‘The Color Purple’ Debuting on 4K Ultra HD Disc and Digital Dec. 5

As part of the year-long celebration for the 100th anniversary of Warner Bros. Studio, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the period drama The Color Purple (1985) from Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan) on 4K Ultra HD disc and digital for the first time Dec. 5.

The film, based on Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, stars Danny Glover, Adolph Caesar, Margaret Avery, Rae Dawn Chong, Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey in her film debut. It follows Southern Black woman Celie from 1909 to 1949 as she gradually gains self-respect and strives to educate herself and to find love — despite an abusive spouse and a society biased against her race and her sex.

The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Whoopi Goldberg), Best Supporting Actress (Margaret Avery, Oprah Winfrey), Best Screenplay — Based on Material from Another Medium, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Original Score and Best Original Song. 

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The release includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the theatrical version of the feature film in 4K with HDR and a digital download of the film. Extras on the disc include:

  • “Conversations with the Ancestors: The Color Purple from Book to Screen”
  • “A Collaboration of Spirits: Casting and Acting The Color Purple”
  • “Cultivating a Classic: The Making of The Color Purple”
  • “The Color Purple: The Musical”
  • teaser No. 1
  • teaser No. 2
  • the trailer


The digital release includes those extras plus “The Color Purple: A Bold New Take,” a featurette on the 2023 The Color Purple film.

The Fabelmans


Box Office $17.12 million;
$19.98 DVD, $24.98 Blu-ray, $34.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some strong language, thematic elements, brief violence and drug use.  
Stars Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Gabriel LaBelle, Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, Jeannie Berlin.

It can be argued that a surefire formula for a director making it into the Pantheon is a continued commitment to perpetual growth through experimentation, reenvisioning life as seen through a lens, and transforming even the most mundane studio assignment into a demanding journey to the heart of cinema. Rather than following in the footsteps of such prolific filmmakers as Clint Eastwood and Woody Allen, after a self-imposed 3-year hiatus Steven Spielberg returned to multiplexes with West Side Story, as unnecessary a remake as anything this side of Gus Van Sant’s Psycho. Next up, the second installment in the “I’ve Run Out of Things to Say” trilogy: the personal narrative, which, for many a green director, provides an ideal jumping off point. Once upon a time there was a colleague who assured me that no matter my level of dislike, there was at least one positive thing to be found in every picture. I promise you dear reader, that in the end, I will have found something praiseworthy to say of The Fabelmans.

George Lucas and Spielberg swapped intergalactic box office hits before teaming on Raiders of the Lost Ark, the structure of which had more climaxes than a James Deen compilation. It was Raiders that started me on the rocky path to Spielbergia. And so it went: the director, who has never revealed a pronounced allergy to fudging, couldn’t get E.T. to phone home, yet the little feller managed to pilot a full-grown boy, on a bicycle, past the moon for the film’s money shot. Then there’s the director as historian. Remember the 24-sheet ballyhooing Gone With the Wind on display in Empire of the Sun? Do you think Jean-Luc Godard or Martin Scorsese would have been careless enough to use 1968 reissue artwork in a film set in the 1940s? In Schindler’s List, or as a friend took to calling it, Oskar Schindler and the Temple of Doom, the only way Spielberg could get a character to stand out in a black-and-white film was through colorized attire. And given the film’s lumbering pace and “Hall of Presidents” anamorphic tableaus, if Abraham Lincoln was as dull as the biopic, could you really blame the South for seceding from the Union? The only Spielberg film I found myself returning to is 1941, and then more for A.D. Flowers’ special effects and cinematographer William Fraker’s sublime nightwork.

Meet The Fabelmans. Little Sammy Fabelman’s (Mateo Zoryan Francis-DeFord as a youth and Gabriel LaBelle in his teens) introduction to the movies arrives in the form of a cuddly meet-cute. The future Cecil B. De Mille stands trembling in line with mother Mitzi (Michelle Williams) and dad Burt (Paul Dano) to see the greatest showman on film’s Oscar-winning circus picture, The Greatest Show on Earth. Anticipatory anxiety rode high when Sammy confessed to being overcome with fear, terrified that sitting in a dark room filled with strangers could be too much for him. Brainiac Burt talks the tyke down by bringing him up to speed on the merits of visual perception and persistence of vision. Burt Fabelman is a decent man, an upright figure endowed with the kind of moral turpitude that would make Ward Cleaver look like Alex Murdaugh. Spielberg came up with the story decades ago but couldn’t bring himself to directing a film he feared might hurt his parents.

Spielberg used the first camera his folks bought him to trace De Mille’s spectacular trainwreck. This was soon followed by Escape to Nowhere, a 40-minute war film he directed at age 13 with a cast composed of high school cronies. He completed the film in 1959, three years before the release of How the West Was Won, yet a piece of Alfred Newman’s score is heard as background accompaniment. As a historian, Spielberg was a terrific popcorn salesman.

Burt is by all accounts a genial genius who adored his work almost as much as he did his family. In the mid-fifties, Burt becomes a valued member of General Electric’s computer department. The work called for considerable relocation; it was his job that gradually brings the Fabelmans to California. Mitzi is a concert pianist who grows cold living life in her husband’s shadow. Mitzi eventually takes up with Burt’s best friend Bennie Lowey (Seth Rogan). When the Fabelmans divorce in 1965, Sammy goes to live with his father. Mitzi and Bennie eventually wed, but one can’t help but think Sammy had a hand in the breakup going public. There’s something uber creepy about Sammy and Mitzi’s relationship. Spielberg told 60 Minutes that Leah Spielberg was like an older sister. Even though mom was the one caught cheating, Spielberg blamed his father for the break-up. “I kind of put her up on a pedestal,” Spielberg continued. “And my dad was much more terrestrial, much more grounded, much more salt of the earth. And for some reason, it was easier for me to blame him than it was to someone who I had already exalted.”

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While on a family camping trip, Mitzi, who has a few too many, dances seductively, her see-through negligee back-lit by a car’s headlights. Rather than aborting the shot, a turned-on Sammy keeps the camera rolling. This isn’t the only time his lens spied something it shouldn’t have. The next day, he surreptitiously captures footage of the cuckolders openly cavorting in deep focus behind his father and sisters. Acting as though nothing happened, it isn’t until the footage comes back from the lab that Sammy is overcome with shock. How could he not have noticed the kiss while filming? Hell, he panned up to it! It was Kurt Vonnegut who once said, “Nothing’s real to some people unless they’ve got photographs.” In Sammy’s case, truth comes to light only when projected. He ultimately blames himself for filming it in the first place.

Scenes of anti-semtism are as clumsily addressed as they are inevitable. The first confrontation takes place after a high school volleyball match. The dialogue and situations are such, one keeps waiting for Beaver Cleaver to enter and say, “Gee, Wally. Eddie Haskell called us ‘kikes.’” Once again, Sammy blames Burt; the family never might have crossed paths with anti-semites had his father not moved the family from Arizona. A subsequent relationship with Monica Sherwood (Chloe East), a sugary, hot-to-trot gentile classmate looking to make it with a handsome Jewish boy (just like Jesus) has nothing on Screech and Lisa Turtle.

Jeannie Berlin and Judd Hirsh pop up in a couple of memorable cameos, but the film’s biggest laugh arrives when Sammy’s sister asks when he’s going to make a film with girls. Judging by Spielberg’s track record, the answer is never. And as advertised, here’s the positive note I promised to close on. It can be summed up in five words: David Lynch as John Ford.

Bonus features include a trio of fawning behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Spielberg’s Golden Globe-Winning ‘The Fabelmans’ Due on Digital Jan. 17, Disc Feb. 14

Director Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical film The Fabelmans, which earned Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture — Drama and Best Director for Spielberg, will be available to own on digital Jan. 17 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 14  from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Inspired by Spielberg’s own childhood, the drama is a coming-of-age story about a young man uncovering a shattering family secret and the power of film and imagination to help us see the truth about ourselves and each other.

The cast includes Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea, My Week With Marilyn), Paul Dano (The Batman, There Will Be Blood), Seth Rogen (Steve Jobs, An American Pickle), Gabriel LaBelle (The Predator, “American Gigolo”) and Academy Award nominee Judd Hirsch (Uncut Gems, Ordinary People). 

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The DVD, Blu-ray, 4K and digital versions include the featurette “The Fabelmans: A Personal Journey,” in which Spielberg reflects on how the film is inspired by his own personal story and family.

The Blu-ray, 4K and digital versions also include the featurettes “Family Dynamics,” which explores how the film’s cast brought the story to life, and “Crafting the World of The Fabelmans,” which explores the costume and set design and music and cinematography.

Classic ‘E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial’ Due on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital Oct. 18 for 40th Anniversary

Director Steven Spielberg’s 1982 blockbuster E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial will be released on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and 4K digital purchase Oct. 18 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment for its 40th anniversary.

The release of the four-time Academy Award winner, including an award for Best Original Score from legendary composer John Williams, includes more than 45 minutes of new bonus features, including a retrospective of the film and its lasting legacy and a featurette with Spielberg reflecting on his career and the making of E.T. 40 years later.  The release also includes all the original bonus features, including deleted scenes, a cast and filmmaker reunion, a discussion with John Williams about the iconic music from the film, and more.

The family friendly story follows the journey of a lost alien and the 10-year-old boy he befriends, Elliot (Henry Thomas). The film also stars a young Drew Barrymore and Robert MacNaughton as his siblings who come together with Elliot to help E.T. find his way back home. 

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Three premium limited editions will be available at select retailers for a limited time only:

  • E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Gift Set (4K UHD plus Blu-ray plus digital), which includes the movie, collectible tin tote, thermos, booklet and certificate of authenticity (Amazon exclusive);
  • E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 40th Anniversary Limited Edition (4K UHD plus Blu-ray plus digital), which includes movie and collectible BendyFigs figurine (Walmart.com exclusive); and
  • E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Steelbook (4K UHD plus Blu-ray plus digital), which includes a newly designed cover (Target exclusive).

Horror Classic ‘Poltergeist’ Due on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital Sept. 20

The 1982 horror classic Poltergeist will be released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack and digital  Sept. 20 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Written by Steven Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper, the film stars JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Zelda Rubinstein, Beatrice Straight and Heather O’Rourke.

In the film, suburbanites Steve (Nelson) and Diane (Williams) suddenly experience paranormal activity in their home. What starts off as minor excitement quickly turns into nasty ghostly encounters. The disappearance of their daughter Carol Anne (O’Rourke) forces the Freelings to bring in parapsychologists and a professional exorcist.

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Special features on the Blu-ray Disc include “They Are Here: The Real World of Poltergeists Pt. 1 — Science of the Spirits”; “They Are Here: The Real World of Poltergeists Pt. 2 — Communing with the Dead”; “The Making of Poltergeist”; and the trailer.

SeaQuest DSV: The Complete Series


Mill Creek;
$85.99 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Roy Scheider, Jonathan Brandis, Stephanie Beacham, Stacy Haiduk, Don Franklin, John D’Aquino, Royce D. Applegate, Ted Raimi, Marco Sanchez, Rosalind Allen, Edward Kerr, Kathy Evison, Michael DeLuise, Peter DeLuise, Michael Ironside, Elise Neal.

The success of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in the late 1980s gave rise to all sorts of knockoffs and attempts to cash in on the subsequent sci-fi adventure craze that flourished in the early 1990s. NBC’s entry into this zeitgeist, premiering in 1993, was “SeaQuest DSV,” which was essentially just “Star Trek” underwater.

Set in the “far off” year of 2018, the show starred Roy Scheider as Nathan Bridger, captain of the SeaQuest, a massive submarine (deep-submergence vehicle — the DSV of the title) that patrolled Earth’s oceans conducting military defense and scientific studies. In the SeaQuest future, mankind had taken to colonizing Earth’s oceans, leading to the formation of a global government called the United Earth Oceans Organization, which was tasked with keeping the peace against rogue nations and pirates.

Scheider was an inspired bit of casting to lead the series, given his association to aquatic adventures from the “Jaws” movies. Steven Spielberg was one of the executive producers of the series and no doubt lent it more credibility in that regard.

The series certainly didn’t skimp when it came to guest stars, boasting a line-up that included William Shatner, Mark Hamill, Michael York, Kent McCord, Dom DeLuise, Shelley Hack and Charlton Heston. The pilot movie was directed by none other than Empire Strikes Back helmer Irvin Kershner; this would be the final directing credit of his career (he died in 2010).

The cast also included Jonathan Brandis as Lucas, a teenage prodigy who served as the ship’s computer expert. Tossing a kid into the mix to appear to younger viewers, despite how much it strained credibility, was practically a requisite for these kinds of shows following the prominence of Wesley Crusher on TNG. The move paid off for the show, as Brandis became a popular teen idol in the 1990s, but he would ultimately succumb to the pressures of being a child actor, killing himself in 2003 at the age of 27 after a stalled career led him to start drinking heavily.

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The show’s most notorious element was the character of Darwin, a highly trained dolphin that could speak to the crew thanks to a translation program in the ship’s computer. He was most commonly referred to as the show’s “talking dolphin,” which was a bit of a misnomer as the technology as presented in the show could theoretically be used to communicate with any number of dolphins.

The first season of 24 episodes dealt more with the scientific themes such as conservation and climate science that originally inspired the series. Noted oceanographer Dr. Bob Ballard, aka the guy who found the wreckage of the Titanic, served as the technical advisor and would appear at the end of episodes to present factoids about marine science. The show was also one of the first to make heavy use of CGI for its visual effects.

While it was an expensive series to produce, “SeaQuest” wasn’t a ratings juggernaut, prompting extensive meddling from the network. The show’s tone and creative direction ended up being re-tooled every year it was on.

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The second season of 22 episodes veered the show more into the realm of science-fantasy, with storylines involving genetic engineering, ESP and aliens. In the season finale, the sub is literally plucked from Earth by an alien ship and dumped into the middle of a civil war in the ocean of a far-away planet.

This prompted the final overhaul of the series — renamed “SeaQuest 2032” in season three, which only lasted 13 episodes. While the storylines were more grounded, the show’s tone was more militaristic, as SeaQuest was tasked with leading efforts to contain a growing dictatorship encroaching on the UEO. Bridger was replaced by Capt. Oliver Hudson, played by Michael Ironside, as Scheider appeared in only a handful of episodes due to contractual obligations.

The bigger sin of the third season, however, is that it ditches John Debney’s Emmy-winning theme tune. It’s a sweeping melody that instantly captures the spirit of seafaring adventure, even it sounds a lot like the “Star Wars” theme with a few notes altered.

This great-looking Blu-ray set marks the first North American disc release of the third season. The first two seasons were released on DVD by Universal more than a decade ago.

Those DVDs included some deleted scenes that are also presented on the new Blu-ray, which also includes several new interviews with the creative forces behind the series, including Debney, series creator Rockne S. O’Bannon, and directors Bryan Spicer, John T. Kretchmer and Anson Williams (the latter best remembered for playing Potsie on “Happy Days”).

Each interview is presented as a separate featurette that runs about 10 minutes and provides some fun insights into the creative direction of the series and the state of sci-fi television at the time.

The 57 total episodes are presented mostly in airdate order, with a few adjustments to fix some major continuity problems with episodes that were originally shown out of order by the network.

March 15 Home Releases: ‘Spider-Man’ Available Digitally, ‘West Side Story’ Arrives on DVD, Blu-ray Disc

March 15 sees the digital release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, as well as the Blu-ray and DVD release of the West Side Story remake.

The Marvel Studios film Spider-Man: No Way Home arrives for digital purchase March 15 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. As the film begins, the friendly neighborhood hero’s identity is revealed, bringing his superhero responsibilities into conflict with his normal life and putting those he cares about most at risk, including MJ (Zendaya). When he enlists Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) help to restore his secret, the spell tears a hole in the world, releasing the most powerful villains who’ve ever fought a Spider-Man in any universe. Peter (Tom Holland) will have to overcome his greatest challenge yet, which will not only forever alter his own future but the future of the Multiverse. Spider-Man: No Way Home earned $792.3 million at the domestic box office and $1.877 billion worldwide, making it the top grossing film of 2021 in both arenas (as well as No. 3 all time in North America and No. 6 all time globally). It arrives on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc April 12.

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution march 15 releases director Steven Spielberg’s remake of the classic musical West Side Story on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. West Side Story, based on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, was originally released on Broadway in 1957, and was previously adapted for film in 1961, winning Best Picture at the Oscars. It tells the tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1950s New York City. The remake, which is nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, stars Ansel Elgort (Tony); Ariana DeBose (Anita); David Alvarez (Bernardo); Mike Faist (Riff); Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke); Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank); Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino); with Rita Moreno (as Valentina, who owns the corner store in which Tony works); and introducing Rachel Zegler (Maria.) Moreno also serves as one of the film’s executive producers. The home video editions include a 96-minute making-of documentary consisting of various featurettes. Read a review here.

The dark comedy Red Rocket arrives March 15 on DVD and Blu-ray from Lionsgate. Written and directed by Sean Baker (The Florida Project, Tangerine), it’s the story of Mikey Saber (Simon Rex), who is back home in small-town Texas after burning bridges and flaming out all over Los Angeles. A hustler, operator and charismatic con man, Mikey quickly learns that no one wants him back. When he meets a teenager working at the local donut shop, he sees his ticket back to the big time. The film premiered at Cannes and was nominated for three Gotham Awards.

The Russian sci-fi thriller Project Gemini will be released for digital purchase, and on Blu-ray and DVD March 15 from Well Go USA Entertainment. In the film, after centuries of destroying Earth’s resources, humankind faces the grim reality that its last shot at survival may require creating an entirely new home — in outer space. An international expedition is quickly formed to find a suitable new planet, but when plans go awry, the crew is suddenly stranded without power on a strange planet. Unfortunately, they’ll soon learn that something truly unimaginable has been out there watching, lying in wait for the unwary human scouts.

The Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy Marry Me became available for digital purchase March 13 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The film — featuring Owen Wilson and original music by Lopez and Latin music megastar Maluma — follows a heartbroken pop star (Lopez), slated to marry her pop star fiancé (Maluma) on stage, who instead marries a stranger from the audience — a high school math teacher (Wilson). Against the odds, their relationship develops into something real. The film also stars John Bradley (“Game of Thrones”), Sarah Silverman (Wreck-It Ralph Breaks the Internet) and Chloe Coleman (“Big Little Lies”). It arrives on Blu-ray and DVD March 29. The film is also streaming on Peacock.

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The 1989 cult comedy Dream a Little Dream joins the Vestron Video Collector’s series on Blu-ray and digital March 15 from Lionsgate. The film stars Corey Feldman (Stand by Me, The Goonies, The Lost Boys) and Corey Haim (The Lost Boys, License to Drive, Lucas), as well as Piper Laurie (The Hustler, Carrie, TV’s “Twin Peaks”), Jason Robards (All The President’s Men, Parenthood, Magnolia), Harry Dean Stanton (Repo Man, Alien), and Meredith Salenger (The Journey of Natty Gann, A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon, Lake Placid). In the body-swap comedy, Bobby has everything a young guy should: a good buddy, a girlfriend and parents who love him. When the older couple down the street try a transcendental experiment to extend their lives, they become trapped in the teens’ bodies. Dream a Little Dream bonus features include interviews with Corey Feldman and executive producer Lawrence Kasanoff, audio commentary with film historian Jarret Gahan, theatrical trailers, TV spots, and a stills gallery.

The 1981 horror classic An American Werewolf in London arrives in a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray special edition March 15 from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group. Director John Landis (The Blues Brothers, Trading Places) combines macabre horror with dark humor in the film, which is newly restored in 4K with Dolby Vision. In the film, American tourists David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) are savaged by an unidentified vicious animal whilst hiking on the Yorkshire Moors. David awakes in a London hospital to find his friend dead and his life in disarray. Retiring to the home of a beautiful nurse (Jenny Agutter, Walkabout) to recuperate, he soon experiences disturbing changes to his mind and body, undergoing a full-moon transformation that will unleash terror on the streets of the capital. The film features Rick Baker’s ground-breaking, Oscar-winning special makeup effects.

Kino Lorber March 15 releases on Blu-ray Disc the 1930 German film Farewell (Abschied). In a return to the realistic “street films” of the German silent era, Robert Siodmak (Criss Cross) directed this comedy drama of intersecting lives within the rooms of a working-class boarding house. Aribert Mog (Ecstasy) and Brigitte Horney (Munchausen) star as Peter and Hella, a young couple waiting for the opportunity to be married. When Peter receives a job opportunity in Dresden, he intends to surprise Hella with the news. But when word spreads among the other lodgers, it creates a series misunderstandings that could jeopardize the couple’s happiness. Bonus features include an audio commentary by film historian Anthony Slide and an alternate “happy” ending.

Criterion Collection March 15 releases 1970’s Le Cercle Rouge on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. The film stars Alain Delon as a master thief, fresh out of prison, who crosses paths with a notorious escapee (Gian Maria Volontè) and an alcoholic ex-cop (Yves Montand). The unlikely trio plot a heist, against impossible odds, until a relentless inspector and their own pasts seal their fates. With its honorable antiheroes, coolly atmospheric cinematography, and breathtaking set pieces, Le cercle rouge is the quintessential film by Jean-Pierre Melville—the master of ambiguous, introspective crime cinema. The 4K/Blu-ray combo pack includes a new 4K restoration from Studiocanal of the uncut version of the film, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. The 4K disc includes the film with Dolby Vision HDR and the regular Blu-ray includes the film and special features. Extras include segments from a 1971 episode of “Cinéastes de notre temps” featuring director Jean-Pierre Melville; interviews with assistant director Bernard Stora and Rui Nogueira, author of Melville on Melville; on-set and archival footage, featuring interviews with Melville and actors Alain Delon, Yves Montand and André Bourvil; the film’s trailer; and essays by film critics Michael Sragow and Chris Fujiwara, excerpts from Melville on Melville, a 2000 interview with composer Eric Demarsan, and an appreciation by filmmaker John Woo.

The 2007 Mark Wahlberg actioner Shooter will be released on 4K Ultra HD for the first time March 15 in a limited-edition Steelbook from Paramount Home Entertainment. Wahlberg and director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Infinite) team up for the first time on this action thriller in which Wahlberg stars as a respected former Marine sniper who is pressed into service to stop an assassination attempt on the president. When he’s double-crossed and framed for the attempt, he must prove his innocence while evading every law enforcement agency in the country and a shadowy organization that wants him dead. Originally released on March 23, 2007, Shooter celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

The documentary The Last Mountain will be released on digital and on demand March 15 from Universal Pictures Content Group. Directed by Emmy award-winner Chris Terrill and from Emmy Award-winning producer Julia Nottingham and BAFTA Award winning producer Olivia Lichtenstein, The Last Mountain explores the forces that drove two mountaineers — one a mother, the other her son — to their untimely deaths a quarter of a century apart.

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

West Side Story (2021)


Street Date 3/15/22;
Disney/20th Century;
Box Office $38.32 million;
$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $43.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some strong violence, strong language, thematic content, suggestive material and brief smoking.
Stars Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Brian d’Arcy James, Corey Stoll, Josh Andrés Rivera, Rita Moreno.

Director Steven Spielberg tries his hand at filming a feature-length musical for the first time in his career with a fresh adaptation of the acclaimed 1957 stage version that played on Broadway.

The play, based on William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, was famously adapted into a film version in 1961 that won the Oscar for Best Picture, so there were serious doubts over whether a modern remake was even necessary.

Spielberg, though, grew up with the music of the original stage version, and felt a 60-year gap between the films was enough time to justify his own take on the material.

The original version, conceived of by Jerome Robbins, with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and book by Arthur Laurents, modernized Shakespeare’s famed love story to be about rival street gangs in New York in the 1950s — the Jets, who were white Americans, and the Sharks, who were Puerto Rican. Their power struggle is complicated when a Jet named Tony falls in love with Maria, sister of the head of the Sharks.

Rather than re-modernize the play modern day, Spielberg is faithful to the 1950 setting, going so far as to shoot it on film in a way that just looks like it could have been shot back then.

While respectful of the 1961 version directed by Robbins and Robert Wise, Spielberg embraces the cinematic nature of the story’s gang war to great effect, with impeccably staged musical numbers that don’t detract from the romantic nature of Tony and Maria’s story, or the violent backdrop of the life-and-death battle to control the streets.

Ansel Elgort makes for a fine Tony, while newcomer Rachel Zegler carries the day as Maria. Rita Moreno, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for playing Maria’s friend Anita in the original film, returns to the cast in a reworking of the Doc character that serves as a mentor to Tony.

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The Blu-ray includes a thorough 96-minute behind-the-scenes documentary that is broken up into smaller featurettes that cover individual topics such as costumes, sets, and the staging for several of the songs, which have been slightly rearranged to heighten the emotional impact of the story.

Some of these making-of segments include one of the last interviews with Sondheim, who died aged 91 in November 2021 just days before the new film’s premiere.

Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ to Stream on Disney+, HBO Max Starting March 2

Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-lauded musical feature West Side Story will debut on Disney+ in the United States and most international countries on March 2. 

It will also reportedly stream on HBO Max in the United States.

The film will launch in Taiwan on March 9 and Japan on March 30 on Disney+.

In addition, the ABC one-hour special “Something’s Coming: West Side Story — A Special Edition of 20/20” is available to stream on Disney+ now.

Nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress (Ariana DeBose) and 11 Critics’ Choice Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress (DeBose, Rita Moreno), West Side Story is the winner of three Golden Globe awards — Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy; Best Actress, Musical or Comedy (Rachel Zegler) and Best Supporting Actress (DeBose). The film has also received nominations from the DGA (Spielberg), PGA (Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger), WGA (Tony Kushner) and SAG (DeBose for Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role) and has been named one of the year’s top 10 films by the American Film Institute and the National Board of Review, the latter having voted Rachel Zegler Best Actress of the Year.

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Directed by Spielberg from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tony Kushner, West Side Story tells the classic tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1957 New York City. This reimagining of the musical stars Ansel Elgort (Tony); Ariana DeBose (Anita); David Alvarez (Bernardo); Mike Faist (Riff); Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke); Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank); Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino); with Rita Moreno (as Valentina, who owns the corner store in which Tony works); and introducing Rachel Zegler (Maria). 

‘West Side Story’ Opening Underwhelms at Weekend Box Office

Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ reported $100 million remake of West Side Story topped the weekend box office with a projected $10.5 million in ticket sales — below expectations — across more than 2,800 screens through Dec. 12. 

The movie was projected to make nearly $14 million its first weekend, based on director Steven Spielberg’s involvement and strong social media reviews.

Instead, the musical with an ensemble cast is set to open below Warner Bros. Pictures’ under-performing Lin-Manuel Miranda musical In the Heights, which generated $11.5 million back in June, while simultaneously streaming on HBO Max.

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The week’s other new release, STX’s National Champions, a sports-themed drama about college football players threatening to boycott a title game unless financially compensated, barely showed a pulse. The film, which generated just $300,000 across 1,000 screens, is being primed for a premium VOD release around the NCAA Division 1 national championship football game on Jan. 10, 2022.

Among returning theatrical releases, Disney’s Encanto generated $9.42 million in estimated third-weekend ticket sales, followed by $6.4 million in week four for Sony Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Afterlife. United Artists Releasing’s House of Gucci saw $4 million in its third weekend of release, followed by Disney’s Eternals with $3.1 million in its sixth week.

Finally, Fathom Events’ faith-based film Christmas With the Chosen generated $1.63 million in its second weekend, followed by Sony Pictures’ Resident Evil: Raccoon City with $1.55 million, Warner Bros.’ Dune with $857,000, and Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage with $760,000.