BURBANK, Calif. (Christian Examiner)—Three months after "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" smashed box office records like an out-of-control Death Star, the highest-grossing film of all time will be available on DVD/Blu-Ray starting on April 5. Digital versions of the movie are available starting April 1 from streaming movie providers like Vudu and Amazon and iTunes.
The movie has topped more than $933 million in domestic box office receipts—$200 million more than the previous record holder, the 2009 movie "Avatar." It also broke records for the biggest opening weekend, biggest opening week, biggest Thursday preview ever and the biggest second weekend ever.
The movie also received nearly across-the-board strong critical and fan reviews.
The DVD/Blu-Ray includes a variety of bonus features, such as "Secrets of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey," "The Force Awakens: The Table Read" and "Building BB-8." It also includes deleted scenes from the movie.
A blog post from the Denver Post criticized the bonus features as lacking in "humanity." The blog post called the features "slick and professional" as expected from Disney, but also said it seemed more like advertising "vetted by studio lawyers" rather than anything innovative. The writer suggested that the franchise's transition from Lucas Films to Disney could have led to the disappointing features.
"If you loved 'The Force Awakens,' you've already pre-ordered this, and it's worth the purchase price. Just know it isn't quite 'the complete story behind the making of' the film that's advertised on the back of the box," writes John Wenzel.
Vincent Moy of The NPD Group suggests that Star Wars' tech-savvy fans may make the movie a turning point in how consumers purchase films for home use. Though digital releases of movies have been around for some time, three-quarters of consumers still buy home entertainment only on DVD.
"Clearly, The Force Awakens has the gravitas to change the video release game," Moy told broadcastingcable.com. "Previous early digital windows tried coaxing buyers from discs to digital, but a two-week long lead time isn't needed for the tech-savvy Star Wars fans. Many of them will buy the film digitally, early release or not."
In a review written for the Christian Examiner at the time of the movie's box-office release last December, Michael Foust urged parents to use caution when bringing young children to see the movie. He wrote that the violence would be too scary for his "almost 4-year-old" and he'd have to shield his 7-year-old's eyes from at least two scenes.
Although the movie features a worldview at odds with Scripture, Christian radio host Hank Hanegraaff said evangelicals could use the film to launch into spiritual conversations.
"Because when you have a cultural phenomenon that so many people participate in, to be completely blind to what's communicated means that you cannot effectively communicate to someone else," Hanegraaff said, according to the Christian Examiner. "So, since you have a passion for this, God will most certainly use that passion, and what is entertaining on the one hand ought to be educational on the other. And you may be able to use the deviations in terms of worldviews as opportunities to share [the Gospel] with family members and friends."
"The Force Awakens" was the seventh movie in the Star Wars franchise. Disney bought Lucasfilm, which produced the first six movies, in 2012 for $4.05 billion. They are planning two more installments in the series.
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