Spielberg’s ‘Hook’ Coming to 4K UHD Oct. 9 From Sony

Hook, Steven Spielberg’s update on the tale of Peter Pan, debuts on 4K Ultra HD and digital in 4K with high dynamic range Oct. 9 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Starring Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook, Robin Williams as Peter, Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell, Bob Hoskins as Smee and Maggie Smith as Wendy, Hook was nominated for five Academy Awards in 1991. The story follows an adult Peter Pan as he returns to Neverland to reclaim his youthful spirit in order to challenge his old enemy Captain Hook, who has kidnaped his children.

Hook has been restored in 4K from the original camera negative, with approval on the 4K HDR master from director Steven Spielberg, according to the studio. It also features Dolby Atmos audio.

Bonus features include 11 never-before-seen deleted scenes.

Cinedigm Narrows Q1 Loss, Ups DVD/Blu-ray Disc Billing 65%

Home entertainment distributor Cinedigm Aug. 14 announced a first-quarter (ended June 30) net loss of $3.4 million, down 35% from a net loss of $5.2 million during the previous-year period. Revenue declined 14% to $13.1 million from $15.2 million during the previous-year period.

The revenue decrease was partially offset by a 9% increase in content and entertainment revenue, which includes sales of packaged media such as DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

Cinedigm Entertainment Group closed a multi-year, multi-title distribution agreement with Nelvana, a Canadian animation company and global producer of children’s content. The agreement includes DVD and transactional VOD content rights to more than 3,000 television episodes featuring worldwide brands such as Franklin, Babar and Beyblade.

Indeed, DVD/Blu-ray Disc billings increased 65% in the quarter from the previous-year period, while digital billings increased 30%. Total over-the top video revenue (which includes Docurama, Dove Channel and CONtv) reached $2.2 million on 91,000 subscribers – the latter up 7% from last year.

“Despite the first fiscal quarter being a seasonally slow period for our business, our results clearly illustrate the progress we are making in the transformation of our business,” CFO Jeffrey Edell said in a statement.

CEO Chris McGurk said the company made three industry presentations at the Beijing Film Festival, in addition to announcing six new entertainment partnerships.

Cinedigm is majority owned by Bison Capital, a Chinese owned and Hong Kong-based investment company focusing on media and entertainment, healthcare and financial service industries.

“We made significant progress in our streaming OTT segment, where we generate sales through four revenue streams: subscription fees, advertising, servicing retainers and content distribution fees,” said McGurk. “We are encouraged by our progress as we continue to lead the way in this huge, fast-growing, high margin segment with a differentiated OTT business model.”

 

‘Phantasm III’ and ‘Phantasm IV’ to Debut Sept. 18 on Blu-ray from Well Go

The Tall Man returns in horror icon Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead and Phantasm IV: Oblivion debuting on Blu-ray Disc Sept. 18 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

In the third in the series, 15 years after the original horror classic, writer/director Don Coscarelli reunites brothers Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) and Jody (Bill Thornbury) to help their friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) destroy the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) once and for all. Gloria Lynne Henry (Phantasm Ravager) and John Chandler (The Outlaw Josey Wales) co-star. Bonus material includes audio commentary with Baldwin and Scrimm; the featurette “Phantasm III: Behind-the-Scenes”; a deleted scene; and the trailer.

In Phantasm IV, Mike (Baldwin) has once again escaped from the Tall Man (Scrimm) who had begun to transform him. Leaving Reggie (Bannister) and his brother Jody (Thornbury), he travels through various dimensions and time in order to discover more about his nemesis and find out what really happened the night his brother died. Bonus materials include audio commentary with Coscarelli, Bannister and Scrimm; the featurette “Phantasm IV: Behind-The-Scenes”; and the trailer.

Coscarelli’s memoir True Indie: Life and Death in Filmmaking is due from St. Martin’s Press Oct. 2.

MoviePass Parent Posts $109.7 Million Half-Year Loss; Seeks Additional Funds to Sustain Operations Over the Next 12 Months

Helios and Matheson Analytics – parent of fiscally-challenged ticket subscription service MoviePass – Aug. 14 reported a second-quarter (ended June 30) net loss of $83.6 million on revenue of $74.1 million. The loss compared to a net loss of $5.2 million on revenue of $1.1 million during the previous-year period (before HMNY acquired 92% stake in MoviePass).

As expected, the MoviePass business model enabling subscribers daily access to a theatrical screening for $9.95 monthly fee continues to negatively affect the bottom line. The service generated $72.4 million in subscription revenue but spent a whopping $178.7 million reimbursing exhibitors for tickets consumed by subscribers.

For the first six months of the year, the cost-to-revenue equation didn’t get any better. MoviePass generated $119.5 million in subscription revenue, spending nearly $315 million on exhibitors.

Net loss for the half-year topped $109.7 million on revenue of $123.6 million.

In the regulatory filing, HMNY said it has been given until Dec. 18 to bring its stock up to the Nasdaq minimum of $1 per share or company shares will be delisted.

Further, HMNY said that without additional funding, it would not have sufficient funds to meet its obligations within the next 12 months.

“While management will look to continue funding operations by raising additional capital from sources such as sales of the company’s debt or equity securities or loans in order to meet operating cash requirements, there is no assurance that management’s plans will be successful,” HMNY said in the filing.

The company ended the period with just $15.5 million in cash, down from $25 million at the end of 2017.

 

MGM Studios Home Entertainment Revenue No ‘Death Wish’

Home entertainment sales of movies and TV shows has come back strong for MGM Studios.

The venerable studio Aug. 14 said second-quarter (ended June 30) global home entertainment revenue for film content topped $37.1 million, an increase of $18.2 million, or 97%, as compared to $18.9 million in revenue for the previous-year period.

Primary (physical and digital) drivers included the domestic home entertainment reboots of Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis,andTomb Raider, featuring Alicia Vikander, plus ongoing distribution of library content. By comparison, home entertainment revenue for the prior-year quarter included distribution of Spectre, The Hobbit trilogy and other library content.

Home entertainment and other revenue for television content reached $8.5 million, up $3.8 million, or 79%, as compared to $4.7 million last year. The increase was primarily driven by the continued strong home entertainment performance of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Through the first six month of the year, worldwide home entertainment revenue for film content reached $56.3 million, an increase of $5.6 million, or 11%, as compared to $50.7 million for the six months ended June 30, 2017.

Home entertainment and other revenue for TV content was $19 million for the six months, an increase of $5.7 million, or 43%, as compared to
$13.3 million last year.

‘Matrix Trilogy’ Coming to UHD Blu-ray Oct. 30

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the entire “Matrix” trilogy on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and UHD digital Oct. 30.

The trilogy will be available as a single boxed set, and the final two films, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, will also be released separately on UHD Blu-ray. The original Matrix was already released on UHD Blu-ray in May.

The 4K versions of the films are from a new scan of the original camera negatives and represents the first remastering of the films in nearly 15 years. The UHD Blu-rays will feature Dolby Vision HDR and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack optimized for home theaters. All discs will also include 5.1 audio.

The films will also include previously released bonus materials.

The trilogy boxed set is listed at $70.99 and includes the films on both UHD Blu-ray and standard Blu-ray discs. Combo packs for the standalone movies are listed at $29.99 each.

Best Buy will have exclusive UHD Blu-ray Steelbook editions of each film as well.

Online Trading App Halts MoviePass Parent Stock Purchases

With its stock worth about a nickel, Helios and Matheson Analytics – parent of fiscally-challenged ticket subscription service MoviePass – has been a draw to entry-level investors.

That worries Robinhood, an upstart online trading app with a business model that pledges to help first-time investors navigate Wall Street.

The firm operates on margin trading charging subscribers from $6 monthly to buy and sell stock. This week, Robinhood reportedly sent an email to subscribers announcing it had suspended new purchases of HMNY stock.

“In order to protect our customers from the risks associated with some low-priced stocks, we remove the buy option for stocks like HMNY that consistently trade under $0.10 [per share],” said the company, as reported by Business Insider.

HMNY stock, which underwent a 1-for-250 shares reverse stock split last month, has lost 99.99% of its value since the split. The stock is reportedly held by more than 74,000 Robinhood subscribers, who can still hold and sell the company’s shares.

Robinhood’s move is in stark contrast to Maxim Group and Canaccord Genuity, two Wall Street investment firms that have profited from marketing shrinking HMNY shares.

The firms worked with HMNY pushing the stock on investors since last August after the latter acquired controlling interest in MoviePass. In return, they reportedly made millions on commissions while holding a “buy” rating on HMNY stock.

“We see numerous ways to monetize a large user base and drive profitability, such as movie promotions, profit sharing, rebates, concessions, data sales and advertising,” Brian Kinstlinger, analyst at Maxim, wrote in an October note.

Kinstlinger set a price target of $20 per share for HMNY stock.

Of course, HMNY shares have only declined over the past 10 months as MoviePass hemorrhaged millions more than it generated. The service reportedly spent upwards of $45 million monthly in June and July reimbursing exhibitors for tickets redeemed by subscribers.

An investor buying $100,000 worth of HMNY stock last October, would now hold about $1.85 in value.

Indeed, axiom “buyer beware,” is a mainstay on Wall Street precisely because investment banks’ ratings on third-party stock are often undermined by their cozy relationship with the same clients.

“Human nature being what it is, no CEO is likely to throw business to a bank whose analyst is negative on the CEO’s company,” Erik Gordon, professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, told Business Insider.

“There are examples of analysts reiterating ‘buy’ ratings 30 days before a company went under,” said Gordon.

Fox Promotes ‘Deadpool 2’ Digital and Disc Release at Planet Hollywood Resort

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has teamed with Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to celebrate the Blu-ray and digital release of Deadpool 2: Super Duper Cut.

The promotion includes a specialty room package, themed food and beverages, an all-day “Deadpool 2 Super Duper Pool Party” and a free exclusive movie screening at The Scene Pool Deck.

Deadpool 2: Super Duper Cut is available now on digital and comes out on Blu-ray Aug. 21.

The pool party takes place Aug. 18 and includes a live DJ, movie trivia, costumes, giveaways and more beginning around noon. Themed food and drinks include Deadpool 2 pizza adorned with pepperoni and olives to resemble the classic character. A free screening of Deadpool 2: Super Duper Cut takes place at 8 p.m. The parties are free and open to the public. Guests must be 21 and over to attend.

Planet Hollywood’s Cafe Hollywood will offer a Deadpool milkshake and cocktail through the end of August.

The hotel’s Heart Bar will feature Deadpool’s favorite cocktail – The Sea Breeze. Café Hollywood will offer a specialty fruity cocktail, garnished with a chocolate strawberry, decorated to resemble Deadpool’s mask as well as a Deadpool-inspired milkshake. Both food specials are available through the end of August.

The “Deadpool Hotel & Pool Package” includes two free passes for the FlowRider attraction at The Scene Pool Deck and a $25 pool credit that can be used towards food and drink. Packages can be booked at caesars.com using code: IMPOL. For more information, visit planethollywoodresort.com.

Facebook, Disney/ESPN+ Up Soccer Streaming

Soccer may be the world’s most-popular sport that has yet to generate mainstream appeal in the United States. But that isn’t stopping major domestic over-the-top video platforms from inking distribution deals with international professional leagues.

Disney’s recently launched OTT service ESPN+ signed a multi-year media agreement for three more top-division soccer leagues – Australia’s Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League, the Chinese Super League and the Dutch Eredivisie.

In all, more than 300 matches per season from the leagues will be streamed live exclusively in the United States on ESPN+.

“This agreement further boosts the position of ESPN+ as the leading new platform for live soccer matches in the U.S.,” Burke Magnus, EVP of programming and scheduling at ESPN, said in a statement. “These leagues join a lineup of hundreds of top-division live matches from Europe and North America, along with a strong lineup of original and studio soccer programming.”

Last week, ESPN+ announced a new multi-year agreement with Serie A TIM that includes more than 340 Italian soccer matches per year. The streaming service is also home to MLS Live – a collection of more than 250 Major League Soccer out-of-market matches, as well as local market media home for the Chicago Fire.

ESPN+ will carry more than 100 live matches from the UEFA Nations League (UNL), a new tournament among the 55-member nations from the Union of European Football Associations played on FIFA international match days beginning in September. In addition, ESPN+ subscribers have access to hundreds of English Football League (EFL), the United Soccer League (USL) matches.

The service also streams “ESPN FC”, ESPN’s daily global soccer news, information and analysis program.

Separately, Facebook signed a deal with Spain’s La Liga soccer league to stream matches in Asia. The €90 million agreement will live-stream 380 matches in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Maldivas, Nepal, Butan and Sri Lanka.

This summer Amazon Prime Video announced it would live-stream 20 Premier League soccer matches beginning in 2019.

 

One Billion Internet-Connected TV Devices in Use Globally

It’s a streaming video world. There more than one billion connected TV devices now in use worldwide, according to new data from Strategy Analytics.

Connected TV devices – including Smart TVs, Blu-ray Disc players, video game consoles, streaming media devices – enable users to stream over-the-top video content to the TV.

Smart TVs have been consistently gaining market share and now represent nearly 60% of the total Internet-connected media device installed base.

“The popularity of connected TV, in particular Smart TVs and dedicated media streaming devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast, has grown dramatically over the last few years and has led to a fundamental shift in how consumers view and engage with content on the TV set,” David Watkins, director at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement.

Spearheaded by Roku, Strategy Analytics expects more than 55 million streaming media devices to ship globally this year – about a third of 150 million Smart TV market.

“Sony has long been the global leader in connected TV devices in terms of devices installed in homes thanks not only to its strength in TVs and Blu-ray players, but also as a result of its leading position in the global game console market,” added David Mercer, VP at Strategy Analytics.

The report said Samsung now equals Sony at the top of the rankings in terms of overall installed connected TV device units, and the South Korean company is poised to take the lead in the second half of 2018.

“As Smart TVs take an ever-growing share of the overall market, Samsung will replace Sony at the top of the device footprint rankings later this year thanks to its dominant position in the world’s Smart TV market,” said Mercer.