‘Trolls World Tour’ to Debut on Digital June 23, Disc — Including 4K — July 7 From Universal

DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour will debut on digital June 23, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD July 7 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The “Dance Party Edition” includes an interactive dance party mode in which viewers are introduced to dance moves to learn while they watch the film, lyrics to sing along, and surprises featuring the characters. This Dance Party Edition also includes bonus content, such as an exclusive original short film starring the Tiny Diamond, deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes exclusives with the musical cast of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Mary J. Blige, George Clinton and more.

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Queen Poppy (Kendrick), Branch (Timberlake), and the rest of the trolls are back for another musical adventure  in Trolls World Tour. Poppy and Branch discover that their kingdom is only one of six musical realms — Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop, and Rock — that were once united in perfect harmony. When the power-hungry ruler of the Rocker Trolls threatens to silence all other music so her tribe can reign supreme, Poppy and Branch must embark on an epic quest to unite the realms of Trollskind, before the songs in their hearts are lost forever.

The film is currently available on premium VOD.

Regal Owner Joins in Blasting Universal for Window Strategy

Regal theater chain owner Cineworld April 29 added its voice to criticism of Universal over its strategy to break traditional theatrical windows, boosted by the success of the studio’s premium VOD release of Trolls World Tour.

“We make it clear again that we will not be showing movies that fail to respect the windows as it does not make any economic sense for us,” read the Cineworld release.

In its criticism, Cineworld followed AMC Theatres, which April 28 vowed not to show Universal films because of the studio’s stance. On the heels of Trolls World Tour generating upwards of $100 million from its premium video-on-demand release, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell April 28 told The Wall Street Journal the studio would pursue a simultaneous theatrical/home entertainment release strategy going forward.

“The results for Trolls World Tour exceeded our expectations and demonstrated the viability of PVOD,” Shell said. “As soon as theaters reopen, we expect to release movies on both formats.”

Like AMC, Cineworld reasserted its support for a window and scolded Universal.

“Cineworld and Regal’s policy with respect to the window is clear, well known in the industry and is part of our commercial deal with our movie suppliers,” read the press release. “We invest heavily in our cinemas across the globe and this allows the movie studios to provide customers all around the world the opportunity to watch movies in the best experience. There is no argument that the big screen is the best way to watch a movie. Universal unilaterally chose to break our understanding and did so at the height of the COVID-19 crisis when our business is closed, more than 35,000 employees are at home and when we do not yet have a clear date for the reopening of our cinemas. Universal’s move is completely inappropriate and certainly has nothing to do with good faith business practice, partnership and transparency.”

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The press release noted that Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger approached Comcast chairman Brian Roberts on March 19, after the Trolls World Tour PVOD announcement, and told him: “Nice words from your team are worthless if we cannot trust you as a partner. The message that the media has portrayed is: ‘Hollywood breaks the window’ — well, this is not true! All our partners called us in a timely manner and told us that in the current situation they want to shorten the window for movies that were already released as cinemas are closing. Most importantly, they all reassured us that there will be no change to their window policy once the cinema business returned. Unfortunately I missed a similar message in Universal’s announcement… not only did Universal provide no commitment for the future window — but Universal was the ONLY studio that tried to take advantage of the current crisis and provide a ‘day-and-date’ release of a movie that was not yet released.”

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The release went on to say the company “was always open to showing any movie as long as the rules were kept and not changed by one-sided moves.”

“We have full confidence in the industry’s current business model,” the release read. “No one should forget that the theatrical side of this industry generated an all-time record income of $42 billion last year and the movie distributors’ share of this was about $20 billion.”

‘Jaws’ Swimming to 4K Ultra HD June 2 for 45th Anniversary

Director Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster Jaws will come out in a 45th anniversary limited edition on 4K Ultra HD for the first time ever June 2 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The thriller, winner of three Academy Awards, including Best Original Score (John Williams), will come out in a combo pack with lenticular packaging and will include a 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and digital code of the film along with more than three hours of bonus features and a 44-page booklet with introductions, rare photos, storyboards and more from the archives.

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In Jaws, when the seaside community of Amity finds itself under attack by a dangerous great white shark, the town’s chief of police (Roy Scheider), a young marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a grizzled shark hunter (Robert Shaw) embark on a desperate quest to destroy the beast before it strikes again.

Bonus features on 4K and Blu-ray include:

  • The Making of Jaws
  • The Shark Is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of Jaws
  • Jaws: The Restoration
  • Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
  • From the Set
  • Theatrical Trailer

 

Additional bonus features on Blu-ray include:

  • Storyboards
  • Production Photos
  • Marketing Jaws
  • Jaws Phenomenon

‘The Hunt’ to Be Found on Digital May 26, Disc June 9

The action-thriller The Hunt arrives on digital sellthrough May 26, and Blu-ray Disc and DVD June 9 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film is available now for premium VOD rental.

From producer Jason Blum (The Invisible ManHalloween), director Craig Zobel (Z for Zachariah, “The Leftovers”) and writers Damon Lindelof (“Watchmen,” “The Leftovers”) and Nick Cuse (“Maniac,” “Watchmen”), the film follows 12 strangers who wake up in a clearing, not knowing where they are or how they got there. They don’t know they’ve been chosen for the hunt.

In this subversive satire, a group of elites gather for the very first time at a remote Manor House to hunt ordinary Americans for sport. But the elites’ master plan is about to be derailed because one of the hunted, Crystal (Betty Gilpin, “Glow”), knows the hunters’ game better than they do. She turns the tables on the killers, picking them off one by one as she makes her way toward the mysterious woman (Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby) at the center of it all.

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The supporting cast includes Emma Roberts (“American Horror Story”), Ike Barinholtz (Blockers), Justin Hartley (“This is Us”) and Ethan Suplee (“My Name is Earl”).

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Bonus features include the featurettes “Crafting the Hunt,” in which filmmakers and cast discuss how costumes and props were used to highlight the political commentary of the thriller; “Death Scene Breakdowns,” in which the special effects and make-up teams offer an inside look on how they carried out some of the goriest death sequences; and “Athena Vs. Crystal: Hunter or Hunted,” a behind-the-scenes look at the intense training and choreography actresses Gilpin and Swank had to master in order to execute the epic fight scene.

Universal Launches Free YouTube Channel ‘The Shows Must Go On’ Featuring Musical Theater

Universal Pictures on April 2 announced the new “The Shows Must Go On” YouTube Channel, providing live theater fans with a West End and Broadway experience in their own homes online for free.

Starting April 3, the channel will make available a selection of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals, launching with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. The 2000 adaptation, inspired by the West End production, stars Donny Osmond, Maria Friedman, Richard Attenborough and Joan Collins.

Each show will be available weekly at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET for a limited 48-hour period online.

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On Good Friday, April 10, the channel will bow a second production, Jesus Christ Superstar (2012), the arena production starring Tim Minchin, Melanie C and Chris Moyles.

Further shows will be announced at a later date.

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Alongside full-length shows, clips of famous performances and behind-the-scenes footage will be uploaded regularly to the channel.

For fans who wish to make a charitable donation, a variety of organizations will be listed on the channel videos, including Acting for Others, Broadway Cares and Actors Benevolent Fund.

The initiative comes from the Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Content Group, a London-based “repertoire centre” of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment that acquires and produces multi-genre entertainment for distribution across theatrical, home entertainment, television and digital platforms on a worldwide basis.

Oscar-Winner ‘1917’ Coming Home to Digital March 10, Disc — Including 4K — March 24

Director-writer Sam Mendes’ Oscar-winning war epic 1917 will arrive on digital March 10 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD March 24 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film, which has earned $327 million at the global box office, won Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Mixing.

In 1917 at the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (George MacKayand Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers — Blake’s own brother among them.

The film also stars Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor, Kingsman, The Imitation Game), Andrew Scott (“Fleabag”, Sherlock, Spectre), Richard Madden (Netflix’s “The Bodyguard”, Rocketman, HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, Kingsman, Bridget Jones) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Dr. Strange, The Imitation Game).

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Special features include:

  • “The Weight of the World: Sam Mendes,” in whichSam Mendes discusses his personal connection to World War 1;
  • “Allied Forces: Making 1917,” in which viewers learn how the one shot, 360-degree format was executed and the pivotal role Academy Award winner Roger Deakins served in bringing Mendes’ vision to life;
  • “The Music of 1917,” in which composer Thomas Newman and filmmakers discuss the important role of the Academy Award-nominated score;
  • “In The Trenches,” in which viewers go behind the scenes with the cast of 1917;
  • “Recreating History,” in which filmmakers offer a detailed look at the production design challenges of recreating the First World War;
  • feature commentary with Mendes; and
  • feature commentary with Deakins.

Biopic ‘Harriet’ Coming to Digital Jan. 14, Disc Jan. 28 From Universal

Harriet, a biopic of freedom fighter Harriet Tubman, will journey to digital Jan. 14, and Blu-ray Disc, DVD and on demand Jan. 28 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film, which has earned $42 million at the domestic box office, has been nominated for two 2020 Golden Globe awards, including Best Actress in a Drama for Cynthia Erivo and Best Original Song for “Stand Up,” which was co-written by film star Erivo and Joshuah Campbell. Additionally, the film was nominated for a SAG Award and a Critics Choice Award, earning a total of three Best Actress nominations.

Based on the inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Haunted by memories of those she left behind, Harriet (Erivo) ventures back into dangerous territory on a mission to lead others to freedom. With allies like abolitionist William Still (Leslie Odom Jr.) and the entrepreneurial Marie Buchanon (Janelle Monáe), Harriet risks capture and death to guide hundreds to safety as one of the most prominent conductors of the Underground Railroad.

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The film also stars Joe Alwyn, Vodie Curtis Hall and Vanessa Bell Calloway.

Bonus features include deleted scenes, a deeper look into Harriet Tubman’s story, and feature commentary with director and co-writer Kasi Lemmons.

’21 Bridges’ Crossing Over to Digital Feb. 4, Disc Feb. 18 From Universal

The Chadwick Boseman thriller 21 Bridges will come out on digital Feb. 4 and Blu-ray, DVD and on demand Feb. 18 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film follows an embattled NYPD detective (Boseman), who is thrust into a citywide manhunt for a pair of cop killers after uncovering a massive and unexpected conspiracy. As the night unfolds, lines become blurred on who he is pursuing, and who is in pursuit of him. When the search intensifies, extreme measures are taken to prevent the killers from escaping Manhattan as the authorities close all 21 bridges to prevent any entry or exit from the island.

The cast also includes Sienna Miller (American Sniper, Foxcatcher), Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk, “Homecoming”) and Keith David (Cloud Atlas , Platoon) with Taylor Kitsch (“True Detective,” “Friday Night Lights”) and J.K. Simmons (WhiplashSpider-Man).

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The film made $38.2 million at the global box office.

Special features include deleted scenes and feature commentary with director Brian Kirk.

‘E.T.’ Friends Reunite to Market Xfinity and Sky Technology

Comcast NBCUniversal is reuniting E.T. and Elliott — iconic characters from Universal Pictures’ 1982 classic E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial — to market Xfinity and Sky technology.

In a short made in connection with the Comcast-owned studio, E.T. is back on earth for a surprise visit with Elliott (Henry Thomas reprising his role), who now has his own family. Although technology has changed the world since they’ve last seen each other 37 years ago, their connection and friendship remain strong.

The two-minute version of the story will debut during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC in the United States, and then the full-length, four-minute version will be immediately available at xfinity.com/ET.

The company will be featuring the film on Syfy on Thanksgiving Day and making it available on demand for Xfinity TV customers. Xfinity TV customers with X1 will be able to say “E.T. Phone Home” into their voice remote for an E.T.-themed destination. Anyone who visits a Xfinity retail location can pick up an E.T. coloring book and candy.

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“The audience is going to get everything they want out of a sequel without the messy bits that could destroy the beauty of the original and the special place it has in people’s minds and hearts. It’s really a win-win,” stated Thomas, who starred in director Steven Spielberg’s classic as the 10-year-old boy who helps a lost alien find his way home. “Looking at the storyboards, I could see exactly why Steven was really behind it, because the integrity of the story isn’t lost in this retelling.”

“More than anything, the whole story is about family,” added short director Lance Acord in a statement.

“Our goal is to show how Xfinity and Sky technology connects family, friends and loved ones, which is so important during the holidays,” said Peter Intermaggio, SVP for marketing communications, Comcast Cable. “The classic friendship between E.T. and Elliott resonates around the world, and their story became a very meaningful way to bring our company’s consumer technology to life.”

‘Countdown’ Due on Digital Jan. 7, Disc Jan. 21 From Universal

The horror thriller Countdown hits digital Jan. 7 and Blu-ray, DVD and on demand Jan. 21 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

What if your phone could tell you when you’re going to die? Would you want to know? In Countdown, a killer new app claims to do just that. The film follows a young nurse (Elizabeth Lail, “You”), who downloads an app that purports to predict exactly when a person is going to die. With only three days left to live and death closing in, she must find a way to save her life before time runs out.

The film also stars Jordan Calloway (“ER”), Talitha Bateman (Love, Simon), Tichina Arnold (“Everybody Hates Chris”), P.J. Byrne (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Peter Facinelli (“The Twilight Saga” franchise).

The film made $24.5 million at the domestic box office.

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