‘Black Panther’ Maintains Top Spot on Home Video Sales Charts

Marvel’s Black Panther, distributed by Walt Disney Studios, held back a pair of newcomers to handily top the home video sales charts for a second consecutive week.

The top new release on NPD VideoScan First Alert sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc chart the week ended May 26 was 20th Century Fox’s spy thriller Red Sparrow, which debuted at No. 2 selling 22% as many discs as the returning superhero actioner.

Sparrow stars Jennifer Lawrence as a Russian ballerina who is forced into becoming a seductive secret agent after her dancing career is cut short due to injury. It earned $46.9 million at the domestic box office.

No. 3 on both charts was Warner’s Game Night, a comedy about a group of friends who are caught up in a life-and-death caper that they believe is an elaborate role-playing game. It took in $68.9 million at U.S. theaters.

Rounding out the top five on both charts were Universal Pictures’ Fifty Shades Freed at No. 4 and Fox’s The Greatest Showman at No. 5.

Three other new releases managed to crack the top 20, led by Warner’s The 15:17 to Paris, which bowed at No. 6 overall and No. 8 on the Blu-ray chart. The Clint Eastwood directed docudrama, which earned $36.3 million domestically, tells the story of the three American servicemen (playing themselves) who foiled a terrorist attack on a European train in 2015.

Debuting at No. 11 (No. 14 on the Blu-ray chart) was the RLJE Films fantasy I Kill Giants, followed by Lionsgate’s Early Man, a stop-motion animated film from the creators of “Wallace and Gromit,” at No. 12 (No. 13 on the Blu-ray chart).

Universal’s re-release of the four “Jurassic Park” films in a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray boxed set pushed the Jurassic Park Collection back onto the charts at No. 15 overall and No. 11 on the Blu-ray charts. The new 4K edition accounted for 73% of total unit sales of the four-movie set. A fifth film, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, is slated for theaters June 22.

Among the new releases, Red Sparrow saw 62% of its total copies sold in the Blu-ray format, with 12% of the total being in the UHD format. Blu-ray accounted for 48% of Game Night and I Kill Giants sales, 45% for 15:17 to Paris, and 50% for Early Man.

For the second week of Black Panther, Blu-ray contributed 68% to its total copies sold, with 11% from UHD Blu-ray.

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended May 27, Game Night debuted at No. 1, with Black Panther slipping a spot to No. 2.

Warner’s 12 Strong dropped to No. 3, while Sony Pictures’ Peter Rabbit and Universal’s Den of Thieves held onto No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

Early Man entered the rental chart at No. 10.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 05-26-18
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 05-27-18
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 05-26-18
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 05-26-18
Sales Report for Week Ended 05-26-18
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 05-28-18

GameStop Q1 Profit Declines 52%; Company Names Interim CEO

GameStop May 31 reported first-quarter (ended May 5) profit of $28.2 million, down 52% from profit of $59 million during the previous-year period. Revenue declined 5.4% to $1.9 billion from $2 billion last year.

The nation’s largest video game retail chain attributed the decline in large part to year-over-year comparisons with Nintendo’s bow of the Switch platform.

New hardware sales decreased 7.9%, while new software sales decreased 10.3%. Software sales were impacted by the strength of titles across platforms that launched in the prior fiscal year. Pre-owned sales declined 5.8% and worldwide omnichannel sales decreased 46% due to limited allocation of the Nintendo Switch at launch, which drove 93% increase in omnichannel sales in the first quarter of fiscal 2017.

Digital sales increased 29.6%, excluding the first quarter 2017 revenue from Kongregate, which was sold in July 2017. On a reported basis, digital sales decreased 2.5% to $43.0 million.

Collectibles sales increased 24.4% to $142.4 million, driven by continued expansion of licensed merchandise offerings and unique product offerings.

Technology Brands sales decreased 16.1% to $169.0 million, primarily due to less promotional activity and the overlap of the previously disclosed change in AT&T’s dealer compensation structure from the previous year. Technology Brands operating earnings reached $9.8 million. Technology Brands operating earnings, excluding store closure and other charges, were $11.2 million compared to $18.4 million in the prior-year quarter.

Separately, GameStop announced that Shane Kim, currently a board member and former Microsoft executive, will serve as interim CEO until a permanent CEO is named. Rob Lloydwas promoted to COO and CFO. Previous interim CEO Dan DeMatteo will continue serving as executive chairman of the board.

“We are fortunate to have Shane assume the role … and welcome his insight as a video game industry veteran,” DeMatteo said in a statement. “Shane has been an actively engaged member of the board since 2011, and will bring additional executive focus, energy and passion to the organization during this time of transition.”

‘Incredibles’ UHD Blu-ray Confirmed for June 5

A 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray re-release of 2004’s The Incredibles is slated for June 5 from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

The new “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” of the Pixar animated film arrives as a combo pack featuring a 4K disc, a standard Blu-ray disc and a digital copy code. The standard Blu-ray will include previously released extras such as a filmmaker roundtable, Boundin’ and Jack Jack Attack short films, behind-the-scenes featurettes and more. The 4K disc presents the film in 2160p resolution.

The actual release date was the source of some recent confusion, as some online retailers began changing their listings to June 12. Best Buy, which is offering an exclusive Steelbook edition of the 4K Blu-ray, sent an email around May 26 to customers who preordered the film stating it was being delayed a week, only to send a follow-up email a few days later indicating the original June 5 date was still in effect.  A Disney spokesperson has confirmed the title is indeed on track for June 5.

Disney is releasing The Incredibles 2 in theaters June 15.

Paramount Slates ‘A Quiet Place’ for Digital June 26, Disc July 10

Paramount Home Media Distribution will release the acclaimed horror thriller A Quiet Place through digital retailers June 26, followed by Blu-ray, DVD and 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray July 10.

The film stars the real-life husband-wife team of John Krasinski (who also directs) and Emily Blunt as parents who must live in silence in order to protect their children from creatures that hunt by sound. The film has grossed $181.5 million at the domestic box office.

The Blu-ray versions will include the bonus featurettes “Creating the Quiet – Behind the Scenes of A Quiet Place,” The Sound of Darkness – Editing Sound for A Quiet Place” and “A Reason for Silence – The Visual Effects of A Quiet Place.”

The 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray discs also boast a Dolby Atmos soundtrack remixed specifically for home theaters. In addition, the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray  features Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR).

Kino Lorber Announces July 2018 Classics Slate

Kino Lorber has announced the line-up for its July 2018 “Studio Classics” titles.

Due July 3 is Michael Mann’s The Jericho Mile (1979 TV movie) on DVD ($19.95) and Blu-ray ($29.95), with audio commentary by film historian Lee Gambin; and Prefontaine (1997), the biopic of track star Steve Prefontaine starring Jared Leto, on DVD ($11.95) and Blu-ray ($19.95) with audio commentary by writer-director Steve James.

July 10 sees the release of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938) on DVD ($19.95) and Blu-ray $29.95), with both the 90-minute cut and the 77-minute 1954 reissue cut; A Bill of Divorcement (1932) on DVD ($19.95) and Blu-ray ($29.95); Fire Birds (1990), a Top Gun-style helicopter combat drama with Nicolas Cage and Tommy Lee Jones, on DVD ($11.95) and Blu-ray ($19.95) with audio commentary by director David Green; and One Good Cop (1991), starring Michael Keaton, on DVD ($11.95) and Blu-ray ($19.95) with audio commentary by director Heywood Gould, moderated by filmmaker Heather Buckley.

Coming July 17 is director Billy Wilder’s Irma La Douce (1963), re-teaming The Apartment’s Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, on Blu-ray ($29.95) with commentaries by film historians Joseph McBride and Kat Ellinger; Frank McKlusky, C.I. (2002) on DVD ($11.95) and Blu-ray ($14.95); and Whoopi Goldberg in The Associate (1996) on DVD ($11.95) and Blu-ray ($14.95).

Due July 24 are I Walk Alone (1947) on DVD $19.95) and Blu-ray ($29.95) with commentary by film historian Troy Howarth; and Tiger by the Tail (1970) on DVD $19.95) and Blu-ray ($29.95) with commentary by film historians Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson.

July 31 sees the release of Mr. Destiny (1990) on DVD ($11.95) and Blu-ray ($19.95), with audio commentary from star James Belushi and director James Orr; and another Belushi vehicle, Taking Care of Business (1990), on DVD ($11.95) and Blu-ray ($19.95) with commentary by screenwriter Jill Mazursky, moderated by filmmaker Douglas Hosdale.

EIDR Appoints New Officers, Welcomes CAA to Board

EIDR (Entertainment ID Registry), the source of universal identifiers for digital distribution of movie and television assets, has appointed a slate of new officers to its board of directors and has welcomed back Eric Iverson of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to the board.

Bill Kotzman, partner product manager at Google, will succeed Kip Welch of Motion Picture Laboratories (MovieLabs) as chair and will be based in Los Angeles. Kotzman is joined on the EIDR board by new president Greg Geier of Sony Pictures Entertainment, new VP Scott Maddux of TiVo and new treasurer Jeff Stevens of Warner Bros.

“It’s a tremendous time to be taking on the role of Chairman of EIDR,” said Kotzman in a statement. “The necessity of systemic automation of the media and entertainment supply chain is impossible without properly identified content, and the non-proprietary EIDR ID model is the gold standard for making that happen. The new board officers reflect the breadth of EIDR members, with Greg and Jeff representing major film studios, Scott representing a metadata provider and content discovery company, and myself representing a major digital retailer, I bring my years of experience in driving new models of workflow efficiency for Google Play, and know first-hand that EIDR has been a catalyst for value creation at Google. It’s clear that the true ‘network effect’ of EIDR’s global ubiquity is now within reach, and as we plan for the next version of EIDR (v3.0) — I look forward to working with the board and executive director Will Kreth to execute on that vision.”

EIDR also has added Iverson, CIO of Creative Artists Agency, to the board. He previously served on the board in his capacity at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“I look forward to returning to EIDR to help them address the opportunities and challenges ahead,” said Iverson in a statement. “Around the industry, I get the chance to talk with senior executives daily about the potential for positive structural improvements in M&E. The respect for what EIDR has created, at nearly 2 million unique content IDs, and more than 3 million alternate IDs, is universal. EIDR is clearly becoming an important part of the data ecosystem. Obviously, the performance of the films and television shows in which our clients participate is significant, and we look forward to helping add value to EIDR’s emergence as a better way to measure that performance on digital distribution platforms.”

“EIDR’s mission is more important than ever as the industry deals with fragmentation in every corner of the ecosystem — from content creation to distribution to consumption,” said Maddux in a statement. “TiVo co-founded EIDR alongside MovieLabs and we remain deeply committed to the development of industry-standard ID solutions.”

“We’re extremely fortunate in three ways; with Bill taking on the role of Chairman, our slate of new board officers, and CAA not only joining us, but bringing Eric back into the fold,” said Will Kreth, executive director of EIDR, in a statement. “We have a collective powerhouse of a team, and I’m delighted to be working with them to both innovate and bring positive changes to the organization.”

EIDR is a universal identifier system for movie and television assets. EIDR provides globally unique identifiers for the entire range of audiovisual object types that are relevant to entertainment commerce.

‘Beirut’ to Debut on Digital June 19, Disc July 3

The dramatic thriller Beirut will come out on digital (including Movies Anywhere) June 19, and on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand July 3 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, CIA operatives caught in the crossfire of civil war must send a former American diplomat (Jon Hamm, “Mad Men,” Baby Driver) on a mission to negotiate for the life of a friend he left behind. The film also stars Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) and Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad”).

Bonus features on Blu-ray, DVD and digital include the making-of featurettes “The Story Behind Beirut,” with Jon Hamm, Rosamund Pike, and former CIA Officer Whitley Bruner, and “Sandy Crowder,” in which Pike discusses her role as CIA Agent Crowder.

The film will be available on Blu-ray in a combo pack which includes Blu-ray, DVD and digital.

White House Calls Out Comedian Samantha Bee for Ivanka Trump Insult

The White House May 31 wasted little time criticizing comedian Samantha Bee for calling the president’s daughter a “feckless c**t” during the May 30 opening monologue of her political show, “Full Frontal” on TBS.

“The language used by Samantha Bee last night is vile and vicious. The collective silence by the left and its media allies is appalling,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as reported by The Wrap. “Her disgusting comments and show are not fit for broadcast, and executives at Time Warner and TBS must demonstrate that such explicit profanity about female members of this administration will not be condoned on its network.”

Bee, who was commenting on President Trump’s immigration policies, opined that Ivanka Trump, as a mother and advisor to her dad, should do more to impact policies that have separated members of the families of undocumented immigrants.

Trump made illegal immigration a cornerstone of his campaign, calling for the construction of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep out immigrants he claims are flooding across the border from Mexico and Latin America.

Since the election, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have increased rounding up undocumented workers following minor run-ins with the law, including traffic citations.

“Let me just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad’s immigration practices you feckless c**t!” Bee said on the monologue. “He listens to you. Put on something tight and low cut and tell your father to f**king stop it. Tell him it was an Obama thing and see how it goes.”

TBS and Time Warner have not responded publicly to the issue.

Trump Wades Into ‘Roseanne’ Debacle

Leave it to President Donald Trump to make Roseanne Barr’s May 29 racist tweet about a former Obama Administration official about him — and turn it into a social media attack on Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Co.

Barr’s comments resulted in widespread condemnation in the media (including from Fox News rightwing firebrand Sean Hannity) and cancellation by Disney-owned ABC of her top-rated “Roseanne” TV show reboot.

While Barr has apologized, she also blamed the incident on her use of insomnia medication Ambien, to which the drug’s manufacturer responded that racism is not a known side effect.

Iger, who called cancellation of the “Roseanne” show the “right thing to do,” reportedly reached out to Valarie Jarret, the former senior advisor to Obama at the center of Barr’s racist tweet.

That was enough to irk Trump, who first took to social media May 30 asking for his own apology — from Iger.

“Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that “ABC does not tolerate comments like those” made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?” Trump tweeted.

The same day, Trump’s press enabler, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, called out ABC and Disney-owned ESPN on a list of alleged political wrongs originated by the media giant’s personalities.

Trump was referring to an “ABC News” report last year by Brian Ross that alleged former national security advisor Michael Flynn had been instructed by Trump to contact Russian sources prior to the 2016 election. That turned out to be false. Flynn had been in contact with the Russians on his own accord, which he later lied about to Congress and was subsequently fired for by Trump.

Ross apologized for the inaccurate report and was suspended.

But to Trump, who remains in the crosshairs of a Russian collusion investigation headed by former FBI leader Robert Mueller — with Flynn cooperating as part of a plea agreement — the grievance remains personal.

“Iger, where is my call of apology? You and ABC have offended millions of people, and they demand a response. How is Brian Ross doing? He tanked the market with an ABC lie, yet no apology. Double Standard!” Trump tweeted May 31.

Iger, who seeks to acquire 20th Century Fox Film in a deal that would require regulatory approval, has not responded. Nor should he.

AT&T Ups OTT Video PR Campaign

As AT&T awaits a federal judge’s June 12 decision on the merits of the government’s antitrust litigation involving the telecom’s $84.5 billion acquisition of Time Warner, its executives have been busy talking to Wall Street.

AT&T contends the merger — which includes Warner Bros., Turner and HBO — will cut $1.5 billion in annualized operating costs between the two companies. Of course, AT&T is on the hook to Time Warner for $1 billion should the deal not be consummated.

On the regulatory front, AT&T CFO John Stephens May 30 told Cowen’s Technology, Media and Telecom Conference the telecom would (shockingly!) not contest an appeals court decision in February granting the Federal Trade Commission oversight on the Internet in the U.S.

In video, AT&T said it plans (pending the Time Warner merger) to introduce “AT&T Watch,” a $15 monthly skinny package without local programming or expensive sports. It would include Turner programming.

“You can serve another customer segment,” Stephens said.

By the end of the year, the company also expects to launch an online TV “experience” that will compete with linear TV for in-home use. The product will be app-based with a small proprietary streaming media device that connects to customers’ TVs and broadband. This service will offer the same content as linear TV with a “great user experience and lower price points.”

“We’ve had a period of a year-and-a-half where we’ve learned what customers want and what works on the [OTT video],” Stephens said.

This might seem at odds with DirecTV Now, the telecom’s much-publicized online TV service that affords users access to premium pay-TV channels starting at $35 a month – which Stephens said is increasing to $40.

If the merger with Time Warner is about cost synergies, why clutter the TV landscape with confusing (and competing) properties?

“Because we’ve been able to take a different customer segment and treat it, and be very successful at it,” Stephens said, adding that the pending OTT product would not require a service “truck roll” to the consumer’s residence or costly installation.

“That’s a lower subscriber acquisition cost while expanding the market,” he said.

The executive said advertising would play a big role in sustaining the new video properties and noted the vast ad inventory AT&T would have across its platforms following the Time Warner acquisition.

The CFO said AT&T will be able to offer more targeted advertising using data from its broad base of mobile and video subscribers, as well as subscribers to other properties like Otter Media, HBO and Turner Digital.

“You can see where you could add significant amounts of revenue to the [OTT] product, away from the customer,” Stephens said.