‘Chaos Walking’ Due on Digital May 14, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD May 25

The sci-fi thriller Chaos Walking, starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, will come out on digital May 14 and 4K Ultra HD combo pack, Blu-ray combo pack and DVD May 25 from Lionsgate.

In the film — based on the best-selling novel The Knife of Never Letting Go and set in the not-too-distant future — Todd Hewitt (Holland) discovers a mysterious girl named Viola (Ridley). She has crash-landed on his planet, where the women have disappeared and the men are afflicted by “The Noise,” a force that puts all their thoughts on display. In this dangerous landscape, Viola’s life is threatened and, to protect her, Todd must discover his inner power and unlock the planet’s dark secrets.

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From director Doug Liman (The Bourne IdentityEdge of Tomorrow), Chaos Walking also stars Mads Mikkelsen, Demián Bichir, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Jonas, Kurt Sutter and David Oyelowo.

Special features include:

  • Audio commentary with director Doug Liman, producer Alison Winter and editor Doc Crotzer;
  • “A Director’s Noise” featurette;
  • “Inner Thoughts With Patrick Ness” featurette;
  • “The Source of Silence” featurette;
  • “Citizens of Prentisstown” featurette;
  • “Establishing Shot With Ben Seresin” featurette (4K exclusive);
  • “The Music of Chaos Walking” featurettes; and
  • deleted scenes with optional audio commentary.

 

Sony Pictures, Netflix Ink Exclusive U.S. Movie Distribution Deal

In a throwback to a former landmark deal between Netflix and Walt Disney Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment has signed a distribution deal with the SVOD behemoth for exclusive U.S. access to Sony theatrical releases following the box office and home entertainment windows.

The agreement, which begins in 2022, will replace Sony’s existing digital deal with Lionsgate-owned Starz. Sony, unlike other major studios, does not have its own branded streaming video service. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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The deal will include upcoming Sony releases Morbius, starring Oscar winner Jared Leto, and Uncharted, featuring “Spider-Man” actor Tom Holland. Sony, which will also produce movies for Netflix as part of the streamer’s 60+ movie releases per year, will give Netflix access to its lucrative Spider-Man franchise.

Other tentpole titles include Where the Crawdads Sing and Bullet Train, which will be among the initial 2022 offerings. They will be followed by continued entries in Sony Pictures’ rejuvenated slate of IP, including the sequel to Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and several more SPE films featuring Marvel characters, including future installments of Venom and Spider-Man; and expected follow-ups for the “Jumanji” and “Bad Boys” franchises. Netflix will also license rights to select titles from SPE’s vast movie library.

“This not only allows us to bring Sony’s impressive slate of film franchises and new IP to Netflix in the U.S., but it also establishes a new source of first run films for Netflix movie lovers,” Scott Stubler, head of global films at Netflix, said in a statement.

Sony will also offer Netflix a first look at any films it intends to make directly for streaming or decides later to license for streaming, and Netflix has committed to make a number of those films over the course of the deal. Any such direct-to-streaming projects will be additive to SPE’s full 15-20 title theatrical film slate, which will continue at its current volume. Netflix recently acquired rights to Sony animated comedy The Mitchells vs. The Machines.

“Netflix has been a terrific partner as we continue to expand our relationship,” said Keith Le Goy, president of worldwide distribution and networks for Sony Pictures Entertainment. “This exciting agreement further demonstrates the importance of that content to our distribution partners as they grow their audiences and deliver the very best in entertainment.”

Netflix’s 2016 deal with Disney afforded the streamer exclusive access to the studio’s movies — in a deal that reportedly cost Netflix $350 million annually. That turned out to be a boon for Netflix as it had exclusive rights to Disney’s burgeoning Marvel Studios’ titles — a reality that help skyrocket subscriptions. Disney did not renew the agreement when it decided to launch branded SVOD platform Disney+.

Apple TV+ Orders ‘The Crowded Room’

Apple TV+ has ordered the series “The Crowded Room,” with Tom Holland starring in the lead role of the first season.

The anthology series will be produced by Apple Studios and New Regency, with Academy Award winner Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) set to write and executive produce.

Holland also will serve as executive producer alongside Goldsman.

“The Crowded Room” will explore the true and inspirational stories of those who have struggled and learned to successfully live with mental illness.

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The anthology’s 10-episode first season is inspired by the award-winning biography The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes. It tells the story of Billy Milligan (Holland), the first person ever acquitted of a crime because of multiple personality disorder (now known as dissociative identity disorder).

‘Chaos Walking’ Coming to PVOD April 2 From Lionsgate

The sci-fi thriller Chaos Walking, starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, will come out via premium VOD rental April 2 from Lionsgate.

In the film — based on the best-selling novel The Knife of Never Letting Go and set in the not-too-distant future — Todd Hewitt (Holland) discovers a mysterious girl named Viola (Ridley). She has crash-landed on his planet, where the women have disappeared and the men are afflicted by “The Noise,” a force that puts all their thoughts on display. In this dangerous landscape, Viola’s life is threatened and, to protect her, Todd must discover his inner power and unlock the planet’s dark secrets.

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From director Doug Liman (The Bourne IdentityEdge of Tomorrow), Chaos Walking also stars Mads Mikkelsen, Demián Bichir, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Jonas, Kurt Sutter and David Oyelowo.

Apple TV+ Extends Free Access to July

Apple is reportedly extending free access to branded subscription streaming video platform Apple TV+ from February to July. When the media giant launched the SVOD service in November 2019, it offered 12 months free access to anyone purchasing Apple hardware. That $4.99 monthly promotion was later extended to February 2021, followed by the current new extension.

Existing Apple TV+ paying subs will get the monthly fees credited to their Apple Store account. The promotion is intended to give Apple more time to roll out new original content, including feature-film Cherry, starring Spider-Man’s Tom Holland as an opioid addled former soldier with PTSD who has morphed into a bank robber. The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, whose previous credits include Disney/Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

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Other Apple originals include series “For All Mankind,” “Dickinson,” “Ted Lasso,” “The Morning Show,” “Servant” and “See,” among others.

Apple has never officially released subscriber data for TV+, with media reports a year ago citing more than 33 million subs to the platform, according to third-party analytics.

Tom Holland in Apple TV+ original movie ‘Cherry’

The Current War: Director’s Cut

DIGITAL REVIEW: 

Universal;
Drama;
Box Office $5.98 million;
$22.98 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some violent content and thematic elements.
Stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, Matthew Macfadyen, Stanley Townsend, Katherine Waterston, Tuppence Middleton.

Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s The Current War tells the story of something we take for granted so much nowadays it would be nearly impossible to imagine life without it — the installation of electrical systems to power society.

The story takes place in the 1880s and 1890s, with arrogant inventor Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch) and businessman George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) locked in a contest to deliver electricity to America’s cities.

Edison pushes the direct current (DC) system, which requires a new power plant every mile or so. Westinghouse champions alternating current (AC), which can more efficiently transmit power over farther distances with fewer plants, but the technology is unproven.

The ruthless Edison even engages in a PR war, claiming Westinghouse’s AC is too dangerous to be used around populations. He goes so far as to arrange a demonstration of how AC could electrocute animals, prompting the government to ask Edison to create an electric chair to execute death row inmates as a “humane” alternative to hanging.

Westinghouse enlists the aid of futurist Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult), the eccentric Serbian whose ideas were rejected by Edison but who may have conceived the breakthrough in constructing a generator capable of powering both lights and machines, when previous AC systems could only turn on the lights (putting AC at a disadvantage to DC from the standpoint of industry).

The Current War is a fascinating retelling of one of the great rivalries of the industrial revolution, marked by engaging performances from Cumberbatch and Shannon as the two men to dream of lighting America’s skies at night.

The story’s focus is more on the personalities of the men involved, rather than getting bogged down in the technical details. For example, there’s no scene that succinctly explains the differences between DC and AC systems, leaving that to inferences and implications spread throughout the film in scenes where discussions of such things warrant it.

What that leaves is an ode to innovation and inventiveness, and the fighting spirit that fueled the men who were inspired to bring the world into the future.

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The reason the film has been draped with the “director’s cut” label is almost as interesting a story.

Gomez-Rejon’s original cut played at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017, though he admits it was rushed to meet the deadline and he wasn’t happy with the result. The film was going to be released theatrically by The Weinstein Company, but those plans fell through in light of the sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Contractual obligations regarding the TWC bankruptcy and the sale of its assets prevented Gomez-Rejon from adjusting the film to better meet his vision.

When the film’s new rights-holder emerged in 2019, Gomez-Rejon was able to convince executive producer Martin Scorsese to exercise a clause in his contract that gave Scorsese final cut approval, and Scorsese let Gomez-Rejon make the changes he wanted to make, trimming some scenes and adding others through reshoots. He also got rid of expositional title cards that explained what the stakes were but made the film feel too much like a documentary.

Gomez-Rejon discusses some of this process in his solo commentary for the film, in which he points out where some of the changes took place and how they resulted in a more satisfying film.

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The film’s home video edition also includes three interesting deleted scenes that run about five-and-a-half minutes in total.

While the film will play on any number of platforms, including Vudu or FandangoNow, thanks to Movies Anywhere, the bonus content is accessible through Apple TV (iTunes), as well as disc.

Animated ‘Spies in Disguise’ to Be Unveiled on Digital and Disc — Including 4K — March 10

The animated comedy Spies in Disguise will come out on digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD March 10 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

In the film, super spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) and scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) are almost exact opposites. Lance is smooth, suave and debonair. Walter is none of the above. But this unlikely duo must team up for the ultimate mission to save the world when a “biodynamic concealment” experiment transforms Lance into a pigeon.

The film earned $163.5 million at the global box office.

Blu-ray bonus features include multiple making-of featurettes and two music videos as well as “Super Secret Spy Mode,” an immersive, in-movie experience that takes you deeper into the story with Easter eggs, facts and behind-the-scenes insights into the making of the film.

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‘Dolittle’ Coming to Digital March 24, Disc — Including 4K — April 7

Dolittle will arrive on digital March 24 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and on demand April 7 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Robert Downey Jr. plays Dr. Dolittle, a man who can talk to animals. The cast also includes the voice talents of Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, Selena Gomez, John Cena and Tom Holland, among others.

After losing his wife, Dolittle he locks himself away behind the high wall of his manor but is forced to set sail on an epic adventure when the queen falls gravely ill. Helping Dolittle in search of a rare cure are his animal friends — including Chee-Chee (Malek), an anxious, self-conscious gorilla; Dab-Dab (Octavia Spencer), an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck; the bickering duo of cynical, neurotic ostrich Plimpton (Kumail Nanjiani) and the polar bear Yoshi (Cena); and a headstrong parrot named Polynesia (Thompson).

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The film earned $161.7 million at the global box office.

The 4K disc includes HDR+.

Bonus features include:

  • “Talk to the Animals,” a peek at the fun the cast had giving each of the animals their unique voice;
  • “Robert Downey Jr. & Harry: Mentor and Mentee,” about the unique bond the two actors formed on-set, and how Downey took the film’s young co-star under his wing;
  • “Becoming the Good Doctor,” about how Downey transformed into the iconic Dolittle;
  • “Antonio Banderas: Pirate King,” in which Banderas discusses what attracted him to the project, his experiences working with Downey and what he brought to the role of King Rassouli;
  • “The Wicked Dr. Mudfly,” about the nefarious villain Dr. Blair Müdfly with Michael Sheen diving into his character’s motivations for being Dolittle’s foil; and
  • “A Most Unusual House,” about the unique rooms and modifications that allow Dolittle to house anyone or anything, big or small.

 

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Spider-Man: Far From Home

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 10/1/19;
Sony Pictures/Marvel;
Action;
Box Office $389.86 million;
$30.99 DVD, $38.99 Blu-ray, $45.99 UHD BD;
Rated’PG-13’ for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments.
Stars Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, Martin Starr, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Angourie Rice, Tony Revolori, Peter Billingsley, Marisa Tomei.

Well, that could have been awkward.

Amid reports that Sony Pictures and Disney would not renew their landmark deal to share Spider-Man, the home video release of the latest film featuring the character looked to be in the unenviable position of reminding audiences just how valuable the partnership had been, both from a financial and a creative standpoint.

And since Spider-Man: Far From Home ends with a cliffhanger that recasts the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Spidey’s place within it, a fresh viewing of the film under the shadow of its sequel potentially not being connected to the MCU only puts a more glaring spotlight on the impasse, much to the disappointment of fans. The bonus materials accompanying the release don’t sidestep the issues, either, with direct discussions of Spidey’s impact on the MCU (particularly the four-minute “Stepping Up” featurette).

Fortunately, such prospects were avoided with the news of a new agreement to allow Marvel to make a proper sequel, completing a trilogy with Tom Holland as the title character at the very least, and paving the way for whatever Sony has planned for the character down the road.

And that’s very good news indeed, as Far From Home offers a spectacular adventure, from the perspective of both a Spider-Man story and the 23rd chapter of the MCU (serving as the epilogue of Phase 3).

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With the world adjusting to the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker (Holland) and his high school class take a summer trip to Europe, where Peter hopes to relax, take some time away from being Spider-Man, and explore a relationship with MJ (Zendaya). Unfortunately, he is recruited by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to help Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) battle a threat from another dimension. As Peter struggles to balance his personal and superhero lives, he is confronted by the legacy of Tony Stark.

But as Peter questions what his place within that legacy is, he learns that things are not what they seem, forcing him to step up to become the hero he was destined to be.

The film looks great, blending scenic European locales with dazzling visual effects to create an eye-popping piece of entertainment.

Holland remains one of the most likeable stars of the MCU, handling with ease whatever challenges the movie throws at him. Gyllenhaal makes for an engaging Mysterio, an effective counterbalance to Peter’s crisis of confidence. Far From Home features a lot of surprises, both in terms of how the story unfolds and in references to earlier Marvel movies.

As with the previous film in this particular franchise, 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, the villains are remnants of Stark’s actions in prior films, which has left some fans a bit miffed that the MCU Spider-Man seems more like an Iron Man Jr. cleaning up Stark’s messes. There is some truth to that, but within the context of the story of the films, it works really well.

The Blu-ray also includes what is billed as a new original short, but it’s essentially a three-and-a-half minute deleted scene of Peter preparing for his vacation, clips of which were used in some of the earliest Far From Home trailers.

Separately, the disc includes another six minutes of deleted and alternate scenes, plus a three-and-a-half-minute gag reel.

The four-and-a-half-minute “Stealthy Easter Eggs” featurette shows off some of the film’s hidden references, while the five-minute “Teachers’ Travel Tips” offers a comedic look at the chaperones played by Martin Starr and JB Smoove trying to ensure a smooth trip.

For behind-the-scenes footage, the disc offers nine featurettes that run about 40 minutes in total. These cover everything from the new suits, new locations and new cast members seen in the film, to the extensive stunts, a look at MCU guest stars, and how director Jon Watts put his spin on the material.

Another section of the extras offers eight minutes of comparisons between pre-vis storyboards and the final version of select scenes.

Finally, there’s a 12-minute video called “The Brother’s Trust,” an inspiring look at the charity work of Holland and his brothers.

 

‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ Comes Home on Digital Sept. 17, Disc Oct. 1 Including 4K

Spider-Man: Far From Home will fly to digital Sept. 17 and 4K Ultra HD combo pack, Blu-ray combo pack and DVD Oct. 1 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film earned $386.1 million in domestic theaters.

Tom Holland returns as the web-slinger Peter Parker in the next chapter after Spider-Man: Homecoming. He joins his best friends Ned, M.J. and the rest of the gang on a European vacation. However, Peter’s plans to leave heroics behind for a few weeks are quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks. Spider-Man and Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) join forces to fight the havoc unleashed across the continent — but all is not as it seems.

The film also stars Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan and Zendaya as M.J.

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Special features include a new original short, alternate and extended scenes, gag reels, and Easter Eggs. Additional special features include “Teachers’ Travel Tips,” with Mr. Harrington and Mr. Dell on how to traverse the European continent, as well as interviews with the cast and crew focused on stunts and location in “The Jump Off” and “Far, FAR, From Home.” Viewers can explore how Spider-Man was introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in “Stepping Up” and get a closer look at the chemistry between Jon Watts and Tom Holland in “It Takes Two.” Viewers can also dive into the “The Ginter-Riva Effect,” “Thank You, Mrs. Parker” and “Now You See Me” featurettes for more character focused details.

The 4K Ultra HD also features Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos audio.