DC Universe’s Titans series is maddeningly uneven. Its second season, out now on disc for those unwilling to buy the service, is perhaps slightly better than its inaugural outing but it’s still a mess.
Let’s start with the fact that everyone behind the camera doesn’t understand Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites), so they depict him as bitter and angry, lost and without a clear sense of self. He was never like that in the comics and this is jarring and not terribly well thought through. During the season he is haunted by the vision of Bruce Wayne (Ian Glen), who seems far less brooding than one would expect an aging Batman to be.
The final episode shot for season one is used to open season two as Dick, Donna Troy (Conor Leslie), Hank Hall (Alan Ritchson), Gar Logan (Ryan Potter), Kory Anders (Anna Diop), Jason Todd (Curran Walters), and Rachel (Teagan Croft) face off against Trigon (Seamus Dever). Once his threat is easily dispatched, the team go their separate ways for most of the season.
Titans in the comics, whether under Bob Haney, Marv Wolfman, or Geoff Johns, worked best when they were together, loving, laughing, and fighting as a surrogate family unit. Instead, we have multiple storylines going on that allows them to introduce Conner Kent (Joshua Orpin), Deathstroke/Slade Wilson (Esai Morales), his son, Jericho (Chella Man), and daughter, Rose (Chelsea Zhang). Slade wants revenge against Dick for Jericho’s injuries while Rose was sent to infiltrate and betray the team in a variation of the classic storyline “The Judas Contract”.
It never quite gels and comes together as it needs to although Dick finally forges his Nightwing identity, just in time for a member of the team to be needlessly killed. There are times I think the best character in the show is Krypto, who never gets enough screen time.
A third season is in the works and one can hope they learn their lessons and grow rather than retreat.
The 1080p transfer is crisp which is good considering how dark the series is, even in daytime. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack is a match if not a touch better so you’re in for a good viewing experience.
The 13 episodes are accompanied by one Special Feature: Jason Todd – Fate by the Fans (11:52), which examines the disastrous call in stunt that doomed Jason Todd to a grisly death in the best-selling “Death in the Family” storyline from 1989.
Between Walt Disney’s death in 1966 and 1988’s released of Oliver and Company, the namesake company’s animated output was stale, unimaginative, and paralyzed by execs whose manta was “What would Walt do?” Then came a second Golden Age of animation and generations have been entertained anew as they embraced bolder storytelling, more diverse characters, and even CGI versus cel animation.
And yet, I wonder how Walt would have felt about sequels. The direct to video sequels to films like The Lion King were sheer cash grabs and diluted the core properties. He would have been pleasantly surprised at how good the Pixar sequels to Toy Story have been. But, would he have approved a Frozen II? We’ll never know and it had to be a risk to bring a second adventure to the big screen considering the phenomenal success of the 2013 original.
Thankfully, the current team didn’t rush out a hasty sequel to squeeze every last nickel from their audience. Instead, they took their time to ensure a sequel was strong enough to handle the pent up expectations. There was no way the sequel, out now on disc from Disney Home Entertainment, could measure up but one would have hoped for something with a bit more zest.
The movie is pleasant enough as it builds on the world established in the original, giving us insight to the politics that beset Arendelle, which Else (Idina Menzel) now governs. She hears a call, one last heard in childhood, that brings her to the mythic forest. Accompanied by Anna (Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Sven, and Olaf (Josh Gad), the adventure begins. They find a misty barrier and once they pierce it, they find Arendelle’s long lost warriors, including Mattias (Sterling K. Brown). Secrets are revealed, the true nature of the conflict with Northuldra included, and the Queen must sort things out.
There are gasps and guffaws and the overall story is a good one, just not great and far from magical. Partly it’s familiarity, and partly there was no way they could live up to the anticipation.
The 2160p is a step above the Blu-ray but not enough to justify the extra cost (the combo pack here is your friend). Colors and details are crystal clear, the animated figures move fluidly and the effects are strong. Both 4K and Blu-ray come with DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 or Dolby Atmos track and they both sound strong, but could be better.
The Special Features are usually where Disney shines, especially for their younger viewers but here it’s all just so ordinary. The 4K disc merely contains the movie with a karaoke-style lyric track. The rest are on the Blu-ray and there are plenty:
Outtakes (2:26) from the voice recording sessions; Did You Know??? (4:27), The Spirits of Frozen 2 (12:02), Scoring a Sequel (3:49); Deleted Scenes (17:58) with Director Chris Buck and Writer/Director Jennifer Lee introductions; Deleted Songs, including “Home” (4:22) and “I Wanna Get This Right” (6:24); two Gale Tests (3:56); “Into the Unknown” (3:07) seamlessly intercut in 29 Languages, which inspired the wonderful piece we see at the Academy Awards; Music Videos: “Into the Unknown” (Panic! At the Disco Version) (3:16) and “Lost in the Woods” (Weezer Version) (3:06).
Kristen Stewart gives a powerful performance in this action-packed sci-fi thriller. The crew of the Kepler undersea mining rig knew there would be hardships on their current mission, but nothing prepared them for the terrors they’re about to face. The heart-stopping adventure begins when a devastating earthquake damages the rig, including its communication devices and escape vehicle. Although quick-thinking mechanical engineer Norah Price (Stewart) manages to temporarily stave off imminent disaster, the need to evacuate escalates quickly. Their only hope is to walk across the ocean floor to an abandoned vessel, in hopes that its communication equipment still works. As if their journey isn’t treacherous enough, they begin to sense that they’re not alone in the murky ocean depths. Also starring Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie and T.J. Miller, Underwater is a chilling, suspenseful adventure that’s filled with nonstop action from start to finish.
Dive into a digital exclusive alternate ending with audio commentary, and a wealth of other bonus content when you redeem your digital code. Add UNDERWATER to your digital collection on Movies Anywhere™ and buy it on Blu-rayTM and DVD April 14.
UNDERWATER Blu-ray and Digital Special Features:
Alternate Ending with Optional Commentary*
Deleted Scene with Optional Commentary:
Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary:
Crew Suit Up
Ocean Floor Walk
Real Bunny Montage
Creatures & Visual Effects
Feature Audio Commentary by William Eubank, Jared Purrington and Phil Gawthorne *Alternate Ending available on Digital only.
UNDERWATER Blu-ray Technical Specifications:
Street Date: April 14, 2020
Screen Format: Widescreen 2.40:1 (16:9)
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Total Run Time: 95 minutes
U.S. Rating: PG-13
UNDERWATER DVD Technical Specifications:
Street Date: April 14, 2020
Screen Format: Widescreen 2.40:1 (16:9)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, French Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Total Run Time: 95 minutes
U.S. Rating: PG-13
BURBANK, CA (March 4, 2020) – The World’s Greatest Super Heroes square off once-and-for-all against the despotic Darkseid – with the fate of all humanity hanging in the balance – in Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, the next entry in the popular series of DC UniverseMovies. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated film will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting May 5, 2020, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack on May 19, 2020.
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War will be accompanied by the all-new DC Showcase animated short, Adam Strange. The thrilling tale, which offers insight into the space adventurer’s fascinating backstory, features Charlie Weber (How To Get Away with Murder) as the voice of title character.
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War will be available on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (USA $39.99 SRP; Canada $44.98 SRP) and Blu-ray Combo Pack (USA $24.98 SRP; Canada $29.98 SRP) as well as on Digital. The 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc featuring the film in hi-definition, and a digital version of the movie. The Blu-ray Combo Pack features a Blu-ray disc with the film in hi-definition, a DVD with the film in standard definition, and a digital version of the movie.
Culminating a six-year animated journey that began with the release of Justice League War in 2014, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War finds Earth decimated after intergalactic tyrant Darkseid has devastated the Justice League in a poorly executed war by the DC Super Heroes. Now the remaining bastions of good – the Justice League, Teen Titans, Suicide Squad and assorted others – must regroup, strategize and take the war to Darkseid in order to save the planet and its surviving inhabitants. This is truly the war to end all wars, and only the victor will live to enjoy the spoils.
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War features the largest Super Hero cast in the history of DC Universe Movies with dozens of actors/characters spotlighted in a grand ensemble of talent reprising their roles from this six-year story continuum. Matt Ryan (Legends of Tomorrow, Constantine), Jerry O’Connell (Carter, Bravo’s Play by Play,Stand by Me) and Taissa Farmiga (The Nun, The Mule,American Horror Story) anchor the cast as Constantine, Superman and Raven, respectively – the triumvirate determined to assemble the forces necessary to lead humanity’s final attack. Alongside that trio are the long-running core of Justice League voices — Jason O’Mara (The Man in the High Castle, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as Batman, Rosario Dawson (Briar Patch,Daredevil, Sin City) as Wonder Woman, Shemar Moore (S.W.A.T., Criminal Minds) as Cyborg and Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs, Insatiable, Ugly Betty) as The Flash – as well as JL-adjacents Rebecca Romijn (X-Men, The Librarians) and Rainn Wilson (The Office, The Meg) as the voices of Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, respectively.
Tony Todd (Candyman) is the voice of the film’s key villain, Darkseid. The cast also boasts appearances by Camilla Luddington (Grey’s Anatomy) as Zatanna, Ray Chase (Justice League Dark, Final Fantasy XV videogame) as Jason Blood/Etrigan, Roger R. Cross (24, The Strain, Arrow) as John Stewart & Swamp Thing, Liam McIntyre (Spartacus: War of the Damned, The Flash) as Captain Boomerang, Hynden Walch (Teen Titans Go! Vs. Teen Titans) as Harley Quinn, Stuart Allan (Batman vs. Robin, Batman: Bad Blood) as Robin/Damian, Sachie Alessio (Batman: Hush) as Lady Shiva, and John DiMaggio (Futurama, Batman: Under the Red Hood) as King Shark.
Directors Matt Peters (LEGO DC: Batman – Family Matters) and Christina Sotta (Young Justice) helm Justice League Dark: Apokolips War from a script by Ernie Altbacker (Batman: Hush, Justice League Dark) and Mairghread Scott (Wonder Woman: Bloodlines), who is also credited with creating the story. Amy McKenna (The Death of Superman) is producer, and Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) is co-producer. Executive Producers are Sam Register and James Tucker (Reign of the Supermen, Justice League Dark).
“Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is an epic story of supernatural proportions. A blockbuster, battle royale of a film filled with intense action and heartfelt emotions, serving up spotlight moments for our cast of unique characters,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Senior Vice President, Originals, Animation and Family Marketing. “This incredible thrill-ride takes us to the edge of the DC universe and sets the stage for an exciting new chapter.”
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War Special Features
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital
DC Showcase: Adam Strange (Animated Short) – On an asteroid mining colony, mysterious drifter Adam Strange is dismissed as an interplanetary derelict. But when the miners open a fissure into the home of a horde of deadly alien insects, his true identity is exposed. He is space adventurer Adam Strange, whose heroic backstory is played out in flashbacks as he struggles to save the very people who have scorned him for so long. Charlie Weber provides the voice of Adam Strange, alongside with Roger R. Cross, Kimberly Brooks, Ray Chase and Fred Tatasciore. Adam Strange is produced and directed by Butch Lukic (Batman Unlimited franchise), who also conceived the original story – which is written by J.M. DeMatteis (Constantine: City of Demons).
Darkseid: New God/Evil Classic (New Featurette) – This documentary explores the machinations of one of fiction¹s greatest Super Villains as we learn more about what fuels Darkseid¹s drive to becoming a galactic Atilla the Hun and the importance of Deities in our classic and modern fiction.
Filmmaker Audio Commentary – Observations and behind-the-scenes insight from Executive Producer James Tucker, Directors Matt Peters and Christina Sotta, and Screenwriter Ernie Altbacker.
Look Back: Justice League Dark (Featurette) – John Constantine leads a group of misfit characters that use magic to vanquish their opponents. This is the dark version of the Justice League taking on the malevolent forces that go beyond our plane of existence.
Look Back: Batman and Harley Quinn (Featurette) – Take a peek at the animated feature film, Batman and Harley Quinn, featuring the creators and talented voice cast.
From the DC Vault: Justice League Action, “Zombie King”
From the DC Vault: Justice League Action, “Abate and Switch”
From the DC Comics Vault: Teen Titans, “Nevermore”
A Sneak Peek at the next DC Universe Movie, Superman: Man of Tomorrow – An advanced look at the next animated film in the popular DC UniverseMovies collection.
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.
4K UHD Combo Pack $39.99 USA, $44.98 Canada
Blu-ray Combo Pack $24.98 USA, $29.98 Canada
Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish, French
Blu-ray Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
4K Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish, French
4K Blu-ray Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Running Time: 90 minutes
Rated R for bloody violence, language and some sexual references.
After a lackluster summer where there were far more misses than hits, audiences were hungry for something fresh, something different. Lionsgate met that need with the surprise hit, Knives Out, which is out now on disc.
It’s a contemporary take on the kind of murder mysteries Agatha Christie made a career out of and like the film adaptations of her works, this comes with a stellar cast. Rian Johnson, who wrote and directed the feature, serves up an incredibly enjoyable tale, letting familiar performers work outside their familiar character types.
We have world-famous author Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) and his immediate family gathering for an 80th birthday party, but by midnight, he’s dead with all four children suspects in the crime.
Lieutenant Elliott (Lakeith Stanfield) and a trooper Wagner (Noah Segan), perhaps the weakest written characters in the film, have been taking statements and investigating but seem to be getting nowhere. Sitting quietly in the shadows, observing is Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), a private investigator mysteriously hired to ferret out the real killer.
Could it be Harlan’s daughter Linda Drysdale (Jamie Lee Curtis), or her husband Richard (Don Johnson) or even Richard’s ne’er-do-well son Hugh Ransom (Chris Evans)? Maybe it was Harlan’s son Walt (Michael Shannon) or his wife Donna (Riki Lindhome), or Joni Thrombey (Toni Collette), the widow of Harlan’s deceased son Neil. Or we could skip a generation and cast a jaundiced eye at Walt and Donna’s alt-right son Jacob (Jaeden Martell), Joni’s daughter Meg (Katherine Langford), or even Harlan’s elderly mother Wanetta (K Callan).
Helping fill in some of the gaps while hiding secrets of her own is Harlan’s nurse Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas), who the family treated as one of their own until their true selves were teased out through Blanc’s questioning.
We get plenty of flashbacks until the truth is revealed to the audience and then the fun begins with the weakest car chase of all time, projectile vomiting, and plenty of scenery-chewing. A great time can be had with this delight of a film.
Johnson clearly had fun crafting this and his cast gave it their all, turning de Armas, next seen with Craig in No Time to Die, into the current It Girl. The box office success h meant work already has begun on a new Blanc mystery to solve.
The film is out on a variety of formats including the Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD combo. The AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1 works fine and only the most discerning may quibble at some of the color changes. Really, it looks fine and the Dolby Atmos audio track is crisp and clear.
I wish the special features were a little more special but they’re okay. We have In Theater Commentary with Rian Johnson, Deleted Scenes (4:57) complete with optional commentary from Johnson; Making a Murder (1:54:07), a fine behind-the-scenes look; Rian Johnson: Planning the Perfect Murder (6:17); Director and Cast Q & A (42:09) derived from a 2019 screening in Westwood, California; Marketing Gallery, three Trailers, viral ads for Thrombey Real Estate (00:34), Blood Like Wine Publishing (00:56), and Flam (00:34); and Ode to the Murder Mystery (1:43).
This may be the big one, folks. This may be the year that the San Diego Comic-Con gets cancelled.
You think I’m kidding?
The word came out from C2E2 this past weekend: People slated for Emerald City Comic Con Artist Alley in two weeks are publicly cancelling. A rumor that the whole dang con is cancelling is also doing the rounds.
Why? Because the first casualty from COVID-19 is from the Seattle area. There’s a cluster of people there who are already infected.
And neither the coronavirus nor the cancellations going to stop there.
The week after ECCC? ACE in Boston and Planet Comicon in Kansas City. Two weeks after that? Great Philadelphia, Big Apple and MoCCA.
And that just gets us to April.
Guests will cancel. The comics industry is filled with people who simply don’t have health insurance, and can’t risk the costs, the time out of work, or (obviously) their lives for the worst con-crud ever. Old-timers won’t even dare to leave their homes, nor should they. And all of this is before there are mandatory shutdowns by hotels, convention centers– even government order.
There’s no way to avoid it: if you’re expecting to go to any more conventions this year, you’d best be preparing alternate plans. If you’re expecting to make money at a show, you’d best be exploring mail order options or other sources of income.
I expect we’re going to start hearing about official cancellations of major conventions in ten days, possibly less.
How long will it go on? Hard to say, but if they’re talking the cancellation of events like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer, you can’t believe that San Diego Comic-Con International isn’t going to be on the list to avoid like the– well, to avoid. At the very least, it’s not going to be nearly as international as in years past.
But that’s just the beginning of the troubles for the comics industry.
Are you going to be able to get to your local comic store on a regular basis? Is that store in a mall that’s in danger of quarantine? How many of those stores are getting books from overseas? (Assume anything from China will be an extra month late at minimum.) What happens if there are road closures? Travel restrictions between states?
And you’re going to have strange happenings. It just might be that Birds Of Prey is going to be the only comic book movie that is released to theaters directly this year– a number of people may check what’s at their local theater in two weeks and see the signs saying NO TIME TO DIE, and take the hint.
This is going to be a crazy year, folks. Be prepared. Keep checking CDC.gov. And for heaven’s sake, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. You even know the length of time… it’s the time to sing this to yourself:
And no, we’re not sorry that song will be stuck in your head for the next year.
That meant if you were not from Manhattan, you had little chance of ever getting into what is now known as the world’s most famous nightclub.
Back then and even now, only the very rich or very poor live on the isle of Manhattan. I’m neither, although I’ve been poor and have had a bit of wealth.
Wealth, in this case, being able to afford a Manhattan residence. That by no means is a declaration of endless Benjamin’s. The thing about being from no money when you get some, you either blow it (done that) lose it (done that) or finally learn to make it work for you.
If you’re wondering what the difference between losing it and blowing it is, you’re blowing it.
There’s a return of an old pestilence upon the comics landscape. Brian Hibbs of Comix Experience is sounding the warning alarms. Reprinted with permission. —CM
Once again there is a speculator-driven comic coming out this week that forces us to limit sales or change our natural way of doing business.
This week it is YEAR OF THE VILLAIN: HELL ARISEN #3.
Here’s the thing: unlike last week’s BATMAN, where there were a good number of potential people-who-bought-earlier-issues-from-the-rack, my point-of-sale system shows me that virtually none of you bought copies of #1 or #2 from the shelf — this comic was a massive flop. And so, really, the only reason for most of the phone calls and such we’re getting is because we’ve got a bunch of greedy people trying to buy it from us for $4, and flip it for $40+.
I can’t countenance this as a retailer (seriously folks, we’re not suckers), and so I have to try to deflect you all. This week our plan is this: if you’re not already subbed for YOTV:HA (and you aren’t), THEN IN ORDER TO BUY #3, YOU HAVE TO BUY #1 & 2 ALONG WITH IT. We’re only interested in facilitating the reading of a story.
Let me go one step further: I’ve owned a comic book store since 1989, and I’ve worked comics retail since like ’85. I’ve heard this same record many many times before: In point of fact I’ve personally watched the comic book industry ALMOST BE DESTROYED MULTIPLE TIMES by speculators and greed — through the B&W boom, through the 90s spec crisis, and it’s happening again right now. People trying to “flip” comics are making it so PEOPLE WHO ONLY WANT TO READ THEM CAN’T DO SO.
It’s not right; and it’s certainly nothing I’m willing to participate in.
Please listen: if you are buying comics with the goal of flipping them for a greater price you are HURTING the comics medium, you are HURTING small businesses, you are HURTING creators and publishers….. and, more importantly, I DON’T WANT YOUR MONEY TO DO SO.
Seriously: Fuck the fuck off. Go shop somewhere else. You don’t like comics, you’re not good for comics, and your money is worthless to me because what I, and every other, comic book retailer needs are ONGOING READERS. Your spending $4 today is dwarfed by a regular stable purchaser spending that every single month. On the non-returnable comics that form the backbone of the Direct Market your ONE TIME purchase is genuinely HURTING comics and comics stores who then have a harder time figuring out how to serve their regulars. Your purchases are WEAKENING the market, and so you are not welcome in our doors.
When I opened in 1989, there were 24 comic book stores in San Francisco, and now there are (barely) 8 — that two-thirds went out of business largely because of these bullshit speculator games that hollowed out the actual readers market, despite the local economy BOOMING beyond all rationality in that time.
You suck. You destroy the thing you claim that you value. And Comix Experience simply won’t stand for it (nor have we, consistently, for the last thirty years!)
And more than that…. honestly? You’re an idiot. I sell comics for a living, and I watch these variant flash-in-the-pans and they NEVER (ever) hold their value. There are a small cartel of folks who are using public-facing apps, and trading back and forth between puppet accounts to MAKE IT LOOK like there’s demand for these comics featuring “Punchline”, but as a guy who has been selling this stuff for decades: this moment is 100% false and manufactured. We’ve yet to have a SINGLE reader show the slightest amount of non-fiduciary interest in the character, and any comic that “every knows is going to be worth money” never ever is a month or three after it drops.
Maybe “Punchline” will be an interesting character, with an involving storyline that leads to dynamic story-telling and tales for the ages. I sincerely hope so. But speculeechs driving up the price before anyone has ever read a single page of content is a massive red flag that “Punchline” will end up no better than “The Joker’s Daughter” (which was also white hot for about 45 days in 2013, and now no one would give you a dime for her eponymous comic)
Don’t be a sucker. Don’t help destroy what is left of the periodical comics market (idiot!) And don’t think you’re welcome in our stores. We’ve been there, we’ve done that, and we’ve had it proven again and again and again that you are the stone cold enemy of the Medium of comics.
Right now, you have a LOT of people trying to sucker and shake you down and get you to buy their comics because so many of them see a Hollywood Play, and are willing to use speculators and the worst excesses of the “Collector’s Market” to try and leverage that play. They too, are the enemy. Don’t fall for it! Don’t support them!
If you have any issue with any of this, take it up directly with me. I can always be reached at email@example.com. Leave my staff out of it, please — this is a top-down statement.
By now, you’ve probably heard that Dan DiDio is out as the co-publisher of DC Comics. Heidi covers a lot of it:
The departure of Dan DiDio as DC Co-Publisher on Friday was both long expected and shocking. His exit was rumored many many times over the years, and every contract renewal was a will he or won’t he suspense movie.
Rob Salkowitz over at ICV2 notes that this could be the first clear sign of some major changes in direction since DC’s parent company, Time Warner (now WarnerMedia), was acquired by AT&T last summer.
DiDio was something of a polarizing figure because of the direction of DC’s publishing strategy over the past few years. That has led to a lot of speculation about what was behind the sudden move, and whether it’s related to specific issues like DC’s impending “5G” initiative or some pent-up dissatisfaction within the company over his leadership.
But what is/was 5G? Rather than that new wireless spectrum that’s being talked about for phones and wifi, DiDio had something else in mind:
The basic idea has been floating around since the middle of last year, and is seemingly yet another response to flagging sales. The idea was sort of to Ultimatize DC: all of the main heroes would be replaced by new younger versions, a tried and true comic book procedure which ends up giving you a great wave of cheers when the originals return AND new refreshing characters with youthful appeal.
Rob goes into detail about some of the financial issues behind this, focusing on AT&T’s purchase of WarnerMedia for $85 billion, doubling their debt to $170-odd billion, making them the most indebted publicly-traded company in the world by a factor of at least two, and about $70 billion in BBB-rated debt is coming due in the next 4-5 years, which must be repaid on schedule to maintain investment-grade status for its bonds.
But Rob missed the giant concrete block suspended over the wizard’s head…and the thread breaks in 13 years.
Because in 2033, unless there’s a big change in legislation… Superman enters the public domain.
Followed by Batman, Sandman, and the original Captain Marvel in 2034; Robin, the Flash, Green Lantern, Dr. Fate, Hourman, the Spectre, and Johnny Thunder in 2035; and Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, and Aquaman in 2036.
What percentage of the overall value of DC Comics is made up of those characters? 50%? 75%? 90%??? Whatever it is, it’s a lot. And it’s going to start going away very soon.
Now, DC won’t lose all of that value immediately. But there’s not going to be a lot preventing anyone from reprinting those stories, or making new stories from them. Or new movies and TV shows. Heck, there won’t be anything preventing Marvel from publishing Superman stories.
My take on 5G is that Dan was trying to get out from under by creating new characters that could still be held under copyright, holding on to value for the company going forward. And now that Dan’s gone… what are they going to do?
Universal City, California, February 20, 2020 – 1917, the critically acclaimed, multi-award winning action spectacle including Academy Award® winner for Best Cinematography arrives on Digital March 10, 2020 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-rayTM and DVD March 24, 2020 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Hailed as “One of the most extraordinary cinematic achievements of the year” (JoBlo), the universally acclaimed film combines groundbreaking film making, memorable performances, and an unforgettable insight into the human experience against the shattering background of war. Additionally an Oscar® winner for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Mixing, 1917 is “a new war movie classic” (NY Post).
In 1917 at the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (MacKay) and Blake (Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them. 1917 comes to Digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-rayTM and DVD with bonus content showcasing the incredible craft and artistry behind the immersive feature, including a detailed look into the production design, how the film engineered a one shot, 360-degree format and interviews with the cast and crew.
In 1917, Academy Award®-winning director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Spectre, Skyfall) brings his Golden Globe® and BAFTA award-winning directorial performance to a script co-written alongside Krysty Wilson-Cairns (“Penny Dreadful”). The film stars breakout actors George Mackay (Captain Fantastic, Pride, Sunshine on Leith) and Dean-Charles Chapman (HBO’s “Game of Thrones”). Accompanying Mackay and Chapman are standout performances by Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor, Kingsman, The Imitation Game), Andrew Scott (“Fleabag”, Sherlock, Spectre), Richard Madden (Netflix’s “The Bodyguard”, Rocketman, HBO’s “Game of Thrones”), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, Kingsman, Bridget Jones) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Dr. Strange, The Imitation Game). The film was produced by Mendes, Pippa Harris (“Penny Dreadful”, “Call the Midwife”), Jayne-Ann Tenggren (Spectre, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close), Callum McDougall (Spectre, Skyfall, Casino Royale) and Brian Oliver (Rocketman, Black Swan).
BONUS FEATURES ON 4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAYTM, DVD & DIGITAL:
The Weight of the World: Sam Mendes – Academy Award® winner Sam Mendes discusses his personal connection to World War 1.
Allied Forces: Making 1917 – Learn how the one shot, 360-degree format was executed and the pivotal role Academy Award® winner Roger Deakins served in bringing Sam Mendes’ vision to life.
The Music of 1917 – Composer Thomas Newman and filmmakers discuss the important role of the Academy Award®-nominated score.
In The Trenches – Go behind the scenes with the cast of 1917.
Recreating History – Filmmakers offer a detailed look at the production design challenges of recreating the First World War.
Feature Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Sam Mendes.
Feature Commentary with Director of Photography Roger Deakins.
1917 will be available on 4K Ultra HD combo pack, which includes 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™, & Digital Code.
4K Ultra HD is the ultimate movie watching experience. 4K Ultra HD features the combination of 4K resolution for four times sharper picture than HD, the color brilliance of High Dynamic Range (HDR) with immersive audio delivering a multidimensional sound experience.
1917 4K Ultra HD is available with HDR10+™, providing a premium HDR picture quality. HDR10+ transforms your movie watching experience with incredible brightness and contrast for each scene, delivering brighter brights and deepest darks.
Blu-ray™ unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring 6X the picture resolution of DVD, exclusive extras and theater-quality surround sound.
Digital lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly stream or download.
The Movies Anywhere Digital App simplifies and enhances the digital movie collection and viewing experience by allowing consumers to access their favorite digital movies in one place when purchased or redeemed through participating digital retailers. Consumers can also redeem digital copy codes found in eligible Blu-rayTM and DVD disc packages from participating studios and stream or download them through Movies Anywhere. Movies Anywhere is available only in the United States.
FILMMAKERS: Directed By: Sam Mendes Cast: George MacKay, Dean- Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, with Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch Music By: Thomas Newman Costume Designer: Jacqueline Durran, David Crossman Editor: Lee Smith, ACE Production Designer: Dennis Gassner Director of Photography: Roger Deakins, ASC ESC Produced By: Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Callum McDougall, Brian Oliver Written By: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns
TECHNICAL INFORMATION 4K:
Street Date: March 24, 2020 Selection Number: 61209848 (US) / 61210170 (CDN) Layers: BD-100 Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 16:9 2.39:1 Rating: R for violence, some disturbing images, and language. Subtitles: English, French Canadian, Latin American Spanish Video: 2160p UHD Dolby Vision/HDR10+/HDR 10 Languages/Sound:English (Dolby Atmos), French Canadian (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1), Latin American Spanish (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1) Run Time: 1:59:00 TECHNICAL INFORMATION BLU-RAYTM:
Street Date: March 24, 2020 Selection Number: 61209847 (US) / 61210172 (CDN) Layers: BD-50 Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 16:9 2.39:1 Rating: R for violence, some disturbing images, and language. Subtitles: English, French Canadian, Latin American Spanish Languages/Sound: English (Dolby Atmos), French Canadian (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1), Latin American Spanish (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1) Run Time: 1:59:00
TECHNICAL INFORMATION DVD: Street Date: March 24, 2020 Selection Number: 61209846 (US) / 61210171 (CDN) Layers: DVD 9 Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen 16:9 2.39:1 Rating: R for violence, some disturbing images, and language. Subtitles: English, French Canadian, Latin American Spanish Languages/Sound: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French Canadian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Latin American Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1) Run Time: 1:59:00