The Week In Video Part LVIII

Monday, February 12 2018
The Week In Video Part LVIII

Our latest round up of current and forthcoming releases looking at their trade potential…

The biggie for the school half-term holidays is the latest from the brick heads at Lego. The Lego Ninjago Movie (Warner, February 12). It doesn’t have some of the parental appeal of its animated brick predecessors, Ninjago not being as well known as Batman, while the first, just Lego itself, didn’t have the barrier to entry that a word such as Ninjago puts up.

Children are fully aware of this arm of the mighty Danish empire, which features a group of ninja kids and their evil adversary, Gardamon, however, and won’t be disappointed by it in any way shape of form. And adults needn’t fear – the film features the deliciously wicked sense of humour employs throughout the animated Lego animated adventures (one running gag had us laughing throughout). While it doesn’t quite have the blockbuster appeal of The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie – its £10 million box office is a quarter of that of the first, less than half of the second – but it should offer a decent conversion rate, while parents who wavered over taking the family to the cinema and its associated costs, shouldn’t balk at the relatively cheaper outlay for the home entertainment release.

Also from Warner, and the major has bene expanding its forays into the DC world with an increased roster of DTV titles. The feature length Batman outing The Killing Joke, based on the Alan Moore penned graphic novel of the same name, blazed a trail for the animated adventures last year – it sold strongly, and also set out the stall for the approach, 15-rated and darker, more grown up than even some of the the Dark Knight features. Latest is Gotham By Gaslight (out now), which, as the cognoscenti will know, is part of the DC Elseworlds series that transplants its heroes into different scenarios; this time it’s Batman in a Victorian city, coming up against Jack the Ripper. It got off to a strong start and. as Warner said, it’s an “indication of the appetite” for its DTV animated title, and, with more to follow – next on the slate are Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay and Batman Ninja – the signs are good going forward.

Also off to a bright start on its initial release is Blade Runner 2049 (out now). Acres has already been written about the film itself, but it’s worth Noting a few impressive elements of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s release. For starters, it’s a gorgeous looking Blu-ray; the detail of Denis Villeneuve’s film is all there to see, it’s as close as the format can come to replicating the big screen experience. The extras are smart too, some great anime-style pieces that link the original Rodley Scott film and this long-gestating sequel together, looking at the intervening years between the two. The way it works on high definition formats has been perfectly illustrated by initial sales, with a healthy split towards Blu-ray and one of the biggest ever week one sales results for a 4K Ultra HD release. Kudos to SPHE for executing a strong campaign, both above the line and particularly through social media, for managing to keep the film alive between its theatrical release and home entertainment bow. Some nice packaging, exclusive elements and more all added to its worth too. Like its predecessor, which has sold over the years on each new additional format, one would hope that Blade Runner 2049 will have a long shelf life too.

Also from SPHE, comes Flatliners (SPHE, out now), a remake that was pronounced dead on its theatrical release and has effectively been resuscitated for its home entertainment release effectively by Sony. This and its latest STX-distributed title Home Again (out now) both scored well in their first week on sale and add more feathers to SPHE’s cap. It’s currently one of the go-to companies for the home entertainment business, scoring with its own titles, big and small. The old industry adage that you show your mettle and worth when your studio hasn’t got the blockbuster releases or huge tentpoles holds well, but Sony is working both its bigger and smaller titles well. Home Again is a different case, as STX gave it a strong platform through a high profile theatrical release, but Flatliners shows how the major can work with a film’s key selling points (a known brand, some biggish names, a teen or twentysomething horror-ish plot) and ignore its negative aspects (it’s the kind of remake that no-one really asked for) and turn it around.

Moving into a somewhat artier sphere than a Reese Witherspoon romcom, or a teen horror remake, The Colour Of Pomegranates (Second Sight, February 19) is a bona fide world cinema classic, Sergei Parajanov’s tale of an Armenian poet’s life is a sumptuous looking film that arrives with a strong reputation earned over the years and, in this from Second Sight, it’s presented in a definitive version, the Blu-ray doing the sumptuous imagery justice on a home entertainment release for arguably the first time. It’s never looked better either on disc or in terms of the packaging, it’s may not be an instant hit doing big week one numbers, but it will sell consistently over a long period of time.

We’ll end with with one genre that has always been much maligned for home viewing, dating right back to the rental days, when dealers used to pass over anything suggesting the involvement of gunslingers, the Western. Brimstone (Thunderbird Releasing, February 19) is a Western-based thriller, boasting a hugely impressive cast, including Dakota Fanning as our intrepid hero, taking on evil preacher Guy Pearce, deliciously evil and quite clearly having a whale of a time. It has many of the elements that might dissuade the casual punter, not least a running time somewhere around the two and a half hour mark, but it arrives with a welter of strong reviews behind it, the kind that can truly lift a film. Much like the film itself, sales will be a slow burn, but will prove worthwhile in the end.

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