‘Avengers: Endgame’ Propels Marvel Movies Up Digital Retail Charts

The $1.2 billion global theatrical opening for Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame has unsurprisingly proved to be a boon for previous entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

On the Apple iTunes store movie sales chart on April 29, all 22 MCU movies were among the top 60 selling titles, with No. 1 being preorders for Endgame.

Including Endgame, Marvel movies comprised six of the top 10, with 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War at No. 3, 2012’s The Avengers at No. 4, 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger at No. 6, 2008’s Iron Man at No. 7, and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron at No. 8.

The MCU movies, which collectively have grossed nearly $20 billion worldwide, typically creep back up the charts when a new installment hits theaters, particularly when it’s a sequel to one of the specific character movies (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc.). Endgame, however, was positioned as a sequel to virtually every MCU movie that came before it, and the uptick in sales of previous movies was reflected in the anticipation to the latest chapter, which closes out several prominent storylines from the first 11 years of the MCU, which began in 2008 with the first Iron Man.

The effect is even apparent at the box office, where Captain Marvel, which was released in theaters in March, rose to No. 2 at the domestic box office behind Endgame

On iTunes, the weekend after Endgame hit theaters also saw 2016’s Captain America: Civil War at No. 14, 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier at No. 16, 2011’s Thor at No. 22, 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy at No. 23, 2016’s Doctor Strange at No. 27, 2010’s Iron Man 2 at No. 30, 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming at No. 31, 2013’s Iron Man 3 at No. 33, preorders for Captain Marvel at No. 35, 2015’s Ant-Man at No. 38, 2008’s The Incredible Hulk at No. 39, 2013’s Thor: The Dark World at No. 40, 2018’s Ant-Man at the Wasp at No. 47, 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 at No. 50, 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok at No. 51, and 2018’s Black Panther at No. 59.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The websites of other digital retailers showed a similar effect.

The Microsoft Movies & TV store also had preorders for Endgame as its No. 1 seller on April 29. Infinity War was No. 7, the original Avengers was No. 9, Iron Man was No. 10, Age of Ultron was No. 11, Civil War was No. 12, Captain America: The First Avengers was No. 13, Winter Soldier was No. 14 and a “Captain America” trilogy collection was No. 18.

The Microsoft Top 50 also included 13 other MCU movies, plus preorders for an “Avengers” four-movie collection at No. 41.

Walmart’s Vudu had Infinity War listed first on its “Most Watched” page on April 29, while Age of Ultron and the original Avengers were listed as ninth and tenth, respectively.

On the Amazon.com Amazon Video on demand (rental) list for April 29, MCU movies comprised five of the top 10 and 10 of the top 25, led by Spider-Man: Homecoming at No. 1, Guardians of the Galaxy at No. 2 and Ant-Man at No. 3. The further titles include Captain America: The First Avenger at No. 5, Iron Man 3 at No. 6, Avengers: Age of Ultron at No. 12, Thor at No. 16, Civil War at No. 17, Winter Soldier at No. 24 and Infinity War at No. 25. (Note that Amazon’s website lists high-definition and standar-defintion sales for the same title separately).

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Surges to No. 1 on Disc Sales Charts

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment again claimed the top spot on the national home video sales charts the week ended March 10, this time with Thor: Ragnarok, while five other newcomers also found their way into the overall top 20.

The latest hit superhero film from the powerhouse Marvel Studios unit had earned $315 million at the domestic box office before debuting at No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc Unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart.

The arrival of Thor:Ragnarok pushed Disney’s Coco, from the Pixar Animation Studio, to No. 2 on both charts after it had debuted on top the week before. Coco sold about 39% as many units as Thor: Ragnarok during the week.

Dropping a slot to No. 3, also on both charts, was 20th Century Fox’s Murder on the Orient Express remake.

No. 4 on the overall chart was Lionsgate’s Wonder, followed by Fox’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which rose two spots to No. 5 after being honored with a couple of acting Oscars.

On the Blu-ray chart, Disney’s Lady and the Tramp: Signature Collection slipped to No. 4, while Universal Pictures’ Darkest Hour took No. 5. Wonder and Three Billboards were No. 6 and No. 7, respectively.

The other new arrivals popping into the top 20 were Lionsgate’s Lady Bird at No. 8 (on both charts); Nickelodeon’s Paw Patrol: Sea Patrol, distributed by Paramount, at No. 10; BBC’s Blue Planet II at No. 12 (No. 10 on the Blu-ray chart); a Sony Pictures’ anniversary re-release of the 1982 fantasy epic The Dark Crystal at No. 13 (No. 9 on the Blu-ray chart); and Universal’s The Man Who Invented Christmas, a docu-drama about Charles Dickens writing A Christmas Carol, at No. 20 (No. 18 on the Blu-ray chart).

Notably, Dark Crystal was released for the first time on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, with the premium format accounting for 36% of the title’s unit sales. Blu-ray as a whole accounted for 86% of Dark Crystal sales for the week.

Among the other debuting titles, Blu-ray accounted for 83% of unit sales for Thor: Ragnarok, which saw 11% of its total come from UHD Blu-ray.

The comedy Lady Bird had 55% of its sales come by way of Blu-ray, while the documentary series Blue Planet II had 75% and The Man Who Invented Christmas had 46%.

Blue Planet II had 46% of its sales come from the 4K disc format, which is especially significant considering the U.S. HD configurations were either BD- or 4K-only, meaning no future-proofing combo pack containing both formats.

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended March 11, Coco took over the No. 1 spot after debuting a week earlier at No. 2, while Thor: Ragnarok had to settle for the second spot in its first week.

The chart-topping duo from Disney defies the usual trend, as Disney titles tend to take a few weeks to build momentum in the rental market as the studio has no distribution agreement with Redbox, leading the kiosk vendor to acquire its copies of Disney films as any consumer would — at retail. This tends to give the advantage to other studios who supply titles to Redbox directly. Indeed, Disney and Redbox are currently engaged in a legal dispute over the right to resell digital copy codes included with the packaged-media copies Redbox has been buying.

Rounding out the top five rentals, No. 3 and No. 4 went to a pair of 20th Century Fox films coming week-long holdbacks at Redbox – Murder on the Orient Express and Three Billboards, respectively.

No. 5 was Paramount’s Daddy’s Home 2, which had been the top rental the previous two weeks.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 03-10-18
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 03-11-18
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 03-10-18
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 03-10-18
Sales Report for Week Ended 03-10-18

Thor: Ragnarok

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street 3/6/18;
Disney/Marvel;
Action;
Box Office $314.97 million;
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive material.
Stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch.

As with any movie franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become adept and finding formulas that work and sticking to them.

As a case in point, the first two standalone “Thor” movies are generally regarded as among the weaker of the Marvel films. It’s not that they’re bad per se, it’s just that they really didn’t establish themselves much beyond a general space-fantasy epic that connected to elements of the larger Marvel films. As a character, Thor worked better in the “Avengers” films, when he had other heroes to play off of and the films could take advantage of his other-worldly nature for moments of levity and comic relief.

Over the course of 10 years, the MCU as a whole has tended to take itself less seriously, embracing the sense of fun that a comic book movie franchise should have without sacrificing the emotional connection the audience needs to have with its characters.

One of the major contributors to this change in attitude since the second “Thor” movie landed in 2013 was the arrival of two “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, which are not only the most comedy-driven of the Marvel films, but they also tread in the cosmic setting that should have been Thor’s bread and butter. Ant-Man and Spider-Man: Homecoming further demonstrated that the MCU could embrace a lighter tone while still remaining true to the source material and the overarching storylines being established for the crossover films.

So, it should really come as no surprise to see Thor: Ragnarok really deconstruct the elements of the MCU’s success, what has worked for Thor in the past, and let director Taika Waititi throw them into a blender to whip up his own unique cocktail for a hilarious big screen comic book thrill ride.

The secret ingredient, as far as Waititi is concerned, it seems, is a healthy pinch of 1970s and 1980s nostalgia, as Thor is essentially re-imagined as a Saturday morning cartoon hero akin to “He-Man” accompanied by a rockin’ techno-synth soundtrack, (from Mark Mothersbaugh, whose name popping up in the credits as the composer certainly elicits a “yeah, that makes sense” reaction).

Waititi does a masterful job of re-focusing the efforts of the “Thor” films while both wrapping up previous storylines (without much fuss) and positioning the characters for the next big crossover, Avengers: Infinity War, which arrives April 27.

Thor himself is now much more irreverent, with the script playing to Chris Hemsworth’s natural comedic talents. As for finding others for Thor to play with, this film offers a brief encounter with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange, but really hits a home run by pairing Thor with Hulk, taking advantage of a long-running rivalry between the two characters. A battle between Thor and Hulk in the gladiator pit of an alien world (inspired by the popular “Planet Hulk” comic book storyline) perfectly positions this film as a counterpoint to Captain America: Civil War, in which neither character appeared (as they were off conducting adventures in space, it would appear).

Thor’s only fighting Hulk, though, in order to escape from confinement and recruit a team to take back Asgard from his sister, Hela, the goddess of death. Hela (Cate Blanchett in a juicy performance that borders between menacing and sexy) had been imprisoned by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) for being too cruel, but manages to escape to claim her father’s throne.

The setting of the gladiator planet lets the filmmakers indulge themselves in the colorful renderings of legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby’s designs, and also provide an excuse to just insert Jeff Goldblum into the film (as the Grandmaster of the games) and allow him to just be his zany self, much to the delight of the audience.

The film is a visual spectacle, reminiscent of cult favorites such as Flash Gordon or Heavy Metal, and would be a spectacular showcase for home theater 3D effects were the format not being phased out (at least in the United States. All-region 3D Blu-rays are available from overseas markets such as Europe and Australia).

The home video offers extensive bonus materials, with some exclusive to the digital versions.

The highlight of the presentation on all platforms is probably the six-minute “Team Darryl” short film, the third installment in a spoof series about Thor’s roommate on Earth. This time, with Thor off the planet, Darryl’s new roommate is the Grandmaster, and any excuse for more Goldblum in any setting is a good one.

Also included are about 40 minutes of behind the scenes featurettes, with a three-minute video about the Thor-Hulk relationship presented as a digital exclusive. Other featurettes profile the new female characters, and look at many of the new elements this film brings to the franchise. There’s also a five-minute appreciation of the 10th anniversary of the MCU.

Offering digital exclusives is fine in this case, since the disc comes with access to the digital copies, but the extras are structured differently depending on where you try to watch them, particularly where the deleted scenes are concerned.

On disc, the deleted scenes are pretty straightforward, offered one at a time. Many of them are extended sequences from an earlier conception of the film before story elements were streamlined. So the glimpse of that alternate version is fascinating on its own. The deleted scenes run about 15 minutes, compared with less than six minutes on the disc.

Note that Vudu presents the deleted scenes as a single featurette with them strung together, ending with the fun Easter Egg reference to another Marvel movie that has created some online buzz.

Lastly, there’s an introduction and solo commentary by Waititi, in which he offers a few insights about the making of the film, but mostly maintains the jokey nature he often displays in public. He describes many scenes with tongue-in-cheek hyperbole, hypes up his own skills as both a director and actor, and spends considerable time allowing his young daughter onto the microphone and reacting to her rather than what’s on the screen. No doubt fans of Waititi’s brand of performance art will eat this up, but for general MCU fans, it seems like a missed opportunity to offer a good, in depth discussion about the film.

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ on Digital HD Feb. 20, Disc March 6

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will release Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok digitally on HD, 4K Ultra HD and Movies Anywhere Feb. 20, and on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, DVD and on-demand March 6.

The 17th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the third in the “Thor” franchise, the film teams Thor (Chris Hemsworth) with Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and the warrior Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) to escape the clutches of the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) in order to return to Asgard to defend his homeland against the threat of Hela (Cate Blanchett), the goddess of death.

Thor: Ragnarok, directed by Taika Waititi, earned more than $312 million at the domestic box office and $850 million worldwide.

Blu-ray extras include an introduction and commentary from Waititi; deleted and extended scenes; a gag reel; the featurette “Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years — The Evolution of Heroes,” a look at the path the Marvel Cinematic heroes have taken to the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War; the exclusive short “Team Darryl,” the third installment of the mockumentary about Thor’s roommate on Earth; 8-bit re-creations of the Sakaar spaceship battle and the final bridge battle in a retro video-game format. Making-of featurettes includes “Getting in Touch With Your Inner Thor,” which explores the vision of director Taika Waititi; “Unstoppable Women: Hela & Valkyrie”; “Finding Korg,” a tongue-in-cheek interview with Waititi about bringing the charismatic Korg to life; “Sakaar: On the Edge of the Known and Unknown,” about creating the film’s junk world and its ruler, the Grandmaster; and “Journey Into Mystery,” which looks at the film’s comic-book origins.

Digital-exclusive extras include additional deleted scenes and the featurette “Evolution of Thor and Hulk’s Bromance.”

The “Ultimate Cinematic Universe” 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with high dynamic range will feature Dolby Atmos immersive audio.

Among retailer exclusives available for preorder, Best Buy is offering Steelbook editions of the 4K and standard Blu-ray editions, while Target is packing a 32-page filmmaker behind-the-scenes gallery book with the Blu-ray.