‘Harry Potter’ Collection Leads U.S. Disc Sales

With the coronavirus pandemic having the duel effect of both limiting the depth of new home video releases and leading to fewer disc sales in general, TV DVD and catalog content have had a much easier time of late reaching the top spots on the national sales charts. The week ended Oct. 17 saw a “Harry Potter” boxed set take a turn in the top spot.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection, first released in 2011, was No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined Blu-ray Disc and DVD unit sales in the United States, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc chart. It had been No. 24 overall a week earlier.

In fact, almost the entire top 20 overall disc sales chart consisted of catalog and TV content, and the two new releases that did find a spot on it were reworkings of previously released material.

The No. 2 overall disc seller, and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart, was Disney’s Hocus Pocus, the perennial Halloween-season seller that had topped the charts the previous two weeks.

Another Disney Halloween favorite, the 1993 animated movie The Nightmare Before Christmas, came in at No. 3 overall and No. 8 on the Blu-ray chart.

Follow us on Instagram!

The week’s top debut was Shout! Factory’s new deluxe-edition boxed set of the 12 “Friday the 13th” movies, featuring new bonus materials and restorations of some of the films. It came in at No. 4 overall and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart. A boxed set of all the films was previously released in 2013 by Warner (which controls the most-recent four films in the franchise that were made by New Line Cinema; Paramount made the first seven).

The No. 5 overall disc seller was Universal’s The Office: The Complete Series, a DVD set that has been re-released several times since 2014.

The No. 2 Blu-ray Disc seller, and No. 7 overall, was another newcomer, Warner’s Batman: Death in the Family, a collection of DC Showcase animated shorts. The centerpiece of the new disc, Batman: Death in the Family, is an interactive feature that allows viewers to choose whether Robin is killed by the Joker, and to see which different paths the story could take after that. In many respects, however, the short is a reworking of the 2010 movie Batman: Under the Red Hood, with some new footage to provide a prequel to the movie and some alternate story possibilities.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Oct. 18, Lionsgate’s The Doorman, an actioner with Ruby Rose, debuted at No. 1 (for perspective, it was No. 55 its first week on the sales chart).

The Redbox-exclusive disc of Ava, which had been the top rental the previous two weeks, dropped back to No. 2, where it debuted a month earlier.

RLJE Films’ The Tax Collector was No. 3, followed by two titles from Lionsgate: The Silencing at No. 4 and The Secret: Dare to Dream.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 10-17-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 10-18-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 10-17-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 10-17-20

Warner to Release ‘Doom Patrol’ Season Two on Blu-ray, DVD Jan. 26

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Doom Patrol: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Jan. 26.

The original series from the DC Universe streaming service features a strange group of superheroes who received powers and special abilities through tragic circumstances and are brought together by a man in a wheelchair called The Chief (Timothy Dalton). In the second season, they must confront their own personal baggage while coming together to protect The Chief’s daughter, whose mysterious powers could be used to threaten the world.

The cast includes Diane Guerrero, April Bowlby, Joivan Wade, Matt Bomer and Brendan Fraser.

The season two Blu-ray and DVD include all nine episodes plus the featurette “The Transformers: Doom Patrol’s Make-up FX” and a “Doom Patrol – Come Visit Georgia” PSA.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Based on the characters from DC’s Doom Patrol comic book, the is produced by Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. The second season was presented jointly by DC Universe and HBO Max, and with DC Universe moving away from original content, the upcoming third season will debut exclusively on HBO Max.

‘Toys of Terror’ Due Digitally Oct. 27, on Disc Jan. 19

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the horror film Toys of Terror for digital sellthrough Oct. 27, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Jan. 19 (order date Dec. 15).

In a movie that re-creates the nostalgia of stop motion holiday specials, Dayo Ade and Kyana Teresa play David and Hannah Cashman, who have promised their family a fun Christmas getaway. But when they arrive at a grand, old house in the snowy woods of Washington and are greeted by a familiar construction foreman, the kids realize their parents’ plan to make it a working vacation, renovating the place in the hopes of flipping it. Alicia (Verity Marks) and her young siblings (Saul Elias and Zoe Fish), though annoyed, find themselves distracted after they find a stash of old toys in an abandoned playroom of creepy mansion. Before long, they seem to be inseparable from their new playthings, much to the consternation of their nanny (Georgia Waters), who senses that something in the house is not quite right.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The film was written and executive produced by Dana Gould, directed by Nicholas Verso, and produced by Blue Ribbon Content in association with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Syfy, where the movie will make its broadcast debut in December.

Blu-ray and DVD extras include the featurettes “Toys of Terror Come to Life” and “A Terrifying Weekend: Making of Toys of Terror.”

‘Snowpiercer’ Season One on Disc Jan. 26

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Snowpiercer: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Jan. 26 (order date Dec. 22). Episodes are available now through digital sellthrough.

Set more than seven years after the world has become a frozen wasteland, “Snowpiercer” centers on the remnants of humanity who inhabit a perpetually moving train that circles the globe with 1001 cars, setting up a society punctuated by class warfare, social injustice and the politics of survival play out in this riveting television adaptation.

Based on the graphic novel and the 2013 film from Academy Award-winner Bong Joon Ho (Parasite), the series stars Academy Award-winner Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind),  Grammy and Tony Award-winner Daveed Diggs (Hamilton), Alison Wright, Mickey Sumner, Susan Park, Iddo Goldberg, Katie McGuinness, Lena Hall, Annalise Basso, Sam Otto, Roberto Urbina, Sheila Vand and Jaylin Fletcher.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Blu-ray and DVD editions include all 10 episodes, plus several extras, including an overview, interviews with Connelly and Diggs, and the featurettes “Class Warfare,” “The Train” and “Behind the Curtain: Art of the Frozen World.”

The second season of “Snowpiercer” debuts Jan. 25 on TNT.

Follow us on Instagram

‘Blade’ Coming to 4K Dec. 1

The 1998 vampire thriller Blade will be released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack and digital on Dec. 1 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Directed by Stephen Norrington (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and written by David S. Goyer (the “Dark Knight” trilogy), the film, based on the Marvel comic, stars Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N’Bushe Wright, Donal Logue, Udo Kier and Sanaa Lathan.

Snipes stars as Marvel’s iconic half-vampire, half-human vampire hunter Blade. With all the strengths of a vampire, and none of their weaknesses, the Day Walker uses his incredible gifts to hunt his enemies in his search for the one that killed his mother and turned him into the monster he is. Blade’s fight leads him to Deacon Frost (Dorff), a rising force in the vampire world, set on raising a vampire God bent on destroying mankind.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Blade will feature Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound.

Extras include commentary with Snipes, Dorff, Goyer, Theo Van De Sande, Kirk M. Petruccelli and Peter Frankfurt and an isolated score with commentary by composer Mark Isham.

Batman: Death in the Family

BLU-RAY REVIEW:  

Street Date 10/13/20;
Warner;
Animated;
$24.98 Blu-ray;
Not Rated;
Voices of Bruce Greenwood, Vincent Martella, John DiMaggio, Gary Cole, Zehra Fazal. 

For this fun experiment in interactive storytelling, the Warner Bros. Animation team has taken a cue from one of the most seminal stories in DC Comics history, as well as revisited one of the more popular movies inspired by the same source.

The short film Batman: Death in the Family, based on the infamous 1988 “A Death in the Family” storyline from the Batman comics, serves as a companion to 2010’s Batman: Under the Red Hood, featuring most of the same voice cast as well as director Brandon Vietti at the helm.

The most notable aspect about “Death in the Family” in the comics was that the editors held a phone poll to determine whether Batman’s sidekick, Robin, would die at the hands of the Joker. This, however, wasn’t the original Robin, Dick Grayson, who had moved on to become Nightwing in the comics, but his replacement, Jason Todd, a streetwise but hotheaded kid who had grown unpopular with fans. So, by a slim margin, they voted to kill him off, and the writers of the comic obliged.

And since hardly anyone stays dead in comic books, Jason Todd eventually returned in a 2005 storyline that served as the basis for Under the Red Hood, a movie that began by briefly touching upon his death in the earlier storyline, when Joker abandons him in a warehouse filled with explosives.

The Death in the Family short, however, is not so much an adaptation of the precursor storyline to Red Hood as it is an expansion upon the death of Robin elements already used by that movie. In fact, after a striking opening title sequence, the first scenes of Death in the Family offer reused footage from the opening of Red Hood, interspliced with some newly created flashbacks to show how Jason Todd ended up being tortured by the Joker, with Batman speeding to try to save him.

So, for about five minutes, Death in the Family serves as the prequel to Under the Red Hood a lot of fans might have been expecting. Then, however, it gets to the point where, just like the comics, fans can choose to see whether Jason lives or dies.

Follow us on Instagram!

The movie is only interactive on the Blu-ray, and through various branching points can arrive at seven different possible endings. The digital presentation of the short offers four pre-assembled versions of the story. And here’s where things get tricky.

The primary version of the Death in the Family short would seem to be based on the version where viewers allow Jason to die, just as he did in Under the Red Hood. This version is dubbed Under the Red Hood: Reloaded, and is basically just a half hour of Bruce Wayne narrating the events that unfold in Under the Red Hood, with a nice surprise at the end involving who he’s telling the story to.

In the interactive version, the other options viewers have at the first decision point are to have Jason merely survive the explosion, or to have Batman save him at the last moment. The more interesting “what if” scenarios come with having Batman save him, as that leads to more alternate possibilities down the pike, and take advantage of a lot of references to various developments in the comics that happened in the wake of Jason’s death. This is the aspect of the short that comic book fans are likely to derive the most enjoyment from, rather than just the rehash of Under the Red Hood.

In its digital presentation, these alternate realities are represented by pre-edited shorts called Jason Todd’s Rebellion, Robin’s Revenge and Red Hood’s Reckoning.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

To round out the presentation, the Blu-ray includes four additional DC Showcase animated shorts that were originally released as extras with other recent DC animated movies.

These include Sgt. Rock, an Army hero battling Nazi zombies story that came with 2019’s Batman: Hush; Death, which came with 2019’s Wonder Woman: Bloodlines and is based on the character from Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman”; the 1970s mystery The Phantom Stranger that came with 2020’s Superman: Red Sun; and Adam Strange, a tale of a space adventurer remembering his heroic past, which came with 2020’s Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.

Interestingly, while a plot thread of the comic book version of “Hush” inspired the “Under the Hood” story to resurrect Jason Todd, the movie versions of each are not related and are set in separate continuities.

The only extras on the Blu-ray are enthusiastic commentaries on all five shorts by a pair of former hosts of the DC Daily talk show that used to be presented by the DC Universe streaming service. They’re essentially fans reacting to seeing the adaptations of the source material and providing a bit of comic book history for the benefit of viewers. For their Death in the Family commentary, the Blu-ray plays it with the Under the Red Hood: Reloaded version of the short.

‘Lord of the Rings,’ ‘Hobbit’ Trilogies Set for 4K Ultra HD Release Dec. 1

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Dec. 1 will release all six films in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit Trilogy on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc.

The announcement came via a YouTube posting from Sean Astin, who played Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and its two sequels, The Two Towers (2002) and The Return of the King (2003).

Warner Bros. also announced the summer 2021 release of a 4K “Ultimate Collectors’ Edition” with theatrical and extended versions of all six remastered films as well as new bonus material.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first film in the franchise, Warner Bros. will also release a remastered version of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy on Blu-ray Disc in the fall of 2021.

The six Peter Jackson films were all huge box office hits. The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy earned nearly $3 billion in worldwide theaters and nabbed 17 Academy Awards. The three “Hobbit” movies — 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 2013’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and 2014’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies — also collected nearly $3 billion at the worldwide box office.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In making the announcement Astin said, “because it’s in 4K UHD, you know it’s going to be the most incredible home-viewing experience possible. Peter Jackson oversaw the remastering himself. And I can say that working with Peter was the adventure of a lifetime.”

Both movie series are based on novels by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Crisis on Infinite Earths

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Available With:
Supergirl: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray, $44.98;
Batwoman: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, $44.98;
The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray, $44.98;
Arrow: The Complete Eighth Season Blu-ray, $29.98;
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray, $29.98;

Warner;
Sci-fi/Action;
Not rated;
Stars Stephen Amell, Grant Gustin, Melissa Benoist, Caity Lotz, Ruby Rose, Brandon Routh, Cress Williams, David Harewood, Tom Cavanagh, Tyler Hoechlin, John Cryer, Matt Ryan, David Ramsey, LaMonica Garrett.

Multiverses are all the rage nowadays.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe and the live-action DC movies are scrambling to introduce the concept in their upcoming blockbusters, filling the Internet with casting rumors of the return of previous versions of certain characters. And one reason they may be motivated to do so is how popular the idea proved in the CW Arrowverse’s big crossover event last season, Crisis on Infinite Earths, which brought together characters from six of the DC superhero shows and featured cameos from several more, and even referenced a few from the big screen.

The TV Crisis is based on a major DC Comics storyline from the mid-1980s, which redefined and modernized all the publication’s classic characters while seeking to streamline convoluted histories that went back decades. In doing so, characters encountered versions of themselves from parallel realities in an epic battle against a villain called the Anti-Monitor who was destroying entire universes.

The CW networks’ “Arrowverse” shows adopted the same basic premise. The series have been doing annual crossovers for a while, and have been laying the groundwork for Crisis on Infinite Earths for years.

Follow us on Instagram!

The crossover itself is structured like a miniseries, though each of the five parts are actually an episode from one of the participating series: part one is an episode of “Supergirl,” part two is an episode of “Batwoman,” part three is an episode of “The Flash,” part four is an episode of “Arrow,” and part five is an episode of “Legends of Tomorrow.” Though they use a unified Crisis title card instead of the individual show, the main credits still reflect the cast of that show. This is likely more a matter of contractual obligations, since it probably would have made more sense to produce the crossover as a separate production outside the purview of any of the shows. The fact that these are technically separate episodes of different series makes for some awkward distribution scenarios.

For home video, Warner has chosen to include a special bonus disc containing all five episodes and bonus materials with the relevant season Blu-ray releases of each of the series. It’s the same disc for every show, so “Arrowverse” fans who pick up the Blu-ray for each show will get it five times.

Since the individual parts are also episodes of the shows, they are also included with the regular episode runs for each show on disc. Since the miniseries version is exclusive to the Blu-ray, anyone wanting each part just on DVD has to buy each show’s separate season, and those don’t come with the special “Crisis” extras.

In years past, the crossovers on disc were handled a bit differently, with Warner including all crossover episodes on the Blu-ray for each show’s relevant season as part of the regular episode listings, so that they’ll come up in a “play all” binge.

Either way, it kind of points to a more common sense solution being to release the Crisis disc as a standalone miniseries, and not part of any of the shows’ seasons, but contracts are what they are.

The fact that these are individual episodes of each show makes for some messy plot developments in terms of where certain events happen in relation to what show they are technically happening on. Major life events affecting Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) happen on “Supergirl,” and not his own show, “Arrow.” However, “Arrow” does get a monumental cameo involving The Flash, rather than that bit of fan service actually happening on “The Flash.”

With the central conceit that every TV show and movie ever based on a DC Comics property exists alongside the others in a multiverse, producers have packed in cameos from a number of these other shows, in many cases offering a reunion or update for some of the characters. These range from quick glances at other current shows such as “Titans” and “Stargirl,” as well as drop-ins on the worlds of Superman Returns, the 1989 Batman movie, the 1960s “Batman” series, “Smallville,” the 1990 “Flash” TV show and even the recent Justice League movie.

It’s all in good fun for the fans of these characters who have been following them not just on the CW, but on the other shows as well, not to mention the original comics. The idea of using “Batman: The Animated Series” star Kevin Conroy to play a live-action version of an older Bruce Wayne is just a marvelous idea. As is putting Brandon Routh back in the Superman suit to play an older version of the character. Routh already plays the Atom in the Arrowverse, but physically he seems much more suited to play Superman now that he’s a bit older than he did in 2006, which he was a bit to thin for the part.

For comic book fans, the looks of Conroy’s Bruce Wayne and Routh’s older Superman borrow a lot of influence from the 1990s Kingdom Come miniseries.

Tom Welling also makes an appearance as the “Smallville” Clark Kent, and between him and Routh they just make the Arrowverse’s Superman, Tyler Hoechlin, seem way too undersized for the role.

In addition, Cress Williams shows up in a couple episodes to play Black Lightning from his own CW show. While “Black Lightning” doesn’t have one of the Crisis episodes, it did do its own prelude to Crisis episode similarly to the other participating shows. That episode isn’t included here, but it is available with the third season of “Black Lightning” which is available digitally now and coming to DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Archive Oct. 27.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Nostalgia aside, Crisis does a lot to resolve several of the storylines from the various shows, not the least of which is to finally put Supergirl and Black Lightnine in the same universe as the other heroes (though that has raised its own plot problems as the shows have continued post-Crisis). It’s an ambitious piece of television that should satisfy fans of the series involved, but the various crossovers and nostalgia bait do a lot to distract from flaws that become apparent on subsequent rewatches.

Primarily, the quaintness of plotting that persists on the five main shows carries over here, and the dialogue can get a bit grating the more one hears it. In some instances the collective writing teams may have been in over their heads coordinating such a big production, as there are many attempts to cram in the supporting casts of the various shows in their series’ respective episodes with subplots that end up going nowhere or having no effect on the larger storyline. Some of these are excuses for cheap cameos, while others just seem like they are giving the characters busy work.

When these shows are syndicated to various stations and streaming services in the future and have to stand on their own, I can only imagine the confusion some viewers might having when encountering the crossover episodes in the middle of a binge and seeing partial storylines that have little to do with the rest of the show they’ve been watching. But, a happy fan is an informed fan, and they should know what they’re getting into with the Arrowverse to begin with.

The extras on the Crisis bonus disc are fun backgrounders typical of the kinds usually found on Blu-rays of DC-based content, particularly the DC Universe animated movies.

Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Architects Return” is a 12-minute featurette that reflects on the original comic book, featuring interviews with its original creators, plus a look at the new comic book tie-in created for the Arrowverse version.

“Crisis Management” is a 13-minute making-of featurette looking at how the five shows coordinated to bring the crossover together.

“Crisis Past and Present: Kevin Conroy Bat Legend” is a three-minute profile of Conroy and bringing him to play a live-action Batman for the first time.

“Crisis Past and Present: Superman vs. Superman” is a four-and-a-half-minute featurette about a showdown between Routh and Hoechlin for super-supremecy.

“Characters in Crisis: Pariah” is a four-minute video about turning Tom Cavanagh’s “Flash” character into the Pariah role from the original comic.

Finally, “Characters in Crisis: The Anti-Monitor” is a five-minute examination of the main villain of the story.

‘Steven Universe: The Complete Collection’ on DVD Dec. 8

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Steven Universe: The Complete Collection on DVD Dec. 8.

The six-time Emmy-nominated animated series revolves around Steven, the “little brother” to a team of magical aliens — the Crystal Gems — who defend the planet Earth. Steven is the son of the Crystal Gems’ late leader Rose Quartz and aging aspiring rockstar Mr. Universe. Steven has inherited his mother’s Gem and her magical powers, but also his father’s humanity and charm. The show follows Steven as he attempts to bridge the gap between the sci-fi fantasy world of Gems and the cozy, funny, simple-yet-extraordinarily-complicated world of human beings.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The 15-disc set includes all 160 episodes of Cartoon Network’s “Steven Universe,” 20 episodes of “Steven Universe Future,” and Steven Universe: The Movie, plus storybook packaging with custom art on every page by Chromosphere.

Extras include animatics, minisodes, commentary on select episodes, music videos and a Steven Universe: The Movie sing-along.

Steven Universe: The Complete Collection is also available now for digital sellthrough.

‘Rick and Morty’ Season 4 Tops Disc Sales Charts

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Rick and Morty: Season 4 debuted at No. 1 on 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 Sept. 26.

This marks the first time a season of the popular sci-fi cartoon from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim animation block has topped the disc sales chart.

Following Sony Pictures’ Outlander: Season Five topping the chart the previous week, it also marks the very rare occurrence of the sales charts being topped for two weeks in a row by TV on disc titles.

The “Outlander” season slipped to No. 6 on the overall disc chart and No. 7 on the Blu-ray chart.

No. 2 on the overall disc chart, and No. 4 on the Blu-ray Disc sales chart, was Disney’s perennial Halloween seller Hocus Pocus. It sold 88% as many copies as “Rick and Morty.”

The top new-release movie on the chart was Lionsgate’s The Secret: Dare to Dream, at No. 3 overall and No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The No. 2 Blu-ray was Warner’s Full Metal Jacket, fueled by a new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc edition. The 1987 war movie directed by Stanley Kubrick was No. 13 on the overall disc sales chart.

In fact, the 4K Ultra HD disc accounted for 88% of all Full Metal Jacket unit sales for the week.

Blu-ray Disc accounted for 60% of first-week Rick and Morty: Season 4 unit sales and 34% of The Secret: Dare to Dream unit sales.

Follow us on Instagram!

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Sept. 27, The Secret: Dare to Dream debuted at No. 1, followed by the Redbox-exclusive Ava at No. 2.

Universal’s Irresistible dropped to No. 3 after three weeks in the top spot.

Lionsgate’s Rogue took No. 4, followed by newcomer Most Wanted, from Paramount, at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 9-26-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 9-27-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 9-26-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 9-26-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 9-26-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 9-28-20