Jim Wuthrich: Lifting and Shifting From the Disc Into the Digital Stream

“Put it on a Disc.” That was the name of our relay team that back in August 1995 ran the 200 miles from Mount Hood to the Oregon coast over a 24-hour period.

I didn’t have a clue how that phrase would come to dominate my career.

The startup company I was working for at the time in Portland, Creative Media, was my introduction to DVD as it pivoted from the early computer multimedia era of CD-ROM.  One of our first DVD products was the Blockbuster Guide to Movies and Video, recently ported from CD-ROM to the higher capacity DVD.

That product led me to Southern California in 1998 to join the Warner Bros. team that was launching movies on DVD.  When I walked through those doors on the famed Warner Bros. lot, I would never have imagined I would still be here 24 years later, but it’s a testament to a company and industry that is ever-changing.

Those early days were frenetic — much as they were at the startup I left.  Warren Lieberfarb [at the time, Warner Home Video president and the “father of DVD”] was a missionary, resolute in the belief that people would want to own and collect movies, and he was determined to make the format a success.

It wasn’t a forgone conclusion.  There were naysayers everywhere: “Movies are one viewing and done, why would anyone want to own?”; “DVD isn’t the future; digital tape will win the format war”; “DVD players are too expensive, no one will buy.”

But Warren saw the future and tirelessly drove his staff, industry and detractors until DVD became one of the fastest-growing consumer electronics formats in history.  It was a fun, heady time.  The breakout was the first The Matrix movie.  I remember speaking with my mother, who said she bought The Matrix DVD, which was interesting because it wasn’t her type of movie, but more to the point, she didn’t own a DVD player!  When asked why she bought it, she said she heard so much about it, she just had to buy it.

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On a large title we’d ship 20+ million discs, host lavish launch parties and debate spending millions on advertising “chase” campaigns.  There were many innovations including special features (behind the scenes/making of/documentaries), connected discs which enabled content updates and “virtual” theater events with the director, and E Copy, a digital copy of the film that could be stored on a computer.

There were format wars (Divx/Blu-ray/HD DVD) that spilled over to the front page of The Wall Street Journal, business model innovations (rental revenue sharing, subscription by mail), discovery of latent consumer interest in TV series (DVD was the original binge format), and hijacked trailer trucks full of DVDs (because of their value).

As successful as DVD was, it would only be a bridge to the next chapter in distribution: digital, delivered over the internet.  Eliminating the physical disc was the ultimate efficiency tool, promising near instantaneous global distribution, where and when needed.

Physical media is inherently inefficient in that predicting consumer demand down to the individual store is fraught with either not enough or too much product, and the resultant lost sales or “returns” (excess inventory) could have a major impact on profitability.  Internet-delivered movies and TV shows also freed up endless “shelf space” so even the most obscure movie or TV series could find a listing in a digital retailer’s database.

But there were challenges, too, including slow internet speeds, data caps, digital rights management, getting it to the TV, rights and supply chain issues.

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The early days of digital were a lift and shift of the physical world in that the predominant business model was transactional; either a rental (video-on-demand, or VOD) or “ownership” (electronic sellthrough, or EST).  The MVPDs and satellite companies were offering VOD or PPV and eventually expanded into EST, but it was the internet-based businesses that had the biggest impact.  There were many retail pioneers, including Movielink, the studios’ ill-fated joint venture.  iTunes extended their innovation of unbundling the music album to TV, allowing consumers to buy individual episodes of TV shows versus the whole series; they also were one of the first to offer special features from a digital menu familiar to DVD users and were the first to build a global footprint.  Other early pioneers that are still offering transactional include Vudu, Xbox, Amazon and Google.

Another concept borrowed from the world of physical media was buy-and-play anywhere. Back then, digital platforms were silos where the content was captive to the platform it was purchased on, unlike DVD, which could be bought at any retailer and played on any DVD player.

Ultraviolet (UV) was an attempt to add more utility to a digital purchase, so that a movie bought through retailer “A” could be played back at retailer “B” — which was particularly helpful  in the early days, with limited ways to playback on TVs.  Eventually, the entitlement concept pioneered by Ultraviolet was replaced by Movies Anywhere, with a more robust retailer and studio network.

Today, digital video is everywhere, but the dominant business model has shifted from transactional to subscription.  An undeniable consumer bargain, the all-you-can view subscription buffet continues to enjoy tremendous growth as it spurs the industry to create ever-more storytelling.

It’s interesting to note that the other formats have not gone away. The transactional market generated over $8 billion in consumer sales through DVD/Blu-ray and transactional digital last year — the majority purchased by consumers who also have subscription services.  For fans of movies and series, there has never been a better time.

Having seen it all, I can retire the “Put it on a Disc” shirt.  I have a new one to wear now that says “HBO Max.”

Jim Wuthrich is president of content distribution for WarnerMedia and chair of DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

‘Eraser: Reborn’ Due on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD June 7

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release of Eraser: Reborn on digital, Blu-ray and DVD June 7.

It’s the next chapter to Eraser (1996), the Chuck Russell-directed action thriller that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as a U.S. Marshall assigned to “erase” the identity of a witness he is assigned to protect.

Eraser: Reborn, which will be also available for streaming on HBO Max in fall 2022, follows U.S. Marshal Mason Pollard, who specializes in “erasing” people — faking the deaths of high-risk witnesses. With the technological advances of the past 25 years, the game has upgraded, and it’s just another day at the office when he’s assigned to Rina Kimura, the wife of a crime boss who’s decided to turn state’s evidence. As the two flee to Cape Town, South Africa, with a team of merciless assassins on their trail, Pollard discovers he’s been set up.

The film stars Dominic Sherwood (Shadowhunters) as Mason Pollard, Jacky Lai (V-Wars) as Rina Kimura, McKinley Belcher III (Marriage Story) as Paul Whitlock, a mentor to Pollard, and Eddie Ramos (Animal Kingdom) as Sugar Jax, a local gangster.

Extras include a making-of featurette.

Merchandising: ‘Matrix’ Revealed at Retail

The big three home entertainment retailers each offered their own exclusive for Warner’s The Matrix Resurrections Blu-ray and DVD release March 8.

Best Buy, as usual, offered a Steelbook edition of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack of the fourth “Matrix” movie for $34.99.

Target offered the Matrix Resurrections Blu-ray/DVD combo pack with changeable box art in the form of collectible character cards for $26.99.

Target’s ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Blu-ray combo pack with character cards

Walmart’s “Matrix” exclusive was the $29.96 DVD version of the four-film “Déjà Vu Collection,” which was widely released only on Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD.

Walmart’s four-movie “Matrix” DVD

Separately, Walmart also had an exclusive for Paramount’s Yellowstone: Season 4 DVD, which it packed with a Dutton Ranch decal for $19.96.

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Memorial for Veteran Hollywood Publicist Ronnee Sass to Be Held March 18

A memorial service for veteran Hollywood publicist Ronnee Sass will be held March 18 at 1 p.m. at Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles.

Ronnee Sass.

Attendees will “share favorite stories, memories, and laughter and for a graveside dedication,” according to the announcement. Current COVID-19 protocols will be followed, and the ceremony can also be viewed online here using the password sass1948.

Sass, who left her mark on home entertainment through lavish release campaigns for classic Warner Bros. movies such as Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz and an engaging, ebullient personality that made her a favorite among talent and journalists alike, died March 20, 2021, at the age of 72 after a battle with leukemia.

Sass began her home entertainment career at what was then Warner Home Video in 1995, after working in film distribution and co-founding an independent PR and advertising agency in Baltimore — Wolff, Freed and Greenberg.

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For most of her Warner Bros. career, Sass’s focus was on publicizing the studio’s rich library. Over the next 20 years, she was instrumental in big anniversary campaigns for such storied classics as Citizen KaneGone With the WindSingin’ in the RainCasablancaBlade Runner and The Wizard of Oz. She even brought the surviving Munchkins to Beverly Hills for a gala DVD release party for the latter film’s 65th anniversary in 2004 — and to New York five years later for the movie’s 70th anniversary release, a campaign that included a nationwide balloon tour. In January 2006, Sass was promoted from executive director of publicity and promotion to the newly created position of VP of publicity and promotion for theatrical catalog, under Jeff Baker.

See also: Remembering Ronnee Sass in pictures

After she left her Baltimore agency and joined Warner Bros., Sass initially handled aspects of the studio’s theatrical Oscar campaigns.

Sass left Warner Bros. in 2014.

WarnerMedia, Discovery Merger Clears U.S. Regulatory Hurdle

Consummation of Discovery’s $43 billion minority stake, majority control of WarnerMedia appears to have cleared federal regulator oversight. Specifically, the U.S. Antitrust Agency’s waiting period to intervene on the transaction expired, according to WarnerMedia parent AT&T and Discovery.

“As of Feb. 9, 2022, Discovery and AT&T have satisfied the closing condition in Section 9.1 of the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of May 17, 2021, relating to the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976,” read the regulatory filing.

“The HSR Act statutory waiting period has expired or otherwise been terminated, and any agreement not to consummate the transaction between the parties and the Federal Trade Commission or the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice or any other applicable governmental entity, has also expired or otherwise been terminated.”

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The lone hurdle remaining in the creation of the new Warner Bros. Discovery company is an approval vote by Discovery shareholders, reportedly considered a formality.

The new company, which includes Warner Bros., HBO, Turner, HBO Max, HGTV, Magnolia Network and Discovery+, will be run by Discovery CEO David Zaslav.

The transaction brings under one corporate roof Turner’s major sports TV broadcast rights, together with Discovery’s Eurosport media company, which controls Olympics media distribution across Europe. Current WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar is expected to leave the company later this year.

Final Season of ‘Supergirl’ to Arrive on DVD, Blu-ray March 8

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and DC have set a March 8 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release date for the final installment of the superhero TV series “Supergirl,” starring Melissa Benoist in the title role.

Supergirl: The Sixth and Final Season, in addition to all 20 episodes, includes an all-new featurette and deleted scenes. 

Warner Bros. is also releasing Supergirl: The Complete Series, with all 126 episodes from the series, which ran from 2015 to 2021 on CBS and, later, The CW.  

In the sixth and final season, Supergirl is thrust into the greatest challenge of her life — forced to confront her own mortality, and the prospect of losing all hope. As her friends rally to help her in this difficult fight, a new super villain arrives in National City and tests her resolve.

The Supergirl: The Sixth and Final Season Blu-ray Disc release will include 1080p full HD video with DTS-HD master audio for English 5.1. The disc sets come with a digital code, as well.

In addition to Benoist, the sixth season of “Supergirl” stars Chyler Leigh (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Katie McGrath (Jurassic World, Merlin), Jesse Rath (Defiance, No Tomorrow), Nicole Maines (Royal Pains), Azie Tesfai (Jane the Virgin), Julie Gonzalo (“Dallas,” “Veronica Mars”), Staz Nair (“Game of Thrones”) and David Harewood (“Homeland”). Based DC Comics characters, “Supergirl”was produced by Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Robert Rovner, Jessica Queller and Rob Wright.

“Supergirl” is currently available to own through various digital retailers including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and others.

‘Shang-Chi’ Headlines Nov. 30 New Releases

Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Warner’s Malignant are among the new DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases Nov. 30.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the 25th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, arrives on Blu-ray Disc, dvd and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Nov. 30 from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution. Shang-Chi stars Simu Liu in the title role, who must face the past he thought he left behind and confront his father, Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), leader of the dangerous Ten Rings organization. The film also stars Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu and Michelle Yeoh. The film has earned more than $431 million at the global box office, and is the year’s top domestic title with $224.5 million.

The horror film Malignant arrives on Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 30 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. From director James Wan (The Conjuring, Aquaman, Furious 7), the horror thriller stars Annabelle Wallis (Annabelle, The Mummy), Maddie Hasson (TV’s “Impulse,” TV’s “Mr. Mercedes”) and George Young (TV’s “Containment”). In the film, a woman is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities.

The horror thriller Saint Maud arrives on Blu-ray (plus digital) and DVD Nov. 30 from Lionsgate. The film stars Morfydd Clark (Crawl, TV’s “His Dark Materials,” “Dracula”) and Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty, Vox Lux, TV’s “The Looming Tower”). The debut film from writer-director Rose Glass, Saint Maud follows Maud, a newly devout hospice nurse, who becomes obsessed with saving her dying patient’s soul — but sinister forces, and her own sinful past, threaten to put an end to her holy calling.

Two restored Warren Beatty films, Reds and Heaven Can Wait, are being released on Blu-ray Disc Nov. 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Beatty stars in (as well as produces, co-writes, and co-directs) the comedy Heaven Can Wait, which has been fully restored and remastered from the original negative under Beatty’s supervision. Directed by Beatty and Buck Henry, with a screenplay by Elaine May and Beatty, the film also stars Julie Christie, James Mason, Charles Grodin, Dyan Cannon, Buck Henry, Vincent Gardenia and Jack Warden.  The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Beatty and Henry), Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Beatty and May), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Beatty), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Warden), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Cannon), and more. The film follows Joe Pendleton (Beatty), a Los Angeles Rams backup quarterback ready to lead the team all the way to the Super Bowl until an overzealous guardian angel prematurely plucks him from the living. When he’s returned to Earth in the body of millionaire industrialist Leo Farnsworth, he inherits a world of challenges, including winning the love of a woman (Christie) who hates Farnsworth.

Directed, co-written, produced by and starring Beatty, Reds celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The story of a radical American journalist embroiled in the Bolshevik revolution  was originally released on Dec. 25, 1981. Paramount will release the film in a two-disc Blu-ray set, newly restored under Beatty’s supervision. The film was restored and remastered from the original negative in 4K with high dynamic range using a vintage print from the Paramount archives as a reference, which was approved by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. Punctuated by interviews with real-life activists and witnesses to the revolution, Reds depicts the love story between activists John Reed (Beatty) and Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton) set against the outbreak of World War I and the rise of communism in Russia.  In addition to Keaton and Beatty, the film’s cast includes Jack Nicholson, Edward Herrmann, Gene Hackman, Paul Sorvino and Maureen Stapleton, whose performance won her an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. The film garnered 12 Academy Award nominations and won three, including Best Director for Beatty. The Oscar-nominated screenplay was written by Beatty and Trevor Griffiths.

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Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ historical epic The Last Duel becomes available through digital retailers Nov. 30. The Last Duel unravels the true story about France’s last sanctioned duel, when King Charles VI declares that Knight Jean de Carrouges settle his dispute with his squire, Jacques Le Gris, by challenging him to a duel, which took place in 1386. De Carrouges’ wife had accused Le Gris of rape. The Last Duel was directed by Ridley Scott and stars Academy Award winners Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, alongside Jodie Comer and Adam Driver. It will be released on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Dec. 14.

Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ Dune arrives for premium digital ownership ($29.99) and VOD ($24.99) Dec. 3.  Dune was directed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth, based on the novel of the same name written by Frank Herbert. The film stars Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name, Little Women), Rebecca Ferguson (Doctor Sleep, Mission: Impossible — Fallout), Oscar Isaac (the “Star Wars” franchise), Josh Brolin (Milk, Avengers: Infinity War), Stellan Skarsgård (TV’s “Chernobyl,” Avengers: Age of Ultron), Dave Bautista (the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, Avengers: Endgame), Stephen McKinley Henderson (Fences, Lady Bird), Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming, TV’s “Euphoria”), Chang Chen (Mr. Long, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), David Dastmalchian (Blade Runner 2049, The Dark Knight), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, TV’s “Sex Education”), with Charlotte Rampling (45 Years, Assassin’s Creed), with Jason Momoa (Aquaman, “Game of Thrones”), and Oscar winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Skyfall). Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides (Chalamet), a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence — a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential — only those who can conquer their fear will survive. The film will also be available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD  Jan. 11.

Shout! Studios has set a Dec. 3 multiplatform release for Castle Falls, an action thriller starring Scott Adkins and Dolph Lundgren. Directed by Lundgren, the film will be released simultaneously in theaters, through digital retailers and on demand. A DVD and Blu-ray Disc release is expected to follow in January 2022. The film follows rival gangs as they seek out millions of dollars hidden inside Castle Heights Hospital, a symbol of the city’s segregated past that has been packed with dynamite and is ready to be demolished. A gang leader, now in prison, hid the $3 million in cash he stole from his rivals inside the abandoned building. Now, three desperate parties want the money — a blue-collared ex-fighter (Adkins) who finds it while working as part of the demolition crew, a prison guard (Lundgren) willing to do anything to pay for his daughter’s cancer treatment, and a ruthless gang who claim to be the rightful owners. The film also stars Kevin Wayne, Jim E. Chandler, Luke Hawx, Scott Hunter and Kim DeLonghi.

The animated musical Bongee Bear and the Kingdom of Rhythm will be released in theaters and for digital purchase and rental Dec. 3 from Level 33 Entertainment. In the film, in a land known as the Kingdom of Rhythm, young bear Bongee vows to protect the young Princess Katrina with his life. When the evil witch Bandrilla casts a spell on the people of the kingdom, Bongee sets out with the aid of his friend Myrin to break the spell and return singing and dancing to the land, while Bandrilla and her henchmen, Barnabas and Ivan, do all they can to stop them. Bongee Bear and the Kingdom of Rhythm features the voices of Rob Paulsen, Dom DeLuise, Ruth Buzzi, Debi Derryberry, June Lockhart, Julian Sands, Danica McKellar, Daryl Sabara, Jess Harnell, Jeff Bennett, Bill Farmer, Phil Proctor, Tatyana Yassukovich and Richard Van Vleet.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Reminiscence

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 11/9/21;
Warner;
Sci-Fi Mystery;
Box Office $3.9 million;
$34.98 DVD, $39.98 Blu-ray, $49.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for strong violence, drug material throughout, sexual content and some strong language.
Stars Hugh Jackman, Rebecca Ferguson, Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis, Brett Cullen, Natalie Martinez, Angela Sarafyan, Mojean Aria, Marina de Tavira, Daniel Wu, Nico Parker.

Memories of happy times can often be a bittersweet reminder of things lost, particularly when nothing better comes along to supplant them.

That seems to be a motivating dilemma in Reminiscence, an ambitious sci-fi mystery from in the mold of a Christopher Nolan thriller. As with most Nolan noir, Reminiscence is marked by a time-shifted non-linear narrative built around a high-concept sci-fi hook — in this case, a device that helps people re-live their favorite memories as if they were new.

Hugh Jackman plays a nostalgia merchant named Nick who runs a business where people can pay to use such as machine. The film is set sometime in the near future in a Miami flooded by rising oceans, where peoples’ everyday lives tend to be so depressing they’d rather turn to the past for a respite.

Late one night, a woman named Mae (Rebecca Ferguson), a singer at a local nightclub, walks in and asks to access her memories to find her lost keys. Nick is immediately obsessed with her, sparking a brief relationship that ends when she vanishes without a trace. Unwilling to let her go, Nick delves into his memories with her, until his partner and former war buddy (Thandiwe Newton) forces him to face reality.

Nick also takes contract work with the district attorney to depose criminals by retrieving their memories. When he discovers Mae in the memories of the associate of a drug lord, Nick sets off on a quest to uncover exactly what happened to her, even if it means learning she wasn’t exactly who she claimed to be.

Reminiscence was written by and marks the directorial debut of Lisa Joy, whose husband, Jonathan Nolan, is Christopher Nolan’s brother and frequent collaborator. The husband-wife team, who co-produced the film as well, also developed and produce HBO’s “Westworld,” a show with equally trippy sci-fi themes about the nature of identity and existence.

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The sci-fi trappings of Reminiscence make for a visually arresting experience, though the story and premise are often reminiscent of other films. The pairing of Jackman of Ferguson, for example, immediately brings to mind their teaming in The Greatest Showman, in which she also played a singer who caught the eye of a Jackman character (P.T. Barnum in that case). The drifting in and out of dreams to drive the narrative has echoes with Christopher Nolan’s Inception, which dealt with dreams instead of memories. And the very idea of memory manipulation, leading to questions of what is really happening or not, bring to mind films such as Total Recall. The depiction of a future world that has shifted its day-to-day routine around the culture of water travel, while interesting in its worldbuilding possibilities, seems a bit like a proto-Waterworld.

Still, if not as profound as its cinematic cousins in the Nolan canon, Reminiscence should manage to provide an entertaining diversion for a couple of hours, however fleeting the romance at its heart might be.

The Blu-ray includes nearly a half-hour of entertaining behind-the-scenes featurettes. The four-minute “You’re Going on a Journey” focuses on the premise, while the seven minute “The Sunken Coast” is about the production design and visual effects used to depict a Miami partially submerged by water. The eight-and-a-half-minute “Crafting a Memory” looks at how the filmmakers set about depicting the dream projections. The eight-minute “Reminiscence: A Family Reunion” looks at Joy’s collaboration with the cast and crew, some members of which worked with her previously on “Westworld.”

Rounding out the extras on disc is a five-minute “Save My Love” music video featuring Lonr.

The Blu-ray also includes a heartfelt printed note from Joy in which she relays her reasons for making the film, her inspirations, love of noir and appreciation of the cast for how they brought the characters she envisioned to life.

Originally published as a streaming review Aug. 30, 2021.

‘Tom and Jerry Cowboy Up!’ Riding Home Jan. 25

The full-length animated family film Tom and Jerry Cowboy Up! is set for release digitally and on DVD Jan. 25 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, the film finds the cat and mouse duo in the Wild West where they help save a ranch from the hands of a villain. The rivals team up to help a cowgirl and her brother save their homestead from a greedy land-grabber. Jerry’s three precocious nephews join in the action, and Tom rounds up a posse of prairie dogs.

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Tom and Jerry Cowboy Up! features the voice talents of George Ackles as The Marshal, Sean Burgos as Bumpy, Trevor Devall as Duke, Chris Edgerly as August Critchley, Georgie Kidder as Scruffy, Justin Michael as Bentley, Kaitlyn Robrock as Betty, Isaac Robinson Smith as Zeb, Kath Soucie as Tuffy, Stephen Stanton as Virgil, Fred Tatasciore as Clem, and Kari Wahlgren as Duffy and Jane.

‘Many Saints of Newark’ Available for Premium Digital Rental and Sale Nov. 19, on Disc Dec. 21

The Many Saints of Newark arrives for premium digital ownership at $24.99 and premium digital rental at $19.99 on Nov. 19 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The title will be available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on Dec. 21.

The film, about the origins of Tony Soprano of the series “The Sopranos,” is directed by Alan Taylor (TV’s “Game of Thrones,” TV’s “Mad Men”) from a screenplay by series creator David Chase and Lawrence Konner, based on characters created by Chase. It stars Alessandro Nivola (Disobedience, American Hustle), Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr. (Broadway’s “Hamilton,” Murder on the Orient Express), Jon Bernthal (Baby Driver, The Wolf of Wall Street), Corey Stoll (First Man, Ant-Man), Michael Gandolfini (TV’s “The Deuce”), Billy Magnussen (Game Night, The Big Short), Michela De Rossi (Boys Cry, TV’s “The Rats”), John Magaro (The Finest Hours, Not Fade Away), Ray Liotta (TV’s “Shades of Blue,” Goodfellas) and Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air, “The Conjuring” films).

In the film, young Anthony Soprano (Michael Gandolfini) is growing up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark’s history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters begin to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family’s hold over the increasingly race-torn city. Caught up in the changing times is the uncle he idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti (Nivola), who struggles to manage both his professional and personal responsibilities — and whose influence over his nephew will help make the impressionable teenager into the all-powerful mob boss we’ll later come to know: Tony Soprano.

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The DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD combo pack includes deleted scenes. The Blu-ray and UHD BD versions also include the featurettes “Making of Newark” and “Sopranos Family Honor.”