Netflix Sponsors NBC’s Tokyo Olympics Medals Count

With Team USA atop of the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics in total medals at the halfway point, Netflix, a perennial leader on most things subscription streaming video, took a marketing stand.

The streamer was a presenting sponsor on NBC’s Aug. 1 primetime TV broadcast of the medals count of the XXXII Olympiad with the U.S. leading with 61 medals, including 21 gold. The leading tally increased to 64 medals, including 22 gold, through Aug. 2.

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Netflix took the opportunity to market the Aug. 6 release of Vivo, an animated movie featuring songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony, Grammy, and Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of Hamilton and In the Heights. Vivo follows kinkajou (a.k.a. a rainforest “honey bear,” voiced by Miranda), who spends his days playing music to the crowds in a lively square with his beloved owner Andrés (Buena Vista Social Club’s Juan de Marcos).

The movie, originally slated for theatrical launch in June, is part of a marketing/production agreement between Netflix and Sony Pictures Animation — the latter responsible for Oscar winner Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and this year’s The Mitchells vs. The Machines currently streaming on Netflix.

The partnership precludes Netflix’s recently announced deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) for exclusive first-pay-window licensing in the U.S. for theatrically released Sony feature films, beginning with the studio’s 2022 film slate.

Global Anime Box Office Hit ‘Demon Slayer: Mugen Train’ Streaming on Funimation in the U.S. on June 22

After breaking global theatrical box office records, anime hit Demon Slayer: Mugen Train will stream exclusively on Funimation in the United States and Canada, starting June 22, and in Australia and New Zealand starting June 23. The film will be dubbed in English and subtitled.

Funimation is an independently operated joint-venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Japan’s Aniplex, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), both subsidiaries of Sony Corp.

Demon Slayer: Mugen Train generated $475 million at the worldwide, becoming the No. 1 theatrical release worldwide in 2020 — the first non-Hollywood, non-U.S. film to achieve this. The film opened in the U.S. and Canada on April 23, topping the box office the second week of release, earning more than $48 million to date.

“[The film] has been a runaway success since it opened last year, galvanizing fans and attracting a whole new generation to anime,” Asa Suehira, chief content officer at Funimation Global Group, said in a statement.

Demon Slayer: Mugen Train is directed by Haruo Sotozaki featuring the original story by Koyoharu Gotoge with screenplay and animation production by studio ufotable. The running time for the ‘R’-film is one hour and 57 minutes. Set after the events of the television series, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train has Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu, and Inosuke embark on a new mission. Together with one of the most powerful swordsmen of the Demon Slayer Corps, Flame Hashira Kyojuro Rengoku, they investigate the mysterious disappearance of over 40 people aboard the Mugen Train.

The “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” anime series, streaming on Funimation, both subtitled and dubbed in English, Spanish and Portuguese, premiered in 2019 and is based on Koyoharu Gotoge’s manga, which claims more than 150 million copies in circulation in Japan.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is an action-packed, thrilling tale of a young man in search of a cure for his sister, who has been turned into a demon after their family is viciously slaughtered by demons. Fans can catch up on the entire series with the three-part TV specials, “Sibling’s Bond”, “Mt. Natagumo Arc” and “The Hashira Meeting Arc” on Funimation.

Merchandise for Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is available at Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba official website and Funimation Shop.

 

‘The Social Network,’ ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Oliver!’ Among Six Classics in Sony 4K Collection Coming Oct. 12

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is debuting six more classics on 4K Ultra HD disc for the first time ever Oct. 12, exclusively within the Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection Vol. 2.

Films in the collection, only available on 4K as part of the set, include Anatomy of a Murder, Oliver!, Taxi Driver, Stripes, Sense and Sensibility and The Social Network. Each title includes special features.

Included with the collection is a hardbound 80-page book, featuring in-depth sections about the making of each film via six new essays from writers Julie Kirgo, John Kenrick, Glenn Kenny, Michael G. McDunnah, Kayti Burt and Nev Pierce.

The set also includes an exclusive Blu-ray bonus disc featuring 20 short films from the Columbia Pictures library, all presented in high-definition. The shorts, curated from more than 80 years of the studio’s history, showcase a wide scope of creative output across both live-action and animation, from “The Three Stooges” to award-winning mid-century cartoons to titles from Sony Pictures Animation.

The courtroom drama Anatomy of a Murder was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture (1959). The film pits a humble small-town lawyer (James Stewart) against a hard-headed big-city prosecutor (George C. Scott). Emotions flare as a jealous army lieutenant (Ben Gazzara) pleads innocent to murdering the rapist of his seductive, beautiful wife (Lee Remick). Produced and directed by  Otto Preminger, the film features a score by Duke Ellington.

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The musical Oliver!, based on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, won six 1968 Academy Awards including Best Picture. It follows the story of a plucky young orphan and his quest for love and happiness in a world populated by Oscars rascals, rogues and thieves.

Winner of the prestigious Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival (1976) and nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Taxi Driver stars Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s classic film of a psychotic New York cabbie driven to violence by loneliness and desperation. The film co-stars Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel, Peter Boyle and Cybill Shepherd.

In the comedy classic Stripes (1981), when quick-witted slacker John Winger (Bill Murray) loses his apartment, girlfriend and job all in one day, he joins the army. Directed by Ivan Reitman, the film also stars Harold Ramis, John Candy and John Larroquette.

Nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture (1995), and directed by Ang Lee, Sense and Sensibility stars Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet and Hugh Grant. The romantic comedy, based on Jane Austen’s classic novel, tells the story of the Dashwood sisters, sensible Elinor (Thompson) and passionate Marianne (Winslet), whose chances at marriage seem doomed by their family’s sudden loss of fortune. Rickman, Grant and Greg Wise co-star as the well-intentioned suitors who are trapped by the strict rules of society and the conflicting laws of desire.

Nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture (2010), The Social Network, directed by David Fincher, chronicles the formation of Facebook and the battles over ownership that followed upon the website’s unfathomable success. With a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin and a cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake, the film bears witness to the birth of an idea that rewove the fabric of society even as it unraveled the friendship of its creators.

Update (8/24/21): Release date changed from Sept. 14 to Sept. 28.
Update (9/10/21): Date changed to Oct. 12.

Oscar-Nominated ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Swinging to Digital Feb. 26, Disc March 19 From Sony

Academy Award Nominee for Best Animated Feature Film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse swings to digital Feb. 26 and 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD March 19 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film, which has grossed more $350 million in theaters worldwide, introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where more than one can wear the iconic mask. The voice cast includes Shameik Moore as Morales alongside Jake Johnson (“New Girl”) as Peter B. Parker, Hailee Steinfeld (Bumblebee) as Gwen Stacy/Spider-Gwen, Mahershala Ali (Green Book) as Miles’ Uncle Aaron, Brian Tyree Henry (“Atlanta”) as Jefferson Davis, Lily Tomlin (“Grace and Frankie”) as Aunt May, Luna Lauren Velez (“How To Get Away with Murder”) as Rio Morales, Zoë Kravitz (“Big Little Lies”) as Mary Jane, John Mulaney (“Big Mouth”) as Spider-Ham, with Nicholas Cage (The Croods) as Spider-Man Noir, Kathryn Hahn (Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation) as Doc Ock and Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”) as the villain Kingpin.

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More than 90 minutes of bonus content includes the original short,  “Spider-Ham: Caught In a Ham,” in which Spider-Ham gets sucked into another dimension; “Alternate Universe Mode,” in which fans can view the film in a new way to discover alternate scenes, plotlines, characters and more with the filmmakers as their guide; “The Spider-Verse Super-Fan Easter Egg Challenge,” where viewers are challenged to find every single Easter Egg hidden within the Spider-Verse; “We Are Spider-Man,” which takes a deep dive into the diversity of the characters; “Spider-Verse: A New Dimension,” featuring the artists and filmmakers who pushed the boundaries of the comic artform; “The Ultimate Comics Cast,” about the characters and cast; “A Tribute to Stan Lee & Steve Ditko,” honoring the creators of Spider-Man; “Designing Cinematic Comics Characters,” a breakdown of the character design, including costume, movement in animation and distinct powers for each character; “Heroes & Hams,” about the Spider-people of the Spider-Verse; “Scorpions and Scoundrels,” about the villains; and two lyric videos, “Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee and “Familia”  by Nicki Minaj & Anuel AA (feat. Bantu).

Peter Rabbit

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Sony Pictures;
Family Comedy;
Box Office $114.6 million;
$30.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray $45.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG’ for some rude humor and action.
Stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rose Byrne, Sam Neill; Voices of James Corden, Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, Colin Moody, Sia.

The beloved illustrated books by Beatrix Potter are brought to life in a delightful adaptation that modernizes the adventures of Peter Rabbit and his friends and family with the seamless hybrid of cute CG animals and live-action.

Orphaned after the deaths of his mother and father, Peter (James Corden) and his sisters — Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki) and Cottontail (Daisy Ridley) — and cousin Benjamin (Colin Moody) scrape by on the vegetables they manage to swipe from the garden of Mr. McGregor (Sam Neill), and the kindness of his neighbor, the animal-loving Bea (Rose Byrne). But troublemaker Peter is all too willing to throw caution to the wind in tempting fate, and gets caught by the old farmer, only to be saved when McGregor drops dead of a heart attack.

Peter invites all the animals of the glade to invade McGregor’s house, only to be put out again by McGregor’s nephew, Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson), a Londoner who hopes to flip his inheritance for a profit and return to the city. He sets more traps to deter the rabbits, but falls in love with Bea when she comes over to ask him to let the animals into the garden.

Peter becomes jealous of Bea’s affections for Thomas, setting off a feud between the rabbit and the newcomer that leads to an escalating series of cartoonish pranks and gags.

The film isn’t afraid to poke fun at the conventions of similar talking-animal family films as it pushes the boundaries of the battles between Peter and Thomas. The visuals will draw in younger viewers while the rapid pace of the humor should keep adults entertained as well. The film also finds some clever ways to pay homage to Potter and the drawings of the original books.

The Blu-ray includes a three-minute short film called Flopsy Turvy, which focuses on the three sisters.

There’s also a seven-minute behind-the-scenes featurette and a dance-along “I Promise You” music video.

Movies Anywhere offers a two-minute digital featurette that celebrates the legacy of Beatrix Potter.