Redbox Expands Original Film Slate Acquiring True-Crime Thriller ‘Bandit’

Redbox Entertainment and Quiver Distribution July 26 announced they have acquired the North American distribution rights to Bandit, starring Josh Duhamel, Elisha Cuthbert, Nestor Carbonell and Mel Gibson. The film will be available in theaters and on demand in 2022.

Directed by Allan Ungar and written by Kraig Wenman, the crime drama is based on Robert Knuckle’s best-selling novel The Flying Bandit, the real-life story of Gilbert Galvan Jr., who lived under the name Robert Whiteman when he was dubbed the Flying Bandit in 1987.

Josh Duhamel in Redbox Original ‘Bandit’

Galvan Jr. successfully got away with 63 bank and jewelry heists during his crime spree. The movie tells the tale of the career criminal (Duhamel), who escapes from a U.S. prison and crosses the border into Canada, assuming a new identity. After falling in love and getting married, he claims to take a job as a traveling security consultant, and his crimes continue. Only when he turns to lifetime gangster Tommy (Gibson) for an investment does his simple career become complicated, and he finds himself at the center of a special forces cross-country manhunt.

“The outstanding ensemble cast along with Kraig’s skillful adaptation and Allan’s remarkable directing brings this riveting story to life,” Redbox CEO Galen Smith said in a statement. “We’re delighted to bring this edge-of-your-seat thriller to audiences next year.”

The deal was negotiated by Marc Danon, head of original content for Redbox Entertainment.

Bandit is the latest in a string of acquisitions from Redbox that includes She Ball (Nick Cannon), The Last Son (Sam Worthington), Capone (Tom Hardy), Shadow in the Cloud (Chloë Grace Moretz and Nick Robinson); SAS: Red Notice (Sam Heughan and Ruby Rose); and American Traitor: The True Story of Axis Sally (Al Pacino and Meadow Williams).

The license agreement comes on the heels of Redbox’s venture with John Wick producer Basil Iwanyk to form Asbury Park Pictures, which is programming a slate of high-concept action and thriller films over the next few years.

Batman: The Long Halloween — Part One

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner;
Animated;
$29.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence, bloody images, language and some smoking.
Voices of Jensen Ackles, Josh Duhamel, Billy Burke, Titus Welliver, David Dastmalchian, Troy Baker, Amy Landecker, Julie Nathanson, Jack Quaid, Fred Tatasciore, Jim Pirri, Alastair Duncan, Naya Rivera.

Originally released in 1996 and 1997 and best known today as a graphic novel collection, the comic book miniseries “Batman: The Long Halloween” is considered one of the seminal works of the Batman canon.

Taking place over the course of a year early in Batman’s career, “The Long Halloween” tells the story of how Gotham City transitioned from gangland violence to being overrun with costumed supervillains, while also tracking the toll it takes on new district attorney Harvey Dent, who eventually becomes the villain Two-Face.

This first half of the two-part animated adaptation (the second half coming in a month) is heavily focused on the mafia side of things, and feels very much like Batman (Jensen Ackles) has been dropped into the plot of The Godfather.

This is a Batman still perfecting his skills as a vigilante. He makes obvious mistakes, isn’t too adept at jumping from roof to roof just yet, and he doesn’t seem interested in being a detective. He forms a pact with Dent (Josh Duhamel) and police Capt. Gordon (Billy Burke) to clean up the gang wars, but this only puts more of a target on Dent’s back, much to the chagrin of his wife. It also opens the door for the costumed crazies that Batman has inspired, such as the Joker (Troy Baker) and Catwoman (voiced by the late Naya Rivera in one of her final roles), as a serial killer begins targeting key mob personnel each month on a festive holiday.

Batman fans already familiar with the “Long Halloween” arc should appreciate the adaptation, which matches the animation style of the earlier Superman: Man of Tomorrow and Justice Society: World War II, potentially putting it in the same shared universe as those adventures. Long Halloween was reportedly intended to kick off this new continuity years ago, but was delayed when it looked as if Matt Reeves’ The Batman would be doing the storyline.

Casual Bat-fans who don’t know the graphic novel will likely recognize many aspects of the story, particularly the troika of Batman, Dent and Gordon, and the focus on Gotham’s mob bosses, from Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, which was heavily influenced by Long Halloween.

The Blu-ray includes a nine-minute preview of the upcoming part two, which delves further into Dent’s transformation into Two-Face.

There are also showcases for previously released Batman animated movies The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 and Gotham by Gaslight.

As is customary for these DC Universe releases, the Blu-ray also contains two cartoons from the Warner Bros. catalog that are thematically similar to the movie — in this case, the “Batman: The Animated Series” episodes “Christmas With the Joker” and “It’s Never Too Late.”

Also included is the newest DC Showcase animated short film, the 16-minute The Losers. This one’s about a special forces unit during World War II caught up in a mission on an island overrun by dinosaurs brought from the past by a powerful energy barrier. The premise seems cobbled together from a few familiar sources and as a whole the short doesn’t amount to much, but the implications of some of the plot developments could be intriguing if explored further.

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Data: Netflix’s Short-Lived ‘Jupiter’s Legacy’ Was a Fading Star

NEWS ANALYSIS — When Netflix abruptly canceled “Jupiter’s Legacy” after just eight episodes, fans of the series were disappointed. The superhero fantasy comic book adaptation starring Josh Duhamel is reportedly being spun-off into a different theme.

While Netflix has embraced geekdom with a newly-launched five-day virtual event, which kicked off June 7 featuring first-looks on film titles like Army of the Dead, Lupin, Kate and Vikings: Valhalla, the reality is that “Legacy” was losing — not gaining — viewers over time, according to new data from Reelgood.

The platform scans multiple streaming services its 2 million registered users are using to analyze possible trends, adoption rates and other viewership activity.

Though “Jupiter’s Legacy” was quite popular with audiences, it paled in comparison to other recent Netflix originals such as “The Queen’s Gambit,” “Bridgerton” and “Shadow and Bone” — the latter attracting 55 million viewers, according to Netflix. In fact, the observed viewing trend for “Legacy” was more similar to that of another recently canceled Netflix original “The Irregulars.”

“Legacy” topped Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 streamed originals, with 696 million minutes for the week ended May 9, and two days after the show’s debut. But that was barely ahead of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” with 690 million minutes — yet significantly ahead of “Shadow and Bone,” which tracked 555 million minutes. That show launched April 23.

Looking at Netflix’s own daily Top 10 data for TV shows in the United States, Reelgood found that “Legacy” enjoyed a much better run than “The Irregulars,” but fell behind “Shadow and Bone,” which has been officially renewed for a second season.

Comedy ‘Buddy Games’ Coming to Digital and DVD Nov. 24 From Paramount

The comedy Buddy Games will come out on digital, on demand and DVD Nov. 24 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Josh Duhamel (Transformers) stars in the comedy, which follows six lifelong friends who have a five-year falling out. Bob (Duhamel), aka “The Bobfather,” reunites his pals for the Buddy Games, a competition of absurd physical and mental challenges with the chance to win a $150,000 pot. The determined dudes fight, claw and party for the big bucks in this bro-fest featuring Dax Shepard (CHiPs), Olivia Munn (Office Christmas Party) and Kevin Dillon (“Entourage”).

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Lionsgate’s ‘Think Like a Dog’ Due on Disc and Digital June 9

Lionsgate will release the family comedy Think Like a Dog on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, digital sellthrough and VOD June 9.

The film follows 12-year-old Oliver (Gabriel Bateman), a tech prodigy whose middle-school science fair experiment goes awry, creating a telepathic connection between him and his dog, Henry. The cast also includes Josh Duhamel and Megan Fox as his parents, plus Kunal Nayyar, Julia Jones, Janet Montgomery and Bryan Callen.

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The home video edition includes audio commentary by writer-director Gil Junger and an “Anything is Paw-sible: Making Think Like a Dog” featurette.