Continuing the popularity of action-thrillers featuring robots, the Hugh Jackman-starring "Real Steel" was a sizeable hit around the globe in theaters and it will be looking to follow up its success this week in the home market as well. "Paranormal Activity 3" also posted gaudy numbers when it was in theaters just a few months back and should resonate with a sizeable chunk of horror-seeking audience members as it moves onto Blu-ray and standard DVD this week. Other titles hitting stores this week include indie comedy "50/50" and a bevy of older titles, including Alfred Hitchcock classics like "Notorious" and "Rebecca" as well as Billy Wilder's Oscar-winner "The Apartment."
Marketed as "Rocky" with robots, "Real Steel" swept into theaters this past October and ended up as one of the biggest hits of the fall, grossing $85 million domestically and $295 million worldwide. "Real Steel" tells the story of a former boxer (Jackman) struggling to come to terms with a new world in which regular boxing has been given up in favor of human-controlled robots. Billed as an inspirational story for moviegoers of all ages, "Real Steel" shouldn't have much of a problem drumming up some interest in the home market as well, particularly with minimal action competition over the next couple of weeks.
While "Real Steel" looks to snag a few action audiences, horror lovers will probably turn to "Paranormal Activity 3," which was one of the most lucrative films of 2011 and continues to be an enormous hit for distributor Paramount. Though "Paranormal Activity 2" saw waning numbers from the smash hit original, "P.A. 3" ended up being a gigantic hit this past October, earning a spectacular $52 million in its opening weekend and eclipsing $100 million domestically by the time it was out of theaters. With a production budget of only $5 million and a worldwide gross of more than $200 million, Paramount is already pushing forward a fourth installment in the franchise that will hit theaters this fall.
Aiming at a much more niche audience this week will be the Joseph Gordon-Levitt-starring "50/50." Also starring popular funny man Seth Rogen, "50/50" is based on the true story of a young cancer patient (Gordon-Levitt) who is given only a coin toss of a chance at survival. Though "50/50" was far from a runaway hit, it ended up riding very strong critical support to a $35 million domestic haul in theaters, a very nice total for a limited release that cost just $8 million to produce.
Film buffs not as interested in the new releases this week are also in luck, with a bevy of special edition Blu-ray releases that celebrate a few classics from yesteryear being released. As famed director Alfred Hitchcock's first American project, "Rebecca" was a smash hit when it was released in 1940, helping it eventually win the coveted Best Picture Oscar and helping to launch the career of one of cinema's most acclaimed filmmakers. Also hitting Blu-ray this week is Hitchcock's classic "Notorious," a spy thriller dealing with post-WWII Nazis starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.
Also hitting stores this week on Blu-ray is Billy Wilder's much loved 1960 classic "The Apartment," starring Jack Lemmon in one of his most famous roles alongside Shirley MacLaine. "The Apartment" was a runaway hit with both audiences and critics at the time of its release, helping it eventually snag Best Director for Billy Wilder (his second for Best Director) and Best Picture as well.
Sticking with the theme of Oscar winners, Woody Allen's masterpiece "Annie Hall" is also getting a Blu-ray release for the first time this week. Released in 1977, "Annie Hall" won a slew of Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Diane Keaton and both Best Director and Best Writing for Allen. Just a couple years later, Allen had nearly as much success with his comedy "Manhattan," which is also getting launched on the high-definition of Blu-ray this week. Allen remains one of the most beloved of filmmakers to the Academy to this day, helping him earn Oscar nominations this year for Best Director, Best Writing and Best Picture for "Midnight in Paris."
Next week, horror remake "The Thing" is hitting Blu-ray and standard DVD alongside Justin Timberlake's action-thriller "In Time" and "Drive," an acclaimed indie thriller starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. Also reaching the home market will be the 3D Blu-ray version of the latest "Transformers" release and a new special edition Blu-ray set for Oscar winners "Shakespeare in Love" and "The English Patient." Charlie Kaufman's masterpiece "Adaptation" is another title hitting Blu-ray as is Spike Lee's "Malcolm X" and a new special edition set of classic "To Kill a Mockingbird."
by RTT Staff Writer
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