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'X-Men: First Class' Blu-ray Keeps Viewers Plugged Into Franchise

7 Sep, 2011 By: Billy Gil

X-Men: First Class

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's X-Men: First Class Blu-ray Disc, streeting on Fox's dubbed “First Class Friday” Sept. 9, will give fans access to 40 characters from the film, plus past and future “X-Men” films.

The “Mutant Tracker” is one of several key bonus features Fox previewed from the Blu-ray Disc, which is listed at $39.99, and includes a digital copy. The DVD, also out Sept. 9, is listed at $29.98. The discs will come in both Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) covers.

The “Mutant Tracker” featurette will expand as the franchise does, according to Fox. Other featurettes include an eight-part “Children of the Atom” documentary on the making of the film, and deleted and extended scenes.

Fox previewed featurettes on the film's costuming and one on the makeup used to transform Academy Award-nominated actress Jennifer Lawrence into the scaly, blue-skinned mutant Raven.

“The transformation is really breathtaking,” said producer Lauren Shuler Donner of the five-hour process, which, she noted, was a reduction from the eight-hour process employed to transform actress Rebecca Romijn into the same character in previous “X-Men” films.

Another featurette, “The Sound and the Fury,” focuses on the musical score created by Henry Jackman, which incorporated the feel of 1960s “James Bond” film scores. The featurette shows an animated Jackman “turning Erik's (Magneto's) vengeance into music,” according to Donner.

Visual effects designer John Dykstra also discussed a featurette on the special effects used for the characters' powers, pointing out the difficulties in paying attention to the powers that already were created in past films but creating new ones, such as Sebastian Shaw's (Kevin Bacon) power-absorption. (Read Chris Tribbey's interview with Dykstra here.)

Fox touted the disc release, saying the “X-Men” franchise, which includes three other movies, have sold more than 60 million units combined on DVD and Blu-ray. Jennifer Chai, Fox SVP of brand marketing for North America, said the release marks the first summer blockbuster out on disc this year, and the first superhero movie out this season (Paramount's Thor is out Sept. 13).

Chai said Fox would promote the release with Fox's biggest marketing campaign since Avatar, which is the highest-grossing theatrical release of all time, targeting the 18- to 34-year-old male demographic with televised First Class ads during NFL games.

Fox also has partnered with Marvel Comics, which publishes “X-Men” comics, to offer First Class Blu-ray buyers an access code for 10 digital “First Class” comics, including one exclusive on the foundation of the Hellfire Club, the villain supergroup that factors largely into the film.

The attention to detail put into the film and its home video release was apparent from its cast and crew's enthusiasm, as was its attention to the history of “X-Men” — First Class is not beholden to the comic book series but uses characters, elements and storylines pulled directly from the series.

Actor Lucas Till, who plays the character Havok in the film, said he was only familiar with “X-Men: The Animated Series” growing up (The series is available on DVD from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment). He said it was one person's job to give each actor a binder full of comics related to the character's role.

Till said he hasn't seen the Blu-ray Disc yet but likely appears in it as a costume model. Indeed, Donner said she used Till as a costume model at least 20 times.

“It was super excited to be in the movie, so I was eager to put on the suit at any point of development, for camera tests,” Till said.

Donner said she kept records of everything they did, from designs to fittings, for eventual use in the DVD and Blu-ray Disc. As for future installments in the “X-Men” film universe, which Donner alluded to with the “Mutant Tracker” featurette.

Donner, who also produced the first three “X-Men” films, when asked if beloved “X-Men” characters such as Cyclops and Jean Grey would appear in the next “First Class” film, would only say, “Maybe. Let's just say, I hope so.”

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