Geared towards comic book and genre fans, Agent DVD Insider scoops DVD and Blu-Ray release announcements and news, along with commentary from industry experts and fellow comic fans.
Best Buy's 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray steelbook
If the new releases don’t offer much excitement in terms of retailer exclusives, there’s always future titles to look forward to.
Best Buy has preorder specials for a number of titles, including Warner’s Mad Max: Fury Road, which is now available via Digital HD. The disc doesn’t come out until Sept. 1, but Best Buy is offering a Blu-ray steelbook on preorder for $19.99 with digital availability now.
Best Buy also has preorders for Warner’s San Andreas ($24.99, with lenticular Blu-ray art), Universal’s Furious 7 ($19.99, with steelbook Blu-ray) and Disney’s Cinderella ($26.99, with lenticular Blu-ray cover).
Target touted preorders forUniversal’s Furious 7 and Pitch Perfect 2, and Disney’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, with a $5 gift card.
Target also had a buy-one-get-one 50% off deal on select movie and TV titles.
Best Buy offered a free $10 gift card with the purchase of $50 worth of TV shows on disc, or a $25 gift card with a $100 TV on disc purchase.
A couple of cinema’s biggest franchises are receiving a major home video marketing push before their latest installments hit theaters this fall. In particular, the six live-action “Star Wars” chapters and nine James Bond films will be re-released on Blu-ray in special steelbook packaging.
You’ve seen the steelbook around — that special metal packaging with special box art designed to stir up interest from collectors. Using steelbooks to re-package catalog titles is as commong as using them as retail exclusives for new releases.
The common thread here is that 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is behind the distribution of both collections, working with Disney on “Star Wars” and MGM on Bond.
The 23 official Bond films are being re-released on Blu-ray and in special boxed sets Sept. 15, in advance of the Nov. 6 theatrical release of Spectre, the 24th film in the series.
Nine of the films will be available as limited-edition Blu-ray steelbooks with box art inspired by their opening title sequences. This assortment includes the most recent films starring Daniel Craig as Bond — Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall — as well as six films featuring the villainous SPECTRE organization — From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever and For Your Eyes Only.
In addition, all 23 films will be available as part of The Ultimate James Bond Collection boxed set, which includes a 24th slot for Spectre (expected on Blu-ray early next year), as well as digital copies of all the films, a bonus disc containing the previously unavailable on disc 90-minute Everything or Nothing documentary, and a pocket-sized James Bond 50 Years of Movie Posters book.
To promote the upcoming film, the boxed set will also include two new featurettes based on interviews with renowned Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade — “The Shadow of SPECTRE” concentrates on the history of SPECTRE, and “The Story So Far” recaps significant moments from the three Craig films.
This collection will be sold exclusively at Amazon.com.
Collections for each actor to play Bond also will be released on Blu-ray and DVD with new artwork showcasing the actor. (even George Lazenby and his one film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, gets the collection treatment.)
The new Bond Blu-ray and DVD collections organized by actor and number of films:
The “Star Wars” steelbook Blu-rays arrive Nov. 10, in the lead-up to the hugely anticipated Dec. 18 theatrical release of Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens.
The steelbooks for the first six episodes will include a different character for each film. Aside from Yoda on Episode II, they’re all bad guys, interestingly enough — Darth Maul for Episode I, General Grievous for Episode III, Darth Vader for Episode IV, an Imperial Stormtrooper for Episode V and the Emperor for Episode VI.
Preorders for the “Star Wars” steelbooks begin Aug. 7. These look to be re-releases of the previously available discs, which include commentaries from George Lucas and the cast and crew.
In addition, the nine-disc Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray collection will be re-released Oct. 13 with new Darth Vader box art. The bonus discs contain more than 40 hours of previously released bonus material, including deleted scenes.
(L-R): Best Buy and Target exclusive 'Insurgent' covers.
Lionsgate's Insurgent, the sequel to last year's teen dystopia Divergent, offered no shortage of retail exclusives upon its disc debut Aug. 4.
Target offered a Blu-ray combo pack with a DVD version, exclusive box art and a bonus disc containing 45 minutes of additional behind-the-scenes material.
Best Buy offered steelbook packaging for the 3D Blu-ray combo pack and offered the steelbook Blu-ray combo pack of Divergent for $17.99.
Walmart offered DVD and Blu-ray gift backs of both Divergent and Insurgent packaged together.
Best Buy is taking $19.99 preorders for the Blu-rays of Furious 7 and Pitch Perfect 2, both from Universal. Furious 7 comes with a steelbook case, while Pitch Perfect 2 comes with a T-shirt.
DreamWorks Animation's Home arrived on disc July 28 with several retailer exclusives from which consumers could choose.
Target offered an exclusive bonus disc with more than 30 minutes of extra content, including material with Slushious the Flying Car. Target also gave away free popcorn and a medium soda at the Taret Café with the purchase of Home, which is distributed by Fox.
Best Buy offered the Home Blu-ray with special lenticular packaging, plus a $5 discount with the purchase of Home in conjunction with DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar, Shrek or How to Train Your Dragon on Blu-ray.
Best Buy also offered a deluxe Blu-ray set of Warner's Justice League: Gods and Monsters with a digital copy of the animated Wonder Woman movie.
Target offered the Gods and Monsters Blu-ray with a steelbook case. Both stores offered the deluxe version with a pack-on Wonder Woman figurine.
Best Buy is taking preorders for The Walking Dead: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray for $19.99. The preorder touts an exclusive lenticular cover and Best Buy members receive a $5 reward certificate.
Target offered an exclusive bonus disc and free popcorn with the DVD and Blu-ray of Warner's Scooby-Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery July 21.
Target also offered a buy-one, get-one 50% off promotion on all movies and TV series on disc.
Best Buy touted pre-orders for the Divergent sequel, Insurgent, for $19.99, with instant access to the movie via CinemaNow and a steelbook case with the eventual 3D Blu-ray combo pack.
Best Buy also touted $7.50 movie theater coupons to see the new film Pixels with select Sony Pictures Blu-rays.
Walmart's 'Paul Blart' double feature Blu-ray pack
Sony Pictures' Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 led the way July 14 with a number of retail exclusives.
The most notable was Walmart's two-pack pairing the Blu-ray of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 with the Blu-ray of the original movie, which was selected by fans from among several Kevin James films in a Facebook vote to be paired with the new film in the exclusive set.
Best Buy offered a $5 gift card with the purchase of the Blart 2 Blu-ray.
Target offered free Groovy Gold Minion goggles with the purchase of any "Despicable Me" movie on disc.
The only retail exclusives attached to the July 7 new releases involved Universal's Monster High: Scaris, City of Fright.
Walmart offered free stickers with the DVD of Monster High: Scaris, City of Fright. Target offered $5 instant savings with the purchase of the movie and a select "Monster High" doll.
Best Buy offered $10 off the purchase of the third season of "House of Cards" on disc with the purchase of one of the show's previous seasons.
Best Buy was selling a $29.99 "All Access Pass" to Minions, inlcuding a $10 Fandango movie ticket, 250 My Best Buy points, plus copies of the film on Blu-ray and Digital HD when available.
Retailers June 30 again shied away from tagging exclusive promotions to the new releases of the week. Instead, Target touted a selection of catalog DVDs and Blu-rays containing $7.50 coupons that can be applied to tickets for new movies in theaters, including Universal's animated Minions.
Best Buy touted the $7.99 promotional price for the Blu-ray of Magic Mike as part of Warner's marketing efforts for the upcoming theatrical sequel.
Best Buy also listed $8 Fandango movie coupons with select Paramount Blu-rays.
More interesting was what was missing from the weekly promotions. Target didn't list a price for the Blu-ray of Warner's Get Hard in its weekly ad, while Walmart didn't stock the Blu-ray of Lionsgate's While We're Young, which was listed as "sold out" online.
With the calendar officially turning to summer, the June 23 release slate consisted prmarily of a handful of direct-to-video family fare and a few cult-hit cable shows.
Universal released the latest "An American Girl" movie, Grace Stirs Up Success, which came with a cooking activity book at Target.
Target also had the exclusive DVD of Thomas & Friends: Wild Water Rescue.
During the slow week, Best Buy and Target focused on promoting preorders for bigger titles coming down the pipeline, in particular Fox's Home (just released on Digital HD) and Disney/Pixar's Inside Out. Target offered a $5 gift card with disc preorders for either title.
Best Buy touted $7.50 movie coupons for Ted 2 in theaters with the purchase of select titles.
Stores also made room for the pending Friday, June 26, release of Disney's Teen Beach Movie 2. Target and Best Buy both offered it at $14.99.
James Horner (1953-2015)
A good musical score can give a lot of life to a movie, but a great score can transcend the boundaries of its film to stand as a powerful work on its own.For film music fans, knowing a certain composer is attached to a project can generate tremendous interest that otherwise might not exist.
James Horner, who died in a plane crash June 22, was one of the best film composers of his or any generation.
In a career that spanned nearly four decades, Horner’s talent rested in his ability to distill the essence of a project into musical form. His music could range from epic to haunting, as adept at sweeping fanfares as quiet statements of intimate drama.
He was certainly one of my favorites when I was growing up, as his soundtracks shared a treasured space on my shelf (and still do) alongside the likes of John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Hans Zimmer and Alan Silvestri.
Horner was never afraid to try new sounds and styles, yet his work was always distinctly his.
As one of the most prolific composers of the 1980s and 1990s, Horner worked with many of the biggest directors in Hollywood, including James Cameron, Ron Howard, Mel Gibson, Edward Zwick and Wolfgang Peterson. For Cameron, he created the music for the two biggest box office earners of all time, Avatar and Titanic.
In 1986, Horner worked with George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola to provide a rousing score for Captain EO, the famed Disney theme park attraction starring Michael Jackson. Disney revived the show in 2010 as a tribute to Jackson, but I think it can serve now as an equally effective tribute to Horner’s legacy as well.
As we take the time to reflect on his career and the great joy it brought so many of us, I wanted to share my own list of my top 10 favorite James Horner scores.
Apollo 13 (1995)
Horner’s music is a perfect fit for Ron Howard’s film version of the story of the ill-fated Apollo 13 moon mission. The score drifts between flourishes of patriotism and high tension to culminate in massively inspirational movements that, when paired with the images on the screen, will leave many a viewer hard pressed not to walk away with a tear in the corner of their eye.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) & Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
I cheated a bit and linked these two together, since there is an obvious thematic link between them. Khan represents the pinnacle of Horner’s early years, highlighted by the exuberance of his youthful instincts contributing to a very nautical-sounding score that perfectly served the film’s outer space action, with dueling themes for Captain Kirk and his nemesis, Khan.
Horner rarely did sequels (he skipped The Amazing Spider-Man 2 but was set to take on the “Avatar” follow-ups), so it’s lucky he came on board to continue his contributions to the “Trek” canon. Here, Horner broke out a minor theme for Spock from Khan and made it a primary theme here, while adding new music for the Klingons.
For Mel Gibson’s re-creation of medieval Scotland, Horner used a lot of ethnically-appropriate instrumentation to craft a period-appropriate sound that emphasized the romance at the heart of the story.
Horner will forever be known as the composer of James Cameron’s depiction of the doomed ocean voyage, for several reasons. It’s one of the top-selling score albums ever, it won Horner his only two Oscars, and it gave Celine Dion her signature song, “My Heart Will Go On,” which Horner (and lyricist Will Jennings) wrote on an impulse and had to convince Cameron to use it in the movie. With its wide array of instrumentation and style, the score is the perfect embodiment of Horner’s career.
Horner partnered with director Ed Zwick for this drama about black soldiers fighting for the North in the Civil War.
Field of Dreams (1989)
One of Horner’s quieter scores provides a lot of the impact for the Kevin Costner baseball drama.
The Perfect Storm (2000)
Horner returned to the ocean with a conventional arrangement that nonetheless boasts a lovely main theme and an effective underscore.
Horner delves into the world of George Lucas with the Ron Howard-directed fantasy film.
Clear and Present Danger (1994)
Horner gave the adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel a very effective action score.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Horner’s most notable contribution to the exploding superhero genre allowed him to establish an energetic main theme for the web-slinger to distinguish the reboot from the methodical tones written by Danny Elfman a decade earlier.