The sun-soaked horror film Midsommar, from director Ari Aster (Hereditary), is coming on digital and on demand Sept. 24 from A24, and on Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital) and DVD Oct. 8 from Lionsgate.
The film stars Florence Pugh as a young woman who, after a family tragedy, reluctantly joins her boyfriend on a summer trip to a remote Swedish village for a midsummer festival, which becomes more and more sinister as the days pass. What begins as a carefree summer holiday takes a turn when the insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that grow increasingly unnerving and viscerally disturbing.
Lionsgate held a screening for Apocalypse Now Final Cut to mark the 40th anniversary of the war film at ArcLight Cinemas Cinerama Dome in Hollywood Aug. 12. Apocalypse Now Final Cut will be released in select Imax theaters Aug. 15 and 18, followed by regional theaters Aug. 23 from NAGRA myCinema, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (two 4K discs, four Blu-ray discs and a digital copy) and digital 4K Ultra HD (for the first time ever) Aug. 27 featuring new special features from Lionsgate.
(L-R): Glenn Morten, VP of strategy and solutions at Nagra myCinema; actor Martin Sheen; director Francis Ford Coppola; and Lionsgate president of worldwide home entertainment Ron Schwartz. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)
Lionsgate Sept. 24 will release the Dolph Lundgren action film The Tracker on Blu-ray Disc (with digital copy), DVD and digitally.
The revenge thriller is currently available on demand.
Lundgren stars as a troubled warrior who returns home to solve the mystery of his family’s murder — and punish those he finds guilty. The Tracker will be available for the suggested retail price of $21.99 (Blu-ray) and $19.98 (DVD).
Lundgren portrays Aiden, whose wife and daughter were abducted and killed during a vacation. A decade later, a detective with new evidence calls Aiden to the scene of the crime — but Aiden arrives to find the cop murdered and the police refusing to help. Now, Aiden must use his skills as a sniper and warrior to unravel the vast conspiracy behind his loved ones’ murders.
The acclaimed Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now has been a saga in more ways than one, plagued by a change of lead actors from Harvey Keitel to Martin Sheen, a typhoon in the Philippines and Sheen’s heart attack during filming, critical and skeptical press, and multiple edits.
But this month for its 40th anniversary director Francis Ford Coppola releases what he considers his “final cut.”
Apocalypse Now Final Cut will be released in select Imax theaters Aug. 15 and 18, followed by regional theaters Aug. 23 from NAGRA myCinema, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (two 4K discs, four Blu-ray discs and a digital copy) and digital 4K Ultra HD (for the first time ever) Aug. 27 featuring new special features from Lionsgate. The release includes Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio. In addition, the film has been enhanced with Meyer Sound Laboratories’ newly developed Sensual Sound, a technology engineered to output audio below the limits of human hearing. It’s all to realize the best version of the film. “A lot of the things that we did to truncate the movie I put back in this version,” said Coppola in a Q&A shot at the Tribeca Film Festival in April with director Steven Soderbergh that is part of the extras.
As for the problems that beset the production, documented in the award-winning Hearts of Darkness (also included in the extras with footage shot during filming by Coppola’s wife, Eleanor), Coppola told Soderbergh, “In filmmaking and in life, extraordinary things happen to you, and it’s up to you to make them be positive.”
Restored from the original negative for the first time ever, Apocalypse Now Final Cut is Coppola’s most realized version of the film, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards, won three Golden Globes and is one of AFI’s top 100 films. Starring Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne and Harrison Ford, the war epic, inspired by Joseph Conrad’s story Heart of Darkness, follows Army Capt. Willard (Sheen), a troubled man sent on a dangerous odyssey into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade American colonel named Kurtz (Brando), who has succumbed to the horrors of war and barricaded himself in a remote outpost.
“I had this idea to do it like The Guns of Navarone, some extraordinary, big World War II movie,” Coppola told Soderbergh. “The irony is that the movie took on its own life, became stranger and more surreal, and in a sense, I think it went in a direction correct for that issue — because the Vietnam War was very strange.”
The very innovative nature of the film made Coppola cautious and worried. He decided to release a “work in progress” of the film at the Cannes Film Festival to allay critics who were calling it a disaster. It ended up winning the Palme d’Or triumph at the festival in 1979 (shared with The Tin Drum).
His caution resulted in a truncated cut of the film that he later expanded in the 2001 release Apocalypse Now Redux. But this is his ultimate cut.
“I realized that I wanted to make a version that I like,” Coppola said in the introduction to Final Cut included in the extras. “It was longer than the 1979 version but shorter than Apocalypse Now Redux, and it’s the one that I recommend to you and it’s the one that is my favorite.”
The 40th anniversary release features multiple archival and new special features, including the film’s theatrical cut and extended cut (Redux), as well as the acclaimed Hearts of Darkness documentary:
4K UHD SPECIAL FEATURES
NEW: Introduction to Final Cut by Francis Ford Coppola
Audio Commentary by Director Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now Redux)
An Interview with screenwriter John Milius
A Conversation with Martin Sheen and Francis Ford Coppola
“Fred Roos: Casting Apocalypse” Featurette
The Mercury Theatre on the Air: Heart of Darkness – November 6, 1938
“The Hollow Men” Featurette
Monkey Sampan “Lost Scene”
“Destruction of the Kurtz Compound” End Credits (with Non-Optional Audio Commentary by Francis Ford Coppola)
Segment profit for Starz Networks increased 3.4% to $103.7 million, which was offset by ongoing content investment in StarzPlay.
Indeed, overall Media Networks profit declined to $60.6 million from $88.5 million in the previous-year period due to content costs.
On the fiscal call, Starz COO Jeffrey Hirsch defended the SVOD service’s subscription price as Disney readies less expensive $6.99 Disney+ service on Nov. 12.
“If you look at the history of Starz, we’ve always been a premium, add-on television,” Hirsch said.
Lionsgate’s global expansion of Starz has resulted in the development of an additional 20 episodic programming projects, according to Kevin Beggs, chairman of the media company’s TV group.
Beggs dismissed Netflix’s headline-grabbing mega production deal with “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss, contending Lionsgate doesn’t chase those kinds of deals.
“For writers and directors who are overperforming, there’s always been an unbelievable upside the way we structure our deals,” Beggs said, alluding to Lionsgate’s practice affording content creators with multiple compensation options, including backend unavailable at Netflix’s business model.
Lionsgate Aug. 8 disclosed it sold $56.4 million in combined DVD/Blu-ray Disc movies in the first quarter, ended June 30. The tally was down 26% from revenue of $76.5 million during the previous-year period.
Sales and rental of digital titles dropped less than 4% to $83.3 million from $86.2 million.
Total motion picture home entertainment revenue dropped about 14% to $139.7 million from $162.7 million last year.
Home entertainment revenue from television content plummeted nearly 60% to $7.3 million from $18.1 million last year.
Disc revenue topped $1.4 million, down about 23% from $1.8 million. Digital revenue fell almost 64% to $5.9 million from $16.3 million.
Meanwhile, theatrical revenue skyrocketed to $121.8 million from $50.3 million, driven by the box office success of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, which has generated $320 million at the global box office.
“[John Wick] reaffirmed our thesis that mid-priced action films have a valuable place in the market,” CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a statement.
The title’s box office success bodes well for home entertainment.
John Wick 3 is slated for retail digital release on Aug. 23, with packaged media bowing Sept. 10.
Lionsgate’s Long Shot debuted at No. 1 on Redbox’s kiosk disc rental and On Demand charts the week ended Aug. 4.
The political comedy stars Seth Rogen as a speechwriter hired by a presidential candidate Charlize Theron who used to babysit him.
The Redbox disc rental chart tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks. The Redbox On Demand chart tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals.
The Sony Pictures thriller The Intruder debuted at No. 2 on both charts.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Shazam! dropped to No. 3 on both charts.
John Wick: Chapter 3— Parabellum arrives on digital Aug. 23 and 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD, and on demand Sept. 10 from Lionsgate.
The third film in the “John Wick” franchise starring Keanu Reeves earned $169.7 million at the domestic box office.
Chapter 3 also stars Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Marc Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston and Ian McShane. In the film, super assassin John Wick (Reeves) has a $14 million price tag on his head after killing a member of the High Table, the shadowy international assassins’ guild. With an army of the world’s most ruthless hit men and women on his trail, John must find a way to survive.
The 4K UHD includes Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound.
The release includes featurettes that explore the mythology and action of the “John Wick” universe; the hidden world of Killer Ballerinas, Shinobi, and the Bowery King; the planning that went into the film’s horse chase sequence and “dog-fu” fight sequences; and the editing with director Chad Stahelski and editor Evan Schiff.
Street Date 7/30/19; Lionsgate; Comedy; Box Office $30.32 million; $29.95 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray; Rated ‘R’ for strong sexual content, language throughout and some drug use. Stars Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Andy Serkis, June Diane Raphael, Lisa Kudrow, Bob Odenkirk, Alexander Skarsgård.
The often crude but usually charming Long Shot reframes the tropes of the romantic comedy by setting them against the backdrop of the arena of American politics, blended with a touch of stoner humor for good measure.
It’s The American President by way of Pineapple Express, as secretary of state and presidential candidate Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) has a chance encounter with Fred, an opinionated writer (Seth Rogen) she used to babysit, and asks him to join her campaign as a speechwriter. As they grow closer, some of her refinement starts to rub off on him while he helps her loosen up a bit, both in the pharmacological and carnal sense. This leaves the rest of her staff to wonder what the potential relationship could mean for the campaign.
Though set in the political world, the love story doesn’t get bogged down with too many political specifics, which is probably for the best as the political landscape presented in the film doesn’t bear much scrutiny. Then again, the film isn’t aiming for Sorkin levels of verisimilitude here.
Charlotte is basing her presidential campaign on a major environmental initiative, which Fred likes, but works for an administration that Fred ultimately opposes, with a president (Bob Odenkirk) who used to play a president on a TV show and decides to forgo a second term to cash in his popularity to pursue a film career.
The president will endorse Charlotte to replace him if she doesn’t make too many waves, but his media tycoon buddy (Andy Serkis, unrecognizable in heavy prosthetic makeup) wants to chip away at the effectiveness of her activism. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s chief of staff (June Diane Raphael) wants to set her up with the equally available, but socially awkward, prime minister of Canada (Alexander Skarsgård). The more willing Charlotte is to compromise herself for political expediency, the more Fred is left to wonder where the candidate ends and the woman he may be falling in love with begins.
The satirical look at the broader strokes of the American political system are cute, but let’s face it, the odds of the nation’s chief diplomat getting away with negotiating a hostage crisis while high on Molly are slim to none. So, the only way the movie works is if the audience buys the relationship between Charlotte and Fred, and luckily Rogen and Theron work well together, finding an easygoing chemistry that helps us enjoy their adventures for what they are.
The Blu-ray includes about 100 minutes of behind-the-scenes featurettes that cover everything from the writing to the casting to the wardrobe. The most interesting is an interview with comic book artist Todd McFarlane, who contributes a key piece of art to one of the funniest gags in the film.
The new releases of July 23 included a few retail exclusives for Fox’s Alita: Battle Angel and Lionsgate’s Hellboy remake.
Best Buy offered Steelbook editions for the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo packs for both films, with Alita listed at $34.99 and Hellboy at $29.99. The Alita Steelbook, which like the standard-edition 4K included a 3D version of the film, was marked as sold out on the Best Buy website.
Target also offered a Steelbook for Hellboy, packaging the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack in a “limited-edition double-sided Steelbook” for $24.99.
For Alita, Target packed special versions of the Blu-ray ($22.99) and 4K/3D Blu-ray ($32.99) with a USB-charging wristband that appears to be iPhone compatible.
Walmart sold a limited-edition Alita “Motorball” Blu-ray gift set that included a Funko Pocket Pop! keychain for $29.96.
For the Hellboy Blu-ray combo pack, Walmart offered a digital graphic novel.
Among preorders, Best Buy is offering a Steelbook 4K UHD Blu-ray boxed set for the first four “Avengers” film for $149.99. Best Buy’s website doesn’t list a release date, although Disney releases Avengers: Endgame on Blu-ray Aug. 13.