This week – the festive spirit is in full swing as Elf continues the Christmas domination of the UK Top 10
“As time goes by”. Not only is that a lyric from a song, but it is also the music that plays as the Warner Bros. shield appears on the screen before a film starts nowadays. Why do I mention this? Because after Warner Bros. made their plans known about their cinematic output next year, the simultaneous release at the cinema AND on the HBO MAX streaming service which is only available in the United States, directors, actors and actresses, other film studios, cinemas, and even a production company which provided 75% of the finance for Warners’ ‘Godzilla vs. Kong‘ and ‘Dune‘ which are due out next year is up in arms.
Even British director Christopher Nolan, whose film ‘Tenet‘ was made and released by Warner Bros. this year has got in on the act and has torn the studio a new one. Not helping matters is the revelation that ‘Wonder Woman 1984‘ director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot were paid $10million each once Warners decided to release the film at the cinema and on HBO MAX on Christmas Day in place of bonuses, they will lose from the deflated box office takings the film will suffer in America. Other artists such as Margot Robbie and Keanu Reeves are angry that their films will go the same route in America as ‘WW84‘ but without them being offered the same deal, despite Warners knowing they would be paying Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot and that they were planning to go down this route BEFORE the announcement.
With Legendary Pictures. the company behind ‘Godzilla vs. Kong‘ and ‘Dune‘ now taking legal action against the company, many of the industry top talent both in front and behind the camera expressing their anger and starting to refuse to work with the studio, canceling projects and moving to other studios in Hollywood instead. Adding to the woe’s is that other big studios have been expressing their anger at the plans and cinema chains around the world and are now banding together and discussing NOT showing any of Warner Bros. upcoming content. Warner Bros. is already going to take a large hit on ‘Wonder Woman 1984‘ in the U.K due to the country’s biggest cinema chain, Cineworld, confirming it will not be reopening its doors in any location until the first quarter of 2021, probably March and thereby won’t be showing the film, leaving Odeon and Vue to pick up the screenings and the revenue, leaving Warners in a position that is extremely tenuous at the very least.
And with that, welcome one and all to the official look at what is hitting our DVD and Blu-Ray players or is being downloaded to our devices at home. With a little over two weeks until the big day, things are starting to move on the chart front. Titles are starting to jockey for position to claim that number one spot for the Christmas period and we can expect in’s and out’s over the next fortnight. We can expect many titles to vanish one week only to reappear the next as the Christmas titles start to make themselves known. And so it goes this week as we see two new entries into the chart and three new arrivals from outside the top ten. These five titles have displaced ‘The Greatest Showman‘. ‘Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker‘, ‘Unhinged‘, ‘Trolls: World Tour‘, and ‘Happiest Season‘ from the top ten listings. But do we have a new number one title?
Of course not! It’s Christmas and as such, we can expect a Christmas movie to occupy the top spot, and the favorite of the nation at this moment in time remains the 2003 Will Ferrell comedy ‘Elf‘. The delightful and heartwarming tale continues to sell, and download well as families sit down together and once again, enjoy the exploits of the world’s largest Elf as he goes on a journey of self-discovery to find his real father, who just happens to be a big-shot in the book publicity world of New York. Hilarity ensues as you would expect and to this day, the snowball fight scene still brings tears of laughter to my eyes.
Rising a place to grab a hold of the second place this week, we once again greet Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, and company as ‘Last Christmas‘ moves up the chart again. The wonderful, romantic, funny, and sad movie is currently playing on Sky Movies Premiere but has also seen a price reduction on many streaming services, meaning it has an advantage in its bid to become the UK’s number one title for the Christmas period. And I admit, I have bought it on digital for my collection.
Rounding out the top three placings and rising in the chart again by five places, Jim Carrey’s tour de force that is ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas‘ sprinkles some much-needed hilarity and fun ahead of the big day itself. Although the film is now twenty years old, it remains one of the world’s favorite Christmas movies and possibly Carrey’s masterpiece of acting, his rubber facial features doing the character and the film justice. And to think, some people complained about several additions to the film to bring it up to a feature-length movie. Once again, I own the film on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital. Some films deserve to be owned several times over!
This week’s fourth-placed title has joined us by rising the chart by seven places. And yet another perennial Christmas favorite in the form of ‘Love Actually‘. The romantic comedy-drama is yet another film that appears every year to take a place amongst the favorite films. With a cast list that includes Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, and Keira Knightly, the film is one that the adults like to put on over the festive period and to snuggle up with or have a girls night in. Of course, this year, the girl’s night in isn’t allowed but by this time next year, the movie-watching party will be able to be back in full swing. And the film will once again be playing on TV screens with plenty of alcoholic beverages in hand!
Rounding out the top five placings this week is the live-action remake of ‘Mulan‘, making sure that despite falling three placings, that the Christmas movies can’t have it all their way. Despite being denied a cinematic release and going straight to PVOD instead, the film has made its money thanks to streaming services and its emergence onto the disc formats.
We pause for a moment as we discover that the Christopher Nolan Time-bending blockbuster ‘Tenet‘ (read our review) is arriving on disc and digital from December 14th. The film was shuffled around the release schedules this year before being allowed to open around the world first before making its bow in the U.S. The film was viewed as the yardstick that would measure the audience’s willingness to return to the cinema screens. Sadly, despite people flocking to the screens where they could, social distancing rules meant that the film’s box office suffered somewhat, despite being possibly one of Nolan’s best films he has ever made. With John David Washington in the lead role of ‘The Protagonist’ and with the likes of Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Debicki, and Robert Pattinson playing supporting roles, the film is a complete mind scrambler and will require several viewings to even attempt to get your head around. But don’t let that put you off as you would be missing a genuine masterpiece. I highly recommend the film to you all.
We return once more to the top ten charts and greet the sixth-placed title. The question on everyone’s lips is ‘Do you guys give up or are you thirsty for more?’. You guessed it, Macauley Culkin has made himself known once again as the original and best ‘Home Alone‘ makes an appearance in the chart, shooting up an incredible twenty-eight places. The film is again, another classic Christmas movie for all ages and again, never fails to make me laugh at what torture Culkin puts Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern through at the film’s climax.
Chugging its way into the seventh-place this week, yet another old favorite arrives at the chart station as Tom Hanks and ‘The Polar Express‘ arrives dead on time by rising by eight places to occupy a top ten position. The Robert Zemeckis directed CGI animated classic is another film that gets a yearly showing in cinemas, on TV, on subscription movie channels, and the disc formats in thousands of homes up and down the country.
Dropping down a place but still fighting for its chart life once again, the cinematic masterpiece that is ‘1917‘ battles this week from the eighth-place position.
Our first new entry of the week arrives in the ninth spot on our chart. And although tinged with sadness, we say hello to that lovable feline as sequel ‘A Christmas Gift From Bob‘ purrs his way into the chart. Luke Treadaway returns once again as James Bowen, a former drug addict and a homeless man who over the years gained celebrity status with his beloved cat Bob, a ginger tom. Bowen has written three books about himself and Bob that have all become best-sellers. Bob played himself in the original movie and does appear in this sequel but sadly, he died after the production of the film ended. The film is dedicated to the memory of Bob and is yet another enjoyable tale that tugs at the heartstrings.
And our final new entry of the week lands in the tenth and final position as a 4K release of the Oscar-winning ‘The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy‘ arrives in the chart. To be honest, although the third film ‘Return Of The King‘ won all the awards, it was in reality for the entire trilogy that it was rewarded. Certainly, the second film ‘The Two Towers‘ is arguably the best in the trilogy out of them all but it cannot be denied that the term ‘Epic’ is deserved by the films. Director Peter Jackson took the novel by J.R.R Tolkien and crafted something that deserves its place in history. An amazing trilogy created and executed to almost perfection.
And that is all there is for this week. My thanks for joining me on this tour through the top dogs on the home entertainment front for the past seven days. All that remains is for me to ask, what do you think will be hitting the heights next week? Will ‘Die Hard‘ or ‘Gremlins‘ make an appearance? Or will ‘It’s A Wonderful Life‘ drop by to entertain us? What about the musical ‘White Christmas‘?
Until next time, whatever you decide, whatever you buy, stay safe, be kind, look after each other, and happy viewing!
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Entertainment/Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!