Following up a disastrous turn at the box office earlier in the year, Will Ferrell's "Casa de mi Padre" hits DVD and Blu-ray this week looking to find a little more of its intended adult demographic. Also looking to rebound from poor theatrical numbers is "Lockout," an action-thriller starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace. Other new titles getting launched this week include "The Three Stooges," Mel Gibson's seldom seen thriller "Get the Gringo" and art house release "Salmon Fishing in Yemen." New collector's editions of "Singin' in the Rain," "Mean Streets" and the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" should also pique the interest of film buffs in a slow week for new releases.
Though Will Ferrell is still a big name in comedy, his movies are far from automatic box office stalwarts. Launching back in March, "Casa de mi Padre" received only a limited release of just 475 theaters at its widest point from distributor Lionsgate, a clear indicator that there wasn't much mainstream appeal. "Casa" ended up with just $5.9 million in domestic receipts and was only able to make it to the top ten once in a very brief theatrical run.
Much of the difficulty finding American audiences, of course, is because "Casa" is predominately in Spanish, making it a very difficult sell. The surprise was that "Casa" also had almost no international appeal either, earning just $2 million outside of the U.S. thanks to harsh critical reviews and a minimal marketing effort. But even with limited buzz and critical support, R-rated "Casa" should do a little better in the home market without much competition.
Those not swayed by Ferrell's latest might turn to "Lockout," a PG-13 sci-fi-thriller from writer Luc Besson ("The Fifth Element," "Taken"). "Lockout" stars Guy Pearce as a wrongly accused man sent on a dangerous mission that could restore his reputation. With "The Cabin in the Woods" and "The Hunger Games" still bringing in big crowds back in mid-April, "Lockout" ended up with very disappointing box office numbers and failed to have an impact on mainstream action audiences.
But even with unspectacular box office numbers, "Lockout" still found a much wider audience than "Get the Gringo." No thanks to Gibson's plummeting popularity, "Gringo" wasn't able to secure much of a theatrical release at all despite mostly positive reviews (79% rating on Rotten Tomatoes). In a similar vein as Gibson thrillers like "Edge of Darkness" and "Payback," Gibson stars as a criminal learning to survive in a Mexican jail with the help of a young boy. "Gringo" also stars Peter Stormare ("Fargo," "The Lost World: Jurassic Park") and Dean Norris, who is best known for his recurring role in AMC's hit series "Breaking Bad."
Aiming for a much different demographic when it hit theaters in early March was "Salmon Fishing in Yemen," an inspirational drama starring Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt. "Salmon Fishing" appeals to a fairly small audience, though it was able to put together a decent theatrical run for a limited release back in the spring. McGregor stars as an English fishing expert tasked with helping bring fly-fishing to the desert, making for an oddball, feel-good story that was a quiet hit with art house crowds both domestically and abroad.
Also hitting stores and Redbox this week will be "The Three Stooges," the Farrelly brothers' modern take on the classic comedic trio. Though the project once had Sean Penn and Jim Carrey attached, its audience appeal took a nose-dive when the original cast dropped out, leading to a disappointing box office run earlier in the year. With a PG rating, though, "The Three Stooges" should be able to find some family audiences over the next couple of weeks. Romantic comedy "Friends with Kids" is another title that will have a chance to find its intended audience, though a very limited release will make it a tough sell in the home market despite positive critical reviews.
Those looking for a different movie experience this week can check out new Blu-ray sets for a nice list of older movies. One of the most beloved musicals of all-time, "Singin' in the Rain," hits stores in a new special edition set for lovers of the 1952 classic starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds. Fans of director Martin Scorsese will also get a chance to snag a new Blu-ray set of "Mean Streets," a 1973 crime drama that teamed Scorsese with Robert De Niro for the first time. Often heralded as Scorsese's first masterpiece, "Mean Streets" largely launched his career and led to collaborations with De Niro on classics like "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull" and "Goodfellas." De Niro stars as a young hood learning the ropes of the New York underworld, forcing him to deal with the moral realities of his Catholic upbringing.
Other interesting new Blu-ray titles hitting stores this week include musical "Camelot" and sci-fi-horror film "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Starring Richard Harris in a memorable turn as legendary King Arthur, "Camelot" was one of the most expensive productions ever when it launched in 1967 and remains a sumptuous example of old Hollywood's musical spectacles. Released in 1956, "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers" was a big hit with sci-fi and horror audiences and has since inspired a bevy of remakes and re-imaginings over the years. Though most of the subsequent releases had minimal acclaim, the 1956 original remains one of the most revered sci-fi-horror films in history.
Next week, we'll have another limited DVD release schedule as we head into the final weeks of the summer blockbuster season. The schedule will pick back up in August with the release of big-budget films like "The Lorax," "The Hunger Games" and "Battleship," as well as art house favorites "A Separation" and documentary "Marley."
by RTT Staff Writer
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