Backed by plenty of critical support and some modest commercial returns, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" gets launched on DVD and Blu-ray this week, looking to scoop up some of the adult demographic that missed it in theaters. Also hitting stores this week will be "The Muppets," the highly acclaimed family film starring Amy Adams and Jason Segel that was a solid success for Disney last November. Roman Polanski's star-studded satire "Carnage" is another title reaching the home market this week and Jonah Hill fans can check out screwball comedy "The Sitter." Thriller "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" gives adults another option and a new special edition Blu-ray set is launching this week for cult hit "Battle Royale."
Now near the top of the A-list, director David Fincher delved back into darker territory with his adaptation of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," a film that should remind audiences a lot more of "Seven" and "Fight Club" than "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." With an acclaimed performance from star Rooney Mara, "Dragon Tattoo" was mostly a hit with adult audiences when it reached theaters this past holiday season, though it didn't take off at the box office the way that Sony/Columbia had hoped. But even though "Dragon Tattoo" wasn't a runaway commercial hit, it still racked up a steady $229 million worldwide and announced a new action character that can carry a franchise.
Also starring Christopher Plummer, Daniel Craig and Stellan Skarsgard, "Dragon Tattoo" was praised for its unflinching adaptation of Stieg Larsson's popular novel of the same title, which already launched a successful Swedish film trilogy. With two more books in the series, we should see two more adventures in the "Dragon Tattoo" universe, though Larsson's death (the books were published posthumously) could make it difficult for it to go beyond three English-language releases.
Another franchise hopeful is "The Muppets," a loving remake that was praised for its wholesome wit and pop commentary. Starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams alongside Chris Cooper and Rashida Jones, "The Muppets" ended up one of the most acclaimed family films of 2011, translating into a solid $158 million worldwide box office total. Though Disney was hoping "The Muppets" would do a little better than $88 million domestically, it was still a sizeable hit for a $45 million production and it should do very well in the home market with such positive buzz.
While "The Muppets" finds family audiences, adults not interested in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" might turn to "Carnage," a comedy-drama about two sets of parents trying to figure out what to do with their troublesome kids. Even with a top-notch cast that includes Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster, "Carnage" struggled to get much of a release, but it might have more appeal in the home market. Though not exactly one of director Roman Polanski's most heralded films, "Carnage" still carries a solid 71% Rotten Tomatoes rating and it should find a niche adult audience over the next few weeks.
"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" also give adults another option, with Gary Oldman and Colin Firth leading the impressive cast for the adaptation of the classic spy-thriller. Based on a popular British novel, "Tinker, Tailor" is a slow moving but well-crafted look at the world of Cold War-era espionage, though it didn't have much of an impact on mainstream audiences when it hit theaters last December.
Another release that didn't have much of an impact in theaters was Jonah Hill's R-rated comedy "The Sitter." Though Hill is back on top with "21 Jump Street," "The Sitter" was critically slammed and commercially disappointing, making for a fairly brief theatrical run back in December and January for distributor Fox.
While "The Sitter" isn't likely to drum up a cult following anytime soon, Japanese flick "Battle Royale" has developed exactly that. Long before "The Hunger Games," "Battle Royale" showed audiences a bloody and brutal world in which an authoritarian government forced teenagers to fight to the death. Though "The Hunger Games" hits theaters this Friday with a PG-13 rating, "Battle Royale" would have been a hard R in the U.S. due to the graphic violence, helping give it a considerable rapport with exploitation film lovers. "Battle Royale" hits Blu-ray in a couple different special edition sets loaded with extras for its niche audience.
Next week, "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" reaches stores looking to once again sweep up family audiences, while Best Picture nominee "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" should find a chunk of the adult demographic. Also getting launched will be David Cronenberg's Freud vs. Jung biopic "A Dangerous Method" and Angelina Jolie's directorial debut "In the Land of Blood and Honey," a romantic comedy that didn't get much of a release last December.
by RTT Staff Writer
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