Lionsgate Home Entertainment might be having a change of heart when it comes to supporting the 4K Ultra HD format for its new theatrical releases.
As industry watchers know, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has steadfastly refused to join the studio-supported hi-def format team and perhaps, just perhaps, with this week’s release news Lionsgate might be switching to the “no” side as well.
With the formal announcement this past week of an Oct. 25 street date for the filmmaking team of Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s pedal-to-the-metal thriller, Nerve, we find that there is a stand-alone DVD edition and that there is a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack as well, but there is no, repeat NO, 4K Ultra HD product offering to be found in the mix.
Without setting off too many alarm bells, there could a number of reasons for Lionsgate, which was an early advocate of the 4K Ultra HD format, to forego a 4K Ultra HD product offering for Nerve at this time.
Certainly not to be counted among the possible reasons are either the film’s genre-profile or its performance at the box office. The film pulled in $38.3 million during its August theatrical run, a bright spot for Lionsgate, who just witnessed their reboot of Blair Witch go up in flames.
And then there’s the painful financial disaster of Gods of Egypt, which saw the company’s stockholders bleed red. Bt the way, that bomb did get a 4K Ultra HD push and it grossed less than Nerve during its domestic theatrical run.
And certainly this film adaptation of Jeanne Ryan’s 2012 novel of the same name fits the profile — a storyline that focuses on the dangers of online “truth or dare” gaming spinning dangerously out of control as “watchers” morph into that of an unruly and bloodthirsty mob.
There’s lots of action, f/x and visual effects — Emmy-winner Eran Dinur (Boardwalk Empire) and visual effect whiz Harimander Singh Khalsa (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, etc.) are counted among the team members. So, the profile for 4K Ultra HD is right — Lionsgate Home Entertainment’s press announcement even uses such descriptive phrases as “Electrifying” and “Adrenaline-Fueled Thriller.”
One factor that might be at play is the quick-turn to market. The ARR is just 88 days, so perhaps Lionsgate Home Entertainment simply couldn’t pull off the necessary transfer elements to make this tight window.
Without much, if any, fanfare they did set a Nov. 8 street date for all four Hunger Games films as 4K Ultra HD product releases, which could further signal Lionsgate’s exit from the format … get this franchise out and call it quits.
The home entertainment group has struggled with PR of late — which could be a further sign of financial difficulties. Indeed, some of Lionsgate Home Entertainment’s outside support companies seem be engaged in on-the-job training at the studio’s expense — perhaps cost-cutting has led to the recruitment of home entertainment-challenged PR outside services.
To that point, if you take one look at the company’s tenuous financial condition (a price to earnings ratio of over 400:1 is simply not sustainable), then you begin to connect the dots and suspect that these might be cautious times at this fledgling “Hollywood” studio. The less-than-stellar Nerve home entertainment push just might be a casualty of the way things are.
As to bonus features, there are outtakes, a 15-segment presentation titled “Creating Nerve” and the featurette “The Governor’s Ball Takeover.” Exclusive to the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack SKU are the interactive game, “Do You Have the Nerve?,” a pop-quiz titled “Are You a Watcher or a Player?” and Player Profiles.