Oscar Nominee ‘Lady Bird’ Coming to Disc March 6

Lionsgate will release the Oscar-nominated coming-of-age comedy Lady Bird on Blu-ray and DVD March 6, two days following the Oscar ceremony. The film is available now through digital retailers.

Lady Bird stars Saoirse Ronan as a wildly opinionated and adventurous young woman searching for her true identity as she navigates through adulthood.

The film also stars Laurie Metcalf, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Odeya Rush, Beanie Feldstein and Tracy Letts. Greta Gerwig makes her directorial debut and also wrote the screenplay, which is semi-autobiographical.

The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress for Ronan, Best Supporting Actress for Metcalf, and Best Original Screenplay.

Extras on the Blu-ray and DVD include commentary by Gerwig and cinematographer Sam Levy, and a “Realizing Lady Bird” featurette.

Warner’s ‘Paddington 2’ on Digital March 27, Disc April 24

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the critically acclaimed Paddington 2 through digital channels March 27, followed by Blu-ray and DVD April 24.

The sequel finds Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) happily settled with the Brown family in London, where he has become a popular member of the local community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. Hoping to buy a book for the 100th birthday of his Aunt Lucy (voiced by Imelda Staunton), Paddington embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, he and the family must try to unmask the thief.

The family film has earned $39.8 million at the domestic box office and more than $213 million worldwide.

The cast also includes Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin and Hugh Grant.

The Blu-ray and DVD versions will include a “Paddington: The Bear Truth” featurette.

The Blu-ray will also include several additional extras, including a commentary by writer-director Paul King, a music video with Phoenix Buchanan, and featurettes such as “How to Make A Marmalade Sandwich,” “The Magical Mystery of Paddington’s Pop-Up Book,” “The Browns and Paddington: The Special Bond,” “Knuckles: A Fistful of Marmalade” and “The (Once) Famous Faces of Phoenix Buchanan.”

‘Hostiles’ Coming on Digital April 10, Disc April 24

Critically acclaimed western Hostiles will be released on digital April 10 and on disc and on demand April 24 from Lionsgate.

The title will be available on disc in a 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray Disc and digital) and a Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and digital) as well as on DVD at $42.99, $39.99 and $29.95, respectively. All three include a three-part “making of” documentary.

Directed by Scott Cooper, the film stars Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike. Set in 1892, Hostiles tells the story of an Army captain (Bale) who, after stern resistance, reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief and his family back to tribal lands. On the way, the former rivals encounter a young widow (Pike), whose family was murdered on the plains.

Hostiles has earned more than $29 million at the domestic box office.

Global Streaming Video Households Top 250 Million

Households worldwide paying for streaming video services exceeds 250 million, according to new data from Strategy Analytics. The firm predicts the number of homes paying for SVOD services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video will reach about 300 million by the end of 2018 and more than 450 million by 2022.

Strategy Analytics says average monthly household spending on SVOD increased 5% in 2017 to $9.46, with total number of subs reached 345 million by the end of 2017

Households paying for streaming video used on average 1.39 services, with the United States having the highest penetration of SVOD, including 59% of households using at least one service at the end of 2017.

“Streaming video is rapidly becoming a normal part of people’s entertainment options,” Michael Goodman, director, TV & media strategies, said in a statement. “Usage is already at around half of households in the most mature markets and is likely to reach those levels in many other countries in the near future.”

The London-based data incorporated Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar, IVI.ru, Hulu, Viu and iFlix. It did not include online TV services such as Sky’s NowTV and DirecTV Now.

“Clearly market leaders like Netflix and Amazon will benefit from this trend, but there are also major opportunities for media companies that currently focus on more traditional pay TV and content development business models,” Goodman said.

Comcast Offers $31 Billion in Cash for Sky

In a major consolidation move across the Atlantic, Comcast Feb. 27 announced a $31 billion cash offer for British satellite giant Sky. The $17.40 per share offer bests Rupert Murdoch’s $14.96 per share offer through 21st Century Fox.

Murdoch has sought to acquire the remaining 61% ownership of Sky after his initial 39% stake.

“Sky and Comcast are a perfect fit: we are both leaders in creating and distributing content,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement.

Sky provides sports programming, movies and broadband service to 23 million homes across Britain, Ireland, Germany, Italy and Austria.

Notably for home entertainment, Sky’s “Buy & Keep” platform last October began offering consumers of digital movies a Blu-ray copy sent separately in the mail. Sky previously only offered a DVD backup.

Comcast, which owns NBC Universal and DreamWorks Animation, is seeking to outmaneuver The Walt Disney Co., which has a $52 billion offer for select Fox assets, including Sky.

The cable giants contends the acquisition would enhance its entertainment, distribution, and technology prowess domestically, while expanding it international footprint to more effectively compete in the rapidly changing and competitive entertainment and communications landscape.

“We already have a strong presence in London, and Comcast intends to use Sky as a platform for our growth in Europe,” said Roberts.

In a statement, 21st Century Fox said it remained committed to its $15 billion cash offer for the remaining stake in Sky, announced Dec. 15, 2016.

“We note that no firm offer has been made by Comcast at this point. A further statement will be made if appropriate,” Fox said in a statement.

Media reports suggest Roberts is also considering another bid for Fox assets after Comcast’s original $60 billion offer was rejected in favor of Disney’s.

 

‘Greatest Showman’ Due on Digital March 20, Disc April 10

The Greatest Showman will arrive on digital and Movies Anywhere March 20 and VOD, DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Disc April 10 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The musical, starring Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zack Efron, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya, has earned more than $160 million at the box office.

The film picked up an Oscar nod for Best Original Song for “This is Me.” The song won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song, and Hugh Jackman was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance.

Extras include two hours of behind-the-scenes footage, as well as sing-along and music machine “jukebox” features.

‘Shape of Water’ Favorite Best Picture Oscar Contender in Fandango Survey

The Shape of Water — debuting on VOD service FandangoNow for rental and purchase Feb. 27 — was the fan favorite to win the Best Picture Academy Award in a Fandango survey of more than 7,000 moviegoers in February.

The Shape of Water tallied 19% of the vote, followed closely by Dunkirk with 17% and Get Out with 16% in the Best Picture fan survey.

“It’s an incredibly competitive year, where the Oscar winner for Best Picture is anyone’s guess,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis in a statement.  “Fandango moviegoers give a slight edge to the beautifully-realized fantasy The Shape of Water and its visionary director Guillermo Del Toro for top honors, for an unexpectedly uplifting romance with a lot of heart and even more imagination.”

When surveyed about the impact of the Oscars on their moviegoing decisions, 87% of fans said that Academy Award recognition made them more interested in seeing the nominated pictures, according to the survey.

Seven of the nine Best Picture nominees are already available to watch on FandangoNow with Call Me By Your Name, in addition to The Shape of Water, also available for purchase.

Fandango is also offering fans the ability to see all of the nominated films with a special edition Awards Season 2018 gift card available here. It’s billed as the only gift card that’s good for tickets to see the Oscar contenders on the big screen (via Fandango) or at home (via FandangoNow).

Fandango’s full list of Oscar moviegoer survey results are:

 

BEST PICTURE:

The Shape of Water 19%

Dunkirk 17%

Get Out 16%

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 14%

Darkest Hour 10%

Lady Bird 9%

The Post 9%

Call Me By Your Name 4%

Phantom Thread 2%

 

BEST DIRECTOR:

Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water) 31%

Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk) 29%

Jordan Peele (Get Out) 23%

Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) 14%

Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread) 3%

 

BEST ACTOR:

Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) 44%

Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) 23%

Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel) 15%

Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread) 11%

Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) 7%

 

BEST ACTRESS:

Frances McDormand (Three Billboards) 30%

Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) 20%

Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) 19%

Saorsie Ronan (Lady Bird) 16%

Meryl Streep (The Post) 15%

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards) 28%

Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards) 23%

Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water) 18%

Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World) 16%

Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) 15%

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Allison Janney (I, Tonya) 30%

Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water) 30%

Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird) 24%

Mary J. Blige (Mudbound) 10%

Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) 6%

Lawmakers Rally to Support Net Neutrality

Lawmakers on Feb. 27 introduced a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act, which would reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s recent repeal of Net Neutrality protections.

Led by Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, the Senate version of the resolution has already drawn support from 50 senators, just one shy of the number needed to pass the chamber. Rep. Michael Doyle of Pennsylvania introduced an identical resolution in the House, where the measure currently has 150 co-sponsors, with more joining every day.

Democrats plan to force a vote on the resolution in the coming months. The move follows the publication of the FCC repeal in the Federal Register last week, which triggered a countdown clock for legal and congressional actions to overturn the agency’s widely disparaged decision to strip internet users of Title II Net Neutrality protections.

The resolution’s introduction kicks off an Internet-wide day of action. Throughout the day, Internet users, small businesses, online communities, public-interest groups, technology companies and popular websites are being asked by the Free Press Action Fund to flood lawmakers with calls, emails and tweets aimed at securing the final votes in the Senate and House needed to pass the CRA resolution.

More information about today’s activism is available via the coalition website BattlefortheNet.com.

FoxNext VR Studio Creates First VR Game, ‘Crisis on the Planet of the Apes VR’

The FoxNext VR Studio has created its first virtual reality game, Crisis on the Planet of the Apes VR, the studio announced Feb. 27.

Crisis on the Planet of the Apes VR is a first-person action-adventure VR game set in between the Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes movies, with the user cast as an intelligent ape.

Crisis on the Planet of the Apes VR will be available April 3 on PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive for $14.99.

The game, produced in partnership with Imaginati Studios, takes place five years after the outbreak of the Simian Flu, which has wiped out half of humanity and left other primates “evolved.” According to the studios, “Now at the crossroads of two species’ destinies, you are an ape with advanced intelligence, captured and held prisoner in a heavily guarded scientific facility as mankind desperately searches for a cure. Your mission: Climb, jump and shoot through the chaos of a violent new world to escape with your fellow apes and return home to Caesar.”

“VR has always held the promise of bringing together the cinematic storytelling of film and the deeply immersive interactivity of games. Crisis on the Planet of the Apes VR takes this potential to the next level,” said Brendan Handler, SVP and GM of the FoxNext VR Studio. “We set out to give the fan a lead role in this dark Planet of the Apes world – to feel the ape’s strength, power and movement as he fights his way to safety.”

From a primate’s perspective, the player becomes part of the storyline, captured and forced into deadly conflict with humans, fighting for their lives as they attempt to escape captivity. Players can expect to band together with other captive apes, confront human violence and channel primate instincts to survive.

“The Apes franchise supplies the perfect opportunity for players to become part of an apocalyptic world from the perspective of a different species for the first time ever,” said Martin Alltimes, CEO, Imaginati Studios. “We wanted to balance visceral combat with a plot-driven narrative that leaves you questioning your innate allegiance to humanity.”

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Top Digital Original and Overall TV Show, Parrot Analytics Says

In a new weekly feature, Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States. Parrot Analytics uses a proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

CBS All Access’ “Star Trek: Discovery” came in at No. 1 on both the overall TV shows chart and the digital originals chart for the week that ended Feb. 24, according to Parrot Analytics’ Demand Expressions data.

“Walking Dead” came in at No. 2 on the overall TV shows chart, while “Stranger Things” finished at No. 2 among digital originals. Looking exclusively at the digital originals chart, demand for both “The Grand Tour” and “Altered Carbon” experienced a drop from the prior week – although they remained at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.

“Black Mirror” remains at No. 5, while the nostalgic American teen drama “Everything Sucks!” from Netflix came in at No. 6 on the digital originals chart, bumping another Netflix original, “Orange is the New Black,” to No. 7. “Everything Sucks!” is one of Netflix’s lower- budget shows, with no name actors involved. Everything Sucks! takes a bittersweet look at how awkward it was to be a teen in the 1990s.

Among the three lowest-ranked shows on the digital originals top 10 chart, a full week after the trailer for the upcoming season two was released, “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” had slightly more demand than “13 Reasons Why,” which fell to No. 10 from No. 7 the previous week.

Parrot Analytics’ Global Television Demand Report, published Feb. 27, breaks down audience demand trends by platform, including SVOD, in each territory. In the United States, for example, Netflix, with over 50 new titles released in 2017 alone, accounted for over 70% of the total demand for digital original series. Amazon, Hulu and all other platforms accounted for an equal share of demand with around 10% each.

In addition, the report found that demand for dramas in the U.S. started the year twice as high as any other genre and its lead only increased throughout 2017. Comedy was the second most-popular genre, but science fiction surpassed it with the release of the second season of “Stranger Things” and “Star Trek: Discovery.”

“Stranger Things” was the most-popular digital original series in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Japan in 2017. It was number two in Australia, just behind “13 Reasons Why.”