Thriller ‘The Card Counter’ Available Digitally Nov. 23, on Disc Dec. 14

The crime thriller The Card Counter was released through digital retailers Nov. 23, and arrives on Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 14 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Executive produced by Martin Scorsese and directed by Paul Schrader, the film follows an ex-military interrogator turned gambler who is haunted by the ghosts of his past decisions. The film stars Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish and Tye Sheridan. 

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Bonus content on Blu-ray and DVD includes the featurette “A High-Stakes World,” in which Schrader discusses developing the characters and how the world of poker provided the perfect metaphor for William Tell’s predicament. The featurette also includes interviews with stars Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish, as well as poker consultant Joe Stapleton.

Action Thriller ‘Copshop’ Due on Digital Nov. 23, DVD and Blu-ray Dec. 7

The action thriller Copshop will be available for digital purchase Nov. 23, and on Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 7 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, screaming through the Nevada desert in a bullet-ridden Crown Vic, wily con artist Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo, The Grey, The Purge: Anarchy) hatches a desperate plan to hide out from lethal hitman Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler, Greenland, Angel Has Fallen). He sucker-punches rookie officer Valerie Young (Alexis Louder, The Tomorrow War, Harriet) to get himself arrested and locked up in a small-town police station.

But jail can’t protect Murretto for long. Viddick schemes his own way into detention, biding his time in a nearby cell until he can complete his mission. When the arrival of a competing assassin (Toby Huss, “Halt and Catch Fire,” Rescue Dawn) ignites all-out mayhem, mounting threats force Viddick to get creative if he wants to finish the job. 

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‘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.

Drama ‘Two Yellow Lines’ Due on 4K Digital Nov. 9

The drama Two Yellow Lines will be released on 4K digital Nov. 9 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, veteran smokejumper Jack Elliot fells trees on a steep mountain slope high in the Montana wilderness when his phone rings. His estranged ex-wife can’t pick up their teenage daughter from camp in Wyoming. Jack hasn’t seen her in four years, ever since he lost his entire unit to a rogue wildfire.

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Over the next five days, Jack and his daughter battle as they ride across the wild Montana landscape and sleep beneath a bounty of stars. Watching his baby grow into a woman, and seeing her hero shrink to a man, a battle that starts off face-to-face, slowly turns back-to-back.

Doc ‘Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain’ Due on Digital Sept. 28, DVD Oct. 12

The documentary Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain will come out on digital Sept. 28 and on DVD Oct. 12 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The documentary is an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at how an anonymous chef became a world-renowned cultural icon. From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville, the film is unflinching look at Bourdain, who published several books, appeared on the Bravo series “Top Chef” and had his own series “No Reservations.” He also appeared in the film The Big Short.

Bourdain died of an apparent suicide in 2018.

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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.

‘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.

‘The Boss Baby: Family Business’ Due on Digital Aug. 31, Disc Sept. 14

DreamWorks Animation’s The Boss Baby: Family Business will be available for digital purchase Aug. 31, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 14 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The sequel welcomes back the Templeton brothers — Tim (voice of James Marsden) and his Boss Baby little bro Ted (Alec Baldwin) — who have become adults and drifted away from each other. Enter new boss baby Tina (Amy Sedaris) determined to bring them together again and inspire a new family business.

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The voice cast also includes James Marsden, Ariana Greenblatt, Jeff Goldblum, Eva Longoria, James McGrath, Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow.

Special features include a new animated short, a deleted scene, a gag reel, and interactive “Creative Experiment Labs” and “Boss Baby Art Class” programs.

‘F9: The Fast Saga’ Racing to Digital Sept. 7, Disc Sept. 21

F9: The Fast Saga, the latest installment in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, will come out with a new director’s cut on digital Sept. 7 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 21 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film has generated more than $600 million worldwide.

The release features the original theatrical version, the director’s cut and more than an hour of exclusive bonus content, including a behind-the-scenes look at the stunts and cars and a gag reel.

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In the film, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) thought he’d left his outlaw life in the rear-view mirror, but not even he can outrun the past. When his forsaken brother Jakob (John Cena, Bumblebee) unexpectedly resurfaces as an elite assassin, the crew comes back together to help Dom confront the sins of his own past and stop a world-shattering plot.

Franchise veteran Justin Lin, who helmed the third, fourth, fifth and sixth installments of the series, returns to the director’s seat for F9.

F9 also stars returning franchise cast members Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster and Sung Kang, with Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron.

DEG Panel: Transactional Business Strong Despite New-Release Slowdown

The home entertainment pie is getting bigger — and not just on the subscription streaming side, according to an Aug. 10 panel presented by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

“The story on SVOD services I think is really well told, and we’ve seen a lot of consumers come over through those subscriber numbers, but I don’t think there’s been much focus on consumers who’ve been coming into the transactional end of the business,” said Jim Wuthrich, president of home entertainment and content licensing at WarnerMedia.

After a year in 2020 that saw a big jump in at home entertainment viewing due to a pandemic, the transactional business — revenue from consumers who rent or buy titles either digitally or physically — has proven resilient, even though it has dropped from the pandemic highs of last year. Transactional spending was down 28.7% to an estimated $3.4 billion, from $4.8 billion in the first six months of 2020.

“I would say overall these numbers to me are remarkable,” said Michael Bonner, president of worldwide home entertainment at Universal Pictures.

Comparing the numbers to pre-pandemic 2019, transactional has grown its appeal, especially with catalog.

“We have evidence that the consumer adoption and engagement during the pandemic is up overall, and those levels are kind of maintaining,” Bonner said.

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“We had this big spike last year where consumers were looking for any content they could transactionally,” Wuthrich added. “This year we’ve come down, but we’re running against that big spike we had last year.

“The one drag that we’ve got for the first half of this year was really around new-release product because we don’t have a lot of new-release product.”

Still, Bonner noted that on a title-by-title basis, the new releases that have come out are performing well.

“If you look at it at on a title level, that product that is flowing in, it’s performing very well relative to historical,” he noted.

Then there’s premium rentals and sales (PVOD, PEST), which the DEG does not track. That segment of the business, which some industry pundits say helped the transactional market grow for the first time in a decade last year, has continued its appeal.

“Our estimate is there’s $1 billion of consumer spend that’s not captured in the numbers that you’re presenting,” Bonner said. “And those numbers are not insignificant. We’ve seen tremendous engagement from consumers on that product that’s made available early in its window. Again, some of that is to be expected — given where the box office has been over the past year — but the numbers, they’re fantastic.”

Wuthrich sees a strong last half of the year, as new releases flow into the transactional pipeline.

“Going into the back half of year, we’re pretty bullish around it,” he said.

“I think in Q3 and Q4, we’re not quite out of the pandemic yet, so I think there’s still going to be heavy engagement in the home, so I think the numbers should be strong again,” Bonner said.

While moves to put titles on streaming services early — and, in the case of Warner, on HBO Max concurrently with theaters — may shrink demand in the transactional realm, there are customers for every segment of the entertainment marketplace, said panelists.

“When it’s widely available on a streaming service, it does take some of the demand, but it also adds in other ways,” Wuthrich said.

“The reality is studios are all kind of making tradeoffs in terms of how to put product through different consumer offerings earlier than ever,” Bonner added. “We’re all trying to figure that out.”

Each segment of the business is finding an audience, panelists said.

“We see spikes in demand across each of those new offerings,” Bonner said. “There are consumers and there’s an audience out there for each of these.”

Even the physical business is holding its own, Wuthrich said.

“We found there are still over 35 million households in the U.S. that are still transacting in physical,” he said, noting that Warner entered into a joint venture, Studio Distribution Services (SDS), with Universal to serve the continuing physical disc consumer.

“One of the reasons that people continue to buy physical media is it’s a habit. Another reason though is quality. You can’t beat the quality to the television of physical media, particularly around 4K with HDR,” Wuthrich noted. He added that physical consumers span all demos, young and old. Close to 60% is in the age range of 25-44, he said.

And retailers have maintained a lot of that shelf space for physical during the pandemic.

“I think longer term, this is a mature category, and you’ll see continued consolidation,” Wuthrich said. “I think of the retailers that have, particularly the large ones that have exited or shrunk the category, we see stabilization in that space. And that’s where it was particularly encouraging, at least some of our retailers held most of the space, even through COVID, even though there wasn’t a lot of new product that was flowing in. And it was because it was something that was desired by their customer. They were looking for distractions and such. So maybe they were only shopping for diapers and popcorn, but they were still going by and picking up physical.”