Following up a strong box office run earlier this summer, Sacha Baron Cohen's R-rated comedy "The Dictator" hits stores in an eclectic week for new releases on DVD and Blu-ray. Also getting launched will be Academy Award winner "A Separation," which won the Oscar for Best Foreign film back in February. Jack Black's critically acclaimed indie comedy "Bernie" and British drama "Weekend" will likewise be looking for art house audiences after limited theatrical runs. Gus Van Sant's "Good Will Hunting" will also reach stores in a new special edition Blu-ray set celebrating the 15th year since its release.
With Middle East tensions continuing to be a major hot button topic, "The Dictator" hit theaters back in May looking to push as many buttons as possible. Starring Sacha Baron Cohen as a clueless dictator of a made-up Middle Eastern nation, "The Dictator" was highly hyped after several publicity stunts, which included Cohen in character dumping a pile of fake ashes on Ryan Seacrest at a pre-Oscar ceremony. Mixing elements of Charlie Chaplin's famed "The Great Dictator" and Woody Allen's "Bananas," "The Dictator" received light critical praise but didn't have enough fan support in the U.S. to turn into much of a domestic success.
Though Cohen may never regain the popularity he enjoyed when "Borat" became a smash hit in 2006, he still has a strong following outside of the U.S. that makes him one of the biggest comedic draws around. Even with only light critical and fan support in the U.S., "The Dictator" was still a big hit around the globe, helping it rack up a solid $167 million worldwide. Cohen will be back in theaters later this year with a major starring role in "Les Miserables," director Tom Hooper's follow-up to Oscar-winner "The King's Speech."
As "The Dictator" takes aim at mainstream adult audiences this week on DVD and Blu-ray, Jack Black's indie comedy "Bernie" looks to find art house crowds that didn't get a chance to see it in theaters. Boasting a very high 91% Rotten Tomatoes rating, "Bernie" stars Black as a mortician from a small Texas town who gets wrapped up in a predicament with a wealthy widow (Shirley MacLaine). Based on a true story, "Bernie" was lauded for Black's breakthrough performance and ended up with a quietly successful box office run on the indie circuit.
Also doing well with niche art house audiences when in theaters was "A Separation," an award-winning Iranian film about a couple going through a complicated divorce. Praised for its human observation and handling of a delicate subject, "A Separation" did fairly well in the U.S. for a foreign language film, expanding to 282 theaters across the country at its apex.
Not having nearly the same level of impact in theaters was indie "Weekend," a low-budget British film about the burgeoning love between two young men. With homosexuality still being a controversial topic in America, "Weekend" made it to only one theater in the U.S. when it launched in September of last year. "Weekend" should have a better chance of finding its intended demographic on DVD and Blu-ray, though it still won't have too much of an impact on the home market over the next few weeks.
Those not swayed by the new titles hitting DVD and Blu-ray this week might turn to a new special edition of "Good Will Hunting," Gus Van Sant's beloved drama that won a Best Screenplay Oscar for stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. "Good Will Hunting" also stars Robin Williams in a memorable turn as a psychologist who helps Damon's character reach his potential. Williams would go on to win Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards for the performance, his only Oscar win to date.
Next week, action-thriller "Battleship" will reach DVD and Blu-ray after a very disappointing box office run earlier in the summer, one bad enough to rank it among the biggest bombs of the year so far. Though there aren't many other prominent new titles hitting stores next week, it will be a busy week for TV releases, as the latest seasons of "Boardwalk Empire," "Homeland" and "The Walking Dead" all land on the home market next Tuesday. A new extended edition Blu-ray set of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy will also get launched as fans anticipate the upcoming release of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" this December.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org