This is my tentatively brief review of the locally released DVD for Joss Whedon’s modern adaptation from William Shakespeare play “Much Ado About Nothing” – “Muito Barulho por Nada” from distributor H2O Filmes.
If you were living under a rock, this is the movie that Joss Whedon shot at his home in 12 days in October of 2011, during his mandatory break between the end of principal photography for The Avengers and the start of the editing process. The movie gathers friends and cast members that can be recognized from his previous projects, and its origins go back to the Shakespeare readings with cast & crew at his house when Buffy and Angel were still in production, which can also be credited for helping “Once More, With Feeling” and the creation of Illyria happen . The movie produced by Bellweather a small production company founded by Joss and his wife Kai Cole (who also designed the house), was originally shown at TIFF 2012, when the US distribution rights were sold to Lionsgate (that also saved The Cabin in the Woods from the 2009 MGM limbo) and the handling of international distribution went to Kaleidoscope. The movie was finally released more widely to the public this year. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie has already grossed $4,328,849 domestically and $938,796 worldwide from 5 markets that had “wide” releases of the it: the UK, Australia, New Zeland, Mexico and Brasil. I assume grosses from the movie festival circuit do not count.
Our friends from the UK were the first country to receive the home video (DVD and Bluray) release of this title back in October 7th, plagued by reports that even the BD version lacked the full set of extras that were announced for the US release, which would happen only a day later on the 8th. From a email contact to the UK distributor by Whedonesque member feelinglistless, the reasoning behind the lack of extras in the British release was revealed:
Just spoken to the UK distributor via email.
The Joss commentary on the UK discs was commissioned by the UK distributor and they licensed it out to other distributors and Lionsgate took it.
But Lionsgate wouldn’t license out their US extras to the UK, which seems a bit stingy to say the least which is why we don’t have them.
Ever since a lot was wondered about what would happen to other local releases.
So here’s my copy of the local Brazilian DVD release for the movie from the distributor that also handled the theatrical release, it just arrived this afternoon. Seems like extra content are really licensed by the distributor, it doesn’t matter that Lionsgate has packed the US release with a lot of interesting features – my copy of US DVD still on its way, There’s only the DVD release, the distributor opted not to do a BluRay release for the title. The DVD itself is Region Free, but there’s no Extras at all, as you can see on the back cover above.
- Very standard options: Dolby Digital 2.0 or Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: Portuguese Subtitles or No Subtitles.
- All Menu are static, while the wonderful voice of Maurissa Tancheroen is in background with “Sigh no More”.
Considering how bare of extra content the title is, it was too expensive (I think I paid about the same for the US DVD, and that’s including the international shipping charges and the currency exchange rates), and seems like it’s not widely available everywhere. I could only track it down to be bought at 2001 Videos, which is a more specialty store that targets more artsy customers, but you cannot track it at larger chains at all, even bookstores like Livraria Cultura that usually sell independent titles. If you are a fan and was not able to find it theatrically, hopefully it’s not that hard to find it, especially if you must have the Portuguese subs.
I did try to contact H2O Filmes by email last week, but they never got back to me. As one of my major concerns was about the extra content, I think they just decided to ignore me and be done with it. My other question was about the release date, which clearly happened shortly after the US release.
As much as I am bummed out by the lack of extra content from this local DVD release, I am at least content that it happened. Moreover, I am really happy that H2O Filmes was able to make the theatrical release happen despite multiple delays (it was originally slated for July, then moved to early august, then to late august). It was brief, it probably lasted only 3 weeks in very few cinemas (only 2 weeks in my city), but at least it happened from this small distributor. UIP which handled the local distribution for both Serenity and also The Cabin in the Woods, were not even able to show them theatrically. I was only able to watch Serenity on the big screen thanks for the movie festival, still annoyed that I never had the big screen experience for The Cabin in the Woods. Suffice to say, I’d like to say a very public thank you to H2O Filmes for the theatrical distribution of the movie here, despite the DVD release still lacking a lot.
To finish-up the post here are some pictures from the Theatrical release period back in August, I did share some of them on Flickr and Instagram back then. Also, a picture of the original line-up of cinemas that had the movie on the first week of release in Brasil (taken from their Facebook page):