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'The Dark Knight Rises' Should Dominate Holiday Blu-ray Sales


After storming through theaters and meeting enormous commercial expectations, "The Dark Knight Rises" reaches DVD and Blu-ray this week - just in time for the final few weeks of holiday shopping. Also looking to find a big audience will be Pixar's "Finding Nemo 3D," popular romantic comedy "Hope Springs" and family film "The Odd Life of Timothy Green." Art house favorite "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is another title hitting DVD and Blu-ray and fans of Terry Gilliam's cult classic "Brazil" can also get a new special edition Blu-ray set filled with extra features.

When "The Dark Knight Rises" hit theaters over the summer, the hype couldn't have been much higher. Coming off of the enormously influential "The Dark Knight," the finale of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy was well-received by both audiences and critics, finishing the series on a high note that will likely send Warner Brothers back to the drawing board to launch a new franchise.

With such strong fan support, "The Dark Knight Rises" ended up being another major commercial hit, racking up $448 million in the U.S. and more than $1 billion worldwide. Though it wasn't able to keep up with the prodigious pace of "The Avengers," "The Dark Knight Rises" is still the second biggest hit in a year that has seen a bevy of bona fide blockbusters. As it reaches the home market this week, "The Dark Knight Rises" should do well in rentals, downloads and sales as we head down the home stretch of the lucrative holiday shopping season.

Also having a wide audience to appeal to is "Finding Nemo 3D," Pixar's beloved animated film about a clown fish searching for his lost son. As one of Pixar's most acclaimed films, not to mention one of its most commercially viable, "Finding Nemo" was an easy choice for the conversion to 3D, helping it add another $40 million in U.S. box office revenue over the summer. Though 3D Blu-ray players aren't yet the norm, 3D in the home market will become more and more prevalent as 3D players drop in price and families make the switch from standard high-def.

Aiming at mainly a different demographic this week will be "Hope Springs," a romantic comedy starring Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep. "Hope Springs" was generally liked by critics and had a decent run in theaters back in late-August, which is normally one of the slowest times of the year. With "Hope Springs," versatile actor Jones had his third commercial hit in three different genres in 2012, with both "Men in Black III" and "Lincoln" putting up very strong numbers at the box office. Jones is also gaining serious buzz for his portrayal of abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens in current release "Lincoln," making him one of the frontrunners for a potential Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

While adult audiences give "Hope Springs" a shot this week on DVD and Blu-ray, family audiences might turn to Disney's family film "The Odd Life of Timothy Green." Though "Timothy Green" was lightly applauded by critics when it was launched earlier in the year, it also had a hard time competing with animated "ParaNorman," leading to a fairly lackluster run in theaters in August and September.

Those looking for an interesting gift for film lovers this holiday season might check out the new special edition Blu-ray set of "Brazil," director Terry Gilliam's masterpiece about an average man trying to escape a hellish futuristic society. Starring Jonathan Pryce, Ian Holm and Robert De Niro, "Brazil" was praised for Gilliam's vision of an Orwellian-type future, though Universal notoriously forced Gilliam to drastically alter the ending due to low scores with test audiences. With Gilliam's original ending restored and a bevy of extras, "Brazil" should be a hot seller with film buffs over the next few weeks.

Also appealing to art house crowds will be drama "Beasts of the Southern Wild." A hit with crowds at Sundance, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" depicts the life of a remarkable young girl who struggles against an enraged planet and long odds of survival. Though "Beasts" didn't find much of an audience in theaters, positive buzz on the indie circuit could help it do better in the home market. "Beasts" is also considered somewhat of an awards season favorite, particularly for newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis' memorable turn as six-year-old Hushpuppy.

Next week, we'll see another set of releases filled with prominent new titles, including smash hit R-rated comedy "Ted," action-thriller "The Bourne Legacy" and popular animated film "Ice Age 3: Continental Drift." Director Christopher Nolan's first feature film, "Following," will also be available in a new Blu-ray collector's edition for the film that launched the filmmaker's career.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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