'Butcher’s Crossing' is one of the few movies bering released to disc this week

New DVD and Blu-ray Releases for the Week of December 26

Happy Holidays

There’s not much on the DVD/Blu-ray front this week — with Christmas falling on a Monday, the home video distributors have just laid low in terms of major theatrical releases — or even “B” releases, for that matter. And, sadly, it’s a trend that has been accelerating this year — fewer “B” movies or direct-to-video being released to disc. That has now become the province of the Subscription VOD services — Netflix, Max, Apple+, Disney+, Hulu, et al. In fact, this week alone it was possible to screen on our TV two major films still in theatrical: “Maestro” and “May-December,” as well as a high-concept film with major stars that would normally go to theatres but that aired on Netflix instead — “Leave the World Behind” with Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke and Kevin Bacon. You can also stream “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Trolls Band Together,” all still in theatres. No waiting for discs here.

According to a report in the Washington Examiner, among other sources, DVD sales have been in a freefall. DVD and Blu-ray sales in the U.S. were an estimated $1.58 billion in 2022, according to the Digital Entertainment Group, a decline of nearly 20% from $1.97 billion in 2021. Disc rentals have also shrunk from $602.7 million in 2021 to $502.4 million in 2022. In terms of unit sales, the number of transactions made worldwide has dropped from 6.1 billion in 2011 to 1.2 billion in 2021, according to market research firm Omdia. Two billion DVDs were sold every year between 2005 and 2009. But 2023 is expected to end with a little more than 300 million. And, in a sad note, consumer electronics retailer Best Buy has confirmed that it is ending the sales of DVDs and Blu-rays in-store and online.

Still, people do buy DVDs — and not just cult and niche collectors. According to Wired, “Why do DVDs and Blu-rays still exist? And why does Technicolor expect to print and ship 750 million discs this year? The answer is simple: Some people still buy them — though not necessarily who you’d think. While pop psychology would suggest that older generations are clinging to their love of the physical disc, those over the age of 60 make up a smaller proportion of the disc-watching population than their share of the total US population. Instead, those aged 25 to 39 are more likely than most to watch DVDs, according to the MPAA. And they’re often collectors, locked into building out their collections.”

So, don’t expect DVDs to go the way of cassettes yet — well, not at least in the foreseeable future.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Butcher’s Crossing” (2023), starring Nicolas Cage, Fred Hechinger, Xander Berkeley, Rachel Keller, Jeremy Bobb and Paul Raci, Cage stars in a gritty story about buffalo hunters in the Old West. Will Andrews (Hechinger) has left Harvard to find adventure. He teams up with Miller (Cage), a mysterious frontiersman offering an unprecedented number of buffalo pelts in a secluded valley. Their crew must survive an arduous journey where the harsh elements will test everyone’s resolve, leaving their sanity on a knife’s edge. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Sony. Read more here … Walter Hill’s “Last Man Standing” (1996), starring Bruce Willis, Bruce Dern, Christopher Walken, Leslie Mann anbd William photo for Butcher's Crossing Sanderson, gets the Blu-ray treatment this week. Willis goes up against two rival crime families in this super-charged action thriller. Willis is John Smith, a mysterious stranger who is drawn into a vicious war between the two gangs. In a dangerous game, he switches allegiances between them, offering his services to the highest bidder. As the death toll mounts, he takes the law into his own hands in a deadly race to remain the “Last Man Standing.” A remake of Akira Kurosawa’s “Yojimbo.” From Shout! Studios … In the classic hallucination “Shredder Orpheus” (1989), the Greek myth is reimagined as a post-apocalyptic skateboard rock opera that drops somewhere between the music video for Devo’s “Whip It,” a Bones Brigade skate tape, and a surrealist art project. Rescued from the VHS wasteland, “Shredder” arrives with a brand new restoration from the original film elements. Orpheus’ journey to the underworld is reworked as a post-apocalyptic skate rock-opera in this 1989 cult classic. The “mortal” world faces imminent destruction when Hades unleashes an evil television signal that. Sublimates and kills its viewers. These hypnotic broadcasts from EUTHANASIA BROADCAST NETWORK are seducing the masses – except skateboard-guitarist Orpheus and his band of “SHREDDERS” who can see through this nefarious scheme. To save the world and his kidnapped wife, Orpheus must penetrate the world of the dead and free the television airwaves. Armed with a futuristic guitar and a skateboard from Hell, Orpheus storms onto the EBN stage to liberate the airwaves and rescue his wife. On Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome/AGFA (American Genre Film Archive).

All DVDs and Blu-rays are screened on a reference system consisting of an Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers, and Power 10 subwoofer.

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