‘Joker’ Dances to Top Spot on Disc Sales Charts

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Joker easily topped 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 Jan. 11.

The gritty comic book film, which is based on the enigmatic Batman villain, brought in $334.1 million from the domestic box office and more than $1 billion worldwide. It recently earned 11 Oscar nominations, the most of any film in the 2019 field.

The film outsold the No. 2 title, Lionsgate’s Rambo: Last Blood, by a nearly 10-to-1 margin overall, and nearly 15-to-1 on the Blu-ray chart.

Another newcomer, Lionsgate’s critically acclaimed black-and-white drama The Lighthouse, debuted at No. 3 on both charts, coming in barely behind the “Rambo” sequel on the Blu-ray chart.

No. 4 on both charts was Sony Pictures’ Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

DreamWorks Animation’s Abominable, distributed by Universal Pictures, came in at No. 5 on both charts.

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Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 73% of first-week Joker sales, and 72% of The Lighthouse. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of Joker accounted for a whopping 23% of its total disc sales.

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Joker was also the No. 1 title on the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Jan. 12.

No. 2 was Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, followed at No. 3 by the previous three weeks’ top rental, Rambo: Last Blood.

Universal’s Hustlers dropped to No. 4, followed by Abominable at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 1-11-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 1-12-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 1-11-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 1-11-20

 

‘Joker’ Takes No. 1 Spot on Redbox Charts

Warner’s Joker took over the No. 1 spot on Redbox’s kiosk disc rental and On Demand charts the week ended Jan. 12.

The Redbox disc rental chart tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks. The Redbox On Demand chart tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals.

Sony Pictures’ Once Upon a Time in Hollywood rose to No. 2 on the disc rental chart and No. 3 on the On Demand chart.

Lionsgate’s Rambo: Last Blood, the top disc rental the past three weeks, dropped to No. 3 on the disc chart and No. 4 on the On Demand chart.

STX Films’ Hustlers, distributed by Universal Pictures, was No. 4 on the rental chart and No. 2 on the On Demand chart.

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Universal’s Abominable slipped to No. 5 on the disc rental chart and was No. 8 on the On Demand chart.

Lionsgate’s Angel Has Fallen was No. 5 on the digital chart and No. 7 on the disc chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Jan. 12:

  1. Joker — Warner
  2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — Sony Pictures
  3. Rambo: Last Blood — Lionsgate
  4. Hustlers — Universal
  5. Abominable — Universal
  6. It: Chapter Two — Warner
  7. Angel Has Fallen — Lionsgate
  8. Ad Astra — Fox
  9. The Lighthouse — Lionsgate
  10. Good Boys — Universal

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Jan. 12:

  1. Joker — Warner
  2. Hustlers — STX
  3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — Sony Pictures
  4. Rambo: Last Blood — Lionsgate
  5. Angel Has Fallen — Lionsgate
  6. Good Boys — Universal
  7. Ad Astra — Fox
  8. Abominable — Universal
  9. It: Chapter Two — Warner
  10. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle — Sony Pictures

 

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Season Two of ‘Castle Rock’ on Disc May 19

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Castle Rock: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD May 19 (order date April 14). The season will be released for digital sellthrough Jan. 21. The Blu-ray will include a redemption code for a digital copy.

The disc release will include all 10 episodes from the second season of the Hulu original series about the small town that’s inhabited by author Stephen King’s most infamous literary characters.

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In season two, a feud between warring clans comes to a boil when budding psychopath Annie Wilkes (Lizzie Caplan), from Misery, gets waylaid in Castle Rock. Local businessman Reginald “Pop” Merrill (Tim Robbins) is dragged into the fight, when Pop’s nephew, legendary bully John “Ace” Merrill (Paul Sparks), stirs up trouble.

Season two also stars Barkhad Abdi, Yusra Warsama, Elsie Fisher and Matthew Alan.

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The fictional Maine town of Castle Rock has figured prominently in King stories such as Cujo, The Dark Half, It, Needful Things, The Body and Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.

The season two disc includes the featurette “Annie Wilkes: Mother of Sorrow.”

‘Avengers: Endgame’ Top 2019 Seller; ‘It: Chapter Two’ Was Top Disc Seller in December

Movies owned by Walt Disney Studios took four of the top five spots on the list of combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales for 2019, and five of the top 10, according to the NPD Group’s VideoScan tracking service. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment finished 2019 with three titles on the top 10, while Sony Pictures had two titles on the list, both “Spider-Man” movies.

The top seller was Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, which has been the year’s top selling title almost from the moment it came out on Blu-ray and DVD in August.

There was some jostling in the top 10 list for the full year in the final month of 2019, with nine of the 10 titles on the list from November holding on through the end of the year. Warner’s Aquaman, Disney’s Captain Marvel and Disney-owned Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody remained in their respective positions at No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4. Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4 climbed into the No. 5 spot in the final month, pushing Warner’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald to No. 6.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, distributed by Sony Pictures, locked in at No. 7 for the year. Disney’s photorealistic remake of The Lion King, a late October disc release, climbed to the No. 8 spot for the year, while Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum reached No. 9, pushing Sony’s animated Oscar winner Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to No. 10.

That dropped Warner’s A Star Is Born remake off the year’s top 10 list.

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For December, Warner’s It: Chapter Two was the month’s top seller. The horror sequel was released on disc Dec. 10.

In fact, the month’s top six titles were all December new releases. No. 2 was Universal’s home video of the Downton Abbey movie, No. 3 was Lionsgate’s Rambo: Last Blood, No. 4 was HBO’s disc of the eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones,” No. 5 was Sony Pictures’ Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and No. 6 was the animated Abominable, from Universal.

Toy Story 4 was No. 7 for the month, while Universal’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, the previous month’s top seller, was No. 10.

Two Christmas catalog titles, Warner’s Elf and Christmas Vacation, were the No. 8 and No. 9 sellers in December, respectively, just like they were a year ago.

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According to NPD, the December 2019 top 10 by units sold were:

  1. It: Chapter Two (Warner)
  2. Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture (Universal)
  3. Rambo: Last Blood (Lionsgate)
  4. Game of Thrones: The Complete Eighth Season (HBO)
  5. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony Pictures)
  6. Abominable (Universal)
  7. Toy Story 4 (Disney)
  8. Elf (Warner)
  9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Warner)
  10. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Universal)

 

2019 Top 10:

  1. Avengers: Endgame (Disney/Marvel)
  2. Aquaman (Warner)
  3. Captain Marvel (Disney/Marvel)
  4. Bohemian Rhapsody (Fox)
  5. Toy Story 4 (Disney)
  6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Warner)
  7. Spider-Man: Far From Home (Sony Pictures)
  8. The Lion King (2019) (Disney)
  9. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum (Lionsgate)
  10. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Sony Pictures)

 

‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Leads Disc Sales in November

Merchandising: Retailers Deal Out ‘Joker’ Exclusives

Retailers lined up exclusive editions for the Jan. 7 home video release of Warner’s Joker.

Best Buy offered a Steelbook edition of the 4K UHD Blu-ray combo pack for $34.99.

Target’s ‘Joker’ Blu-ray

Target had the regular Blu-ray combo pack with exclusive box art for $24.99.

Walmart’s ‘Joker’ DVD

And Walmart presented a single-disc DVD version as opposed to the widely-available two-disc DVD special edition. Walmart’s version included special box art and a lone bonus feature, the three-minute “Please Welcome … Joker,” a compilation of alternate takes of Joker’s talk-show entrance.

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The special single-disc DVD was offered at $16.96 in stores, but was priced online at $23.59.

The regular two-DVD version was offered at most places, including Walmart online, for $17.99 and offered nearly a half-hour of additional extras, including a making-of documentary.

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Standard box art for ‘Joker’ DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD BD

Joker

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 1/7/20;
Warner;
Drama;
Box Office $333.5 million;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $44.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language and brief sexual images.
Stars Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Bill Camp, Shea Whigham, Marc Maron, Douglas Hodge, Josh Pais, Leigh Gill.

In DC Comics, the Joker has been Batman’s primary nemesis for 80 years, and part of the reason he remains such a fascinating character is the mystery surrounding his origins and motivations.

That isn’t to say that there haven’t been versions of a Joker origin story over the years, most often tailored to a specific story being told. There just hasn’t been a definitive one as clean as his counterpart’s, the boy who grew up to fight crime after the murder of his parents. The tale of the Joker is often messy and contradictory, which only adds to his intrigue and popularity.

With the movie aptly named Joker, director Todd Phillips brings a new interpretation of the character. The script by Phillips and co-writer Scott Silver is mostly a gritty, disturbing character study about what could push a man to reject society and embrace chaos; calling it Joker, as Phillips admits in the bonus materials, just gives comic book fans an excuse to see it.

But that’s not quite a fair assessment, as the story, while not directly adapting any of the myriad source material available, does touch upon several classic elements associated with Joker and Batman from the comics, particularly the notion that all it takes is “one bad day” to push a man over the edge.

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The film is anchored by Joaquin Phoenix’s immersive performance as Arthur Fleck, an anti-social, mentally ill loner and aspiring stand-up comedian who fantasizes about being accepted by a society that has little use for him. The film is set in 1981 in a moody version of Gotham City that threatens to burst at the seams at any moment, as corrupt bureaucrats leave public services underfunded while the wealthiest citizens, including Thomas Wayne, seem to have no interest in alleviating the tension.

While the story takes some violent turns and the film has courted controversy with its disturbing tone and sympathetic portrayal of a homicidal iconoclast, it nonetheless became a massive it. The film’s version of its title character has struck a nerve, becoming something of an anti-establishment champion of the downtrodden.

Phillips himself as even hinted that maybe Fleck isn’t the villain who ultimately confronts Batman, but is more of an inspiration for whomever that may be. But that’s a debate for fans and potentially a sequel that was never intended but may become a reality due to the film’s success.

Even so, there’s no requirement that this version of Joker be tied to any of the other versions of DC characters being displayed on the big screen at the moment. The look and style of the film is heavily inspired by Martin Scorsese crime dramas of the 1970s and ’80s, particularly Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, which is perfectly in line with graphic novels that reimagine characters in different settings, something DC’s Elseworlds imprint did all the time. So, this movie is basically just what if the Joker were a Scorsese antihero.

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The bonus materials for his initial home video release of Joker are somewhat sparse given its impact. The primary extra is “Joker: Vision & Fury,” a pretty good 22-and-a-half-minute behind-the-scenes featurette that includes interviews with many of the filmmakers and cast discussing how they sought to present their distinct vision of the character and his circumstances.

The other three featurettes are short highlight reels. “Becoming Joker” is a minute-and-a-half montage of Phoenix test footage; “Please Welcome … Joker!” is a nearly three-minute compilation of alternate takes of Joker’s entrance onto the late-night talk show that plays a central role in the story; and “Joker: A Chronicle of Chaos” is little more than a three-minute slideshow of photos from the movie.

Warner Releasing ‘The Good Liar’ Digitally Jan. 21, on Disc Feb. 4

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the thriller The Good Liar through digital retailers Jan. 21, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Feb. 4.

Directed by Bill Condon, the film features acclaimed actors Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen on screen together for the first time.

McKellen plays a con man who sets his sights on a recently widowed woman (Mirren) worth millions of dollars.

The cast also includes Russell Tovey and Jim Carter.

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The film earned $16.8 million at the domestic box office.

The Blu-ray and DVD will include more than 12 minutes of deleted scenes. The Blu-ray will also include the featurette “A Perfect Match: Inside The Good Liar.”

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Warner Releasing HBO Docs on Disc, Digital

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is releasing four titles from HBO’s documentary film library for purchase on digital. From true crime to social justice exposés, the newly available offerings will be sold separately in both high and standard definition formats.

Titles include True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality, available Jan. 21 for $12.99 SRP/HD and $9.99 SRP/SD ($14.99 SRP/HD and $12.99 SRP/SD in Canada); I Love You, Now Die, available Jan. 7 for $19.99 SRP/HD and SD ($24.99 SRP HD and SD in Canada); Who Killed Garrett Phillips?, available Jan. 20 for $19.99 SRP/HD and SD ($24.99 SRP/HD and SD in Canada) and, Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America, available Feb. 10 for $12.99 SRP/HD and $9.99 SRP/SD ($14.99 SRP/HD and $12.99 SRP/SD in Canada).

All titles are available from various retailers, including Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Vudu, PlayStation, Microsoft and others.

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True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality will be available on DVD courtesy of Warner Archive Collection. The DVD includes all the same content on the digital release and is also arriving Jan. 21, 2020. Warner Archive DVD releases are found at wb.com/warnerarchive.

The release of True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality on digital and DVD is timed to the feature film release of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Just Mercy,” a new drama based on a memoir written by Bryan Stevenson, which stars Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson.

“We are pleased to offer these four remarkable films, which explore important issues in enlightening and entertaining ways,” Rosemary Markson, SVP of TV marketing, said in a statement.

From Emmy winners Peter, George and Teddy Kunhardt (King in the Wilderness, John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls), this feature documentary follows Bryan Stevenson – lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative — through his experiences as a capital defense attorney and advocate for community-based reform.

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As a young lawyer in the 1980s, Stevenson witnessed firsthand how courts unfairly applied the death penalty based on race and the Supreme Court ultimately declared that racial bias in the administration of the death penalty was “inevitable.”

The film interweaves watershed moments from Stevenson’s cases with insights from his clients, colleagues and members of his family and focuses on Stevenson’s life and career — particularly his indictment of the U.S. criminal-justice system for its role in codifying modern systemic racism and tracks the intertwined histories of slavery, lynching, segregation and mass incarceration.

An intimate portrait of a remarkable man, the film chronicles Stevenson’s work in Alabama, the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement and home to the Equal Justice Initiative, as well as the early influences that drove him to become an advocate for the poor and the incarcerated. The film follows his struggle to create greater fairness in the system and shows how racial injustice emerged, evolved and continues to threaten the country, and challenges viewers to confront it.

I Love You, Now Die (Available Jan. 7 on digital): Directed by Erin Lee Carr (At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal, Mommy Dead and Dearest), “I Love You, Now Die” is a two-part documentary about the recent texting suicide case that captured national interest, raising difficult questions about technology, mental health, and whether or not one teenager can be held responsible for the suicide of another.

In July 2014, 18-year-old Conrad Roy committed suicide in his truck at a parking lot in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Police later discovered a series of text messages in which his girlfriend, 17-year-old Michelle Carter seemed to encourage him to kill himself, an unearthing that sparked a controversial case that had the potential to redefine accountability in the digital age.

The two-part film unpacks that complicated relationship between Carter and Roy, utilizing some of the thousands of texts they exchanged over two years as a record in real time of their courtship and its tragic consequences.

Featuring unprecedented access to the families, friends, and communities that were forever changed by this unusual case, I Love You, Now Die explores the changing nature of the justice system at the hands of technology, following a story “that has wider implications for society at large, online and IRL.”

Who Killed Garrett Phillips? (Available Jan. 20 on Digital): From Oscar-nominated director Liz Garbus (What Happened, Miss Simone?), Who Killed Garrett Phillips? examines the 2011 murder of 12-year-old Garrett Phillips and subsequent trial of Clarkson University soccer coach Oral “Nick” Hillary, a black man living in the mostly-white town of Potsdam, New York, who was charged with second-degree murder.

The two-part documentary chronicles the five years following the murder, as Garrett’s family and community relentlessly seek justice for Garrett, and as Nick, who maintains his innocence, fights to clear his name and take back control of his life while raising five children.

Through exclusive interviews with investigators, lawyers and Hillary himself, along with extensive police and video recordings, Who Killed Garrett Phillips? is a true-crime documentary that takes on issues of racial fairness in law enforcement, while trying to uncover the truth behind both the horrific murder of a young boy that traumatized a town and the vilification of a black man who was swept up in a dogged quest for justice.

Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America offers a look at the varied ways Americans are choosing to celebrate life as it comes to an end. With attitudes about death and end-of-life choices rapidly changing, 2018 saw the first time more Americans chose cremation over more expensive burials, disrupting the $16 billion a year funeral industry.

As the baby boomer generation approaches death, more and more are rethinking the way end of life is recognized and are deciding to take control of what will happen when they die.

Alternate Endings tells six stories of people nearing death, as well as family members of the recently deceased, who have chosen non-traditional burial options, from celebrations of life and living wakes to green burials, space burials and more.

The film explores what it means to be near death, either from age or terminal illness, and captures that healing power of honoring, giving thanks and staying true to loved ones who have passed away.

‘Shining’ Sequel ‘Doctor Sleep’ Due on Digital Jan. 21, Disc Feb. 4

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the supernatural thriller Doctor Sleep through digital retailers Jan. 21, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Feb. 4.

A follow-up to 1980’s The Shining and based on the novel by Stephen King, Doctor Sleep continues the story of Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor), 40 years after his terrifying stay at the Overlook Hotel. Still coping with his childhood trauma, he encounters a teenager (Kyliegh Curran) who like him also has the shine power, who needs his help against the merciless Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and her followers, The True Knot, who feed off the shine of innocents in their quest for immortality.

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The film earned $31.5 million at the domestic box office.

The Blu-ray versions of the film will include Mike Flanagan’s director’s cut of the film, featuring nearly 30 minutes of new, alternate and extended scenes not shown in theaters.

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Extras on the Blu-ray include the featurettes “Return to the Overlook,” “The Making of Doctor Sleep: A New Vision” and “From Shining to Sleep.”

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Doctor Sleep will feature a Dolby Atmos soundtrack as well as both Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+

Animated Elseworlds Adventure ‘Superman: Red Son’ Flying to Home Video in 2020

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the DC Universe animated superhero adventure Superman: Red Son through digital retailers Feb. 25, 2020, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 17.

The film is an adaptation of the 2003 graphic novel Superman: Red Son, part of DC Comics’ “Elseworlds” imprint that provides alternate histories and settings for some of the company’s famous characters. The story takes place in an alternate reality in which the spaceship bearing the last survivor of Krypton crash lands not in America, but in Stalinist Russia, and is raised to defend the ideas of the Soviet Union.

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The cast includes Jason Isaacs as the Soviet Superman, Diedrich Bader as Lex Luthor, Amy Acker as Lois Lane, Vanessa Marshall as Wonder Woman, Phil Morris as James Olsen, Paul Williams as Brainiac, Roger Craig Smith as Batman, Sasha Roiz as Hal Jordan, Phil LaMarr as John Stewart, Jim Meskimen as John F. Kennedy, Travis Willingham as Superior Man, William Salyers as Joseph Stalin, and Winter Ave Zoli as Svetlana.

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The Blu-ray and digital versions will include the new DC Showcase animated short Phantom Stranger, by Bruce Timm. Set in the 1970s, the short follows young adult Jess as she joins her friends at a party in a dilapidated mansion hosted by the mysterious Seth, when odd things begin to happen. Peter Serafinowicz voices Phantom Stranger, and Michael Rosenbaum provides the voice of Seth. The voice cast also includes Natalie Lander, Grey Griffin and Roger Craig Smith.

Other extras include the featurette “Cold Red War,” two episodes from Superman: Red Son – The Motion Comics, and a preview of the next DC Universe movie, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.