Thriller ‘Ice House’ Due on DVD and Digital Nov. 24 From Mill Creek

The suspense thriller Ice House will debut on DVD and digital Nov. 24 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

The film follows Grant, an arrogant man of privilege and wealth, who invites his childhood friend, Wayne, an Afghanistan veteran, blue-collar good ol’ boy, out to join him on an excursion to a frozen lake fish house for an evening of camaraderie. What seems to be a harmless outing between two friends slowly evolves into a murderous plot between two men, both with hidden secrets and mysterious agendas.

Ice House stars Greg Berman (“Chicago P.D.”), Roger Wayne (“Quantico,” “The Black List”) and Tabby DeLaRosby. Director Steven Elbert of New Century Pictures filmed and produced this Hitchcockian story on-location against the frozen backdrop of northern Minnesota.

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Post-Apocalyptic Thriller ‘Haven’s End’ Coming to DVD and VOD Nov. 3 From Mill Creek

The post-apocalyptic thriller Haven’s End will debut on DVD and VOD  Nov. 3 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

Mill Creek acquired the film from Osiris Entertainment.

In the film from director Chris Ethridge, major cities across the globe are under attack. A surgeon (Catherine Taber, the voice of Padmé in Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and her friends flee Atlanta to her family property in the countryside of south Georgia. They arrive to discover her estranged brother (Alex Zuko), and his girlfriend (Hannah Fierman, V/H/S and Evil Little Things), already holed up on the land. As they try to figure out how to work together to survive, strange lights and unusual activity in the surrounding forest lead them to believe they are not alone.

The bioterrorism-induced action thriller contains a unique paranormal twist amid a survive-or-die backdrop.

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DVD extras include a commentary track with Ethridge, writer/producer Michael H. Harper, producer Stacey Palmer and Taber. The DVD also includes a digital redemption for Mill Creek’s movieSpree streaming service.

‘The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland’ Due on VOD and DVD Nov. 17 From Mill Creek

The faith and family film The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland debuts on VOD, cable and DVD Nov. 17 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

In the movie from Vision Films, sparks fly between a famous model and a farmer with a young daughter when she visits her childhood home. The town is in danger of losing their beloved Santaland festival, but miracles can happen with a little love, family and faith.

The film stars Jenn Gotzon (My Daddy Is in Heaven), Jim E. Chandler (AMC’s “Lodge 49,” “Stranger Things”), Corbin Bernsen (Major League), John Schneider (“The Dukes of Hazzard”), Natasha Bure (Home Sweet Home, “Fuller House,” “The Voice”), Delilah (nationally-syndicated radio host), Robert Amaya (Courageous, October Baby) and introduces Adele Chandler.

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“We are thrilled to release this heartfelt family film on DVD,” Barrett Evans, Mill Creek VP of marketing, said in a statement. “The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland really stands out among the standard seasonal fare on TV and retail shelves. The underlying message of faith and family really hones in on the deeper meaning the holidays represent.”

DVD bonus features include deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, audio commentary and a digital redemption on Mill Creek’s movieSpree streaming platform. The film is available for preorder on Amazon and will be available at Walmart.

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Merchandise based on the film, available on QVC Nov. 17, includes:

  • A #Beauty Bracelet features five charms, each with two encouraging statements about the true nature of beauty. A significant portion of the proceeds will be donated to Point Hope, a nonprofit organization, founded by national radio personality Delilah that puts focus on the children within the U.S. foster care system and in providing water in Ghana.
  • A 30-day devotional and study Divine Beauty: Becoming Beautiful Based on God’s Truth by Michelle Cox (Hallmark’s devotional co-author, “When God Calls the Heart”) and Jenn Gotzon with online video Bible studies available, one for women, one for teens.
  • A children’s book that reinforces the film’s message — Beautiful Mable — by Mike Nawrocki, a co-creator of “VeggieTales” — and illustrated by Sara Jo Floyd.

 

Doc ‘Stripped: Los Angeles’ Available for Digital Sale and Rental on Mill Creek’s MovieSpree, Amazon

The documentary feature Stripped: Los Angeles, which profiles the lives and experiences of top exotic and private dancers in Los Angeles, is available for digital sale and rental on Mill Creek Entertainment’s movieSpree transactional VOD service and on Amazon Instant Video.

The stereotype-shattering exposé provides an all-access pass into the lives and experiences of five talented and multi-faceted women. Hailing from the Valley to the Coast, Della, Nikki, Bama, Sizi and Erica are not afraid to share their struggles with embracing their sexuality around this historically taboo profession. From the main stage through the digital age, their raw ambition drives them to be among the top dancers in the city of Los Angeles.

The film is also slated to premiere on Starz on Oct. 5 at 9 p.m. ET.

“These are voices that need to be heard and stories deserving to be told,” filmmaker Marc Ostrick said in a statement. “Whether it’s entrepreneurial or escapism, these women are in control of their bodies and their livelihood and the intent of this feature is to de-stigmatize what it means to be an exotic dancer.”

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Ostrick is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker with more than 25 years of producing, directing and writing achievements. His recent environmental TV documentary work is part of Discovery Channel’s international “Shark Week” franchise and has also worked with Imax production company MacGillivray Freeman Films.

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 Sept. 15.

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.