This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.
HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE
(DVD available as single-disc and 2-Disc Digital Copy Special Edition)
The Harry Potter franchise has marked a rare occasion in cinema, or perhaps even a first. To my knowledge, there is no other long-running, self-contained film series in history where the later entries have improved considerably on their predecessors. As the young Harry Potter has matured, so too have the films depicting his wizarding adventures, turning what initially began as a family friendly adaptation of, essentially, fluff wish-fulfillment silliness, into an artistically rendered journey of kids attempting to balance their growth into adults against the never-ending onslaught of horrors that plague their lives. Cuaron’s Prisoner of Azkaban may remain the champion when it comes to telling the best Potter story that stands on its own, but considering that The Half-Blood Prince is clearly an intermediate chapter that was designed to align the necessary pieces for the final chapter, director David Yates should be applauded for the masterful way he’s managed to sidestep that issue by maintaining a strong focus on progressing the emotional core of the story instead of becoming bogged down in the notably less compelling central plot conflict, as well as gratuitous CGI-heavy action set pieces and wand battles. It’s because of this that, against all odds, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince turned out to be my favorite entry in the series yet, delivering a strangely perfect blend of character-based melodrama, genuinely hilarious moments of comedy, and a palpable sense of dread in every frame. If I wasn’t quite convinced that Yates was capable of tying up the films in a satisfying way after Order of the Phoenix, this most recent effort has convinced me that there’s no other man more qualified for the job.
Notable Extras: 2-disc DVD – Featurettes on the cast and crew and the life of author J.K. Rowling, additional scenes, a sneak peek at the Universal Orlando Resort’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park, and a digital copy of the film. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as a Maximum Movie Mode with the stars, director and producers.
|BEST DVD PRICE*
|Amazon – $9.99
*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $19.99 at Fry’s and Amazon, $22.99 at Best Buy, and $26.99 at Target (see below).
|BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
|Amazon – $15.99
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Summit Entertainment has announced that The Twilight Saga: New Moon has broken box office records, earning over $26.27 million in midnight screenings from 3,514 theaters. This destroys the $22.2 million midnight record held by Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince, and the previous second place, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight, which earned $18.4 million in midnight earnings. Also, Summit’s re-release of the original Twilight on Thursday night on 2,057 screens resulted in $1.3 million in ticket sales.
But the real question is, what will New Moon’s numbers look like at the end of the weekend?
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In this special episode of the /Filmcast, Director Marc Webb joins David Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley for their review of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. They also praise Paper Heart, Moon, In The Loop, and chat about Futurama’s precious voice actors, as well as the wisdom of a potential Aquaman film. 500 Days of Summer is out in select cities now and will expand wider in the weeks to come.
There will be no /Filmcast next week, but follow everyone on Twitter (Dave, Devindra, and Adam) to keep up with all the happenings at Comic Con this week!
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A Japanese comedy television show, Sanma Akashiya’s “Karakuri Terebi”, held a contest last month in which 10,000 of Japan’s biggest Harry Potter fans competed for a chance to travel to the UK and visit the set of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The show intentionally picked the strangest and most obsessed fan as the winner, a girl named Kana, and surprised her with a chance to meet and interview Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter).
Even though the interviews are only partially subtitled, both of them are still laugh out loud hilarious. You MUST check out the videos, embedded after the jump.
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It’s a slow news night, so I thought I’d post this report from /Film reader Joshua R about seeing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in D-Box seats.
For those who don’t know, a few movie theaters have begun installing these motion seats in select theaters. D-Box programs the seats to move in sync with the action during the film presentation. Many people are quickly writing off the seats as a gimmick — something that belongs in a theme park and not a movie theater.
Is it as distracting as it sounds or does it provide a unique viewing experience worth the extra ticket price? Read Josh’s quick review after the jump.
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[This is part four of a four-part series. You can also read part one, part two, and part three. This article contains SPOILERS for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but NOT for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows]
Over the past seven days, I have plowed through 15 hours of Harry Potter movies in an attempt at exploring the cultural phenomenon of this series. Crucial to this adventure has been my complete unfamiliarity with the Harry Potter books. Unencumbered by the expectations and anticipations that accompany Potter-fandom, I tried to evaluate how well these films work as films in their own right.
The process of adapting thousands of pages of novels into a series of movies is undoubtedly daunting. The closest analogue in recent memory is The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Taken as films alone, that series had flaws that are occasionally inherent to the adaptation process, especially for books set in a fantasy universe (as opposed to, say, a procedural crime drama by Grisham). For example, characters, whose rich back stories fill the books, were sometimes introduced with very little context, and story elements were occasionally confusing, since they could not be explained at length.
The Rings trilogy, however, had a lot of other things going for them to distract from their flaws as films: Stunning direction and a unifying vision by director Peter Jackson to guide every movie; epic and crowd-pleasing battle scenes that used state-of-the-art (at the time) special effects technology; the simple, underlying story of the bonds of friendship between Frodo and Sam; and the back-to-back-to-back event-style theatrical releases that took place during the holidays three years in a row. The Potter series has to deal with different challenges and after watching all six films in one week, culminating with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I am unfortunately more aware of its flaws than ever. Read More »
After breaking the all-time midnight box office record with $22.2 million on Tuesday night, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince went on to earn an estimated $58.4 million in the first 24 hours. But did it beat Transformers 2‘s huge opening day? And how did it stack up against The Dark Knight? Answers after the jump!
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Update: THR is now saying an estimated $22.2 million total from the 3,003 midnight performances.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince did record-setting business at midnight screenings on Tuesday night. The film made an estimated $20 million, which beats the previous record set by The Dark Knight ($18 million for those wondering). Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen broke the Wednesday night midnight record in June with $16 million.
Half-Blood Prince opens on the same Wednesday that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix had been released on in 2007. And as you might expect — Phoenix grossed far less, $12 million for the midnight shows, but went on to make $139.7 million by Sunday. Some box office analysts are predicting that Potter might have a chance to make close to $190-$200 million in the same time frame.