Saturday, August 15, 2015

New Theatrical Release Trends For DVD And Blu-ray Are Falling Short Through Early August For Calendar-Year 2015

As we approach the 60 percent mark for the number of New Theatrical releases that are to be expected during the calendar year, there is a disturbing trend developing.   Namely, the number of mega-hits — those films grossing in excess of $100 million — are lagging well behind the same pace as last year.

These films, along with the next block down (those in the range of $25 - $100 million range) are the market-drivers for the home entertainment industry.   The axiom that hits make the market is to be considered as being generally true in nature as consumers tend to rent and buy what they know (where the money has been spent in promoting and distributing new theatrical releases).   Thus, the fewer the hits, the lower the expectations must be for all “after-market” activities.

Of the films in theatrical release for the weekend of Aug. 7 through 9, only Universal Studios’ Trainwreck appears to be the only film in current release to have the momentum to move it into the $100 million box office area.

If that holds, then only 18 films released thus far have made this golden box office circle.   At the same point last year, there were 22.   You have to go back to 2012 to find the same count of 18 at this point in the calendar year.

And that’s not good news for the studios, as 2012 had delivered a record-setting 47 films with a box office take of between $25 million and $100 million during that same period.   This year we have a paltry 35 such films.   This will certainly leave gaps in the DVD and Blu-ray release calendar — some of the street-date Tuesdays will be sans market-drivers.

As for this week (week ending Aug. 14), there were only two new theatrical hits released on DVD and Blu-ray.   These were, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment released Hot Pursuit and Universal Studios Home Entertainment sent forth Unfriended.   

Below is a year-to-date chart reflecting activity to date and projections for the full calendar year of 2015.   For entire year, the DVD & Blu-ray Release Report is projecting 615 New Theatrical releases, down 2.2 percent from 2014.   If trends hold, just over 91 percent of these will eventually cycle to DVD and roughly 50 to 55 percent will find a home on Blu-ray.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey, Hot Pursuit, Unfriended

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Film Detective Expands Its August DVD Film Restoration Release Slate With 39 New Titles On Aug. 11

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Aug. 11 will see an additional 39 new film restorations ready for delivery on DVD by the Film Detective.

It is always an eclectic selection of collectible treasures, so let’s start the review of this hit parade with the film offerings from the silent era.   

We begin with D.W. Griffith’s 1918 film release of Hearts of the World, starring the Gish sisters, Lillian and Dorothy, in a World War I drama that has the American army coming to the rescue of a French village just when all seems lost.   Also from filmmaker D.W. Griffith is the 1920 “South Seas” adventure (actually filmed in the Bahamas), The Love Flower, which stars Carol Dempster and Richard Barthelmess.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyMary Pickford stars in both writer/director Frances Marion’s 1921 tear-packed drama, The Love Light, and director Marshall Neilan’s 1918 mining camp drama, M’Liss, which has her as a wild frontier girl who falls in love with Thomas, the new school teacher, who might be on the lam for murder!   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAlso from 1918 we have one of the earliest film adaptations of the Louisa May Alcott novel, Little Women.   Harley Knoles handled the direction, with the filming taking place at the historical homes of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa May Alcott in Concord, Massachusetts … Isabel Lamon, Dorothy Bernard, Lillian Hall and Florence Flinn starred as the four March sisters.

Director Alfred E. Green’s 1926 release of Ella Cinders is a Hollywood-themed spin on the Cinderella fable, with Colleen Moore escaping her wicked stepmother and stepsisters by winning a trip to Hollywood … which turns out to be a scam!   

Also on the schedule is the rare 1921 silent short film Frauds and Frenzies featuring a young Stan Laurel … it would be another five years before the comedy team of Laurel and Hardy was born!

Turning to the 1930s, we begin with director Fred C. Newmeyer’s Discarded Lovers, a delightfully wicked mystery involving the murder of movie star Irma Gladden (Natalie Moorhead), who is a man-hungry temptress that leaves in her wake more suspects than fleas on a dog.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Santa Catalina Island and the old California Studios on Melrose stand in for Hong Kong and Macau in director E. Mason Hopper’s 1935 romantic drama, Hong Kong Nights … Customs Agent Tom Keene must deal with gangsters and at the same time figure out how he and Wera Engels are going to get off a deserted island.   Hong Kong Nights is a very creative film effort for never leaving Southern California!

The Dark Hour is a 1936 whodunit based on a novel by Sinclair Gluck.  Charles Lamont, who would go on to direct many of the Ma and Pa Kettle and Abbott and Costello films at Universal Studios, handled the direction, with Irene Ware and Ray Walker starring. 

Sally Eilers, Patricia Farr and Neil Hamilton star in director Lloyd Corrigan’s 1937 romantic comedy, Lady Behave!, while Tim McCoy goes undercover as El Puma in director Sam Newfield’s frontier thriller, The Fighting Renegade … Joyce Bryant is the romantic lead.
Another Western in the mix is the Johnny Mack Brown entry, Lawless Land.   Released in 1937, Albert Ray provided direction with Louise Stanley as the Brown’s love interest.

Continuing with the Western theme, the famed Rough Riders ride in the 1942 film release of Down Texas Way … this entry in the series teamed Buck Jones, Tim McCoy and Raymond Hatton as U.S. Marshalls.   And in an unlikely spin on the Billy the Kid legend, Buster Crabbe stars as Billy, who is out to clear his name in director Sam Newfield’s 1943 release of Fugitive of the Plains.

Crime is the mainstay of director Phil Tucker’s Dance Hall Racket (1953), Gambler's Choice (1954, directed by Frank McDonald and starring Nancy Kelly and Chester Morris), director Rudolph Maté’s The Green Glove (1952, with Glenn Ford and Geraldine Brooks) and auteur filmmaker Edgar G. Ulmer’s 1943 Girls in Chains (Arline Judge).
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Martha Scott stars as the beloved teacher, Ella Bishop, who sacrifices her chance at love to care for her dead sister’s child in director Tay Garnett’s 1941 film adaptation of Bess Streeter Aldrich’s novel, Cheers for Miss Bishop.  

Love and marriage are tested in director Albert S. Rogell’s post-war comedy, The Magnificent Rogue (1947, starring Lynne Roberts, Warren Douglas and Gerald Mohr) and the film noir gem from the following year, He Walked by Night, starring Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Whit Bissell and Jack Webb are also to be counted among this Aug. 11 DVD release package the Film Detective.

During the summer of 1953 director/producer Ron Ormond served up Jackie Coogan as a mad doctor out to create a race of superwomen by filling his test subject’s veins with spider venom … welcome to the world of Mesa of Lost Women!!!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Pop Twist Entertainment Brings Sir Ivan: I Am Peaceman To The DVD Marketplace On Aug. 14

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Jim Brown, who has covered such recording icons as Pete Seeger, Harry Belafonte, Woody Guthrie and Peter, Paul and Mary in his decades-long career, turns his focus in his latest film on a recording star who has taken a very different path to fame. 

Pop Twist Entertainment, Inc., with sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has tabbed Aug. 14 as the DVD release date for Sir Ivan: I Am Peaceman.

Ivan Wilzig is the son of Holocaust survivor Siggi Wilzig and his wife Naomi.   His father was a successful businessman, while his mother was more free-spirited and the founder of World Erotic Art Museum in Miami, Florida.  Perfect opposites … a match made in heaven.

As the story goes, Siggi wanted his son to have a career that would be stable, so he introduced him to the world of banking.   In 1980, with law degree in hand, he joined his father at The Trust Company of New Jersey (Siggi had purchased the century-old financial institution in 1968) and it seemed certain that his career path was set.   Banker!

By 2001 his mother’s side of his brain kicked in and this New Jersey banker began exploring a career in music.   With the death of his father in 2003, the Wilzig family sold The Trust Company of New Jersey for three-quarters of a billion dollars and Siggi’s banking days were done.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

His recording persona is that of Peaceman, and he even founded his own recording label, Peaceman Music, which serves as the vehicle for his unique style of dance-themed reworks of famous recordings from the 1960s and 70s.   He is Peaceman, he lives that — complete with his iconic cape — life and views music that glorifies drugs, hate and violence as “the cancer of the music world.”

But it doesn’t end there.   Peaceman also has his own chartable foundation, which is dedicated to helping service members with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (in honor of his father, who survived Auschwitz and suffered throughout his life with PTSD).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Sir Ivan, the Peaceman, recording artist, philanthropist and party animal — yes that too, for the past 16 years he has hosted elaborate “costume parties” at his “castle” (with a dungeon, of course) on Long Island.  Even Donald Trump was on the guest list one year.   

So if Ivan Wilzig, Sir Ivan or Peaceman are unfamiliar to you, pick up a copy of filmmaker Jim Brown’s Sir Ivan: I Am Peaceman on Aug. 14 and have yourself a good time.    

Bonus goodies include five Peaceman music videos and footage from his lavish “castle” parties.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

MVD Entertainment Group To Release On DVD Documentary Filmmaker Scott Crawford's Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90) On Sept. 18

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
For the nation’s capitol it was a decade ushered in by the final death throes of the Carter administration and the arrival of Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office.  For music it was MTV, Madonna, Michael Jackson (with glove) and the mid-80s arrival of Metal, but through it all the D.C. area had it’s own music revolution.

On Sept. 18, MVD Entertainment Group will be releasing documentary filmmaker Scott Crawford’s insightful look at the punk scene in Washington D.C. during this electric period with the DVD debut of the New Rose Films production of Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90).

They were educated, many were the scions of wealth and political power, but their love and focus was music.   They spawned Ian MacKaye’s Dischord Records and his bands Minor Threat and Fugazi; Henry Rollins and State of Alert (who would jump to the other coast with Black Flag); the reggae punk of Bad Brains; the transitional Rites of Spring and more.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Director Scott Crawford has fashioned a real tell-all about this unique music chapter, combining contemporary interview sessions with those who literally grew up during this period and nicely blending in vintage fan-supplied concert clips.   They grew, they mutated … they moved into other venues and sounds, but this is where it all began for many of them.   A must for music fans and surprisingly effective in its telling. 

Bonus features include live performances by Fugazi, Government Issue, Gray Matter, Marginal Man, Beefeater, Embrace, Holy Rollers and Soulside, plus additional interview sessions with Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye, Kevin Seconds (of 7 Seconds) and Brian Baker (Minor Threat … and later, Bad Religion).


MVD Entertainment's Soaked In Bleach On DVD August 14

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Seraphim Films Preps Two DVD Releases For Aug. 25 Featuring Cult Horror Icon Clive Barker: Clive Barker's Origins: Salome And The Forbidden And Clive Barker Presents Jojo Baby: Without The Mask

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Seraphim Films, with sales and distribution support provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has a pair of DVD product offerings ready on Aug. 25 for fans of horror maestro Clive Barker to savor.

Two of his early short films, Salome and The Forbidden are on view in the DVD release of Clive Barker's Origins: Salome and The Forbidden.

Before delivering such iconic horror treats as Hellraiser (1987), Nightbreed (1990) and Lord of Illusions (1995), he was a writer (and remains so) and a visual artist.  Before the fame came — first as a writer with the “Books of Blood” series (circa 1984) and then as a filmmaker (writer, director and producer) — he did two experimental short films.    

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThe first of these was at the age of 22 with the 1974 adaptation of the Oscar Wilde stage play Salome from the 1890s.   Anne Taylor was his Salome.

The other film, The Forbidden, followed five years later and is a forerunner to his later Candyman … borrowing from the legend of Faust.

The other DVD release is titled Clive Barker Presents Jojo Baby: Without The Mask.   Barker acts as producer here, with documentary filmmakers Dana Buning and Mark Danforth exploring the world of Chicago-based artist, master character sculptor and performance artist/drag queen, JoJo Baby.

Known for his expressive masks and works of beauty, the filmmakers show both his creative world and are given access to JoJo Baby as he talks about his upbringing, his pain and a life devoted to the creative process.

Full Moon Features Tabs Aug. 25 For The DVD Debut Of Cult Filmmaker Charles Band's Evil Bong 420

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Full Moon Features will be lighting it up — in more ways than one — on Aug. 25 with the DVD debut of the latest edition in the Evil Bong film series, cult filmmaker Charles Band’s Evil Bong 420.

This is either the fourth or fifth entry in the series — depending on how you count the 2013 film release of Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong (was that a Gingerdead Man story or one about the sinister Evil Bong?)  — ah what the hell, it counts for both, just like Freddy vs. Jason.  

But no matter, the always-hustling Rabbit (Sonny Carl Davis) gets the focus of attention this time as the proprietor of his own bowling alley, where the action is not necessarily on the lanes.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThere’s weed, lots of weed, and with Rabbit’s new invention, the Weed Blower, there are new creative ways to partake.   Plus the eye-candy comes in the form of a bevvy of well-endowed Full Moon ladies — who get extra-horny when they get a taste of Rabbit’s new buds.  And of course the nerdy Larnell (John Patrick Jordan) and the lovely Sarah Leigh (Robin Sydney) are back, as are the Gingerdead Man and other dimensional Evil Bong.

Bonus features include a making-off featurette and Youtube viral videos.

Melissa McCarthy Stars In 20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment's Sept. 29 DVD And Blu-ray Release Of Director Paul Feig's Summer Comedy Smash Spy

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Melissa McCarthy continues her run of hit comedies with news this week that 20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment will sending home her latest, Spy, on Sept. 29 as both DVD and Blu-ray editions.

Ticket sales were a robust $108.9 million and the ARR trip from theatrical venues to home entertainment outlets is a snappy 116 days.

The DVD SKU will feature the PG-13 theatrical cut, while the Blu-ray release will include both the theatrical cut and an unrated version that features ten minutes worth of excised footage (likely a combination of material that would have pushed it into the dreaded R-rating territory and pacing trims).

Bonus materials for Spy include not one, but two gag reels, film commentary featuring director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat), producer Jessie Henderson, gaffer John Vecchio, cinematographer Robert Yeoman and fight coordinator Walter Garcia, plus two featurettes —  “Susan and Her Men” and “The Great Rick Ford.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Exclusive to the Blu-ray SKU are “3 Redacted” scenes and “15 Classified” alternate scenes, plus nine additional featurettes and an eight-part behind-the-scenes mini-documentary.
In other release news from 20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment this week, filmmaker Steven R. Monroe — reboot director for I Spit on Your Grave — will see The Exorcism of Molly Hartley, his direct-to-home entertainment sequel to the 2008 film release of The Haunting of Molly Hartley, released on Oct. 20 as unrated DVD and Blu-ray editions.

Bonus features include three production featurettes — “Exorcism: Beyond One Truth,” “Clovesdale Institute: Classified Security Camera Footage” and “Director Diaries.”

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Goes To The Vaults For John Gilbert And Kay Francis DVD Promotions In August

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment already has some of the summer blockbusters on its release schedule — Mad Max: Fury Road (Sept. 1), San Andreas (Oct. 13) and more to follow — and these will bring in the bulk of the revenues, but the studio also takes the time, energy and resources to mine its extensive film library for unreleased treasures.

Two such promotions have been scheduled for back-to-back weeks during the month of August.   

First up on Aug. 11 is a four-film promotion featuring silent era leading man John Gilbert in a quartet of his rare sound films.   These are: John Gilbert’s first sound film, Redemption (1930, with Renée Adorée, Eleanor Boardman and Conrad Nagel), Way for a Sailor (1930, directed by Sam Wood and co-starring Wallace Berry and Lelia Hyams), Gentleman's Fate (1931, directed by Mervyn LeRoy and featuring Leila Hyams and Anita Page) and Phantom of Paris (also 1931, directed by John S. Robertson, also with Leila Hyams, plus Lewis Stone, C. Aubrey Smith and Jean Hersholt).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThe following week, Aug. 18, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will turn its spotlight on Kay Francis with four of her film performance.    

The selections include three from her the height of her “Queen of Warner Brothers” era … I Found Stella Parish (1935, directed by Mervyn LeRoy, with Ian Hunter and Paul Lukas) and The White Angel (1936, directed by William Dieterle … Kay Francis stars as Florence Nightingale, her co-stars include Ian Hunter, Donald Crisp and Nigel Bruce), Confession (1937, directed by Joe May, co-starring Ian Hunter, Basil Rathbone and Donald Crisp).  
and they are:

Also included in the mix is Feminine Touch (1941, directed by W.S. Van Dyke, she co-stars with Rosalind Russell, Don Ameche and Van Heflin).

Writer/Director Leigh Whannell's Insidious: Chapter 3 To Be Released As DVD And Blu-ray Editions By Sony Pictures Home Entertainment On Oct. 6

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Retail outlets, including, got the jump on Sony Pictures Home Entertainment with order-taking efforts for both DVD and Blu-ray editions of writer/director Leigh Whannell’s third installment in his commercially successful Insidious horror film series.

The street date is Oct. 6 (which SPHE confirmed) for both DVD and Blu-ray editions of Insidious: Chapter 3, which is actually a prequel to the first film.   

The ARR comes in at 123 days and ticket sales were solid at $52.1 million.   The first film, Insidious, pulled in $54 million during its 2011 run and the first sequel, Insidious: Chapter 2 did even better with $83.6 million in ticket sales.    

Those are nice numbers and that could leave it open for yet another round of demons from other dimensions.  

Bonus goodies included with both SKUs is the featurette titled “Origin Story: Making Chapter 3.”   Exclusive to the Blu-ray edition are deleted scenes and four additional featurettes — “Being Haunted: A Psychic Medium Speaks,” “Macabre Creations,” “Stunts: The Car Crash” and “Cherry Glazerr: Tiptoe Through the Tulips.”