Without a major new release on DVD and Blu-ray this week, action-thriller "Haywire" and comedy "New Year's Eve" are the most prominent new titles getting launched as we head into the summer movie season. Also getting released in the home market this week is Madonna's "W.E." and music drama "Joyful Noise," though both could struggle as they look to appeal to niche audiences. Despite a lack of older titles hitting Blu-ray this week, historical fiction fans might check out Sydney Pollack's "Jeremiah Johnson" and a Tim Burton Collection is also reaching stores with a group of his most popular films.
Even with some strong online buzz and critical support, director Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire" was a difficult sell to action audiences when it hit theaters back in late January, one of the slowest parts of the box office year. With an impressive cast that includes Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor and newcomer Gina Carano, "Haywire" tells the story of a black ops agent who is cut loose and forced to go rogue. Despite a very familiar plot, "Haywire" was lauded for its more realistic look at the nature of special operations, but it also limited its appeal to typical action-seeking audiences.
Though "Haywire" managed just a couple trips to the box office top ten and only $18 million in domestic receipts, lead actress Gina Carano emerged from the release as a potential action star in the making; following the buzz from "Haywire," Carano signed on to co-star with Vin Diesel and The Rock in "Fast and Furious 6," which should be one of the biggest movies of next summer.
Another release loaded with big names is "New Year's Eve," a romantic comedy packed with well-known actors like Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher and many more. Following in the footsteps of blockbuster "Valentine's Day," "New Year's Eve" received some of the worst critical lashings of any 2011 release, leading to an extremely low 7% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But even though "New Year's Eve" made less than half of what "Valentine's Day" made domestically, it still found a fairly wide foreign audience and ended up with a respectable $142 million worldwide.
With a much less aggressive theatrical release was music drama "Joyful Noise," starring Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah as two members of a southern choir en route to a national competition. For country music icon Parton, the role was her first in more than 20 years and audiences mostly stayed away from "Joyful Noise" after it hit theaters in mid-January. But despite limited interest, "Joyful Noise" should find a small audience over the next couple weeks due to minimal competition.
Also aiming at a fairly limited audience will be "W.E.," the second film written and directed by Madonna. Though Madonna was formerly married to director Guy Ritchie, the filmmaker behind "Snatch" and "Sherlock Holmes," her success behind the camera has been extremely limited and "W.E." faced nothing short of disastrous reviews when it was released. "W.E." ended up with a release of just 24 theaters at its widest point, and it won't likely do too much better on the small screen.
Outside of the new releases, there are still a couple of older titles hitting the high-definition of Blu-ray, including historical drama "Jeremiah Johnson" starring Robert Redford. Directed by Sidney Pollack ("Out of Africa," "The Firm"), "Jeremiah Johnson" tells the story of a reclusive mountain man in the 19th century who is drawn into a deadly conflict with neighboring Native Americans.
With "Dark Shadows" just a little more than a week away, Tim Burton fans will also get a chance to snag a new Blu-ray collection of some of his most well-known films, a group that includes "Batman," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Beetlejuice," "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" and more. Though the set doesn't include some of Burton's most acclaimed films, like "Ed Wood" or "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," the seven-film set promises plenty of behind-the-scenes extras for Burton fans.
Next week, romantic drama "The Vow" is the most popular title ready for DVD and Blu-ray, with Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams co-starring in one of the most successful films of the year so far. "Underworld: Awakening" is another title slated to hit the home market next week and documentary "Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie" should also find a small adult audience. Fritz Lang's "The Big Heat" and the Steve McQueen-starring caper flick "The Thomas Crown Affair" also will get launched on Blu-ray.
by RTT Staff Writer
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