Coming off of a great box office run earlier in the year, low-budget sci-fi film "Chronicle" hits DVD and Blu-ray this week looking to make some more noise in the home market. Other titles likely to be popular at Redbox this week will be action-thriller "The Grey" and horror film "The Devil Inside," which both come off of strong box office runs this winter. Glenn Close's Oscar nominated turn in "Albert Nobbs" is another movie that should grab a few viewers this week. Other titles getting released include Woody Harrelson's indie flick "Rampart" and a Blu-ray version of scribe Charlie Kaufman's critically praised "Being John Malkovich."
With an unknown cast and a budget of just $12 million, expectations were fairly minimal for "Chronicle" when it reached theaters back in early February. But instead of being swept aside in a slow part of the year, "Chronicle" built on very strong critical support and ended up bringing in a very strong $64 million domestically and $124 million worldwide. Considering the marketing limitations and less than stellar launch date, "Chronicle" stands as one of the biggest surprise box office hits of the year.
Working in themes from a variety of sci-fi universes, most notably "Star Wars," "Chronicle" follows the adventures of three seemingly normal high school kids who suddenly find out they have superpowers. Despite a pedestrian plot, "Chronicle" was praised for its smart screenplay, moral complexity and slick camera work, helping it cross over and find a surprising percentage of mainstream audiences. Building on its box office success, "Chronicle" should make even more of an impact on DVD and Blu-ray this week.
Another thriller that should have a nice-sized audience to appeal to over the next couple weeks is R-rated flick "The Grey," starring Liam Neeson as a man helping a small band of plane crash survivors stay alive in the remote Alaskan wilderness. With solid critical support and Neeson heading the cast, "The Grey" was one of the biggest earners of the winter, hauling in $51 million domestically despite a production budget of just $25 million. Neeson continues to be a major draw for tough guy action-thrillers, something that should help get "Battleship" off the ground in theaters later this week.
Also hoping to secure a segment of the adult demographic this week will be horror-thriller "The Devil Inside," another found footage film that struck a chord with audiences back in January. With a budget of only $1 million, "The Devil Inside" overcame critical lashings to haul in a shocking $33 million in its opening weekend. But even though "The Devil Inside" was a huge hit when it first launched, it also dropped dramatically following its opening and ended up earning only $53 million in the U.S. despite its unbelievable start. Negative buzz could slow it down in the home market, but a lack of genre competition should also make it a fairly easy sell.
While "The Grey" and "The Devil Inside" appeal to those looking for a few thrills, "Albert Nobbs" should appeal more to art house audiences as it gets launched this week. Glenn Close stars in the true story of a woman who has lived much of her life disguised as a man, a role that grabbed Close her sixth Oscar nomination. Though "Albert Nobbs" was met with mixed reviews and struggled at the box office, it should still appeal to a few serious moviegoers.
Another title that should grab a few serious movie fans will be "Rampart," an indie drama centering on a rogue cop (Woody Harrelson) who makes up his own rules in L.A. in the late 1990s. "Rampart" carries mostly positive critical reviews, particularly for Harrelson, who gives a memorable turn as a loose cannon unable to be controlled by his own police department.
Aiming at a much different audience this week will be Katherine Heigl's comedy "One for the Money," which ended up as one of the biggest busts of the winter at the box office. Heigl stars as a bail bondswoman who suddenly crosses paths with a flame from the past. With some of the worst reviews of the year, including a shockingly low 2% approval from Rotten Tomatoes, "One for the Money" missed its target audience in late January and will likely have an even harder time finding viewers in the home market.
Those not impressed by an eclectic group of new titles hitting stores this week can turn to a couple of older films, including a Blu-ray set of "Being John Malkovich," which stars John Cusack, Cameron Diaz and, of course, John Malkovich. Nominated for three Oscars, "Being John Malkovich" was the first collaboration between writer Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze, who would later team up for critically acclaimed "Adaptation." Voted by Roger Ebert as the top film of 1999, "Being John Malkovich" should be propped up by a strong niche audience as it gets launched on special edition Blu-ray this week.
Another art house film that should find a niche audience is "1900," directed by famed Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci. After making a name for himself with acclaimed masterpieces "The Conformist" and "Last Tango in Paris," Bertolucci made "1900," an epic drama starring Robert De Niro and Gerard Depardieu. With a running time of more than four hours, "1900" shows the rise of Italian fascism through the eyes of two men given vastly different starting points in life.
Next week, action-thriller "This Means War" is among the top new releases hitting stores, with Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy starring in the screwball comedy about two CIA agents competing for the same woman. Also getting launched will be Daniel Radcliffe's drama "The Woman in Black," historical action film "Red Tails" and the Blu-ray version of animated film "The Secret World of Arrietty."
by RTT Staff Writer
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