Monday, July 25, 2016

Paramount Home Media Preps A DVD Launch Of Director Joshua Caldwell's Be Somebody

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
A funny thing happened in the preparation of a theatrical vehicle for a self-promoting media celebrity, another star might have been born instead, but more importantly a budding distribution model bears a closer examination.

If you are over 18-years old, then Matthew Espinosa is likely to be something of an unknown quantity to you.   The short of it is, he made himself a media celebrity by posting short videos and GIFS to … really, not to be judgmental, but is that all it takes these days to become “famous?”

Now, if you happen to live in that world — cell phones, snap-chats, twitter and YouTube videos — the perfect promotional partner would be Studio71, an entertainment company that pretty much works 24/7 trying out new “branded content” promotions by using various platforms that transcend traditional media.   It could be the future ... at least for some content consumers.

Think about it, you shoot a movie — and there are quite a few talented independent filmmakers capable of delivering quality content on a micro budget these days — bypass all the traditional platforms (theatrical, direct-to-video, etc.) and use “social media” to get the word out.   
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

It could work the same for big studio productions.   There would be no big advertising and PR budgets to fret over (no $20 to $30 million launch campaigns for a $150 million film), no prints, no distribution costs, no physical inventories of products (Blu-ray, DVD, etc.) … you just get the word out, pocket revenues from your various download partners and suddenly theatres, cable channels and TV networks are all suddenly obsolete. 
Maybe “stars” like Matthew Espinosa and twitter entertainment feeds are the future.   You could talk about that for hours — visceral versus digital versus physical media; sampling and on and on.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Since we are not here to do that, but to talk about new product announcements, it brings us full-circle back to Paramount Home Media and the news this week that Matthew Espinosa theatrical debut, Be Somebody, will be available on DVD on Oct. 25.

Studio71 tried a “virtual” theatrical launch for the film — on a day/date with VOD back on June 10 — and the results were, at best mixed.  The ARR for the Oct. 25 DVD release date of Be Somebody works out to 137 days.

The film is directed by Joshua Caldwell — who has paid his dues in the indie world with such films as Layover and Negative — and the script is from TV-series producer Lamar Damon.   Be Somebody is slick, well-produced and the cinematography from Eve Cohen (can’t quite figure out how she got the “look” of the film to be so nicely presented) is A-list in quality.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Those are all pluses, which is important if you are going to “introduce” a media darling to feature films.   It has to be done right and Matthew Espinosa gets a nice showcase here … he’s a natural on screen (compared over and over and over again to Justin Bieber) and plays his role perfectly; he is, however, no James Dean (Espinosa has yet to put in the work to get that far).   

He plays a teen singing sensation (“Bieber-ish”), who decides to take a day off from his “sold-out” tour and play hooky.  This is where we have he has a “meet-cute” moment with a pizza delivery girl named Emily (Sarah Jeffery), who rescues him from screaming teenage girls (think: teenage screaming zombies) and takes him home; literally, takes him home to her parents. 

The star here is, however, not Matthew Espinosa, but Sarah Jeffery, who has done mainly TV series work thus far in her career — Shades of Blue, Wayward Pines, Rogue, etc.   She absolutely shines in a Cinderella-like role — going from scruffy pizza delivery girl to artist with an intellect.   The on-screen chemistry is good and she carries the newbie over the rough spots … a total pro; expect to see her in bigger films in the future. 

Bonus features include a gag reel and a behind-the-scenes featurette.

Drafthouse FIlms Targets Aug. 16 For The DVD Debut Of Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Jeremy Coon is a film producer whose greatest claim to fame is Napoleon Dynamite.   Two years after that hit he acted as the producer for The Sasquatch Gang and Tim Skousen made his feature film debut as a director.   Lightning did not strike twice.

Now skip ahead nearly a decade and the two have re-teamed for a documentary that may not be a big hit theatrically either, but it is one fascinating look at what film fans can do when they fall in love with a movie.

Drafthouse Films, with sales and distribution support provided by MVD Entertainment Group, announced this past week that the documentary team of Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen’s Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made will be available on Aug. 16 as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

Eric Zala, Chris Strompolos and Jayson Lamb saw Raiders of the Lost Ark during the summer of 1981, and, being somewhat nerdish, decided to recreate the film on video shot-for-shot.   They spent the next seven years shooting the film and got it all down with the exception of the exotic fighter plane sequence featuring Indiana Jones with the burly Nazi mechanic (who gets a propeller shave). 

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The fan film that they created, Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, was finished in 1989 … and then, they went their separate ways.   The film eventually surfaced on video and both its origins and the subsequent underground screenings is the subject of Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made.   

Do Eric Zala, Chris Strompolos and Jayson Lamb put their differences aside and complete their fan film?   Circle Aug. 16 on your viewing calendar, pick up a copy of this Drafthouse Films release and find out.   

It is currently playing in selected theatres, but those venues might be difficult to find … the ARR, for the record, is 60 days.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Mill Creek Entertainment Expands Its Oct. 4 Release Calendar With Four Blu-ray Multi-Feature Collections

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Mill Creek Entertainment started two weeks ago building a post-Labor Day tidal wave of new priced-to-own DVD and Blu-ray product selections.

Last week the company added two ten-title film collections — 10 Horror Films: Pretty Dead and 10 Killer Thrillers: Dangerous Attractions — to their DVD release selections that will be retail-ready on Sept. 6.

This week, the pie just got sweetened with four new multi-title Blu-ray releases and four new additional DVD selections, including Hiroshima: The Complete Mini-Series … all of which will be available to consumers on Oct. 4.

On the Blu-ray front, there are two four-title and two three-title selections, with each SKU priced at just $14.98 each (and that’s before discounts at retail).

The double-disc Blu-ray release titled 4 Horror Film Pack contains director Paul Verhoeven’s 2000 sci-fi thriller, Hollow Man, starring Kevin Bacon, Elisabeth Shue and Josh Brolin — this is the director’s cut, which has an additional seven-minutes worth of footage.  
Teamed with Hollow Man: Director's Cut are the 2006 sequel, Hollow Man 2 and writer/director Eli Roth’s horror duo, Hostel and Hostel, Part II.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThe other four-title, double-disc Blu-ray selection is titled 4 Movie Comedy Collection and it contains director Jake Kasdan “music legend” comedy, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, with John. C. Reilly as the “iconic” recording legend, plus The Brothers Solomon (starring Will Arnett and Will Forte as brothers on a mission), Fired Up (high school football stars Eric Christian Olsen and Nicholas D'Agosto skip practice to join a cheerleader camp) and Balls Out: Gary The Tennis Coach (Seann William Scott is a washed-up tennis pro who discovers that he as a special knack for teaching tennis to nerds).

On the triple feature Blu-ray front — both are double-disc collections — we find I Know What You Did Last Summer, When a Stranger Calls and Vacancy in one set and You Got Served, Gridiron Gang and Stomp the Yard in the other.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAlso available on Oct. 4 is Hiroshima: The Complete Mini-Series, starring Kenneth Welsh as president Truman, who must first get up to speed about the Manhattan Project upon the death of president Roosevelt in April of 1945, and then make the decision to end World War II with the deployment of “Fat Man” and “Little Boy.”    Director Roger Spottiswoode handled the American side of the story, while Japanese filmmaker Koreyoshi Kurahara delivered the Japanese POV.

Also on the DVD release front on Oct. 4 are a trio of double-disc, multi-part documentary collections that are priced at just $14.98 each.   These are: Indian Wars: A Change of Worlds (a survey of 350 of North American conflict is explored), NASA: A Journey Through Space (the history — past, present and future of NASA is examined) and Pearl Harbor: 75th Anniversary (an eight-part documentary collection).

For more information on these new announcements, or other priced-to-collection DVD and Blu-ray product offerings from Mill Creek Entertainment, please visit the company’s website at:

The Film Detective Restores Rod Serling's Patterns For Blu-ray Release On Sept. 27

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Film Detective announced this past week that director Fielder Cook’s 1956 film adaptation of Rod Serling’s teleplay-turned-theatrical release, Patterns, will be issued as a restored (from original 35mm film vault elements) Blu-ray product offering on Sept. 27.

Serling, who would go on to gain iconic status for The Twilight Zone television series (1959 – 1964), got his big break (after years of work) with the script he fashioned for the Kraft Television Theatre in 1955 (a live broadcast) titled Patterns (it earned him an Emmy).  

So well received was the original broadcast of Patterns, that Kraft and NBC re-broadcast it a month later … it wasn’t a rerun, as such things have come to be known, but an exact restaging of the live broadcast.  That was unheard of … a second showing of a live TV show!
With the success of MGM’s 1954 big-budget, all-star boardroom drama, Executive Suite (four Oscar nominations), coupled with the resounding success of the Kraft Television Theatre broadcasts, it was only natural that the film would make its way to the theatrical arena.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
This happened in 1956, with Serling providing the script and director Fielder Cook, who worked extensively in early television, making his theatrical debut as both the director of the TV broadcast and this theatrical adaptation.

Ed Begley, Everett Sloane and Elizabeth Wilson reprised their roles, with Van Heflin taking over for Richard Kiley and Beatrice Straight, who plays Van Heflin’s wife, replacing June Dayton.

The gist of this powerful drama, has ruthless business tycoon, Mr. Ramsey (Everett Sloane), bringing in a new executive, Fred Staples (Van Heflin), to replace the aging Bill Briggs (Ed Begley).   Briggs has built the company and Ramsey can’t bring himself to out-and-out fire or force the retirement of the man, so he stoops to nasty and petty intrigues.   In the meantime, Staples takes a liking to man he is to replace and has something a “come-to-Jesus” meeting with his boss when Ramsey’s games spin tragically out of hand.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment To Release DVD And Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Editions Of The Nice Guys (Aug. 23) And Me Before You (Aug. 30)

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, with three summer hits in current release that have grossed in excess of $100 million — Central Intelligence, Legend of Tarzan and Conjuring 2 — took steps this past week to clear the decks for action with the assignment of release dates for recent theatrical releases that didn’t quite hit the status of “blockbuster.”  These are Me Before You and The Nice Guys, and both will be retail-ready prior to Labor Day.

Up first is writer/director Shane Black’s The Nice Guys, teaming Russell Crowe with Ryan Gosling in what might be best be described as an action comedy — the timeframe is 1977 in the City of Angels.   The street date for both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack editions will be Aug. 23.

The film pulled in $36.1 million in ticket sales and the ARR is 95 days.

If you are a fan of the Lethal Weapon films (Shane Black wrote the first, got credit for the story on the second … and character credit on numbers three and four), then this is going seem like an old friend.   A buddy film, with Crowe and Gosling teaming as private eyes to investigate murder, porn and smog in Los Angeles … the “LA trifecta!”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAs to bonus goodies, both the DVD and Blu-ray SKUs have the featurette titled “Always Bet on Black” … exclusive to the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack is the additional featurette titled “Worst. Detectives. Ever. — Making The Nice Guys.”

The following week, Aug. 30, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment launches the second theatrical release of this late summer one-two punch.   This would be Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film production of the tearjerker, Me Before You, which will be available for consumers as either Blu-ray or DVD editions.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Based on Jojo Moyes novel of the same name (she also provided the screenplay), Thea Sharrock handled the direction (in her feature film directorial debut — she received accolades for her work on The Hollow Crown mini-series) and Sam Claflin (as Finnick in The Hunger Games film series and William in both Snow White and the Huntsman and The Huntsman: Winter's War) and Emilia Clarke (as Daenerys Targaryen in the Game of Thrones cable series, plus Sarah Connon in the Terminator reboot, Terminator Genisys) star as Will Traynor and Louisa Clark respectively.

You will need a box of Kleenex for this one as Louisa is the caregiver for the paraplegic Will, they hit it off, but despite her efforts to change his mind, he arranges for the medical-assisted termination of his life.  

The film took in $55.3 million at local multiplexes during its May/June theatrical run and arrives in the home entertainment market place with an ARR of just 88 days.

Bonus features for both the DVD and Blu-ray editions are outtakes, deleted scenes and the featurette titled “Me Before You: From Page to Screen.”

Universal Studios Home Entertainment To Release DVD And Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Of Free State Of Jones On Sept. 20

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment expanded its post-Labor Day release calendar this past week with the news that director Gary Ross’ Civil War tale, Free State of Jones, will be available as both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings on Sept. 20.

The ARR for this STX Entertainment production starring Matthew McConaughey as the anti-Confederate revolt leader, Newton Knight, works out to a swift-to-market 88 days.   Ticket sales currently stand at $20.4 million.

The only bonus goodie is the featurette titled “The History of Jones County.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThe first foray into the September release realm for Universal occurred about a week ago with the Sept. 6 street date for director Greg McLean’s possessed-house thriller, The Darkness, starring Kevin Bacon, who has to battle demons inadvertently brought home from a camping trip by his son.

The film pulled in $10.7 million from its theatrical run back in May, arrives as both Blu-ray and DVD selections and the ARR is 116 days.

Bonus features for The Darkness include an alternate ending and deleted scenes.

Lionsgate Home Entertainment Selects Sept. 6 The Home Entertainment Launch Of director Michael Grandage’s Genius And Director Jon M. Chu’s Now You See Me 2

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
It can be interesting to “pull back the curtain” from time to time to see how things work.  Or, at least, to see how they are supposed to work.   

The “thing” in this case is publicity; the rollout of a title for home entertainment.   It should be done professionally and include a press announcement that has little details like the title, format configurations, dates, a “pitch” as to why this particular title (or promotion) is worthy of your attention, bonus features (detailed is best) and artwork.   You can throw in extra “stuff,” like a really detailed synopsis or quotes from media critics, but if you get the basics right, you’ve produced something that is serviceable. 

It’s a checklist, but you’d be surprised how many announcements arrive missing some of the aforementioned details.   And you might even be surprised as to how some PR firms can’t even get the distribution right and have to be rescued by their employer.

Which brings us to Lionsgate Home Entertainment, a “Hollywood” studio with a very busy release schedule.   Titles and promotions that are to be released as DVD, Blu-ray and/or the newly-launched 4K Ultra HD format are added to their release calendar each week like clockwork.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyTo handle this load, Lionsgate’s PR staff hires independent public relations companies to work specific titles — some are hired on a one-off basis, while others are out there on a regular basis pitching new product offerings from the studio week in and week out.

As we move into the post-Labor Day period it becomes more and more important for home entertainment companies to get the word out about new products being released.   It’s the prime selling-season of the year — Labor Day to Christmas — and it is very competitive.  

The big summer blockbusters will be found here.   Lots of complete season TV series collections and major catalog promotions also get street dates during this period.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
With this in mind, Lionsgate Home Entertainment handed out a couple of assignments last week for recent theatrical releases that will be available as either DVD, Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD product offerings on Sept. 6.   One is a theatrical hit, perhaps even a new franchise series for the studio (which is really important) and the other is a little film; an arthouse film that had some nice reviews and it will appeal to a certain audience.   One is BIG bucks and the other is lesser so, but important just the same.

Two PR firms — which, we will not mention here by name — were recruited to handle the respective press announcements.   One did a stellar job, while the other screwed up the launch of a major title for the fourth time — seriously, four times and they still can’t get it right.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThe announcement for the “little” film, director Michael Grandage’s film adaptation of the A. Scott Berg biographical work, “Max Perkins: Editor of Genius” — which was shortened for the screen to just Genius — was delivered flawlessly.

As mentioned, Genius will be available on Sept. 6.   The DVD-only release arrives with an ARR of 88 days and ticket sales for the film’s limited theatrical break totaled $1.3 million.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
For those unfamiliar with the film (at its widest release the film only reached 152 screens nationwide), it tells the story of famed literary editor Max Perkins (played by Oscar-winner, Colin Firth — The King’s Speech) and his often-stormy relationship with writer Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law).   Perkins, not only discovered Wolfe — and worked with him to bring “Look Homeward, Angel” to market, but he also discovered F. Scott Fitzgerald (Guy Pearce) and Ernest Hemingway (Dominic West) … that’s right, Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Wolfe!
Bonus goodies include a pair of featurettes — “Genesis of Genius” and “Painting A Portrait of the Lost Generation.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThe second film streeting on Sept. 6 is a major film asset for Lionsgate.   This is a big deal … this is director Jon M. Chu’s Now You See Me 2.   Indeed, this is a franchise in the making, with Now You See Me pulling in $117.7 million domestically, Now You See Me 2 following with $63.5 million and Now You See Me 3 already in the works (likely 2018).  

So you would expect the PR film handling the DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and 4K Ultra HD press announcement would make every effort to get it right.   They had already screwed up the announcements (yes, that’s plural) for Liongate’s Dirty Grandpa, Witch and Gods of Egypt, so with that sort of muddled track record they might have used the time from last April to mid-July to have gotten their collective act together for Now You See Me 2.   But, sadly, NO.

When the title began popping up at and distributor Ingram’s website this past week for delivery on Sept. 6, the manager of home entertainment publicity at Lionsgate (and fellow MGM alum) was contacted and quizzed about the date.   Moments later a reply was forthcoming with a copy of the press release and sure enough, listed down there in the “boiler plate” was the same inept culprit that was still “processing” data from back in April.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
It’s pretty sad when Lionsgate Home Entertainment has to rescue the PR firm they’ve hired to get the word out on a major theatrical release destined for the home entertainment market place.   Who works for who in that relationship?

In any case, the Four Horsemen — Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco and new member Lizzy Caplan — are back for their next elaborate caper.  It’s great fun and the ending is full of twists … and more twists.

Bonus features for all SKUs include commentary from director Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Jem and the Holograms, etc.) and the featurette titled “You Can’t Look Away.”   Exclusive to the Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD SKUs are two additional featurettes — “The Art of the Ensemble” and “Bringing Magic to Life.”

There are a couple of lessons learned.  First, there are good PR firms, who act professionally, and there are PR firms who are clearly “works in progress.”  

Second, and this is important, it is a colossal waste of time to exchange emails with a PR firm populated by what appears to be Millennials.   Sure, they have college degrees — we guess — in things like Social Awareness, but all you get back are excuses on why things don’t get done.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey 
As Micah Tyler sings in his “You’ve Gotta Love Millennials” song, “Criticism isn’t easy for their ears; They feel like they know most everything … See, they grew up with undeserved confidence; Cause they got trophies just for participating.”   Yes, they know everything, but nothing gets done.   

Here's the link for Micah Tyler's “You’ve Gotta Love Millennials” song: You Gotta Love Millennials

Arrow Video Restores Microwave Massacre For Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack On Aug. 16

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The late ‘70s and early ‘80s introduced two new must-have appliances into American households.   These were the VCR and the microwave oven. 

They, especially the VCR, changed the way Americans consumed both their entertainment and their meals … so it was just a matter of time before entertainment and “consumption” would collide.  

This happened in the summer of 1983 with the film release of director Wayne Berwick’s horror comedy, Microwave Massacre, which was more a vehicle for “deadpan” comedian Jackie Vernon, than a statement on evolving eating habits.

Arrow Video, with domestic sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has tabbed Aug. 16 for the release of a newly prepared 2K restoration … Microwave Massacre will be available as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

Vernon plays Donald, a hen-pecked construction worker, who is being driven mad by his wife’s (played by Claire Ginsberg) obsession with preparing “gourmet” meals in their new microwave oven (which, back then, were as big as small cars!).   He snaps one night — in a drunken rage — and beats her to death … the next morning he discovers what he’s done, but somehow takes it all in stride and hacks her up into edible chunks (much aluminum foil is needed), which are stored in the freezer.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeySince the microwave is a handy gizmo, Donald takes to zapping her, piece by piece, and feasting on her remains.   

That set up is all Vernon and filmmaker Wayne Berwick need to launch into a series of running gags — one featuring Ginsberg’s head, another involving his construction co-workers (played by Loren Schein and Al Troupe) and the third is Donald’s choice in meals once his wife has been completely consumed.   

Microwave Massacre is absolutely hilarious — sickly so — as Jackie Vernon feasts on the use of this marvelous new home cooking appliance!

Bonus features include a new commentary option featuring writer-producer Craig Muckler, who is joined by f/x and makeup expert Mike Tristano and a newly-minted “making of” video session teaming Craig Muckler, director Wayne Berwick and actor Loren Schein.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey