‘Underworld’ Film Collection Coming to 4K Oct. 5

The Underworld 4K Ultra HD Collection will be released on Oct. 5 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The limited-edition gift set includes all five vampire films on 4K Ultra HD disc with high dynamic range and Dolby Atmos audio.

The films will also be available digitally in 4K with HDR.

The collection includes Underworld (in both theatrical and extended versions), Underworld: Evolution, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Underworld: Awakening and Underworld: Blood Wars, as well as hours of standard-definition and HD bonus content for all five films, including the “Underworld: Endless War” animated shorts.

Chronicling the eternal battle between vampires and Lycans, the series stars Kate Beckinsale as the vampire Selene.

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Sports Film ’12 Mighty Orphans’ Due on Digital, DVD and Blu-ray Aug. 31 From Sony

The historical sports film 12 Mighty Orphans will come out on digital, DVD and Blu-ray Aug. 31 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

An official selection at the Tribeca Film Festival, the film stars Luke Wilson, Vinessa Shaw, Wayne Knight, Jake Austin Walker, with Robert Duvall and Martin Sheen.

It tells the true story of the Mighty Mites, the football team of a Fort Worth, Texas, orphanage who, during the Great Depression, went from playing without shoes — or even a football — to playing for the Texas state championships. Over the course of their winning season these underdogs and their resilient spirit became an inspiration to their city, state and an entire nation in need of a rebound, even catching the attention of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The architect of their success was Rusty Russell, a legendary high school coach who shocked his colleagues by giving up a privileged position so he could teach and coach at an orphanage. Few knew Rusty’s secret: that he himself was an orphan. Recognizing that his scrawny players couldn’t beat the other teams with brawn, Rusty developed innovative strategies that would come to define modern football.

Special features include deleted scenes.

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‘Here Today’ Headed to Digital July 20, Disc Aug. 3 From Sony

The comedic drama Here Today, starring Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish, will head to digital July 20, and to DVD and Blu-ray Disc Aug. 3, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, when veteran comedy writer Charlie Burnz (Crystal) meets New York singer Emma Payge (Haddish), they form an unlikely yet hilarious and touching friendship that kicks the generation gap aside and redefines the meaning of love and trust.

Inspired by the short story “The Prize” by Alan Zweibel, Here Today is directed by Crystal and also stars Penn Badgley, Laura Benanti, Louisa Krause, Anna Deavere Smith and Nyambi Nyambi.

Special features include audio commentary with Crystal, Haddish and writer Alan Zweibel and interviews with filmmakers and cast.

‘The Social Network,’ ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Oliver!’ Among Six Classics in Sony 4K Collection Coming Sept. 14

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is debuting six more classics on 4K Ultra HD disc for the first time ever Sept. 14, 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.

Warner’s ‘In The Heights’ Misses Weekend Box Office Projections; Sony’s ‘Peter Rabbit 2’ Performs as Expected

Warner Bros. Pictures’ Latino musical In The Heights was supposed to lure non-action/monster moviegoers back to theaters through June 13.

Instead, the theatrical adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2008 Broadway hit — which won four Tony awards, including best musical — sputtered, reportedly taking in about 60% ($11.4 million) of the movie’s projected $20 million theatrical gross across 3,456 screens.

Indeed, the movie was edged out by Paramount Pictures’ post-apocalyptic sequel A Quiet Place Part II for top-grossing weekend domestic release with a reported $11.65 million in revenue. The latter has grossed more than $108 million in three weeks at U.S. theaters.

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Despite enhanced studio promotion and strong critical reviews, the ensemble cast-driven Heights was perhaps undermined by its simultaneous availability for free on HBO Max. The movie will likely generate more than 1 million Max household views — which has been the average for most non-blockbuster 2021 Warner titles released concurrently in theaters.

Meanwhile, Sony Pictures sequel Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway performed as expected, generating an estimated $10.4 million across 3,346 screens, and on par with studio estimates ranging from $8 million to $10 million. Sony expects the live-action sequel with CGI animals to post an extended theatrical run and come close to the original’s $351.5 million global run.

Separately, Warner’s horror threequel The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It reportedly generated $10 million, to bring its domestic total to $43.6 million.

 

Weekend Box Office Preview: Sony Returns; Warner Hits ‘The Heights’

NEWS ANALYSIS — The emerging domestic box office in the pandemic era gets a dose of family friendly fare the weekend ending June 13  — driven by the return of Sony Pictures and, separately, Warner Bros.’ adaptation of a Lin-Manuel Miranda Broadway play.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Sony Pictures has largely remained on the sidelines, repeatedly delaying its major theatrical releases until market conditions improved. With the June 10 release of Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, Sony is back with a major sequel to its 2018 sleeper hit that generated more than $351 million at the global box office.

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The oft-delayed sequel, featuring the voices of James Corden, Margot Robbie and Lennie James, among others, is projected by Sony to generate upwards of $11 million — less than half of the original’s $25 million opening weekend. The sequel has already generated $45.8 million globally, led by U.K. with $6.5 million in ticket sales.

Warner’s In The Heights

Meanwhile, Warner has pulled out the stops promoting In The Heights, a theatrical adaptation of Miranda’s 2008 Broadway hit that won four Tony awards, including best musical. The movie is directed by Jon Chu, who hit box office gold in 2018 with Crazy Rich Asians.

Heights, like all of Warner’s 2021 theatrical slate, will have a concurrent release on HBO Max for 31 days. Warner, which is releasing the movie on 3,400 screens in the U.S., is banking on a recent Fandango survey that found a vast majority of respondents cited the film as a reason to return to theaters. The movie has a 97% favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Miranda’s previously-planned theatrical release Hamilton was instead diverted by Disney to its subscription streaming platform at the beginning of the pandemic when theaters closed worldwide.

Jim Henson’s ‘Labyrinth’ Coming to 4K Ultra HD Aug. 17 for 35th Anniversary

The Jim Henson fantasy Labyrinth will debut on 4K Ultra HD Aug. 17 for its 35th anniversary from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The 1986 film follows a 16-year-old girl (Jennifer Connelly) who is given 13 hours to solve a dangerous and wonderful labyrinth and rescue her baby brother when her wish for him to be taken away is granted by the Goblin King (the late David Bowie).

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The release will feature Dolby Vision and an hour of new and archival special features. The limited-edition collectible set also includes a 28-page Digibook — featuring artwork, photography and early script pages — styled to resemble Sarah’s book of The Labyrinth from the film.

Drama ‘Life in a Year’ Coming to Digital and On Demand June 22

The drama  Life in a Year, starring Jaden Smith and Cara Delevingne, will come out on digital and on demand June 22 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The story follows Daryn (Smith), a high school track star, scholar and aspiring rapper, who learns that his girlfriend Isabelle (Delevingne) is sick. He then plans to gift her a life’s worth of experiences in the last year she has left.

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The film also stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and Nia Long.

Executive producers include Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and James Lassiter.

Sony Corp. CEO: Sony Pictures Not For Sale

Following separate high-profile industry mergers involving WarnerMedia and Discovery, and Amazon and MGM, Sony Pictures, which has no branded streaming service, might seem a logical acquisition target.

Not happening, according to Sony Corp. CEO Kenichiro Yoshida. In an interview with the Financial Times, Yoshida said the studio remains key to Sony’s ongoing strategy distributing content across music, films, video games and animation. Observers contend Sony Pictures Entertainment could fetch upwards of $30 billion on the M&A market.

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“There is a drastic realignment in the media industry, but I think our strategy of creating content as an independent studio while working with various partners will work,” Yoshida said.

Indeed, rather than try and reinvent the streaming video wheel with a branded service as Warner Bros., Disney, Lionsgate and Paramount have done, Sony Pictures inked separate Pay 1 deals with Netflix and Disney+, among others.

“I think the reason we were able to sign good deals with Netflix and Disney is because they were attracted to our PlayStation Productions pipeline,” Yoshida said. “We can strengthen our ability to create content through such group-wide collaboration.”

The CEO admitted the company had looked at MGM, which Amazon acquired for $8.45 billion, which includes distribution rights to “James Bond” movies. Sony, like Comcast, had reportedly valued MGM’s assets around $6 billion.

“I think MGM has an incredible library, but everything comes with a price and that needs to be considered,” Yoshida said.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment reported fourth-quarter and fiscal-year 2020 (ended March 31) revenue of $139 million and $778 million respectively. That was down 54% ($164 million) and 15% ($140 million), respectively, from the previous-year period that ended just as the COVID-19 pandemic started. Overall studio revenue dropped 24% to $7.1 billion, from $9.3 billion in fiscal-year 2019.

 

Horror Film ‘The Unholy’ Due on Digital May 25, Disc June 22

The horror film The Unholy will be available for digital purchase May 25, and on Blu-ray, DVD and on demand June 22 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Based on James Herbert’s best-selling book Shrine, the film follows a young hearing-impaired girl who is visited by the Virgin Mary and can suddenly hear, speak and heal the sick. As people from near and far flock to witness her miracles, a disgraced journalist (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) hoping to revive his career visits a small New England town to investigate. As terrifying events begin to happen all around him, he starts questioning if these miracles are the works of the Virgin Mary or something much more sinister.

The film is produced by Sam Raimi (Evil Dead).

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