‘Bombshell’ Strikes Home

The dynamic trio of Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie powers Bombshell.

The three acclaimed actresses are at the center of the Oscar-lauded film based on the real story of ambitious, strong women who anchored one of America’s most powerful news networks, Fox News, becoming headlines themselves when they risked everything to stand up to the man who made them famous, Roger Ailes.

Available now on digital, Blu-ray combo pack and DVD from Lionsgate, Bombshell earned Academy Award nominations for Best Actress (Charlize Theron) and Best Supporting Actress (Margot Robbie), and won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling.

Theron, who also produced the film, notes in the disc extras it was “a great opportunity for a lot of talented women to come together and tell an important story.”

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“It was lovely to be able to join forces with these women and hopefully inspire people to say, ‘I don’t need to put up with this,’” adds Kidman.

Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly

Bombshell is a candid exploration of the sexual harassment scandal that brought down the powerful Ailes. Theron plays Megyn Kelly, an anchor at the height of her power. Kidman is Gretchen Carlson, the former anchor who sues Ailes, bringing the harassment to light. Robbie plays up-and-comer Kayla Pospisil, a fictional, composite character based on other individuals.

The three women appear in only one scene together, which proved to be one of the most striking in the movie. A scene in which they ride in the same elevator with little dialog was not originally in the script, but it turned out to be so impactful that it provided a key image for the film’s teaser.

Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson

“It was great to be able to have a scene with almost no dialog that still says a lot,” Kidman says in the extras.

“We don’t say anything to each other, and I think that’s the whole point of the scene, that we do not reach out and in a way our problems are unresolved because we have isolated ourselves,” adds Robbie.

“Charlize, Nicole and Margo are, well, a dream team,” says John Lithgow in the disc extras. Lithgow plays Ailes and made a point of telling the women in the film he was going to have to be nasty to them in the role.

John Lithgow as Roger Ailes

Despite playing the villain, Lithgow brought complexity to the character.

“He never shied away from the fact that this guy Roger Ailes was incredibly charismatic and that people loved him,” Theron notes.

“What I look for always in playing a bad guy is a sort of core of insecurity, what in the world makes them that way, how do you show the fact that he may do bad things, but he hates doing them,” Lithgow explains in the extras.

One of the most emotionally wrenching scenes in the film takes place between Lithgow as Ailes and Robbie’s Kayla as she slowly becomes aware of his abusive intentions.

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“The man is in the grips of his own compulsions, and he hates himself for it,” Lithgow says in the extras.

While the actors had a firm grip on the inner life of their characters, transforming them to resemble their real-life counterparts also added to the drama, winning makeup and hairstyling creators Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker an Academy Award.

Detailed in the disc extras are the hours of work with prosthetics and makeup that it took to turn the actors into well-known personalities. Kidman wore chin and body enhancements as Carlson, and Lithgow wore six prosthetics and a body suit as Ailes. Theron, who listened to hours of interviews to mimic Kelly’s voice, wore nose plugs and cheek, eyelid, chin and nose prosthetics to replicate Kelly’s look.

“The look match was really important to her,” says director Jay Roach in the extras, adding she wanted to see herself in the mirror and not recognize herself.

“We ended up so close to Megan’s features,” Theron adds, crediting Hiro’s artistry.

An ensemble of accomplished actors, including Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Malcolm McDowell (as media tycoon Rupert Murdoch) and Allison Janney also joined in crafting a complicated but sharply told story that filmmakers hope will start a conversation — without preaching.

“I personally don’t want to go and watch a movie that I feel is preaching to me,” says Theron, who credits Roach’s comedy background in helping to bring realism to the film.

“You feel like you’re really there in the room with those people,” she says.

Blu-ray/DVD/Digital special features include the “No Easy Truths: The Making of Bombshell” seven-part documentary:

  • “Convergence: Genesis of the Film” Featurette
  • “Quid Pro Quo: Charlize, Nicole, Margot, John” Featurette
  • “Human Dynamics: The Ensemble Cast” Featurette
  • “Breaking the Fourth Wall: Visual Design” Featurette
  • “Layer by Layer: Makeup, Hair & Clothing” Featurette
  • “A Unique Skill Set: Jay Roach” Featurette
  • “Catalyst for Change: Parting Thoughts” Featurette

Parks: Industry Awards Boost SVOD Platforms

Everyone loves a winner. New research from Parks Associates suggests over-the-top video services — and their large slate of original programming — will benefit as their recognition during awards season in video entertainment continues to expand.

For this year’s Golden Globes, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon earned a total of 47 nominations, nearly double the 25 they received last year, with the three services winning two awards each.

“Apple TV+ streaming service found success with its flagship series ‘The Morning Show,’ starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, which won awards from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Critics’ Choice Award,” analyst Steve Nason said in a statement. “These accomplishments mark Apple TV+’s first industry awards since its launch in November 2019.”

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Nason said awards recognition brings legitimacy to a platform’s original content and can be a significant boost, especially in the early days after its launch.

“Such recognition certainly helped Netflix when the company first ventured into original content, and now the service scored 24 Oscar nominations this year, led by The Irishman and Marriage Story.”

Netflix’s long-term investment in premium original content has helped the service become very difficult for consumers to relinquish, according to Parks.

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Among Netflix subs, 64% feel it would difficult to give up the service, including 47% who feel it would be “very difficult,” the highest among top OTT video services measured by the Dallas-based research company.

Parks finds that as of Q3 2019, pay-TV and OTT services reach roughly the same number of consumers — around 72% of U.S. broadband households. Pay-TV’s long-reigning dominance has dwindled as the OTT video service market booms.

Oscar-Winner ‘1917’ Coming Home to Digital March 10, Disc — Including 4K — March 24

Director-writer Sam Mendes’ Oscar-winning war epic 1917 will arrive on digital March 10 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD March 24 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film, which has earned $327 million at the global box office, won Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Mixing.

In 1917 at the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (George MacKayand Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers — Blake’s own brother among them.

The film also stars Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor, Kingsman, The Imitation Game), Andrew Scott (“Fleabag”, Sherlock, Spectre), Richard Madden (Netflix’s “The Bodyguard”, Rocketman, HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, Kingsman, Bridget Jones) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Dr. Strange, The Imitation Game).

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Special features include:

  • “The Weight of the World: Sam Mendes,” in whichSam Mendes discusses his personal connection to World War 1;
  • “Allied Forces: Making 1917,” in which viewers learn how the one shot, 360-degree format was executed and the pivotal role Academy Award winner Roger Deakins served in bringing Mendes’ vision to life;
  • “The Music of 1917,” in which composer Thomas Newman and filmmakers discuss the important role of the Academy Award-nominated score;
  • “In The Trenches,” in which viewers go behind the scenes with the cast of 1917;
  • “Recreating History,” in which filmmakers offer a detailed look at the production design challenges of recreating the First World War;
  • feature commentary with Mendes; and
  • feature commentary with Deakins.

‘Parasite’ Ticket, VOD Sales and Rentals Jump on Fandango and FandangoNow

Parasite has seen a major boost in Fandango ticket sales since earning four Academy Awards Feb. 9, while the company’s transactional streaming service, FandangoNow, is also reporting an uptick for the title since the Oscar ceremony.

Parasite rentals and purchases on FandangoNow saw an 468% increase week over week comparing sales on Feb. 3 (before the Oscars) to sales on Feb. 10 (after the Oscars).

Theatrical ticket sales week over week jumped 443% in the same period.

Feb. 10 Bong Joon Ho’s darkly comic thriller was the No. 3 title in Fandango’s daily ticket sales and the No. 1 streaming title on FandangoNow.

FandangoNow is also offering a “Binge Bundle” selection of Parasite director Bong Joon Ho films, including The Host, Mother and Barking Dogs Never Bite, for rent for $7.99 here.

In a Fandango survey of Oscar watchers, 73% of moviegoers said they would watch or re-watch a movie after it wins an Academy Award. In the same poll, a majority of the fans (54%) claimed the multiple Parasite wins represented the “happiest surprise” of Oscar night.

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Parasite is seeing a remarkable uptick in sales on Fandango and on FandangoNow,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis in a statement.  “Moviegoers who haven’t seen the movie yet are anxious to discover it on the big screen or at home, while fans who have already seen Parasite are ready to re-watch Bong Joon Ho’s masterpiece to unpack its many layers.”

Oscar-Lauded ‘Little Women’ Coming Home on Digital March 10, Disc April 7

Director Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-nominated film adaptation Little Women is coming out on digital March 10 and Blu-ray and DVD April 7 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film picked up an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and five nominations, including Best Picture, Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay), Best Music (Original Score), Best Actress in a Leading Role for Saoirse Ronan and Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Florence Pugh. The film is only the third Best Picture nominee in history to have been written, directed and produced entirely by female filmmakers.

Gerwig’s modern adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott masterpiece stars Ronan, Emma Watson, Pugh and Eliza Scanlen as Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth March, with Timothée Chalamet as their neighbor Laurie, Laura Dern as Marmee and Meryl Streep as Aunt March. The film draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Alcott, and unfolds as the author’s alter ego, Jo March, reflects back and forth on her fictional life.

Little Women earned $177.2 million at the global box office.

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The Blu-ray, DVD and digital releases include more than 45 minutes of bonus features, exploring how writer-director Gerwig led this modern adaptation of a literary classic and took inspiration from the real-life Orchard House where Alcott lived and wrote Little Women.

‘Parasite’ Surges to Four Oscar Wins

The South Korean film Parasite was a surprise winner at the 92nd Academy Awards Feb. 9, taking four Oscars, including Best Picture, the first non-English film to win the top prize.

The dark satirical look at class struggles in South Korea also was the surprising winner of Best Director for Bong Joon Ho, who also won for Best Original Screenplay. As expected, the film won for Best International Film.

Bong Joon Ho was widely touted in the media for tying Walt Disney’s 1953 record of winning four Oscars in one night, though officially he goes in the books with three, as International Film is awarded to a country (South Korea in this case) and not an individual, although Bong accepted the trophy on behalf of the film.

The film is available now through digital retailers, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD.

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The favorite before the night, Universal’s World War I film 1917, won three Oscars, including Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Mixing.

Warner’s Joker, readily available on disc and digital, won Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix and Best Original Score for Hildur Guðnadóttir.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood won Best Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt and Best Production Design. The film is available for home viewing from Sony Pictures.

Ford v Ferrari, which arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD on Tuesday, Feb. 11, also won two awards, Best Sound Editing and Best Film Editing.

Rocketman, available now for home viewing from Paramount, won Best Original Song for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

Best Actress went to Renée Zellweger for playing Judy Garland in Judy, which is available now on home video from Lionsgate.

Toy Story 4, available for home video viewing from Disney, won Best Animated Feature.

Bombshell won for Makeup and Hair Styling. The film will arrive digitally Feb. 25, and on Blu-ray and DVD March 10.

Jojo Rabbit, available now digitally, and on Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 18, won Best Adapted Screenplay for Taika Waititi.

Columbia’s Little Women won Best Costume Design.

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Two Netflix movies ended up winning one Oscar apiece. Marriage Story won Best Supporting Actress for Laura Dern, and American Factory, from the Obamas’ production company, won Best Documentary.

Netflix’s lauded The Irishman, from director Martin Scorsese, had earned 10 nominations but walked away empty-handed.

Both Marriage Story and The Irishman are heading for Blu-ray and DVD later this year from the Criterion Collection.

 

‘Parasite’ Top Best Picture Oscar Pic in Fandango Survey of Millennials

In a Fandango survey of millennial film fans on the upcoming Oscar race, South Korean genre-bending hit Parasite is the top pick in the Best Picture race with 20% of votes, followed closely by Sam Mendes’ WWI epic 1917 with 19%. Parasite also took the top spot in the Best Director category, with first-time nominee Bong Joon Ho winning with 34% of votes.

Parasite is  also the best-selling foreign-language film of all time on Fandango’s transactional VOD service FandangoNow.

Fandango surveyed more than 2,000 millennial moviegoers who have seen the majority of the nominated films, asking them which Oscar-nominated films and performers deserve to take home the statues Feb. 9.

Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) and Saoirse Ronan (Little Women) emerged as the fan favorites in the Best Actor and Actress categories, with 55% and 31% of the votes, respectively. Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood) and Florence Pugh (Little Women) earned the top spots in the supporting categories with 41% and 28% of votes, respectively.

Meanwhile, 88% said they’re planning to watch Sunday’s show because they have seen most of movies in contention this year.

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“Fans are more excited to watch the Academy Awards because they’ve actually seen the nominated movies,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. “This year’s Oscar races for Best Picture and Best Director are the most suspenseful, and if the Fandango polling is any indication, it’s going to be awfully close, with Parasite and 1917 neck and neck in the voting for both categories. Moviegoers are also rooting for fan favorites like Joker, Little Women, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Knives Out, Toy Story 4 and Rocketman, all of which figured prominently as winners in the Fandango survey, ranking as the top choices for Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Original Screenplay, Animated Feature and Original Song.”

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Many of the nominated titles are available on FandangoNow. Available to buy are Knives Out (Feb. 7), A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Jojo Rabbit and Ford v Ferrari. Available to rent or buy are Ad Astra, Avengers: Endgame, Breakthrough, Harriet, Honeyland, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Joker, Judy, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Missing Link, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Pain and Glory, Parasite, Rocketman, The Cave, The Lighthouse, The Lion King and Toy Story 4. Available for pre-order are 1917, Bombshell, Frozen 2, Little Women, Richard Jewell and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Survey results were:

Best Picture

Parasite – 20%

1917 – 19%

Joker – 15%

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood – 12%

Little Women – 10%

Jojo Rabbit – 7%

Marriage Story – 7%

Ford v Ferrari – 5%

The Irishman – 5%

 

Best Actor

Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) – 55%

Adam Driver (Marriage Story) – 20%

Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood) – 14%

Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory) – 8%

Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes) – 3%

 

Best Actress

Saoirse Ronan (Little Women) – 31%

Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story) – 26%

Renee Zellweger (Judy) – 19%

Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) – 12%

Charlize Theron (Bombshell) – 12%

 

Best Supporting Actor

Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood) – 41%

Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) – 40%

Joe Pesci (The Irishman) – 9%

Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes) – 6%

Al Pacino (The Irishman) – 4%

 

Best Supporting Actress

Florence Pugh (Little Women) – 28%

Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit) – 24%

Laura Dern (Marriage Story) – 22%

Margot Robbie (Bombshell) – 15%

Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell) – 11%

 

Best Director

Bong Joon Ho (Parasite) – 34%

Sam Mendes (1917) – 33%

Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood) – 15%

Todd Phillips (Joker) – 14%

Martin Scorsese (The Irishman) – 4%

 

Best Animated Picture

Toy Story 4 – 49%

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – 19%

Klaus – 15%

I Lost My Body – 9%

Missing Link – 8%

 

Best Original Screenplay

Knives Out – 35%

Parasite – 28%

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood – 18%

1917 – 11%

Marriage Story – 8%

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Little Women – 33%

Joker – 32%

Jojo Rabbit – 23%

The Irishman – 10%

The Two Popes – 2%

 

Best Song

“I’m Gonna Love Me Again” (Rocketman) – 42%

“Into the Unknown” (Frozen 2) – 30%

“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” (Toy Story 4) – 16%

“Stand Up” (Harriet) – 9%

“I’m Standing With You” (Breakthrough) – 3%

Oscar-Nominated ‘Bombshell’ Due on Digital Feb. 25, Disc March 10 From Lionsgate

The Oscar-nominated Bombshell is coming home on digital Feb. 25 and on Blu-ray combo pack and DVD March 10 from Lionsgate.

The film has been nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Actress (Charlize Theron), Best Supporting Actress (Margot Robbie), and Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling (Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker).

Theron, Nicole Kidman, Robbie and John Lithgow (as Roger Ailes) star in the film based on the real story of three ambitious, strong women who anchored one of America’s most powerful news networks, Fox News, becoming headlines themselves when they risked everything to stand up to the man who made them famous.

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The film also stars Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Malcolm McDowell and Allison Janney.

Disc bonus features include a seven-part making-of documentary featuring interviews with the cast and crew.

‘Knives Out’ Coming Home on Digital Feb. 7, Disc — Including 4K — Feb. 25

The murder mystery Knives Out, which earned writer-director Rian Johnson an Oscar nom for Best Original screenplay, is heading home.

Lionsgate will release the whodunnit on digital Feb. 7 and 4K Ultra HD combo pack, Blu-ray combo pack, DVD and on demand Feb. 25.

The film, which has earned $278 million at the global box office, also received Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy (Ana de Armas) and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy (Daniel Craig). Written, produced, and directed by Johnson (Star Wars: The Last JediLooper), Knives Out also has received awards from AFI, National Board of Review, New York Film Critics, Philadelphia Film Festival, The Hollywood Critics Association and Rotten Tomatoes’ Golden Tomatoes Awards.

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In addition to Craig and de Armas, the film’s ensemble cast includes Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell and Christopher Plummer. It follows the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Plummer). There’s one thing that renowned Detective Benoit Blanc (Craig) knows for sure — everyone in the wildly dysfunctional Thrombey family is a suspect. Blanc must sift through a web of lies and red herrings to uncover the truth.

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Special features include an audio commentary and in-theater commentary by filmmaker Rian Johnson, two deleted scenes, the eight-part “Making a Murder” documentary, the “Rian Johnson: Planning the Perfect Murder” featurette, and a Q&A with the director and cast.

‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’ Coming to Digital Feb. 4, Disc — Including 4K — Feb. 18

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks as the venerable Fred Rogers, will debut on digital Feb. 4, and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 18 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Hanks, who picked up an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for the role, portrays children’s television icon Mister Rogers of “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” in this film based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love and forgiveness from America’s most beloved neighbor.

The film also stars Susan Kelechi Watson and Chris Cooper.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood made $60.9 million at the global box office, all but about $300,000 of it in U.S. and Canadian theaters.

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Bonus features on the 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD include more than 15 minutes of additional scenes, a blooper reel, an all-new featurette starring Daniel Tiger, filmmaker commentary and a behind-the-scenes look at the film.