Merchandising: ‘West Side Story’ Singing Exclusives Tune

Best Buy, Target and Walmart each offered an exclusive edition for the March 15 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc release of Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ West Side Story remake from director Steven Spielberg.

Best Buy, as usual, offered the 4K combo pack in Steelbook packaging for $34.99.

Best Buy’s ‘West Side Story’ 4K Blu-ray

Walmart offered the 4K combo pack for $34.96 with a limited-edition fabric poster packed into it.

Walmart’s ‘West Side Story’ 4K Blu-ray

Target’s exclusive was one it has typically offered with Disney releases of late, packing the 4K combo pack with exclusive box art and two foil-etched prints for $34.99.

Target’s ‘West Side Story’ 4K Blu-ray

Also available at Target this week was a new DVD from PBS Distribution: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Kindness Collection, featuring 30 episodes of the classic educational kids series spanning 1979 to 1991 for $14.99.

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March 15 Home Releases: ‘Spider-Man’ Available Digitally, ‘West Side Story’ Arrives on DVD, Blu-ray Disc

March 15 sees the digital release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, as well as the Blu-ray and DVD release of the West Side Story remake.

The Marvel Studios film Spider-Man: No Way Home arrives for digital purchase March 15 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. As the film begins, the friendly neighborhood hero’s identity is revealed, bringing his superhero responsibilities into conflict with his normal life and putting those he cares about most at risk, including MJ (Zendaya). When he enlists Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) help to restore his secret, the spell tears a hole in the world, releasing the most powerful villains who’ve ever fought a Spider-Man in any universe. Peter (Tom Holland) will have to overcome his greatest challenge yet, which will not only forever alter his own future but the future of the Multiverse. Spider-Man: No Way Home earned $792.3 million at the domestic box office and $1.877 billion worldwide, making it the top grossing film of 2021 in both arenas (as well as No. 3 all time in North America and No. 6 all time globally). It arrives on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc April 12.

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution march 15 releases director Steven Spielberg’s remake of the classic musical West Side Story on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. West Side Story, based on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, was originally released on Broadway in 1957, and was previously adapted for film in 1961, winning Best Picture at the Oscars. It tells the tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1950s New York City. The remake, which is nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, stars Ansel Elgort (Tony); Ariana DeBose (Anita); David Alvarez (Bernardo); Mike Faist (Riff); Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke); Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank); Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino); with Rita Moreno (as Valentina, who owns the corner store in which Tony works); and introducing Rachel Zegler (Maria.) Moreno also serves as one of the film’s executive producers. The home video editions include a 96-minute making-of documentary consisting of various featurettes. Read a review here.

The dark comedy Red Rocket arrives March 15 on DVD and Blu-ray from Lionsgate. Written and directed by Sean Baker (The Florida Project, Tangerine), it’s the story of Mikey Saber (Simon Rex), who is back home in small-town Texas after burning bridges and flaming out all over Los Angeles. A hustler, operator and charismatic con man, Mikey quickly learns that no one wants him back. When he meets a teenager working at the local donut shop, he sees his ticket back to the big time. The film premiered at Cannes and was nominated for three Gotham Awards.

The Russian sci-fi thriller Project Gemini will be released for digital purchase, and on Blu-ray and DVD March 15 from Well Go USA Entertainment. In the film, after centuries of destroying Earth’s resources, humankind faces the grim reality that its last shot at survival may require creating an entirely new home — in outer space. An international expedition is quickly formed to find a suitable new planet, but when plans go awry, the crew is suddenly stranded without power on a strange planet. Unfortunately, they’ll soon learn that something truly unimaginable has been out there watching, lying in wait for the unwary human scouts.

The Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy Marry Me became available for digital purchase March 13 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The film — featuring Owen Wilson and original music by Lopez and Latin music megastar Maluma — follows a heartbroken pop star (Lopez), slated to marry her pop star fiancé (Maluma) on stage, who instead marries a stranger from the audience — a high school math teacher (Wilson). Against the odds, their relationship develops into something real. The film also stars John Bradley (“Game of Thrones”), Sarah Silverman (Wreck-It Ralph Breaks the Internet) and Chloe Coleman (“Big Little Lies”). It arrives on Blu-ray and DVD March 29. The film is also streaming on Peacock.

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The 1989 cult comedy Dream a Little Dream joins the Vestron Video Collector’s series on Blu-ray and digital March 15 from Lionsgate. The film stars Corey Feldman (Stand by Me, The Goonies, The Lost Boys) and Corey Haim (The Lost Boys, License to Drive, Lucas), as well as Piper Laurie (The Hustler, Carrie, TV’s “Twin Peaks”), Jason Robards (All The President’s Men, Parenthood, Magnolia), Harry Dean Stanton (Repo Man, Alien), and Meredith Salenger (The Journey of Natty Gann, A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon, Lake Placid). In the body-swap comedy, Bobby has everything a young guy should: a good buddy, a girlfriend and parents who love him. When the older couple down the street try a transcendental experiment to extend their lives, they become trapped in the teens’ bodies. Dream a Little Dream bonus features include interviews with Corey Feldman and executive producer Lawrence Kasanoff, audio commentary with film historian Jarret Gahan, theatrical trailers, TV spots, and a stills gallery.

The 1981 horror classic An American Werewolf in London arrives in a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray special edition March 15 from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group. Director John Landis (The Blues Brothers, Trading Places) combines macabre horror with dark humor in the film, which is newly restored in 4K with Dolby Vision. In the film, American tourists David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) are savaged by an unidentified vicious animal whilst hiking on the Yorkshire Moors. David awakes in a London hospital to find his friend dead and his life in disarray. Retiring to the home of a beautiful nurse (Jenny Agutter, Walkabout) to recuperate, he soon experiences disturbing changes to his mind and body, undergoing a full-moon transformation that will unleash terror on the streets of the capital. The film features Rick Baker’s ground-breaking, Oscar-winning special makeup effects.

Kino Lorber March 15 releases on Blu-ray Disc the 1930 German film Farewell (Abschied). In a return to the realistic “street films” of the German silent era, Robert Siodmak (Criss Cross) directed this comedy drama of intersecting lives within the rooms of a working-class boarding house. Aribert Mog (Ecstasy) and Brigitte Horney (Munchausen) star as Peter and Hella, a young couple waiting for the opportunity to be married. When Peter receives a job opportunity in Dresden, he intends to surprise Hella with the news. But when word spreads among the other lodgers, it creates a series misunderstandings that could jeopardize the couple’s happiness. Bonus features include an audio commentary by film historian Anthony Slide and an alternate “happy” ending.

Criterion Collection March 15 releases 1970’s Le Cercle Rouge on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. The film stars Alain Delon as a master thief, fresh out of prison, who crosses paths with a notorious escapee (Gian Maria Volontè) and an alcoholic ex-cop (Yves Montand). The unlikely trio plot a heist, against impossible odds, until a relentless inspector and their own pasts seal their fates. With its honorable antiheroes, coolly atmospheric cinematography, and breathtaking set pieces, Le cercle rouge is the quintessential film by Jean-Pierre Melville—the master of ambiguous, introspective crime cinema. The 4K/Blu-ray combo pack includes a new 4K restoration from Studiocanal of the uncut version of the film, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. The 4K disc includes the film with Dolby Vision HDR and the regular Blu-ray includes the film and special features. Extras include segments from a 1971 episode of “Cinéastes de notre temps” featuring director Jean-Pierre Melville; interviews with assistant director Bernard Stora and Rui Nogueira, author of Melville on Melville; on-set and archival footage, featuring interviews with Melville and actors Alain Delon, Yves Montand and André Bourvil; the film’s trailer; and essays by film critics Michael Sragow and Chris Fujiwara, excerpts from Melville on Melville, a 2000 interview with composer Eric Demarsan, and an appreciation by filmmaker John Woo.

The 2007 Mark Wahlberg actioner Shooter will be released on 4K Ultra HD for the first time March 15 in a limited-edition Steelbook from Paramount Home Entertainment. Wahlberg and director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Infinite) team up for the first time on this action thriller in which Wahlberg stars as a respected former Marine sniper who is pressed into service to stop an assassination attempt on the president. When he’s double-crossed and framed for the attempt, he must prove his innocence while evading every law enforcement agency in the country and a shadowy organization that wants him dead. Originally released on March 23, 2007, Shooter celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

The documentary The Last Mountain will be released on digital and on demand March 15 from Universal Pictures Content Group. Directed by Emmy award-winner Chris Terrill and from Emmy Award-winning producer Julia Nottingham and BAFTA Award winning producer Olivia Lichtenstein, The Last Mountain explores the forces that drove two mountaineers — one a mother, the other her son — to their untimely deaths a quarter of a century apart.

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

West Side Story (2021)

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 3/15/22;
Disney/20th Century;
Musical;
Box Office $38.32 million;
$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $43.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some strong violence, strong language, thematic content, suggestive material and brief smoking.
Stars Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Brian d’Arcy James, Corey Stoll, Josh Andrés Rivera, Rita Moreno.

Director Steven Spielberg tries his hand at filming a feature-length musical for the first time in his career with a fresh adaptation of the acclaimed 1957 stage version that played on Broadway.

The play, based on William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, was famously adapted into a film version in 1961 that won the Oscar for Best Picture, so there were serious doubts over whether a modern remake was even necessary.

Spielberg, though, grew up with the music of the original stage version, and felt a 60-year gap between the films was enough time to justify his own take on the material.

The original version, conceived of by Jerome Robbins, with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and book by Arthur Laurents, modernized Shakespeare’s famed love story to be about rival street gangs in New York in the 1950s — the Jets, who were white Americans, and the Sharks, who were Puerto Rican. Their power struggle is complicated when a Jet named Tony falls in love with Maria, sister of the head of the Sharks.

Rather than re-modernize the play modern day, Spielberg is faithful to the 1950 setting, going so far as to shoot it on film in a way that just looks like it could have been shot back then.

While respectful of the 1961 version directed by Robbins and Robert Wise, Spielberg embraces the cinematic nature of the story’s gang war to great effect, with impeccably staged musical numbers that don’t detract from the romantic nature of Tony and Maria’s story, or the violent backdrop of the life-and-death battle to control the streets.

Ansel Elgort makes for a fine Tony, while newcomer Rachel Zegler carries the day as Maria. Rita Moreno, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for playing Maria’s friend Anita in the original film, returns to the cast in a reworking of the Doc character that serves as a mentor to Tony.

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The Blu-ray includes a thorough 96-minute behind-the-scenes documentary that is broken up into smaller featurettes that cover individual topics such as costumes, sets, and the staging for several of the songs, which have been slightly rearranged to heighten the emotional impact of the story.

Some of these making-of segments include one of the last interviews with Sondheim, who died aged 91 in November 2021 just days before the new film’s premiere.

JustWatch: ‘West Side Story,’ ‘Killing Eve’ Top Movie, TV Show Streamed Through March 6

After weeks of the same, streamers sought new content for the period ended March 6. New data from JustWatch found that viewers streamed Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story the most, while the newest season of “Killing Eve” captivated episodic content fans. JustWatch tracks more than 20 million users’ monthly streaming decisions across 54 countries.

Available on Disney+ and HBO Max, Oscar-nominated West Side Story bested fellow Oscar-nomination Licorice Pizza, from director Paul Thomas Anderson, and Universal Pictures’ animated musical sequel Sing 2. Among TV shows, the latest season of “Killing Eve” on AMC+ topped Netflix’s “Vikings” and perennial chart topper “Yellowstone,” (streaming on Peacock) starring Kevin Costner.

 

Disney Sets Transactional Home Release Dates for ‘West Side Story’ Remake

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution will release Steven Spielberg’s remake of the classic 1961 musical West Side Story through digital retailers March 2, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray two weeks later on March 15

As previously announced, the 20th Century Studios production be available for streaming on Disney+ and HBO Max starting March 2 as well.

West Side Story, which is nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, tells the tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1957 New York City. The remake stars Ansel Elgort (Tony); Ariana DeBose (Anita); David Alvarez (Bernardo); Mike Faist (Riff); Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke); Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank); Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino); with Rita Moreno (as Valentina, who owns the corner store in which Tony works); and introducing Rachel Zegler (Maria.) Moreno also serves as one of the film’s executive producers. 

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The film’s creative team includes Kushner, who also served as an executive producer; Tony Award winner Justin Peck, who choreographed the musical numbers in the film; Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor and Grammy Award winner Gustavo Dudamel, who helmed the recording of the iconic score; Academy Award-nominated composer and conductor David Newman, who arranged the score, Tony Award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori, who supervised the cast on vocals; and music supervisor Matt Sullivan, who serves as executive music producer for the film.

Extas include various making-of documentaries under the banner “The Stories of West Side Story,” including a look at the actors who play rival gangs the Sharks and the Jets, and a tribute to the late Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the lyrics to the film’s musical numbers. Bonus features on the digital editions vary by retailer.

‘West Side Story’ Opening Underwhelms at Weekend Box Office

Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ reported $100 million remake of West Side Story topped the weekend box office with a projected $10.5 million in ticket sales — below expectations — across more than 2,800 screens through Dec. 12. 

The movie was projected to make nearly $14 million its first weekend, based on director Steven Spielberg’s involvement and strong social media reviews.

Instead, the musical with an ensemble cast is set to open below Warner Bros. Pictures’ under-performing Lin-Manuel Miranda musical In the Heights, which generated $11.5 million back in June, while simultaneously streaming on HBO Max.

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The week’s other new release, STX’s National Champions, a sports-themed drama about college football players threatening to boycott a title game unless financially compensated, barely showed a pulse. The film, which generated just $300,000 across 1,000 screens, is being primed for a premium VOD release around the NCAA Division 1 national championship football game on Jan. 10, 2022.

Among returning theatrical releases, Disney’s Encanto generated $9.42 million in estimated third-weekend ticket sales, followed by $6.4 million in week four for Sony Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Afterlife. United Artists Releasing’s House of Gucci saw $4 million in its third weekend of release, followed by Disney’s Eternals with $3.1 million in its sixth week.

Finally, Fathom Events’ faith-based film Christmas With the Chosen generated $1.63 million in its second weekend, followed by Sony Pictures’ Resident Evil: Raccoon City with $1.55 million, Warner Bros.’ Dune with $857,000, and Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage with $760,000.

‘West Side Story’ Projected to Lead Slow Weekend Box Office

Director Steven Spielberg’s remake of the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story is expected to top the North American weekend box office through Dec. 12.

With just one other new release, STX Films’ National Champions, 20th Century Studios’ Story, which has generated positive buzz for Spielberg’s adaptation of the 1957 original Broadway musical, hopes to take advantage of a weekend box office lull before the Dec. 17 debut of Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: No Way Home. That latest superhero actioner has equaled (or broken) most exhibitor’s advance ticket sale records.

West Side Story was filmed in 2019 and set to be released in 2020 until the pandemic shelved the release. The tragic teenage love story that emerges against the backdrop of a racial turf war features a notable appearance by Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar playing Anita in the original 1961 movie. Moreno, who was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico, turns 90 tomorrow (Dec. 11).

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Meanwhile, returning box office contenders include Disney’s Encanto, Sony Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Afterlife, United Artists’ House of Gucci, Fathom Events’ Christmas With The Chosen: The Messengers, Marvel Studios’ Eternals, Sony Pictures’ Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, and Paramount Pictures’ Clifford the Big Red Dog.

All are projected to top National Champions, the topical sports drama about a star college football quarterback who encourages a strike by his teammates before the National Championship game in protest over the exploitation of student-athletes in the multi-billion-dollar industry that is NCAA Div. 1 football and basketball. The movie is executive produced by Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who appears in the film.

Disney Delays Theatrical ‘Black Widow’ Release to May 2021; Exhibitor Stocks Drop

In another blow to the beleaguered exhibitor business, Walt Disney Studios Sept. 23 announced it would delay the planned Marvel Studios’ Black Widow actioner theatrical release, starring Scarlett Johansson, to May 2021 from the previous Nov. 6 launch date.

Disney is also delaying by 12 months a reboot of West Side Story from director Steven Spielberg to Dec. 1o, 2021, and Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile, a sequel to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express, to Dec. 18 from Oct. 23.

The moves by the box office’s perennial leader represent another dagger in the heart of exhibitors looking to jumpstart the moviegoing consumer from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown — albeit without much content. While 70% of domestic screens have re-opened with social distancing and mask requirements, many analysts predict 2020 will achieve a record low at the box office with revenue down more than 80% from 2019.

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Warner Bros.’ Tenet, which was supposed to bring consumers back to theaters, has generated about $250 million at the box office, mostly overseas. Domestic ticket sales have wilted from the Christopher Nolan-directed thriller’s opening $20 million weekend over Labor Day to a cumulative tally around $36 million.

Eric Handler with MKM Partners says the sluggish domestic box office is in part due to ongoing theater closures in California and New York.

Tenet’s U.S. results definitely showed us that middle America cannot carry a tentpole film. You need the coasts,” Handler wrote in a note.

With no COVID-19 vaccine ready for consumption, Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, says consumers remain leery.

“People may be eager to visit the theaters once they feel safe doing so, but we think it is unlikely crowds will return to any semblance of normal before a vaccine is widely distributed, particularly in urban and suburban markets,” Pachter wrote in note earlier this year.

Indeed, the latest delays sent exhibitor stocks into a tailspin, with AMC Entertainment down 5.5%; Cinemark down 4.1%; Imax down 5.6%; Marcus (-3%); Reading International (-0.9%) and National CineMedia down 0.9% in midday trading.