Following up decent box office runs at the end of 2011, thrillers "Drive" and "In Time" get launched this week on Blu-ray and DVD, though they'll mostly be appealing to much different audiences. The critically lauded drama "The Mill and the Cross" will also hit the home market alongside horror remake "The Thing" and psychological thriller "Dream House."
A bevy of older titles will see the high-definition of Blu-ray this week as well, including an Oscar Best Picture set with titles like "No Country for Old Men," "The English Patient" and "Shakespeare in Love." Spike Jonze's collaboration with Oscar-winning scribe Charlie Kaufman, "Adaptation," is another title hitting Blu-ray this week as is art house favorite "The Piano," starring Harvey Keitel and Holly Hunter from director Jane Campion.
After being one of most buzzed about films at the Cannes Film Festival last year, "Drive" was able to scoop up some of its intended art house audience in theaters, though it struggled to cross over to mainstream success despite the popularity of star Ryan Gosling. With only a $15 million production budget, "Drive" ended up with a very solid $35 million domestically and $70 million worldwide, making it one of the better performing indie releases of the year.
A unique thriller that combined an 80s pop music feel with splatters of brutally violent realism, "Drive" had plenty of critical support when it hit theaters in September, but that wasn't able to translate to awards season buzz. After winning Best Director at Cannes for the film, Nicolas Winding Refn quickly became one of the prominent up-and-coming directors and will reteam with Gosling for crime film "Only God Forgives" this year.
While "Drive" looks for its art house audience, sci-fi-thriller "In Time" will be hoping to hit with more conventional action-seekers, though that proved to be difficult in the U.S. during its theatrical run. From "Gattaca" director Andrew Niccol, "In Time" is a futuristic thriller set in a society in which humans no longer age physically past 25, creating a system in which the super rich can live forever and the poor are expendable. Despite a strong lead performance by the diversely talented Justin Timberlake and an interesting concept, "In Time" ended up a fairly flat mainstream thriller and Niccol wasn't able to capture much of the magic that helped make his "Gattaca" a cult hit.
Starring Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, "In Time" was shredded by critics and really struggled despite a sizeable release of more than 3,000 total theaters. "In Time" ended up racking up just $37 million in the U.S., but a surprising foreign intake of more than $100 million saved the $40 million production from being a box office bust.
Despite a considerable amount of critical acclaim when it hit theaters, Lech Majewski's "The Mill and the Cross" proved to be an almost impossible sell in theaters, which will probably hold true in the home market as well. Starring Rutger Hauer ("Blade Runner," "Batman Begins"), "The Mill and the Cross" is an oddball art film chronicling the Spanish occupation of the Netherlands in the 16th century, which is a story that will probably only resonate to a very select audience.
Another new title hitting stores this week is horror remake "The Thing," though a disastrous box office run made it one of the biggest horror duds of 2011. A remake of the John Carpenter horror classic, "The Thing" was jeered by critics and audience members alike, helping it rack up just $16 million in the U.S. and $27 million worldwide.
Also really struggling to find an audience in theaters was "Dream House," a psychological thriller that will have some audience overlap with "The Thing" this week. In the vein of Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island," "Dream House" tells the story of a man (Daniel Craig) struggling to hold on to his sanity as he starts to unveil a mystery about the house he recently purchased. Starring Craig and Rachel Weisz, "Dream House" was mainly shunned by mainstream audiences, helping it grab just $38 million worldwide despite the prominent actors in its cast.
With the Oscar buzz kicked into high gear now that the nominations have been announced, a new special edition Blu-ray set will celebrate some of the Best Picture winners of the last 20 years. Titles included in the set will be comedy "Shakespeare in Love," searing historical drama "The English Patient" and "No Country for Old Men," the crime masterpiece from Joel and Ethan Coen. Also in the set will be Paul Haggis' racial drama "Crash" and musical "Chicago," starring Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta Jones and Renee Zellweger.
Next week we'll see a new collection of new and old films, including Roland Emmerich's respected historical drama "Anonymous" and "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas." Older titles include the Blu-ray for Disney's animated classic "Lady and the Tramp," a special Blu-ray set of Oscar-winner "Ben-Hur" and classic Spencer Tracy comedy "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."
by RTT Staff Writer
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