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Monday Mixer: Are theatrical versions of first 'Star Wars' films coming to Blu-ray?

Posted Monday, September 21, 2015 at 3:45 PM Central

by John Couture

Some weeks are better than others.

Last week wasn't a great one, but the best part is that Monday represents a fresh start. Just as we can regroup and make the coming week a good one, studios are also able to take stock and get ready for the upcoming weekend. Of course, with films locked in months or years in advance, it's much like trying to navigate the Titanic through an iceberg field.

And yet, there are small moves that studios can make and little tweaks to help position their films to perform at their highest levels. So too, we must make little tweaks here and there to make our week better than the last.

With that in mind, we start anew and this week will be better than last week. But before we set about making this week a great one, we have to look back at the week that was at the box office. It was interesting for a myriad of reasons.

Box Office 411

In the world of dystopian teen sci-fi, you are either The Hunger Games or you're not. This is yet again painfully proven to be true this past weekend when the second Maze Runner film The Scorch Trials opened. I discovered this series recently when I watched The Maze Runner a few months ago and immediately picked up the second book.

I was a true believer and certain that The Scorch Trials would be monster breakout hit. I mean, I was late to the party on this, but everyone else has been dying to see this film, right? Not so much. The film debuted in the top slot with $30 million which is pretty impressive for this time of the year, but that number is actually a couple of million dollars less than the first film.

Given the doubling of the budget, this has to be considered a bit of a letdown for Fox, but the film has already brought in close to $100 million worldwide. So, much like that other lukewarm dystopian teen sci-fi series Divergent, the third Maze Runner film The Death Cure should get its official green light soon to make its February 17, 2017 release date.

Much like its predecessor, The Scorch Trials should make close to $100 million before the end of its run.

The other new wide release film this weekend also performed admirably. Black Mass, the latest Johnny Depp film, debuted in second place with $23.4 million. Based on the true story of Irish mobster-turned FBI informant-turned fugitive Whitey Bulger, the film is garnering rave reviews for Depp, but is failing to live up to classic mafia films.

While you probably won't be seeing it climb up to the echelons of say Goodfellas or The Departed, but it should end up around $90 million which will be considered a win and great comeback film for Depp. Again, both of these films could be considered positive leading indicators on the box office temperature for the rest of the year. The fact that two films could open over $20 million at this point in the year makes studios really happy about the upcoming fourth quarter.

Another positive from this weekend was the performance of the limited new releases. Everest only played on 545 IMAX or larger format screens, but it was still able to make a big splash with $7.5 million in fifth place. The film will expand in the coming weeks and it should be interesting to see what it does going forward in regular cinemas.

Another film that looks to keep its positive mojo flowing when it expands is Sicario. It only played on six screens this weekend, but still brought in $390,000 for the highest per screen average of any film released in 2015.

Quick Hitters

  • So, here's a something interesting. It seems like we hear a rumor every other week that the theatrical cuts of the original Star Wars films are going to come out on Blu-ray. Considering that our business is to ascertain when films come out on home entertainment, you can see how this can be both a blessing and a curse.

    We've gone into the background before about how Fox owns the rights to A New Hope in perpetuity in all formats, but that Disney will actually acquire the rights to the rest of the films in 2020. Yet, there will always be that original A New Hope that will be a thorn in Disney's side forever.

    We did get a piece of good news this year when we learned that Fox would be bringing out all six of the films out on SteelBook versions later this year. Earlier in the year, Disney released all six films digitally for the first time. So, there was hope (no pun intended) that the two companies could work together to make sure that the customer was properly serviced.

    Well, the orignal theatrical cuts were always a long shot, but this little nugget from Empire Magazine dropped over the weekend and the rumor mills are spinning once again.

    John Landis carries a lot of weight when it comes to this rumor, but then I have to question just how connected is George Lucas these days? Disney has made a very conscious choice to distance themselves and the new films from Lucas, so while this would be wonderful news if true, we have to take it with a grain or two of salt.

  • We touched on The Hunger Games earlier, but this news is a bit of downer as the franchise ramps ups for its final bow. In the latest "trailer" for Mockingjay Part 2, we are reminded that we are supposed to have feelings for Prim. Of course, since the films have butchered her storyline, this seems forced at best or a blatant ploy to try and fix their previous failures at worst.

    Oh, and it's a really bad trailer. Mockingjay Part 2 hits theaters on November 20.

  • On the other end of the trailer spectrum is this second trailer for Creed. We were cautiously optimistic about the first trailer, but it seems that we can go ahead and let the hype flag fly with this great look at the upcoming Rocky film.

  • Have you ever wanted to play Ferris Bueller's Day Off as an 8-bit video game? Well, you can't actually play the game, but CineFix gives you a peek at what that might look at and it's awesome.

  • Does anyone know what happened to Natalie Portman? She hasn't been in a non-Thor film in almost five years. Her upcoming film Jane Got a Gun is a study in Hollywood craziness, but the light might finally be seen at the other end of the tunnel. The Weinstein Company picked up the rights to the film from the now-defunct studio Relativity and has decided that it will bring the film out in February of 2016.

    There's no exact date set yet, but baby steps.

  • I've never been a huge Andy Samberg fan, but he hosted the 67th Emmys last night. If you're looking for the complete list of winners, then click on the link earlier in this sentence. If you want to see the funny opening montage number complete with more DVDs seen in one place since the end of Blockbuster, then watch it below.

    Thanks for all the physical media love!

  • If you want to see The Good Dinosaur dinosaurs speak, then check out this Spanish language trailer. I would imagine we will see an English version soon.

  • One film that is flying way under the radar to me is The Peanuts Movie. Believe it or not, the film will debut in six weeks, but it feels like we haven't really gotten much from it recently. Well, a cool new site came out this weekend that allows you to create a Peanuts version of yourself. You can vist the site here. Check out my Peanuts character below. You can even download two versions, a profile pic or a desktop wallpaper.

How do you like them Mixers?