El Rey Network (Latinx), Fandor (movies), Film Detective (classic film and TV), KMTV (K-pop), Lonestar (western), Midnight Pulp (horror/thriller/action), MyTime Movie Network (women), Real Madrid TV (football), RetroCrush (classic anime), Screambox (horror), So … Real (reality), The Bob Ross Channel (featuring 350+ episodes of the iconic public television series, The Joy of Painting), The Country Network (country music lifestyle TV), and The Only Way Is Essex (real-life soap).

Cinedigm Launching Elvis Presley Streaming Channel

Elvis has re-entered the building through a new streaming deal with Cinedigm, in partnership with Elvis Presley Enterprises.

Cinedigm June 30 announced the upcoming launch of an ad-supported (AVOD) and linear streaming service, The Elvis Presley Channel, featuring archival content and specials, as well as musical content from other rock ‘n roll artists that inspired the music industry. The channel seeks to provide viewers an intimate view into the artist that defined a generation with exclusive films, specials, and documentaries. The Elvis Presley Channel will also give fans a chance to watch rare home footage from the Graceland Archives.

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Expected to launch in early 2022, Cinedigm is planning to make the channel available in the United States and Canada for linear and AVOD platforms on connected TVs, digital set-top boxes, media- streaming devices and the web. The Los Angeles distributor plans to stream programming across the broader OTT landscape, which includes Samsung Smart TVs, Pluto TV, Roku, Hulu, Amazon Prime Channels and Tubi, among others.

“The opportunity to build a branded channel around Elvis opens up streaming possibilities to an entirely new demographic in the fastest-growing segment of the ad-supported business,” Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Digital Networks, said in a statement.

Marc Rosen, president, entertainment, Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which owns Elvis Presley Enterprises, said the Elvis fandom is incredibly passionate and loyal.

“Cinedigm is best-in-class when it comes to serving fervent fan bases,” Rosen said.

The launch of The Elvis Presley Channel continues Cinedigm’s expansion into the legacy icon space, which began last year through the successful launch of The Bob Ross Channel — showcasing memorable moments and paintings from the long-running public television series. The channel features more than 350 classic episodes.

Cinedigm plans to feature continual Elvis programming with specials and documentaries, including “Singer Presents … Elvis” (the ’68 Comeback Special), “Elvis Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite,” and “Elvis by the Presleys” on The Elvis Presley Channel.

Additionally, Cinedigm is planning to tap into the archives of legends such as Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and more. Many of music’s most iconic locations will be on display, with specials highlighting impact cities like Memphis that helped shape rock ‘n’ roll, as well as general music documentaries.

The deal was negotiated by Josh Thomashow, Executive Director of Acquisitions at Cinedigm, and Andrew O. Miller on behalf of Authentic Brands Group (ABG).

Warner Archive Announces June 2021 Blu-rays

The Warner Archive Collection has announced its slate of catalog films heading for Blu-ray Disc in June 2021.

Due June 8 is 1970’s There Was a Crooked Man. Kirk Douglas plays a charming inmate scheming to recover $500K in stolen loot he has hidden away, while Henry Fonda looms as his new prison warden. Each man will find the tables turning in this boisterous yet blistering Western packed with brawls, shootouts and wry wit. The cast also includes Hume Cronyn, Burgess Meredith, Warren Oates and Lee Grant. The film was directed Joseph L. Mankiewicz from a script by David Newman and Robert Benton (Bonnie and Clyde).

Arriving June 15 is the 1945 musical Ziegfeld Follies. Following in the footsteps of dearly departed showman extraordinaire Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., Ziegfeld Follies is a who’s who of Golden Age Hollywood talent. The all-star revue offers Fred Astaire in four numbers, with Gene Kelly joining him in their first-ever screen pairing. Red Skelton reprises his funny Guzzler’s Gin skit. Esther Williams swims, Lena Horne sings, and Judy Garland spoofs snobbery.

Also due June 15 is 1968’s Guns for San Sebastian. Leon Alastray (Anthony Quinn), a rebel on the run from the Mexican Army, escapes to the remote village of San Sebastian, where locals believe he’s a holy man. Finding the area devastated by savage Yaqui attacks and the presence of a separate enemy — Teclo (Charles Bronson), a man with his own shocking secret — Leon reveals his true identity and leads the villagers against the deadly threat. As the people of San Sebastian prepare for an explosive fight, they must gather courage to reclaim their town.

Available June 22 will be the 1963 Elvis Presley musical It Happened at the World’s Fair. Set against the backdrop of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, Presley plays pilot-for-hire Mike, whose hope of starting his own flying business is grounded by the gambling of his copilot Danny (Gary Lockwood). The two hitch to Seattle, where Mike finds romance, Danny finds easy marks and both find problems prior to a “Happy Ending.” Keep an eye out for Kurt Russell as the child who wallops Mike in the shins.

Due June 22 is 1950’s Chain Lightning. Matt Brennan (Humphrey Bogart) plans to show the potential of the JA-3, an experimental jet — by flying it from Nome over the North Pole and into the Pentagon’s lap in Washington, D.C. The JA-3 has never been tested at this range and can’t provide enough pressurization at 80,000 feet. But Brennan has modifications in mind … and no shortage of courage. Eleanor Parker, as a former World War II flame, fuels the romance in this adventure that tapped into the era’s fascination with jet aviation.

Arriving June 29 is 1943’s Madame Curie. In an era when women were allowed to be ornaments, mothers or drudges, young Marie Sklodowska of Poland dreamed of something more. She defied convention to study physics and mathematics at the Sorbonne and — with Pierre Curie, the professor who became her husband — to make one of the greatest breakthroughs in 20th-century science. Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon reunite to portray the courageous couple who won the 1903 Nobel Prize for their discovery of radium.

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