After sweeping many of the main categories at the Academy Awards, art house gem "The Artist" hits DVD and Blu-ray this week along with "21 Jump Street," the smash hit R-rated comedy starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. Also reaching the home market this week will be action-thriller "Wrath of the Titans" and family-friendly "Mirror Mirror," which are both coming off of weak box office runs earlier in the year. Alfred Hitchcock's early film "The 39 Steps" will also get a Criterion Collection release this week and Eddie Murphy's universally panned "A Thousand Words" is another title launching this week after a meager run in theaters.
Despite being a silent art film with no major stars, "The Artist" became a sensation in the art house circuit at the end of last year, leading to Oscar wins for Best Picture, Best Actor (Jean Dujardin) and Best Director (Michel Hazanavicius). Dujardin stars as a silent movie star forced to deal with the industry's transition to sound, combining elements of classic "Sunset Boulevard" for a new generation mostly unfamiliar with silent film.
The critical buzz was so strong for "The Artist" that it was even able to crossover with mainstream fans, which seemed unlikely for a black and white movie that is almost completely silent. "The Artist" went on to rack up $44 million in the U.S. and $133 million worldwide - big totals for an art house film on a $15 million production budget. As it moves to the home market, "The Artist" should have enough positive word-of-mouth to make it a big hit on DVD and Blu-ray as well.
Another release that should have no problem in the home market will be "21 Jump Street." Loosely based on the popular 1980s TV series starring Johnny Depp, "21 Jump Street" was one of the biggest hits of the spring, racking up $138 million in the U.S. following its mid-March release. "21 Jump Street" currently stands as the biggest R-rated hit of the year so far and also carries a surprising amount of critical support, which should make it an easy sell on DVD and Blu-ray over the next few weeks.
For star Channing Tatum, "21 Jump Street" marks yet another major commercial success, as both "21 Jump Street" and "The Vow" rank among the biggest earners of 2012. Tatum next stars in this Friday's release "Magic Mike," an R-rated comedy/drama from director Steven Soderbergh. Hill will next appear in upcoming R-rated comedy "The Watch" before working with Martin Scorsese on "The Wolf of Wall Street," which teams him with Leonardo DiCaprio as well as Jean Dujardin of "The Artist."
As "21 Jump Street" and "The Artist" look mainly for adult audiences, PG "Mirror Mirror" will be targeting families that missed it in theaters back in March and April. With Julia Roberts and Lily Collins, "Mirror Mirror" was a lighter take on the Snow White fairytale, though it proved to be a difficult sell to mainstream audiences this spring. Despite being one of the most expensive releases of March/April, "Mirror Mirror" made only $64 million in the U.S. and struggled to compete with "The Lorax" and "The Hunger Games."
Also struggling to find its target demographic in theaters was "Wrath of the Titans," the follow-up to smash hit "Clash of the Titans" from 2010. Thanks to a very negative critical consensus and waning fan interest, "Wrath of the Titans" dropped quickly in theaters after a decent opening weekend and a third entry in the series now seems very unlikely. With a production budget of $150 million, "Wrath of the Titans" managed just $83 million in the U.S. after "Clash of the Titans" racked up $163 million domestically just two years ago.
Though "Wrath of the Titans" wasn't able to meet commercial expectations, it still performed much better than Eddie Murphy's latest bomb, "A Thousand Words." With an incredibly rare 0% rating from Rotten Tomatoes, comedy "A Thousand Words" has received some of the harshest critical reviews of the year and didn't have much audience interest either when it launched in early March.
Film buffs looking for a much different movie experience might check out the Criterion Collection of "The 39 Steps," an early Alfred Hitchcock thriller originally released in 1935. Before coming to the U.S. with Oscar-winner "Rebecca" in 1940, Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps" became one of his most heralded early films and helped him gain international attention before signing a contract to work in Hollywood.
Next week, Willem Dafoe's "The Hunter" is one of the most prominent titles in a slow overall week for new releases. Titles getting re-released for Blu-ray include director Oliver Stone's "Born on the Fourth of July" starring Tom Cruise, Jane Fonda's "Barbarella" and John Travolta's inspirational drama "Phenomenon."
by RTT Staff Writer
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