‘Luca’ Swimming to Digital and Disc Aug. 3

The Pixar animated film Luca will come out on digital and on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Aug. 3 from Disney Media and Distribution.

The film is available now on the Disney+ streaming service.

Set in a seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Luca is a coming-of-age story about a young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer. Luca shares his adventures with his friend Alberto, but their fun is threatened by a deeply held secret: They’re sea monsters from a world below the water’s surface.

The release touts a variety of bonus features including never-before-seen featurettes, deleted scenes and two alternate openings.

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‘Soul,’ ‘The Undoing,’ ‘Our Friend’ Among Top New Disc and Digital Releases March 23

Disney’s Soul, HBO’s The Undoing and Universal’s Our Friend top the slate of new releases available for home viewing March 23.

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution will release the animated movie Soul on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and through digital retailers. Directed by Academy Award winner Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray, Soul tells the story of Joe (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who lands the gig of his life at the best jazz club in town. But one misstep lands Joe in a fantastical place: The Great Before. There, he teams up with soul 22 (Tina Fey), and together they find the answers to some of life’s biggest questions.

The latest feature from Pixar Animation Studios was held back from its planned domestic theatrical release as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and instead was made available to subscribers of the Disney+ streaming service on Christmas for no additional charge. In limited release internationally it made $116 million at the global box office. It also won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature and is nominated for the Academy Award in the same category.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the six-episode HBO limited series The Undoing on Blu-ray Disc and DVD March 23. Based on the novel You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, The Undoing stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as a married couple whose lives are upended by a violent death and a chain of terrible revelations.

The drama Our Friend will be available for digital sellthrough March 23. The film tells the true story of the Teague family — journalist Matt (Casey Affleck), his wife Nicole (Dakota Johnson) and their two young daughters — and how their lives are upended by Nicole’s diagnosis of terminal cancer. As Matt’s responsibilities as a caretaker and parent become increasingly overwhelming, the couple’s best friend Dane Faucheux (Jason Segel) offers to come and help out. As Dane puts his life on hold to stay with his friends, the impact of this life-altering decision proves greater and more profound than anyone could have imagined. It arrives on DVD March 30 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

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Universal’s News of the World arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 23. Tom Hanks stars as a former Army captain in the 1870s who moves from town to town sharing the news from the far reaches of the globe. In the plains of Texas, he crosses paths with a 10-year-old girl (Helena Zengel) taken in by the Kiowa people and raised as one of their own, and agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles into the unforgiving wilderness, the two face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces. It was released for digital purchase March 9.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Breaking News in Yuba County on Blu-ray Disc and DVD March 23. Directed by Tate Taylor (The Girl on the Train, The Help), the film stars Allison Janney as a suburban housewife who becomes a local celebrity in Yuba County when she embarks on a city-wide search to find her missing husband. Along the way, she encounters her half-sister (Mila Kunis), a local news reporter desperate for a story, and also stumbles into a wannabe mobster (Awkwafina), a relentless local policewoman (Regina Hall), her husband’s deadbeat brother (Jimmi Simpson), who all set out to uncover the truth behind the disappearance.

Cinedigm March 23 will release the Super Bowl LV Champions highlight film on DVD and Blu-ray, presenting highlights from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Timed for Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max, Warner Archive releases a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — Ultimate Edition remastered to match the 4:3 aspect ratio of the Snyder Cut.

Paramount March 23 releases a Blu-ray collection of 10 Best Picture Oscar winners, including Wings (1927), My Fair Lady (1964), The Godfather (1972), Terms of Endearment (1983), Forrest Gump (1994), The English Patient (1996), Titanic (1997), American Beauty (1999), Gladiator (2000) and No Country for Old Men (2007).

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Pixar’s ‘Soul’ Coming to Disc and Digital Sellthrough March 23

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution will release the animated movie Soul on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and through digital retailers March 23.

Directed by Academy Award winner Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray, Soul tells the story of Joe (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who lands the gig of his life at the best jazz club in town. But one misstep lands Joe in a fantastical place: The Great Before. There, he teams up with soul 22 (Tina Fey), and together they find the answers to some of life’s biggest questions.

The voice cast also includes Phylicia Rashad, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Angela Bassett, Daveed Diggs, Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Wes Studi, Fortune Feimster, Zenobia Shroff, Donnell Rawlings and June Squibb.

The latest feature from Pixar Animation Studios was held back from its planned domestic theatrical release as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and instead was made available to subscribers of the Disney+ streaming service on Christmas for no additional charge. In limited release internationally it made $85.2 million at the global box office.

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Extras on the disc and digital versions (subject to retailer) include filmmaker commentary; deleted scenes with introduction; and several featurettes:

  • “Not Your Average Joe” — About how filmmakers crafted the story of Joe, Pixar’s first black leading character;
  • “Astral Taffy” — A look at the artistry and technical innovation that went into creating the sets and characters in the world of Soul;
  • “Pretty Deep for a Cartoon” — An examination of the philosophical questions posed by the film;
  • “Into the Zone: The Music and Sound of Soul” — An exploration of how the film uses music to enhance Joe’s journey;
  • Soul, Improvised” — A look at how the filmmakers finished the film during the pandemic;
  • “Jazz Greats” — Giants of the jazz world who consulted on Soul share their passion and wisdom about what music is and does for us all.

 

Soul will also be available as a collectible Steelbook at Best Buy, and packaged with a limited-edition gallery booklet at Target.

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Vudu, FandangoNow Offering Discounts on Pixar Titles for ‘Toy Story’ 25th

To celebrate the upcoming 25th anniversary of the animated classic Toy Story, Fandango is offering 50% off pricing on more than 20 of Disney and Pixar’s movies through its transactional VOD services Vudu and FandangoNow.

The offer, good through Nov. 22, includes the following films in 4K Ultra HD at $9.99 each: Toy Story 4Toy Story 3Toy Story 2Toy StoryFinding NemoFinding DoryThe IncrediblesThe Incredibles 2CocoInside OutMonsters Inc.Monsters UniversityRatatouilleWALL*EUpBraveCarsCars 2Cars 3A Bug’s Life and The Good Dinosaur.

Movie bundles include the Toy Story four-movie collection at $34.99; the The Incredibles two-movie collection at $19.99; the Finding Nemo two-movie collection at $19.99; and the Cars three-movie collection at $29.99.

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“With the holiday season upon us, it’s a great time to expand your movie library and pick up some of your all-time favorite films,” Fandango managing editor Erik Davis said in a statement. “My family loves collecting classics like The Incredibles and Toy Story so we can watch them over and over again, and this week’s sale gives fans a chance to grab some favorites to enjoy during the holidays.”

Toy Story, released theatrically in 1995, was the first feature film from Pixar. It marked the directorial debut of John Lasseter and was the first fully computer-animated feature film. The film holds a rare 100% approval from Rotten Tomatoes, the review-aggregation website for film and television shows.

Toy Story earned three Academy Award nominations (Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Song for “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” and Best Original Score) and won a Special Achievement Academy Award. In 2005, its first year of eligibility, it was inducted into the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

Amazon Launches ‘Prime Cinema’ for Early Digital Movie Releases

Amazon early on Sunday, March 22, announced via email the launch of Prime Video | Cinema, a new online hub where the company says “you can watch the latest movies just released in theaters — without leaving home.”

Disney/Pixar’s Onward is available to buy for $19.99, while Universal Pictures’ The Invisible Man, The Hunt and Emma are available to rent at the same price. The price is also the same for HD or SD.

All four films were made available for home viewing earlier than expected due to the closure of movie theaters in response to the escalating novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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Consumers who digitally rent a film have 30 days to start watching it, and must finish watching the movie within 48 hours.

Merchandising: Best Buy Offers Steelbooks for Latest Pixar 4K Batch

With a light slate of new releases for March 3, Best Buy offered Steelbooks for several Pixar titles being released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray by Disney.

The Pixar catalog titles making their way to 4K Ultra HD include A Bug’s Life, Wall-E, Monsters, Inc., Monsters University and Up. The Steelbook combo packs were offered at $34.99 each.

Among other titles, Walmart had a double feature with the Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Blu-ray paired with the new digital release of Jumanji: The Next Level on Vudu.

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Disney+ Bows YouTube Clip Showcasing 2020 Content

SVOD service Disney+ Jan. 1 launched a social media blitz offering a sneak peak into coming content in 2020.

“New year, new stories — and some familiar ones!,” the service tweeted. From Toy Story 4 and Aladdin to “Lizzie McGuire” and Marvel Studios’ WandaVision, here’s a look at the blockbusters and originals coming to #DisneyPlus in 2020.

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The service launched on Nov. 12 reportedly has more than 15 million registered users — many of whom using third-party promotions such as 12 months free service to any Verizon subscriber.

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Disney+ includes content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.

The promotion for new programming comes as the service hopes to retain subscribers following the end of the first season of “The Mandalorian.” Several “Star Wars” fans took to Twitter the final week of the year vowing to cancel their service until the second season debuts in the fall.

‘Toy Story 4’ Takes Over Redbox Disc Rentals, ‘Stuber’ Tops On Demand

Disney’s Toy Story 4 took over the No. 1 spot on the Redbox kiosk disc rental chart the week ended Oct. 20. The Redbox disc rental chart tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks.

The animated sequel had debuted at No. 2 on the chart two weeks earlier before hitting the second spot in its second week.

Stuber, from 20th Century Fox, debuted at No. 2 on the disc rental chart and No. 1 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals. The film, about a cop teaming up with a rideshare driver, earned $22.4 million at the domestic box office.

The No. 3 disc rental was Paramount’s Crawl, which was No. 2 on the On Demand chart. It earned $39 million at U.S. theaters.

The previous week’s top rental and digital title, Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Far From Home, slid to No. 4 on the disc chart and No. 3 on the digital chart.

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Disney’s remake of Aladdin was No. 5 on the disc rental chart.

Warner’s Annabelle Comes Home slipped to No. 6 on the disc chart and No. 4 on the digital chart.

Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum dropped to No. 8 on the rental chart and No. 5 on the On Demand chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Oct. 20:

  1. Toy Story 4 — Disney
  2. Stuber — Fox
  3. Crawl — Paramount
  4. Spider-Man: Far From Home — Sony Pictures
  5. Aladdin (2019) — Disney
  6. Annabelle Comes Home — Warner
  7. 3 From Hell — Lionsgate
  8. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum — Lionsgate
  9. Men In Black: International — Sony Pictures
  10. X-Men: Dark Phoenix — Fox

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Oct. 20:

  1. Stuber — Fox
  2. Crawl — Paramount
  3. Spider-Man: Far From Home — Sony Pictures
  4. Annabelle Comes Home — Warner
  5. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum — Lionsgate
  6. The Secret Life of Pets 2 — Universal
  7. Men In Black: International — Sony Pictures
  8. Yesterday — Universal
  9. The Hustle — MGM
  10. X-Men: Dark Phoenix — Fox

Netflix Orders Animated Preschool Series ‘Ghee Happy’

Netflix has greenlighted a new animated preschool series, “Ghee Happy,” from Academy Award- and Annie Award-nominated director-animator-illustrator Sanjay Patel.

It’s a playful reimagining of the Hindu deities as little kids discovering their powers in a deity daycare called Ghee Happy.

Patel is best known for his work on numerous Pixar films, such as Monsters Inc., Ratatouille, Cars, Toy Story 2 and The Incredibles 1 & 2. He directed the short animated film Sanjay’s Super Team, inspired by his own childhood, which was nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the 88th Academy Awards and for Best Animated Short Subject at the 43rd Annie Awards.

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“For the past 25 years I’ve been working in kids and family entertainment without having kids of my own. Having finally become a parent, I’m so excited and lucky to be able to create a preschool series that introduces the great pantheon of Hindu Deities, not just into a beautiful and colorful series that is truly entertaining and original to my kiddos, but to families around the world,” said Patel in a statement.

“Sanjay’s art is vibrant, magical, and — above all else — incredibly happy! He has introduced his culture to his own kids through this show and now – thanks to the power of Netflix — kids and families everywhere will get to share in these inspiring and accessible stories,” said Dominique Bazay, director of kids & family at Netflix, in a statement.

Toy Story 4

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street 10/8/19;
Disney;
Animated;
Box Office $433.06 million;
$39.99 Blu-ray/DVD, $44.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘G.’
Voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Joan Cusack, Bonnie Hunt, Kristen Schaal, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Blake Clark, June Squibb, Carl Weathers, Jeff Garlin.

While the prospect of a fourth “Toy Story” movie was exciting news for fans of the franchise, there were some questions about whether the adventures of Woody, Buzz and the gang might have run their course. After all, the third movie from 2010 was an emotional rollercoaster that seemed to provide a decent, if bittersweet, sense of closure for the characters.

Of course, the question about what stories were left to tell had already been answered long before the fourth movie was announced, not only through three short films, but also two half-hour television specials. So, yeah, there’s more than enough material to mine.

There would still be the challenge of making any new film feel like an event worthy of the franchise. The movies should at least be somewhat transformational, redefining the status quo of the characters beyond what can be accomplished in a short film.

Well, the team at Pixar Animation Studios certainly achieved that goal, and then some. Toy Story 4 isn’t the best film in the franchise, but it might be the most cathartic. Where the previous film was a bit of a gut punch, this one offers more of a natural progression for the characters.

After a flashback that shows how Woody’s love interest, Bo Peep (Annie Potts) was given away (mentioned in Toy Story 3), we check in to see how the toys are doing with their new owner, Bonnie. While she exhibits a rich imagination, she tends to leave Woody (Tom Hanks) sidelined, leaving him to wonder what his place in her life is.

Bonnie then creates a new toy, named Forky (Tony Hale), out of trash at school, and when he would rather return to the garbage than play with Bonnie, Woody assigns himself the task of educating the new toy and making sure he’s available for her. Woody’s task gets more complicated when Forky manages to jump out of the RV on a family road trip. In retrieving him, Woody comes across an antique shop and reunites with Bo. But Forky is captured by a doll at the shop who wants to trade him for Woody’s pull-string voice box to replace her own defective one, hoping the fix will help entice a kid to want to play with her.

Bo, on the other hand, presents another option for life as a toy: roaming free, with no owner, never worrying about being played with or not and determining her own fate. Meanwhile, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) sets out on a mission to find Woody, bolstered by a hilarious running gag of him activating his own voice feature so he can get advice from his “inner voice.”

So, yes, the movie does return to the “recover a lost character” motif that has been a staple of the franchise (and, indeed, most Pixar films), putting a few new spins on the formula along the way. The antique shop and a nearby carnival are wonderful settings for toy-level adventures with inventive new characters, such as Canadian motorcycle-jumping daredevil Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves), and a pair of game-prize plushes voiced by Key & Peele.

The only area of concern, really, is that each passing movie runs the risk of potentially piercing the suspension of disbelief about the toys being alive, which some of the characters actually joke about in this one. One need to simply look no further to the living vehicles of the world of “Cars” to see how much such questions can distract, and detract, from the narrative.

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The “Toy Story” movies have all been visual marvels, and the fourth one is no exception, advancing the state of CGI to render fantastic textures and details on the toys and their environments. The carnival offers a great excuse for bright colors and warm lights, while the antique shop provides a trove of subtle references.

The Blu-ray is loaded with a lot of great behind-the-scenes material, including an insightful feature-length commentary track by director Josh Cooley and producer Mark Nielsen in which they discuss all sorts of challenges to crafting a fourth “Toy Story” film.

Some of the more pivotal sequences get their own callout in the form of “Anatomy of a Scene” videos in which the filmmakers discuss and joke about making them. The disc includes a nine-and-a-half-minute look at the playground scene, while a seven-minute deconstruction of the prologue serves as a digital exclusive.

The disc also includes 28 minutes of deleted scenes, still in storyboard form, that show some of the unused concepts for the film, including an unused ending that would have pretty much negated the film’s message of finding your own place in the world.

The digital version of the film includes an additional seven-minute alternate opening sequence depicting Bonnie’s playtime fantasy using the toys.

The various featurettes included offer interesting glimpses of the production with the usual interviews with cast members and filmmakers, but often show them interacting in ways not typically presented in such videos.

There is a six-minute “Bo Rebooted” video about how Bo’s character was expanded into a major role for the film. Another, three-and-a-half-minute piece, spotlights the relationship between Woody and Buzz.

The new characters are shown off in a series of “Toy Box” videos that run 13 minutes, while an additional six-minute featurette focuses on new castmember Ally Maki and her pint-sized character.

One of the more nostalgia-infused featurettes is a five-and-a-half-minute “Toy Stories” piece in which several of the cast and crew recall the toys they played with as children.

Among some of the more random video bits are a few minutes of animation showing off the carnival and the antique shop roof from the toys’ perspectives, plus a series of promotional videos including character vignettes and trailers from around the world.

Some digital retailers, such as Vudu, also offer a two-and-a-half-minute “Toy Story Rewind” video in which the cast and crew reflect on the previous movies.