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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Paramount Releasing ‘Braveheart,’ ‘Gladiator’ 4K Steelbooks

Paramount Home Entertainment will re-release Best Picture Oscar winners Braveheart and Gladiator as Steelbook 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo packs June 16.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, 1995’s Braveheart stars Mel Gibson, who also directed, as William Wallace, who rallies Scotland to fight for liberation from English rule. The 4K Steelbook includes access to a digital copy of the film and previously released commentary by Mel Gibson on both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray presentations, along with more than two hours of previously released bonus content, including interactive timelines, a making-of documentary, multiple behind-the-scenes featurettes, and more.

Director Ridley Scott’s 2000 film Gladiator celebrates its 20th anniversary. It stars Russell Crowe as a Roman general who is betrayed by a corrupt prince (Joaquin Phoenix) and comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.  The 4K Steelbook includes access to a digital copy of the film and both theatrical and extended versions of the feature on 4K Ultra HD, along with two separate commentaries.  The two Blu-ray Discs included in the set boast over four hours of previously released bonus content, including commentaries on both versions of the film, a comprehensive documentary about the making of the movie, featurettes, deleted scenes, and more.

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Update (4/20/20): The original street date of May 5 was changed to June 16 by Paramount.

Japanese Animated Classics ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’, ‘Ponyo’ Heading Home on Blu-ray Disc, DVD on May 12

Studio Ghibli and GKIDS, with distribution by Shout! Factory, have set a May 12 home release date for a pair of Japanese animated fantasies, Howl’s Moving Castle and Ponyo.

Both titles will be released as a limited-edition Steelbook Blu-ray Disc and DVD set.

Howl’s Moving Castle grossed $235 million at the global box office, while Ponyo took in $203 million. Both films are from Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki. Howl’s Moving Castle was made with CGI; Ponyo, in contrast, was hand-drawn.

Howl’s Moving Castle features a quiet girl named Sophie who works in a hat shop, who finds her life thrown into a turmoil when she is swept off her feet by a handsome but mysterious wizard named Howl. The vengeful Witch of the Waste grows jealous of their friendship, and puts a curse on Sophie that turns her into a 90-year-old woman.  As Sophie embarks on a quest to break the spell, she finds herself fighting to protect them both from a dangerous war of sorcery that threatens the world.

Animation World Network says Howl’s Moving Castle “is perhaps Miyazaki’s most phantasmagorical film yet, surpassing even Spirited Away in its astonishing imagery and supernatural logic. In the film’s first few minutes, blobby tar baby demons wearing straw hats bubble out from beneath paving stones and retreat en masse into a tiny teapot; a wizard rescues a damsel in distress by taking her for a stroll in mid-air; the eponymous construction, a haphazard heap of cottages, turrets and decrepit machinery, is glimpsed through misty clouds, striding on a quartet of gigantic mechanical bird legs; and a goiter-necked witch transforms a young girl into a wizened old woman.”

Bonus features include feature-length storyboards, TV spots, an interview with Diana Wynne Jones, and mini-documentaries on Miyazaki’s visit to Pixar, CGI, and the creation of the film’s soundtrack. The disc package also comes with an eight-page booklet.

Ponyo follows the story of a young boy who lives on a clifftop overlooking the sea, who discovers more than he bargained for after rescuing a stranded goldfish named Ponyo. A young, curious, and energetic creature, Ponyo yearns to be human. Even as she causes chaos around the house, her father, a powerful sorcerer, schemes to return her to the sea.

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Bonus features include feature-length storyboards, TV spots, and several documentaries: “The Five Geniuses Who Created Ponyo,” “Press Conference: Theme Song Announcement,” a featurette on the opening event at Hibiya Scala-Za Theatre, an interview with both  Miyazaki and producer (and former Studio Ghibli president) Toshio Suzuki, and more.

 

‘A Quiet Place’ Coming in 4K UHD Steelbook Before Sequel’s Theatrical Debut

Director John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place will come out in a Mondo X Steelbook 4K Ultra HD combo pack March 10 from Paramount Home Entertainment — just before the theatrical debut of its sequel March 20.

In the thriller, a family must navigate their lives in silence to avoid mysterious creatures that hunt by sound. Knowing that even the slightest whisper or footstep can bring death, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee (Krasinski) Abbott are determined to find a way to protect their children at all costs while they desperately search for a way to fight back.

The Mondo X SteelBook collaboration #038 features exclusive artwork inspired by Matt Ryan Tobin’s atmospheric poster highlighting the film’s iconic red string lights.

The 4K Ultra HD disc features a Dolby Atmos soundtrack and Dolby Vision.

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The Blu-ray in the 4K Ultra HD combo pack includes more than 30 minutes of bonus content, including the featurettes “Creating the Quiet”; “The Sound of Darkness,” about the editing; and “A Reason for Silence,” about the visual effects.

Merchandising: ‘Rise of Skywalker’ Home Video Exclusives Unveiled

With the film in theaters for less than a week, Target and Best Buy are already touting preorders for their exclusive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray editions of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker due sometime in 2020.

With a light slate of new releases on Dec. 24, the retail chains the day before Christmas otherwise offered deep discounts on catalog titles.

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Target’s exclusive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition is available for a $34.99 preorder and comes with a 4K disc, a regular Blu-ray disc, a digital code for the film, a filmmaker gallery book and exclusive bonus content. The box art features artwork inspired by one of the classic posters for the original 1977 “Star Wars” movie.

Target’s ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

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Best Buy is offering a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack with Steelbook packaging for $34.99.

Best Buy’s ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Steelbook

Best Buy is also selling an exclusive nine-film “Skywalker Saga” 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray boxed set for $249.99. This marks the first 4K disc releases for the first six films of the franchise.

Best Buy’s ‘Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga’ 4K Blu-ray Boxed Set

An all-region version of the “Skywalker Saga” set is also available for preorder through the Amazon U.K. site. The listing indicates a 27-disc set, which would account for a 4K, regular Blu-ray and bonus disc for each film.

Merchandising: Exclusives for ‘Once’ and ‘It’

Retailers had plenty of exclusives lined up for Sony Pictures’ Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Warner’s It: Chapter Two for their Blu-ray release Dec. 10.

For Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Target offered a $24.99 Blu-ray with a pack-on replica of a film magazine that focused on the fictional career of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in the film.

Walmart’s ‘It’ Double Feature Blu-ray

Walmart had a $22.96 Blu-ray with pack-on postcard replicas of posters of the character’s fictional movies.

Packaging for both the Target and Walmart versions was similar in that they had a slipcover with artwork of the exclusive prominently displayed, and the Blu-ray-cased sized exclusive on the back of the case under the shrinkwrap.

Best Buy offered a Steelbook version of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack for $32.99.

Best Buy’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Steelbook

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For It: Chapter Two, Target offered $5 worth of free popcorn and candy with the purchase of the film in any format.

Walmart had an exclusive Blu-ray double feature of the two “It” films for $27.96.

Best Buy’s offered a Steelbook edition of the It: Chapter Two 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for $34.99.

Best Buy’s ‘It: Chapter Two’ Steelbook

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Target seems to have instituted a new policy regarding DVD and Blu-ray returns. In addition to the standard of only exchanging opened titles with copies of the same title, Target’s computers might allow unopened titles to be exchanged only for a store gift card and not a refund to the original payment method. A clerk at one store didn’t know if this was a temporary change tied to Black Friday promotions or a permanent policy.

30th Anniversary ‘Hunt for Red October’ Steelbook Set for February Release

Paramount Home Entertainment has set a Feb. 25 home release date for The Hunt For Red October: 30th Anniversary Limited Collectors Edition.

The 4k Ultra HD/Blu-ray Disc combo comes packaged in a limited-edition Steelbook. The combo pack includes access to a digital copy of the film, as well as commentary by director John McTiernan. Also included is a behind-the-scenes featurette, “Beneath the Surface.”

The 1990 techno-thriller, an adaption of Tom Clancy’s 1984 debut novel, stars Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin. The Hunt for Red October earned more than $122 million at the domestic box office to become the year’s No. 6 movie — behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at No. 5 and Pretty Woman at No. 4. Home Alone was the year’s No. 1 earner.

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The film follows a Soviet submarine captain, Marko Ramius (Connery), who goes rogue with his country’s cutting-edge ballistic missile submarine known as Red October. The Soviets tell Americans he is planning to launch missiles on the United States, but CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Baldwin) thinks otherwise and tries to prove to the U.S. forces that the Red October isn’t a threat.

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The Hunt for Red October received mostly positive reviews from critics. At the 63rd Academy Awards, the film was honored with an Oscar for Best Sound Editing, along with nominations for Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing.

 

‘Big Trouble in Little China’ Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Coming Dec. 3 From Scream Factory

Indie home entertainment distributor Shout! Factory’s horror imprint, Scream Factory, is bringing director John Carpenter’s 1986 cult classic Big Trouble in Little China back to Blu-ray in a big way Dec. 3 with a new collector’s edition and a number of packaging options for fans.

Kurt Russell stars as tough-talking truck driver Jack Burton, who gets pulled into a supernatural adventure to rescue his best friend’s fiancée from a dangerous, magical world beneath San Francisco’s Chinatown. The cast also includes Kim Cattrall, James Hong and Dennis Dun.

Scream Factory’s two-disc Blu-ray set includes a trove of new bonus material.

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The first disc will include the film with a new audio commentary by producer Larry Franco, a new commentary by special effects artist Steve Johnson moderated by filmmaker Anthony C. Ferrante, and the legacy commentary with Carpenter and Russell from previous home video releases. An isolated score track also will be available. The disc also includes previously released material such as deleted and extended scenes, an extended ending, a vintage audio interview with John Carpenter, electronic press kit interviews and profiles, theatrical trailers, TV spots, a gag reel, a music video and photo galleries.

The second disc will include a vintage featurette and an interview with visual effects artist Richard Edlund from previous disc releases; interviews with Carpenter, Russell, Franco, director of photography Dean Cundey and stuntman Jeff Imada; and hours of new interviews, including actors Dun, Hong, Donald Li, Carter Wong, Peter Kwong and Al Leong, writers W.D. Richter and Gary Goldman, associate producer/martial arts choreographer James Lew, The Coupe De Ville’s member Nick Castle, second unit director/The Coupe De Ville’s member Tommy Lee Wallace, and movie poster artist Drew Struzan.

The Shout! Factory store at ShoutFactory.com is offering fans five different special offers for preorders of the title.

One is the collector’s edition Blu-ray with an exclusive 18-inch x 24-inch rolled poster of the new cover art by Laz Marquez.

‘Big Trouble in Little China’ Steelbook

The second is the collector’s edition in limited-edition Steelbook packaging.

The third is the Steelbook with an exclusive 28.5-inch x 16.5-inch rolled lithograph of the new Steelbook artwork by Nat Marsh, and a 7-inch green vinyl record by Sacred Bones, featuring music composed by John Carpenter and recorded by him, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies, with a slipcase with new art by frequent Carpenter collaborator Chris Bilheimer. Limited to 2,500 copies, the A-side includes the 2017 version of the main theme, “Porkchop Express (Big Trouble in Little China),” and the B-side contains a never-before-released recording of “The Alley War,” recorded in 2019.

The fourth bundle includes the Blu-ray with slipcover, rolled poster and green vinyl album.

The fifth option includes both the standard and Steelbook Blu-rays of the collector’s edition, the artwork posters for both editions, and the limited-edition record.

Preorders of the collector’s edition or Steelbook bundled with a purple vinyl variant of the 7-inch record are available from Sacredbonesrecords.com.

‘RoboCop,’ ‘Flowers in the Attic’ on November 2019 Disc Slate From Arrow and MVD

The 1980s sci-fi actioner RoboCop, Flowers in the Attic and a 1950s James Stewart classic western are among the five titles on the November Blu-ray slate from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

Due Nov. 5 is the horror flick Apprentice to Murder. Chad Lowe, younger brother to Rob, stars as Billy, a young man who falls under the spell of folk magic healer Dr. Reese (Donald Sutherland). As the two begin to investigate a strange sickness infesting their community, the lines between good and evil start to blur. Bonus features include a video interview on religious horror with Kat Ellinger, author and editor-in-chief of Diabolique Magazine; new audio commentary by author and critic Bryan Reesman; a new video interview with cinematographer Kelvin Pike; a new video interview with makeup supervisor Robin Grantham; the theatrical trailer; and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Haunt Love.

Nov. 12 comes Flowers in the Attic, based on VC Andrews’ novel, a Gothic tale about four siblings locked away in the attic by their evil grandmother (Louise Fletcher). Originally panned by critics, director Jeffrey Bloom’s adaptation has developed a cult following over the years. The new Arrow release comes loaded with special features including new interviews and the original, studio-vetoed ending.

Also due Nov. 12 is Anthony Mann’s Technicolor western The Far Country, in which James Stewart stars as an adventurer that bumps heads with a corrupt judge (John McIntire). Despite being filmed in Canada, The Far Country is one of the rare westerns to be set in Alaska. The two-disc limited edition release features the film in two aspect ratios with a new 4K restoration.

Irvin Berwick’s Hitchhike to Hell hits Blu-ray for the first time on Nov. 19. Inspired by the brutal crimes of the “Co-ed Killer” Edmund Kemper, Hitchhike to Hell is a classic slice of American exploitation. Extras include a newly filmed appreciation by Nightmare USA author Stephen Thrower; “Road to Nowhere: Hitchhiking Culture Goes to Hell,” a new video essay by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas exploring the dark side of hitchhiking in the real world and on the screen; a reversable sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil; and for the first pressing only, a collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Heather Drain.

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Finally, Nov. 26 comes Paul Verhoeven’s action classic RoboCop. Set in the not-too-distant future, RoboCop is the story of officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) who is gunned down in the line of duty before being brought back to life as a half-man/half-machine crime-fighter. This new limited-edition release features the director’s cut and the original theatrical release, both presented with a 4K restoration approved by Verhoeven himself. Among the numerous extras are a limited edition collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Omar Ahmed, Christopher Griffiths and Henry Blyth, as well as a 1987 Fangoria interview with Rob Bottin and archive publicity materials (some contents exclusive to the limited edition); archive commentary by Verhoeven, executive producer Jon Davison and co-writer Ed Neumeier (originally recorded for the theatrical cut and re-edited in 2014 for the director’s cut); and new commentary by film historian Paul M. Sammon. RoboCop will be available in standard and steelbook editions.

Merchandising: Best Buy Offers ‘Hellboy’ Steelbook

Best Buy Oct. 15 offered a Steelbook edition of Sony Pictures’ new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version of the 2004 Hellboy movie.

Otherwise, a slow week for new releases didn’t yield much in the way of retailer promotions.

Target offered a number of Halloween-themed titles for sale on disc, such as Disney’s Hocus Pocus on DVD for $5 and Blu-ray for $10; The Nightmare Before Christmas Blu-ray for $10; DVDs of the first two “Hotel Transylvania” movies for $4 each and the DVD of the third movie for $10; and Paramount’s DVD double feature of The Addams Family and Addams Family Values for $5.

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