Friday, November 30, 2012

Virgil Films & Entertainment's Paul Williams Still Alive On Feb. 5

Paul Williams, songsmith extraordinaire.  For those who know his music, there is always a personal favorite.   Take, for example, the opening lines to “Where Do I Go From Here” from the 1972 album, “Life Goes On” (also from the soundtrack of the Clint Eastwood/Jeff Bridges film, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot):

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
“If I knew the way I'd go back home
But the countryside has changed so much
I'd surely end up lost
Half remembering names and faces
So far in the past
On the other side of bridges that were burned once they were crossed

Tell me where
Where does a fool go
When there's no one left to listen
To a story without meaning
That nobody wants to hear

Tell me where
Where does a fool go
When he knows there's something missing
Tell me where
Where do I go from here
Where do I go from here”

That’s just a fraction of one song … the lines are masterful, full of images.   His voice is distinctive.  His material has been memorialized by such greats as Helen Reddy (“You and Me Against the World”), Three Dog Night (“An Old Fashioned Love Song”), The Carpenters (“We’ve Only Just Begun”) and on … and on.   

An Academy Award, Grammy and Golden Globe-winner … a screen icon too, who could ever forget his performance as Swan in Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise.  An industry giant, but only 5 foot, 2 inches tall.

As with the Mark Twain saw, “the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” so too is the passing of Paul Williams.  On Feb. 5, Virgil Films & Entertainment will release on DVD writer/director Stephen Kessler’s film homage, Paul Williams Still Alive.

The ARR is 242 days and the box office take from the film’s limited arthouse showcase was $38,691.
Kessler was surprised to learn that one of his favorite recording artists and songwriters from his youth was still around — Paul Williams had demons that damn near destroyed him.   20 years clean and sober now.  So he approached him about making a documentary about his life … it took awhile, lots of showing up at small venues and concerts to get past the “No. No. No” part of it.  

The final result is an interesting look at the living legend … and in many ways the film is also about the filmmaker himself, which proves to be insightful in many ways.   Words and music can indeed have a profound effect upon those who listen, enjoy and become life-long fans.

Bonus features on the DVD release include extended interviews and selected footage from Paul Williams’ concerts.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report:  DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment's Frankenweenie, Jan. 8

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Director Tim Burton’s latest, Frankenweenie, will be available to own on DVD and Blu-ray from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on Jan. 8.

The ARR comes in at just 95 days and the domestic box office tally currently stands at $34.2 million.
Consumers will be have three home entertainment buying options: a stand-alone DVD SKU, a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and the top-on-line four-disc package featuring 3D and 2D Blu-ray discs, the DVD disc and a Digital Copy disc for on-the-go viewing options.

As to bonus goodies, they begin with the “Frankenweenie: Touring Exhibit” featurette and the Plain White T’s music video “Pet Sematary” on the DVD — these two items are also included in both the Blu-ray editions.

Exclusive to the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and 3D/2D Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (with Digital Copy) are two short films — “Frankenweenie” and “Captain Sparky vs. the Flying Saucers”  — plus the production featurette, “Miniatures in Motion: Bringing Frankenweenie to Life.”

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report:  DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Update: New Theatrical Release - Year-to-Date Comparisons

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

As we head into the last month of the year and take a look at the new theatrical release sweepstakes — where everyone’s a winner, if they gross over $25 million (no matter how bad the reviews) — there are strong similarities between 2012 and the peak release year of 2008.

It should be noted that the 2012 count always runs behind those of comparative periods.  The numbers from previous reporting periods are final results, whereas the current year is still in flux as new films continue to expand their box office revenues.

For example, the Argo domestic box office count sits at $98.1 million as of Nov. 25, but the film will certainly move into the top tier ($100 million-plus) when all is said and done. 
The same holds true for the Red Dawn remake, which has ticket sales of $21.7 million, it will hit the $25 million mark.

With these real time adjustments, the 11 month count for 2012 yields 94 films in the top two boxes ($25 million-plus; $100 million-plus) and 2008, during the same period, scored 95.  2008 finished with 621 “reported” new theatrical releases (there were certainly additional, mainly self-distributed, films with one and two theatre breaks were no box office totals were recorded — that happens) and 2012 is tracking at 628 at this point.   

No matter how you cut it, the number of “hit” theatrical films generated each year — and by “hit,” we mean films grossing at least $25 million — is always in the 100 film range (give or take).   It is a mechanical thing — only so many weeks; only so many theatres … only so many seats and only so many consumers available to fill them.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Duck Dodger Collection From Warner Home Video, Feb. 12

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
The first 13 episodes (season one: 2003) in the Daytime Emmy-winning animated series, Duck Dodgers, will arrive on DVD this coming Feb. 12 from Warner Home Video in a double-disc set titled, Duck Dodgers: Dark Side of the Duck.

During the series three-year run (a total of 39 action-packed episodes) there were five Daytime Emmy nominations — twice for Outstanding Animated Program — with a win for Joe Alaskey’s stellar work as the voice of the ever-resourceful Duck Dodgers (aka: Daffy Duck’s alter ego).
Bonus goodies include the original 1953 animated theatrical short, Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century.

In other animation release news from Warner Home Video, seven new Blu-ray SKUs will be heading home on Mar. 12 centered around the feature-length adventures of super heroes, monsters, a mouse, a cat and a dog.     

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Both Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman and Superman: Brainiac Attacks are counted in the mix, plus Tom and Jerry are ready for action in high seas adventure, Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers.

Rounding out the mix are four Scooby-Doo! animated films — Scooby-Doo! and the Legend of the Vampire, Scooby-Doo! and the Loch Ness Monster, Scooby-Doo! and the Monster of Mexico and Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Happy In The Valley From Indican Pictures On Feb. 12

DVD & Blu-ray Release ReportWilliam Forsythe, who is just about as scary as it gets as Manny in Boardwalk Empire, takes on a different persona in writer/director Lee Madsen’s black comedy, Happy in the Valley.  Announced this week for a DVD bow on Feb. 12 from Indican Pictures.  

Stewart Fox (Forsythe) is the self-styled “World’s Greatest Erotic Photographer,” but to paraphrase Elton John, “Stewart’s candle burned out long before his legend ever did.”  There was once a time when he was a top-line entertainment photographer, specializing in rock stars — hell, he may have even done a photo shoot for Elton John back in the day, but he’d be hard press about now to remember doing so.    

Drugs, booze and a world-weary view of been-there, done-that have left him wondering what’s the point.   Even his wife, Donna (Ursula Brooks — Daybreak, Full Frontal, etc.), who puts up with quite a bit — imagine naked women being photographed in your living room — is at her wits’ end.

The solution comes in the unexpected form of Wade Ward (Shaun Sipos — Lost Boys: The Tribe, The Grudge 2, etc.) — an “art school student” — who is recruited to photograph and document Stewart at work … all for a biography about his life.  

Therapy right?  An excuse to get the “World’s Greatest Erotic Photographer” out of his funk?   Well, yes and yes, but a sudden moment of clarity takes some unexpected twists and turns as he delightfully says to his new protégé, “I’m going to enjoy corrupting you.”  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
William Forsythe and Shaun Sipos in Happy in the Valley
Images of Russ Meyer, Tinto Brass and Radley Metzger — masters of their craft — spring to mind when you see Forsythe walking the walk … and talking the talk (great lines from Madsen).

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Inventory of New Theatrical Releases With a Box Office Gross of at Least $25 Million

Calendar of $25 Million-Plus Theatrical Releases as of week ending November 30, 2012

Luna Park From Ariztical Entertainment on Feb. 12

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Ariztical Entertainment has tabbed Feb. 12 as the DVD debut date for director Steven Vasquez’s gay voyeur thriller, Luna Park.

Alexia (Laura Reilly — A Siren in the Dark) is a former actress who has taken those skills and transformed herself into a hot-shot producer of films targeted for the gay market.  She keeps her young studs under a tight rein, even going so far as to have them stay at her Southern California apartment complex, Luna Park (hence the film’s title).

She also has her younger, mute brother, Christi (Taylor Caldwell) on site to act as something of a caretaker — a job; a place to keep him off the streets and out of trouble.  A good plan, but it’s a little like putting a kid with a sweet tooth in the candy store and in no time problems arise when he’s caught spying on one of her leading men.   

Rather than deal with it head on — for reasons that filmmaker Vasquez will reveal one layer at a time — she dispatches Maxwell (Michael Brent) to calm things down and get the impulsive Christi in line.   But things get even more complicated and Alexia must finally deal with the now … and the past!

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Alex Cross From Lionsgate Home Entertainment On Feb. 5

In Hollywood jargon it is a “reboot.”   An existing film franchise or well-known character is given a new spin; new look, etc. for audiences to “rediscover.”   

There is no doubt that Morgan Freeman did an excellent job as crime novelist James Patterson’s intellectual detective/investigator Alex Cross in Along Came a Spider in 2001 and before that, Kiss the Girls (1997).   He’s a great actor, but he’s now 75-years old and perhaps a little long in the tooth for an action thriller … at least that’s the conventional wisdom.

So on Feb. 5 it will be “reboot” time courtesy of Lionsgate Gate Home Entertainment as a younger Alex Cross — played this time by none other than playwright/screenwriter, director, producer and actor Tyler Perry — makes the move to home entertainment in director Rob Cohen’s film of the same name, Alex Cross.

The ARR for Blu-ray and DVD editions (complete with UltraViolet) is 109 days and the box office take was $25.4 million.

Alex Cross must be a common name, as opposed to, say, Sherlock Holmes.   The Alex Cross that readers are familiar with and the one that Morgan Freeman presented on screen is nowhere to be found here.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Tyler Perry and Edward Burns in Alex Cross, Feb. 5
Instead, filmmaker Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious, xXx, Stealth, etc.) has served-up a traditional “buddy” film (think: Bad Boys, 48 Hours, Rush Hour, etc.).  Alex Cross, as played by Tyler Perry, is a younger version (fits with the “reboot”), a family man (kid on the way) and a police lieutenant in Detroit … and teamed (the “buddy”) with Tommy Kane (Edward Burns).   

They are after Picasso — who is also known as the Four Roses Killer — there is no mystery (from the audience POV) as to who the whack job is … it’s Matthew Fox.   He’s a sadistic SOB and when Cross and Kane get too close he turns his particular brand of violence on them.

The long and short of it … Alex Cross is an action film, which will do just fine on Blu-ray and DVD come Feb. 5.

As to bonus goodies, there is commentary from filmmaker Rob Cohen, deleted scenes and the featurette titled “The Psychologist and the Butcher: Adapting and Filming Alex Cross.”

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sony Pictures' Hotel Transylvania Checks In On Jan. 29

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will be checking into the Hotel Transylvania on Jan. 29 with a heavy load featuring a stand-alone DVD SKU and two separate Blu-ray Combo Pack editions.  All will be sporting UltraViolet.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
 The ARR is 123 days and the box office tally (and still growing) currently stands at $143.5 million.

This animated hit from animator-turned-producer and now director, Genndy Tartakovsky (perhaps best known for Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls and Star Wars: Clone Wars), arrives in the home entertainment market right around the time of the Oscar showdown (nominations announced Jan. 10, with Oscars handed out on Feb. 24 — Brave might be a tough nut to crack … Wreck-It Ralph could be up to the job) as a 3D/2D Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack or as just the DVD-only edition.   

With the success of Hotel Transylvania, Tartakovsky can pretty much pick his own projects going forward even if he doesn’t collect an Oscar for his work here.  A sequel is in the works for the Halloween season of 2015, but we can expect more from Genndy Tartakovsky as the studio brass love to run with the winners.

As to bonus goodies, look for commentary from Tartakovsky, who is joined by producer Michelle Murdocca (Open Season, Open Season 2 … plus visual effects work on such films as Air Force One, Switchback and the two Stuart Little films) and visual effects supervisor Daniel Kramer.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Mavis and Dracula (voiced by Selena Gomez and Adam Sandler)
Plus there are three deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette, the music video by Beck G (with titled “Problem” and Genndy Tartakovsky animated short film, Goodnight Mr. Foot.
Exclusive to the Blu-ray SKUs are two additional featurettes — “Meet the Staff and Guests: Voicing Hotel Transylvania” and “Making the Hotel.”

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Monday, November 26, 2012

Westworld To Blu-ray From WHV, Mar. 5

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
It is the perfect vacation spot.  Fantasies can be played out to your heart's delight and nothing can possibly go wrong … go wrong … go wr o   n … g.   This is writer/director Michael Crichton’s 1973 Westworld, which has emerged as an iconic sci-fi film from the period despite its obvious budget limitations.  

Warner Home Video has tabbed Mar. 5 as the Blu-ray debut date for this minor masterpiece that features the inspired casting of Yul Brynner as a robotic version of Chris, the gunslinger from The Magnificent Seven.

No word at this on bonus materials that might be included on this Blu-ray edition.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Universal's Pitch Perfect Arrives On Dec. 18

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
All Beca (Anna Kendrick — as Jessica in The Twilight Saga series, Up in the Air, 50/50, ParaNorman, End of Watch) wanted was to be a regular freshman at her new college. 
Instead, this aspiring DJ is somehow wrangled into Barden University’s all-girls a-cappella singing group … and, worse, finds herself responsible for turning things around for this collection of bizarre young women.

In Pitch Perfect, Kendrick joins Anna Camp (The Help), Brittany Snow (Hairspray) and Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids, Bachelorette) as a collection of players in the cutthroat world of college a-cappella (who knew?), who have to change their tunes if they’re going to be the best at what they do (make the rest of us laugh being a part of that).

Universal Studios Home Entertainment releases the musical comedy Dec. 18 as both a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and as a stand-alone DVD edition (both with UltraViolet).
The ARR is 81 days and the box office tally was an impressive $61.1 million.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
In the bonuses area, Universal includes deleted, extended and alternate scenes, a “Line-O-Rama” featurette including one-liners from the actors during filming, a music video, profiles and interviews with characters, an “On The Set: Burrito Drive By!” and “A Look Inside” featurettes and two commentaries. 

Also getting a street date this week is writer/director David Ayer’s police thriller, End of Watch.   DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Packs will be available on Jan. 22 … both feature UltraViolet.

The ARR comes in at 123 days and the box office gross in the domestic market currently stands at $39.1 million.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

HBO's Game Of Thrones Returns On Feb. 19

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Winter is coming, and fans of HBO Home Video’s Game of Thrones couldn’t be happier.

One of the greatest shows on TV today, the fantasy-action series Game of Thrones: The Complete Second Season comes to Blu-ray, DVD and digital outlets Feb. 19.

Based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling series, A Song of Ice and Fire, the first season of series was the among the best-selling titles of 2012 and there’s little reason to suggest season two won’t pull off that as well.  

The second season took home six Emmys, and brought the story of several warring families seeking the same throne to a break-neck pace.

The flat-out sadistic young King Joffrey and his mother Cersei now rule the iron throne, but the Stark family is coming to collect on more than one front, and the deposed would-be queen Daenerys Targaryen now has three dragons to shore up her claim to the throne.  And something truly scary is making its way to the warm lands from north of the great wall.

HBO loads up on bonuses for this one, offering a comprehensive set of making-of featurettes for the episode “Blackwater,” a “War of the Five Kings” in-depth look at the claims of those seeking the throne, animated histories and character profiles, production elements, an in-episode guide, hidden “dragon” eggs, audio commentaries and more.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

28 Hotel Rooms From Oscilloscope, Feb. 12

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
 What happens when a one-night stand becomes a long-term tryst?  That’s the premise behind first-time director-writer Matt Ross’s 28 Hotel Rooms, out Feb. 12 from Oscilloscope Laboratories.

An in-and-out arthouse showcase (to generate media awareness) generated ticket sales of $5,471 (not important) … the ARR works out to 95 days.

The story tracks the impact a one-night stand has on a man (Chris Messina — The Mindy Project, Damages, etc.) and woman (Marin Ireland — Homeland, Mildred Pierce) who, despite being in other relationships, have a wild night of sex.  Months later, another city away, the two meet again … with similar results.  So begins a years-long series of sexual encounters.

A film that sounds so adult and not-safe-for-work actually turns into a something more deep and meaningful, as emotions become involved, and the pair’s life plans become upended.

Oscilloscope Laboratories includes deleted scenes, an interview with Ross during the Sundance Film Festival and an original theatrical trailer.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report