Following up mediocre box office runs last year, both biopic "J. Edgar" and action-comedy "Tower Heist" will look to have more of an impact on DVD as they hit stores this week. Launching this Friday, February 24th, popular animated film "Puss in Boots" should continue its success with families, while indie lovers might turn to acclaimed drama "Martha Marcy May Marlene." In addition to "J. Edgar" getting released this week, director Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winner "Unforgiven" will also hit stores in a new special edition Blu-ray set celebrating the film's 20th anniversary.
Coming right after the alleged finale for the "Shrek" series, "Puss in Boots" had no problem finding its target audience when it hit theaters last fall. Aided by an enormous first 17 days in theaters, the Dreamworks film ended up with an impressive $149 million domestically and crossed over internationally as well, pushing its total to $522 million overall. With virtually no similar competition this week, "Puss in Boots" should clean up with family audiences for the next couple of weeks.
Not seeing nearly as much commercial success was Clint Eastwood's biopic of infamous FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Initially marketed as a major awards season contender, "J. Edgar" struggled to get off the ground when it hit theaters, even with a fiery lead performance from Leonardo DiCaprio. Politely applauded by critics, "J. Edgar" lacked the usual acclaim that many of Eastwood's films have had over the years, leading to it getting completely shut out for all the prominent year-end awards.
Without much positive buzz, "J. Edgar" ended up with a disappointing theatrical run and just $37 million in domestic receipts. "J. Edgar" did find somewhat of an audience outside of the U.S., pushing its worldwide total to $73 million, but it remains one of Eastwood's more commercially disappointing releases in recent years. With minimal competition in the home market this week, though, "J. Edgar" should rebound somewhat as audiences give it a second chance without the expensive theater prices.
The same might end up happening with "Tower Heist," an action-comedy from director Brett Ratner that struggled to meet lofty commercial expectations. Starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy, "Tower Heist" was mostly panned by critics and audiences preferred Adam Sandler's "Jack and Jill" during its box office run last November. But without competition from another mainstream comedy giant like Sandler this weekend, "Tower Heist" should do a little better at finding some of its intended audience on DVD and Blu-ray.
While "Tower Heist" looks to scoop up mainstream audiences, indie lovers can turn to "Martha Marcy Marlene." Starring Elizabeth Olsen, the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley, R-rated "Martha" explores the psychological effects of a young girl who escapes a dangerous cult and looks to get back to a normal life. Backed by very strong critical support (90% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes), "Martha" was the talk of the indie world for a few weeks when it hit theaters last fall, though it was largely lost in the shuffle when the awards season hopefuls were launched.
Also for the film buffs, there are a couple noteworthy titles getting new Blu-ray releases this week. After Kevin Costner helped revive the western with "Dancing with Wolves" in the early 90s, Clint Eastwood took it to another level with his dark masterpiece "Unforgiven," a revisionist gunslinger saga that redefined the genre Eastwood had been working in for years. "Unforgiven" would go on to win Best Picture, Best Director (Eastwood's first) and Best Supporting Actor, with Gene Hackman beating out Jack Nicholson's oft-quoted performance in "A Few Good Men." Though Eastwood remains highly esteemed, "Unforgiven" marks the pinnacle of Eastwood's career as an actor and filmmaker, making it a must-own on Blu-ray for Eastwood fans.
Classic film fans will also get a chance to check out "Anatomy of a Murder" this week as it hits the high-definition of Blu-ray. Starring Gregory Peck, "Anatomy" was a big hit when it reached theaters in the late 1950s, setting a new benchmark for the courtroom drama. Nominated for seven Oscars, "Anatomy" remains one of the highlights of acclaimed director Otto Preminger's career and ended up being one of Peck's last famous cinematic roles.
Next week, famed director Martin Scorsese's love letter to cinema, "Hugo," is the most prominent new title hitting DVD and Blu-ray, followed by comedy sequel "Johnny English Reborn." The schedule will pick back up again on March 6th, as "Immortals" and "Jack and Jill" will hit stores looking to once again find mainstream audiences. The first season of HBO's enormously popular series "Game of Thrones" will also hit Blu-ray and DVD that week, with the second season set to premiere at the beginning of April.
by RTT Staff Writer
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