‘Yellowstone,’ ‘Matrix’ Maintain Top Spots on Disc Sales Charts

Paramount Home Entertainment’s DVD and Blu-ray release of the fourth season of the hit cable series “Yellowstone” remained No. 1 the week ended March 19 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales.

“Yellowstone,” created by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Taylor Sheridan, is a drama starring Kevin Costner as the head of a multi-generational family that controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States.

The No. 2 title for a second week in a row was Warner’s The Matrix Resurrections, which sold about 84% as many copies as the new “Yellowstone” season during the week. The “Matrix” revival remained No. 1 on the Blu-ray Disc sales chart for a second week, with 60% of its total unit sales coming from Blu-ray formats (44% regular Blu-ray and 16% 4K Ultra HD), compared with just 20% for Yellowstone: Season Four, which was the No. 4 Blu-ray seller.

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Maintaining the No. 3 spot on both charts was Disney’s animated Encanto.

The week’s top newcomer, at No. 4 on the overall sales chart and No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart, was director Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake. The new adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical earned seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

West Side Story saw 67% of its total unit sales come from Blu-ray formats, with 27% from regular Blu-ray and 40% from 4K Ultra HD, compared with 33% for DVD.

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The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended March 20 had Matrix Resurrections in the top spot again.

Sony Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Afterlife rose to No. 2, followed by Universal and MGM’s House of Gucci up a spot to No. 3, Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ The King’s Man down two spots to No. 4, and Lionsgate’s American Underdog remaining No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 3-19-22
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 3-20-22
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 3-19-22
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 3-19-22
Sales Report for Week Ended 3-19-22
Digital Transactions Snapshot for Week Ended 3-21-22

‘Matrix Resurrections’ Still Atop Redbox Disc Rentals; ‘Spider-Man’ No. 1 on VOD Chart

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s The Matrix Resurrections remained No. 1 on Redbox’s disc rental chart the week ended March 20. The fourth “Matrix” movie and the first in 18 years earned $37.7 million at the domestic box office.

The Matrix Resurrections was No. 2 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital VOD and sellthrough transactions.

The top title on the Redbox On Demand chart was Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: No Way Home, which was released through digital retailers March 15. The superhero film, produced in collaboration with Marvel Studios, has earned nearly $800 million domestically and $1.9 billion worldwide.

The previous week’s top digital title, the Scream relaunch from Paramount Home Entertainment, dropped to No. 3 on the Redbox On Demand chart.

The No. 2 title on Redbox’s disc rental chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at Redbox’s more than 40,000 red kiosks, was Sony Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which was No. 5 on the digital chart.

MGM’s House of Gucci, distributed on disc by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, was the No. 3 disc rental and No. 8 on the digital chart.

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The No. 4 digital title once again was MGM’s Dog, a comedy starring Channing Tatum as a man escorting a military dog to the funeral of his fallen commander.

Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ The King’s Man dropped to No. 4 on the disc rental chart.

No. 5 on Redbox’s disc rental chart, and No. 9 on the digital chart, was Lionsgate’s American Underdog, the biopic about Kurt Warner’s rise to becoming an unlikely NFL hall of famer.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended March 20:

  1. The Matrix Resurrections — Warner
  2. Ghostbusters: Afterlife — Sony Pictures
  3. House of Gucci — Universal/MGM
  4. The King’s Man — 20th Century
  5. American Underdog — Lionsgate
  6. The 355 — Universal
  7. A Day to Die — Redbox
  8. Eternals — Disney/Marvel
  9. Clifford the Big Red Dog — Paramount
  10. Venom: Let There Be Carnage — Sony Pictures

 

Top Digital (VOD + Sellthrough), Redbox On Demand, Week Ended March 20:

  1. Spider-Man: No Way Home — Sony Pictures/Marvel
  2. The Matrix Resurrections — Warner
  3. Scream (2022) — Paramount
  4. Dog — MGM
  5. Ghostbusters: Afterlife — Sony Pictures
  6. Old — Universal
  7. The Addams Family 2 — MGM
  8. House of Gucci — MGM
  9. American Underdog — Lionsgate
  10. Venom: Let There Be Carnage — Sony Pictures

 

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Merchandising: ‘Matrix’ Revealed at Retail

The big three home entertainment retailers each offered their own exclusive for Warner’s The Matrix Resurrections Blu-ray and DVD release March 8.

Best Buy, as usual, offered a Steelbook edition of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack of the fourth “Matrix” movie for $34.99.

Target offered the Matrix Resurrections Blu-ray/DVD combo pack with changeable box art in the form of collectible character cards for $26.99.

Target’s ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Blu-ray combo pack with character cards

Walmart’s “Matrix” exclusive was the $29.96 DVD version of the four-film “Déjà Vu Collection,” which was widely released only on Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD.

Walmart’s four-movie “Matrix” DVD

Separately, Walmart also had an exclusive for Paramount’s Yellowstone: Season 4 DVD, which it packed with a Dutton Ranch decal for $19.96.

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‘Matrix Resurrections,’ ‘Coming 2 America,’ ‘Yellowstone’ New to Disc March 8, ‘Nightmare Alley’ on Digital

March 8 sees the release of several notable titles to home entertainment formats, with The Matrix Resurrections, Coming 2 America, National Champions, A Journal for Jordan, and the latest seasons of “Yellowstone,” “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” and “Supergirl” landing on Blu-ray and DVD, while Nightmare Alley becomes available for digital purchase.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases The Matrix Resurrections on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release March 8. The fourth “Matrix” film follows up on the trilogy that ended in 2003, and features Keanu Reeves returning to the role of Neo as he learns about the aftermath of the war between humanity and the machines he thought he ended in the previous films, and whether his reality remains part of a computer simulation. His mission becomes to reconnect with his lost love, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). The cast also includes Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Jada Pinkett Smith. The film earned $37.7 million at the domestic box office. Read a review here. A four-movie collection also will be available on Blu-ray and 4K.

Coming 2 America, the follow-up to the classic 1988 Eddie Murphy comedy Coming to America, makes its Blu-ray and DVD debut March 8 from Paramount Home Entertainment. In the sequel, newly crowned King Akeem (Murphy) and his trusted confidante Semmi (Arsenio Hall) traverse the globe from their great African nation of Zamunda to the borough of Queens, N.Y., when Akeem learns he has a long-lost son in the United States. In addition to Murphy and Hall, the comedy also stars James Earl Jones, John Amos, Louie Anderson, Shari Headley, Wesley Snipes, Tracy Morgan and Leslie Jones. The film originally streamed on Amazon Prime Video. Read a review here.

The sports drama National Champions will be released on Blu-ray and DVD March 8 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. In the film, three days before the college football national championship game, star quarterback LeMarcus James (Emmy nominee Stephan James; If Beale Street Could Talk, 21 Bridges) and teammate Emmett Sunday (Alexander Ludwig; “Vikings,” “The Hunger Games” franchise) ignite a player’s strike declaring they won’t compete until all student-athletes are fairly compensated. With billions of dollars at risk and legacies on the line, only hours until kickoff, the head coach (Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons; Whiplash, Being the Ricardos) and various power brokers — played by Emmy Winner Kristin Chenoweth (“Pushing Daisies”), Emmy Nominee Timothy Olyphant (“Fargo,” “Justified”), Emmy Winner Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black”), Lil Rel Howery (Get Out, Free Guy), Tim Blake Nelson (“Watchmen”), Andrew Bachelor (Holidate), Jeffrey Donovan (Sicario) and David Koechner (Anchorman) — must race against the clock to protect or destroy the prevailing collegiate athletics system.  

The Denzel Washington-directed drama A Journal for Jordan is being released on DVD and Blu-ray March 8 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Starring Michael B. Jordan with a screenplay by Virgil Williams, A Journal for Jordan is based on the true story of First Sergeant Charles Monroe King (Jordan), a soldier deployed to Iraq who begins to keep a journal of love and advice for his infant son. Back at home, senior New York Times editor Dana Canedy (Chanté Adams) revisits the story of her unlikely, life-altering relationship with King and his enduring devotion to her and their child. 

Paramount Home Entertainment releases Yellowstone: Season 4 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD March 8. Written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, the popular Paramount Network series stars Kevin Costner and follows the story of a multi-generational family that controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States. In the fourth season, the fates of Kayce (Luke Grimes), Beth (Kelly Reilly) and John Dutton (Costner) are unknown as Rip (Cole Hauser) and the other wranglers wield their own brand of justice to take revenge and defend the Dutton legacy. The cast also includes Wes Bentley, Kelsey Asbille, Brecken Merrill, Jefferson White, Forrie Smith, Denim Richards, Ian Bohen, Finn Little, Ryan Bingham, Gil Birmingham and Will Patton. Jacki Weaver, Piper Perabo and Kathryn Kelly join the cast in guest starring roles. 

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment March 8 releases the final installment of the superhero TV series “Supergirl,” starring Melissa Benoist in the title role, on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Supergirl: The Sixth and Final Season, in addition to all 20 episodes, includes an all-new featurette and deleted scenes. Warner Bros. is also releasing Supergirl: The Complete Series, with all 126 episodes from the series, which ran from 2015 to 2021. In the sixth and final season, Supergirl is thrust into the greatest challenge of her life — forced to confront her own mortality, and the prospect of losing all hope. As her friends rally to help her in this difficult fight, a new super villain arrives in National City and tests her resolve.

RLJE Films, a business unit of AMC Networks, releases The Walking Dead: World Beyond — Final Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD March 8. The second and final season of the horror series aired on AMC Networks in October 2021. Set in the same universe as “The Walking Dead,” the second season of “World Beyond” concludes the story of Iris (Aliyah Royale), Hope (Alexa Mansour), Elton (Nicolas Cantu) and Silas (Hal Cumpston) — four friends who journeyed across the country on a mission that transformed everything they knew about themselves and the world. As they face off against the mysterious Civic Republic Military and fight for control of their own destiny, goals will shift, bonds will form and crumble, and innocence will be both lost and found. The cast also includes Nico Tortorella, Annet Mahendru and Julia Ormond.

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Disney-owned Searchlight Pictures’ Nightmare Alley will be available for digital purchase starting March 8. From director Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley is a psychological thriller about a down-on-his-luck grifter in the 1940s named Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper), who endears himself to clairvoyant Zeena (Toni Collette) and her has-been mentalist husband Pete (David Strathairn) at a traveling carnival. With the virtuous Molly (Rooney Mara) loyally by his side, Stanton plots to con a dangerous tycoon (Richard Jenkins) with the aid of a mysterious psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) who might be his most formidable opponent yet. Del Toro co-wrote the screenplay with Kim Morgan, based on the 1946 novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham. Nightmare Alley became available for streaming on Hulu and HBO Max Feb. 1. It arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 22.

The documentary The Invisible Father will be released on VOD and for digital purchase March 8 from Virgil Films. In the 1960s, beat poet and experimental filmmaker Piero Heliczer helped shape New American Cinema, and was enmeshed with iconic filmmaker Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground at the very start of their careers. Through interviews with family and friends, found photos, and archival footage, Piero’s daughter Thérèse explores the artistic legacy and life of a man she never knew. The intimate documentary explores the promise and perils of leading an authentic, creative life, and the impact that it can have on the people you leave behind in the process. 

The music documentary 23rd Century Giants: The Story of Renaldo & the Loaf will be released on Blu-ray March 8 from MVD Entertainment Group and Well Dang! Productions. It follows a decades-long friendship that drives an architect and a bio-medical scientist to make the weirdest music you’ve ever heard. Not many bands can boast that one of their albums, Songs for Swinging Larvae, was voted 14th weirdest of all time by Mojo magazine. The documentary chronicles the musical careers of mild-mannered Brits Brian Poole and David Janssen, aka Renaldo & the Loaf, whose sonic experimentation with tape loops, household objects and repurposed musical instruments alike gave them a unique electronic sound that would inspire generations of adventurous music lovers for decades. From childhood friendship, to landing a deal with the record company of their wildest dreams (Ralph Records, home of the like-minded Residents), then not speaking for 20 years only to reunite to worldwide cult status, the duo persisted. This definitive history of the band features interviews with the avant-garde duo themselves, and virtually every key figure in their musical lives. The film also features unseen photos, unheard music and comedic cutout animations that visually represent the strangeness. The band made their long anticipated live debut in Vienna in 2018, footage of which is also included.

Cinedigm’s The Film Detective, the classic film restoration and streaming company, releases Kenneth G. Crane’s classic ‘B’-movie Monster From Green Hell (1957) on special-edition Blu-ray and DVD March 8. From the era of giant bugs and atomic testing comes this low-budget creature feature about mutant wasps. When scientists try to understand the effects of radiation on earth creatures, the result brings them to an area of Africa known as “Green Hell,” where wasps have mutated into monsters. Jim Davis, who later starred in the TV series “Dallas,” plays Dr. Quent Brady, the scientist who starts the whole mess. The film also stars Vladimir Sokoloff (The Life of Emile Zola, Mission to Moscow) as the skeptical Dr. Lorentz and Joel Fluellen (Raisin in the Sun) as Arobi, who warns Brady to beware of the African location. Monster From Green Hell was co-written by Louis Vittes, writer of the classic I Married a Monster From Outer Space. The special-edition release features a 4K transfer, including both widescreen and full frame versions of the film.

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

The Matrix Resurrections

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 3/8/22;
Warner;
Sci-Fi;
Box Office $37.69 million;
$19.99 DVD, $24.99 Blu-ray, $29.99 UHD DVD;
Rated ‘R’ for violence and some language.
Stars Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jonathan Groff, Jessica Henwick, Neil Patrick Harris, Jada Pinkett Smith, Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

The fourth “Matrix” movie has a lot of fun with the idea of serving as a meta-commentary on the original trilogy. When it actually has to zero in on being a “Matrix” movie, it kind of hits a wall, but at least it opens the door for more movies.

At the end of the third movie in 2003, Neo and Trinity (Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Annie Moss) seemingly sacrificed themselves to bring peace between the remnants of humanity and the machines that sought to enslave them. Resurrections opens with the idea that the original story might have been a video game created by Thomas Anderson  Reeves). Then word comes down that his gaming studios’ parent company, Warner Bros., wants a fourth “Matrix,” and will do one with or without the original creative team. This is pretty much what happened in real life when the studio starting planning for a reboot of the franchise before director Lana Wachowski and Reeves signed on. So Resurrections is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek title referencing both the return of the characters thought killed off, and the long-dormant franchise itself.

Anderson is getting therapy to deal with thoughts of his life just being a computer simulation like his games, before events similar to the opening of the “Matrix” start to unfold to once more lead him back to reality (while using flashbacks to clips from the original trilogy to hammer home the point that it’s all connected).

This leads to some lengthy exposition and a healthy dose of philosophical ruminations about the nature of consciousness and free will, since it wouldn’t be a “Matrix” movie without it. Then the second half of the film is essentially an extended sci-fi action scene to hit the reset button on the premise so that Neo and Trinity can lead a new crop of characters in the fight against the machines. However, the lack of popular legacy characters such as Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus is likely to leave a lot of fans cold.

Matrix Resurrections is entertaining in parts and has some intriguing ideas, but if there are future sequels they will have a lot of heavy lifting to do to prove there’s still life left in the franchise beyond running in circles.

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The Blu-ray includes several behind-the-scenes featurettes, including a nine-minute video of various cast members awkwardly recapping the story of the original trilogy. In act many of the featurettes are somewhat introspective about examining the film within the context of the franchise.

The primary behind-the-scenes featurette is the 31-minute “Resurrecting the Matrix,” which delves into revisiting the franchise after 18 years and crafting the new installment to expand the mythology (described at one point as not another box in a series of boxes, but a box that encases the previous ones).

The eight-minute “Neo & Trinity: Return to the Matrix” gives Reeves and Moss a chance to reflect on their characters’ journeys and their own personal friendship. The eight-and-a-half-minute “Allies & Adversaries: The Matrix Remixed” features supporting cast members reflecting on the expansion of the franchise, while the six-minute “Matrix for Life” features more reflections on the franchise from the cast and filmmakers. The five-minute “I Still Know Kung-Fu” explores the making of some of the action scenes.

Rounding out the bonus materials are “The Matrix Reactions,” a series of nine videos totaling nearly 49 minutes in which members of the cast and production team discuss individual scenes.

Overall, the extras, with almost two hours of combined footage, present a pretty thorough examination of the making of the film.

Originally published as a streaming review Dec. 27, 2021.

‘Matrix Resurrections’ Producer Sues Warner Bros. Over HBO Max Distribution

The co-producer of Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Matrix Resurrections is suing the studio for its decision to release the Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss-starrer on the subscription streaming platform HBO Max concurrently with its Dec. 10 theatrical debut.

The studio’s parent, WarnerMedia, in late 2020 due to the pandemic and shuttered theaters, announced the controversial decision to release Warner’s entire 2021 theatrical slate concurrently on Max, beginning with Wonder Woman 1984.

The decision, pushed by WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, caught many in Hollywood, including producers, directors and actors, off guard.

Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, in a Feb. 7 breach-of-contract lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, alleges the distribution decision deprived the movie of its box office potential, as well as overall compensation as co-producer on the Lana Wachowski-directed sci-fi actioner.

Resurrections, which opened to less than $11 million at the domestic box office on a reported production budget of $190 million, has generated just $153 million worldwide in ticket sales since its debut.

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“WB’s sole purpose in moving the release date of The Matrix Resurrections forward was to create a desperately needed wave of year-end HBO Max premium subscriptions from what it knew would be a blockbuster film, despite knowing full well that it would decimate the film’s box office revenue and deprive Village Roadshow of any economic upside that WB and its affiliates would enjoy,” read the suit first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Indeed, Max and HBO ended 2021 with almost 74 million combined subscribers, exceeding estimates of 70 million to 73 million subs, according to an AT&T regulatory filing.

The suit also alleges that Warner Bros. is attempting to minimize Village Roadshow’s fiscal compensation on other co-productions, including the 2023 release Wonka, starring Timothee Chalamet, and a potential series based on the 2014 movie Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.

Village, in the complaint, contends it has spent $4.5 billion over more than 20 years investing in Warner co-financed movies, including Oscar winner Joker, and Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, among others.

In a statement, Warner Bros. said the lawsuit is a “frivolous attempt” by Village Roadshow to avoid its contractual commitment to participate in the arbitration that it commenced against them last week.

“We have no doubt that this case will be resolved in our favor,” said the studio.

The suit mirrors similar litigation actress Scarlett Johansson initiated against Disney last year for its decision to concurrently offer her headlining Marvel actioner Black Widow on premium VOD and in theaters. That suit was settled amicably out of court.

In a separate statement, Mark Holscher, a lawyer representing Village Roadshow, said the producer’s rights to the “Matrix” franchise gave it the “perpetual opportunity to co-create, co-invest and co-own the derivative rights to extremely successful tent pole films and franchises.”

The four “Matrix” releases have generated upwards of $1.8 billion at the global box office.

Holscher contends the decision to release Resurrections simultaneously on Max was done to jumpstart consumer interest in the streaming platform — a financial move he feels Village Roadshow is entitled to be compensated for.

“Warner Bros. has a fiduciary duty to account to Village Roadshow for all revenues generated by the franchise, not just those it can’t hide through sweetheart deals to benefit HBO Max,” he said.

Jan. 25 Sees ‘Matrix Resurrections’ Arrive for Digital Sale, ‘Tom and Jerry Cowboy Up!’ on DVD

Jan. 25 is a relatively light week for new releases, but it does see The Matrix Resurrections become available for digital purchase, while new DVDs include Tom and Jerry Cowboy Up!.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases The Matrix Resurrections for premium digital ownership beginning Jan. 25. The fourth “Matrix” film follows up on the trilogy that ended in 2003, and features Keanu Reeves returning to the role of Neo as he learns about the aftermath of the war between humanity and the machines he thought he ended in the previous films, and whether his reality remains part of a computer simulation. His mission becomes to reconnect with his lost love, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss).  The cast also includes Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Jada Pinkett Smith. It arrives on, followed by a Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release March 8.

The full-length animated family film Tom and Jerry Cowboy Up! is set for release digitally and on DVD Jan. 25 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, the film finds the cat and mouse duo in the Wild West where they help save a ranch from the hands of a villain. The rivals team up to help a cowgirl and her brother save their homestead from a greedy land-grabber. Jerry’s three precocious nephews join in the action, and Tom rounds up a posse of prairie dogs. Tom and Jerry Cowboy Up! features the voice talents of George Ackles as The Marshal, Sean Burgos as Bumpy, Trevor Devall as Duke, Chris Edgerly as August Critchley, Georgie Kidder as Scruffy, Justin Michael as Bentley, Kaitlyn Robrock as Betty, Isaac Robinson Smith as Zeb, Kath Soucie as Tuffy, Stephen Stanton as Virgil, Fred Tatasciore as Clem, and Kari Wahlgren as Duffy and Jane.

Lionsgate releases Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia on DVD Jan. 25, telling the story of Mahalia Jackson, one of the most influential vocalists of the 20th century. The Emmy-nominated biopic, which aired on Lifetime in April, stars Daniella Brooks as the singer known as the Queen of Gospel. With a career spanning more than 40 years, Jackson rose to international stardom, her vast discography and powerhouse performances making her the voice of the civil rights movement and inspiring iconic activists and singers for generations — from Martin Luther King Jr. to Aretha Franklin. The cast also includes Wolsey Brooks, Max Boateng, Rob Demery and Marci T. House.

The animated family film Birds Like Us debuts digitally, on demand and on DVD Jan. 25 from Lionsgate. Academy Award winners Alicia Vikander, Jeremy Irons and Jim Broadbent lend their voice talents to the film that explores the journey of an unlikely group of animals trying to make their way back home. Trapped in a village ruled by the meddling Kondor (Irons), Huppu the bird (Vikander) dreams of having the freedom to hatch her own egg. Suddenly, she, Kondor, and their friends are blasted to a distant land, and they must trust in a wise, eccentric bat to guide them on a strange, dazzling odyssey back to the tree they call home.

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Shout! Factory Jan. 25 releases Kamen Rider Zero-One: The Complete Series, an eight-disc Blu-ray Disc collection featuring all 46 episodes of the popular Japanese anime TV series. The collection also includes the movie RealxTime and five special episodes. “Kamen Rider Zero-One” is the 30th series in the “Kamen Rider” franchise. It premiered in September 2019. The series revolves around technological singularity and artificial intelligence. A company called Hiden Intelligence, which faces threats from a cyber-terrorist group that wants to conquer and then kill the human race through a tech uprising. The release comes as part of a continuing celebration of the landmark series’ 50th anniversary. Originally premiering in 1971, the long-running Japanese television series “Kamen Rider” follows the exploits of a masked, motorcycle-riding hero who fights the forces of evil. It’s been the No. 1 kids’ program in Japan for nearly 50 years, according to Shout! Factory.

Saban Films Jan. 25 releases the thriller Two Deaths of Henry Baker. The gritty Western, about a treacherous rivalry between two brothers and their gold, will be issued on demand, through digital retailers and on DVD. In the film, a decades-long family feud pits two brothers and their sons in a bloody battle for possession of a fortune in gold. On the outskirts of a dusty, rural town, a young boy watches as his father buries a cache of stolen coins. The secret stash is entrusted alone to his favored son, Henry. Thirty years later, a corrupt cop (Tony Curran) and his crew descend on the now-adult son (Gil Bellows) to snatch the treasure. A bloody ambush ensues, leaving several dead or maimed and Henry being sent away to prison. His only son, Hank (Sebastian Pigott), is now in possession of the riches. After a long stint behind bars, Henry is released and plans to reunite with Hank and the fortune he left behind. Henry’s brother, Sam and his own son (Joe Dinico) have resurfaced to exact revenge and claim the riches as their own.

Best Buy Jan. 25 releases an exclusive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook edition of Lionsgate’s The Punisher. The 2004 film based on the Marvel Comics vigilante character stars Thomas Jane as Frank Castle, who becomes The Punisher to seek revenge on the mafia boss (John Travolta) who murdered his family. The cast also includes Will Patton and Roy Scheider. The film was originally released on 4K in September 2018. The new Steelbook edition will feature new artwork by Orlanda Arocena, and includes the film on a 4K and regular Blu-ray discs, and comes with a code redeemable for a digital copy.

Best Buy’s ‘The Punisher’ 4K Steelbook

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

Samba TV: ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Streamed by 2.8 Million HBO Max Households

Following an 18-year break from 2003’s The Matrix Revolutions, the fourth film in the sci-fi franchise, The Matrix Resurrections, was simultaneously made available to stream on HBO Max.

About 2.8 million Max households in the United States did just that, according to new data from Samba TV, which tracks more than 46 million opted-in televisions globally, including 28 million in the United States.

That explains why the Warner Bros. Pictures release had such a quiet box office debut ($22 million in North American ticket sales) through the Christmas weekend.

The tally was less than Netflix’s disaster movie spoof Don’t Look Up (3.1 million homes), but ahead of Disney’s animated family musical Encanto (2 million) on Disney+.

Then again, the Christmas weekend offers a buffet of live sports. And the numbers don’t lie. Holiday family get-togethers often survive with an assist from of any game on the television.

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A whopping 13.8 million households watched the Green Bay Packers vs. Cleveland Browns (Fox/NFL Network), which was up 31% from the previous year period. Another 6.1 million homes watched the Arizona Cardinals vs. Indianapolis Colts (NFL Network).

More than 2.6 million basketball households watched the New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks (ESPN), which was down 3% year-over-year. Another 3.3 million watched Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics (ABC), down 5%. About 3.5 million watched the Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors (ABC), up 11%; 3.9 million watched the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Brooklyn Nets (ESPN/ABC), down 15%; and 1.3 million watched the Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks (ESPN), down 22% YoY.

‘Spider-Man’ Tackles Nationalism, Sequels at Xmas Box Office

Entering the extended Christmas weekend box office, Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: No Way Home appears set to add to its blockbuster status, possibly topping $90 million in second-week revenue across North America. The Tom Holland-starrer has already exceeded $356 million in domestic ticket sales, $779 million globally. The movie is now the top-grossing U.S. title in 2021, passing MGM’s latest James Bond actioner No Time to Die, with $774 million.

No Way Home looks to surpass Chinese comedy Hi, Mom ($822 million) as it narrows the gap with the communist country’s nationalist war drama, The Battle at Lake Changjin, which leads the global box office with $902 million.

It’s been an interesting dynamic in 2021 with the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party resulting in a quiet government ban of most Western movies at the world’s No. 2 box office. It’s a nationalist trend that played out at the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Team USA topping China’s event-long lead in the overall medal count on the last day — in the last event of competition — only heightened the geopolitical intrigue. Just a few weeks ago, Lake Changjin’s box office lead looked unbeatable. Could the final days of 2021 produce another upset?

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Back in the homeland, a separate battle finds Universal’s animated family film Sing 2 projected to beat Warner Bros.’ The Matrix Resurrections as well as 20th Century Studios’ dark comic spy actioner The King’s Man, a prequel to 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service and 2017’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

Wrote Clarisse Loughrey in the Independent: “The ‘Kingsman’ franchise is really a test of what audiences are willing to put up with in exchange for a handful of cool action scenes.”

For fans of the “Matrix” movie trilogy, it’s been 18 years since Keanu Reeves’ Neo died saving humankind. In Resurrections, Neo and his romance partner Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss), both return from the dead, with Neo in therapy to deal with it all. Possibly affecting the box office potential is HBO Max, which has been simultaneously streaming every Warner theatrical release this year.

Sing 2 could generate $55 million across the extended five-day weekend box office, with Resurrections at $35 million and King’s Man at $17 million.