Persecution of scientists, the poor and movie critics make up this week's round-up of theatrical releases coming home. And just when you thought the studios were ready to concede September, two more summer titles managed to find some territory. But first, the title we have been wondering about for weeks
Dreamworks through Paramount Home Video will be releasing the sixth highest grossing film of 2010 to date, How To Train Your Dragon. The $217-million grossing animated feature will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and one of those nifty Blu-ray/DVD combo packs on Friday, October 15, two weeks after their Iron Man 2 hits shelves. According to The Digital Bits, the package will include filmmaker commentary, deleted scenes, trailers and a DAW Jukebox, 8 featurettes and more. Sure to be a certain nominee for this year's Best Animated Feature, it will likely be the runner-up to Toy Story 3. If you want a certain winner, Sony is releasing last year's Best Foreign Film Oscar winner, The Secret In Your Eyes, on Sept. 21
Iron Man 2 kicked off the summer to the tune of $300 million. A week later, Ridley Scott's umpteenth partnership with Russell Crowe, Robin Hood, began its run to a third of Stark's dollars. Universal is about to get the jump on Paramount though by thrusting this "true origin" tale on DVD & Blu-ray one week earlier this time on Sept. 21. The Blu-ray edition will feature an unrated director's cut of the film, running 15 minutes longer (or 105 in Ridley Scott minutes) and additional deleted scenes. I don't know if fifteen are enough to fill in everything that was missing. Perhaps it is just more Max Von Sydow footage from The Wolfman.
Lions Gate is saying hold on a moment though. We kicked off June, doesn't that count for anything? Not really when you do it with a film like Killers, which they will now use to kick off September on the 7th, a week ahead of even the rumored Prince of Persia (still awaiting an official announcement on its Sept. 14 date). This is the film that the studio decided to withhold from the press and instead try the brilliant marketing strategy of allowing star Ashton Kutcher to pirate the opening of the film and make it available online in the days leading up to it. No word on if said piracy is to blame for its lackluster $40-million box office tally but the word was definitely out on proving what it means when a film is not screened for critics. That's right, it sucks. But with Robert "The Ugly Truth" Luketic behind it, we pretty much knew that months ago.
The Gate is releasing a much better film in October though. Alejandro Amenabar's Agora will be out on October 19 (on DVD only) starring Rachel Weisz as Hypatia, the atheist philosopher who challenged the thoughts of Christians and paid the price for it. Here is a film that could use the director's cut treatment, as the European cut runs 141 minutes and this version (at 127 minutes) does have a few moments that could use a little fleshing. Perhaps the religious nuts who peeled the flesh from her body were onto something if they knew scientists like Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley were going to screw around so recklessly with DNA in the horror film Splice. Warner Bros. will release a pretty minimal version (reflecting the lackluster and silly film itself) on October 5.
ON DEMAND / DOCUMENTARIES
Magnolia, whose films run regularly On Demand before hitting theaters have unveiled their October lineup featuring Tilda Swinton in I Am Love and Elijah Wood & John Hurt in the goofy Numbers-wannabe mystery, The Oxford Murders, on the 12th. That day also has J.T. Petty's creepy is-it-or-isn't-it real serial killer documentary, S&Man, and then a week later on the 19th is a real documentary about an even creepier dude, paparazzo Ron Galella in Smash His Camera. On Oct. 5, Paramount releases an addition to an already fabulous documentary series. The Tenth Inning to Ken Burns' Baseball will examine the years between 1992-2009 and will also be a part of the new repackaged entire series from the studio. Unfortunately, only The Tenth Inning will be available on Blu-ray at the time and Smash His Camera will just have a DVD release. Those looking for more interesting documentaries from the festival scene, Indiepix we release a collector's edition Ondi Timoner's look at Web pioneer, Josh Harris, in We Live In Public on Oct. 19 and John Maringouin's Big River Man, an account of Martin Strel as he attempts to swim the Amazon River on Nov. 9
Got plans for Halloween? Better yet, how about for October 19? Because that is when you will be going to the stores to stock up for your viewing party – whether it be for serious chills or ones to goof upon. After over a year of delays when it was taken off the theatrical schedule, Adam Gierasch's remake of the 1988 home video cult classic, Night of the Demons, with hotties Shannon Elizabeth, Diora Baird and Monica Keena. Got lipstick? And if ever a horror film didn't need a sequel of any kind it was Alexandre Aja's Mirrors. Now its in the hands of Return to House on Haunted Hill helmer, Victor Garcia, and Fox will release Mirrors 2 with Nick Stahl, Emmanuelle Vaugier and the Greatest American Hero, William Katt that day as well.
It's too bad that VCI isn't offering one great big box set package of their October releases, because it would be better than most of those 30-movie packages some companies offer on like two DVDs. On the 19th, you can pick up Cameron Mitchell in an Uncut Edition of 1979's The Demon, reissues of Mario Bava's Blood and Black Lace and Bob Clark's 35th Anniversary Edition of Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things and three more horror double feature sets. You can get the 70s Drive-In collection of Ruby and Kiss of the Tarantula; the Herman Cohen Classics, Horrors of the Black Museum and The Headless Ghost; or Swamp of the Ravens which comes with the bonus film, Zombies (or: I Eat Your Skin).
Halloween isn't over yet. In fact, before you can get to any of those titles, MGM has some horror titles making their Blu-ray debut on Sept. 14. They include the 2005 remake of The Amityville Horror, the original Child's Play, the excellent 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and 1985's Return of the Living Dead complete with Linnea Quigley crotch patch. Just kidding. That same day, Sony will release the terrific Monster House to the format, complete with a 3-D version for those with the fancy TVs. That is not a joke.
But we have definitely saved the best news of the week for last. From the studio that brought you Killers, now brings you Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now to Blu-ray. Which version, you ask? How about both? The 2-disc package will include the original 1979 cut as well as the expanded Apocalypse Now Redux. That's the 2-disc package though. The THREE-disc package will include not just the two versions of the film, but also George Hickenlooper's Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse. With more than nine hours of bonus material including new interviews, the "Full Disclosure" package also comes with a 48-page collectible booklet featuring behind-the-scenes footage. And you can get it all on Oct. 19.
As always for further planning, just click on the following links for a full schedule of DVD and Blu-ray releases.