Though neither took off at the box office earlier in the year, both "Red Tails" and "This Means War" should be a better fit on the small screen as they get released on DVD and Blu-ray in a slow week for new releases. Also getting launched this week will be Daniel Radcliffe-starring thriller "The Woman in Black," animated release "The Secret World of Arrietty" and the Blu-ray version of Hayao Miyazaki's "The Castle in the Sky." Acclaimed British series "Sherlock" will also release its second season this week on DVD and Blu-ray and "Lethal Weapon" fans can also pick up a Blu-ray collector's edition that has all four films in the series.
Based on the true story of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, "Red Tails" was a passion project of legendary director George Lucas, who had been developing the project in various stages for more than 20 years. Though Lucas stayed on only as a producer, it still ended up as a major production for distributor Fox and was one of the more expensive movies released in the typically slow winter months. Starring Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr., director Anthony Hemingway's film was lightly praised as being well-intentioned, though it was mostly panned by critics across the country upon its release.
Costing $58 million to produce, "Red Tails" proved a tough sell to mainstream audiences when it launched in January, as action-seeking fans turned to movies like "The Grey" and "Underworld: Awakening" instead. "Red Tails" ended up in the top ten just three times before fading quickly and putting up a disappointing $49 million in the U.S. With minimal competition in the home market, "Red Tails" should have a little easier time finding its target demographic.
Audiences looking for a little lighter experience this week might turn to action-comedy "This Means War," starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy. Witherspoon stars as a woman caught in an awkward love triangle between two CIA agents that turns into a calamity of errors as they attempt to win her affection. Despite popular actors and an easy to pitch concept, "This Means War" was mostly a dud in the U.S., earning just $54 million domestically thanks to some of the worst reviews of the year and minimal mainstream audience interest.
Doing relatively better in theaters was horror-thriller "The Woman in Black," starring Daniel Radcliffe of "Harry Potter" fame alongside character actor Ciarán Hinds. With some solid critical support, "The Woman in Black" racked up $54 million in the U.S. despite a production budget roughly one-quarter that of "This Means War" and a much smaller release size. "The Woman in Black" was also a hit overseas due to the international popularity of Radcliffe, pushing it to a solid $126 million worldwide total and making it the top earning CBS Films release in the distributor's short history.
Aiming at a smaller audience this week will be animated film "The Secret World of Arrietty," a Japanese release written by animated legend Hayao Miyazaki and distributed in the U.S. by Disney. Though it didn't have much of an impact on U.S. audiences in theaters, universal critical acclaim should help drum up some interest as it hits DVD and Blu-ray this week.
This week, Miyazaki's 1989 film "The Castle in the Sky" will also get released to U.S. audiences in the high-definition of Blu-ray, making it a must-have for Miyazaki's niche demographic. Along with "Spirited Away" and "Princess Mononoke," "The Castle in the Sky" is considered one of Miyazaki's greatest accomplishments. "The Castle in the Sky" also stars a bizarre and intriguing voice cast that includes Mark Hamill, Anna Paquin, Andy Dick and James Van Der Beek.
Those not swayed by any of the features getting launched on DVD and Blu-ray this week can check out the second season of import "Sherlock," a British TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the famous sleuth. Praised for its fast-paced and witty modern take on the familiar hero, "Sherlock" is one of the most popular shows in Great Britain and is slowly starting to catch on in the U.S. as well. In addition to Cumberbatch, best known to U.S. audiences for "Atonement" and "War Horse," "Sherlock" also stars Martin Freeman, who was a main character in the British version of "The Office."
Next week, thriller "Man on a Ledge" will be one of the most prominent new titles hitting Redbox and stores, followed by director/actor Ralph Fiennes' intense take on Shakespeare's "Coriolanus." Drama "We Need to Talk About Kevin" will also get its launch after a quiet box office run and Sean William Scott's surprisingly well-received comedy "Goon" should find some of its adult audience after barely getting a theatrical release.
by RTT Staff Writer
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