Best Buy July 28 began selling a new Steelbook edition of 2017’s Wonder Woman. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment was likely planned as a promotional tie-in to its sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, which was originally slated to come out this summer but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and is now tentatively slated for October.
The new Wonder Woman Steelbook is priced at $29.99.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Nov. 3. The set, listed at $254.99, will include all 73 episodes of the HBO series in UHD for the first time to own on disc, plus more than 15 hours of bonus content, and a digital copy of the episodes.
The extras include material previously released in the “Game of Thrones” complete season sets and the 2019 complete series on standard Blu-ray, included a two-part reunion special hosted by Conan O’Brien; the documentary Game of Thrones: The Last Watch chronicling the making of the final season; Conquest & Rebellion: An Animated History of Seven Kingdoms; and audio commentaries, deleted and extended Scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes and more.
The 4K Ultra HD discs of Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection will feature Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos soundtracks.
All eight seasons of the show are available for purchase in standard HD from digital retailers.
A 4K “Game of Thrones” complete-series set will also be available in an exclusive limited-edition version at Best Buy at $285.43 with all eight seasons featured in individual Steelbooks and housed in an individually numbered metal case.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood earned the top prize in the 10th annual Home Media Awards, which honor the best home video releases of 2019, taking Title of the Year and Best Theatrical Home Release.
Blu-ray Disc of the Year went to Lionsgate’s Apocalypse Now: Final Cut, which also won Best Catalog Home Release and Best Box Art. HBO’s Game of Thrones: The Complete Series won TV on Disc of the Year and Best Packaging.
HBO may be back atop the industry when it comes to award nominations and wins, but the premium channel’s programming also has the distinction of being the top pirated.
Citing data from file-sharing platform BitTorrent, separate site TorrentFreak said HBO’s fantasy series “Game of Thrones” was the most pirated TV show in 2019. That was followed by the Award-winning miniseries Chernobyl and Disney+ rookie series “The Mandalorian.”
“Thrones” was also the most pirated TV show in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The show didn’t air episodes in 2018.
Other top pirated series included “The Big Bang Theory,” “Vikings,” “The Walking Dead” (a previous winner), “Rick and Morty,” and DC Comics shows “Arrow,” “The Flash” and “Supergirl.”
Indeed, TorrentFreak contends the mere presence of new “Thrones” content in 2019 spiked illegal viewing 8% worldwide.
“The demand for piracy of ‘Game of Thrones’ is unprecedented,” Phil Taylor, analyst at Muso, told the platform. “The demand for “GOT” was so high that it visibly increased traffic for domains such as thepiratebay.org.”
HBO’s Game of Thrones: The Complete Eighth Season topped the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc Unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended Dec. 7.
The disc version of the landmark fantasy series’ final season dominated the charts — a rarity for a TV series on disc in the age of streaming. While the final season has been heavily criticized by fans, it apparently didn’t stop many of them from picking up a copy to complete their collections.
Blu-ray Disc versions of the final “Game of Thrones” season accounted for 53% of the titles total unit sales, while the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray accounted for 10% of its total.
The No. 2 title on the overall sales chart, Lionsgate’s Angel Has Fallen, sold 38% as many copies as “Game of Thrones.” The third film in the “Fallen” series had debuted at No. 15 a week earlier, as post-Thanksgiving sales pushed several older titles back up the charts. Angel Has Fallen was the week’s No. 3 Blu-ray Disc seller.
The No. 2 Blu-ray, and No. 4 overall seller, was Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Far From Home, which had been the top seller the previous week as a result of the previously mentioned deep-discount sales.
The No. 3 overall title and No. 4 Blu-ray was Disney’s Toy Story 4.
Another Disney hit, the photorealistic remake of The Lion King, was the No. 5 overall title and No. 7 on the Blu-ray chart.
The No. 5 Blu-ray was John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, which was No. 11 on the overall chart.
The top new-to-disc theatrical film was 20th Century Fox’s Ready or Not, which came in at No. 39 overall and No. 23 on the Blu-ray chart. The comedic thriller earned $28.7 million at the domestic box office.
HBO received 10 Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for the upcoming 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which will be presented Jan. 19, 2020, in Los Angeles.
Three for “Game of Thrones”: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series; Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series (Peter Dinklage); Outstanding Action Performance By A Stunt Ensemble In A Comedy Or Drama Series.
Two for “Barry”: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series; Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series (Bill Hader).
Two for “Chernobyl”: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries (Jared Harris); Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries (Emily Watson).
Best Buy Nov. 15 released its exclusive The Infinity Saga collection of the first 23 Marvel Cinematic Universe films, from Iron Man to Avengers: Endgame. The pricey set included the films in both Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, plus digital codes for each, in collectible display packaging and an exclusive bonus disc with never-before-seen deleted scenes from several of the Marvel films.
Limited to about 4,000 units available at $549.99 each, the collector’s set quickly sold out, with copies showing up on secondary markets such as eBay commanding asking prices well above $1,000. Some online reviews of the set, however, indicated poor quality control both in the assembly of the set and the shipping of it, with reports of damaged boxes and missing movies. The discs themselves come in paper sleeves, with some reviewers reporting glue from the packaging seeping onto the discs.
It should also be noted that the set does not include the 3D versions of any movies that had been released on disc in 3D, and extra bonus discs from the earlier movies also were not included.
Dec. 3 Best Buy had a piece of another massive collector’s set, that being Fox’s The Simpsons: The Complete Seasons 1-20 Limited Edition. The 79-DVD set (no Blu-ray, even though some of the seasons were released in the HD format) was reportedly limited to a run of just 1,000 units, with copies available through Best Buy, Amazon and Walmart. Each retailer’s website had the boxed set listed for a $499.99 sale price the day prior to its official street date.
The 19th season, which aired in 2007 and 2008, also arrived on DVD for the first time Dec. 3, completing the run of the first 20 seasons. The show is currently in its 31st. Fox in 2015 announced it wasn’t releasing any more “Simpsons” DVDs, at a point when it had released discs of just seasons one through 17 and season 20. Season 18 was released on DVD in 2017 following fan demand for more discs.
Based on the producers’ statements in 2015, and rumors swirling that Disney may end the series (which it purchased as part of its acquisition of the 20th Century Fox studio and catalog) after 32 or 33 seasons, the next DVD or Blu-ray release of the series could possibly be a complete-series set a few years from now, if such a disc release is even contemplated at all. The first 30 seasons of the series are available for streaming on the new Disney+ service.
The biggest disc release of Dec. 3, however, was HBO’s “Game of Thrones” eighth-season and complete-series releases.
For exclusives on the eighth season set, however, HBO committed one of the biggest pet peeves among collectors — splitting exclusive featurettes among different retailers — as opposed to offering a variety of packaging options or pack-on collectibles, with any bonus content consolidated with one retailer so fans who just care about having all the available content aren’t tempted to buy the same release twice just for a few extra minutes of bonus material that isn’t offered anywhere else.
For Game of Thrones: The Complete Eighth Season, Target offered the Blu-ray at $39.99 with an add-on “How the Storm Was Born” featurette, taking a look at the making of the penultimate episode and the razing of King’s Landing.
The featurette was included on a separate disc packed onto the standard season eight case.
Walmart’s exclusive bonus disc with the Blu-ray offered the featurette “From Renderings to Reality: The Visual Effects of Season 8.” The chain had it at $37.96 with the same packaging as Target, a separate thin Blu-ray case packed with the regular season eight Blu-ray, but availability was spotty from store-to-store, with some locations not even bothering to put any of the week’s new titles on shelves even into the evening of Dec. 3.
Interestingly, the VFX featurettes for the first seven seasons are included on the bonus disc with the Game of Thrones: The Complete Series Blu-ray. So fans who buy the complete series and want that final VFX featurette will have to buy a second copy of season eight separately.
Best Buy offered the season-eight Blu-ray with exclusive three-eyed-raven sigil box art for $44.99.
In preparation for the Dec. 3 disc release of the final season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” Target offered DVDs of the earlier seasons for $10 each.
Target also touted preorders for Game of Thrones: Season 8 on Blu-ray, at $44.99. Target’s exclusive edition of the final season will include a special “How the Storm was Born” featurette about the making of the controversial second-to-last episode.
In the latest indicator that the subscription model has all but conquered the television landscape as far as the prescription for quality programming goes, HBO and a handful of SVOD services won 21 of the 27 categories awarded during the televised Emmys ceremony Sept. 22.
HBO led with nine wins, including Outstanding Drama Series for the final season of “Game of Thrones,” the fourth time the series captured that crown. Peter Dinklage also won his fourth Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Emmy.
The pay-TV network, of course, pioneered the model of leveraging prestige programming to garner subscribers, albeit as an add-on to cable packages decades before the internet would allow SVOD services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video to adopt the practice as well (and for HBO to offer its own SVOD app).
Another big winner for HBO was the miniseries Chernobyl, a harrowing account of the eponymous nuclear disaster of 1986 and the inherent corruption of socialist bureaucracies in both the cause of and response to the crisis. It won for Outstanding Limited Series as well as directing and writing in the limited series/TV movie categories.
Among additional HBO wins, Bill Hader won his second Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series trophy for “Barry,” “Succession” won for drama series writing, and “ Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” won for Outstanding Variety Talk Series and for variety series writing.
The show with the biggest haul was Amazon Prime Video’s “Fleabag,” with four trophies, including Outstanding Comedy Series. The show, about the adventures of a sexually aggressive woman living in London, was created by and stars Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who won for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and for writing the show. It also won an Emmy for directing.
Prime Video had seven wins for the night, also taking Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for Ben Whishaw in A Very English Scandal, while “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won Outstanding Comedy Series Supporting Actor and Actress for Tony Shalhoub and Alex Borstein, respectively (with Borstein repeating her win from last year).
Netflix won for Outstanding Television Movie for Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, the famed interactive film with the “choose-your-own-adventure” narrative that allowed the viewer to pick which action the main character should take at several points throughout the story. and
Also adding to Netflix’s tally of four were two trophies for “Ozark,” with Julie Garner pulling in a surprising Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series win, and series star Jason Bateman winning for directing the episode “The Gold Coast.” Netflix’s When They See Us won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for Jharrel Jerome,
Hulu’s lone trophy came for Patricia Arquette winning Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for “The Act.”
Sticking things out in the basic cable camp, FX shows won a pair of Emmys, with Michelle Williams taking Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for playing Gwen Verdon in FX’s Fosse/Verdon, and Billy Porter being named Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for “Pose.” VH1’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” won Outstanding Competition Program, while Jodie Comer won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for the second season of BBC America’s “Killing Eve,”
And still carrying the flag for broadcast television was NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” which managed wins for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series and variety directing.