The Marvels

4K ULTRA HD REVIEW:

Street Date 2/13/24;
Disney/Marvel;
Action;
Box Office $84.5 million;
$29.99 DVD, $36.99 Blu-ray, $44.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for action/violence and brief language.
Stars Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, Zawe Ashton, Gary Lewis, Seo-Jun Park, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Saagar Shaikh, Samuel L. Jackson.

There’s no disputing it anymore. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has lost its way.

The Marvels, the 33rd film in the MCU, is just the latest stumbling block for a franchise trying to rediscover its creative focus following the immense success of the “Infinity Saga” that concluded with Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Almost all the films of the three phases that constituted the Infinity Saga were notable for being able to not only introduce new characters and ideas to the audience, but also tell compelling stories that were also clearly building into a larger narrative in a way that excited viewers and fueled anticipation for the next installment. With that first big story arc having concluded, the attempts to follow it up have been muddled at best, lacking in a discernable direction or stakes to sufficiently fuel the fans’ enthusiasm. Further diluting the brand with a string of television projects that vary widely in quality hasn’t helped. In fact the best MCU content the past few years has been either largely unconnected to the wider franchise or wrapping up loose ends from the Infinity Saga.

Primarily a sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel, The Marvels is the 10th MCU movie since the beginning of “Phase Four,” otherwise known as the “Multiverse Saga.” But it’s also a sequel to several of the MCU’s Disney+ limited series, including 2021’s WandaVision, 2022’s Ms. Marvel, and last year’s awful Secret Invasion, which might as well not exist given how much its storylines are ignored by The Marvels. Even so, that’s a lot of background material for casual viewers to keep track of.

The main thrust of The Marvels is to team Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), aka Captain Marvel, with Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), seen as a kid in Captain Marvel but imbued with photonic powers in WandaVision, and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), the title hero from Ms. Marvel who is empowered by a magical bracelet of mysterious origins.

They meet due to the entanglement of their powers causing them to switch places following some manipulation of an interstellar travel network by the Kree villain Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton), who wants to restore her homeworld, which was devastated by a civil war caused by Captain Marvel in the 1990s-set aftermath of her solo movie. Her plan is essentially the plot of Spaceballs — steal the air and resources from other planets to rebuild her own.

With some coordination by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the three marvels are able to team up to confront Dar-Benn and put a halt to her campaign of collateral damage.

The movie eventually gets to where the MCU needs it to go in terms of setting up future storylines, but it’s not a smooth ride to get there. Dar-Benn ends up being one of the most forgettable antagonists in the canon, the tonal shifts of the story are jarring, and too many of the key setpieces are just plain goofy. First, there’s a planet where the population communicates through musical numbers, which just seems like the writers being too clever for their own good. Then, later in the film comes a comedic subplot involving alien cats that doesn’t seem to serve much of a purpose other than keep Nick Fury, Kamala’s family and the rest of the supporting cast busy.

The most memorable aspect of The Marvels is the chemistry between the three heroes as they reluctantly learn to act as a team, the highlight being the endearing energy exuded by Vellani as Kamala, a die-hard fan of Carol who just seems happy to be involved. Ultimately, the film’s best assets are a pair of epilogue scenes that tease an expansion of the MCU that fans have been anticipating, including a cute callback to Iron Man that begins to address the slew of younger heroes being gradually introduced the past few years. Hopefully with some time to reassess Marvel can coalesce these threads into the higher tiers of entertainment quality the studio has proved capable of in the past.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Blu-ray of The Marvels includes a smattering of extras that give viewers the gist of the making of the film. The 11-minute “Entangled” is the primary behind-the-scenes featurette, supplemented by five minutes of production diaries focused on amusing stories from the set.

Director and co-writer Nia DaCosta joins VFX supervisor Tara DeMarco for a feature-length commentary track punctuated mostly by comic book fan DaCosta’s excitement for the project.

There are also four decent deleted scenes that run a total of about six minutes, and a two-minute gag reel.

In the 4K combo pack, the commentary is included on both the 4K disc and the regular Blu-ray, while the rest of the extras are contained on just the Blu-ray.

Interestingly, the Disney+ streaming service includes an hour-long making-of The Marvels documentary as part of its “Marvel Studios: Assembled” series that, while using some common footage, offers a lot more detail than the featurettes included on the disc.

‘The Marvels’ Due Digitally Jan. 16, Disc Feb. 13

Disney-owned Marvel Studios will release The Marvels through digital retailers Jan. 16, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD disc Feb. 13.

The film earned $205.9 million at the box office.

In the film, Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) has reclaimed her identity from the tyrannical Kree. When her duties send her to an anomalous wormhole, her powers are entangled with super-fan Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani), and Carol’s estranged niece, astronaut Captain Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris). Together, this unlikely trio must team up and work together to save the universe.

Bonus features include two featurettes, deleted scenes, a gag reel and audio commentary with co-writer/director Nia DaCosta and VFX supervisor Tara DeMarco.

Walmart will release an exclusive 4K Steelbook combo pack of the film.

Walmart’s ‘The Marvels’ 4K Steelbook

Season Two of Marvel Studios’ ‘What If …?’ Debuts Dec. 22

The Watcher returns to season two of Marvel Studios’ “What If …?” when the animated series begins streaming on Disney+ on Dec. 22. In the spirit of the holiday season, a new episode will be unveiled nightly for nine nights.

Season two of “What If …?” continues the journey as The Watcher guides viewers through the vast multiverse, introducing brand new and familiar faces throughout the MCU. The series questions, revisits and twists classic Marvel Cinematic moments with an voice cast that includes a host of stars who reprise their iconic roles. Featuring characters this season such as Nebula, Hela and Happy Hogan, episodes are directed by executive producer Bryan Andrews with executive producer AC Bradley as head writer. 

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

 

All Episodes of Marvel Studios’ ‘Echo’ to Launch on Disney+ and Hulu Jan. 10

All five episodes of Marvel Studios’ “Echo” will launch on Disney+ and Hulu Jan. 10. 

This marks the first Marvel Studios series to drop all episodes at once. 

The episodes will be available on Hulu until April 9.

The five-episode series spotlights Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox) as she is pursued by Wilson Fisk’s (Vincent D’Onofrio) criminal empire. When the journey brings her home, she must confront her own family and legacy. 

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Echo” also stars Chaske Spencer (“Wild Indian,” “The English”), Graham Greene (“1883,” “Goliath”), Tantoo Cardinal (Killers of the Flower Moon, “Stumptown”), Devery Jacobs (FX’s “Reservation Dogs,” “American Gods”), Zahn McClarnon (“Dark Winds,” FX’s “Reservation Dogs”), Cody Lightning (“Hey, Viktor!” “Four Sheets to the Wind”) and Vincent D’Onofrio (“Hawkeye,” “Godfather of Harlem”).

 

August Disc Sales Led by ‘Guardians,’ ‘Fast X’; ‘Super Mario’ Maintains Year-to-Date Lead

Disney-owned Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was No. 1 on the top 10 list of physical-media sales for August 2023, according to Circana’s VideoScan tracking service that compiles DVD and Blu-ray transactions. 

The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the final installment in the “Guardians” trilogy from director James Gunn, was released on disc the first day of the month.

The No. 2 August seller was Universal Pictures’ Fast X, the newest “Fast & Furious” franchise installment with Vin Diesel. It was released on disc Aug. 8 and topped the weekly sales chart for its first three weeks of availability — which goes to show how relative the weekly rankings are compared with actual unit sales.

The month’s No. 3 seller was another Aug. 8 release, Paramount’s 1923: A Yellowstone Origin Story — Season One, featuring episodes from the “Yellowstone” prequel series starring Harrison Ford.

The top seller for July, Universal’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which was also the top seller for June, slid to No. 5 in August. Another June release, Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 4, was No. 4.

Other newcomers on the August top 10 include Mill Creek’s Nefarious at No. 7, and Universal’s Asteroid City at No. 10.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

There was no change to the top six on the year-to-date top-sellers chart, with Super Mario Bros. remaining No. 1 and John Wick: Chapter 4 continuing to hold the No. 2 spot.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 entered the year-to-date top 10 at No. 7, while Fast X is the new No. 9.

The new arrivals pushed Paramount’s Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves and Yellowstone: Season 5, Part 1 off the year’s top 10 list.

Follow us on Instagram

According to Circana, the August 2023 top 10 by units sold were:

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (Disney/Marvel)
  2. Fast X (Universal)
  3. 1923: A Yellowstone Origin Story — Season One (Paramount)
  4. John Wick: Chapter 4 (Lionsgate)
  5. The Super Mario Bros. Movie (Universal)
  6. Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century)
  7. Nefarious (Mill Creek)
  8. Resident Evil: Death Island (Sony Pictures)
  9. Kandahar (Universal)
  10. Asteroid City (Universal)

 

Year-to-Date Top 10 (through August 2023):

  1. The Super Mario Bros. Movie (Universal)
  2. John Wick: Chapter 4 (Lionsgate)
  3. Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century)
  4. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Disney/Marvel)
  5. Black Adam (Warner)
  6. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Universal/DreamWorks)
  7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (Disney/Marvel)
  8. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount)
  9. Fast X (Universal)
  10. Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (Disney/Marvel)

 

‘Super Mario Bros. Movie’ Topped July Disc Sales

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Dominates Blu-ray and DVD Sales

Disney-owned Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 easily debuted at No. 1 on the Circana 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 Aug. 5.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe entry finds the cosmic Guardians on one last adventure to save Rocket Raccoon from a mad scientist with delusions of godhood. It earned $359 million at the domestic box office.

HD formats accounted for 68% of first-week Guardians sales, 34% each from regular Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD disc. That was enough to bring it to No. 1 on the dedicated 4K disc sales chart as well.

The top seller the previous four weeks, Universal Pictures’ The Super Mario Bros. Movie, slid to No. 2 overall, selling 12.15% as many copies in its eighth official week on shelves as the Guardians did in its first. Super Mario Bros. was No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart and No. 5 on the 4K chart.

No. 3 overall was Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 4, also in its eighth week (though it and Mario were sold at some stores a week early), not far behind second place with 11.43% of the leader’s tally. Wick was No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart and No. 3 on the 4K chart.

The No. 4 overall and Blu-ray seller was Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ Avatar: The Way of Water, in its seventh week, with 10.56% as many sales as the top seller.

No. 5 on both charts was Sony Pictures’ CG-animated video game adaptation Resident Evil: Death Island.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The only other pure newcomer in the top 50 for the week was Lionsgate’s About My Father, at No. 8 overall and No. 11 on the Blu-ray chart.

However, Paramount’s 1986 comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off returned to the rankings at No. 10 thanks to a boost from a new 4K edition, which accounted for 97% of its sales for the week. It was No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart and No. 2 on the 4K chart.

Follow us on Instagram!

The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Aug. 6 had Universal’s Kandahar back in the top spot for a third week. John Wick: Chapter 4 was No. 2, Universal’s River Wild was No. 3, Super Mario Bros. was No. 4, and Lionsgate’s Sisu was No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 8-5-23
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 8-6-23
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray and 4K Discs for Week Ended 8-5-23
Top HD Formats Disc Share Per Title for Week Ended 8-5-23
Sales Report for Week Ended 8-5-23
Digital Transactions Snapshot for Week Ended 8-7-23

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Marks Second Week Atop U.K. Home Entertainment Sales Chart

After more than doubling the digital sales of its closest competition, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 remained atop the U.K. home entertainment weekly sales chart through July 19. Also landing a place in the top three thanks to digital sales were Paramount Home Entertainment’s Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves at No. 2 and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which rebounded three spots to No. 3.

Paramount’s Scream VI returned to the chart for the first time since May at at No. 4 due to its release on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K UHD Blu-ray.

Additional former chart toppers remaining in the top 10 included Lionsgate U.K.’s John Wick: Chapter 4 at No. 5, 20th Century Studios’ Avatar: The Way of Water at No. 6, Universal’s Fast X at No. 7, and Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick at No. 8. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage also returned to the top 10 for the first time since 2022 at No. 9.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

A brand new entry rounded out the week’s top 10; Evil Dead Rise, the fifth installment in the “Evil Dead” film series, scared its way to No. 10 on digital downloads only.

The Official Film Chart Top 10 – July 19, 2023

Rank Previous Week Movie Distributor
1 1 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 3 DISNEY/MARVEL
2 2 DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: HONOR AMONG THIEVES PARAMOUNT
3 6 THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE UNIVERSAL
4 RETURN SCREAM VI PARAMOUNT
5 5 JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 4 LIONSGATE U.K.
6 3 AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER 20TH CENTURY
7 4 FAST X UNIVERSAL
8 8 TOP GUN: MAVERICK PARAMOUNT
9 12 VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE SONY PICTURES
10 NEW EVIL DEAD RISE STUDIOCANAL

© Official Charts Company 2023

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Headed to Disney+ Aug. 2

Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will begin streaming on Disney+ Aug. 2, the day after it debuts on disc.

The film — which was released for digital purchase July 7 — has earned $842.4 million at the global box office. 

The film’s windowing mirrors Disney’s rollout of Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, which started streaming on Disney+ May 17 — about a month after it became available in the home for digital purchase and the day after it came out on disc. The move was a shift from streaming-favorable windows for the studio. The previous Marvel film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, debuted for streaming Feb. 2 and was available on digital Feb. 1 and disc Feb. 7.

In the third installment in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” series, the band of misfits is settling into life on Knowhere. But it isn’t long before their lives are upended by the echoes of Rocket’s turbulent past. Peter Quill, still reeling from the loss of Gamora, must rally his team around him on a dangerous mission to save Rocket’s life— a mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The film stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Sean Gunn, Chukwudi Iwuji, Will Poulter and Maria Bakalova. James Gunn is the director and also wrote the screenplay.

 

Bob Iger: Disney’s Fixation on Streaming, Episodic Content Diluted Brands

Disney CEO Bob Iger is throwing some shade on his own executive decisions, specifically pushing the entire media giant’s focus on streaming and episodic content — moves he said have resulted in a dilution of key brands such as Pixar Animation and Marvel Studios.

Speaking July 13 on CBC’s “Squawk Box” business report, Iger said recent decisions to dramatically increase content production for the sake of evolving distribution channels such as Disney+, Hulu and others, prompted burnout among the creatives.

Bob Iger

“Marvel’s a great example of that,” Iger said. “They had not been in the TV business at any significant level. Not only did they increase their movie output, but they ended up making a number of television series, and frankly, it diluted focus and attention. That is, I think, more of the cause than anything.”

Iger, who just extended his employment contract with Disney for another two years through 2026, said streaming and the loss of key personnel (i.e. co-founder John Lasseter for inappropriate workplace behavior) at Pixar have contributed to problems at the animation studio.

“There has been turnover … not just John, but there’s been other turnover as well,” Iger said. “That may have had some impact.”

However, the executive believes that the release of three consecutive Pixar releases direct to streaming, in part due to the pandemic, created the belief among consumers that there wasn’t an urgency to watch them.

“And … I think you’d have to agree that there was some creative misses, as well,” Iger said, alluding to Elemental, which generated one of the worst Pixar opening box office weekends, but has rebounded somewhat with a $257 million global theatrical haul.

Iger said there will be continued pullback across Disney, not just on content production, but also as part of companywide cost containment initiative.

“Spending less on what we make, and making less,” he said.

New At-Home Viewing Titles for Week of July 4 Include ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,’ ‘Come Out Fighting’

The week of July 4 sees Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 become available through digital retailers, while Come Out Fighting tops the slate of new Blu-ray and DVD releases.

Disney-owned Marvel Studios July 7 releases the sci-fi comic book movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 through digital retailers. Written and directed by James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 finds lead character Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) rallying his team of misfits on a mission to save their furry pal Rocket from the High Evolutionary, a vengeful geneticist who seeks to engineer a perfect society. The film earned $355 million at the domestic box office, and arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 1.

The World War II film Come Out Fighting, inspired by the story of the 761st Tank Battalion known as “The Black Panthers,” will be available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc July 4 from Screen Media. In the military adventure, a small, specialized squad of U.S. Army African American soldiers are sent on an unofficial rescue mission behind enemy lines to locate their missing commanding officer. The squad, upon battling their way through the German defenses, encounters more than it bargains for when it locates a downed U.S. Army fighter pilot. With the help of their friends at the 761st tank battalion, known as “The Black Panthers,” the squad must find a way to survive and make it back in one piece. Written and directed by Steven Luke (Operation SeawolfBattle of the Bulge: Winter War), the film stars Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight), Tyrese Gibson (“The Fast and Furious” franchise), Kellan Lutz (“The Twilight Saga”), Hiram A. Murray (Operation Seawolf) and Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV).

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Paramount Home Entertainment releases director Peter Weir’s The Truman Show on 4K Ultra HD newly remastered for its 25th anniversary. Starring Jim Carrey, the film, released on June 5, 1998, earned more than $264 million worldwide and was nominated for three Academy Awards. Carrey stars as Truman Burbank, a man whose life is a nonstop TV show. Truman doesn’t realize that his quaint hometown is a giant studio set run by a visionary creator (Ed Harris), that folks living and working there are Hollywood actors, and that even his incessantly bubbly wife (Laura Linney) is a contract player. Gradually, Truman gets wise, and his response leaves viewers laughing, crying, and cheering. The Truman Show has been fully remastered using scans of the original negative, with the new 4K version approved by Weir. The film is presented with Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio.

Lionsgate releases the Western Dead Man’s Hand via on demand and for digital purchase July 7. The film stars Stephen Dorff (Old Henry, Blade, “True Detective”), Jack Kilmer (Detective Knight: Independence, “Law and Order: Organized Crime,” The Nice Guys) and Cole Hauser (“Yellowstone,” 2 Fast 2 Furious). Gunslinger Reno (Kilmer) is headed west for a quiet life with his new bride. But when their stagecoach is ambushed, he kills an outlaw in self-defense. In a nearby town, Reno learns that the man he slayed is the brother of the corrupt mayor Bishop (Dorff), who vows revenge. Hauser (“Yellowstone”) appears as a U.S. Marshal who becomes Reno’s ally. It arrives on DVD Aug. 22.

The military action film Warhorse One will be available via on demand and digital sellthrough July 4 from Well Go USA Entertainment. Johnny Strong (Black Hawk Down, The Fast and the Furious), newcomer and child actor Athena Durner and Raj Kala (Black Adam, Mayday) star in the film, which is also Strong’s directorial debut. Warhorse One follows a desperate civilian rescue attempt set in motion shortly after the 2021 withdrawal of the United States military from Afghanistan. After a SEAL team helicopter is downed en route to the rendezvous point, the lone surviving operator must evade hostile insurgents and navigate treacherous terrain while guiding his one remaining charge — a traumatized young girl — to safety.

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