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Insights from home entertainment industry experts. Home Media blogs give you the inside scoop on entertainment news, DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases, and the happenings at key studios and entertainment retailers. “TK's Take” analyzes and comments on home entertainment news and trends, “Agent DVD Insider” talks fanboy entertainment, “IndieFile” delivers independent film news, “Steph Sums It Up” offers pithy opinions on the state of the industry, and “Mike’s Picks” offers bite-sized recommendations of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases.


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25 Jul, 2017

'Boss Baby' Brings Goodies

Walmart's 'Boss Baby' Blu-ray cover
Walmart's 'Boss Baby' Blu-ray cover

Fox's July 25 home video release of DreamWorks' The Boss Baby was accompanied by several retailer exclusives.

Walmart offered exclusive box art with the Blu-ray combo pack and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack versions, and offered 20 minutes of extras via the Vudu streaming service.

Target offered a gift set that included the Blu-ray combo pack with an exclusive talking keychain that says six movie quotes.

Best Buy offered a Boss Baby lunchbox for $4.99 with the purchase of the film or another qualifying title.

Paramount's Ghost in the Shell also came with some exclusives. Target offered exclusive Blu-ray box art and 30 minutes of exclusive extras. Best Buy offered Steelbook packaging with the Blu-ray and UHD versions.

Again, some DVD versions of new releases were hard to come by at brick-and-mortar stores, With Warner's Unforgettable and Fox's Gifted being Blu-ray only at Best Buy locations. Amazon's DVD of Unforgettable was available only through third-party Marketplace sellers upon its debut.

Amazon also seems to have shut down preorders on several Disney titles, including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Rebels: The Complete Season Three.


18 Jul, 2017

'Kong' Is King of Exclusives

Walmart's two-pack of 'Kong: Skull Island' and 'Godzilla.'
Walmart's two-pack of 'Kong: Skull Island' and 'Godzilla.'

Retailers weren't shy with exclusives tailored to Warner's Kong: Skull Island July 18.

Walmart actually had two disc exclusives for the new adventure film. The first was a single-disc DVD edition in which the only extra is a director's commentary; the widely available DVD is a two-disc set with a bonus disc containing featurettes and deleted scenes.

The other Walmart exclusive was a Blu-ray two-pack containing Kong: Skull Island and 2014's Godzilla, the film for which the "Kong" reboot is something of a prequel, in that both films are set in the same fictional world and the central monsters of both are destined to fight on film in 2020. In addition, the version of the Kong Blu-ray combo pack included with this set features unique box art.

Best Buy offered a Steelbook edition of the Kong: Skull Island Ultra HD Blu-ray edition.

Target offered a special Kong Blu-ray combo pack with lenticular box art and 12 minutes of exclusive bonus content labeled as "A Terrifying Paradise: Creating Skull Island."

At Amazon, on the other hand, the DVD edition wasn't even being sold on its debut day; fans looking to buy the DVD version from the online retailer had to find a copy from a third-party Marketplace affiliate. To compound the issue, the version of the DVD linked to the title was the Spanish Region 2 version; the proper Region 1 edition was listed separately.

Not that the version availability issues are isolated to Amazon, as several of the big retailers only stocked either the DVD or Blu-ray version of the bigger titles of the week. Target just had the DVD version of Universal's The Promise, while Best Buy stores offered just the Blu-ray version of The Promise and Lionsgate's Free Fire. At Target and Best Buy, the missing version was available online.

Also notable at Target, Sony Pictures' new animated Resident Evil: Vendetta was available only in the Blu-ray version, not DVD or UHD, which were readily available at the other retailers.

Otherwise, Target's weekly ad devoted a lot of space to tout preorders of the Aug. 22 Blu-ray release of Disney's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, for which Target is offering a free $5 gift card with preorders. Target's Blu-ray also includes exclusive digital bonus content.

Best Buy will have the exclusive 4K/3D Blu-ray combo pack for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.


17 Jul, 2017

New on Disc: 'Joe Versus the Volcano' and more …


Joe Versus the Volcano (Blu-ray)

Available via Warner Archive
Warner, Comedy, $21.99 Blu-ray, ‘PG.’
Stars Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, Ossie Davis.
1990.
Despite a loopy affability that occasionally comes off as strained though rarely to deal-breaking extremes, Joe Versus the Volcano is liable to leave viewers sporting a mild smile for a hundred minutes.
Read the Full Reviews

The Savage Innocents (Blu-ray)

Olive, Drama, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Anthony Quinn, Yoko Tani, Peter O’Toole.
1960.
This cult hit from director Nicholas Ray gets off to something of a rocky start, which it then rebounds from to not insignificant extent by treating Anthony Quinn’s “Baby Huey of an Inuit” character and customs with sympathy and something like respect.
Read the Full Reviews


11 Jul, 2017

Furious Smurfing

Best Buy's Fate of the Furious' Blu-ray Steelbook
Best Buy's Fate of the Furious' Blu-ray Steelbook

Retailers offered a number of exclusives for Universal's The Fate of the Furious and Sony Pictures' Smurfs: The Lost Village.

For the eighth 'Fast & Furious' movie, Best Buy offered Steelbook packaging for both the Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray versions. Target offered the Blu-ray as a "Limited Deluxe Edition" with a cinch sack. And Walmart offered the Blu-ray versions with exclusive bonus content.

Walmart also offered a gift set of the eight-movie Blu-ray collection with a T-shirt for $69.96.

Target offered previous "Fast & Furious" movies on Blu-ray for $7.99 each. BestBuy.com had a deal to get the previous movies for $5 each with the purchase of Fate of the Furious.

For the "Smurfs" reboot, Target offered a Blu-ray "Summer Vacation Edition" with an exclusive bonus disc offering "Smurf Scout Camp." Walmart offered the Blu-ray with a lunchbox.

Best Buy is taking preorders for an exclusive Steelbook 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of Warner's Kong: Skull Island, due July 18. Best Buy is also offering $5 in My Best Buy Rewards for members who buy select titles, such as the exclusive Steelbook edition of Sony Pictures' Fifth Element 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.


10 Jul, 2017

New on Disc: 'They Live by Night' and more …


They Live by Night

Criterion, Romance, $29.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Farley Granger, Cathy O’Donnell, Howard Da Silva, Jay C. Flippen.
1949.
Though it deviates from Edward Anderson’s 1937 source novel in key respects, director Nicholas Ray’s screen debut is second only to Citizen Kane as the Hollywood directorial debut of the 1940s.
Extras: Premier noir expert Eddie Muller’s commentary is carried over from the old Warner DVD). Film critic Imogen Sara Smith appears on camera to place the film in the intriguing canon of non-metropolitan “on the road” noirs. Also, the essay by film scholar Bernard Eisenschitz does a similar job of pressing the right buttons when it comes to explaining why I love the movie so much.
Read the Full Review

Hell and High Water (Blu-ray)

Available via ScreenArchives.com
Twilight Time, Drama, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Richard Widmark, Bella Darvi, Victor Francen, Cameron Mitchell, Gene Evans.
1954.
Director Samuel Fuller was far more of a Cold War than parsnip kind of guy, which pretty much mandates that his early CinemaScope political potboiler Hell and High Water would involve Commies, submarines, The Bomb and, yes, a femme scientist from the Vogue blueprint brought along to assist an elderly mentor with his professorial calculations.
Extras: Includes an essay from Julie Kirgo.
Read the Full Review


4 Jul, 2017

Titles Scarce, But Stores Open for 2017 Independence Day

Target's Illumination animation catalog display
Target's Illumination animation catalog display

New releases for the week were somewhat limited thanks to the typical Tuesday new-release date falling on the July 4 holiday in 2017.

The only new title available at all locations was Universal's The Zookeeper's Wife, a drama with Jessica Chastain that earned $17 million at the domestic box office.

Another title with a notable cast and director was otherwise nowhere to be found — Broad Green's Song to Song. The Terrence Malick-directed film, which stars Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara and Natalie Portman, earned just $443,684 at the domestic box office and was available only online at the big chains. In fact, Amazon had the title listed as out of stock on its first day of release, available only through third-party Marketplace sellers.

What's more, a search for the film's title at Walmart.com automatically changes the parameter to "song to sing," which could be someone of a burden for people actually looking for the film.

Otherwise, the week was marked by a handful of sales and other promotions. Target and Best Buy kept displays promising an $8 Despicable Me 3 movie coupon with the purchase of other Illumination animated films, such as The Secret Life of Pets, Sing and, of course, the previous "Despicable Me" movies.

Stores also restocked DVDs and Blu-rays of previous seasons of "Game of Thrones" in time for the new season on HBO.

Best Buy offered a free $5 gift card with the puchase of select Blu-rays. Another deal offered two Blu-rays for $15 from a selection.


27 Jun, 2017

Plenty of Options for 'Power Rangers'

Best Buy's deluxe 'Power Rangers' Blu-ray
Best Buy's deluxe 'Power Rangers' Blu-ray

The big retailers brought out exclusive editions for the June 27 Blu-ray Disc release of Lionsgate's Power Rangers.

Best Buy offered a collector's set of the Blu-ray containing special packaging and art cards.

Target offered the Power Rangers Blu-ray in Steelbook packaging with a graphic novel.

Walmart offered the Blu-ray with a bonus disc containing a "Ranger Recon" featurette that goes on set wiht the director and cast, and a featurette about the visual effects.

Best Buy had a special $59.99 collector's set called Spider-Man: Legacy Collection containing the five films from the previous "Spider-Man" franchises in two different Steelbook cases: one for the Sam Raimi series, including Spider-Man 3: The Editor's Cut, and another for the two "The Amazing Spider-Man" films. The set also came with a $7.50 coupon to see Spider-Man: Homecoming in theaters.


20 Jun, 2017

'Showing Roots' at Walmart


Walmart has an exclusive DVD of the movie Showing Roots starring Maggie Grace and Uzo Aduba for $9.96. The film tells the story of two women who cross racial boundaries to form a friendship and fight against inequality in their small town. The DVD includes a behind-the-scenes featurette.

Sony Pictures has re-released Blu-rays and DVDs of the previous five "Spider-Man" movies to offer $7.50 coupons for a ticket to the upcoming theatrical release of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Walmart had a significant display of the titles in their discount kiosk.

Target is offering a free $5 gift card with pre-orders of Universal's The Fate of the Furious at target.com/preorder. The movie comes with a collectible clinch sack.

Other Target preorder exclusives include a Steelbook case and graphic novel with the Blu-ray of Lionsgate's Power Rangers.


19 Jun, 2017

New on Disc: 'The Ballad of Cable Hogue' and more …


The Ballad of Cable Hogue (Blu-ray)

Available via Warner Archive        
Warner; Western; $21.99 Blu-ray; ‘R.’
Stars Jason Robards, Stella Stevens, David Warner, Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones, Slim Pickens.
1970.
Director Sam Peckinpah referred to Ballad as his personal favorite in later years, and befitting its title, the movie really does play like the parable set to music that it sometimes literally is.
Extras: Included is a commentary by Nick Redman and his longtime gallery of fellow Peckinpah historians (Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle), plus Redman’s frank featurette interview with Stella Stevens from the earlier DVD release.
Read the Full Review

Housekeeping (Blu-ray)

All-Region Import
Indicator, Drama, $20 Blu-ray, ‘PG-13.’
Stars Christine Lahti, Sara Walker, Andrea Burchill.
1987.
It may be dominated by a character who’s batty and maybe even beyond, but from the very opening we sense that this is a movie about to get under our skins in a subliminal kind of way.
Extras: Featurettes focus on interviews with director Bill Forsyth and cinematographer Michael Coulter; There are also several essays, plus reminiscences by editor Michael Ellis and even author Marilynne Robinson, who seems to be pleased by the adaptation of her book, which was thought to be unfilmable.
Read the Full Review

 


13 Jun, 2017

Retailers Build Exclusives for 'Lego Batman Movie'

Walmart's 'Lego Batman Movie' Blu-ray lunchbox
Walmart's 'Lego Batman Movie' Blu-ray lunchbox

Several retail promotions were tied to the June 13 home video release of Warner's The Lego Batman Movie.

Walmart offered a gift set containing the Blu-ray combo pack with a lunchbox that had a cape on it.

Target offered the Blu-ray combo pack with a pack-on Batgirl mini-figure and three collectible postcards. Target also offered 15% off any "Lego Batman" product with the purchase of the film on disc.

Toys "R" Us offered the Blu-ray combo pack at $29.99 with a Batmobile Lego building set.

Best Buy offered the Blu-ray combo pack with Steelbook packaging. Best Buy also had Steelbook packaging for the Blu-ray combo pack of Lionsgate's John Wick Chapter 2.

Best Buy also offered a deluxe edition of Paramount's South Park: The Complete Twentieth Season containing the Blu-ray and exclusive 12-inch art cards.

Tied into promotions for the upcoming theatrical release of Transformers: The Last Knight, Walmart offered a $25.96 gift set containing a Blu-ray set of the first four live-action "Transformers" films on Blu-ray, plus a mini Transformers action figure.

Among the curiosities of the week, Amazon didn't have on-hand copies of the plain DVD for Lego Batman Movie, with shoppers wanting to buy a copy from the online retailer on its first day of release having to do so from a third-party marketplace seller.

Also, Fox's Table 19, a notable theatrical release starring Anna Kendrick that grossed $3.6 million at the domestic box office, wasn't offered at brick-and-mortar Best Buy and Target locations, where it was an online-only item. And Barnes & Noble offered it online at full SRP.