Following a much-hyped run through theaters earlier in the year, director Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" is the most prominent new title hitting DVD and Blu-ray this week, with musical "Rock of Ages" and thriller "The Raven" also getting launched. Though it's a relatively slow week for new releases, there will be plenty of Blu-ray debuts for older films, including a special edition set of Steven Spielberg's "E.T." and Alfred Hitchcock classics like "Strangers on a Train" and "Dial M for Murder."
Considered a loose prequel to Ridley Scott's sci-fi masterpiece "Alien," "Prometheus" was a rare big-budget R-rated film to get its release in the middle of the summer. Though audience and critical reaction was mixed, "Prometheus" still had no problem finding its target demographic, helping it rack up $126 million domestically and more than $400 million worldwide.
With an all-star cast led by Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace and Idris Elba, "Prometheus" tells the story of a group of scientists that travels deep into the universe to scout for clues about mankind's origins. "Prometheus" may have been seen by some "Alien" fans as a disappointing return to the material by Scott, but its popularity in theaters suggests it will also find its audience in the home market.
Not doing nearly as well in theaters was musical "Rock of Ages," starring Tom Cruise in a tribute to 1980s hair bands. Despite being based on a very popular Broadway musical, "Rock of Ages" tanked in theaters, earning only $38 million in the U.S. despite a mid-summer release and a $75 million production budget. "Rock of Ages" could do slightly better as it hits DVD and Blu-ray this week, though negative critical reviews and a lack of audience support will still make it a tough sell.
Another title that was mostly skipped by its intended audience in theaters was "The Raven," an R-rated thriller about a homicidal maniac committing murders based on the work of Edgar Allen Poe. Starring John Cusack and Brendan Gleeson, "The Raven" received only a limited release of 2,203 theaters back in late April and was overshadowed by "The Avengers" not long afterwards. "The Raven" should find more audiences with less competition than it had in theaters, but, like "Rock of Ages," it also has to deal with scathing critical marks and an a generally apathetic potential audience.
One movie that audiences certainly weren't apathetic for 30 years ago was "E.T.," Steven Spielberg's beloved family film that remains one of the biggest commercial hits of all-time. Following up Spielberg's successful "Raiders of the Lost Ark" just a year earlier, audiences poured in to see the heart-warming tale of an alien taken in by a family in California suburbia. Complete with state-of-the-art special effects that hold up fairly well even 30 years later, "E.T." should be a good fit on the high-definition of Blu-ray starting this week.
Made for only $10.5 million in the early 1980s, "E.T." ended up racking up $359 million in its first run in the U.S. and more than $700 million worldwide, which were both records in 1982. Even more impressively, "E.T." would land atop the charts a mind-boggling 16 weekends overall and remained in the top 10 for 44 weekends in a year-long theatrical run. Adjusted for inflation, "E.T" would have a domestic gross of $1.14 billion - more than $250 million more than current record holder "Avatar."
Also hitting Blu-ray in new special edition sets this week will be Alfred Hitchcock films "Strangers on a Train" and "Dial M for Murder." Though not as well known as Hitchcock films like "Vertigo," "Psycho" and "Rear Window," both "Strangers" and "Dial M" were still two of Hitchcock's most celebrated films of the 1950s, establishing him as the world's most famous auteur filmmaker. "Dial M" will receive a 3D Blu-ray release and "Strangers" will also get a special edition set loaded with extras that take Hitchcock fans behind the scenes.
Next week, the 3D Blu-ray of "Avatar" will be a highlight of the release schedule along with critically acclaimed comedy "Moonrise Kingdom," which ended up as one of director Wes Anderson's biggest commercial successes. The complete fifth season of AMC's hit TV series "Mad Men" will also hit stores and "A League of Their Own" will get a 20th anniversary edition Blu-ray release in a slow overall week for older titles.
by RTT Staff Writer
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