Universal Studios Home Entertainment wasted little time in bringing director Tom McCarthy’s Best Picture nominee, Spotlight, to the home entertainment market place as both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack editions.
The street date selected is Feb. 23, which puts the film at retail just five days before the 88th Academy Awards broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 28. The timing for the DVD and Blu-ray product offerings appears to be spot-on.
The ARR is 109 days and ticket sales currently stand at $30.8 million (Oscar interest will drive the box office take higher in the weeks ahead).
In addition to being nominated for Best Picture, Spotlight also has a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Mark Ruffalo (his third — Foxcatcher last year and The Kids are All Right in 2010) and Rachel McAdams nailed one down as well for Best Supporting Actress (her first). Filmmaker Tom McCarthy is one of the five Best Director finalists, plus he shares the nomination for Best Original Screenplay with Josh Singer (McCarty was previously nominated in the writing category for Up back in 2009).
As to bonus goodies, there are two featurettes — “Spotlight: A Look Inside” and “The State of Journalism” — plus there’s a roundtable discussion titled “Uncovering the Truth” (presumably members of the cast and crew).
In other release news this week from Universal Studios Home Entertainment, the STX Entertainment film production of Secret in Their Eyes will also be available as both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack product offerings on Feb. 23.
This remake of the 2009 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language (written and directed by Juan José Campanella) seemed like a sure-winner at the box office with Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor in the starring roles and Oscar-nominee Billy Ray (for his Captain Phillips screenplay) handling both the script adaptation and the film’s direction.
In what became a hallmark of the 2015 new theatrical release market, it was all feast and famine as this otherwise outstanding revenge thriller was only able to muster $20.2 million in ticket sales. If 2016 retraces the same steps, then the entertainment industry has the makings of a major problem (but let’s not dwell on that).
In any case, the film opened around Thanksgiving, failed to ignite at the box office during its opening weekend and immediately went into an all too familiar death spiral.
The profile for a film such as Secret in Their Eyes (a production budget reported to be slightly more than $28 million) begs the question: “Can it turn a profit from the combination of Digital and DVD/Blu-ray if the window for Digital is in front of physical media (the online window is Feb. 9 for Secret in Their Eyes), especially after the film under-performs theatrically?”
Consumers aren’t stupid, although reading Facebook posts these days tends to put that in doubt, but for the most part they seem to have figured it out. If they don’t have a compelling reason to see a film when it opens theatrically — especially on the opening weekend — they can simply wait a few weeks as it will soon be available online.
Secret in Their Eyes is an otherwise solid film production whose fate has been reduced to how well it performs on an iPhone or iPad … there’s just something very wrong with that picture.
For the record, the ARR is a quick-to-market 95 days (81 days for VOD), which seems to be the new-normal for theatrical failures these days.
As to bonus goodies, writer/director Billy Ray (the screenwriter for such films as the aforementioned Captain Phillips, plus The Hunger Games, Suspect Zero and Volcano, etc.) will be joined by producer Mark Johnson (Oscar-winning producer of Rain Man) for a commentary option, plus there is a video session with Julia Roberts and the featurette titled “Adapting the Story for Today's World.”