‘Elemental’ Takes No. 1 Spot on DVD and Blu-ray Sales Charts

Disney’s Elemental debuted at No. 1 on the Circana VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended Sept. 30.

The animated film from Pixar is set in Element City, where residents of Fire, Water, Earth and Air live together, and tells of the friendship of fire-person Ember and water-person Wade. It earned $154.4 million at the domestic box office.

HD formats accounted for 57% of the title’s first-week sales, with 37% from regular Blu-ray and 20% from the film’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray editions, which were available exclusively from Best Buy, Walmart and the Disney Movie Club.

The No. 2 overall disc seller was another newcomer, Sony Pictures’ horror sequel Insidious: The Red Door. The fifth installment of the “Insidious” franchise and a direct sequel to 2013’s Insidious: Chapter 2, the film finds the Lambert family seeking to put their demons to rest once and for all. It made $82 million from U.S. theaters. It sold 69% as many total copies as Elemental, but with just 48% of its unit sales coming from Blu-ray (and no 4K release), Insidious: The Red Door was No. 4 on the dedicated Blu-ray Disc chart.

The previous week’s top seller, Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, dropped to No. 3 on the overall disc sales chart, and No. 5 on the Blu-ray chart.

No. 4 overall and No. 2 on the Blu-ray Disc chart was Sony Pictures’ animated Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

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Rounding out the top five overall sellers was Disney’s new Blu-ray Steelbooks of the Disney+ series Loki: The Complete First Season. It was No. 3 on the Blu-ray Disc chart, which 48% of its total unit sales coming from regular Blu-ray and 52% from the 4K Ultra HD edition.

The “Loki” Steelbook was also No. 1 on the dedicated 4K chart, with Elemental at No. 2.

The only other newcomer in the overall top 10 was Universal’s Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken, from DreamWorks Animation. It was No. 7 on the Blu-ray chart, with 49% of its total unit sales coming from Blu-ray.

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The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Oct. 1 had Ruby Gillman in the top spot, with Universal’s Fast X at No. 2 and Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 4 at No. 3.

Universal’s Sick was No. 4 and Kandahar was No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 9-30-23
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 10-1-23
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray and 4K Discs for Week Ended 9-30-23
Top HD Formats Disc Share Per Title for Week Ended 9-30-23
Sales Report for Week Ended 9-30-23
Digital Transactions Snapshot for Week Ended 10-2-23

‘Elemental’ Most Watched Movie Premiere of the Year on Disney+

The Pixar animated film Elemental is the most watched movie premiere of the year on Disney+ and among its top 10 movie premieres of all time, earning 26.4 million views in its first five days of streaming, according to the service.

In its first five days of streaming, Elemental has become the most viewed animated movie premiere since Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red was released in March 2022, as well as the most viewed Disney+ movie premiere of all time in Latin America, ahead of Turning Red.

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The feature film, which earned $486.7 million at the global box office, is set in Element City, where Fire, Water, Earth and Air residents live together. The story follows the quick-witted and fiery Ember (voiced by Leah Lewis), whose friendship with the sappy and go-with-the-flow Wade (voiced by Mamoudou Athie) challenges not only her beliefs about the world they live in, but the person she wants to be.

Pixar’s ‘Elemental’ Debuts Atop Weekly Vudu Chart

Disney/Pixar’s animated Elemental debuted atop the chart of the 10 most-popular films on Fandango’s transactional digital service Vudu the week ended Aug. 20.

Available for digital purchase starting Aug. 15, the film is set in Element City, where residents of Fire, Water, Earth and Air live together. The story introduces Ember, a tough, quick-witted and fiery young woman, whose friendship with a fun, sappy, go-with-the-flow guy named Wade challenges her beliefs about the world they live in.

Debuting at No. 2 on the chart was No Hard Feelings, also available for digital purchase starting Aug. 15. In the comedy starring Jennifer Lawrence, Maddie thinks she’s found the answer to her financial troubles when she discovers an intriguing job listing: wealthy helicopter parents looking for someone to “date” their introverted 19-year-old son Percy and bring him out of his shell before he leaves for college. But awkward Percy proves to be a real challenge, and time is running out. She has one summer to make him a man or lose it all. 

Falling from the top spot to No. 3 on the chart was Sony’s Marvel Comics-based Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, available for digital purchase. The followup to Into the Spider-Verse follows Miles Morales as he reunites with Gwen Stacy and, as Spider-Man, is catapulted across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. 

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Returning to the chart at No. 4 was the Lionsgate actioner John Wick: Chapter 4, available for digital rental and on sale for digital purchase. The fourth entry in the series follows Wick as he uncovers a path to defeating the High Table. But before he can earn his freedom, he must face off against a new enemy with powerful alliances across the globe, and forces that turn old friends into foes.

Returning to the chart at No. 5 was Disney-owned Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The sci-fi comic book movie from director James Gunn is on sale for digital purchase.  In the film, the Guardians must scramble to save their furry pal Rocket from the genocidal geneticist who created him.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended Aug. 20, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Elemental
  2. No Hard Feelings
  3. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
  4. John Wick: Chapter 4
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
  6. The Flash
  7. Insidious: The Red Door
  8. The Little Mermaid (2023)
  9. Fast X
  10. Cobweb

Pixar’s ‘Elemental’ Headed to Digital Aug. 15, 4K, Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 26

Pixar Animation Studios’ Elemental will debut on digital platforms Aug. 15 and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Sept. 26 from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. A 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of the film will be available as an exclusive from several retailers — a Best Buy Steelbook, a Walmart edition with lenticular box art, and a Disney Movie Club exclusive of the “standard” 4K Blu-ray combo pack. 

The film earned $397.1 million at the global box office.

Elemental is set in Element City, where residents of Fire, Water, Earth and Air live together. The story introduces Ember, a tough, quick-witted and fiery young woman, whose friendship with a fun, sappy, go-with-the-flow guy named Wade challenges her beliefs about the world they live in.

Directed by Peter Sohn (The Good Dinosaur, “Partly Cloudy” short), and produced by Denise Ream (The Good Dinosaur, Cars 2), Elemental features the voices of Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie as Ember and Wade.

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Bonus content includes deleted scenes, featurettes, an audio commentary, and the short “Carl’s Date.”

 

Bob Iger: Disney’s Fixation on Streaming, Episodic Content Diluted Brands

Disney CEO Bob Iger is throwing some shade on his own executive decisions, specifically pushing the entire media giant’s focus on streaming and episodic content — moves he said have resulted in a dilution of key brands such as Pixar Animation and Marvel Studios.

Speaking July 13 on CBC’s “Squawk Box” business report, Iger said recent decisions to dramatically increase content production for the sake of evolving distribution channels such as Disney+, Hulu and others, prompted burnout among the creatives.

Bob Iger

“Marvel’s a great example of that,” Iger said. “They had not been in the TV business at any significant level. Not only did they increase their movie output, but they ended up making a number of television series, and frankly, it diluted focus and attention. That is, I think, more of the cause than anything.”

Iger, who just extended his employment contract with Disney for another two years through 2026, said streaming and the loss of key personnel (i.e. co-founder John Lasseter for inappropriate workplace behavior) at Pixar have contributed to problems at the animation studio.

“There has been turnover … not just John, but there’s been other turnover as well,” Iger said. “That may have had some impact.”

However, the executive believes that the release of three consecutive Pixar releases direct to streaming, in part due to the pandemic, created the belief among consumers that there wasn’t an urgency to watch them.

“And … I think you’d have to agree that there was some creative misses, as well,” Iger said, alluding to Elemental, which generated one of the worst Pixar opening box office weekends, but has rebounded somewhat with a $257 million global theatrical haul.

Iger said there will be continued pullback across Disney, not just on content production, but also as part of companywide cost containment initiative.

“Spending less on what we make, and making less,” he said.

Lightyear

Street Date 9/13/22;
Disney;
Animated;
Box Office $ 118.31 million;
$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $43.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG’ for action/peril.
Voices of Chris Evans, Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, Taika Waititi, Dale Soules, James Brolin, Uzo Aduba, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Efren Ramirez, Keira Hairston.

When first announced, the idea of a solo Buzz Lightyear movie caused a lot of confusion among “Toy Story” fans, particularly with the casting of Chris Evans to voice the character instead of Tim Allen.

The rationale, as originally explained, was that the movie would be the story of the astronaut that provided the basis of the toy that ends up in Andy’s collection. This conjured notions of Pixar doing a “Right Stuff” type movie set during the Cold War, which would seem to justify the casting change.

Then the trailers arrived and previewed a story containing the usual Buzz Lightyear staples associated with the toy: futuristic ships, Star Command and Zurg, belying the notion of this being about a “real” character within the “Toy Story” universe.

No, as the opening text of the film makes clear, Lightyear is a movie released in the early 1990s in the “Toy Story” universe that provided the inspiration for the Buzz Lightyear IP and became Andy’s favorite movie, which is why he wanted the toy.

Providing in-universe backstories for the fictional toys in Andy’s room is certainly not out of the ordinary for the “Toy Story” franchise. The second movie went into a lot of detail about Woody’s origins as a character in an old 1950s Western puppet show.

When it comes to Buzz Lightyear, however, Disney and Pixar already played the IP expansion card with the “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command” cartoon in 2000 that established in its first episode that it was the inspiration for the Buzz toyline. The show even had a spinoff video game like the one seen in the second movie.

But if the Buzz Lightyear the toy is supposed to be the merchandising for Lightyear, then that just brings back the question of why Tim Allen isn’t doing the voice, since the actors in sci-fi movies record voices for toy versions of their characters all the time.

Changing the voice isn’t so unusual in those circumstances either, as toy tie-ins often bring in soundalikes to save money. But is that supposed to mean Tim Allen’s voice for the Buzz Lightyear toy has now been retconned to be a cheap imitation of Chris Evan’s voice from this movie? That doesn’t seem very respectful to Allen’s contributions to the franchise for the past 25 years. (And it’s doubly ironic considering how much Evans is trying to echo Allen’s performance.)

To be fair, the “Star Command” series did have Patrick Warburton voicing Buzz, though Allen did the voice for the movie version of the first episode.

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Lightyear pretty much disregards any storyline connections to the “Star Command” show anyway. It plays a lot more like a reimagining of the Buzz character, with the tag line about it being Andy’s favorite movie added later to tie it more explicitly to the franchise.

The idea of Lightyear being a big-budget sci-fi adventure movie from the early 1990s doesn’t quite ring true either, as it presents themes and plot points that while common among Hollywood attitudes today would not have been touched by studios 30 years ago.

On top of that, Lightyear, though animated for us, is supposed to be a live-action movie within the context of the “Toy Story” movies. That’s yet another aspect to the presentation that franchise fans couldn’t quite wrap their heads around, and when all was said and done it ended up being among the lowest-grossing box office performers in the Pixar canon.(Maybe that’s the movie they should have made — an actual live-action Buzz Lightyear movie done in the style of early 1990s actioners with minimal CGI. It certainly would have upped the curiosity factor.) 

The story itself seems like a pastiche of better films of the past decade, from Interstellar to The Lego Movie 2, that presents a rather generic Buzz Lightyear adventure layered with subtle references to the “Toy Story” movies.

Buzz is part of a Star Command expedition that crashes on an alien world. Vowing to get the crew home, he volunteers to test-fly new ships with hyperdrive technology, but each mission pushes him years into the future while he doesn’t age at all. He witnesses the crash survivors form a new colony, and a new generation decides to stay on the planet and cancel further missions. So Buzz finds himself a man out of time, but after his last attempt to break the lightspeed barrier he discovers the planet is under attack by an army of killer robots led by Zurg. To stop them, he is forced to team with a ragtag squad of Star Command cadets, their efforts ultimately conveying a message of teamwork and togetherness over individualism. Plus there’s a cute little robot cat.

Lightyear has its moments, but it’s probably going to end up as the least memorable “Toy Story” movie. The funniest thing about it just might be how many kids will want to see it thanks to the glut of Lightyear toys released to stores as a marketing tie-in, just like Andy did, apparently. Judging by the box office returns, not that many — I guess parents weren’t fooled (or waited for it to show up on Disney+).

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The Blu-ray includes an audio commentary with the key filmmakers, who discuss how the story evolved and how scenes changed over time because they weren’t meeting expectations. For example, the film was originally going to be the story of Buzz’s first Star Command mission and earning his iconic suit, while the final product starts with him already on active duty and wearing the suit.

Also included are nearly 27 minutes of deleted sequence storyboards that provide more insights into this early conception for the film’s storyline.

Rounding out the extras are three featurettes. The 14-minute “Building the World of Lightyear” show’s off the process of designing the film’s various environments, ships and characters; The nine-minute “The Zap Patrol” profile’s Buzz’s new team; and the 10-minute “Toyetic” is about the film’s toy merchandise, as well as how toys such as Legos were used to help design various ships for the film with an eye toward creating the toys later. The heavy toy haul isn’t unexpected for a “Toy Story” movie, but seeing the how the production and toy development are tied together certainly explains a lot.

‘Lightyear’ Blasting Off With Digital Release Aug. 3, on Disc Sept. 13

Disney Media & Entertainment will release Pixar’s Lightyear for digital purchase Aug. 3, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Sept. 13.

Aug. 3 is also the date it becomes available to stream on Disney+.

The CG-animated film is based on the Buzz Lightyear character from the “Toy Story” films, and presents an adventure of the hero upon which the toy is based in the fictional world of “Toy Story.” The story finds Lighyear (voiced by Chris Evans) leading a team of Space Rangers into battle against the evil Zurg.

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Extras include an audio commentary with director Angus MacLane, writer Jason Headley and director of photography Jeremy Lasky; a deleted scenes introduction from director Angus MacLane, with six deleted sequences; the featurettes “Building the World of Lighyear,” in which the filmmakers researched the Johnson Space Center, “The Zap Patrol,” about the voice cast, and “Toyetic,” about designing ships, sets and characters that could be easily turned into toys.

Turning Red

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Disney;
Animated;
$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $43.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG’ for thematic material, suggestive content and language.
Voices of Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Ava Morse, Hyein Park, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Orion Lee, Wai Ching Ho, Tristan Allerick Chen.

Pixar’s Turning Red uses a heavy anime influence to tell a classic coming-of-age story.

Set in Toronto in the early 2000s, the film plays a bit like an Asian version of Teen Wolf (the 1980s comedy, not the 2010s dark fantasy show it inspired), as 13-year-old Mei (voiced by Rosalie Chiang) learns the women in her family inherit the ability to transform into a giant red panda when they become teenagers. Mei isn’t sure how to control her transformation, with the panda manifesting whenever she experiences strong emotions. Mei’s parents tell her the transformation can be removed by a ritual, but she must wait a few weeks for the moon to align.

In the meantime, Mei discovers she can regulate the transformation by thinking about her friends. When she and her friends need money to attend a boy band concert, she takes up an offer to appear as the panda at a rich kids birthday, which only causes friction with her strict mother (Sandra Oh). The metaphor for balancing self-discovery and duty to family is pretty straightforward.

Turning Red plays a bit like a spiritual successor to Pixar’s Oscar-winning 2008 short film Bao, another quirky look at a Chinese-Canadian family that told the story of a woman who imagines a dumpling coming to life as a stand-in for her child that moved out. Bao writer-director Domee Shi also directed and co-wrote Turning Red.

The film’s subject matter and an array of eccentric characters lend themselves to a number of imaginative and colorful sequences that provide plenty of fodder for Pixar to maintain its reputation for visual splendor, and Turning Red is one of the most distinctive efforts from the venerated animation house.

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The Blu-ray Disc edition includes a number of fun extras that offer plenty of behind-the-scenes information.

First up is an audio commentary with Shi, producer Lindsey Collins and director of photography Mahyar Abousaeedi that covers most of the bases, from the character designs to the film’s musical flavors.

The 14-and-a-half-minute “Life of a Shot” delves into the creative process by focusing on seven shots from the film, from conception to completion.

The nine-minute “Build Your Own Boy Band” featurette looks at how filmmakers pieced together the boy band that helps drive the story, from style to sound to choreography — a process that begins with listening to a lot of boy band music.

A Blu-ray bonus disc includes 23 minutes of deleted sequences, some of which are fully animated, and a 10-minute “Ani-Mei-Tion” featurette about the film’s visual style and anime influences.

The 4K disc contains just the movie and no bonus materials. All the extras in the 4K combo pack are on the two Blu-ray Discs, which are the same discs as the regular Blu-ray combo pack.

‘Turning Red’ to Debut on Digital April 26, Disc May 3

Disney and Pixar’s animated Turning Red will be available for digital purchase April 26, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD May 3 from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

In the film, confident, dorky 13-year-old Mei (voice of Rosalie Chiang) must balance being a dutiful daughter with the chaos of adolescence. Her slightly overbearing mom (voice of Sandra Oh) is never far from her daughter. And, as if changes to Mei’s interests, relationships and body aren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited, she “poofs” into a giant red panda.

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Bonus features, which vary by product and retailer, include seven deleted scenes, three featurettes and audio commentary with director Domee Shi.

Turning Red is also streaming on Disney+.

Disney+ to Exclusively Premiere Pixar’s ‘Turning Red’ March 11

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution has announced that Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red will premiere exclusively in homes worldwide on Disney+ March 11.

In international markets where Disney+ is not yet available, the film will be released theatrically, with premiere dates to be announced.

“Disney+ subscribers around the world enthusiastically embraced Pixar’s Academy Award-winning Soul and the critically-acclaimed Luca when they premiered exclusively on the service, and we look forward to bringing them Pixar’s next incredible feature film, Turning Red,” said Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution. “Given the delayed box office recovery, particularly for family films, flexibility remains at the core of our distribution decisions as we prioritize delivering the unparalleled content of The Walt Disney Co. to audiences around the world.”

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Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red introduces Mei Lee (voice of Rosalie Chiang), a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. Her protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming (voice of Sandra Oh), is never far from her daughter — an unfortunate reality for the teenager. And as if changes to her interests, relationships and body weren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited, she “poofs” into a giant red panda. The film is directed by Academy Award winner Domee Shi (Pixar short “Bao”).