One wonders if the home video divisions of the studios got together this week and said, "Hey, we all have these movies that deal with weapons designers. Let's all announce them at the same time." Doubtful that is what happened, but Paramount, Sony and Universal could not have made a better connection for the opening of the column this week.
As we have been hinting at for the past couple of weeks, the big summer blockbusters were going to drop into the market soon enough. And it begins on Sept. 28 with Paramount's Iron Man 2. One of the few relatively well-reviewed films of the summer, it actually came up about $9 million short from the original's $318 million tally at the box office. That was still good enough to be the third highest grosser of the year so far (behind Toy Story 3 & Alice In Wonderland). The DVD will feature commentary by director Jon Favreau, deleted scenes and a couple of featurettes. The Blu-ray will include all that plus the "Ultimate" Making-of Featurette and the S.H.I.E.L.D. Data Vault where you can "view case files, dossiers, training films, tech details and more."
If you prefer your action hero weapon makers with a lot less brains, than Will Forte's MacGruberis your guy. The $8.5 million bomb that was funnier than some gave it credit for comes home Sept. 7 from Universal in an unrated edition. It was the first SNL-inspired film since 2000's The Ladies Man and our own Eric D. Snider said it was the funniest such adaptation "since Wayne's World." (I would have said Stuart Saves His Family.) Considering the choices in-between included A Night at the Roxbury, Superstar and Blues Brothers 2000, it isn't saying much. But still, funnier than anything since Stuart Saves His Family.
The best of the new theatrical announcements, though, concern a group of misfits taking ON the weapons industry. Namely a pair of manufacturers responsible for producing the bullet that finds itself lodged by chance in our hero's head in Micmacs. You will not see Michael Moore trying to return those bullets. Instead its another whimsical trip spearheaded by
Jean-Pierre Jeunet headed to DVD & Blu-ray on Sept. 21. The enchantment proved a bit too much for some reviewers, but it's by far more clever and colorful than most attempts at forced whimsy these days and this should remain a top pick for a week that currently sits without a wide theatrical release from the studios. Might be a good date for A Nightmare On Elm Street to sneak in or perhaps something like Robin Hood or even Marmaduke to beat Paramount to the punch.
Sony will also be releasing The Experiment(the remake of Das Experiment) on Sept. 21 starring Adrien Brody, Cam Gigandet, Maggie Grace, Forest Whitaker and Clifton Collins Jr. And on Oct. 5 will release the straight-to-video sequel, 30 Days of Night: Dark Days with A Perfect Getaway's Kiele Sanchez taking over the Melissa George role and being aided in drawing male attention to this title by co-stars Mia Kirshner and Diora Baird.
Warner Bros. contribution to this segment includes Ultimate Editions of the current middle chapters of the Harry Potter franchise - Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire on Oct. 19. How "ultimate" are they? Each features one new installment of the "Creating the World of Harry Potter" series. Not even a golden ticket stuffed away somewhere for a free trip to the new theme park? Hogwarts, indeed. Virgil Films will be releasing the peculiar 6 1/2 Year Anniversary Edition of Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Meon Sept. 28. And for some true junk food, Shout! Factory continues their assault on the Roger Corman catalog with The Slumber Party Massacre on Oct. 5.
Those looking up the Jeunet resume as we speak will be delighted to know that his acclaimed 1991 apocalyptic comedy, Delicatessenwill make its way to the format on Sept. 14 from Lions Gate. That same day, despite Criterion already having their own Blu-ray edition, Lions Gate will release their own version of The Third Man which will feature a new commentary with assistant director Guy Hamilton, actor Simon Callow and crew member Angela Allen.
Paramount again wins with the Blu-ray news of the week, including going all Sapphire Series on Sam Mendes' Oscar-winning American Beauty and the release of the first ever Dreamworks production to hit theaters to the format. Anyone remember what that was? It was the George Clooney/Nicole Kidman terrorist thriller, The Peacemaker. Pretty underappreciated in its time, I've always felt the film could stand alongside both Jack Ryan and Jason Bourne. Check both titles out on Sept. 21 and tell me I'm nuts. Seriously, see the movie again first and then call me nuts.
The studio also serves up the first of a pair of exclusive Blu-ray entities this week. On Aug. 31, the Unrated Rich Mahogany Edition of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundywill be available only at Best Buy stores. And on October 5, Warner Bros. will give Amazon first dibs at selling Roland Joffe's The Mission, complete with a new installment of "Creating the World of Harry Potter." Just kidding on the latter part. The film will still be available on Blu-ray.
For further planning, just click on the following links for a full schedule of DVD and Blu-ray releases.