‘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.

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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.

‘42’ Joins ‘Black Panther’ on ‘Watched at Home’ Chart as Viewers Remember Chadwick Boseman

A second movie starring Chadwick Boseman, Warner’s 42, debuted in the top 10 on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Sept. 5, joining the Disney-distributed Black Panther, which joined the chart the prior week.

Chadwick died of cancer at the age of 43 on Aug. 28. In 42, he portrays baseball great Jackie Robinson; in Black Panther, he plays a Marvel superhero. Coincidentally, Major League Baseball Aug. 28 celebrated Jackie Robinson day, with all players wearing No. 42, which no doubt added exposure to that particular Boseman film.

The weekly Watched at Home chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc) compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, saw 42 debut at No. 9. Black Panther, which had been No. 9 a week earlier, rose to No. 6.

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Robin’s Wish, a Vertical Entertainment documentary about the life and death of late comic actor Robin Williams, bowed at No. 16 on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart.

Two films newly released to DVD and Blu-ray Disc, Lionsgate’s action thriller Rogue, with Megan Fox as a battle-hardened mercenary, and the political satire Irresistible, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, also appear on the chart for the first time.

Rogue (No. 12) finds Samantha O’Hara (Fox) leading a team of soldiers-for-hire on a daring mission to rescue hostages from their captors in rural Africa.  They wind up stranded and have to battle not only brutal rebels but also a horde of enraged lions.

Irresistible (No. 19) was written and directed by Jon Stewart and features a cast headed by Steve Carell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Mackenzie Davis and Topher Grace. Carell portrays a campaign strategist who runs a Democratic mayoral candidate (Cooper) in a small right-wing town. The film, from Focus Features, was rerouted from a May 2020 theatrical release by the coronavirus pandemic and instead debuted in June on premium VOD. It became available through regular digital channels on Aug. 18.

Both Rogue and Irresistable were released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc Sept. 1.

Also new to chart is Warner Bros.’ Beetlejuice (No. 18), spurred by the film’s Sept. 1 release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

The top five remain unchanged from the prior week. Paramount’s popular TV drama series “Yellowstone,” long a favorite among home viewers, again took the top three spots on the chart, with RLJ Entertainment’s The Tax Collector remaining at No. 4 and Universal’s The King of Staten Island again at No. 5.

  1. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  2. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  4. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  5. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  6. Black Panther (Disney)
  7. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  8. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  9. 42 (Warner)
  10. The Silencing (2020, Lionsgate)
  11. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  12. Rogue (Lionsgate)
  13. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  14. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (MGM)
  15. The Vanished (2020, Paramount)
  16. Robin’s Wish (Vertical Entertainment)
  17. 1917 (Universal)
  18. Beetlejuice (Warner)
  19. Irresistible (Universal)
  20. Made In Italy  (IFC Films)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended Sept. 5.

‘The Silencing’, ‘The Vanished’ Among Five New Releases on Weekly ‘Watched at Home’ Chart

Five new films appeared on the “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Aug. 22, led by Lionsgate’s The Silencing and Paramount’s The Vanished, both of which debuted in the top 10.

The Silencing debuted at No. 6 on the weekly chart, which tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. The  U.S.-Canadian action thriller follows a reclusive hunter and police sheriff who track down a murderer they suspect kidnapped the hunter’s daughter five years earlier. The film, released through digital retailers on Aug. 14, was directed by Robin Pront from a screenplay by Micah Ranum and stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Annabelle Wallis.

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The Vanished (No. 7), also released through digital retailers in mid-August ahead of an Oct. 20 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release, is about an idyllic family vacation that turns into a living nightmare for parents Paul (Thomas Jane) and Wendy (Anne Heche) when their young daughter disappears without a trace. When the local sheriff (Jason Patric) fails to chase down any new leads, the frantic parents have no choice but to take matters into their own hands.

Also new to the “Watched at Home” chart are RLJ Entertainment’s Spree (No. 15), a horror satire that follows a social media-obsessed, ride-hail driver played by Joe Keery, and Sony Pictures’ Sputnik (No. 18), a Russian science-fiction horror film that stars Oksana Akinshina as a young doctor who is recruited by the military to assess a cosmonaut who survived a mysterious space accident and returned to Earth with a dangerous organism living inside him.

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Warner’s Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons, a direct-to-video animated superhero film version of the CW Seed series of the same name, debuted at No. 20 after its Aug. 18 disc release date. The film was released through digital retailers two weeks earlier.

The top five on the “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Aug. 22 remains unchanged from the prior week, with RLJ’s The Tax Collector at No. 1 for the third consecutive week. The film, which stars Shia LaBeouf and Bobby Soto as “tax collectors” working for a Los Angeles crime lord, was released through digital retailers on Aug. 7.

Rounding out the top five are DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, distributed to home audiences by Universal Pictures, and three seasons of Paramount’s “Yellowstone,” with Kevin Costner.

  1. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  2. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  4. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  5. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  6. The Silencing (2020, Lionsgate)
  7. The Vanished (2020, Paramount)
  8. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  9. Made In Italy (IFC Films)
  10. You Should Have Left (Universal)
  11. The Rental (IFC Films)
  12. Deep Blue Sea 3 (Warner)
  13. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  14. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  15. Spree (2020, RLJ Entertainment)
  16. Scoob! (Warner Bros.)
  17. The High Note (Universal)
  18. Sputnik (Sony Pictures)
  19. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Universal)
  20. Deathstroke Knights & Dragons (Warner)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended Aug. 22.

Like, ‘Valley Girl’ Bows on Disc Oct. 6

Valley Girl, a musical romantic comedy adaptation of the 1983 film, arrives on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and MGM Oct. 6.

From MGM’s Orion Pictures and directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg, the film stars Jessica Rothe (Happy Death Day, La La Land) as Julie Richman, Josh Whitehouse (The Knight Before Christmas) as Randy, Mae Whitman (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) as Jack, and Judy Greer (13 Going on 30, Ant-Man, 27 Dresses) as Diana.

Set to a new wave ’80s soundtrack, the film follows a pair of young lovers from different backgrounds defy their parents and friends to stay together.

The 1983 classic, directed by Martha Coolidge, starred Nicolas Cage and Deborah Foreman.

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Study: Consumers Streamed ‘Contagion’ Movie Often During Early Pandemic Days

Director Steven Soderbergh probably never envisioned how his 2011 sci-fi drama Contagion — about the global effects to trace the origins of the MEV-1 pathogen — would foreshadow real world events. The drama, which featured an international cast and myriad cameos, was the most-streamed movie in March and April, according to new data from JustWatch.

The website, which offers content recommendations in more than 45 countries, found that in 36 countries there was huge demand for the movie, with monthly searches on Google spiking upwards 16.6 million. Before the pandemic, around 130,000 people searched for the movie per month.

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Outlier countries included Spain, France, the Baltic states and southeast Asian countries where movies such as Oscar winner Parasite, Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter or Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games were streamed more than other content.

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‘Scoob!’ Surges in Home-Viewing Demand After Blu-ray Disc, DVD Release

The animated Scoob! debuted at No. 2  on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the week ended July 25, with demand for the film skyrocketing in the wake of its release on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD and DVD.

The Warner Bros. film was the first full-length animated Scooby-Doo movie intended for theatrical release, but with the mid-March closure of theaters due to the COVID-19 pandemic the film instead debuted digitally, on premium VOD and EST, on May 15.

Another rerouted animated movie, Trolls World Tour, from DreamWorks Animation, remained at No. 1 for the fourth consecutive week on the “Watched at Home” chart, which  tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

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Scoob! was available for streaming on the new HBO Max SVOD service prior to its release on physical media.

Paramount’s three seasons of “Yellowstone” again rounded out the top five.

With no new theatrical product entering the home entertainment pipeline, home viewing demand remains high for recent high-profile feature films such as Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog, Universal Pictures’ The Invisible Man and Sony Pictures Jumanji: The Next Level, which finished at Nos. 7, 8 and 9, respectively.

Another PVOD release, Universal Pictures’ The High Note, starring Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross, debuted at No. 10 after its release through regular digital channels. The film becomes available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on Aug. 11.

Also new to the chart: Lionsgate’s Capone, a multi-platform release about the notorious gangster Al Capone (No. 18), and the British science-fiction film Archive, released digitally to home audiences by Vertical Entertainment (No. 20).

  1. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  2. Scoob! (Warner Bros.)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  4. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  5. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  6. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  7. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  8. The Invisible Man (Universal)
  9. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  10. The High Note (Universal)
  11. Force of Nature (Lionsgate)
  12. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  13. Bloodshot (Sony)
  14. Batman Beyond: Seasons 1-3 (Warner)
  15. Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  16. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  17. The Hunt (Universal)
  18. Capone (Lionsgate)
  19. Fantasy Island (Sony Pictures)
  20. Archive (Vertical)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended July 25

Comic-Con@Home Panel Plumbs the Depths of Shooting Underwater in ‘Deep Blue Sea 3’

There were several challenges when making the third installment in the “Deep Blue Sea” feature franchise, including overcoming the usual difficulties with shooting on water (a la Steven Spielberg’s legendary struggles with Jaws) and coming up with a new premise that didn’t involve an underwater lab, as the two previous movies had.

Global warming came to the rescue on the script. Screenwriter Dirk Blackman did some research on small islands sinking as the oceans rise and had a moment of inspiration.

“I thought, ‘Let’s sink the town,’” he said during a July 24 online panel at Comic-Con@Home for the July 28 digital and Aug. 25 Blu-ray combo pack and DVD release of Deep Blue Sea 3 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The film follows Dr. Emma Collins and her team, who are spending the summer on a sinking island studying the effect of climate change on great white sharks. Their routine is disrupted when a team led by her ex-boyfriend and marine biologist Richard shows up looking for three rogue bull sharks.

Director John Pogue discussed the logistics of shooting four major underwater action sequences at the South African location.

“We figured out a way to be 360 with our water set so that we could have all of the sets gathered around this cove and most of the rest of everything else was made up digitally,” he said.

The underwater scenes got an assist from some professionals.

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“There are so many additional safely issues with shooting around water, from what can happen with electricity to people falling in, so safety was paramount,” Pogue said. “We were very fortunate in that we had this incredible South African team called the Frog Squad that do underwater projects all over the world. They are essentially South African SEALs that also make movies.”

The actors spent time training and getting scuba certified before the shoot, noted Emerson Brooks, who plays Shaw, a sort of brother/father figure for Emma.

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“I think all the training that we did, all the real underwater experience … that really added to it, that put you in it, certainly,” added Tania Raymonde (Emma).

The water in the winter in South Africa was cold, and “we were always wet, always wet,” she recalled.

Shooting in water posed challenges for the director as well.

“I think about 30 % of the time it went as planned— so many things would break,” Pogue said. “The communication underwater is super challenging. You’re basically talking to 20 people with a giant underwater megaphone that no one can really understand.”

Mumbling like the teacher a “Charlie Brown” special, Nathaniel Buzolic (Richard) demonstrated what the actors could hear underwater.

“There was this underwater megaphone that looked like something from the Victorian era, which is like a box with a string on it that was threaded all the way down into the water,” added Raymonde. “Once you suit up and you’ve got your regulator and they make sure you’ve got air in the tank and check all your levels and you’ve got everything on and you go under, it’s kind of a pain to get back up to the surface, take everything off, go get notes from John and come back in. So once we were in the tank and underwater, we were pretty much underwater and stuck and that was it. … And when you’re under there, you don’t hear anything because your regulator is so loud. Every time you take a breath there are bubbles everywhere, you can’t hear anything.”

The Frog Squad helped interpret by using a sort of “sign language,” she said.

“[The process] definitely influenced the tone of the movie in that there’s a more realistic as opposed to a controlled, stylized feel to the movie, where we’re trying to sort of use those happy accidents that happen as a result of this chaos,” Pogue said.

He credited the cast for being game to go the extra mile in shooting the action sequences.

“During the casting process, one of the things that we talked about was, given the resources that we’ve got, that you’re going to have to do your own diving and your own stunts,” he recalled. Deep Blue Sea 3 wasn’t “one of those movies where we just sort of stop everything and bring in your double,” he said.

“In many of the key sequences, it was very important that we see your faces, we see you experiencing what’s happening in the action,” he said.

Bren Foster, a martial arts expert who plays Lucas, noted the action on land was equally intense.

“You kind of bring it above the water, and all hell breaks loose,” he said.

Inspired by another shark movie The Deep, screenwriter Blackman added a fight.

“I don’t expect to see a fight, necessarily, in a shark movie, so we have a fight,” he said.

‘Scoob!’ Rolling Out Internationally in July Via Theatrical and Premium In-Home Release

Warner Bros. Pictures will roll out Scoob! internationally via a combination of theatrical exhibition and premium in-home release through premium VOD and premium digital ownership.

The international theatrical release will begin on July 8 in France, Holland and Switzerland, with additional countries rolling out over the summer months.

Premium home offerings will begin on July 1 in Australia and New Zealand.

With theaters closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the animated Scoob! debuted for both rental via PVOD and for digital ownership in the U.S. and Canada May 15. The film is now the No. 2 digital release of all time and the No. 1 digital release for Warner Bros., according to the studio. Scoob! June 26 became available in the U.S. on WarnerMedia’s recently launched streaming service HBO Max.

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“Our decision to release Scoob! as an in-home offering in May came during an unprecedented time in history, and we are delighted by the success of the film and the way it was embraced by long-time fans of this iconic character, families and children,” said Ron Sanders, president of worldwide theatrical distribution and home entertainment, and EVP of international business operations for Warner. “Following its strong domestic debut, our international strategy will combine both theatrical and in-home releases to make it easily accessible to worldwide audiences.”

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The film, which will be released on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray July 21 in the U.S., recounts the meeting of Scooby-Doo and his best pal Shaggy, and how they joined with young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to form Mystery Inc. Now, after hundreds of adventures, Scooby and the gang encounter the larger world of the Hanna-Barbera universe, teaming with Blue Falcon and Dynomutt to stop Dick Dasterdly from unleashing the legendary ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. The voice cast includes Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Simon Cowell and Frank Welker.

Wuthrich: Transactional Spending Surged 38% After Stay-at-Home Orders Took Effect

The growth in the home entertainment and games businesses have been “one of the few bright spots” in the COVID-19 pandemic, said Jim Wuthrich, president of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Games.

Wuthrich, speaking at the virtually presented DEG Expo April 16, presented numbers “live from my son’s bedroom” to introduce the expo.

“I feel very fortunate to have a job that allows me to work from home, and one that brings a little bit of joy to people sheltering at home during this crisis,” he said.

He presented numbers from Warner research showing the growth in home entertainment spending after stay-at-home orders took effect.

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“Pre leading up to that period, home entertainment spending overall from a transactional standpoint was down about 5% in total consumer spend,” he said. “Since March 14, that mid-March time frame, home entertainment transactional spending is now up 38%.”

Jim Wuthrich, live from his home

The growth took off in triple-digit percentages as the pandemic measures took effect.

“Our digital sellthrough business as an industry — which we call EST here at Warner Bros. — it’s been up over 100% each week since safer at home began.”

Physical, too, has seen a lift, Wuthrich said.

“Physical has continued to be challenged, but it’s interesting that now even in this environment, with stores that are closing and such, physical has shown great resiliency,” he said. “Since post safer at home, the physical business has been trending stronger than what it was doing prior to that.

“We just had a title launch this week, Just Mercy, in physical and we actually did better than what we had been planning. I had to ask the team did we correct it for a post-COVID world and we hadn’t. The fact that people are still in stores shopping for the essentials at Walmart, Target and Best Buy has been helpful in holding up the physical. And of course Amazon and the online retailers have all done well in that space.”

Wuthrich noted that the pandemic has had effect on what titles consumers are watching.

“The top catalog title for the industry year to date is a title that many of you may have watched yourself. It became a bit of a cultural swelling, and that movie is Contagion,” he said. “The movie’s been out for a number of years, but obviously a lot of interest in it. It’s uncanny how it kind of mimics what’s going on in the real world today. That is actually outselling our ‘Harry Potter’ collection, Jumanji, Avengers: Endgame, World War Z. So basically people are binging on franchise and apocalypse movies.”

Wuthrich stressed how important theaters are to the overall business.

“It’s really unfortunate that theaters had to close because of the crisis, and we are looking forward to when we can get the theaters back in business. I just want to comment on that,” he said. “This is all an ecosystem, and it’s a very important ecosystem, having theaters open, driving people into theaters, eventizing films and providing the traditional windows that come from that. So that fact that the theaters are closed is a big hit to our business. We’re looking forward to getting back into business with our exhibition partners.”

Still, home entertainment and games have helped stem the losses in theatrical revenue, he noted.

“Games and home entertainment, increases in those businesses have nearly offset the loss of what we’ve seen in the industry from moviegoing,” Wuthrich said. “So there’s a lot of growth happening in entertainment and games.”

‘Gretel & Hansel’ Coming to Digital April 7, Disc May 5 From Warner

Gretel & Hansel arrives on digital April 7 and Blu-ray and DVD May 5 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Directed by Osgood Perkins, the film is a terrifying reimagining of the Brothers Grimm fairytale for a new generation: a long time ago in a distant fairy tale countryside, a young girl leads her little brother into a dark wood in desperate search for food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil.

The film stars Sophia Lillis (It) as Gretel, newcomer Samuel J. Leakey as Hansel and Alice Krige (Star Trek: First Contact) as the witch.

The film made $22 million at the global box office.

The Blu-ray and DVD include the “Storybook” special feature.

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