‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Racing to Digital Early March 31, Debuting on Disc May 19

Sonic the Hedgehog will debut early for digital purchase March 31 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

The film, which made $306.8 million at the global box office, will be available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and for rental on demand May 19.

The family film based on the video game character follows the incredibly speedy Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz), aka The Blue Blur, who embraces his new home on Earth. That is, until he accidentally knocks out the power grid and sparks the attention of evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). It’s super-villain vs. super-sonic in an all-out race across the globe to stop Robotnik from using his unique power for world domination. Sonic teams up with The Donut Lord, aka Sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), to save the plane.

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Bonus features on digital, 4K Ultra HD combo pack and Blu-ray combo pack include commentary by director Jeff Fowler and Schwartz; “Around the World in 80 Seconds,” Sonic’s next adventure; deleted scenes; bloopers; the “Speed Me Up” music video; “For the Love of Sonic,” in which Carrey and the cast discuss what Sonic the Hedgehog means to them; “Building Robotnik with Jim Carrey”; “The Blue Blur: Origins of Sonic”; and “Sonic On Set,” a set visit with Schwartz.

The 4K Ultra HD Digital and 4K Ultra HD disc releases present the film in Dolby Vision with a Dolby Atmos sound.

 

‘Zombie’ and ‘Maniac’ Coming to 4K UHD Blu-ray May 26 From MVD and Blue Underground

Restorations of Zombie and Maniac will come out on 4K Ultra High Definition Blu-ray with Dolby Vision HDR and a new Dolby Atmos audio mix May 26 from MVD Entertainment Group and Blue Underground.

“We put a lot of time and work into restoring films like Maniac and Zombie,” said William Lustig, president of Blue Underground. “We’re thrilled that fans can now view them at home in true 4K Ultra HD, with Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range and new Dolby Atmos audio mixes.”

Known in England as Zombie Flesh Eaters and banned as obscene, Zombie (1979) stars Tisa Farrow (The Grim Reaper), Ian McCulloch (Contamination), Al Cliver (Cannibals) and Richard Johnson (The Haunting) in a splatterfest directed by “Maestro of Gore” Lucio Fulci (The House by the Cemetery, The New York Ripper).

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Zombie will be released in a two-disc combo pack.

Special features on the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc include:

  • audio commentary with Troy Howarth, author of Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and His Films;
  • audio commentary with Star McCulloch and Diabolik magazine editor Jason J. Slater;
  • “When the Earth Spits Out the Dead,” an interview with Stephen Thrower, author of Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci;
  • theatrical trailers;
  • TV spots;
  • radio spots;
  • a poster and still gallery; and
  • an intro by director Guillermo del Toro.

 

Special features on the Blu-ray disc include:

  • “Zombie Wasteland,” featuring interviews with McCulloch, Johnson and Cliver, and actor/stuntman Ottaviano Dell’Acqua;
  • “Flesh Eaters on Film,” an interview with co-producer Fabrizio De Angelis;
  • “Deadtime Stories,” featuring interviews with co-writers Elisa Briganti and (uncredited) Dardano Sacchetti;
  • ‘World of the Dead,” featuring interviews with cinematographer Sergio Salvati and production and costume designer Walter Patriarca;
  • “Zombi Italiano,” featuring interviews with special make-up effects artists Gianetto De Rossi and Maurizio Trani and special effects artist Gino De Rossi;
  • “Notes on a Headstone,” an interview with composer Fabio Frizzi;
  • “All in the Family,” an interview with Antonella Fulci; and
  • “Zombie Lover,” in which Oscar-winning filmmaker del Toro talks about one of his favorite films.

 

Maniac (1980) follows Frank Zito (writer/executive producer Joe Spinell, Rocky, The Godfather), a deeply disturbed man, haunted by the traumas of unspeakable childhood abuse. When these horrific memories begin to scream inside his mind, Frank prowls the seedy streets of New York City to stalk and slaughter innocent young women. Frank begins a relationship with a beautiful photographer (Caroline Munro, The Spy Who Loved Me), yet his vile compulsions remain. Directed by Blue Underground president William Lustig (Maniac Cop 2, Vigilante) and featuring gore effects by Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead, Friday the 13th), the film was originally banned or censored all over the world due to its graphic violence.

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Maniac will also be released in a two-disc combo pack.

Special features on 4K UHD disc include:

  • audio commentary by Lustig and producer Andrew Garroni;
  • audio commentary by Lustig, Savini, editor Lorenzo Marinelli, and Spinell’s assistant Luke Walter;
  • theatrical trailers;
  • TV spots; and
  • radio spots.

 

Special features on Blu-ray disc include:

  • outtakes
  • “Returning to the Scene of the Crime with William Lustig”;
  • “Anna and the Killer,” an interview with Munro;
  • “The Death Dealer,” an interview with Savini;
  • “Dark Notes,” an interview with composer Jay Chattaway;
  • “Maniac Men,” an interview with songwriters Michael Sembello and Dennis Matkosky;
  • “The Joe Spinell Story”;
  • the “Mr. Robbie: Maniac 2” promo reel;
  • publicity for the film; and
  • controversy about the film.

 

‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ Ready to Play on Digital March 3, Disc Including 4K March 17

The actioner Jumanji: The Next Level will come out on digital March 3 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD March 17 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

It has earned $768.5 million at the global box office.

Stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillanreturn for another game-based adventure, along with Jumanji newcomers Awkwafina, Rory McCann, Danny Glover and Danny DeVito.

The story catches up with Spencer (Alex Wolff), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), Martha (Morgan Turner) and Bethany (Madison Iseman) three years after their first adventure in Jumanji’s mystical video game world. When Spencer goes missing inside the game ahead of the group’s planned reunion from college, his friends, along with his grandfather (DeVito) and his grandfather’s friend (Glover), once again inhabit the avatars of Dr. Bravestone (Johnson), “Mouse” Finbar (Hart), Professor Sheldon Oberon (Black) and Ruby Roundhouse (Gillan) to rescue him. As they return to Jumanji, the players have to brave parts unknown and unexplored, from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to escape.

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Bonus materials include a gag reel, several behind-the-scenes featurettes, in-depth scene breakdowns and a new jingle. The 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD also include an interactive collectible map that employs augmented reality to bring Jumanji to life via smart phone. The experience provides up to 10 minutes of game play and allows users to create their own 8-bit avatar, navigate a series of mini games and more.

‘Easy Rider’ Released on 4K Digital for 50th Anniversary

The road trip classic Easy Rider is now available on 4K digital with high dynamic range from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, marking the 50th anniversary of the film.

Starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, directed by Hopper, and co-written by Fonda, Hopper and Terry Southern, the counterculture classic focuses on two bikers who set off on a cross-country road trip. The cast also includes Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Antonio Mendoza and Phil Spector.

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Digital extras available through participating platforms include a Hopper commentary and a behind-the-scenes featurette.

The 4K restoration premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, mirroring the film’s original debut at the festival in 1969.

‘The Swan Princess’ Swims to Blu-ray and 4K Digital Oct. 29 for 25th Anniversary

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.

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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.

‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ Hits Digital Oct. 22, Disc Nov. 5, Including 4K

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, based on the popular children’s books, arrives on digital Oct. 22 and on 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD and on demand Nov. 5 from Lionsgate.

The film made $65.8 million in domestic theaters.

The adaptation of the book series brings some of Alvin Schwartz’s scariest stories to life and is produced by Academy Award winner Guillermo del Toro with a screen story by del Toro, Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan.

It’s 1968 in America. Change is blowing in the wind, but seemingly far removed from the unrest in the cities is the small town of Mill Valley, where for generations the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large. It is in their mansion on the edge of town that Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time. For a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying home, the stories become all too real.

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Special features include six featurettes on the 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and digital releases and two featurettes on the DVD looking at the development of the creepiest creatures in the film, as well as the process of taking the classic tales from page to screen.

The 4K version includes Dolby Vision HDR.

Movies Anywhere to Support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos Beginning With ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and Other Titles July 30

Movies Anywhere will begin supporting Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound beginning with the July 30 digital release of Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame.

Consumers who have purchased 4K Ultra HD titles from participating digital retailers or are activating a Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD digital code will be able to stream in these entertainment experiences using Movies Anywhere on connected TVs.

Recently released titles Alita: Battle Angel from Twentieth Century Fox, Aquaman and Pokémon Detective Pikachu from Warner Bros., and Miss Bala from Sony Pictures Entertainment will also be available in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos July 30.

Additional previously released films from Movies Anywhere-backed studios are also being added and will be available throughout the summer and into the fall.

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“We will always strive to deliver the best playback technology possible for movie purchasers who are passionate about quality,” said Karin Gilford, GM, Movies Anywhere, in a statement. “Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos deliver an exceptional home viewing experience, while staying true to filmmakers’ creative intent and vision. This is part of our ongoing commitment to super serve movie fans with the films they love, when, where and how they want to watch them.”

Dolby Vision offers high dynamic range 4K experiences, with increased brightness, contrast, color and detail, according to Movies Anywhere, while Dolby Atmos offers moving audio that flows all around listeners.

‘Zombieland’ Heading to 4K Ultra HD Oct. 1 From Sony

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Zombieland will come out on 4K Ultra HD Oct. 1 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in time for the theatrical debut of its sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap.

Directed by Ruben Fleischer and starring Academy Award nominees Woody Harrelson (2017, Best Supporting Actor, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, 2017), Jesse Eisenberg (2010, Best Actor, The Social Network) and Abigail Breslin (2006, Best Supporting Actress, Little Miss Sunshine) and Academy Award-winner Emma Stone (2016, Best Actress, La La Land), the film follows a shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the last Twinkie, and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park, who join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.

Remastered in 4K with High Dynamic Range, the release includes a Dolby Atmos audio track, along with the original theatrical 5.1 audio.

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The 4K UHD release features a new special feature with the cast offering a look back at the original film; a behind-the-scenes featurette; and “Shootin’ Zombies with Ruben Fleischer.” Special features on the Blu-ray include “Beyond the Graveyard Picture-in-Picture Track”; audio commentary with filmmakers and cast; the “In Search of Zombieland” featurette; the “ Zombieland is Your Land” featurette; deleted scenes; and visual effects progression scenes.

Former Fox Exec Hanno Basse Joins Live Planet

Live Planet, creator of systems for virtual reality and blockchain tracking of entertainment content, has appointed Hanno Basse, former chief technology officer at 20th Century Fox Film Corp., president of its Decentralized Media Solutions division.

“Basse brings Live Planet his extensive expertise in driving the adoption of emerging technologies to catalyze new media experiences and services, expanding the company’s innovations in immersive and linear video production, distribution and monetization,” according to a Live Planet press release.

Basse will expand the company’s global footprint, building on its end-to-end virtual reality video streaming and publishing solution and its blockchain-based video infrastructure platform, the VideoCoin Network.

He will be based in Los Angeles, reporting to Live Planet founder and CEO Halsey Minor.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to mark the next stage of growth for Live Planet with the addition of Hanno to our world-class team of media and technology experts. Hanno brings a truly unique level of senior experience to Live Planet that will be extremely valuable to us as we help our customers meet the increasing demands of streaming video and next-generation on-demand services,” said Minor in a statement. “The addition of a technology pioneer of Hanno’s caliber is emblematic of Live Planet’s strategic direction and I look forward to an incredibly exciting journey ahead.”

“The media processing and distribution technologies Halsey and his team have built are among the most groundbreaking I’ve seen. They provide the basis for a new generation of solutions that media, telco and corporations will eagerly embrace as our world moves toward increased decentralization, higher-speed communication and edge-based compute,” said Basse in a statement. “I cannot wait to show the world what we will deliver next.”

Basse was appointed chief technology officer at 20th Century Fox Film Corp. in 2012, At Fox, Basse was responsible for technology strategy for the film studio, covering production/post-production, theatrical distribution and home entertainment. He created partnerships with Samsung, Ericsson and Barco, among others, which led to the founding of the Fox Innovation Lab. While at Fox, he also served as the first chairman of the UHD Alliance where he helped launch the 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc format and, in partnership with Samsung, established High Dynamic Range technology as a consumer product. He also served as the Fox board member of Movielabs.

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Prior to joining 20th Century Fox, Basse was with DirecTV, where he served as SVP of broadcast systems engineering. In that role, he was responsible for the design and implementation of DirecTV’s broadcast infrastructure and served as the technical lead for the introduction of many technologies to DirecTV’s platform, including HD, 3D and on-demand services.

Basse studied radio communications technology at the Engineering College of the Soviet Air Defense Forces in Kiev, Ukraine, and received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Officer’s College of the Air Force in Kamenz, Germany.

The Live Planet VR System is an end-to-end solution for easily creating and delivering live and recorded picture-perfect stereoscopic VR video programming and applications, according to the company.

The VideoCoin Network provides video infrastructure for the blockchain-enabled internet, delivering decentralized video encoding, storage and content distribution.

‘Gremlins’ Coming to 4K UHD for 35th From Warner

The 1984 classic Gremlins will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and digital for its 35th anniversary Oct. 1 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Directed by Joe Dante (Innerspace, The ‘Burbs) and written by Chris Columbus (The Goonies), the film stars Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton and Randall Peltzer, along with the voices of Frank Welker as Stripe and Howie Mandel as Gizmo. At times a horror film and others dark comedy, Gremlins follows a teenager who gets a new pet as a gift and finds it has strange transformative powers.

The Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc with the feature film and special features. Fans can also own Gremlins in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers.

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Extras include filmmakers’ commentary with Dante, producer Michael Finnell and special effects artist Chris Walas; cast commentary with Dante, Galligan, Cates, Dick Miller and Mandel; behind-the-scenes featurettes; additional scenes with commentary; a featurette on the creation of the creatures; and motion comics.