‘Dear Evan Hansen’ Available on Digital Nov. 23, Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 7

The musical drama Dear Evan Hansen will be available for digital purchase Nov. 23, and Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 7 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Ben Platt steps back into Evan Hansen’s shoes one last time with a final performance in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical. Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Platt reprises his role as an anxious, isolated high schooler aching for understanding and belonging amid the chaos and cruelty of the social-media age. The film features music and lyrics by the Oscar, Grammy and Tony-winning songwriting team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman), including two new songs and the anthem “You Will Be Found.” 

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The supporting cast includes Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Amy Adams (Enchanted), Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart), Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give), Nik Dodani (“Atypical”), Colton Ryan (“Little Voice”), Danny Pino (“Law & Order: SVU”) and DeMarius Copes (Broadway’s Mean Girls).

The release features an hour of bonus content, including an in-depth look at the music of the film, mini documentaries with cast, Ben Platt’s personal reflection on his character, and a making of featurette with cast and crew.

‘Halloween Kills’ Domestic Box Office With $50.4 Million Debut

Universal Pictures’ sequel Halloween Kills didn’t disappoint, generating an estimated $50.4 million in opening weekend box office revenue across more than 3,700 North American screens.

The sequel to the 2018 reboot from Blumhouse, with Jamie Lee Curtis again reprising her original teen (now grandmother) role as Laurie Strode, intent on ending the murderous reign of Michael Myers, is the highest-grossing theatrical bow for a movie concurrently available on streaming at no extra cost to Peacock subscribers.

Halloween Kills‘ opening did not match the $76 million opening for 2018’s Halloween, which heavily marketed the return of Curtis to the role that launched her career. Kills is expected to resonate strongly at the box office through Oct. 31, before it will be made available on premium VOD.

Jamie Lee Curtis as grandmother Laurie Strode in Halloween Kills

MGM/United Artists Releasing’s James Bond title No Time to Die was the week’s runner-up with more than $24.3 million, reaching nearly $100 million at North American screens ($447 million globally) in Daniel Craig’s last run as Agent 007.

Another hyped new release, Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel (20th Century Studios), failed to match its $7 million to $10 million box office estimates, with less than $5 million in ticket sales. The result is disappointing for a film that reportedly cost $100 million to make — and features Matt Damon, Adam Driver and Jodie Comer.

Finally, Sony Pictures’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage saw $16.5 million in ticket sales to bring its three-week total to $169.1 million, while MGM/United Releasing’s The Addams Family 2 realized $7.2 million in ticket sales ($42.3 million overall).

‘Shang-Chi’ Tops Fourth Consecutive Weekend Box Office

Disney/Marvel’s superhero actioner Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is projected to win its fourth consecutive North American weekend box office Sept. 26 with $13.3 million, bringing its domestic tally to $196.5 million — tops among all movies in 2021.

Shang-Chi bested Universal Pictures’ young adult release Dear Evan Hansen, which generated an underwhelming $7.3 million — well below the industry projected $10 million in ticket sales for the movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical.

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Previous North American box office polesitter, Marvel’s Black Widow, has generated $183 million at the domestic box office. A tally, critics contend, was undermined at launch by the movie’s concurrent availability on Disney+ for $29.99. Disney said it recorded 2 million Premier Access transactions through the movie’s opening weekend, generating $60 million in incremental revenue. PVOD sales now total a reported $125 million.

The latter tally is not sitting well with Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson, who filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Disney, alleging the movie’s Premier Access release strategy deprived her of contractual compensation from the theatrical release.

Voice Cast, Release Date Disclosed for ‘Super Mario Bros.’ Animated Theatrical Movie

Animation studio Illumination (Minions) and Nintendo announced that their new movie based on the video game world of Super Mario Bros. will be released worldwide during the 2022 holiday season. Universal Pictures will release the title in North America on Dec. 21, 2022, with the release schedule for additional countries and regions to be announced at a future date. The film will be co-financed by Universal Pictures and Nintendo.

Voice actors include Chris Pratt (Mario), Anya Taylor-Joy (Princess Peach), Charlie Day (Luigi ), Jack Black (Bowser), Keegan-Michael Key (Toad), Seth Rogen (Donkey Kong), Fred Armisen (Cranky Kong), Kevin Michael Richardson (Kamek) and Sebastian Maniscalco (Spike).

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The screenplay will be written by Matthew Fogel, whose writing credits include The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and the upcoming Illumination film Minions: The Rise of Gru.

Shigeru Miyamoto, co-creator of Super Mario Bros., and fellow of Nintendo, said production on the movie has been “constructive and going very well,” with representatives from Illumination and Nintendo “learning a lot from each other.”

“We humbly ask that fans wait just a little longer for the premiere, and we hope they look forward to seeing the unique characters from Super Mario Bros. on the big screen,” Miyamoto said in a statement.

Super Mario Bros. is considered one of greatest-selling video game franchises since launching in 1985 as a successor to the Mario Bros. arcade game.

M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Old’ Due on Digital Oct. 5, 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 19

Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan’s Old will be available to own on digital Oct. 5, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 19 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The thriller follows a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly reducing their entire lives into a single day.

Directed and produced by Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs, Split), the film stars an international cast including Golden Globe winner Gael García Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle), Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread), Rufus Sewell (The Illusionist, A Knight’s Tale), Alex Wolff (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), Thomasin McKenzie (JoJo Rabbit), Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road), Nikki Amuka-Bird (Jupiter Ascending), Ken Leung (“The Sopranos,” “Lost”), Eliza Scanlen (Little Women), Aaron Pierre (“Britannia”), Embeth Davidtz (Schindler’s List, Matilda) and Emun Elliott (Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens).

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Bonus features include deleted scenes; “Shyamalan Family Business,” a look at what the director’s two daughters, Ishana and Saleka, contributed to the film and how collaborating with family made filming outside Philadelphia still feel like home; “All the Beach Is a Stage,” about the challenge of shooting a film in a wide-open space; “Nightmares in Paradise,” about the challenges of shooting in the Dominican Republic; and “A Family in the Moment,” in which Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Thomasin McKenzie and Alex Wolff recount an emotional night of filming.

Comcast CFO: Splitting Universal’s Pay 1 Window With Rival Streamers More Profitable

Universal Pictures’ decision to split the 18-month Pay 1 window between its sister Peacock streaming service, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video is generating more revenue than prior post-theatrical/retail home entertainment iterations, Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh told an investor group.

Speaking Sept. 14 at the virtual Banc of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference, Cavanagh said the decision to incorporate Peacock rivals in the Pay 1 window underscores NBCUniversal’s singular approach to movie distribution in the digital age.

Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh

“Our road to streaming is going to be our own road,” Cavanagh said. “We’ll do what makes sense to us.”

In addition to feeding the growing Peacock asset and mining incremental revenue through premium VOD with original studio movies on an accelerated timeline, Universal has revenue-sharing agreements with AMC Theatres and Regal that allow it to release titles into digital retail channels as early as 17 days after their box office debut, depending upon opening weekend ticket sales.

Universal earlier this month announced it would release horror movie Halloween Kills, the sequel to the 2018 reboot that re-introduced Jamie Lee Curtis to the franchise, in theaters and on the Peacock on Oct. 15.

“We are firm believers that theatrical is important, but innovation around windowing is going to be part of what makes us successful over time,” Cavanagh said.

After Peacock’s exclusive four-month Pay 1 window, Netflix and Amazon split separate four-month periods followed by a four-month return to Peacock.

“The monies we received from third parties for that 18-month window — despite the fact we are keeping the first four months of that window — is actually more than what it had been prior to this new deal that we did,” Cavanagh said.

He said the strategy enables Universal to better leverage its theatrical content through Peacock while enabling competitive channels to mine incremental fiscal benefits for the studio.

“We think it is a long-term opportunity for us to keep the asset in our own libraries, while also giving us optionality for down the road,” Cavanagh said. “I think we served a lot of our different strategic purposes in the new windowing we did.”

Universal Releasing ‘Halloween Kills’ Concurrently in Theaters, on Peacock

Universal Pictures Sept. 9 announced it would release horror movie Halloween Kills, the sequel to the 2018 reboot that re-introduced Jamie Lee Curtis to the franchise, in theaters and on the Peacock Premium SVOD platform on Oct. 15.

The move is the second hybrid box office/SVOD distribution strategy following The Boss Baby: Family Business in July. That sequel went on to generate $105.7 million at the global box office, including $57 million in the U.S.

The 2018 Halloween proved a successful hit at the box office, generating $255.6 million at the global box office, including $159.3 million domestically. The title saw an opening weekend (through Oct. 21, 2018) domestic box office of $76.2 million.

Universal was one of the first studios to aggressively shake up the traditional theatrical window, pushing to distribute theatrical titles into the PVOD channel within 17 days of box office release depending on opening-weekend results.

To cement the release strategies with exhibitors, Universal hammered out digital revenue-sharing agreements with AMC Theatres and Regal — North America’s largest exhibitors.

‘Original Christmas Specials’ Blu-ray Steelbook Coming Nov. 2

The Original Christmas Specials Collection will come out in a Steelbook Blu-ray Nov. 2 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, featuring five classic stories produced by Rankin/Bass.

The collection includes Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town and The Little Drummer Boy featuring stop-motion animation and the animated Frosty the Snowman and Cricket on the Hearth. The productions feature the iconic voice talents of Fred Astaire, Jimmy Durante, Mickey Rooney, Danny Thomas, Burl Ives and many more, as well as classic songs.

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Special features include “The Animagic World of Rankin/Bass”; “Restoring the Puppets of Rudolph”; “Reimagining Rudolph in 4D”; “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Attraction Film”; and commentaries.

‘Candyman’ Doesn’t Disappoint, Topping Weekend Box Office

Universal Pictures’ horror movie Candyman finished atop the weekend box office, besting projections of less than $20 million with $22.4 million in ticket sales across 3,569 North American screens through Aug. 29. The drama, which had an 85% approval score on Rotten Tomatoes, has generated more than $27 million in worldwide ticket sales on a reported $25 million production budget.

A follow-up to the 1992 original Candyman, the film was directed by Nia DaCosta and features Yahya Abdul-Mateen II heading a largely black ensemble cast. The new Candyman supplanted Disney/20th Century Studios’ Free Guy, which earned $13.5 million across 3,940 screens. The Ryan Reynolds action comedy has realized $78 million in revenue in three weeks (more than $179 million globally).

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Paramount Pictures’ Paw Patrol: The Movie finished in the No. 3 spot with $6.6 million, generating $24 million in North American ticket sales.

It remains to be seen if Universal will release Candyman into homes on PVOD within 17 days of release, as part of the studio’s agreement with major exhibitors for movies that generate less than $50 million in their opening box office weekend.

Regardless, the weekend box office undercut the previous two-month low of $59 million by 1.3% at $58.3 million. Other releases included Disney’s Jungle Cruise with $5 million ($100 million); Screen Gems’ Don’t Breathe 2 with $2.83 million ($24.5 million); MGM’s Respect with $2.1 million ($19.6 million); Warner Bros.’ The Suicide Squad at $2 million ($52.8 million); Lionsgate’s The Protege with $1.65 million ($5.7 million); Searchlight Pictures’ The Night House with $1.21 million ($5.7 million); and Disney/Marvel Studios’ Black Widow with $855,000 ($181.5 million).

‘Candyman’ Looking to Supplant ‘Free Guy’ Atop Weekend Box Office

With positive reviews, strong social media buzz and a star producer, Universal Pictures’ horror sequel Candyman is looking to knock off Disney/20th Century Studios’ Free Guy from atop the domestic weekend box office through Aug. 29.

The “spiritual sequel” to the 1992 original Candyman, the new movie’s trailer on social media platforms (i.e. YouTube) has reportedly generated more than 60 million views. With a largely black ensemble cast and female director (Nia DaCosta, who is helming Captain Marvel sequel The Marvels), the movie’s marketing ace in the hole is producer Jordan Peele, whose resumé includes box office and critical hits Get Out and Us, among others.

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The title joins a heavy horror-themed 2021 release slate that includes movies such as Lionsgate’s Spiral: From the Book of Saw; The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Warner Bros.); The Forever Purge and Old (both Universal); and Escape Room: Tournament of Champions and Don’t Breathe 2 (Sony Pictures, Screen Gems).

Also impacting Candyman’s box office (reportedly to range from $16 million to $26 million), as well as other theatrical titles, is the ongoing pandemic, increasing Delta variant infections, and the fact Universal will release the movie in homes on premium VOD after 17 days if the first-week box office falls below $50 million.

Meanwhile, Ryan Reynolds’ boyish charm continues to propel action comedy Free Guy, which has generated more than $117 million at the worldwide box office, including $64 million domestically. The movie has topped the domestic box office since its Aug. 11 release.

Other box office returners include Paramount Pictures’ Paw Patrol: The Movie; Disney’s The Jungle Cruise; MGM’s Aretha Franklin biopic Respect; Warner’s The Suicide Squad; Lionsgate’s The Protégé; opening weekend disappointment Reminiscence (Warner); and The Night House (Searchlight Pictures).