‘Men in Black: International’ Reaches Top Spot on Disc Sales Charts

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Men in Black: International debuted at No. 1 on the NPD 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 Sept. 7.

The fourth “Men in Black” film, the first with new castmembers Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, earned $79.8 million at the domestic box office.

No. 2 on the overall sales chart and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart was Warner’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the top seller the previous week.

The No. 2 Blu-ray, and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart, was Disney’s Avengers: Endgame.

No. 3 on the overall chart and No. 4 on the Blu-ray cart was Universal’s The Secret Life of Pets 2.

No. 5 on both charts was Paramount’s Elton John biopic Rocketman.

The only other new release in the top 10 was Universal’s Ma, a suspense thriller starring Octavia Spencer that was No. 7 on both charts.

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Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 93% of first-week Men in Black: International sales, with 16% of total sales coming from 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Sept. 8, Men in Black: International was No. 1, with Ma at No. 2.

Secret Life of Pets 2 slid to No. 3, while Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the previous week’s top rental, was No. 4. Universal’s The Hustle rounded out the top five.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 9-7-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 9-8-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 9-7-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 9-7-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 9-7-19
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 9-9-19

Men in Black: International

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

 Street Date 9/3/19;
Sony Pictures;
Sci-Fi;
Box Office: $79.66 million;
$30.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, $45.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sci-fi action, some language and suggestive material.
Stars Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson.

The fourth film in the “Men in Black” franchise was supposed to freshen up the franchise with a new cast and creative team. But old habits are hard to break, and Men in Black: International ends up coming across as a bland rehash of the formula established by the original film.

It’s not the fault of the cast, who are doing their best to milk laughs out of the material. And the film looks great, with all the weird aliens, slick gadgets and kooky visual effects one would expect from a “Men in Black” movie.

The issue is that the “MIB” movies don’t seem concerned with the kind of worldbuilding needed to create a viable sci-fi mythology, like establishing a set of rules for how things work. Instead they rely on familiar gags and situations that hint at a bigger picture but ultimately don’t yield many consequences for the characters or the fictional organization they work for that is tasked with secretly defending the Earth from intergalactic threats.

The fourth film kicks off with not one but two flashbacks. In one, a young girl witnesses her parents’ memories erased by MIB agents, causing her to become obsessed with learning the secrets of the organization, which she finally stumbles upon decades later and earns a chance to prove herself as an agent. Played as an adult by Tessa Thompson, she’s dubbed agent M and assigned to the London branch, where MIB boss O (Emma Thompson) thinks something’s not quite right with the operation.

The London branch is run by High T (Liam Neeson), who a few years earlier (in the other flashback) joined agent H (Chris Hemsworth) in fighting off an alien invader named The Hive, and once you hear why they’re called that it pretty much telegraphs every potential plot twist in the movie.

Anyway, back in the present, M and H work together to investigate a potential new threat from the Hive, involving a pair of alien assassins who are looking for a superweapon on Earth, taking them on an adventure through exotic locales in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

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Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth work well together, as we’ve seen in the “Thor” and “Avengers” movies. But their pairing here seems more an attempt to coast off that buzz than come up with fresh ideas.

The shift to London, the globetrotting story and addition of Hemsworth as a suave secret agent are undoubtedly meant to give the film a “James Bond meets Men in Black” vibe, which might have been better served if the film embraced the tone such a mashup would imply, rather than lazily resorting to the familiar buddy cop vs. aliens boilerplate we’ve seen before.

The bonus materials on the Blu-ray, DVD and digital versions mostly reinforce the notion that this is merely the next iteration of a familiar franchise, with a half-hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes about the cast, stunts, production design and gadgets showing how “MIB” is being taken to the next level. But nostalgia isn’t left behind, as there’s a three-minute video recapping the earlier movies.

There’s also a bizarre three-minute NBA crossover video in which M and H discover a number of top NBA superstars are actually aliens. While these were produced as promos for the NBA playoffs around the time of the film’s theatrical run, without that context they play more as a prequel for a “Space Jam”-type movie.

The home video editions also come with a two-minute gag reel.

Exclusive to the Blu-ray are 11-and-a-half minutes of deleted scenes, some of which shed new light on elements in the movie. There’s also a pair of amusing faux commercials for “MIB”-style products, one for a consumer-approved memory-wiping neuralyzer, and another for a parody ancestry website for people to discover their alien heritage. However, the Alien-cestry.com URL just leads back to the Sony Pictures home page.

‘Men In Black: International’ Due Digitally Aug. 20, on Disc Sept. 3

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release the sci-fi comedy Men in Black: International through digital retailers Aug. 20, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Sept. 3.

Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson star in the fourth “Men in Black” film as the newest agents to take on an apocalyptic alien threat to Earth.

Directed by F. Gary Gray, the cast also includes Kumail Nanjiani, Rebecca Ferguson, Rafe Spall, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson.

The film earned $78.6 million at the domestic box office.

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The Blu-ray, DVD and digital versions will include a gag reel and several featurettes: “In Case You’ve Been Neuralyzed: MIB Recap,” a look back at the previous films; “New Recruits, Classic Suits,” a profile of the new cast; “Let’s Do This! Inside the Action & Stunts”; “Look Right Here: Gadgets, Weapons & Rides”; “Expanding the Universe of MIB”; “Frank & Pawny’s Peanut Gallery,” in which two supporting characters share their thoughts on key scenes; “Les Twins Leave It on the Floor,” about how dance sensations Les Twins devised their alien moves; and “The MIB Meet the NBA.”

Exclusive extras with the Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray combo pack include deleted scenes; an “Alien-cestry.com” game to let viewers trace their alien ancestry; and a neuralyzer infomercial called “Neuralyzer: Like It Never Even Happened.”