Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Universal Studios Adds Les Misérables To Its Mar. 22 Release Calendar

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has added director Tom Hooper’s magnificent film adaption of the beloved Boublil and Schönberg stage musical, Les Misérables, to its Mar. 22 release calendar.

This Friday street date is also home to Universal’s This is 40 (announced last week).
The ARR is a near record-breaking 87 days — only Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, at 85 days, made the transition from theatrical venues to the home entertainment market place at a quicker pace for any film grossing in excess of $140 million.  The current box office-take stands at $143.9 million.

Les Misérables will arrive as a two-SKU product offering (which leaves open a collector’s edition later in the year).  There will be a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (complete with UltraViolet) and a stand-alone DVD edition.

With eight Oscar nominations (Feb. 24 is the nationally televised awards extravaganza), including Best Picture, Les Misérables is in the thick of it.  The fan base was not disappointed and Anne Hathaway’s performance as Fantine is the next best thing to a lock for Oscar gold — both Hathaway as Best Supporting Actress and Daniel Day Lewis in the Best Actor category for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln seem to be the sure bets this year.

As to Best Picture … the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are not normally prone to voting for musicals in that category (only Chicago in the past 45 years has gotten the nod).   

Although, Les Misérables is more than just a musical — it is also a powerful and well-told story of human failings and redemption — nevertheless the smart money seems to be gravitating towards Argo as the most likely candidate for Best Picture laurels this year.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Samantha Barks as Éponine
As to Les Misérables, the film presentation is near flawless, with the aforementioned Hathaway shining brightly, but so too did Samantha Barks in her show-stopping performance of “On My Own” as Éponine — simply breathtaking in her delivery.   

Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette) and Eddie Redmayne (Marius) all did yeoman work in their familiar roles … Russell Crowe seemed a bit miscast (isn’t the stage version of Javert, that most of us are familiar with, tall, dark, gaunt-even and foreboding?), but he nevertheless delivered when called upon.

The close-ups — that some critics harped-on — were a conscious decision by director Tom Hooper (winner of the Best Director Oscar for The King’s Speech two years ago) in order to capture live performances from his actors (as opposed to the more common playback and lip sync method often used in this type of film).  It was a good trade-off that gave some of the scenes an incredible emotional (for the audience) punch.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway star in Les Misérables
As to bonus nuggets being served-up by Universal Studios, both the DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack editions include commentary from director Tom Hooper, plus there are three production featurettes — “The Stars of Les Misérables,” “Creating the Perfect Paris” and “    The Original Masterwork: Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables.”

Exclusive to the Blu-ray presentation are four additional production featurettes — “Les Misérables Singing Live,” “Battle at the Barricade,” “The West End Connection” and “Les Misérables on Location.”

Whether Les Misérables wins Best Picture or not, this film presentation is an absolute keeper that will be played again and again during the coming years.   Universal Studios Home Entertainment will be moving tonnage on this one … a true evergreen!

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

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