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'Skyfall' Hits Blu-ray As Most Popular Bond Movie Since The '60s

'Skyfall' Hits Blu-ray As Most Popular Bond Movie Since The '60s

Following up a hugely successful run through theaters, "Skyfall" hits DVD and Blu-ray this week with expectations of being one of the biggest sellers of the year. Also getting launched will be indie hit "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," action flick "The Man with the Iron Fists," art house drama "The Sessions" and the final season of "Weeds," the popular Showtime series that recently wrapped after eight seasons. Other titles reaching stores this week will be horror film "Silent Hill: Revelation 3D," acclaimed documentary "Bully" and a bevy of new special edition sets of older James Bond films.

Once in a while, things fall completely into place for a prominent release looking to reach a wide audience - a phenomenon that happened with the latest film in the James Bond franchise. With a marketing effort that even included a clever tie-in to the London Olympics, "Skyfall" hit theaters last fall with enormous commercial expectations. Despite previous Bond release "Quantum of Solace" failing to grow the franchise as Sony/Columbia had hoped, "Skyfall" instantly clicked with action audiences both domestically and abroad, leading to more than $300 million in U.S. revenue and $1.1 billion worldwide. Not only was "Skyfall" the second highest grossing 2012 release, besting stalwarts like "The Dark Knight Rises" in the process, it also became the highest grossing Bond since Sean Connery's "Thunderball" back in 1965 - when adjusted for inflation.

But not only was "Skyfall" a tremendous commercial success, critics responded with nearly universal praise for director Sam Mendes' darker version of 007. With a frightening turn by Javier Bardem as the latest Bond villain, "Skyfall" gave audiences a deeply personal spy thriller that shows a further departure from the whimsical tone we saw in the Pierce Brosnan era, completing the franchise face-lift that started with "Casino Royale." "Skyfall" even picked up five Academy Award nominations, including for Best Cinematography and Best Song, with Adele's title ballad widely expected to be in the running for Oscar gold.

Also getting launched this week in the home market are a bevy of other lesser known titles, including acclaimed indie film "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." Based on a popular teen novel of the same name, "Perks" had a decent limited run in theaters toward the end of 2012, which should help it make the transition to DVD and Blu-ray as well. Starring Logan Lerman and Emily Watson, "Perks" tells the topsy-turvy story of a troubled teen learning to break out of his shell, only to find that the world is even more bewildering than he originally thought.

Aiming at a much different audience this week will be R-rated action release "The Man with the Iron Fists," which marks the directorial debut of rapper RZA, a long-time member of famed rap group Wu-Tang Clan. Starring Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu, "The Man with the Iron Fists" received some mild critical support, though it struggled to find much of an audience and ended up as a commercial disappointment in theaters.

Another title struggling to find much an audience in theaters was "The Sessions," a critically lauded drama starring John Hawkes, who gives a powerhouse performance as a dying man hoping to see his last wish fulfilled. Co-star Helen Hunt also received some major kudos for her role opposite Hawkes, leading to an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actress. Given its serious subject matter, "The Sessions" was a tough sell in theaters, though it should do considerably better on DVD and Blu-ray thanks to some awards season praise.

Also carrying serious subject matter is "Bully," which delves deeply into the nature of bullying from an early age in kids all over America. Linking heart-breaking stories of bullying, the documentary from director Lee Hirsch received some attention when it first was launched back in March of 2012, though it also had a limited commercial outlook due to its dire subject matter.

Those looking for something a little less serious could turn to "Silent Hill: Revelation 3D," though a poor domestic box office run and disastrous critical reviews likely spell trouble as it makes its way into the home market. Unlike many inexpensive horror sequels that have hit theaters in recent years, "Revelation" saw a major regression from the totals of the 2006 original, leading to a sub-par $17 million in U.S. revenue despite a release at nearly 3,000 total venues.

Also getting launched this week will be the eighth and final season of Showtime's hit series "Weeds," which takes audiences into the hectic life of a pot-dealing widow and her dysfunctional family. Starring Mary-Louise Parker, "Weeds" has been one of the staples of Showtime for nearly a decade, alongside other popular series like "Dexter" and "Californication." The fourth season of Showtime's "Nurse Jackie" will also hit stores starting this week, with Edie Falco of "The Sopranos" fame anchoring the dark comedy about a drug-addicted nurse struggling to hold her life together.

Next week, commercial and critical smash hit "Argo" will get its launch on DVD and Blu-ray in the final stretch leading up to the Academy Awards, where it is one of the favorites to win Best Picture. HBO will also release the complete second season of their epic fantasy series "Game of Thrones," which gets set to air its highly anticipated third season starting at the end of March. Acclaimed director Joe Wright's adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's masterpiece "Anna Karenina" is another title hitting stores starting next week and audiences can also check out horror film "Sinister," which comes off an enormously lucrative box office run last Halloween season. Movie buffs can also check out a few older titles on Blu-ray next week, including Elia Kazan's classic "On the Waterfront," James Cameron's breakthrough film "The Terminator" and 3D versions of both "Monsters, Inc." and "Top Gun."

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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