With "Raiders of the Lost Ark" still playing in IMAX theaters across the country, Steven Spielberg's "Indiana Jones" series will finally get its Blu-ray launch this week amidst an eclectic set of new and old releases. Also hitting stores will be "The Cabin in the Woods," the critically acclaimed horror-comedy written by "The Avengers" director Joss Whedon. Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" is another title getting its Blu-ray release this week and comedy/drama "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" will also reach stores following a successful run in theaters earlier in the year.
When "Raiders of the Lost Ark" first hit theaters in the summer of 1981, star Harrison Ford was mostly known for being Han Solo in "Star Wars" and director Steven Spielberg was coming off of the biggest bomb of his career. After Spielberg's action-comedy "1941" tanked in theaters and was shredded by critics, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" proved to be the perfect remedy to get his career back on track, and Indiana Jones would swiftly go on to become one of the most well-known action heroes of the cinema.
Now heralded as one of the best action/adventure films to date, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" helped make Ford the biggest star on the planet in the 1980s, leading to successful releases "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" in 1984 and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" in 1989. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" was also a commercial hit when it hit theaters in 2008, though it carries the least amount of fan support in the series. On the high-definition of Blu-ray for the first time, the complete "Indiana Jones" series gets launched this week loaded with extras that take fans behind the scenes.
Also carrying quite a bit of critical support was this year's "The Cabin in the Woods," an R-rated horror comedy that eventually caught on with audiences back in April and May. Starring Chris Hemsworth, director Drew Goddard's "The Cabin in the Woods" was praised as a clever take on the horror genre, one that pokes fun at the formula while being a good entry in the slasher genre in its own right.
Co-written by "The Avengers" director Joss Whedon, "Cabin in the Woods" launched in one of the slowest parts of the year (mid-April) and earned a steady $65 million around the globe - a decent total for a $30 million production competing with summer blockbusters. With much less new competition this week, "The Cabin in the Woods" should benefit from positive buzz and have a nice run in the home market.
Aiming at an entirely different demographic this week will be "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," a comedy/drama starring an all-star cast that includes Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy. From "Shakespeare in Love" director John Madden, "Marigold Hotel" follows a group of people that embark on an inspirational journey to India, where they find a variety of different life lessons. Aiming mostly for the older adult demographic, "Marigold Hotel" ended up earning more than $100 million worldwide despite a miniscule production budget of just $10 million, making it one of the biggest low-budget hits of 2012.
Also getting launched this week is the Blu-ray of Tim Burton's "Ed Wood," a comedy/drama starring Johnny Depp as legendarily bad director Ed Wood Jr. Often heralded as Burton's masterpiece, black-and-white "Ed Wood" is a touching and humorous look at the life of the director who made "Plan 9 From Outer Space," a movie considered one of the worst films ever made. Though "Ed Wood" didn't make much of a dent in theaters when it launched back in 1994, it now has somewhat of a cult following and it should be a good fit on Blu-ray for Depp/Burton fans.
Music drama "Katy Perry: A Part of Me" will also get its DVD and Blu-ray release following a solid box office run earlier in the year. Costing just $12 million to produce, "A Part of Me" ended up with more than $30 million in worldwide revenue, mostly thanks to singer Perry's popularity with younger teenage audiences. "Katy Perry: A Part of Me" received surprisingly positive reviews from critics (77% approval on Rotten Tomatoes) and was lauded for its in-depth look at the life of one of pop music's biggest stars.
Other titles getting launched this week include the Blu-ray version of Sylvester Stallone's "Judge Dredd" and "Halloween II/III." Though "Judge Dredd" was a bomb in the U.S. when it reached theaters back in 1995, it still had enough popularity to inspire a remake, which heads into theaters this Friday with a shocking level of critical support so far. Early 1980s sequels "Halloween II" and "Halloween III" will also get their Blu-ray releases this week in collector's edition sets that should pique the interest of a segment of horror audiences.
Next week, massively successful "The Avengers" is far and away the biggest DVD/Blu-ray release of the weekend, as the Disney distribution comes off of a box office run that finished with more than $1.5 billion in worldwide revenue. A new special edition set of James Bond movies will also hit the high-definition of Blu-ray, as studio MGM celebrates the 50th year since the famous British secret agent first graced the big screen.
by RTT Staff Writer
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