‘Croods,’ ‘Freaky,’ ‘Greenland’ Top Slate of New Disc, Digital Releases Out Feb. 9

The Croods: The New Age, Freaky and Greenland, all from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, top the slate of new disc and digital releases available for home viewing beginning Feb. 9.

Also newly available for home audiences — with Valentine’s Day in mind — are two new entries in the acclaimed Paramount Presents line of movie classics, Love Story and Elizabethtown, as well as a Steelbook special edition of the horror classic My Bloody Valentine, from Shout! Factory.

The Croods: A New Age, the computer-animated sequel to 2013’s The Croods, both from DreamWorks Animation, becomes available Feb. 9 for digital purchase through digital retailers and cable operators, two weeks ahead of its Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD debut.

The film was released theatrically over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend and ultimately grossed $46 million domestically and $149 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. The Croods: A New Age was released as a premium video-on-demand (PVOD) 48-hour rental on Dec. 18.

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Freaky and Greenland are both arriving on disc Feb. 9, two weeks after they became available for purchase through digital retailers and cable operators.

Freaky is a horror film from Blumhouse that earned $15.2 million worldwide in theaters. The film — in which a teenage girl (played by Kathryn Newton) switches bodies with a relentless serial killer (Vince Vaughn) — was released as a premium VOD rental on Dec. 3, just 21 days after its theatrical bow.

The dystopian disaster film Greenland, from STX Films, was released as a PVOD rental on Dec. 18 and is slated to become available for streaming on HBO Max at some point in the first quarter of this year. In the meantime, it is available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Feb. 9.

The film follows a family fighting for survival as a planet-killing comet races to Earth. John Garrity (Gerard Butler), his estranged wife Allison (Morena Baccarin) and young son Nathan make a perilous journey to their only hope for sanctuary.

Also on Feb. 9, Paramount is adding the acclaimed classic Love Story and director Cameron Crowe’s romantic Elizabethtown to its vaunted “Paramount Presents” line, which now numbers 15 titles.

Love Story, starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw as two college students who remain lovers against all odds, has been newly restored from a 4K film transfer in time for its 50th anniversary. Based on Erich Segal’s best-selling novel, Love Story was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and became a cultural phenomenon, earning more than $100 million at the domestic box office. In 2002, the AFI placed it at No. 9 on its list of the 100 greatest love stories of all time.

The limited-edition Blu-ray includes the newly restored film; a new “Filmmaker Focus” with film historian Leonard Maltin; previously released content, including a commentary by director Arthur Hiller, an introduction by film critic Ben Mankiewicz, “Love Story: A Classic Remembered” and the theatrical trailer; and digital copy access. Packaging includes a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments.

The limited-edition Elizabethtown Blu-ray Disc includes the 2005 film, which stars Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst, newly remastered from a 4K transfer supervised by Crowe. The disc is presented in collectible packaging that includes a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster, and an interior spread with key movie moments. It also includes a new “Filmmaker Focus” with Crowe, never-before-seen deleted scenes, and an alternate ending with an introduction by Crowe. Along with access to a digital copy of the film, the Blu-ray also includes previously released special features, including deleted and extended scenes with an introduction by Crowe; the “On the Road to Elizabethtown,” “The Music of Elizabethtown,” “Meet the Crew” and “Training Wheels” featurettes; and a photo gallery.

Also out Feb. 9 is a new two-disc Steelbook edition of the 1981 Canadian slasher film My Bloody Valentine, from Shout! Factory. The film follows a group of young adults who throw a Valentine’s Day party, only to find themselves the targets of a vengeful killer dressed in mining gear.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Freaky

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 2/9/21;
Universal;
Horror;
Box Office $8.99 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody horror violence, sexual content, and language throughout.
Stars Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton, Katie Finneran, Dana Drori, Celeste O’Connor, Misha Osherovich, Uriah Shelton, Alan Ruck.

There’s a lot of fun to be had in Freaky, which combines the scares of a slasher film and the wackiness of a body-swap comedy to great effect.

The film goes to town on all sorts of tropes from horror films to high school and teen coming-of-age movies. Freaky the kind of movie that could easily end up being a cult hit.

It begins as any typical slasher movie would, with a psychotic killer nicknamed the Butcher (Vince Vaughn) stalking sex-crazy teenagers having a party. During the mayhem, he discovers the antiquities collection of one of the kids’ parents, and an ancient magical dagger calls out to him.

His next target turns out to be Millie (Kathryn Newton), a typical American put-upon teenager dealing with all sorts of angst, not the least of which is her father’s sudden death a year earlier and her mother turning to alcoholism to cope. So when her mother doesn’t show up to give her a ride home after the Homecoming game, the Butcher strikes, and manages to stab her in the shoulder with the magical dagger before Millie’s cop sister shows up to scare him off.

The next morning, Millie and the Butcher wake up in each other’s bodies. Since Millie was able to describe the Butcher to police, everyone now knows what he looks like, so she can’t just go walking around in his body trying to figure out what happened. But having the body of a teenage girl gives new life to the Butcher, who now has a free pass to fresh meat at high school, and ends up running afoul of all the same people who have been giving Millie problems.

Eventually, Millie is able to reconnect with her friends and convince them of what happened, and they learn about the dagger’s body-swap abilities, and that they have until the end of the day to reverse the process with another stab before the switch becomes permanent.

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The blend of supernatural hijinks with typical high school problems gives the movie some serious “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” vibes, particularly the way it serves as a revenge fantasy for dealing with all the troubles that pop up during high school, from bullies to mean teachers. The film finds a nice balance between tongue-in-cheek humor and some nasty gore.

Newton does a good job switching from meek teenager to killer on a dime, but the key to the film’s success is Vaughn, who has to take on the persona of a teenage girl. That’s why you cast someone like Vaughn for this role, since he’s no stranger to playing creepy, but has the comedic chops to pull off a convincing Millie.

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The Blu-ray includes a number of good bonus features, starting with the feature-length commentary by director Christopher Landon, who covers all the challenges of filming at an active high school during the winter in Atlanta with a shoestring budget.

Other extras include three deleted scenes running about five minutes in total, including a funny bit with a rideshare driver.

The two-and-a-half-minute “Split Personalities: Millie vs. The Butcher” featurette deals with Vaughn and Newton crafting their characters, while the three-and-a-half-minute “Crafting the Kills” dissects the variety of gruesome murders depicted in the film.

“Christopher Landon’s Brand of Horror” is a two-and-a-half-minute featurette about the director’s penchant for horror-comedy. Finally, the three-minute “Final Girl Reframed” examines how the film flips some common horror tropes about gender stereotypes.

Universal, Focus Features Dominate Another Pandemic Weekend Box Office

Universal Pictures and subsidiary Focus Features again led a slow pandemic-addled domestic weekend box office (Dec. 11-13) devoid of new releases and safety-conscious moviegoers. The top 10 releases generated $5.63 million in ticket sales, which was 24% from $7.4 million in revenue during the previous-week period, according to industry data.

Universal’s DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age continued to lead ticket sales with $3 million in revenue across more than 2,000 screens; $24.1 million since its debut three weeks ago. The sequel to the 2013’s The Croods generated $8.4 million overseas to bring its global haul to above $76 million.

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Focus Features’ Half Brothers sold $490,000 in tickets across 1,386 screens. The movie had made $1.3 million in two weeks. Vince Vaughn horror flick Freaky sold $315,000 in tickets, topping $8.2 million domestically ($13 million worldwide) since its debut.

Other box office tallies: 2003 re-release of Elf, starring Will Ferrell, sold $400,000 in tickets to finish third on the weekend. Finally, Robert De Niro’s pandemic mainstay, The War With Grandpa, sold another $260,000 in tickets to near $18 million ($27 million worldwide) since its bow Aug. 28.

‘The Croods 2’ Leads Slow Thanksgiving Weekend Box Office

Despite opening in more than 2,200 screens, Universal Pictures’ The Croods: A New Age led another lackluster weekend box office undermined by the ongoing pandemic. Making matters worse was the fact the weekend in question was Thanksgiving, which saw projected theatrical revenue of less than $17 million over the five-day period (Nov. 25-29). That pales in comparison to the $262.2 million generated between Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, 2019, when Disney’s Frozen II and no pandemic fears lured moviegoers.

The Croods: A New Age performed as expected, generating $14.3 million in ticket sales. The sequel to 2013’s The Croods joined Universal’s horror comedy Freaky ($1 million) to lead the weekend.

Universal unit Focus Features’ family drama Let Him Go, with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, generated $660,000 to top $6.7 million since its Nov. 7 release, and finishe fourth. All three movies are headed to premium VOD release in accordance with shortened theatrical window agreements between Universal, AMC Theatres and Cinemark Cinemas. The chains will split PVOD revenue with Universal.

101 Studios’ The War With Grandpa generated $900,000 to finish the weekend in third place, as the Robert De Niro family comedy topped $17.2 million since its Oct. 9 release.

Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, says consumers won’t return to theaters in pre-virus numbers until there’s a vaccine on the market some time next year.

“People aren’t dying to go to the movies,” he said.

‘Freaky’ Box Office Reality: Top-Performing Weekend Movie Sees Revenue Plummet 66%

Domestic weekend box office results are beginning to mimic home entertainment: The same number of select number of titles playing musical chairs as the pandemic wreaks havoc on new releases and wary moviegoers.

Universal Pictures’ horror comedy Freaky again finished atop the box office Nov. 20-22, generating $1.2 million in ticket sales across 2,057 screens, or a quiet $593 per screen, according to industry data. That was 66.1% less than the $3.54 million the Vince Vaughn starrer generated in its debut the previous weekend. With $5.59 million in total domestic revenue ($9.2 million globally), Freaky would appear headed to PVOD release on Nov. 30 — 17 days after its theatrical debut.

The weekend box office finished down 45% at $6.23 million, compared with $11.33 million in the previous period.

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Top 10 holdovers included 101 Studios’ The War With Grandpa at No. 2 with $733,000 in revenue — down 44.5% from the previous weekend. Focus Features’ Let Him Go and Come Play finished No. 3 and No. 4 with $710,000 and $553,000 in revenue, respectively.

Top new release: The Santa Clause, a 2020 Disney re-release, which generated $461,000 across 1,581 screens at No. 5. Open Road Films’ Honest Thief and Warner Bros.’ Tenet finished No. 6 and No. 8 with $452,000 and $360,000 in revenue, respectively. Tenet has generated $56.9 million in domestic ticket sales; $356 million worldwide.

No. 7 featured Gravitas Ventures’ Vanguard with $400,000 in first-weekend revenue across 1,375 screens. Rounding out the Top 10: The Last Vermeer and animation fantasy drama Gekijouban Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel — III. Spring Song with a combined $425,000 in ticket sales.

Vince Vaughn’s ‘Freaky’ Thriller Tops Another Slow Pandemic Box Office

The Universal Pictures horror thriller Freaky topped another pandemic-addled weekend domestic box office Nov. 13-15, generating $3.7 million from 2,472 screens, or an underwhelming $1,500 per screen, according to BoxOfficeMojo.

The good news for Universal is that the Blumhouse Productions thriller — which stars Vince Vaughn as a high school janitor/serial killer and Kathryn Newton as his shrewd teen nemesis — is slated for early PVOD release as part of the studio’s COVID-19 release strategy.

The movie generated $1.9 million across 20 markets internationally to reach $5.6 million total in its first weekend of release, and near its $6 million production budget.

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Previous No. 1 Let Him Go (Focus Features) dropped 55% in revenue with $1.8 million in ticket sales across 2,458 screens, or $732 per screen. The Kevin Costner/Diane Lane drama has totaled nearly $6.9 million in ticket sales since debuting Nov. 6.

Rounding out the podium: The War With Grandpa, which took in $1.32 million across 2,145 screens, or $618 per screen. The 101 Studios release starring Robert De Niro has generated $22.9 million worldwide since launching Oct. 9.

Previous podium finishers Come Play, Honest Thief and Tenet generated $1.1 million, $800,000 and $735,000, respectively. Chrstopher Nolan’s Tenet has sold $53.6 million in domestic tickets; $353.5 million worldwide since launching Sept. 3.

Universal Ups Shortened Theatrical Window Slate

Universal Pictures is reportedly set to release the low-budget horror movie Freaky and the sequel The Croods: A New Age on premium VOD less than 30 days after their theatrical bow.

Freaky, the Happy Death Day spinoff starring Vince Vaughn, will debut in theaters Nov. 13, followed by a PVOD release 21 days later. The Croods hits theaters Dec. 4, and will be available for home viewing on PVOD 28 days later. Universal and AMC Theatres share in the PVOD revenue.

Universal and AMC made headlines earlier this year when they agreed to cut the theatrical window to 17 days (with a minimum of three weekends) for select new studio releases that are slated for PVOD release subsequent to their theatrical openings.

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Universal revived PVOD earlier this year after theaters were shuttered in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A month later the studio claimed the animated DreamWorks theatrical release Trolls World Tour had generated $100 million in PVOD revenue. That revelation led other studios, including box office stalwart Disney, to try PVOD. Disney on Sept. 4 made actioner Mulan available exclusively to Disney+ at a $29.99 purchase price.

AMC, which had long fought against PVOD and shortening the theatrical window, changed its mind over the summer as the bulk of its screens remained shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now the chain says it will run out of cash despite operating 86% of its domestic screens, albeit with reduced seating capacities.

“There’s no question that theatrical will some day [again] be a central element to our business and film business, it’s how people make their movies and how they expect their movies to be seen,” Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal said earlier this year. “But the flip side is the majority of our movies, whether we like it or not, are being consumed at home, it’s not realistic to assume that we’re not going to change, that this part of the business isn’t going to change like all parts of the business are going to change.”