Monday, February 27, 2017

Arrow Video Preps Donnie Darko: Limited Edition As A 2 Blu-ray/2 DVD Combo Pack For Delivery To Fans On Apr. 18

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Arrow Video, with domestic sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has circled Apr. 18 on its release calendar for the delivery of a new 4K restoration, from the original camera negatives, of writer/director Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko: Limited Edition.   

It will come in the form of double-double disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack featuring both the original 2001 theatrical cut and the 2004 director’s cut of the film.

Bonus features include three commentary options — filmmaker Richard Kelly with actor Jake Gyllenhaal (theatrical cut), Kelly, producer Sean McKittrick and actors Drew Barrymore, Jena Malone, Beth Grant, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne, Katharine Ross and James Duval (also for the theatrical cut) and filmmaker Richard Kelly is joined by fellow filmmaker Kevin Smith for commentary on the director’s cut of the film.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Arrow Video also has, as a bonus nugget, the newly-prepared feature-length documentary from filmmaker Daniel Griffith titled Deus ex Machina: The Philosophy of Donnie Darko included in the mix.

Other bonus selections include deleted and alternate scenes (with optional commentary by Richard Kelly), the 2004 documentary titled The Donnie Darko Production Diary (53 minutes in length), a trio of vintage featurettes — “They Made Me Do It,” “They Made Me Do It Too” and “#1 Fan: A Darkomentary” — and archived video sessions with filmmaker Richard Kelly, the production team of Sean McKittrick, Nancy Juvonen, Hunt Lowry and Casey La Scala, cinematographer Steven Poster and actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, James Duval, Holmes Osborne, Noah Wyle and Katharine Ross.

And we are not yet!!!   There are also storyboard comparisons, some B-roll footage, “Cunning Visions” infomercials, still galleries, Richard Kelly’s 1996 short film, The Goodbye Place and the Gary Jules music video, “Mad World.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Paramount Home Media Selects Mar 28 For The Release Of DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of Director Martin Scorsese's Silence

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Paramount Home Media has tagged Mar. 28 as the street date for the delivery to retail of both stand-alone DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack editions of auteur filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s emotionally-charged Silence

The ARR is 95 days and box office receipts currently stand at $7.1 million.

With hits such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas (among others), eight Oscar nominations for Directing (with a win for The Departed), plus four other nominations for either producing or writing, Martin Scorsese has the credentials to do pretty much anything he desires in terms of filmmaking.

Silence is such a “desire” … it took awhile for him to return to the religious theme (remember the 1988 film release of The Last Temptation of Christ) as the center of one of his films, although nearly all of his films touch upon guilt and redemption in one way or another (character flaws; character traits).    

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyHis source material is Japanese writer Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 quasi-historical novel, “Silence,” which was first adapted for the screen back in 1971 by Japanese filmmaker Masahiro Shinoda and titled Chinmoku (Japanese for silence).  Endō took actual historical figures and adapted them to a dramatic retelling of events.

As background, Japan was a closed culture to the West once it was “discovered” in the 16th Century, but that didn’t keep the powers of the day, the Dutch, the Portuguese and the English from trying to crack the culture and potential rich bounty of trade.   Indeed, it wasn’t until 1854 when Commodore Perry forced opened the doors of Japan to the West that the country’s self-imposed isolation would come to an end.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
An early Western influence in Japan during the 16th Century were the Portuguese Jesuits, who had another bounty in mind beyond trade, the bounty of souls and the introduction of Christianity to the divided island nation.   Silence tells of these events and the eventual clash of cultures that forced Japan to take ruthless measures to eradicate these seeds of faith sown by the Jesuits.

The only bonus feature, which is limited to the Blu-ray edition, is the featurette titled “Martin Scorsese’s Journey into Silence.”

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment's The Vampire Diaries Bids Farewell On June 13

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment bids farewell to the denizens of Mystic Falls, Virginia on June 13 with the release of four-disc DVD and three-disc Blu-ray collections of The Vampire Diaries: The Eighth and Final Season.   

All 16 episodes from season eight, which wraps on Mar. 10, are included in the package.  Bonus goodies include deleted scenes, a video session from the 2016 Comic-Con Panel, the featurette titled “Last Days as a Vampire” and the retro-special titled “The Vampire Diaries: Forever Yours.”

Of note, Warner Bros. is also issuing the The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Series on the same date, June 13.

In other release news this week, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will be bringing the DC Comics creation of Vixen (aka: Mari McCabe) to market on May 23 in the feature-length presentation of Vixen: The Movie.  Both DVD and Blu-ray editions are in the home entertainment product release mix.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
According to Rosemary Markson, WBHE Senior Vice President - Television Marketing, the action from the first two web-inspired seasons (12 episodes — each webisode ran about four to seven minutes in length) have been combined with newly-prepared connecting footage to create a seamless motion picture experience (clocking in at 75 minutes).

Bonus features include the featurette titled “Vixen: Spirit Animal” and two Justice League Unlimited bonus episodes — “Hunter’s Moon” and “Grudge Match.”

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Picks Mar. 14 For The Home Entertainment Release Of Director Morten Tyldum's Passengers

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will be bringing a three-SKU helping of director Morten Tyldum's interstellar thriller, Passengers, to market on Mar. 14.

The ARR is an exceptionally quick-to-market 81 days and domestic box office receipts currently stand at $98.6 million.

Before we get to the details of the home entertainment launch (and there is something new to report there as well), it is worth noting that Passengers will be used as an example of theatrical marketing in film schools, if not now, certainly in the very near future.   Let me explain.

Tyldum delivered the Oscar-nominated film, The Imitation Game (eight nominations, including Best Picture), in 2014 and that elevated him to A-level status in terms of what he could demand in the way budgetary considerations for his next film or two (success can be fleeting — think: Michael Cimino).   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThat opportunity presented itself when writer Jon Spaihts’s languishing script (originally penned back in the 2006/2007 timeframe) finally landed in the Sony Pictures barn.   Tyldum gets the directing nod and soon big bucks are ponied up for the services of Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt … and Passengers is ready to go into production.   

However, this is all occurring as Amy Pascal, the studio’s head of production, is heading out the door at Sony (there is some debate as to whether she was fired or not) as former 20th Century-Fox production whiz, Thomas Rothman, is moving over from his TriStar slot to fill her spot (all of this during the spring of 2015).   Just after Labor Day the film goes into production and as they say the rest is history.

Here is where the marketing part of Passengers will be taught in film school.  

It would be a wonderful experience to be a fly-on-the-wall and know if the powers that be at Sony Pictures actually read Spaiht’s script before pumping over $100 million into the production of the film.  The theatrical trailer that was sent out to theatres suggests that the marketing group only found out about what the film was about after it was finished.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyJennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt star in a film about morality issues that bordered on stalking and have one of the characters making life choices that lead to dire consequences (read that as something of a “death sentence”).

Clearly you can’t tell potential theatrical audiences that will be drawn to Lawrence and Pratt in an A-list production that sort of thing.   So you lie.   Well, maybe “lie” is too strong a word.   You “fib” a bit; stretch the truth.

OK, that’s not all that uncommon in a theatrical trailer, especially when it comes to comedies.   “Wow, that looks like the funniest movie, ever” … until you discover that the three funny scenes in the entire movie are featured in the trailer.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyHere’s the deal, a massive space ship by the name of Avalon has been dispatched on a 120-year long interstellar journey to a new planet for colonization.   There are something like 5,000 people on board — men and women that represent a cross-section of skills and disciplines that will be needed on their new home world.

In making this type of interstellar journey, filmmakers over the years have wrestled with the problem of time and distance.   Planet of the Apes (1968) had Charlton Heston and his fellow passengers go into a hibernation sleep for the long, long journey, while Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek television and film franchise worked around the problem by introducing us to Warp Speed — vast amounts of empty space could be crossed by traveling faster than the speed of light.  “Warp Seven … make it so.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThere are many other examples, but you get the point … it’s a problem.   Humans probably can’t handle being put in a box at birth, grow up, live for 70, 80 or 90 years and then die in the same box (sure, they’ve covered billions and billions of miles, but to what purpose).   So the passengers on the Avalon are all sound asleep, a Rip Van Winkle slumber that will last 120 years, and then they will wake up exactly as they are now and be ready for the adventure of a lifetime on a brand new world.

That’s a great plan, except for Jim Preston (Pratt’s character), who wakes up 90 years early for some reason and finds himself completely alone on the vast space ship.   Everyone else is still asleep.  

There are no sunrises or sunsets.   There are no days, just blank time between heartbeats.   This goes on about a year (none of which is even suggested in the trailer) and Preston has finally reached his limit.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The first Twilight Zone episode — aired way back in October of 1959 — dealt with the same terror of being alone that Preston is facing.  Earl Holliman awakes to find himself in a town with no people and slowly starts to go insane from the loneliness of it all.   It turns out that he is actually part of an experiment to see how long a future astronaut could go before going bonkers.   

The limit for Preston, having been reached, takes him to a crossroads.  Kill himself or find a companion.   So he goes to the database of sleeping travelers and finds an attractive woman with an appealing profile and wakes her up, effectively condemning her to the same fate that befell him.  Again, this is not even hinted at in the trailer.

He compounds the problem by lying to her, which she eventually discovers and that turns their relationship from one of companions, friends and lovers to one that embodies hate and distrust.   The potential of 50 years of scenes from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? playing out in the cavernous decks of the Avalon are interrupted when the smooth sailing of the ship hits rocky waters.

Now the two must put aside their issues, unite and solve the technical problems facing the ship or everyone on board will die.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThe trailer lied to its potential audiences — both genre fans, who would be drawn to an interstellar adventure, and date-night couples looking for a story about two beautiful people having to work together to solve a life-and-death problem — a romantic thriller.

But it is no sin, this lie.   Sony Pictures delivered, more or less, what was promised — a romantic thriller starring A-list actors Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.   The fact that filmmaker Morten Tyldum provided Sony with a film that was far more complicated than expected, put the onus on the theatrical marketing team to be inventive.   And, they were!!!   When you gross nearly $100 million you have ample proof that they, the theatrical marketing team, did their job.

Stop for a moment and imagine a film where Chris Pratt’s character is recast along the lines of, say, someone like Anthony Perkins.   Play out the same script with Norman Bates selecting a mate to spend their “eternity” together on the Avalon.  Creepy or what?

Or, suppose you had another Anthony in the Chris Pratt role … Anthony Hopkins that is, cast as Jim Preston, who periodically wakes up different members of the crew for “dinner.” 
You didn’t get any of that.  You got a romantic thriller, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, but with a twist.   The thing is, as the audience, you didn’t know about the twist until you bought a ticket, grabbed a seat and settled in (with or without popcorn) for the movie. 
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAs to SKU configuration, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has both stand-alone DVD and Blu-ray editions in the mix, plus a 4K Ultra HD/3D-2D Blu-ray Combo Pack version. 
Of note — and here is some potential news — the customary black-themed packaging motif that has been used for 4K Ultra HD presentations to date has been abandoned by the home entertainment group for this release in favor of the traditional “Blue” Blu-ray packaging.  

This might suggest that the 4K Ultra HD format is not finding favor with either consumers or the Hollywood studios.   Or, it could be that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has elected to combine the 4K Ultra HD and the Blu-ray 3D viewing options into just one SKU, since neither has much of an installed base.   Let’s hold judgment on this particular issue until the next opportunity to release a 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack comes around.

As to bonus features, there are outtakes, a mock television commercial from the Homestead Company titled “Book Your Passage” and a trio of featurettes — “Casting the Passengers,” “Creating the Avalon” and “On Set with Chris Pratt.”  Exclusive to the Hi-Def SKUs are deleted scenes and the additional featurette titled “Space on Screen: The Visual Effects of Passengers.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
In other release news from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, circle Mar. 28 on your calendar as that is the street date for the animated feature-length DVD debut of director Richard Rich’s The Swan Princess: Royally Undercover.  

This is the seventh installment in this winning kid-friendly animated series that dates all the way back to 1994 with the release of The Swan Princess.

In this fun-filled adventure, Princess Alise must discover if strangers new to the Kingdom are who they say they are … it’s a royal mystery and every clue is examined and every gadget at her disposal is employed to discover the truth.

The theme song from The Swan Princess: Royally Undercover, “Born to be Me,” is delivered by The X Factor’s Macy Kate, who stars in the bonus featurette titled “In the Recording Studio with Macy Kate.”

And lastly, the official German entry into this year’s Oscar derby for Best Foreign Language Film is writer/director Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann, which will be making its DVD debut on Apr. 11.

The ARR for that date works out to 109 days and domestic box office receipts currently stand at $971,287.

Bonus features include commentary featuring the film’s stars, Peter Simonischek and Sandra Hüller, who are joined by producer Janine Jackowski, plus there is an AFI Festival Q&Q session featuring the aforementioned trio and fellow actor Ingrid Bisu.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story On DVD And Blu-ray From Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment On Apr. 4

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
It could be a smart corporate decision that we weren’t really thinking about.   This past week Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment announced Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack release on Apr. 4 … more on that in just a moment.

We’ve been a little critical of Disney for not having all of its mice lined up in the past when a major theatrical release was getting the nod for a move to the home entertainment market place.   And, there has certainly been plenty of evidence that hiccups have taken place … no big deal, but it happens.

But now we are beginning to wonder if the online Disney Store’s ( pattern of jumping ahead of the formal press announcements from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is a planned strategy.   Maybe it is actually a pretty smart corporate policy that looks to maximize revenues.  They have a captive audience for pre-orders already in place (a database of customers), so why not glean that group first before sharing the news with online and big-box retailers?

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
In any case, the biggest film of 2016 has now been given an Apr. 4 release date, which yields an ARR of 109 days.   The domestic box office haul was an out-of-this-world sum of $528.8 million.   

As to bonus goodies for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, there are 11 production featurettes — “A Rogue Idea,” “Jyn: The Rebel,” “Cassian: The Spy,” “K-2SO: The Droid,” “Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills,” “Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot and the Revolutionary,” “The Empire,” “Visions of Hope: The Look of Rogue One,” “The Princess and the Governor,” “Epilogue: The Story Continues” and “Rogue Connections.”

Lionsgate Home Entertainment Selects Mar. 28 As The Street Date For 4K Ultra HD • Blu-ray • And DVD Editions Of Writer/Director Peter Berg’s Patriots Day

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Lionsgate Home Entertainment has placed the CBS Films production of writer/director Peter Berg’s Patriots Day on its release calendar for delivery as DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack editions on Mar. 28.

It joins the previously announced release of filmmaker Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women on that date, and with Disney selecting Apr. 4 as the street date for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the next available window for Lionsgate’s La La Land looks to be Apr. 11.

The ARR for Patriots Day works out to 95 days and ticket sales were a little disappointing at just $31.5 million.  

The theatrical group for Lionsgate selected a platform release strategy of just seven screens during the Christmas through New Years period (3 full weeks) and then elected to widen it out to just over 3,000 screens in mid-January.   By that time the bloom was off of the rose (so to speak).

More and more it appears that traditional theatrical release strategies of the past are falling victim to digital and on-demand platforms — consumable media on an “eye-squint” machine (what’s the point of widescreen hi-def in that viewing environment).   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThere is some pretty compelling anecdotal evidence that consumers prone to this type of entertainment consumption are more than ready to skip ahead to digital platforms if they can’t get to a theatrical screening of any particular film during its opening weekend.   If Patriots Day is only playing in seven venues nationwide during the first three weeks of its theatrical run, it seems likely that the low attention span segments of the potential audience have already moved on if their entertainment needs can’t filled in the here and now.

There were several examples over the holiday period that absolutely tanked with the platform theatrical release strategy.   So it is go-wide out the gate or find another date if all of the venues (screens) are spoken for … that looks like the dynamics of the market place going forward.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyIn any case, Lionsgate Home Entertainment will have no trouble finding an audience for this story about the cowardly terrorists who set off two pressure-cooker bombs during the running of the Boston Marathon on Apr. 15, 2013, killing three innocent bystanders and maiming an additional 17 (plus close to 300 other injured).   They subsequently murdered Sean A. Collier (played in the film by Jake Picking), an MIT police officer, before being hunted down.

The film itself focuses on the activities of a “composite” character named Sergeant Tommy Saunders (played by Mark Wahlberg) of the Boston Police Department, who represents a number of Boston’s finest who were involved in the series of events that began on the day of the bombing and continued up to the capture of the surviving terrorist four days later. 

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAnother important character in the film is Watertown Police Department Sergeant Jeffrey    In a number of published interviews with Pugliese, he confirms that his scenes involving the Watertown shootout with the brothers are extremely accurate (he was on the set with filmmaker Peter Berg during the production).  So too is the carjacking sequence involving Dun Meng (played by Jimmy O. Yang).
Pugliese (played by J.K. Simmons), who is a real person.

Bonus features common to all release SKUs are the featurettes titled “Boston Strong: 3 True Stories of Courage” and “Researching the Day.”   Exclusive to the Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack editions of Patriots Day are a two-part presentation of “Actors Meet Real-Life Counterparts” and three additional featurettes — “The Boston Bond: Recounting the Tale,” “The Real Patriots: The Local Heroes' Stories” and “The Cast Remembers.”

Wild Eye Releasing Tabs Mar. 18 For The DVD Debut Of Director Christopher James Miller’s Mortuary Massacre

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Wild Eye Releasing, with sales and distribution support provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has tabbed Mar. 28 as the DVD debut date for director Christopher James Miller’s Mortuary Massacre, his latest horror anthology featuring the continuing exploits of Detective Giger (Todd Brown).

Chris Miller’s unique creation, Detective Giger, is always getting the short end of the stick … if it’s not time jumping (2035: Forbidden Dimensions), it’s the world of the occult (Carrion).   

Well, we can safely report that with Mortuary Massacre it is not getting any better as this time he has not one, but a trio of bloody cases to investigate … and all the information he has to work with comes courtesy of the local mortician, Mortimer King (played by Carl Crew).

Ariztical Entertainment Picks Apr. 18 For The DVD Debut Of Writer/Director Michelle Ehlen’s S&M Sally

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Ariztical Entertainment announced this past week that writer/director Michelle Ehlen’s award-winning “sexcapade” comedy, S&M Sally, will be making its DVD debut on Apr. 18.

Jill and Jamie are back!   When we last saw them they were winning our hearts in the 2013 comedy Heterosexual Jill, which had Jill testing her newfound non-lesbian status with her “former” partner Jamie and failing miserably.

This time the subject turns to “50 Shades” of sexual exploration when Jamie (Michelle Ehlen) discovers that Jill (Jen McPherson) has been checking out the sex-club scene.   Jamie makes a game effort at being cool, but she is no match for Jill who is always “50 steps” ahead at playing these “games.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAnd to compound the merriment, their “straight” couple friends, Lola (Shaela Cook) and David (Scott Keiji Takeda), have gone down the rabbit hole of “polyamory” with a sexual chameleon named Sebastian (Adrian Gonzalez).

Bonus goodies include outtakes, a pair of featurettes — “Behind the Scenes” and “Dungeon Tour” — and the music video from Lynx from Random Order, “Black Lipstick Kiss”

Ruthless Films Sets Two For April DVD Release — Western World (Apr. 11) And The Portal (Apr. 25)

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Ruthless Films, LLC, with sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, announced this past week that they have scheduled two new film releases for delivery to the DVD market place during the month of April.

First up on Apr. 11 is director Lana Read’s Western World, a blood-soaked Western tale that has U.S. Marshal Moses White (Christopher Rowley) being summoned to the Wyoming hamlet of Dogwood Pass to restore order.   But he soon finds that not is all that it seems.

Mayor Ambrose Taylor (Greg Steele) is a double-dealer that can’t be trusted, the local lawman, Sheriff Tom Ramey (Darrell P. Miller) has a screw loose and the lovely Camille (Amanda Miller) is harboring a secret — a secret passion — that makes her deadlier than her male counterparts.   Pity the Marshal White … getting out of Dogwood Pass alive isn’t looking all that good!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Two weeks later, on Apr. 25, Ruthless Films returns with the DVD debut of director Svend Ploug Johansen’s The Portal, from a script furnished by the prolific Patrick Rea.

A woman sits staring at a blank computer screen, unplugged, and when her friend goes to investigate her odd behavior all hell breaks loose.    

Come and enter the world of one hellish nightmare after another that are born from a portal to another dimension!   Investigate and you are dead.   Look into the vortex and you are gone.