Director Charlotte Brändström Joins Amazon Studios’ ‘The Lord of the Rings’ TV Series

Amazon Studios announced today that Swedish-French director Charlotte Brändström has joined the creative team of its forthcoming Amazon Original “The Lord of the Rings” television series.

Continuing on the work of Spanish filmmaker J.A. Bayona and British Chinese director Wayne Che Yip, Brändström joins the international ensemble cast, currently filming the $500 million budget series in New Zealand, to direct two episodes.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Brändström is an International Emmy Award-nominee for “Julie, chevalier de Maupin.” She has also directed more than 30 feature films, miniseries, and movies-of-the-week, including episodes of “The Man in the High Castle,” “Outlander,” “The Witcher” and the upcoming series “Jupiter’s Legacy.”

Charlotte Brändström

“I’m very excited to be guided through Middle-Earth by J.D.’s and Patrick’s vision and immerse myself in the iconic world of J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s a great privilege to be in New Zealand to work with Amazon Studios’ outstanding ensemble of creative talents,” Brändström said in a statement.

Amazon Studios’ forthcoming series brings to small screens the legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. The drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. As previously announced, the series is led by showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne  and Patrick McKay. They are joined by executive producers Lindsey Weber, Callum Greene, J.A. Bayona, Belén Atienza, Justin Doble, Jason Cahill, Gennifer Hutchison, Bruce Richmond and Sharon Tal Yguado, co-executive producer Wayne Che Yip, and producer Christopher Newman.

‘Tenet’ Repeats at No. 1 on ‘Watched at Home’ Chart; ‘Parallel’ Sole New Entry

With few new releases, the weekly “Watched at Home” chart remains largely unchanged from the prior week.

Warner Bros.’ Tenet is again No. 1 on the chart for the week ended Jan. 9, while Universal Pictures’ Honest Thief and The War With Grandpa switched places their sophomore week to place at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

The “Watched at Home” chart tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, but not premium VOD or disc rental) compiled from studio and retailer data and presented by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Paramount’s Love and Monsters is the week’s biggest gainer, moving up to No. 4 from No. 9 the previous week due to its Jan. 5 release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray Disc and DVD. The film also was the week’s top disc seller (see related story).

Love and Monsters is a post-apocalyptic action film about a man (Dylan O’Brien) traveling through a world populated by monsters in order to reconnect with his girlfriend (Jessica Henwick). The monsters were created when chemical fallout from the destruction of an asteroid headed for Earth caused all cold-blood creatures to mutate into ferocious monsters. Love and Monsters was released theatrically and on VOD in October 2020.

Rounding out the top five is season three of perennial favorite “Yellowstone,” from Paramount.

Warner Bros. “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy re-entered the chart at No. 16. The set made its 4K Ultra HD debut in December 2020.

The sole new entry on the “Watched at Home” chart was Lionsgate’s Parallel, bowing at No. 20. A Vertical Entertainment release, Parallel revolves around a group of friends who stumble upon a mirror that serves as a portal to a “multiverse,” only to discover that importing knowledge from the other side in order to better their lives brings increasingly dangerous consequences. The film’s cast includes Alyssa Diaz, Kathleen Quinlan Martin Wallstrom, David Harewood and Georgia King.

  1. Tenet (Warner)
  2. Honest Thief (Universal)
  3. The War with Grandpa (Universal)
  4. Love and Monsters (Paramount)
  5. Yellowstone: S3 (Paramount)
  6. Yellowstone: S1 (Paramount)
  7. Yellowstone: S2 (Paramount)
  8. The Office: The Complete Series (Universal)
  9. Unhinged  (Lionsgate)
  10. Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  11. RuPaul’s Drag Race S:13 (VH1)
  12. The Craft: Legacy (Sony)
  13. The Informer (Vertical)
  14. Buddy Games (Paramount)
  15. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Warner)
  16. The New Mutants (20th Century)
  17. Hunter Hunter (IFC Films)
  18. The Phenomenon (1091)
  19. The Upside (STX, 2019)
  20. Parallel (Lionsgate)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended Jan. 9.

‘Christmas Vacation’ Leads Overall Disc Sales; ‘Lord of the Rings’ Is Top Blu-ray

The domestic disc sales charts continue to be dominated by holiday titles in the lead-up to Christmas.

Warner’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation jumped to No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, the week ended Dec. 5.

The 1989 film, the third in the “Vacation” series starring Chevy Chase, has achieved a certain status as a holiday classic over the years. It was No. 11 the previous week.

The week’s top Blu-ray Disc was Warner’s The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy, which has been re-released as a number of boxed sets over the years. The latest version is the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray collection released Dec. 1, containing both the theatrical and extended cuts on 4K disc only, with no standard Blu-ray versions or extras.

Similarly, The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy was the No. 7 Blu-ray seller, also driven by its own new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release, which as with “Lord of the Rings” is a 4K-only disc set with both theatrical and extended cuts of the films, but with no extras. A larger 4K combo pack megaset of both “Middle-Earth” trilogies with bonus features is expected sometime in 2021.

Follow us on Instagram!

On the overall disc sales chart, Lord of the Rings was No. 5, and Hobbit was No. 16.

The No. 2 overall seller was Warner’s Elf, which was No. 5 on the Blu-ray chart.

Universal’s animated The Grinch took No. 3 on the overall disc sales chart, and No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart.

Warner’s Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection was No. 4 on the overall disc sales chart and No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart.

Rounding out the Blu-ray top five was Disney’s live-action Mulan remake, which was No. 7 overall.

The previous week’s top seller, Warner’s Joker, dropped to No. 23 overall and No. 13 on the Blu-ray chart.

Other holiday movies in the top 20 on the disc sales charts include Warner’s The Polar Express (No. 6 overall, No. 10 Blu-ray), Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ Home Alone (No. 8 overall, No. 23 Blu-ray) and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (No. 12 overall), Warner’s A Christmas Story (No. 9 overall, No. 15 Blu-ray), Universal’s release of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer animated special (No. 10 overall), Warner’s A Charlie Brown Christmas (No. 11 overall, No. 29 Blu-ray), Universal’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas live-action movie (No. 14 overall) and Warner’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas animated special (No. 17 overall, No. 20 Blu-ray).

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Dec. 6, Mulan took the top spot for the second-consecutive week and third time in four weeks.

Lionsgate’s Unhinged remained No. 2 for a second week, while Paramount’s Buddy Games held onto the No. 3 spot, and 20th Century’s The New Mutants stayed at No. 4.

No. 5 was a new release, the horror film The Rental from Shout! Factory.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 12-5-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 12-6-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 12-5-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 12-5-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 12-5-20
Digital Transactions Snapshot for Week Ended 12-7-20

‘Lord of the Rings Trilogy’ Journeys to Top of ‘Watched at Home’ Chart

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy climbed to No. 1 the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the week ended Dec. 5. It had been No. 14 the week before.

A new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray boxed set of the theatrical and extended cuts of the three fantasy films (just the 4K discs, not regular Blu-rays, plus digital copies) arrived in stores Dec. 1.

Similarly, the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set of The Hobbit Trilogy also became available, boosting the “Lord of the Rings” prequels to No. 7 on the chart that tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, but not premium VOD or disc rental) compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Moving up three spots to No. 2 was the eight-film “Harry Potter” collection, also from Warner.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Warner’s Elf, the 2003 film starring Will Ferrell as a man returning to society after being raised at Santa’s workshop, moved up a spot to No. 3, while Warner holiday title, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, dropped two spots to No. 5.

The previous week’s top title, the Russell Crowe thriller Unhinged, slid to No. 4.

  1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Warner)
  2. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  3. Elf (Warner)
  4. Unhinged (Lionsgate)
  5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Warner)
  6. The Office: The Complete Series (Universal)
  7. The Hobbit Trilogy (Warner)
  8. The New Mutants (Disney/20th Century)
  9. Fatman (Paramount)
  10. The Grinch (Universal)
  11. Home Alone (20th Century)
  12. Friends: The Complete Series (Warner)
  13. The Polar Express (Warner)
  14. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  15. Game of Thrones: The Complete Series (Warner/HBO)
  16. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  17. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  18. The Undoing: Season 1 (Warner/HBO)
  19. A Christmas Story (Warner)
  20. Iron Mask (Lionsgate)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended Dec. 5.

Amazon Studios Announces Additional Cast Members for ‘The Lord of the Rings’ TV Series

Amazon Studios Dec. 3 announced 20 additional cast members joining the ensemble cast of the Amazon Original series based on the The Lord of the Rings novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. The newly revealed cast members will join the previously announced global cast and crew, currently filming in New Zealand. The pending Season One will feature eight episodes.

The new members include Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Maxim Baldry, Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Simon Merrells,​ Geoff Morrell, Peter Mullan, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Peter Tait, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker and Sara Zwangobani.

Blackburn, Chapman, Crum, Cunliffe, Tait, Tarrant and Wadham all hail from New Zealand, with the remaining cast originate from Australia, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The new members join Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers and Daniel Weyman announced earlier this year.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Set in Middle-Earth, Amazon Prime Video’s adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. A world-renowned literary work, and winner of the International Fantasy Award and Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, The Lord of the Rings was named Amazon’s favorite book of the millennium in 1999 and Britain’s best-loved novel of all time in BBC’s The Big Read in 2003.

The Lord of the Rings has been translated into 40 languages and has sold more than 150 million copies. Its theatrical adaptations from WarnerMedia’s New Line Cinema and director Peter Jackson, earned a combined gross of nearly $6 billion worldwide and garnered 17 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Merchandising: Several ‘Middle-Earth’ 4K Gift Sets Available at Best Buy

For the home video titles released Dec. 1, Best Buy again offered exclusive Steelbook editions for several of them.

Among the biggest were Steelbook 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray boxed sets for Warner’s “Middle-Earth” fantasy series — “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogies, at $119.99 each. The boxes had both the theatrical and extended versions of each film on 4K Ultra HD in their own Steelbook case, plus a larger Steelbook box for the trilogy.

In addition, The Lord of the Rings 4K Ultra HD trilogy was also offered as a $149.99 gift set with a collectible ring on a necklace.

Best Buy’s ‘Chernobyl’ 4K Steelbook

Other new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbooks for the week include HBO’s Chernobyl at $39.99, and Paramount’s Arrival at $34.99.

 

Best Buy’s ‘Arrival’ 4K Steelbook

Also, as a holdover from Black Friday sales, Best Buy is selling Steelbook movies for as low as $7.99.

 

Meanwhile, Target is offering up to 30% off holiday music and movies.

Target also has an exclusive $129.99 DVD set of Modern Family: The Complete Series.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Two IFC Films and 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays of ‘Lord of the Rings,’ ‘Hobbit’ Top Slate of New Releases Available Dec. 1

Two films released theatrically and digitally by IFC Films over the summer, The Rental and Made in Italy, are coming to Blu-ray Disc and DVD Dec. 1, courtesy of independent home entertainment supplier Shout! Factory.

The week’s slate of new releases also includes the much-anticipated 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray debuts of two fantasy trilogies, “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” as well as the 1998 superhero film Blade, all from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment; the Tom Cruise classic Top Gun and the Eddie Murphy comedies Beverly Hills Cop and Coming to America, from Paramount Home Entertainment; and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the “Jumanji” trilogy, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The Rental, a horror film produced and directed by Dave Franco, follows two couples who rent a seaside home while on vacation, only to encounter an odd caretaker and suspect they are being spied on. The film was issued on video-on-demand and in select theaters in July by IFC.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Made in Italy is a comedy-drama starring Liam Neeson as an artist who is restoring a villa with his estranged son (his real-life son, Micheál Richardson) after his wife dies in a terrible car crash. Made in Italy, too, was released on video-on-demand and in select theaters by IFC Films, in August.

“The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies were all huge box office hits. The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy — The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and its two sequels, The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003) — earned nearly $3 billion in worldwide theaters and nabbed 17 Academy Awards.

The three “Hobbit” movies — 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 2013’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and 2014’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies — also collected nearly $3 billion at the worldwide box office.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Top Gun is being released in a limited-edition Steelbook 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray combo pack. The story of an elite group of pilots competing to earn the title of “Top Gun” ultimately earned a worldwide box office of more than $350 million.  Cruise plays a daring young flyer who’s out to become the best of the best. The film also stars Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards and Meg Ryan.

Beverly Hills Cop has been remastered in 4K with HDR and is available in a 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray combo pack with digital copy. Murphy plays Axel Foley, a street-smart cop from Detroit. Tracking down his best friend’s killer in Beverly Hills, Axel smashes through the local barriers in a hilarious, high-speed pursuit of justice.

Also remastered in 4K with HDR — from a supervised restoration by director John Landis — Coming to America, too, is being issued as a limited-edition 4K Ultra HD Steelbook. Murphy stars as an African prince trying to find a princess. The mission leads him and his most loyal friend (Arsenio Hall) to Queens, New York.  In disguise as an impoverished immigrant, the pampered prince quickly finds himself a new job, new friends, new digs, new enemies and lots of trouble.

To accompany those two releases, Paramount on Dec. 1 also is re-releasing, on Blu-ray Disc, two other Murphy comedies, Trading Places and The Golden Child, as part of its “Paramount Presents” line.

Follow us HERE on Instagram!

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was initially released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in 2016, but is now back as a limited-edition Steelbook that includes the film on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray. The Steelbook also includes six deleted scenes presented in 4K Ultra HD with HDR, among other bonus features.

The “Jumanji” trilogy, previously available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, also becomes available in a three-disc 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set on Dec. 1. The package includes all three films in the franchise, the original Jumanji (1995), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019). The films follow the adventures of a bunch of characters thrust into danger while playing a video game.

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

‘Friday the 13th’ Collection Tops Weekly ‘Watched at Home’ Chart

Halloween continues to be top of mind among home viewers, with Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray Disc boxed set of “Friday the 13th” movies catapulting to the top of the weekly “Watched at Home” chart during the week ended Oct. 17.

The 16-disc set with a limited run (initially set at 13,000 copies) is the first boxed set to ever top the “Watched at Home” chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc) compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. The chart was created in April.

Released to mark the 40th anniversary of the original “Friday the 13th” film by Shout! Factory’s horror imprint, Scream Factory, the collection includes all 12 films in the franchise — the first eight released by Paramount Pictures and the latter four by New Line Cinema.

Scream Factory’s “Friday the 13th” collection

Two other Halloween-themed titles remained on the chart: Disney’s Hocus Pocus, which slipped to No. 4 from No. 2 the prior week, and Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, from Warner, which fell to No. 13 from No. 8.

The rest of the chart reflects the continued lack of new theatrical releases, which studios are attempting to counter through aggressive catalog movie and TV show promotions. Indeed, catalog sales are up nearly 50% from the same week last year, according to the DEG.

Warner Bros.’ eight-film collection of “Harry Potter” movies soared to No. 2 from No. 10 the prior week, pushing last week’s most-watched film, Vertical Entertainment’s Ava, to No. 3.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Also debuting in the top five was Universal Pictures’ boxed set of all nine seasons of popular sitcom “The Office,” which debuted on the “Watched at Home” chart at No. 5. Universal initially released the collection on DVD in 2014 and again in 2018; on Nov. 10, the series makes its debut on Blu-ray Disc.

Middle Earth 6-Film Collection (including “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogies), from Warner Bros., debuted at No. 9. The collection has been rolled out over the past few years in several configurations, ranging from a six-disc set of the theatrical versions of the six films to a massive 30-disc set of extended editions, with hours of extras. The version that hit the chart is the six-disc edition of theatrical cuts.

Game of Thrones: The Complete Series, also from Warner, reappeared on the chart at No. 15. (The “Game of Thrones” set briefly appeared on the chart in early September, at No. 17).

  1. The Friday the 13th Collection (Shout! Factory)
  2. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  3. Ava (Vertical)
  4. Hocus Pocus (Disney)
  5. The Office: The Complete Series (Universal)
  6. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  7. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  8. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  9. Middle Earth 6-Film Collection: Theatrical (Warner)
  10. Trolls World Tour (Universal)
  11. Friends: The Complete Series (Warner)
  12. The Secret: Dare to Dream (Lionsgate)
  13. Beetlejuice (Warner)
  14. Batman: Death in the Family (Warner)
  15. Game of Thrones: The Complete Series (Warner)
  16. The Phenomenon (1091)
  17. Star Trek: Picard: Season One (Paramount)
  18. Alone (Magnolia)
  19. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  20. The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended Oct. 17.

‘Lord of the Rings,’ ‘Hobbit’ Trilogies Set for 4K Ultra HD Release Dec. 1

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Dec. 1 will release all six films in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit Trilogy on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc.

The announcement came via a YouTube posting from Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and its two sequels, The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003).

Warner Bros. also announced the summer 2021 release of a 4K “Ultimate Collectors’ Edition” with theatrical and extended versions of all six remastered films as well as new bonus material.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first film in the franchise, Warner Bros. will also release a remastered version of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy on Blu-ray Disc in the fall of 2021.

The six Peter Jackson films were all huge box office hits. The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy earned nearly $3 billion in worldwide theaters and nabbed 17 Academy Awards. The three “Hobbit” movies — 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 2013’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and 2014’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies — also collected nearly $3 billion at the worldwide box office.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In making the announcement Astin said, “because it’s in 4K UHD, you know it’s going to be the most incredible home-viewing experience possible. Peter Jackson oversaw the remastering himself. And I can say that working with Peter was the adventure of a lifetime.”

Both movie series are based on novels by J. R. R. Tolkien.