Mill Creek Releasing 20th Anniversary Blu-ray of ‘Battlefield Earth’

Mill Creek Entertainment will release a 20th anniversary Blu-ray Disc of the 2000 sci-fi movie Battlefield Earth.

Based on L. Ron Hubbard’s best-selling book, the story takes place in the year 3000 where Earth is ruled by a vicious alien race known as the Psychlos that have stripped the planet of its resources and eradicated most the human population. One of the few surviving humans, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler (Barry Pepper) is in pursuit of a better place to live, but is soon captured by a Psychlo slavemaster to join fellow “man-animals” in mining efforts. Jonnie eventually gains the attention of the evil Psychlo security officer Terl (John Travolta) and his assistant Ker (Forest Whitaker) who have discovered a vein of gold which they are unable to recover without the assistance of humans. While Terl attempts to makes Jonnie his personal slave, Jonnie uses his position to rally the other humans and unite in a plot to destroy the aliens and restore the human race to its former glory.

A notorious box office flop in its day, Battlefield Earth received seven Razzie Awards, including Worst Picture.

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The new Blu-ray will include more than 70 minutes of new bonus interviews and featurettes, including:

  • “Leverage: Writing the First Draft” — A new interview with screenwriter J.D. Shapiro;
  • “Saga in the Year 2000: Directing Battlefield Earth” — A new interview with director Roger Christian;
  • “Endangered Species: Scoring Battlefield Earth” — A new interview with composer Elia Cmiral;
  • “Domes and Drones: Creating the Miniatures” — A new interview with model maker E. James Small;
  • “Psychlo Circus: Designing Battlefield Earth” — New select scene commentary with production designer Patrick Tatopoulos.

 

‘Inner Sanctum Mysteries’ Starring Lon Chaney Jr. Coming on Blu-ray Sept. 22 From Mill Creek

Inner Sanctum Mysteries, a six-film collection starring Lon Chaney Jr., is due on Blu-ray Sept. 22 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

The collection ($69.98), presenting the films on Blu-ray for the first time, will include more than 80 minutes of new special features.

Based on the radio shows of the 1940s, the six features on the set of Universal’s classic “Inner Sanctum Mysteries” are Calling Doctor Death, Weird Woman, Dead Man’s Eyes, The Frozen Ghost, Strange Confession and Pillow of Death.

Daniel Griffith of Ballyhoo Motion Pictures serves as producer of the new Blu-ray bonus features.

“I am thrilled to be working with Mill Creek Entertainment and developing new featurettes for the ‘Inner Sanctum’ film series,” Griffith said in a statement. “The behind-the-scenes story of the book series turned radio show turned movie franchise is a subject that has never been documented with as much detail and care as we are on this exciting release.”

“Daniel’s incredible knowledge and expertise of film history makes him the ideal partner,” said J.W. Starrett, director of product development for Mill Creek Entertainment, in a statement.

Extras include “This is the Inner Sanctum: Making a Universal Mystery Series”; “The Creaking Door: Entering the Inner Sanctum,” a history of the radio series with author/radio historian Martin Grams Jr.; “Mind Over Matter: An Archival Interview With Actor Martin Kosleck (The Frozen Ghost)”; a 28-page color booklet with a detailed franchise history, Lon Chaney Jr. biography, detailed film guide, trivia and more; and three feature-length commentaries.

Calling Dr. Death (1943) features commentary from screenwriter/film historian C. Courtney Joyner and Regina LeBorg (daughter of director Reginald LeBorg). Weird Woman (1944) features commentary from author Justin Humphreys (The Dr. Phibes Companion) and Del Howison (Dark Delicacies Horror). Strange Confession (1945) features commentary from screenwriter Peter Atkins (Hellraiser II, III and IV) and screenwriter/film historian C. Courtney Joyner.

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“More than half-a-century after their release, the ‘Inner Sanctum’ films endure as part of Universal’s history of classic horror and mysteries of the ‘30s and ‘40s,” stated Joyner, author/contributor to the bonus features, in a statement.  “Built as showcases for Lon Chaney, the six films are prime examples of old-school studio product, made by skilled craftsmen for audiences eager for an hour of chills with one of horror’s most enduring figures.”

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Mill Creek’s transactional VOD service movieSpree will feature a digital bonus in standard-def of Lady of Burlesque (1943) and Inner Sanctum (1948), and three “Inner Sanctum Mysteries” radio episodes, “The Tell-Tale Heart” featuring Boris Karloff, “The Black Sea Gull” featuring Peter Lorre, and “Melody of Death” featuring Mary Astor.

Sale on TVOD Platform movieSpree Part of Ultraman Day Celebration

Mill Creek Entertainment’s transactional streaming platform movieSpree will celebrate Ultraman Day July 10 with a sale on “Ultraman” titles as part of a multi-faceted celebration of the classic Japanese superhero.

Customers can add complete “Ultraman” series to their digital streaming library for $7.10 each at  movieSpree.com/Ultraman.

Series on sale include “Ultra Q”; “Ultraman”; “Ultraseven”; “Return of Ultraman”; “Ultraman Ace”; “Ultraman X”; “Ultraman Orb – The Origin Saga”; “Ultraman Orb”; and “Ultraman Geed.”

The TVOD service also offers an array of “Ultraman” movies, several of which include English dub tracks in addition to the original Japanese language audio that also features English subtitles. Exclusive “Ultraman” bundles are also available for customers to rent or own.

With apps now available on RokuApple TV / iOSAmazon Fire TV, and Android devices, movieSpree (movieSpree.com) is available without long-term contracts, subscription fees or advertisements. Setting up an account is free and as an added bonus, users can redeem a curated assortment of 100 films to add to their accounts free of charge.

The Birth of Ultraman Collection, containing some of the best episodes of the original “Ultraman” series, is also coming to Blu-ray July 10 from Mill Creek Entertainment at $25.99.

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The sale and Blu-ray release are just a part of this year’s celebration of the classic Japanese superhero July 10. The day will include a series of virtual activations and talks with the leaders behind the “Ultraman” revival live on Shu.Watch. Ultraman Day will also feature the launch of the official online Ultraman Galaxy Store, which will display exclusive collectible Ultraman merchandise featuring the poster artwork of Marvel’s Alex Ross cover created for the comic book The Rise of Ultraman #1, on sale this September.

Ultraman Day kicks off on Shu.Watch at 10 a.m. PST and will feature a slew of celebrities, special guests, live artwork, giveaways, unboxing videos and more as the world celebrates 54 years of “Ultraman.”

Ultraman, created by Eiji Tsuburaya, the father of the Japanese monster movie genre, was born on July 10, 1966, when Tsuburaya Productions broadcast a memorable stage event called “Ultraman Eve: The Birth of Ultraman,” which was filmed before a live audience in Tokyo. The following week, the TV series “Ultraman” aired on Japanese TV. With Ultraman’s recent return to North America, Ultraman is being honored with an all-day celebration sponsored by Tsuburaya Productions, Elevated Games and Mill Creek Entertainment. Also supporting the event is Ultraman Galaxy, the official North America Ultraman platform spearheaded by Tsuburaya, with support by The Licensing Group and Starlight Runner Entertainment. The Licensing Group Ltd represents Ultraman for licensing, while Starlight Runner is supervising the new creative in America across all media.

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Ultraman Day will feature the following events:

  • A four-hour live show, comprising a number of special events streaming on Shu.Watch, produced by Ultraman licensee Jaron Hinds, CEO of Elevated Games, creators of the new Ultraman: Kaiju Kombat video game.
  • Bin Furuya, well known as the first actor to portray Ultraman, will demonstrate the correct way to do the Spacium Beam, recognized around the world as Ultraman’s signature move.
  • There will also be conversations with Marvel Comics editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski, editor Tom Brevoort, and writers Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom, the team behind Marvel’s upcoming “The Rise of Ultraman” comic series launching in September; a chance to hear legendary toy manufacturer Marty Abrams of Mego Figures; contests, drawings, special merchandise, unboxing videos, and a sneak peak of the Beta Capsule.
  • Special guests will appear throughout the day, such as director of “Ultraman Z” Kiyotaka Taguchi and Koichi Sakamoto, director of “Ultra Galaxy Fight,” plus Ultraman actors Hiroko Sakurai, Susumu Kurobe and Bin Furuya.
  • The launch of the official North America Ultraman Galaxy Store, an opportunity for fans around North America to purchase exclusive Ultraman merchandise online. The store will offer July 10 products with special Ultraman designs and artwork available for a limited time.
  • A look at Mill Creek Entertainment’s The Birth of Ultraman on Blu-ray, which features the best episodes of the original “Ultraman” series, in Japanese with English dubbing, and the special and rare pre-premiere that took place July 10, 1966.

‘Birth of Ultraman Collection’ Coming to Blu-ray July 10

The Birth of Ultraman Collection, containing some of the best episodes of the original “Ultraman” series, is coming to Blu-ray July 10 from Mill Creek Entertainment at $25.99.

It will include both the original Japanese language and the classic English dub audio tracks plus The Birth of Ultraman — Ultraman pre-premiere special, the very first appearance of the hero.

The set will be exclusively sold on DeepDiscount as part of the launch of a dedicated “Ultraman” storefront that will offer up all of Mill Creek’s current Blu-ray and steelbook releases in addition to other “Ultraman”-related merchandise and products.

The exclusive Blu-ray release also features art created by Alex Ross, which is also featured on The Rise of Ultraman cover for Marvel Comics, and Tsuburaya Production’s recent collaboration with the debut issue releasing September 2020.

The release is part of Mill Creek Entertainment’s license of the entire available “Ultraman” back-catalog via international distribution company Indigo Entertainment, from the team at Tsuburaya Productions.

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“The Birth of Ultraman Collection” includes the following episodes:

  • Episode 1, “Ultra Operation No. 1,” in which the story begins as the heroic alien Ultraman pursues the space monster Bemular to Earth, leading to a fateful encounter with Shin Hayata, an agent of the SSSP;
  • Episode 2, “Shoot the Invader,” in which Ultraman’s iconic foe, Alien Baltan, makes its first appearance in a tale narrated by Ide, the SSSP’s genius inventor;
  • Episode 19, “Demons Rise Again,” in which an ancient time capsule unleashes the red-skinned monster Banila and its blue-skinned rival Aboras, who wage a titanic battle in the National Stadium;
  • Episodes 26 and 27, “The Monster Highness” Parts 1 and 2, the only two-part Ultraman story that features the Ancient Monster Gomora, who escapes captivity and overwhelms Ultraman as it rampages towards Osaka;
  • Episode 33, “The Forbidden Words,” in which even Ultraman may not be able to stop Alien Mefilas when he tries to convince a boy to give him the Earth; and
  • Episode 37, “A Little Hero,” in which Ide suffers a crisis of faith as the Friendly Monster Pigmon warns that the evil creature Geronimon is reviving an army of monsters to destroy Ultraman and the SSSP.

The Birth of Ultraman — Ultraman pre-premiere special aired in Japan on July 10, 1966, one week before the series premiere. The stage show was filmed before a live studio audience and introduced viewers to the story, cast and characters of “Ultraman.” This July 10 event on television is now celebrated annually and known throughout the world as “Ultraman Day.” Never-before-released in America, the special is presented in black and white (as originally broadcast) in standard definition with Japanese audio and English subtitles.

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“Ultraman” premiered on Japanese television on July 17, 1966. While the series was still in production, the North American rights were licensed to United Artists, who in-turn commissioned voice director Peter Fernandez (“Speed Racer”) to supervise the English dubbing of the show. The English-language version was syndicated to American television in 1967 and went on to air in various markets across the country into the early 1980s.

‘Gone With the Wind’ Discs Top Amazon’s Best-Seller List, Fetch Big Prices

In the wake of HBO Max pulling the film from its streaming service, Gone With the Wind has become the hottest title of the home video aftermarket.

By midday Friday, June 12, Gone With the Wind discs occupied the top four spots of Amazon’s list of best-sellers in the movies and TV category, as well as the No. 12 spot.

All of the copies are not offered directly from Amazon, but from third-party sellers using Amazon’s Marketplace service. Indeed, used and new DVD and Blu-ray copies of the film have been popping up on eBay in the $60 to $70 range, particularly a special Walmart re-release of the 70th anniversary edition in a new slipcover (which had an in-store price of $5 for the DVD and $7.50 for the Blu-ray). Used VHS copies of the film can be had for around five to 10 bucks.

The 1939 film made headlines this week when it was removed from HBO Max amid global anti-racism protests, after 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley criticized the film for romanticizing the pro-slave Confederacy and suggested temporarily removing it. HBO Max announced the film would return at some point accompanied by disclaimers and programming to put the film in its proper historical context.

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On Amazon, the No. 1 and No. 4 seller both appear to be the same 70th anniversary DVD released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in 2009. One copy is listed from $133.99, the other from $82.95. The same edition is listed at $7.99 on Best Buy’s website but is sold out.

The version at No. 2 appears to be a U.K./Irish import of a 2014 75th anniversary Blu-ray starting at $35.99, while No. 3 is the U.S.-released four-disc 75th anniversary Blu-ray/DVD combo pack starting at $34.99, the most-recent anniversary edition released by Warner.

No. 12 is the 2009 Blu-ray, with several listings asking for around just over $100 with shipping included.

The film is also listed as sold out at the Barnes & Noble and Walmart websites. A search for the film at Target.com doesn’t bring up any results.

June 11, Mill Creek Entertainment’s movieSpree digital movie platform sent out a promotional email touting the availability on the service of the 1994 miniseries Scarlett, an adaptation of the novel that serves as a sequel to Gone With the Wind. Mill Creek’s movieSpree is selling the digital edition of the miniseries for $6.99. Scarlett was first released on DVD by Artisan in 2001, while Mill Creek has been selling it on DVD since 2017.

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Interestingly, the controversy over Gone With the Wind may have boosted other similarly themed programming. The No. 16 Amazon seller on Friday was Warner’s 2011 DVD boxed set of North and South, a collection of miniseries from 1985, 1986 and 1994 about friends who find themselves on the opposite sides of the U.S. Civil War.

Amazon’s No. 30 seller was a DVD bundle of the first three seasons of “The Dukes of Hazzard,” also from Warner. The 1978-85 series has been labeled as racially problematic in recent years because the iconic 1969 Dodge Charger featured on the show is called the General Lee and sports a Confederate battle flag on its roof. TV Land dropped reruns of the series from its schedule in 2015 owing to the show’s use of the flag. (The 2005 film version of Dukes of Hazzard spoofed the potential awkwardness of displaying the banner in a racially diverse state such as Georgia, where the show is set.)

Several DVD collections of Nickelodeon’s animated series “Paw Patrol” also appear on the Amazon best-seller list. The show, which depicts a group of rescue dogs as representing different emergency services, has reportedly been targeted by “Defund the Police” activists for being too pro-police. The most-recent DVD compilation was released June 2.

Amazon Movies & TV rankings from June 12, 2020

‘Evil Takes Root: The Curse of the Batibat’ Due on DVD and Digital HD Sept. 15 From Mill Creek

The horror-thriller Evil Takes Root: The Curse of the Batibat will come out on DVD and digital HD Sept. 15 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

From Genre Labs and Elevate Pictures comes the tale of Felix Fojas, a paranormal investigator, and his journey to investigate the mysterious loss of his old lover, Amanda, in a sleepy midwestern town. Quickly, he discovers she fell victim to the Batibat, an ancient evil that followed her home from the Philippines. Felix must now battle the forces of evil and unravel the mystery of the Batibat in order to save Amanda’s daughter, Sarah, from its hellish grip.

“We wanted a fresh take on the classic demonic possession tale,” said writer and producer Aaron Mack in a statement. “Along with jarring terrors, we wove in elements of police investigation, tortured family dynamics, and elements of the occult that is layered onto the ancient batibat folklore.”

Genre Labs teamed up with writer-director Chris W. Freeman to make Evil Takes Root: The Curse of the Batibat in their home state of Ohio. The cast includes Nicolas Gonzalez (“The Good Doctor”), Stevie Lynn Jones (“Nancy Drew”), Sean Carrigan (Ford v Ferrari) and Adetokumboh M’Cormack (Battle Los Angeles).

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“We at Mill Creek are excited to bring this unique, engaging horror film to market as well as working with the talented group at Elevate Pictures,” said Jeff Hayne, SVP of content acquisitions for Mill Creek.

The film will premiere at the Cinema Columbus Film Festival in July.

‘Royal Pains’ Complete Series Set Due on DVD Sept. 22 From Mill Creek

The complete series set of “Royal Pains” is coming to DVD Sept. 22 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

All 104 episodes from the show’s eight-season run will be available for the first time together in a 15-disc DVD set at $75.99.

“Royal Pains” stars Mark Feuerstein as Hank Lawson who, after becoming blacklisted from the medical community, revives his career as a “doctor for hire” to the rich and famous in the Hamptons. In addition to treating this select group of the East End elite, Hank also caters to the town’s less fortunate by donating his time at the local clinic. He finds himself walking the line between doing well for himself and doing good for others. The show also stars Paulo Costanzo (Road Trip) and Reshma Shetty (“30 Rock”) with recurring appearances throughout the series by Campbell Scott (The Amazing Spider-Man), Brooke D’Orsay (“Drop Dead Diva”), Jill Flint (“Gossip Girl”), and multi-Emmy and Golden Globe winner Henry Winkler (“Happy Days,” “Barry”).

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“Royal Pains” is currently not available to stream on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime and would cost more than $200 to purchase in its entirety on transactional digital platforms, according to a Mill Creek release. It’s the retail disc debut of the complete series collection.

Produced by Universal Cable Productions, the series originally aired on the USA Network.

TVOD Service movieSpree Launches New Promotion With Free Content

Mill Creek Entertainment’s transcational VOD service movieSpree is mounting a new weekly promotion that offers free streaming content each weekend.

The first chapter of the epic miniseries Lonesome Dove will be available free of ads or interruptions with the complete series available to own at $4.99. The purchase includes all four chapters of the television series plus a 50-minute making-of bonus featurette.

Lonesome Dove is based upon the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Larry McMurtry. The epic of the Old West is the story of the last defiant frontiersmen, a daring cattle drive and an undying love. Winner of seven Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes including Best Miniseries, Lonesome Dove stars Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Diane Lane, Anjelica Huston and Danny Glover.

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The “SPREEview Weekend” will be a recurring event that will showcase content available on the site and provide consumers with a free viewing experience without ads or short-term trial periods.

Those who set up a movieSpree account will get the chance to redeem a curated assortment of 100 films free of charge. With apps available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, iOS and Android devices, movieSpree is available without long-term contracts, subscription fees or advertisements.

Tune into the “SPREEview Weekend” here.

’12 Monkeys’ Complete Series Coming to Blu-ray and DVD July 14 From Mill Creek

The complete series set of “12 Monkeys” is coming out on Blu-ray and DVD July 14 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

All four seasons of the series — based on the 1995 feature film directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Bruce Willis, Madeline Stowe and Brad Pitt — are available in an eight-disc set.

The series follows Cole (Aaron Stanford), a man from the post-apocalyptic future who uses a dangerous, untested method of time travel to get from 2043 to the present day. He is on a mission to locate and rid the world of the source of the plague that will eventually annihilate the human race. Assisting him is Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull), a virologist who must decide whether to do harm in order to save the world — regardless of the fact that she has taken the Hippocratic oath.

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The series originally aired on Syfy and co-stars Emily Hampshire (“Schitt’s Creek”), Barbara Sukowa (Atomic Blonde) and Todd Stashwick (“The Originals”).

MovieSpree TVOD Service Bows Sales on Animated Kids’ Series Including ‘Gigantosaurus’

MovieSpree, Mill Creek Entertainment’s transactional VOD service, is offering sales on several animated kids’ series to keep the little ones occupied while they stay at home.

On March 25, MovieSpree launched the complete first season of the animated kids’ series “Gigantosaurus,” on sale for $22.49 — 25% off of the regular price. In the series, young dinosaurs Rocky, Bill, Tiny and Mazu are growing up in the Cretaceous period where life is always an adventure — new volcanoes are popping up all the time, the long-necked brachiosauruses and enormous triceratops roam free, meteor showers light up the night sky, and the big, fierce Gigantosaurus reigns over it all.

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“Liberty’s Kids”

Also on sale are several complete animated series at $2.99, including “Liberty’s Kids” (including all 40 episodes of the edutainment series), “Street Sharks,” “C.O.P.S.,” “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century,” “Archie’s Weird Mysteries” and “Horseland.”