Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy will reprise their roles as the Sanderson Sisters in the live-action comedy Hocus Pocus 2, the sequel to the 1993 Halloween cult classic Hocus Pocus, to premiere exclusively on Disney+ in 2022.
Midler (The First Wives Club, Beaches) returns as Winifred Sanderson, with Parker (“Sex and the City”) and Najimy (Sister Act) back as her sisters, Sarah and Mary, respectively.
In Hocus Pocus 2, three young women accidentally bring the Sanderson Sisters back to modern day Salem and must figure out how to stop the child-hungry witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc on the world.
Hocus Pocus 2 will begin production this fall under the direction of Anne Fletcher (The Proposal, 27 Dresses).
“Now more than ever, people need to laugh. We should be laughing every day, and there is so much fun to be had with these three unbelievable women playing delicious characters from such a beloved film,” Fletcher said in a statement. “I am so grateful to be able to play a part in bringing these witches back to life.”
The animated sequel Rock Dog 2: Rock Around the Park arrives on digital June 11 and on Blu-ray (plus digital) and DVD June 15 from Lionsgate.
In the sequel, one year after the events of the original Rock Dog, Bodi and his band, True Blue, have become locally famous in the village of Snow Mountain. They even have devoted fans. But when a music mogul named Lang gives them the opportunity to tour with pop sensation Lil’ Foxy, Bodi and his friends learn that fame comes at a price, and ultimately discover that only by staying true to yourself can you unleash the power of rock ‘n’ roll.
The family-friendly film features Andrew Francis (“My Little Pony”franchise, TV’s “Ninjago,” “Marvel Super Hero Adventures”), Ashleigh Ball (“My Little Pony”franchise, TV’s “Ready Jet Go!,” “Rev & Roll”), Brian Dobson (Norm of the North: Keys to the Kingdom, Norm of the North: King Sized Adventure, TV’s “Tarzan and Jane”), Brian Drummond (TV’s “Dragon Ball Z,” Norm of the North: Family Vacation, “Bob the Builder”), Cathy Weseluck (“My Little Pony”franchise, “Barbie”franchise, TV’s “Littlest Pet Shop”), Donny Lucas (Open Season: Scared Silly, TV’s “Van Helsing,” The Christmas Doctor), Graham Hamilton (TV’s “Snap Ships: Dawn of Battle”), Jason Simpson (TV’s “The Dragon Prince,” “Tobot Galaxy Detectives,” “Line Rangers”), James Higuchi (TV’s “Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch,” “The Deep,” “Superbook”), Kathleen Barr (TV’s “Ninjago,” “My Little Pony”franchise, “Dragon Tales”), Michael Adamthwaite (TV’s “Ninjago,” Cold Pursuit, War for the Planet of the Apes), Richard Newman (“My Little Pony”franchise, TV’s “Doraemon,” “Beyblade Burst”) and Sabrina Pitre (“My Little Pony”franchise, TV’s “Ninjago,” “Lego Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar”).
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run debuts March 4 as a premium VOD rental, and for a limited time, fans who rent the movie on Vudu and FandangoNow can get a code for 50% off the purchase of more than 25 select family titles on the two Fandango transactional VOD services.
Titles include the previous “SpongeBob” movies (The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie), Sonic the Hedgehog, Love and Monsters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Wonder Park, Sherlock Gnomes, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Bumblebee, The Rugrats Movie, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Harriet the Spy, Hotel for Dogs, Imagine That, Good Burger, Snow Day, Clockstoppers and a number of other family classics.
Turning an online game into a movie has its challenges, but it also provides some room for creativity, said executives who have worked on the films based on the iconic web product Angry Birds.
“When you have a project based on a book or comic book series, so much of that has been defined,” said producer John Cohen. “Everything is set in a mythology, and you’re translating it into a movie and trying very hard not to veer from what’s already been created. But with Angry Birds we’ve had this amazing opportunity where not a lot had been defined.”
Cohen and co-director Johnny Rice attended a special event for the home entertainment launch of The Angry Birds Movie 2 Nov. 9 at the Los Angeles Zoo. The sequel was available Oct. 29 on digital and debuted Nov. 12 on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Joining the returning cast, which includes Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Bill Hader, Danny McBride and Peter Dinklage, are Leslie Jones (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”), Rachel Bloom (TV’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians), Sterling K. Brown (TV’s “This Is Us”) and Eugenio Derbez (Dora and the Lost City of Gold).
In the sequel, a new threat emerges that puts both Bird and Pig Island in danger. Red (Sudeikis), Chuck (Gad), Bomb (McBride) and Mighty Eagle (Dinklage) recruit Chuck’s sister Silver (Bloom) and team up with pigs Leonard (Hader), his assistant Courtney (Awkwafina), and techpig Garry (Sterling K. Brown) to forge an unsteady truce and form an unlikely team to save their homes. Jones stars as Zeta, a new villain threatening the islands.
“We’ve got a lot of new characters; of course, the Leslie Jones Zeta character is a big new character,” said Rice. “She’s bigger than life in every way. Leslie brought a voice to the character that is just incredible. She really stands out in the movie as a huge force. And it’s kind of interesting as that’s the way our story works as well. She’s a force that comes into the world, into the birds’ world and the pigs’ world that just changes everything.”
“Our other big new character is Silver, voiced by Rachel bloom, and Silver is actually Chuck’s sister,” added Cohen. “Chuck, the Josh Gad character, is the bird who moves very fast. Everything about him is quick. He talks fast. He moves fast. And we started to ask ourselves, well, if he had a sister who shares the DNA, what would she be like? Silver’s superpower is that she thinks fast. And so she is hypersmart and is an engineering major at Avian Academy, which is the college on Bird Island. And when the birds and pigs come together in the movie and have to team up to fight these mortal enemies and for the very first time have to work together, Silver ends up as the leader of the group because she’s just the smartest and kind of the best people person.”
Because the animators are filling out the online game, “we bring our own experiences, our own life experience and attitudes into it,” said Rice. “I really connected with Red on the first one and in the second one as well, where I felt like I totally understood who he was. And the voice actors add a lot to that of course.”
Animators use the performances of the accomplished comedians who play the characters to inform the animation.
“Their comedic sensibility and their ad-libs and improvisation do so much to bring that character to life in a way that you couldn’t have even imagined,” Cohen said.
“The animators pay a lot of attention to every nuance in the voice,” Rice said.
“We film the actors to see their mannerisms. Even an eye movement or just a gesture can inform the animation of the character,” Cohen added.
The actors often recognize themselves in the animated pigs and birds that end up in the movie, Cohen said.
Bonus features on the sequel disc include a new mini movie “Live Stream,” DIY activities inspired by the film, behind-the-scenes featurettes with cast and crew, a feature on the birds at the L.A. Zoo, and six Hatchling shorts directed by Rice.
The baby bird Hatchling characters are played by children, rather than adults using child-like voices, which brings an authentic humor to the characters, said Rice and Cohen. The child actors are encouraged to be themselves, which provides for some surprising humor.
“They do the funniest things,” Rice said.
“It’s not ad-libbing in the traditional sense,” Cohen said. “It’s more just the weird things and the surprising things that kids might say and the way in which they would say them. We love to capture real kids’ voices and that’s what’s given the Hatchlings so much charm.”
The Hatchlings in Angry Birds 2 are played by Alma Versano, daughter of Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman); Genesis Tennon, daughter of actress Viola Davis; Brooklynn Prince (The Florida Project); Jojo Siwa (TV’s “Dance Moms”); and Sunday and Faith, daughters of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban.
“Most of them it was their first time ever acting, and they were really, really fantastic,” Cohen said.
The animated film The Swan Princess will be released Oct. 29 in a collectible anniversary edition Blu-ray and in 4K HDR on digital from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for its 25th anniversary.
One of the last major theatrically-released films in the U.S. to utilize a hand drawn, hand painted cel animation style, the film went on to receive a 1995 Golden Globe nomination and become the top selling home video title in the United States when first released.
To celebrate the new release, creator and producer Seldon Young is bringing the film back to the big screen for a special Pink Carpet Premiere event showcasing the new, fully remastered version at the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood Oct. 24.
“For the restoration and remastering process we retrieved the vintage, vaulted negatives and set to work using the amazing advances in HD conversion technology, to create an even more vivid and stunning film than ever before,” said Young in a statement.
The story is inspired by the German fairytale and ballet about a princess who is swan by day and princess by night. Princess Odette is transformed into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s spell. Held captive at an enchanted lake, she befriends Jean-Bob the frog, Speed the turtle and Puffin the bird. Despite their struggle to keep the princess safe, these good-natured creatures can do nothing about the sorcerer’s spell, which can only be broken by a vow of everlasting love.
The Blu-ray release includes a new featurette entitled “A Look Back, Tease Ahead,” plus a variety of additional archival features.
The family film The Secret Life of Pets 2 will debut on digital Aug. 13 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and on demand Aug. 27 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
From the studio Illumination (Despicable Me, Minions,Sing), the animated sequel features the pets and their growing families in a new chapter that explores the deep bond between them and the humans that love them. Again, the film answers the question: What are your pets really doing when you’re not at home? Terrier Max (voice of Patton Oswalt) is coping with major life changes after Katie’s marriage and the arrival of a toddler, Liam. Meanwhile, Gidget (Jenny Slate) tries to rescue Max’s favorite toy from a cat-packed apartment with a little help from her feline friend Chloe (Lake Bell), who has discovered the joys of catnip. And Snowball (Kevin Hart) believes, despite the other pets’ teasing, that he’s a superhero after his owner starts dressing him in superhero pajamas. But when Daisy (Tiffany Haddish), a fearless Shih Tzu, shows up to ask for Snowball’s help on a dangerous mission, he has to summon the courage to become the hero he’s been pretending to be.
Other voice talent includes Eric Stonestreet, Nick Kroll, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan and Harrison Ford in his first ever role in an animated film as new farm dog, Rooster.
Bonus features on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and digital include two mini-movies — Super Gidget, featuring the film’s Pomeranian Gidget and her best friend Max, and Minion Scouts, starring the Minions. Also included are deleted scenes, making-of featurettes and drawing tutorials. An interactive Captain Snowball motion comic allowing viewers to direct the bunny hero on his next move is exclusive to the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray versions.
A sequel to A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Journey will come out on digital (including Movies Anywhere) Aug. 6 and Blu-ray, DVD and on demand Aug. 20 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
Directed by Emmy winner Gail Mancuso (“Modern Family”), the film continues the tale of lovable farm dog Bailey, as he finds a new destiny, forms an unbreakable bond and learns that some friendships transcend lifetimes. Bailey (voiced again by Josh Gad; Beauty and the Beast, Frozen) is living the good life on the Michigan farm of his former “boy” now grown to manhood, Ethan (Dennis Quaid; A Dog’s Purpose, I Can Only Imagine) and Ethan’s wife Hannah (Marg Helgenberger; “C.S.I.,” “Under the Dome”). He has a new playmate, Ethan and Hannah’s baby granddaughter, C.J. (Kathryn Prescott; “24: Legacy”). Everything is great on the farm until C.J.’s mom, Gloria (Betty Gilpin, Isn’t It Romantic, “GLOW”), decides to take C.J. away and chase her own fulfillment in the big city. Ethan asks Bailey to watch over C.J. wherever she goes and thus begins Bailey’s adventure through multiple lives as he, C.J., and C.J.’s best friend Trent experience joy and heartbreak, music and laughter.
A Dog’s Journey features more than 30 minutes of bonus content including deleted and extended scenes, a gag reel, featurettes with the cast and composer, and a behind-the-scenes look at the animal performances. The release also includes feature commentary by Mancuso.
The animated adventure Wonder Park will be released on digital June 4 and Blu-ray combo pack and DVD June 18 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
It’s the story of a young girl named June who makes an incredible discovery — the amusement park of her dreams has come to life filled with wild rides operated by fun-loving animals. When trouble hits, June and her misfit team of furry friends begin an unforgettable journey to save the park. Wonder Park features the voices of Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis, John Oliver, Kenan Thompson and Ken Jeong, among others.
The Blu-ray combo pack includes access to a digital copy as well as bonus content, including the deleted scene “Gus Yodeling”; “The Wonder Chimp Channel”; “The Pi Song Sing-Along”; “Making Noises (It’s Actually a Job?!!)”; “June’s Guide to Wonderland”; “June’s Welcoming Crew”; “Boardwalk Caricatures”; “Drawing Boomer”; “Drawing the Wonder Chimp Pirate”; and “Drawing the Wonder Chimp Princess.”
A Dog’s Way Home will find its way to digital March 26 and Blu-ray combo pack and DVD April 9 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
The film earned $41.1 million in theaters.
Based on the bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, the film chronicles the adventures of Bella, a dog who embarks on a 400-mile journey home after she is separated from her human, Lucas.
A Dog’s Way Home stars Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King (Old Boys), Edward James Olmos, Alexandra Shipp (Love, Simon) and Wes Studi (Hostiles ) with Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) providing the voice of Bella.
Special features include a guide to creating dog treats at home; deleted scenes; interviews with novelist W. Bruce Cameron, director Charles Martin Smith, and cast and crew; and a look at the film’s canine star Bella’s rags to riches journey from the shelter to the big screen.
The family adventure Bernie the Dolphin arrives on DVD and digital Feb. 5 from Lionsgate.
Lola Sultan and Kevin Sorbo star in the story of two siblings who befriend a dolphin, Bernie, and devise a plan to save the beach and protect sea life. Also starring Patrick Muldoon and Logan Allen, the film is approved by the Dove Foundation for all ages.
The DVD ( $14.98) includes a behind-the-scenes featurette.