12.6.2011: What To Watch – DVD/Blu-ray Releases

The producing team of Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, and director Jon Favreau are (at least on paper) a match made in sci-fi western movie heaven.  This week’s DVD/Blu-ray release has just about everything, including aliens, gunfights and, Indiana Jones and 007, aka Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, but what went wrong?  (Don’t ask us cause we happen to love sci-fi, westerns and sci-fi westerns [see Joss Whedon’s Serenity])

Cowboys & Aliens (2011 / PG-13 / 118 mins) on 1-Disc DVD & 2-Disc Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy Combo.  Starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Adam Beach, Paul Dano and Noah Ringer.  Screenplay by Mark Fergus, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci and Hawk Ostby.  Executive Produced by Steven Spielberg.  Produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard.  Executive Produced & Directed by Jon Favreau.

In the beginning, Westerns won with audiences and sci-fi was just for nerds.  Well, audience interests have shifted and sci-fi films are now at the top of the box office.  Cowboys & Aliens mixes the two genres into one but the results were more Western than sci-fi.  Directed by Jon Favreau of sci-fi blockbusters Iron Man & Iron Man 2, the $163 million mid-summer movie opened at #1 with $36.431 million and quickly fell out of the top ten in four weekends after being edged out by Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Help.  The film, in a total of 14 weekends, grossed $100.24 million domestically and $74.581 million internationally.  Cowboys & Aliens barely broke even and that isn’t the only bad news…

Writer Steven John Busti filed a lawsuit naming producer and publisher Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, and Platinum, Dreamworks and Universal Studios for copyright infringement of Cowboys & AliensIn 1994, Busti created a concept that was featured in a Comic Shop News publication.  Also featured in the issue was Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, who was involved with comic book publisher Malibu Comics and comic book distributor Sunrise Distributor.  In 1995, Busti published his story Cowboys & Aliens in the first issue of comic Bizarre Fantasy.  In 2006, Rosenburg and his Platinum Studios, a comic book and film company, published graphic novel Cowboys & Aliens.  Though kind of in reverse order, in 1997, Universal and Dreamworks Studios had already purchased the rights from Platinum to develop and produce the movie after Rosenberg pitched the concept to them.  Busti is claiming that there are “striking similarities” between his and Rosenberg’s Cowboys & Aliens stories.

The DVD includes audio commentary and featurettes.  The Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy set includes audio commentary, featurettes and exclusives (BD-Live, D-Box, pocketBlu, U-Hear, Universal’s Second Screen, etc.).

Synopsis:  A stranger (Craig) stumbles into the desert town of Absolution with no memory of his past and a mysterious, futuristic shackle around his wrist.  With the help of mysterious beauty Ella (Wilde) and the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford), he finds himself leading an unlikely posse of cowboys, outlaws and Apache warriors to fight a common enemy from beyond this world in an epic showdown for survival.  courtesy of Universal

Feed me at sharon@horrorhaven.com

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