Gravitas Ventures Acquires ‘Queen Bees,’ Coming to Theaters and On Demand June 11

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights from Arclight Films to distribute the dramatic comedy Queen Bees. The film will come out in theaters and on demand June 11.

The Astute Films production, directed by Michael Lembeck, stars Ellen Burstyn, James Caan, Ann-Margret, Jane Curtin, Christopher Lloyd, Loretta Devine, Elizabeth Mitchell and French Stewart.

In the film, while her house undergoes repairs, a fiercely independent senior Helen (Burstyn) moves into a nearby retirement community — just temporarily. Once behind the doors of Pine Grove Senior Community, she encounters lusty widows, cutthroat bridge tournaments and a hotbed of bullying “mean girls” the likes of which she hasn’t encountered since high school, all of which leaves her yearning for the solitude of home. But somewhere between flower arranging and water aerobics Helen discovers that it’s never too late to make new friends and perhaps even find a new love.

A heartwarming and humorous look at life’s second act, Queen Bees (previously known as At Last) is inspired by the true story of producer Harrison Powell’s own grandmother’s second chance at love after moving into a retirement community as a widow.

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“As a witness to the joy that finding love at 80 can bring, we knew it was a film we wanted to make and the amazing cast really brought it to life,” producer Dominique Telson said in a statement.

Queen Bees is a feast for the heart,” Arclight Films’ chairman Gary Hamilton said in a statement. “The astounding performances of Ellen Burstyn, James Caan and the rest of the star cast make us laugh and feel good. Michael did an extraordinary job in making this a film for all ages united by the universal topic of love. We trust this gem in the hands of our longtime valued friends at Gravitas Ventures and are certain that with them, this diamond will shine and bring joy to domestic audiences.”

“Michael’s film is the breath of fresh air audiences need right now, a hilarious and life-affirming story with excellent performances from an iconic cast. We look forward to presenting the film to North American audiences,” Tony Piantedosi, VP of acquisitions at Gravitas Ventures, said in a statement.

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ on Disc, ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ on Digital Among This Week’s New Home Viewing Releases

Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984 and Universal’s Our Friend top the slate of titles debuting on disc March 30, while Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon becomes available for digital sellthrough April 2.

Wonder Woman 1984, the highly anticipated sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman with Gal Gadot reprising her role as the superheroine, was slated to be one of last summer’s big tentpole theatrical releases before pandemic scheduling shifts led it to becoming the first title under the new AT&T paradigm to make Warner films available simultaneously in theaters and for a month on the HBO Max streaming service. It debuted Dec. 25 on HBO Max and earned $45.9 million at the domestic box office before being available for premium VOD rental Feb. 12, then digital sellthrough March 16.

Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984 disc releases include DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray formats, while Warner Archive is releasing a 3D Blu-ray of the film.

The Gravitas Ventures drama Our Friend arrives on DVD from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. It became available for digital sellthrough a week ago. The film tells the true story of the Teague family — journalist Matt (Casey Affleck), his wife Nicole (Dakota Johnson) and their two young daughters — and how their lives are upended by Nicole’s diagnosis of terminal cancer. As Matt’s responsibilities as a caretaker and parent become increasingly overwhelming, the couple’s best friend Dane Faucheux (Jason Segel) offers to come and help out. As Dane puts his life on hold to stay with his friends, the impact of this life-altering decision proves greater and more profound than anyone could have imagined.

The computer-animated adventure fantasy Raya and the Last Dragon will be available for digital purchase starting Friday, April 2, from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution. Another film delayed by the pandemic, Raya was eventually released March 5 in theaters and as a $29.99 add-on through the Disney+ streaming service’s Premier Access option. In the film, long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the last dragon in order to finally stop the Druun for good. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than dragon magic to save the world — it’s going to take trust as well. It arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray May 18.

Another new March 30 release is Another Round, a co-production between Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden that is nominated at the 93rd Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film and Best Director for Thomas Vinterberg. The dark comedy stars Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang and Lars Ranthe as a group of friends who decide their lives would be happier if they drank enough alcohol to maintain a constant buzz without getting fully drunk. Another Round is available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital sellthrough from Samuel Goldwyn Films

Lionsgate March 30 releases horror film The Toll as a Blu-ray combo pack (with digital copy) and on DVD. The feature film directorial debut of Michael Nader follows a young girl named Cami who takes a taxi to her father’s country home. But when a wrong turn by her chatty driver, Spencer, results in the car stalling on a dark and remote road, the pair soon realize they they are being watched by an unseen presence — one that sees them as trespassers, and is ready to exact a deadly toll.

The supernatural thriller The Widow arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and on demand March 30 from Shout Studios and Scream Factory, the horror imprint of indie distributor Shout! Factory. The film chronicles the search for people whose mysterious disappearance in a Russian forest has for decades been attributed to a dark spirit. The Blu-ray and DVD include both the original Russian language audio track and an English-dubbed option.

Also available now, having been released for digital sellthrough last Friday, March 26, is the comedy Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar, from Lionsgate. Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, the duo behind Bridesmaids, reunite as lifelong friends who embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time ever. The film debuted on PVOD Feb. 12 and arrives on Blu-ray Disc and DVD April 6.

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Among catalog titles, director Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 Biblical epic The Ten Commandments starring Charlton Heston as Moses arrives on 4K Ultra HD for the first time March 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment. The release commemorates the film’s 65th anniversary and arrives just in time for the April 4 Easter holiday. As part of the restoration done in 2010, the film was scanned in 6K and those files were the basis for this Dolby Vision version. Paramount spent more than 150 hours doing new color work and clean-up on the scan of the original VistaVision negative. The 4K release also includes a DTS-HD 5.1 lossless soundtrack.

Another DeMille, classic, 1952 spectacle The Greatest Show on Earth, arrives for the first time on Blu-ray March 30 as part of the Paramount Presents line. Winner of the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Writing, Motion Picture Story, the film captures the thrills, chills and exhilaration of the circus. Featuring three intertwining plot lines filled with romance and rivalry, DeMille’s epic includes spectacular action sequences, including a train wreck. Stars include Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde, Charlton Heston, Dorothy Lamour, Gloria Grahame and James Stewart. The film has been newly restored from a 4K scan of the original negative, and the Blu-ray includes a new “Filmmaker Focus” featurette with film historian Leonard Maltin.

Also landing March 30 on Blu-ray and DVD is the 1991 romantic comedy Defending Your Life. The film was written by, directed by and stars Albert Brooks as a hapless advertising executive who dies suddenly and finds himself in Judgment City, a gleaming way station where the newly deceased must prove they lived a life of sufficient courage to advance in their journey through the universe. As he struggles to make his case, he forms a budding relationship with an uninhibited woman (Meryl Streep) who offers him a chance to finally feel alive. Criterion’s edition includes a new 4K digital restoration supervised by Brooks, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray, plus a slew of extras.

Coming to disc March 30 from MVD Entertainment Group and Severin Films are Perdita Durango (1997), The Day of the Beast (1995), Nosferatu in Venice (1988) and A Scream in the Streets (1973).

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

Gravitas Ventures Drama ‘Our Friend’ Due on Digital March 23, DVD March 30 From Universal

The Gravitas Ventures drama Our Friend will come out on digital March 23 and on DVD March 30 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film tells the true story of the Teague family — journalist Matt (Casey Affleck), his wife Nicole (Dakota Johnson) and their two young daughters — and how their lives are upended by Nicole’s diagnosis of terminal cancer. As Matt’s responsibilities as a caretaker and parent become increasingly overwhelming, the couple’s best friend Dane Faucheux (Jason Segel) offers to come and help out. As Dane puts his life on hold to stay with his friends, the impact of this life-altering decision proves greater and more profound than anyone could have imagined.

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The release includes a behind-the-scenes bonus feature in which filmmakers and cast, including Segel, Johnson and Affleck, discuss why they were drawn to this true story and how they worked together to honestly portray the real people at its center.

Romcom ‘First Blush’ Due on Digital and VOD Platforms Feb. 2 From Gravitas Ventures

The romantic comedy First Blush is coming to digital and VOD platforms Feb. 2 from Gravitas Ventures.

The modern millennial romantic comedy follows a young married couple who re-examine their relationship when they both form an attraction to another woman. Nena and Drew are a young, happy-ish married couple whose relationship is thrown off its axis when they meet Olivia. The trio’s attraction to each other is undeniable, but when they become romantically involved, they struggle to navigate the complications of a polyamorous relationship. The three push each other’s boundaries to their limits as they discover painful truths about who they are, what they want, and how to love in turbulent times.

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Written and directed by Victor Neumark, the film stars Rachel Alig (The Cleaning Lady), Ryan Caraway (West of Her) and Kate Beecroft (6 Underground).

 

‘Honest Thief,’ ‘The Last Shift’ Top Slate of New Releases Available for Home Viewing Dec. 29

Universal Pictures’ Honest Thief and Sony Pictures’ The Last Shift top the slate of new releases available for home viewing on Dec. 29.

Also out are Two Ways Home, from Gravitas Ventures, and, on DVD only, a batch of music videos from Bayview Entertainment, among them The Beatles: Meet the Beatles; Elvis Presley: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Years; and Stevie Nicks: Broadcasting Live.

Honest Thief, a drama starring Liam Neeson as a guilt-conscious bank robber who confronts FBI agents wanting to rob him, arrives on Blu-ray Disc and DVD two weeks after it became available to rent or buy through digital retailers such as FandangoNow, Redbox On Demand, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV and ROW8. Written, directed and produced by Mark Williams, the film stars Neeson as a notorious bank robber who turns himself in after falling in love, only to be double-crossed by a pair of corrupt FBI agents. The merciless agents soon discover there’s nothing more dangerous than an elite criminal mastermind seeking justice. Honest Thief earned $13.5 million at the domestic box office.

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The comic drama The Last Shift makes its debut on Blu-ray Disc and DVD as well as through digital retailers. In the film, aging fast-food worker Stanley (two-time Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins) plans to call it quits after 38 years on the graveyard shift at Oscar’s Chicken and Fish. He spends his last weekend training his replacement, Jevon (Shane Paul McGhie), a talented but stalled young writer whose provocative politics keep landing him in trouble. Stanley, a high school dropout who has watched his life pass by his drive-through window, proudly details the nuances of the job while Jevon, who considers himself too smart to be flipping patties, contends their labor is being exploited. A flicker of comaraderie sparks during the long overnight hours in a quiet kitchen.

Two Ways Home, making its Blu-ray Disc and DVD debut on Dec. 29, is a drama about a troubled young woman living with bipolar disorder who returns to her hometown in rural Iowa to reconnect with her estranged 12-year-old daughter. Her plan to stay with her grandfather is thwarted when she discovers he has suffered a heart attack and is being kept at a nursing home by her parents. Conflict with her family intensifies when her teenage daughter’s reaction to seeing her echoes the feelings shared by the whole family: they were happier when she was out of their lives.

Gravitas Sets Digital-Only Home Release Date for ‘Appiness’

Red Arrow Studios company Gravitas Ventures, in partnership with eMerge Entertainment, has announced a Jan. 28 digital-only release date for Appiness, the debut feature from filmmaker and Canadian Screen Award nominee Eli Batalion.

The film will be available on Digital HD, on streaming services like Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and Vudu, and cable VOD, including Comcast, Verizon, DirecTV, and Dish.

Appiness stars Batalion as Eric Newman, a shy corporate professional almost in his 30s who gets laid off out of the blue and encounters an old tech buddy, Raj Patel (Saranga). They begin scheming on startup billionaire dreams, and find themselves potentially on the road to riches, freedom, and their true calling. But what begins as promising soon turns into a slippery slope of growing sacrifices, leading them to question what exactly they should be doing with their lives.

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Appiness has won awards around the globe, including the Debut Filmmaker Award at the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival, Best Actress for Goldfarb at the Canada China International Film Festival, Best Comedy and Best Screenplay at the Vegas Movie Awards, and Best Editing, Best Feature, and Best Humor at the Top Indie Film Awards.

Gravitas Ventures Acquires Rights to ‘The Secret: Dare to Dream,’ Partners with Lionsgate and Roadside on Release

Gravitas Ventures has acquired all North American rights to The Secret: Dare to Dream, the feature film inspired by Rhonda Byrnes’ bestseller, from tri-G Films, and has partnered with Lionsgate and sister company Roadside Attractions for all U.S. theatrical, home entertainment and television distribution.

The film is slated for an April 17 theatrical release.

Starring Katie Holmes (All We Had, Logan Lucky, The Gift) and Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama, What They Had, “Yellowstone”) with Celia Weston (Knight and Day, The Intern) and Jerry O’Connell (“Billions,” Stand by Me) and directed by Andy Tennant (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama), The Secret: Dare to Dream centers around Miranda Wells (Holmes), a hard-working young widow struggling to raise three children on her own. A powerful storm brings a devastating challenge and a mysterious man, Bray Johnson (Lucas), into her life.  In just a few short days, Bray’s presence re-ignites the family’s spirit, but he carries a secret — and that secret could change everything.

“We’ve had the good fortune to digitally distribute the documentary version of The Secret for more than a dozen years and we’re confident that The Secret: Dare to Dream is coming at the perfect time,” said Gravitas Ventures’ president Michael Murphy in a statement. “Audiences will love this feel-good movie. Partnering with tri-G founder Joe Gelchion, author Rhonda Byrne, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions on the feature film is a dream come true for us.”

“When we first screened The Secret: Dare to Dream, we saw the potential to tap into the empowering movement Rhonda Byrne established with her book,” said Lionsgate EVP of strategic planning and business development Geobert Abboud in a statement. “It is an iconic property with an uplifting message and a global fanbase, and we’re very excited by the opportunity to bring it to audiences next year.”

“It is no secret that Rhonda created a juggernaut with her book in 2006 and we are thrilled to bring the film not only to her devoted fans but new audiences as well in April 2020,” added Roadside Attractions’ co-presidents Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff in a statement

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“From the day I launched tri-G, I was committed to being involved with projects that carried a message of hope and inspiration to all viewers of all ages,” said tri-G’s Joe Gelchion in a statement. “The Secret: Dare to Dream is exactly one of those movies. It’s an honor and blessing to be part of this.”

The 2006 book by Byrne has sold more than 34 million copies worldwide, has been translated into 50 languages and has appeared on The New York Times bestseller list for 190 weeks.

Gravitas Ventures Launches Indie Film SVOD Service

Gravitas Ventures has bowed a subscription-based over-the-top video service – dubbed GravitasMovies.com – offering its branded slate of indie films for $4.99 a month.

The service aims to fill the void left by WarnerMedia’s shuttered FilmStruck platform, in addition to competing services such as Fandor.com, Shout! Factory TV, Shudder, Tribeca Shortlist and Le Cinema Club, among other services catering to fans of eclectic content.

GravitasMovies.com launched with about 1,000 titles available on Comcast Cable’s Xfinity X1, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, among other Android and iOS devices.

“At Gravitas we have always taken pride in being a distributor that can connect the artist and the consumer,” Michael Murphy, president of the 13-year-old distributor, said in a statement. “By launching our SVOD service, we are taking the next step in bringing our vast young library of films to a global audience.”

Gravitas was acquired in 2017 by Red Arrow Studios – a unit of Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 Media.

“Given the volume, diversity of programming, and refresh rate, we have one of the best value propositions in the marketplace today for fans of independent films and documentaries and plan to keep the offering fresh and new for years to come,” said Murphy.