‘Ultraman Leo’ Coming to Blu-ray May 25 From Mill Creek

Mill Creek Entertainment will release the classic Japanese series “Ultraman Leo” on Blu-ray as both a special-edition Steelbook and in standard packaging on May 25.

The seventh and final entry in the first wave of the “Ultraman” series premiered in Japan in April 1974. The mighty hero Ultraseven is crippled while defending the Earth from an invasion by the tyrannical Alien Magma. He is rescued by Gen Otori, a young Ultra warrior who had fled to Earth following the destruction of his home world, Planet L77 in the Leo constellation. Unable to return to his giant form, the injured Ultraseven resumes his human identity of Dan Moroboshi and trains Gen to become the next Ultra Hero — Ultraman Leo.

“Ultraman Leo” offered a more mature and often violent tone than its kid-friendly predecessor, “Ultraman Taro.” The show features a new Earth defense team; the Monster Attacking Crew; the return of classic Ultra Heroes such as Ultraman, Zoffy, Jack and Ace; and the introduction of three new Ultras.

The Steelbook and standard Blu-ray releases of “Ultraman Leo” include all 51 half-hour episodes in high-def with DTS-HD Master Audio of the original Japanese soundtrack with English subtitles.

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Digital redemption will also be available via Mill Creek Entertainment’s streaming service movieSpree.

Mill Creek Entertainment has licensed the entire available “Ultraman” back-catalog via international distribution company Indigo Entertainment from Tsuburaya Productions.

’80s BMX Classic ‘Rad’ Riding to Blu-ray March 16

The 1980s classic Rad will come out March 16 in a Blu-ray plus digital Steelbook release from Mill Creek Entertainment.

Lori Loughlin and Bill Allen in Rad

In the film, Cru Jones (Bill Allen) is the best BMX biker in Cochrane. He’s got the talent to become the best BMX daredevil in the world. Bart Taylor (Bart Conner) is the best BMX biker in the world, and he’s in town to race in the $100,000 Helltrack competition, the most grueling BMX race in history. Cru wants a shot at winning the title, but his mom (Talia Shire) insists he take his college entrance exams which fall on the same day. He decides to go for Helltrack, but the race promoter (Jack Weston) has a dirty scheme for keeping the local whiz kid out of the race and away from his prized champion. Only the gorgeous Christian (Lori Loughlin), a member of the opposite team, can get Cru on track for Helltrack — and teach him a few other things while she’s at it.

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Making its North American debut at retail, this special-edition Blu-ray will serve as the No. 46 Mondo X Steelbook collaboration, repurposing JJ Harrison’s artwork for an homage to the cult favorite. Licensed from Utopia Distribution and Schwartzman Pictures using the recent 4K restoration, the Blu-ray will also contain a host of bonus features, including archival video interviews with the cast and crew, original behind-the-scenes featurettes, the music video for “Break the Ice,” and a live Q&A session hosted by Jorma Taccone featuring cast members Bill Allen, Talia Shire, Bart Conner and screenwriter Sam Bernard.

Digital redemption on Mill Creek’s TVOD service movieSpree also is included.

Mill Creek’s MovieSpree TVOD Service Featuring Titles for the Holidays

The transaction-based streaming service movieSpree is featuring a lineup of holiday features, new and old.

In The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland, 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 happen with a little love, family and faith. The cast for this Dove-approved feature includes Jenn Gotzon, Jim E. Chandler, Corbin Bersen, John Schneider, Robert Amaya, Natasha Bure and radio superstar Delilah.

Angela’s Christmas is an animated short based on the children’s book Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angela’s Ashes). The story from the Oscar-nominated studio Brown Bag Films focuses on the power of family and the innocent desire of a child to ensure everyone is safe, warm and loved at Christmas time. The title features the voices of Oscar nominee Ruth Negga (2016, Best Actress, Loving), Lucy O’Connell (Song of the Sea) and Brian Gleeson with writer and director Damien O’Connor (TV’s “Doc McStuffins”). The title was nominated for three Emmy Awards.

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Unlikely Angel stars country music legend Dolly Parton as the hard-living barroom singer Ruby Diamond, who dies in a car accident and meets St. Peter (Roddy McDowall) at the gates of heaven. The angel informs her that she must return to Earth to perform a selfless deed in order to gain admittance. Disguising herself as a nanny, Ruby soon edges her way into the joyless family life of workaholic widower Ben Bartilson (Brian Kerwin) and his children Sarah (Allison Mack) and Matthew (Eli Marienthal), hoping to both heal the grief-stricken family and earn her heavenly wings in time for Christmas. Unlikely Angel is punctuated by Dolly’s musical numbers.

Those who set up a free movieSpree account get an added bonus of the chance to redeem a curated assortment of 100 films to add to their accounts free of charge. The service’s app is available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, iOS and Android devices.

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.

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.

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.

‘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

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.

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.”

‘Ultraman X’ and ‘Ultraman Ace’ Coming on Blu-ray This Spring From Mill Creek

Mill Creek Entertainment is releasing to new titles on Blu-ray from the “Ultraman” superhero library for their North American debut.

“Ultraman X” will arrive on Blu-ray as both a complete series plus movie combo pack at $39.98 and a movie-only, stand-alone Blu-ray at $19.98 on April 21.

“Ultraman Ace” will come out in a steelbook at $49.98 while the complete series will also be available in standard Blu-ray packaging at $39.98 on May 12.

The first Ultraman series with an ongoing antagonist, “Ultraman Ace” premiered in 1972 and features all of the earlier Ultra Heroes — Ultraman, Ultraseven, Ultraman Jack and Zoffy — as recurring characters. The releases include all 52 half-hour episodes with DTS-HD Master Audio of the original Japanese soundtrack with English subtitles. In this fifth entry in the Ultra Series, theinterdimensional alien Yapool launches a war against the Ultra Heroes for galactic domination. As the conflict spreads to Earth a new hero, Ultraman Ace, is tasked with protecting the planet from Yapool and his Terrible-Monsters, experimental beasts more powerful than ordinary monsters. Divided between his two human hosts’ personalities, Ace must learn to balance them and his superior energy powers as he battles alongside Earth’s Terrible-Monster Attacking Crew (TAC) and his fellow Ultramen to overcome these terrible new foes.

“Ultraman X” was originally released in 2015. When a massive “Ultra Flare” from the sun envelops the earth, Spark Dolls buried underground and undersea are turned into monsters. In order to deal with the sudden outbreak of marauding creatures, mankind forms Xio, a special defense team equipped with the latest in super-science. Then, 15 years later, Xio is engaged in battle against a monster when team member Daichi Ozora hears a mysterious voice say, “Unite! If you and I join together, you will fight that monster with one heart, one mind!” He agrees, merging with a giant of light to become Ultraman X. Also included with the complete, 25-episode series is the 2016 theatrical feature film Ultraman X: The Movie — Here He Comes! Our Ultraman. In the film, X is joined by his longtime ally Cyber Gomora and a team of Ultra Heroes (Ultraman, Ultraman Zero, Ultraman Max, Ultraman Victory, Ultraman Ginga, Ultraman Nexus and Ultraman Tiga) to stop the evil beast Zaigorg and a “powered up” army of classic monsters.

Digital redemption on Mill Creek Entertainment’s streaming service movieSpree is also included with each release.