Sony Sets ‘Equalizer 2’ for Disc Dec. 11, Digital Nov. 13

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release The Equalizer 2 digitally Nov. 13, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Dec. 11.

Denzel Washington returns to the role of Robert McCall in the sequel to the 2014 thriller that itself was based on the 1980s TV series about a former intelligence agent who uses his skills to help people in danger.

The latest installment, again directed by Antoine Fuqua, finds McCall seeking revenge for the death of a friend. The cast also includes Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.

The Equalizer 2 earned $102 million at the domestic box office.

Home video extras include the featurettes “Seconds Till Death: Action Breakdown” and “Through Antoine’s Lens: The Cast,” plus two NBA promos.

The Blu-ray and digital versions also include a “Retribution Mode” with Washington and Fuqua delving into the making of key scenes as the film plays out; a pop-up trivia track;  11 deleted and extended scenes; and a “Denzel as McCall: Round Two” featurette. Digital content may vary by retailer.

Family Film ‘Getting Grace’ Due on DVD Nov. 6 From Random Media

The family film Getting Grace will come out on DVD Nov. 6 from Random Media.

Directed by Daniel Roebuck, the film follows Grace (newcomer Madelyn Dundon), a teenage girl dying of cancer who crashes a funeral home to find out what will happen to her after she dies. Instead, Grace ends up teaching the awkward funeral director, Bill (Roebuck), how to celebrate life.

Getting Grace also stars Marsha Dietlein Bennett, Dana Ashbroo, Duane Whitaker, Alexa McFillin and Diane Wagner.

The film won four Northeast Film Festival awards, including  Best Feature, Best Director, Best Actress and Audience Choice.

Special features include “Making Grace,” a behind the scenes featurette in which Roebuck looks back on the casting and filming of Getting Grace in his hometown of Bethlehem, Pa., including interviews with the cast and select cast auditions; Getting Grace Lehigh Valley charity premieres, featuring the cast at three premieres benefitting local charities; commentary from Roebuck; a deleted scene; and the theatrical trailer.

Trans World Entertainment CFO John Anderson Dies

Trans World Entertainment Corp., parent of home entertainment retailer f.y.e. and ecommerce platform Etailz.com, Oct. 15 announced the unexpected Oct. 10 passing of CFO John Anderson. He was 49. Cause of death was not disclosed.

During a 23-year career at TWEC, Anderson served as CFO for the past six years.

“The entire team at Trans World and I are deeply saddened and shocked by the passing of John Anderson,” CEO Mike Feurer said in a statement. “John was greatly admired and respected by those fortunate enough to have worked closely with him. His life touched and had a very positive impact on everyone who knew him.”

Anderson is survived by his wife, Denise (Coffin) Anderson, two children, his parents and siblings, among others.

PBS Documentary ‘American Experience: The Circus’ Due on Digital Oct. 9, DVD Nov. 6

The PBS Distribution documentary American Experience: The Circus will come out on digital Oct. 9 on iTunes and on DVD Nov. 6.

The four-hour, two-part program explores the history of this distinctly American form of entertainment, where young women could become lion tamers and young men traveled the world as roustabouts. Drawing upon a vast visual archive, and featuring a host of performers, historians and aficionados, The Circus brings to life an era when Circus Day would shut down a town and its stars were among the most famous people in the country.

Part One starts with the first one-ring show at the end of the 18th century in Philadelphia when the circus met the disapproval of the religious. In a society that valued sobriety and hard work, peering at half-naked aerialists amid shifty circus workers was frowned upon. Soon, circuses began to add elaborate menageries of exotic animals including lions, hippos and elephants, and “human oddities” from across the globe — rebranding themselves as “educational” experiences to concerned communities. Once the infamous showman and huckster P. T. Barnum transformed the trade in 1871, he and his partners created the largest touring show in existence.

Part Two follows James Bailey as he takes his circus to Europe on a five-year tour. Upon returning the circus tour to the U.S. the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey merged, creating a moving town of more than 1,100 people, 735 horses, nearly 1,000 other animals and 28 tents.

Featured were some of the most storied circus performers in history, including the famed aerialist Lillian Leitzel; May Worth, who stunned audiences by somersaulting on horseback; and big cat trainer Mabel Stark. In an era when women were still fighting for the right to vote, women circus performers stepped to the forefront of the suffrage movement.

Third Season of HBO’s ‘Insecure’ Available on Digital Oct. 29

The latest season of HBO’s Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated comedy series “Insecure” will be available for digital download Oct. 29.

Insecure: The Complete Third Season follows creator, writer and star Issa Rae as Issa, and her best friend Molly (Yvonne Orji) as they tackle work woes, relationship escapades and awkward moments. In the third season, Issa attempts to navigate complicated relationships while on the work front she begins to question her role at the nonprofit We Got Y’all. Meanwhile, Molly (Yvonne Orji) sets boundaries in order to concentrate on her dream job at a black-owned law firm, which she risks sabotaging with her insecurities and hang-ups.

Jay Ellis (Lawrence), Y’lan Noel (Daniel), Natasha Rothwell (Kelli), Amanda Seales (Tiffany) and Lisa Joyce (Frieda) also return.

IHS Markit: TV Shipments to Grow 3.6% in 2018 With UHD Models to Account for More Than Half of Shipments in 2019

After declining unit-shipment volumes in 2017, global TV shipments are forecast to grow 3.6% year over year in 2018, with additional 1.4% growth in 2019, according to a new report from research firm IHS Markit.

Of the 226 million TVs expected to ship in 2019, more than half will be ultra-high-definition (UHD) models, the majority of which are 4K. However, 8K TVs from major global TV brands will launch toward the end of 2018, kicking off the next wave of resolution transition, according to the report.

“Growth in the TV market typically is the result of more attractive retail prices for large-screen sizes and the continued commoditization of 4K resolution, driving TV replacements and upgrades,” said IHS research and analysis executive director Paul Gagnon in a statement. “However, this growth through price compression has a negative effect on profits, so TV brands are actively looking for more growth from advanced TV models to improve earnings.”
Technologies such as 8K, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) and quantum dot (QD) carry substantial premiums, and 4K TVs still carry premiums of more than 35 percent at screen sizes where 1080p resolution is still an option, such as 40-inch to 49-inch TVs, according to IHS.

IHS Markit forecasts that the 8K TV market will grow from less than 20,000 units in 2018 to more than 430,000 in 2019 — eventually approaching 2 million units by 2020. All of this growth will be centered on 60-inch and larger screen sizes, with 65-inch TVs accounting for more than half of the volume.

OLED TV is expected to grow more than 40% in 2019, rising to 3.6 million units. This growth is in line with previous forecasts, because demand is essentially matching industry production capacity, according to IHS. The size mix still favors 55-inch TVs, based on current prices, but it will transition to mostly 65-inch TVs by 2020, when new production capacity is optimized for larger screen sizes, and when substantial growth is expected in the OLED TV category.

Quantum dot LCD TV shipments are now forecast to exceed 4 million units in 2019, based on more aggressive pricing and the introduction of transitional quantum-dot-equipped LCD TV models, according to IHS.
“The high-end prices of non-QD-equipped LCD TV models and the prices of the low end QD-equipped LCD TV models have moved closer together,” Gagnon said in a statement. “This extension of the quantum dot LCD TV lineup into more moderate price ranges effectively reduces the quantum dot premium to less than 100 percent at mid-range sizes, opening up the category to a larger addressable market of consumers.”

BBC, Lionsgate Team on Content Development

BBC Studios Los Angeles and Lionsgate Television have teamed up to co-develop and co-fund scripted formats and original intellectual property for the U.S. market. As part of the first look agreement, the parties will create original series, drawing on the BBC catalog.

The BBC Studios production unit in Los Angeles provides content to broadcast, cable and subscription services, including scripted productions “Getting On” (HBO) and the Emmy award-winning The Night Of (HBO) and unscripted brands “Dancing with the Stars” (ABC) and the Emmy award-winning “Life Below Zero” (National Geographic Channel).

“BBC Studios productions is known for showcasing the best content with British DNA,” said Matt Forde, managing director, international production and formats, BBC Studios, in a statement. “We’re looking forward to this creative partnership with Lionsgate Television to more readily bring this to the U.S. audiences, and beyond.”

“We’re thrilled to partner with one of the largest and most respected content suppliers in the world,” said Lionsgate Television Group chairman Kevin Beggs and Lionsgate Television Group president Sandra Stern in a statement. “We’re incredibly excited by the opportunity to marshal our complementary resources and expertise to continue to bring the globally renowned BBC brand to the U.S. market.”

Sony Sets Home Release Dates for Mystery-Thriller ‘Searching’

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has set home release dates for Searching, a film festival favorite that delves into the virtual world of social media.

The mystery-thriller will be released on digital – including the Movies Anywhere app – on Nov. 3, with a Blu-ray Disc and DVD release two weeks later, on Nov. 27.

Searching is the feature film debut for writer-director Aneesh Chaganty and writer-producer Sev Ohanian. According to Sony Pictures, Chaganty and Ohanian’s script constructs a new form of cinema inspired by the connection between parent and child in the Internet age.

The film stars John Cho as a distraught father determined to find his missing daughter. He shifts through her social media accounts, emails, pictures, videos and more to aid in the police investigation. Also in the case are Debra Messing, Joseph Lee and Michelle La in her feature film debut.

Searching won the audience award and the Alfred P. Slogan Feature Film Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and has a 93% Certified Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Bonus features on the disc and digital releases include a commentary from the director and three exclusive behind-the scenes featurettes. “Changing The Language Of Cinema” explores the creative process of producing a film told entirely on screens. “Update Username: Cast And Characters” delves into the film’s challenging cinematography through interviews with the cast and the filmmakers. And “Searching For Easter Eggs” finds filmmakers Chaganty and Ohanian revealing the “blink and you missed it” Easter Eggs hidden in the ancillary screen space throughout the film.

Searching has a run time of approximately 102 minutes.

Netflix Hits Q3 Mobile App Home Run

Netflix doesn’t report third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) financial results until Oct. 16, but the streaming video behemoth apparently hit another fiscal home run with its mobile app.

The SVOD pioneer generated $243.7 million in Q3 revenue from its app, which was up 90% from $128.2 million in revenue in the previous-year period, according to Sensor Tower, which monitors the app ecosystem globally.

The company said the Netflix mobile app has generated about $1.4 billion in global revenue from Google Play and the Apple App Store since its inception. Google’s Android OS didn’t offer a Netflix app until 2011.

Indeed, Sensor said Netflix added 50 million app downloads in Q3 — up 36% from last year. The service now has more than 600 million mobile apps installed worldwide.

Bankrupt Sears Still Selling Movie Discs Online

Sears and subsidiary Kmart stores, and its online and mobile platforms, remain open following the Oct. 15 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and continue to offer a full range of products — including DVD and Blu-ray Disc movies.

The fiscal reorganization by Sears Holdings Corp. underscores ongoing fiscal challenges traditional brick-and-mortar retail faces in the age of ecommerce.

Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears announced a series of actions it says will establish a sustainable capital structure, continue streamlining its operating model and return the company to profitability – last achieved in 2010.

Sears will close 142 unprofitable stores near the end of the year. Liquidation sales at these stores are expected to begin shortly. The company previously announced closure of 46 unprofitable stores that is expected to be completed by November.

The company — best known for its Kenmore appliances and Craftsman tools — announced it received commitments for $300 million in debtor-in-possession financing and is negotiating for another $300 million in financing.

“Our goal is to achieve a comprehensive restructuring as efficiently as possible, working closely with our creditors and other debtholders, and be better positioned to execute on our strategy and key priorities,” outgoing CEO Edward Lampert said in a statement.

Regardless, Sears will continue to sell new-release movies on its website. The site currently offers 141 Blu-ray titles, in addition to 4K Blu-ray, and more than 500 DVD movies. Orders are facilitated by Kmart and other third-party distributors.

Indeed, Sears found itself in hot water in 2011 when it was accused of selling pornographic DVDs on its website. The retailer attributed the error to third-party merchants slipping content through its product monitoring system.