The week ended March 23 saw a pair of newcomers in a close race for No. 1 on the national home video sales charts, with Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse outpacing Walt Disney Studios’ Mary Poppins Returns.
Spider-Verse climbed to the top spot of the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart after taking in about $190 million at the domestic box office and claiming the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.
Mary Poppins Returns, a sequel to the 1964 family classic Mary Poppins, sold 90% as many copies as Spider-Verse. It earned $171.9 million in U.S. theaters.
The previous week’s top seller, Warner’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, slipped to No. 3 on both charts.
Disney’s Animated Ralph Breaks the Internet took No. 4 on both charts in its fourth week.
No. 5 on both charts went to Universal Pictures’ Mortal Engines.
Blu-ray Disc formats comprised 78% of unit sales for both Spider-Verse and Mary Poppins Returns. Of those, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc edition accounted for 16% of Spider-Verse sales, compared with 8% for Poppins.
On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended March 24, Spider-Verse debuted at No. 1, with Grindelwald slipping to No. 2.
Paramount’s Instant Family held onto the No. 3 spot, while Universal’s Green Book slid to No. 4. Mary Poppins Returns was the No. 5 rental.
Street Date 3/19/19;
Box Office $171.69 million;
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG’ for some mild thematic elements and brief action.
Stars Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Nathanael Saleh, Pixie Davies, Joel Dawson, Julie Walters, David Warner, Jim Norton, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, Dick Van Dyke.
There’s a lyric at the beginning of the original 1964 Mary Poppins in which Dick Van Dyke sings “what’s to happen all happened before.” It’s a line that hints at the mysterious nature of the magical nanny but seems a bit curious in the context at the beginning of a story in which we as an audience have yet to witness any of Mary Poppins’ adventures.
Rather, that prophetically tinged turn of phrase would seem to have more meaning when applied to this new installment, which bears fruit for the notion that Mary Poppins’ adventures are somehow cyclical.
The sequel that has been 54 years in the making has been carefully crafted for each story beat to resonate with an equivalent scene from the first film. Indeed, such echoes of the original are even reflected in the musical score, which always seems to play a few nostalgic notes when appropriate.
In the new story based on author P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins novels, the nanny returns some two decades later when the now grown Banks children, Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael (Ben Whishaw) find themselves in a bit of a financial crisis. Michael’s life is in disarray a year after the tragic death of his wife, and the financial toll exacted by her loss have put their famous house at 17 Cherry Tree Lane in danger of being seized by the bank. As Michael seems ready to given in to cynicism and despair, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) reappears to ostensibly take care of Michael’s three children while infusing a new sense of joy and imagination into everyone’s day.
Mary Poppins Returns is an effective follow-up to the original classic, capturing its spirit of whimsy with a slate of catchy tunes, even if its story could use some fine-tuning at points. While every sequence more or less serves a central premise of approaching life with a variety of perspectives, some moments seem less relevant to the primary narrative than others. Colin Firth’s bank executive, for example, seems to want the house just for the sake of typical movie villain greed, where the plot could have given him a more personal stake in the Banks family story by, say, establishing he had a grudge against their father, George, who was a senior partner at the bank.
Likewise, the film’s most eccentric musical number, “Turning Turtle,” seems to exist only to provide an outlet for interesting ideas from the books the filmmakers wanted to use couldn’t infuse elsewhere in the story, resulting in a superfluous guest appearance by Meryl Streep. ‘
Much more effective is a practically perfect appearance by the iconic Angela Lansbury as the magical balloon lady, whose perfectly “Nowhere to Go but Up” number is the most memorable of film while most effectively reminding young and old alike to never lose sight of their childlike sense of wonder.
Bonus features on the Blu-ray are mostly focused on the creation of the various musical numbers, from the 23-minute “The Practically Perfect Making of Mary Poppins Returns” to the 18-minute “Seeing Things From a Different Point of View: The Musical Numbers of Mary Poppins Returns.” And the five-and-a-half-minute “Back to Cherry Tree Lane: Dick Van Dyke Returns” delves into the now 93-year-old actor’s cameo in the new film.
The disc also includes a deleted song sequence that was replaced by another piece early enough so that the version presented here is a scratch track set to animated storyboards. The total sequence, called “The Anthropomorphic Zoo,” runs about five minutes.
There are also two true deleted scenes that run about a minute each that are extensions of musical sequences that are in the final film, as well as a two-minute blooper reel.
The disc also offers the movie in a sing-along mode that shows the lyrics during the various song sequences (as opposed to closed captioning showing all the dialogue).
The digital edition, which can be accessed using the Movies Anywhere redemption code included with the Blu-ray combo pack, offers an informative commentary with director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca.
Movies Anywhere also has two more vignettes, each running more than a minute. “Different Worlds: Creating Mary Poppins Returns is a shorter clip from the longer making-of featurette about the making of an animated sequence. And “What Is Your Favorite Disney Musical?” is a promotional video in which the title question is asked to various cast members.
Finally, the digital version on Vudu offers a three-minute featurette about the cameo of actress Karen Dotrice, who played young Jane in the original film.
Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger’s announcement that the studio would abandon its long-standing “vault” strategy for its upcoming subscription streaming service is perhaps one of the most shocking shifts in an industry rocked by change.
At the March 7 shareholder meeting in St. Louis, he said that the studio would pull movies from its vault and offer them all on the pending Disney+ service.
“At some point fairly soon after launching, [Disney+] will house the entire Disney motion picture library,” Iger said. “So, movies that have traditionally been kept in the vault, and basically been brought out every few years, will be on the [streaming] service.”
The vault strategy, exploited by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment for decades, involved putting select movies, mostly animated classics such as Bambi, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid, on retail moratorium for several years to wait for a new crop of children to come along. Oft termed “treasures” or “platinum” or “gold” editions when they emerged after seven years or so for a re-release, they were snapped up at $20 to $30 apiece by eager parents, purchases made all the more urgent by the studio warning that they would soon go back into the vault. When these classic films came out, often in a new format, they shot to the top of the sales charts.
It took the digital entertainment revolution to finally crack the Disney vault — but is it a heist? If enough subscribers sign on to Disney+ at a high enough subscription price, offering a panoply of content may be a lucrative investment, but it could also devalue some of the studio’s most valuable jewels.
MGM’s Creed II, distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, topped the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, the week ended March 9.
However, the boxing sequel, the eighth film in the “Rocky” franchise and a follow-up to 2015’s Creed, topped out at No. 2 in its debut on the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart, where Walt Disney Studios’ Ralph Breaks the Internet took the top spot for a second consecutive week.
On the overall sales chart, Ralph in its second week sold 94% as many copies as the debuting Creed II. But only 53% of Creed II sales were of a Blu-ray disc format (11% of its overall sales were of the 4K UHD Blu-ray), while 65% of Ralph sales were of a Blu-ray format (7% from UHD BD).
Creed II, which also serves as a direct sequel to 1985’s Rocky IV, earned $115.7 million at the domestic box office, slightly more than the first Creed.
No. 3 on the overall sales charts was another newcomer, Paramount’s Instant Family, a heartwarming comedy about foster families and the adoption process. Instant Family landed at No. 5 on the Blu-ray chart, as 45% of its total sales were of the Blu-ray version.
No 4. on the overall sales chart, and No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart, was Warner’s 2018 A Star Is Born remake in its third week on shelves.
The No. 5 overall title, in its fourth week, was 20th Century Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which was No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart.
Disney’s The Little Mermaid: Signature Collection was the No. 3 Blu-ray and No. 6 on the overall sales chart.
Other newcomers debuting on the top 20 overall sellers chart include Fox’s The Favourite at No. 9 (No. 8 Blu-ray), Lionsgate’s Ben Is Back at No. 10 (No. 14 Blu-ray), and Lionsgate’s The Vanishing at No. 12 (No. 10 Blu-ray).
On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended March 10, Instant Family debuted at No. 1, with Creed II at No. 2, A Star Is Born at No. 3, Bohemian Rhapsody at No. 4 and Sony Pictures’ Venom at No. 5.
Disney plans to move all legacy original movie franchises such as The Lion King, 101 Dalmatians, Bambi and The Little Mermaid from its “vault” and onto the pending Disney+ subscription streaming service.
CEO Bob Iger alluded to the change March 7 during the media giant’s annual shareholder meeting in St. Louis.
“At some point fairly soon after launching, [Disney+] will house the entire Disney motion picture library,” Iger said. “So, movies that have traditionally been kept in the vault, and basically been brought out every few years, will be on the [streaming] service,” Iger said.
The Disney Vault was a marketing plan originated by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment that put select packaged media release movies, animated features and sequels on retail moratorium.
Disney advertising urged consumers to purchase select titles before they “go into the vault” for a period of years, a move studio marketers felt heightened retail demand.
The marketing was successful as Finding Nemo and Beauty and the Beast rank as the top-selling DVD and sixth best-selling Blu-ray Disc titles, respectively, in the United States.
Nemo, which was released in 2003, has generated more than $677 million from sales of nearly 39 million DVDs. Beast has generated $102 million from 4.5 million Blu-ray units sold.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s Ralph Breaks the Internet easily debuted 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 week ended March 2.
The animated film, a sequel to 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph, earned $200 million at the domestic box office.
The previous week’s top seller, Warner’s 2018 edition of A Star Is Born, dropped to No. 2 on the overall sales chart and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart. In its second week, A Star Is Born sold about one-third as many copies as the Disney newcomer.
Bohemian Rhapsody, from 20th Century Fox, landed at No. 3 on both charts in its third week on shelves.
Coming in at No. 4 overall and No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart was the new “Signature Collection” Blu-ray edition of Disney’s 1989 animated classic The Little Mermaid.
Rounding out the top five on both charts was Lionsgate’s Robin Hood remake.
Other new releases landing in the top 10 include Lionsgate’s Between Worlds, a thriller starring Nicolas Cage, at No. 8 overall and No. 11 on the Blu-ray chart, while the Sony Pictures horror movie The Possession of Hannah Grace debuted at No. 9 overall and No. 13 on the Blu-ray chart.
The historical drama Mary Queen of Scots, from Universal Pictures, debuted at No. 9 on the Blu-ray chart and No. 21 overall.
Disney’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, no doubt timed with the March 8 theatrical debut of Captain Marvel, jumped back to No. 8 on the Blu-ray chart, as 93% of sales of the title for the week were from a Blu-ray format, with 86% from the UHD Blu-ray (it was No. 33 overall).
Ralph saw 79% of its sales come from the Blu-ray format, 8% from 4K UHD Blu-ray. Little Mermaid was a Blu-ray-only re-release and had 21% of its sales from UHD BD. Blu-ray accounted for 68% of Mary Queen of Scots sales, with 11% from the UHD BD.
On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended March 3, A Star Is Born took No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Bohemian Rhapsody at No. 2 and Robin Hood at No. 3.
The Possession of Hannah Grace debuted at No. 4, while Universal’s Night School returned to the rental chart at No. 5.
Street Date 2/26/19; Disney; Animated; Box Office $199.89 million; $29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $44.99 UHD BD; Rated ‘PG’ for some action and rude humor. Voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill, Flula Borg.
The original Wreck-In Ralph from 2012 got a lot of mileage from the nostalgia its audience would have for classic video games, as it told the story of video game characters wanting to be more than the parameters of their programming.
In particular, Ralph (voiced John C. Reilly), hated his reputation as a video game villain, but eventually came to accept his role in the game as the other characters realized that they couldn’t exist either without him.
In Ralph Breaks the Internet, it’s six years later and Ralph has settled into a content life alongside his new best friend Vanellope from the Sugar Rush racing game, whom he helped save in the first movie, embracing his day job smashing buildings while spending nights hanging out at other games in the arcade.
Vanellope, on the other hand, has grown bored with her racing game and longs for new tracks and hidden levels. She gets her opportunity for a new adventure when the steering wheel on her game breaks and, when the arcade owner balks at the cost of replacing it, she and Ralph head to the Internet to see if they can find the means to replace it themselves.
After a quick trip through eBay, the pair find themselves in an online game called Slaughter Race that offers new driving challenges that excite Vanellope. As she contemplates staying there, Ralph worries about losing his best friend and schemes to convince her to return to the arcade.
Ralph Breaks the Internet does for the World Wide Web what the first film did for video games, offering a steady stream of nostalgia, deep-cut references and sharp observational humor.
The film even gives Disney a chance to engage in some self-parody, as Vanellope visits a Disney website and meets all the Disney Princesses, allowing the filmmakers to poke fun at the tropes of a typical Disney film. They instruct Vanellope, who is technically a princess herself according to her Sugar Rush bio, that when the time is right, she’ll learn about her heart’s true desire through a song — leading to an off-kilter take on the traditional Disney musical number (and, taking the gag further, the Blu-ray includes a music video for a bubblegum pop version of the song, which has to do with Vanellope’s desire to play the aforementioned game with “slaughter” in its title).
On the other hand, the various references to mega-successful Disney properties such as the Princesses, Pixar, “Star Wars” and Marvel Comics could be seen as the studio basking a bit in its own dominance at the moment. (Perhaps we should be grateful they didn’t cram in a preview for the pending Disney+ streaming service). But, such meta-humor is the kind of thing the “Ralph” movies are in a unique position to get away with, as it practically comes with the premise (an early reference to Tron is particularly apt, all things considered).
In all, though, the film delivers with some exciting action sequences that build on the relationship between Ralph and Vanellope, and a sentimental story about the evolving nature of friendship.
The making of the film is the subject of the Blu-ray’s 33-minute “How We Broke the Internet” featurette, which is segmented into the development of various story points and characters. A separate 10-minute featurette focuses on the film’s music.
The three-and-a-half-minute “Surfing for Easter Eggs” talks about some of the film’s hidden references, but seems more interested in providing cutesy narration than loading up on interesting information.
A two-minute “Baby Drivers — Slaughter Racing School” featurette is offered as a digital exclusive, available with purchases of the digital edition of the film or through redeeming the digital code included with the Blu-ray.
The disc also includes the two-minute “BuzzTube Cats,” a montage of animated cat videos of the type used to populate background sites in the film.
There are five deleted scenes that total about 19 minutes, most of which are remnants of an earlier draft of the story but which reflect plot elements that did evolve into the final film.
Finally, in addition to the pop version of the Slaughter House song, there’s a trippy music video for the end-credits song “Zero” by Imagine Dragons.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will release Mary Poppins Returns digitally March 12, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 19.
The long-awaited sequel to Disney’s 1964 classic, Mary Poppins Returns stars Emily Blunt as the practically perfect nanny, who returns to Cherry Tree Lane to help the troubled now-adult Banks children.
The cast also includes Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Emily Mortimer, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury and Dick Van Dyke.
The film earned $170.6 million at the domestic box office and received Oscar nominations for Best Original Song for “The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Best Original Score, Best Costume Design and Best Production Design.
Blu-ray and UHD BD extras include deleted scenes, including the song “The Anthropomorphic Zoo”; the multi-part behind-the-scenes featurette “The Practically Perfect Making of Mary Poppins Returns”; “Seeing Things From a Different Point of View: The Musical Numbers of Mary Poppins Returns,” a look at several of the film’s musical scenes; “Back to Cherry Tree Lane: Dick Van Dyke Returns”; “Practically Perfect Bloopers”; and a sing-along mode.
The digital version, available separately or with a redemption code included with the Blu-ray combo packs, will have an exclusive audio commentary by director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca.
Walt Disney Studios’ The Nutcracker and the Four Realms led a trio of newcomers that debuted atop the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended Feb. 2.
The fantasy adventure The Nutcracker, based on the classic ballet and short story, came in at No. 1 on both charts after an underwhelming box office run that brought in $54.9 million at the domestic box office (and $173.8 million worldwide) against a reported budget of $120 million.
No. 2 on the overall sales chart was Lionsgate’s Hunter Killer, which sold 88% as many copies as Nutcracker. The film, about a group of U.S. Navy SEALs who rescue the Russian president from a coup, also underperformed at the box office, earning $15.8 million domestically against a reported budget of $40 million. Hunter Killer was No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart.
Coming in at No. 3 overall and No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart was the direct-to-video animated superhero sequel Reign of the Supermen, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Based on the DC Comics storyline from the 1990s and a follow-up to last year’s The Death of Superman, Reign was released only in Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo packs (no standalone DVD) and sold 51% as many units as Nutcracker.
Two releases from Universal Pictures rounded out the top five on both charts. On the overall chart, No. 4 was Halloween and No. 5 was First Man. Their order was reversed on the Blu-ray chart, with the HD version of the Neil Armstrong biopic topping the horror reboot.
Only two other new releases cracked the top 20. No. 9 overall (and No. 18 on the Blu-ray chart) was the faith-based drama Indivisible, from Universal Pictures. And BBC’s 11th season of the new “Doctor Who,” the first season featuring a female in the title role, debuted at No. 13 overall and No. 17 on the Blu-ray chart.
Among the week’s other newcomers, Lionsgate’s remake of the horror film Suspiria debuted at No. 46 overall, but as it was released only on Blu-ray it landed at No. 10 on the Blu-ray chart. And the Universal Pictures drama Boy Erased debuted at No. 33 overall and No. 25 on the Blu-ray chart. Sony Pictures’ The Wife, starring Glenn Close, debuted at No. 40 overall.
Also of note, Disney re-released the 1988 fantasy Willow on Blu-ray and DVD, having obtained the rights to the film through its purchase of Lucasfilm. Disney also released the film digitally for the first time. While the disc content appears to be the same as the 25th anniversary editions released by 20th Century Fox in 2013, the new Blu-ray contains a digital copy. As such, the re-release landed at No. 30 overall and No. 7 on the Blu-ray chart, with 92% of its sales coming via the HD format.
Blu-ray Disc accounted for 72% of total unit sales of The Nutcracker, with 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray comprising 8%. For Hunter Killer, Blu-ray contributed 57% and UHD 12%. The 4K UHD Blu-ray made up 11% of Reign of the Supermen sales.
On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Feb. 3, Hunter Killer took the top spot, pushing First Man to No. 2.
Universal’s Night School held steady at No. 3, while Halloween slipped to No. 4 and Sony Pictures’ Goosebumps 2 dipped to No. 5.
The critically acclaimed film Roma from director Alfonso Cuarón scored a major victory in Netflix’s efforts to be taken seriously as a movie-distribution outlet, securing 10 Oscar nominations.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 91st Academy Awards Jan. 22. Roma tied with Fox Searchlight’s The Favourite, which also had 10 nominations.
Roma is available now for viewing on the SVOD service, having qualified for the Oscars with a brief theatrical run at the end of 2018. Its nominations include Best Picture, Best Foreign-Language Film (representing Mexico), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress for Yalitza Aparicio, Best Supporting Actress for Marina de Tavira, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Its 10 nominations tie it with 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for most nominations by a foreign-language film.
Another Netflix-distributed film, the Coen Bros.’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, earned three nominations, including adapted screenplay, original song for “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” and costume design.
The Favourite earned nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress for Olivia Colman (who takes over as Queen Elizabeth II on Netflix’s “The Crown” later this year), Best Supporting Actress for Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, Best Director for Yorgos Lanthimos, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Production Design.
An aggressive marketing push from Walt Disney Studios helped secure seven nominations for Marvel Studios’ Black Panther, including for Best Picture, the first comic-book based superhero film to earn such an honor (a decade after the snub of The Dark Knight supposedly prompted the Academy to increase the Best Picture field from five nominees to up to as many as 10 – there were eight this year). Black Panther also earned noms for Best Original Score, Best Original Song for “All the Stars,” Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. The film is readily available through digital channels and on Blu-ray and DVD. It was the No. 3-selling disc of 2018, according to the NPD Group.
And in a bit of a double whammy for comic book movies, Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse earned a nomination for Best Animated Feature, alongside Disney’s Incredibles 2 (available now on disc and digital) and Ralph Breaks the Internet (available digitally Feb. 12 and on disc Feb. 26), Fox’s Isle of Dogs (available now on disc and digital), and Gkids’ Mirai.
Other Best Picture nominees include Universal’s BlackKklansman (available on disc and digital), which earned six nominations; Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody (on digital now, disc Feb. 12), which earned five noms, including Best Actor for Rami Malek; Universal’s Green Book (on digital Feb. 19, disc March 15), which earned five noms; Warner’s A Star Is Born (available now digitally, on disc Feb. 19), which earned eight noms, including Best Original Song for “Shallow”; and Annapurna’s Vice.
Like Roma, Cold War also was nominated for Best Foreign-Language Film, representing Poland, and Best Director, for Paweł Pawlikowski, marking the first time two foreign-language nominees were also nominated in the directing category. The other foreign-language nominees were Lebanon’s Caparnaum, Germany’s Never Look Away and Japan’s Shoplifters (due on Disc and Digital Feb. 12 from Magnolia Home Entertainment).
The 91st Academy Awards ceremony will be held Feb. 24 in Los Angeles. A full list of nominees is available at Oscars.com.