Apple Announces Titles on Upcoming Film Slate Headed to Theaters, Apple TV+

Apple has unveiled a glimpse at its slate of Apple Original Films set to premiere globally in theaters and on Apple TV+ over the next year.

The 2022 slate features filmmakers and stars including Alfonso Cuaron, Antoine Fuqua, Dakota Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell, Octavia Spencer, Bill Murray, Russell Crowe and many more.

Cha Cha Real Smooth, winner of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival U.S. Dramatic Audience Award, will premiere globally on Apple TV+ June 17. In the film, writer-director Cooper Raiff also stars as a recent college graduate stuck back at home with his family and working as a party-starter for bar and bat mitzvahs who strikes up a unique friendship with a young mom (Dakota Johnson) and her teenage daughter.

Additional Apple Original Films set to debut this summer include a documentary executive produced by Oprah Winfrey and directed by Reginald Hudlin about the career and life of the late Sidney Poitier; and Luck, a new animated feature from Skydance Animation about the unluckiest girl in the world, starring Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Eva Noblezada, Simon Pegg, Flula Borg, Lil Rel Howery, Colin O’Donoghue, John Ratzenberger and Adelynn Spoon, premiering Aug. 5.

This fall comes the premiere of the feature documentary Black & Blues: The Colorful Ballad of Louis Armstrong, a look at the master musician’s life and legacy as a founding father of jazz, produced under Apple’s first-look agreement with Imagine Documentaries; Raymond & Ray, which follows half-brothers Raymond and Ray (Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke) who have lived in the shadow of a terrible father; and Peter Farrelly’s The Greatest Beer Run Ever, a new dramedy starring Zac Efron and Russell Crowe based on the true story of John “Chickie” Donohue, who in 1968 left New York to track down and share a few beers with his childhood buddies now in the Army — fighting in Vietnam. The documentary feature The Sound of 007 will also make its global debut this fall, to mark the 60th anniversary of the James Bond film series.

For the holidays comes Spirited, a modern musical rendition of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story “A Christmas Carol” starring Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell and Octavia Spencer.

Available before the end of 2022 is Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith’s new film Emancipation, which tells the story of a man who escapes from slavery.

Also coming soon is the premiere of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Killers of the Flower Moon. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow and more, the film follows the serial murder of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation, a string of brutal crimes that came to be known as the Reign of Terror.

Matthew Vaughn’s next spy thriller, Argylle, featuring an ensemble cast that includes Henry Cavill, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, Dua Lipa and Ariana DeBose with John Cena and Samuel L. Jackson, will also soon be added to Apple’s lineup, as will Sharper, a New York City-set suspense-thriller from writers Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka starring Julianne Moore, Sebastian Stan, Justice Smith, Briana Middleton and John Lithgow, and Tetris, starring Taron Egerton, which follows the extraordinary journey of one of the most iconic computer games in the world.

Also due are Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the French military leader and emperor alongside Vanessa Kirby as Josephine; a pair of complementary documentaries entitled Number One on the Call Sheet, celebrating Black leading women and men in Hollywood; Ghosted, a high concept romantic action adventure film starring Chris Evans and Ana de Armas; Skydance Animation’s Spellbound, which follows a young girl who sets out to break the spell that has divided her kingdom in two; and The Beanie Bubble, inspired by the story behind one of the biggest speculative crazes in American culture in the 1990s and starring Elizabeth Banks, Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Snook and Geraldine Viswanathan.

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Apple Original Films is also currently in development on Adam McKay’s Bad Blood, about the rise and fall of Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, with Jennifer Lawrence producing and starring as Holmes; the genre-bending film Bride, produced by and starring Scarlett Johansson; Snow Blind with Jake Gyllenhaal attached to star; a new Sue Mengers biopic starring  Jennifer Lawrence; Dolly, a new feature film written by Vanessa Taylor and Drew Pearce with Florence Pugh attached to star; an adaption of Judy Heumann’s bestselling memoir Being Heumann from Siân Heder; an Audrey Hepburn biopic; and a thriller with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, written and directed by Jon Watts, about two lone fixers who are assigned to the same job.

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Apple has landed overall deals for feature films from studios and production companies including Martin Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions, Adam McKay’s Hyperobject Industries, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way, Richard Plepler’s Eden Productions, Siân Heder, Tracy Oliver, A24, Imagine Entertainment, Skydance Animation and Skydance Media.

King Richard

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner;
Drama;
Box Office $14.87 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray, $44.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some violence, strong language, a sexual reference and brief drug references.
Stars Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Jon Bernthal, Tony Goldwyn.

Will Smith gives an outstanding performance as Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena Williams, in a film that explores his vision for making them tennis superstars when they were growing up.

Hoping to break free of the cycle of poverty and violence of Compton, Richard creates a plan for his daughters to become professional tennis players and relentlessly sticks to it, often times running afoul of the coaches who agree to nurture his daughters’ talent. At times this makes him seem hard to like as he stubbornly refuses to take outside advice, but he remains intent to follow the plan he thinks gives his daughters their best shot at success in tennis.

The film covers the girls’ early years on the junior circuit, dominating the competition to such a degree that they attract the attention of a bevy of sports agents and management firms. Richard rejects most of their offers, wanting his instill a sense of normalcy in his girls and not willing to move on to the next level until he feels they are ready.

The Blu-ray includes two superfluous deleted scenes running a total of three minutes, and three behind-the scenes featurettes.

The nine-minute “Following the Plan” covers the making of the film, the six-and-a-half-minute “Becoming Richard” focuses on Smith’s performance, and the six-minute “Champions on Screen” looks at the child actresses playing Venus and Serena.

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‘King Richard’ Available for Premium Digital Purchase and Rental Jan. 4, on Disc Feb. 8

The biopic King Richard, starring Will Smith, will arrive for premium digital purchase and rental Jan. 4, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 8 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Based on the true story, the film follows the uplifting journey of a family whose unwavering resolve and unconditional belief ultimately delivers two of the world’s greatest sports legends. Armed with a clear vision and a 78-page plan, Richard Williams (Smith) is determined to write his daughters, Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton), into history. Training in Compton, Calif., on abandoned tennis courts — rain or shine — the girls are shaped by their father’s unyielding commitment and their mother’s (Aunjanue Ellis) balanced perspective and keen intuition, defying the seemingly insurmountable odds and prevailing expectations laid before them.

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The DVD, Blu-ray and 4K combo pack and Blu-ray include a “Following the Plan — The Making of King Richard” featurette. The Blu-ray and 4K versions also include deleted scenes and the featurettes “Becoming Richard” and “Champions on Screen.”

‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Busts Box Office Projections With $44 Million Haul

Sony Pictures Entertainment’s bet delaying tentpole theatrical releases until the pandemic waned continues to pay off. The studio’s family sci-fi comedy movie Ghostbusters: Afterlife generated more than $44 million in projected opening weekend ticket sales across more than 4,000 North American screens the weekend of Nov. 19-21. Sony had projected around $30 million in ticket sales. Media reports suggest 3.5 million went to see the movie.

The fourth film in the “Ghostbusters” franchise saw director Jason Reitman continue the storyline of the original 1984 film with a return to a family-themed fantasy starring Paul Rudd and a young ensemble cast (making it the third film in that arc, after 1989’s Ghostbusters II).

The box office tally is slightly below the 2016 remake Ghostbusters: Answer the Call ($46 million), which didn’t have a COVID cloud hanging over it. With Afterlife heading into the Thanksgiving week/weekend, the movie is projected to have strong legs with children out of school for the holiday.

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The movie follows Sony’s successful Oct. 1 release of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, which ranks as the year’s No. 2 at the domestic box office with $204 million in revenue.

Separately, a competing new release, Warner Bros. Pictures’ King Richard, a biopic about tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams and their driven father Richard Williams, played by Will Smith, realized about $5.7 million in ticket sales across 3,300 screens. It’s no grand slam, but par for Warner’s $5 million to $10 million projection. The movie is concurrently streaming for no extra charge to subscribers of HBO Max — a release strategy some observers say has undermined Warner’s non-tentpole releases.

Richard was not able to fend off the third week of Disney/Marvel’s Eternals at $10.8 million ($135.8 million North American total) or the second week of  Paramount Pictures’ Clifford the Big Red Dog, ($8.1 million/$33.5 million total).

‘Fresh Prince’ Reunion to Debut on HBO Max Nov. 19

Will Smith via social media released the trailer for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion and revealed that the special will debut on HBO Max Nov.19.

In the unscripted special, Smith is joined by series regulars Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid and Alfonso Ribeiro as well as recurring co-star DJ Jazzy Jeff for a family reunion on set in the Banks’ home for a look back at the show. Taped on the 30th anniversary of the original series premiere date, Smith also sat down with Janet Hubert, who originated the role of Aunt Viv, for the first time in 27 years for a reunion and a candid conversation.

As previously announced, the special will be night full of music and dancing and a look at the cultural impact the series has had since its debut. HBO Max is the exclusive SVOD home of the full original series library in the United States, debuting on the platform when it launched in May.

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Will Smith and ‘Fresh Prince’ Cast Reunite to Tape Special for HBO Max

Will Smith released two first-look photos at the 30th anniversary Sept. 10 taping for the upcoming “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” reunion special from Westbrook Media.

Will Smith and Janet Hubert

Smith was joined by series regulars Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid and Alfonso Ribeiro as well as recurring co-star DJ Jazzy Jeff for a reunion on set in the Banks’ home in this one-time special.

Surprising the rest of the cast, Smith revealed that he sat down Sept. 9 with Janet Hubert, who originated the role of Aunt Viv, for the first time in 27 years for a reunion and a candid conversation.

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As previously announced, the special will include music, dancing and more special surprise guests in honor of the series that ran for six seasons and 148 episodes.

Produced by Westbrook Media, the reunion will launch exclusively on HBO Max around Thanksgiving. HBO Max is the exclusive SVOD home of the full original series library in the United States.

Paramount Ups Q1 Home Entertainment Revenue 13%

Paramount Home Entertainment May 7 reported first-quarter (ended March 31) revenue of $174 million, which was up about 13% from revenue of $154 million in the previous-year period.

Home entertainment revenue was driven by the mix of titles in release and higher sales of catalog titles. Licensing revenue grew 18%, fueled by original studio productions for third parties, as well as the licensing of The Lovebirds to Netflix.

Paramount’s top-selling packaged-media release in 2020 thus far is the Will Smith actioner Gemini Man.

For the fourth-consecutive quarter, home entertainment sales topped theatrical revenue as box office sales reached $167 million, which was down 3% from revenue of $172 million last year. Despite strong results from Sonic the Hedgehog, revenue was more than offset by prior year quarter revenues, which included carryover performance from Bumblebee.

Special Offer From ‘Media Play News’ and Sony: 4K Digital Codes to ‘Bad Boys for Life’

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Media Play News are offering five lucky readers free digital codes to the 4K home release of the action-comedy Bad Boys for Life, with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, which is being released digitally today, March 31.

The codes will be given to the first five people who 1) like us on Instagram, and 2) go to the Bad Boys for Life post on our Instagram account and in the comments answer the question, “What was Will Smith’s highest-grossing movie?”

You can follow us on Instagram and search for the story post here.

Smith and Lawrence return for the third “Bad Boys” movie with a new case that finds them teaming with a hotshot division of the Miami PD to take down a merciless cartel.

The cast also includes Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Paola Nuñez, Kate del Castillo, Nicky Jam and Joe Pantoliano.

The film earned $204.4 million at the domestic box office and $419 million globally.

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‘Bad Boys For Life’ Available Digitally March 31, on Disc April 21

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release the action-comedy Bad Boys for Life through digital retailers March 31, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray April 21.

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return for the third “Bad Boys” movie with a new case that finds them teaming with a hotshot division of the Miami PD to take down a merciless cartel.

The cast also includes Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Paola Nuñez, Kate del Castillo, Nicky Jam and Joe Pantoliano.

The film earned $204.4 million at the domestic box office and $419 million globally.

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Home video bonus materials include extended and alternate scenes, and outtakes and bloopers. The Blu-ray and digital releases will also include the production featurettes “Ride or Die: Making Bad Boys for Life” and “Partners in Crime: Behind-the-Scenes”; the retrospective featurette “It’s About Time,” a look at 25 years of “Bad Boys” history with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the cast and crew; and a look at hidden references layered into the film by directors Adil and Billal.

 

Animated ‘Spies in Disguise’ to Be Unveiled on Digital and Disc — Including 4K — March 10

The animated comedy Spies in Disguise will come out on digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD March 10 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

In the film, super spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) and scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) are almost exact opposites. Lance is smooth, suave and debonair. Walter is none of the above. But this unlikely duo must team up for the ultimate mission to save the world when a “biodynamic concealment” experiment transforms Lance into a pigeon.

The film earned $163.5 million at the global box office.

Blu-ray bonus features include multiple making-of featurettes and two music videos as well as “Super Secret Spy Mode,” an immersive, in-movie experience that takes you deeper into the story with Easter eggs, facts and behind-the-scenes insights into the making of the film.

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