Following up a very strong box office run back in the spring, Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" should easily be the top new title hitting the home market this week as it makes its way onto DVD and Blu-ray. Also getting launched this week will be celebrated documentary "Marley," the story of famous reggae pioneer Bob Marley, and indie comedy "Blue Like Jazz." There's also an impressive list of older titles getting new Blu-ray releases, including Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket," popular western "Rio Grande" and Mel Brooks' "Spaceballs."
Getting launched in early March can be a precarious position for a new movie, but "The Lorax" had no problem finding its intended family audience. "The Lorax" ended up crossing $200 million in the U.S. and racked up $331 million worldwide, which are strong totals for a $70 million production released in the spring. Though critics were split on the latest interpretation of the famous Dr. Seuss book, it landed in the box office top ten for seven straight weekends, suggesting that it has a wide audience that will check it out on DVD and Blu-ray as well.
Starring the voices of Zac Efron, Danny DeVito and Taylor Swift, "The Lorax" tells the story of a young boy who starts to question his artificial surroundings, leading him on a journey to find a more natural way to live. Even with some mild critical applause, however, "The Lorax" was also ripped by many as a subversion of Seuss' intended message, which centered on rejecting materialism and the unnatural world. "The Lorax" is still one of the biggest family hits of the year, though, and it should do well with family audiences at home through the rest of the month and into September.
While family audiences check out "The Lorax," documentary lovers might turn to "Marley," which gives an in-depth look at iconic Jamaican musician Bob Marley. From director Kevin MacDonald ("Touching the Void," "The Last King of Scotland"), "Marley" carries almost universal critical praise and a rare 95% freshness rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Unlike many documentaries, "Marley" even secured a theatrical release, though at just 42 theaters in the U.S. its box office numbers were modest.
Also having difficulty finding mainstream appeal in theaters was "Blue Like Jazz," a comedy based on the best-selling book from Donald Miller. "Blue Like Jazz" chronicles the life of a man struggling with his Christian values in a world too complex for the religious simplicity he was brought up with. Though the book was widely acclaimed, the movie version was met harshly by critics and reached only 136 theaters at its widest point, leading to a box office intake just shy of $600,000. Even after a minimal box office run, "Blue Like Jazz" should have a better chance of finding its niche audience on DVD and Blu-ray.
Film buffs not interested in the new releases also have plenty of other options this week. Celebrating 25 years since its release, "Full Metal Jacket" is getting launched in a special edition set loaded with behind-the-scenes extras. Though many critics consider "Full Metal Jacket" one of Stanley Kubrick's minor works, it still consistently ranks as one of the greatest war movies of the modern era and is noted for a memorable performance from real life drill instructor R. Lee Ermey.
Also celebrating 25 years since hitting theaters is Mel Brooks' "Spaceballs," a much-loved spoof of the popular "Star Wars" franchise. After making comedy smash hits like "Blazing Saddles" and "Young Frankenstein," "Spaceballs" was Brooks' biggest hit of the 1980s and enjoys somewhat of a cult status 25 years after its release.
Aiming at a more serious movie audience will be "Rio Grande," the popular western starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. Released in 1950 when Wayne was an international superstar, "Rio Grande" was also directed by legendary filmmaker John Ford, widely considered the greatest director of westerns in movie history. Though not as popular as Ford/Wayne combinations like "The Searchers" and "Stagecoach," "Rio Grande" should still have plenty of appeal for film buffs and John Wayne fans.
Next Tuesday, August 14th, the sixth season of Showtime's hit series "Dexter" will be among the top DVD/Blu-ray releases in a slow week, followed by special edition sets of "Jaws," "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "The Raid: Redemption." In a rare Saturday release, smash hit "The Hunger Games" will also get launched on August 18th as it looks to carry its success at the box office into the home market.
by RTT Staff Writer
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