Two more Disney-owned films are getting early digital releases. 20th Century Studios’ Jack London adaptation The Call of the Wild and Searchlight Pictures’ comedy Downhill will both be available to buy digitally in the U.S. starting tomorrow. These two films are the latest to receive early digital releases in the wake of the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis.
Walt Disney Studios announced that The Call of the Wild and Downhill will both be available to buy digitally and on Movies Anywhere beginning March 27 in the U.S. Both films can be purchased on digital platforms in the U.S. for $14.99 for The Call of the Wild and $9.99 for Downhill.
This digital release comes about a month after the two of them hit theaters in February — The Call of the Wild on February 21, and Downhill on February 14. Most films are available to buy digitally about 74 days after they first arrive in theaters, but studios are breaking that tradition by releasing their films on VOD mere weeks after, or even on the same day of, the theatrical debut as the coronavirus pandemic shutters theaters across the country. Universal was the first to kick off this practice, announcing the day-and-date release of Trolls World Tour and the early digital releases of their films The Invisible Man, Emma., and The Hunt.
The Call of the Wild is an adaptation of the Jack London book of the same name starring Harrison Ford and a CGI dog. It’s mostly okay, but it is the kind of family film that would do well in the time of self-quarantine, as families are running out of options to watch.
Meanwhile, the Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus comedy Downhill is a fine English-language remake of a far superior Swedish dark comedy that received the ironic Valentine’s Day release back when we were still casually going to movie theaters. It might make a dryly funny date night movie, but its depiction of a family on the brink of collapse may hit a little too close to home for families stuck together for the foreseeable future.
Action icon Sylvester Stallone is responsible for two of the most iconic characters in cinematic history, that of boxer Rocky and the one-man army that is Rambo. During this time of self-isolation, Stallone has been entertaining fans by taking to social media to answer questions about his silver screen legacy. The first question he answered dealt with the fact that he believes his 1976 sports drama Rocky to be his best work, but the actor/writer/producer/director then goes on to say that he's most proud of the sixth Rocky movie, Rocky Balboa, because it was the hardest one to make happen.'I'd have to say my best movie probably of course is Rocky. The one I'm most proud of is Rocky Balboa. Because no one wanted to make it. I sat around for six years trying to make that film and when it came out, I was so proud of it, because of what we had to go through to get it done.'
This is something which will no doubt surprise fans of Sylvester Stallone and his franchise, as the first Rocky movie is pretty much universally agreed to be the greatest. The movie was nominated for 10 Oscars and went on to win three, including Best Picture.
It is likely that the reason Stallone is most proud of it is because it had something of a Rocky arc of its own, with no one being interested in making it, doubting its success and doubting whether Stallone would be able to pull it off due to his age. Stallone, however, clearly believed in the project and continued to push to make it happen, finally winning the battle and presumably screaming 'Adrian!' until his voice was hoarse and his throat sore. That sounds a lot like Stallone is proud of getting the movie made, rather than the actual content. Regardless Rocky Balboa remains an excellent bookend to the story of the rags-to-riches boxing story, with that character once again finding himself the underdog, despite his success, and rising to the challenge.
Most of the movies in the Rocky franchise were popular with fans. Each movie becomes more and more ridiculously over-the-top, with Rocky fighting gigantic Russians and even his own protégé in the street. Rocky Balboa brought the story back down to Earth, becoming more of a character study once again, much like the first Rocky. In fact, skipping the movies in the middle and simply watching the first and last Rocky movies would make an excellent one-two punch.
The Rocky franchise has been the most popular of Sylvester Stallone's movies, so it's no surprise that the series holds a special place in Stallone's heart. Rocky Balboa was supposed to be the end for the character, but several years later Rocky made another comeback in the Creed spinoff movies starring Michael B. Jordan. It's unclear at this point if we will see a Creed III, but Sylvester Stallone has said that he is done playing Rocky. This comes to us courtesy of Sylvester Stallone's Instagram account.
Since Solo: A Star Wars Story ended up being a box office disappointment, it’s not likely that we’re going to get a sequel, and that’s coming from the film’s co-writer Jon Kasdan. But if the story arc that began in the spin-off were to continue, it would be awesome if it ended up making Lando Calrissian even more prominent. Apparently artist Peter Stults thought the same thing, which is why he used his quarantine time to make a trio of posters for a film series called The Calrissian Chronicles. Check out the Lando Calrissian trilogy posters and all the cool details within them below.
This imagined trilogy would be directed by Michael Anderson Logan’s Run, with a script Stanley Mann Conan the Destroyer, Irvin Kershner director of The Empire Strikes Back, and story by George Lucas himself. However, instead of John Williams doing the movie, Peter Bernstein The Ewok Adventure would be composing the score.
The overall vibe of the trilogy feels like a mix of 1970s blaxploitation and sci-fi with a little bit of fantasy tossed in there, which you can see in each of the posters below.Peter Stults Lando Calrissian Trilogy Posters
The first installment of The Calrissian Chronicles obviously features Billy Dee Williams in the role of Lando Calrissian. It would also have prominent roles for Tamara Dobson, Ron O’Neal and Moses Gunn. But the best tidbit here is that Shirley Bassey would play Lando’s beloved droid counterpart L3-37.
The second installment looks to have somewhat of an Asian influence with the addition of Tatsuya Nakadai and Meiko Kaji joining the cast. There’s also a role for Vonetta McGee, and Shirley Bassey is still around as L3-37.
In the final installment, a bit Star Wars returns with Peter Mayhew returning as Chewbacca, as well as a “special appearance” by Harrison Ford as Han Solo. Otherwise, the cast expands again with Angela Brent and Robert Urich. However, Shirley Bassey isn’t listed as L3-37 anymore, so maybe she met her end in the second installment.
But the real treat here in this final installment is imagining the introduction of Jean-Claude Van Damme to Hollywood as none other than Darth Maul. It’s a nice reference to the character’s return in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and just thinking about the skilled martial artist playing Darth Maul is so fun.
Unfortunately, we’ll never get to see movies like this with Billy Dee Williams in the lead. But these would make great comic books. Then again, maybe there’s hope for a Lando Calrissian film series starring Donald Glover. After all, Sleight director J.D. Dillard and writer Matt Owens are on the verge of becoming the first black creators to tackle Star Wars behind the camera and on the page, so maybe they have something...