Golden Trailer Awards Honor Entertainment Marketers

The entertainment industry celebrated motion picture marketing at the 20th Annual Golden Trailer Awards May 30 at The Theatre at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles.

More than 1,000 studio and network marketing executives, movie fans, celebrities and trailer editors were on hand as AV Squad and Lionsgate won the night’s top honor of Best of Show for their work on the John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum trailer titled “Conversation.” Netflix won the most awards of the night, taking home 16 Golden Trailer statues. Warner Bros (with HBO), and Disney were also big winners of the night taking home 14 and 11 Golden Trailer Awards respectively.

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Among the home entertainment honorees were:

Best Home Ent. Action
Mission Impossible: Fallout, Blu-ray Trailer
Paramount
Aspect

Best Home Ent. Comedy
Crazy Rich Asians, “Target Showcase Wall”
Warner Bros. Pictures
Trailer Park

Best Home Ent. Drama
Bohemian Rhapsody “Royalty AVOD”
20th Century Fox
Mob Scene

Best Home Ent. Family / Animation
Mary Poppins Returns, Bonus Trailer “Be A Child”
Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International
Aspect

Best Home Ent. Fantasy Adventure
Avengers: Infinity War “Announce Trailer”
Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International
Tiny Hero

Best Home Ent. Horror / Thriller
In Darkness “Listen 30”
Universal
Silk Factory

To view the complete list of 2019 winners and a selection of this year’s trailers, visit http://www.goldentrailer.com.

Spiritual Films ‘The Answer’ and ‘Noah’ Coming to DVD, Digital in June From Virgil

Virgil Films will release two spiritual films, The Answer and Noah, on DVD, EST and VOD in June.

Noah, coming June 11, is a Sight & Sound Theatres stage production projected to more than 800 movie theaters in April. More than 2 million people have attended the live show, which follows the Bible story of Noah as he fulfills God’s command to build an ark and fill it with animals. Sets towered four stories above the stage.

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Due June 18 is The Answer, which chronicles the life of American James Donald Walters, later known as Swami Kriyananda. It portrays his youthful quest for truth which took him from his birthplace in Romania to Hollywood, where he meets and is accepted as a disciple of Indian Master Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the bestseller Autobiography of a Yogi, first published in 1946.

‘Dragon’ Threequel Lights Up Disc Sales Charts

DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World debuted at No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended May 25.

The third “Dragon” film, distributed by Universal Pictures, earned $160.6 million at the domestic box office and outsold the No. 2 ranked title by a 5-to-1 margin. A collection of the entire “Dragon” trilogy debuted at No. 6 on the charts.

Bowing in second place on both charts was STX’s The Upside, also distributed by Universal. A remake of the 2011 French film The Intouchables, about an unambitious man taking a job caring for a wealthy quadriplegic, The Upside stars Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston and earned $108 million in U.S. theaters.

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The previous week’s top Blu-ray, Warner’s The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, slid to No. 3 on both charts.

Lionsgate’s Cold Pursuit, which had been the top seller on the combined chart the previous week, dropped to No. 4 on both charts.

Rounding out the top five on both charts was another newcomer, the romantic comedy spoof Isn’t It Romantic, from Warner Bros. It earned $48.8 million at the domestic box office.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 66% of Dragon unit sales, compared with 45% for Upside 40% for Isn’t It Romantic. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version of Dragon comprised 8% of its total overall unit sales.

The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended May 26 had The Upside at No. 1, with Dragon at No. 2 and Isn’t It Romantic at No. 3.

Cold Pursuit slid to No. 4, while Universal’s Fighting With My Family dropped to No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 5-25-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 5-26-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 5-25-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 5-25-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 5-25-19
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 5-27-19

WarnerMedia Absorbs AT&T’s Otter Media

WarnerMedia May 31 announced that Otter Media is being realigned under the WarnerMedia Entertainment group run by Bob Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer business.

Otter Media was formed in 2014 by AT&T and The Chernin Group. Its properties include Fullscreen, a social media platform serving creators and brands; anime brand Crunchyroll; SVOD platform VRV; Rooster Teeth, a media and entertainment company serving the gaming community with a footprint of more than 40 million subscribers to its YouTube network, over 5 million monthly visitors to RoosterTeeth.com, and 2.5 million registered community members; a majority stake in Gunpowder & Sky, a digital- first studio; and minority stakes in Hello Sunshine, a cross- platform brand and content company for women founded with Reese Witherspoon, and Mars Reel, a media and lifestyle brand focused on telling authentic stories of top high school athletes through premium video content.

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The combination brings together WarnerMedia’s digital businesses of the company at a time when the organization’s new direct-to-consumer platform is being built with access to content from HBO, the WarnerMedia cable networks, Warner Bros., plus a robust slate of new original content.

Otter Media CEO Tony Goncalves

Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media, will now also lead the development of the new WarnerMedia direct-to-consumer service, along with Otter’s existing brands and services.

He reports to Greenblatt. Andy Forssell, most recently COO of Otter Media and former CEO of Hulu, will move to the role of EVP and GM of the new streaming service reporting to Goncalves. Kevin Reilly, president, TBS/TNT/TruTV and CCO of direct-to-consumer, will remain in that position reporting to Greenblatt.

Brad Bentley, who was serving as the streaming service’s GM, informed the company that he would be leaving.

“As we continue to build out our new streaming business and realign WarnerMedia functions, this step will facilitate further scale and focus in our efforts to offer customers an engaging and compelling product experience,” John Stankey, CEO, WarnerMedia, said in a statement.

Goncalves joined Otter Media, as CEO last year. Through AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV, he served as CEO of digital brands and head of strategy and business development for AT&T where he helped the company navigate the rapid pace of change in a digital centric world.

Forssell currently serves as EVP and COO of Otter Media, as well as president of Fullscreen. He joined Otter from Fullscreen where he served as COO for several years, overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations, as well as leading technology and product development. Forssell has served in a number of CEO, COO and general management roles, at companies like Hulu and ShowYou, helping to define and evolve the world of streaming video from its infancy.

 

 

Vietnamese Action Thriller ‘Furie’ Coming to Disc June 25 From Well Go

The Vietnamese action thriller Furie, about a mother’s revenge, is headed to DVD and Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD) June 25 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

In the film, a little girl is kidnapped by a trafficking ring, but the kidnappers soon find they messed with the wrong child. Her mother, a notorious former gang leader, is close on their trail and will go to any lengths to bring her daughter home.

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Directed by Le Van Kiet, the film stars Veronica Ngo, Phan Than Nhien and Mai Cat Vi.

Netflix Options Trio of Young Adult Bestsellers, Picks Up Jane Campion’s ‘The Power of the Dog’

Netflix May 30 announced it has optioned three of best-selling author Sarah Dessen’s young adult novels and has acquired Academy Award winning director Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Moss.

The Dessen titles are Along for the Ride, This Lullaby and Once and for All. The author is one of the country’s most popular in the young adult, realistic fiction genre, according the Netflix.

The first novel to be adapted into a feature film will be Along for the Ride, a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Best YA Fiction. It follows a girl who meets an intriguing loner and fellow insomniac while staying with her father for the summer.

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Also, Netflix has acquired worldwide rights (excluding the United Kingdom free TV rights which are retained by BBC) to The Power of the Dog, adapted from the 1967 Thomas Savage novel by Campion, from See-Saw Films’ in-house sales arm Cross City Films. Netflix will release it in 2021 on its SVOD service and in theaters. Netflix will be the worldwide distributor of the film, with Transmission Films releasing theatrically in Australia and New Zealand. The company will work with its other local partners worldwide on the theatrical release.

The story follows wealthy Montana brothers Phil (Cumberbatch) and George Burbank, who are two sides of one coin. Phil is graceful, brilliant and cruel where George is stolid, fastidious and gentle. Together they are joint owners of the biggest ranch in the Montana valley. It is a place where men are still men, the rapidly modernizing 20th century is kept at bay and where the figure of Bronco Henry, the greatest cowboy Phil ever knew, is revered. When George secretly marries local widow Rose (Moss), a shocked and angry Phil wages a sadistic, relentless war to destroy her entirely using her effeminate son Peter as a pawn.

Report: Amazon Eyeing Boost Mobile Pre-Paid Wireless Service

Amazon reportedly is considering acquiring Boost Mobile, the prepaid cellphone service owned by Sprint Corp.

Sprint, which is attempting to merge with T-Mobile to become “New T-Mobile” for $26 billion, is spinning off Boost in an effort to appease federal regulators.

Reuters, which first reported the story citing sources familiar with the situation, said Amazon’s interest revolves around the ability to use T-Mobile’s wireless network and access wireless spectrum for six years as part of any transaction.

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Wireless spectrum enables the flow of digital data, including sound and video. Spectrum helps deliver voice and video between cell phones, television shows from broadcasters and online information between computers.

In addition to e-commerce, SVOD and digital books and music, Amazon has become one of the world’s largest cloud-based services through its AWS (Amazon Web Services) subsidiary.

TiVo Names New CEO, Updates Business Outlook

TiVo has named Dave Shull, former chief executive of The Weather Channel, as its new CEO, replacing interim CEO Raghu Rau, who becomes vice chairperson on the company’s board of directors.

As CEO of The Weather Channel from 2015 to 2018, Shull overhauled the organization to streamline operating costs, separated the digital assets from its television and OTT products resulting in the successful sale of its digital businesses to IBM in 2016.

Prior to The Weather Channel, Shull held various executive roles at Dish Network for 10 years. He holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Oxford University.

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“In addition to Dave’s deep experience in the pay-TV, OTT and digital media fields, he has a strong track record of driving value creating strategic outcomes and operational transformations,” Jim Meyer, chairman of the board, said in a statement.

Indeed, driving growth and strategy are just what TiVo needs as it separates its hardware and IT patent businesses.

The DVR pioneer also announced that, based upon improved visibility into its sales pipeline, it is raising fiscal 2019 expectations from those provided on May 9.

It now expects revenue of $644 million to $660 million, up from previous range of $640 million to $654 million, and a pre-tax loss of $72 million to $80 million, lowered from the previous pre-tax loss of $75 million to $87 million.

TiVo now expects Adjusted pre-tax earnings of $175 million to $185 million, up from the previous range of $172 million to $178 million.

Additionally, TiVo said it expects to repay $345 million currently outstanding on its 2020 convertible notes by the maturity date, from its cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities on the balance sheet and anticipated operating cash flow.

Finally, TiVo reaffirmed that it expects to complete the separation  of its hardware and patent software businesses in the first half of 2020.

 

 

Captain Marvel

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 6/11/19;
Disney/Marvel;
Action;
Box Office $425.98 million;
$39.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive language.
Stars Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Annette Bening, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg.

The 21st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain Marvel, is the most entertaining backstory for a pager you’re likely to see.

First and foremost, the film answers the question of who Nick Fury was contacting in the post-credits sequence of Avengers: Infinity War as half of all life in the universe was turning to dust as a result of Thanos’ snap. And in doing so, it provides the introduction of a key hero who would otherwise be considered little more than a deus ex machina in Avengers: Endgame.

The film serves as a prequel for the rest of the MCU (aside from the World War II setting of Captain America: The First Avenger), and its 1995 setting is a big indicator of what direction the humor and soundtrack are going to go.

It starts off as something of a space opera, shades of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” focused an alien task force that includes the warrior Vers (Brie Larson). The team is helping the Kree Empire (the blue aliens seen in other MCU movies and the TV series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) fight a war against the shape-shifting Skrulls.

When a mission goes awry and Vers finds herself captured by the Skrulls, she escapes to Earth, where the Skrulls are searching for a mysterious power source.

After encountering S.H.I.E.L.D., she learns she is really Carol Danvers, a human test pilot believed killed several years before in a crash that in actuality was an attack that left her with superpowers and no memory of her previous self.

Carol’s abilities in the film have been frequently compared with a hero from” rival DC Comics: Superman, which is interesting considering that Danvers” is also the last name of Supergirl’s human alter ego. She also wouldn’t even be the first Captain Marvel to be compared with Superman — that would be the Fawcett Comics Captain Marvel from the 1940s that was eventually acquired by DC Comics and renamed Shazam to avoid confusion with the Marvel Comics version of the character. (That the Shazam! movie would finally hit screens just a month after Captain Marvel is one of cinema’s great coincidences.)

Captain Marvel attempts to fiddle with the tropes of the superhero origin story by using a flashback mystery structure, which is a nice exercise in technique even if Vers’ true identity will only be a mystery to anyone who hasn’t seen the film’s trailers beforehand or has any passing familiarity with her comic book history (or has already seen the movie, of course). There are other surprises to be had and some subversion of expectations, which balances it all out.

It’s a perfectly entertaining adventure that doesn’t rise beyond more than mid-level Marvel at best (which in the greater scheme of things is still pretty good). It has fun filling in some pieces of the larger Marvel franchise, though it could use a lesson in subtlety.

The film is at its strongest when it involves Carol on her mission, be it as part of the Kree Starforce, or paired with the younger version of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, effectively de-aged by the magic of computers) in a kind of buddy cop movie.

The film is ultimately a piece of bright, cheery fun that will light up HD TV screens with warm colors and the kind of razzle-dazzle we’ve come to expect from Marvel’s cosmic adventures.

This was also the first MCU movie released after the death of Marvel legend Stan Lee, and contains one of his best cameos in the franchise, calling back to what he was actually up to in 1995. That’s in addition to the touching opening tribute that presents the Marvel Studios logo with video from his various cameos over the years.

These are the only tributes to Stan Lee on the Blu-ray, though, as there isn’t a separate bonus feature devoted to it, aside from a mention in the commentary track from co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.

Otherwise, the commentary is a fairly typical back-and-forth in which they discuss various behind-the-scenes challenges, story points and their enjoyment of working with certain actors.

The movie also comes with an optional two-minute introduction by the directors.

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The Blu-ray includes a two-minute gag reel, nine minutes of deleted and alternate scenes, and six behind-the-scenes featurettes that total about 24 minutes of viewing time.

The seven-minute “Becoming a Super Hero” and three-and-a-half-minute “Big Hero Moment” deal with Larson taking on the role and the significance of having a superhero movie fronted by a female lead, while “The Dream Team” is a three-minute video about the directors.

“The Skrulls and the Kree” offers a three-and-a-half-minute primer on the primary conflict of the film.

The three-and-a-half-minute “The Origin of Nick Fury” gets MCU stars from other movies to discuss his character’s appearance over the years.

Finally, there’s “Hiss-sterical Cat-titude,” a tongue-in-cheek three-and-a-half-minute propaganda video about the cat named Goose that serves a central role in the story.

The digital copy of the film includes a seven-minute visual effects featurette, and a five-minute exploration about crafting an action scene for a Marvel movie. There are also galleries of set photos and concept art.

Vudu has an additional digital exclusive, a three-minute vignette called “Her Story,” which seems like a promotional piece cobbled together from video used in the other featurettes.

Studios, Distributors, EMA Team Up on Massive Digital Movie Rental Promotion

A consortium of studios and key digital retailers, cable companies and satellite providers is sponsoring a digital rental movie sale May 31 through June 3 in which consumers can stream up to 250 different movies at prices as low as $2.99 for recent releases and 99 cents for older, catalog titles.

The “Ultimate Movie Weekend” initiative, led by the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), is believed to be the first time such a coordinated promotion has been undertaken in the United States.

The goal, according to EMA SVP Sean Bersell, is to “introduce consumers who haven’t rented digitally previously to the value and convenience of digital rental, and to entice consumers who haven’t rented digital recently to re-engage.”

The campaign will offer recent releases and catalog movies from Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. Participating digital retailers and cable and satellite companies include Altice USA’s Optimum and Suddenlink TV, Amazon Prime Video, the Apple TV app and iTunes, Atlantic Broadband, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, Cox, DIRECTV, DISH, FandangoNOW, Frontier Communications, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, PlayStation Store, Redbox On Demand, U-Verse, and Vudu.

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The tagline for the Ultimate Movie Weekend is “Rent the Biggest Movies for Less.” Participating retailers will offer between 50 and 250 movies at discounted prices as low as $2.99 for recent releases and $0.99 for catalog movies. The Ultimate Movie Weekend sale includes some of the latest releases that are not yet available on subscription video services. Among the movies in the promotion are A Star Is Born (2018), Bumblebee, Fifty Shades of Grey, First Man, Forrest Gump, The Hunger Games, Robin Hood (2018), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Step Brothers, and Wonder Woman.

The promotional campaign will be supported by a significant media buy, social media marketing, direct-to-consumer outreach, and a dedicated website, www.ultimatemovieweekend.com. The Ultimate Movie Weekend sale is patterned after similar successful efforts last year in Australia, France and the U.K.

“While the popularity of digital movie rentals continues to grow, there is the opportunity to introduce even more consumers to the value and convenience of digital rental, so the industry has come together to offer a compelling promotion that we hope will attract new customers and remind infrequent digital renters of this option,” said EMA president and CEO Mark Fisher. “Plus, with the start of the summer, which is traditionally a heavy movie-viewing season, it’s a good time to remind consumers of the pleasure of getting together with family and friends for a movie night.”

According to industry statistics, in the first quarter of 2019, digital rental generated $564 million in consumer spending, which accounted for approximately 10% of all home entertainment consumer spending in the quarter.

“This is the first effort of its kind in the U.S., and the breadth of participants demonstrates that the home entertainment industry is making it a priority to communicate the value proposition of digital rentals to consumers,” said Richard Smith, SVP, domestic digital sales, for Paramount Pictures and chair of EMA’s Ultimate Movie Weekend planning committee. “We see significant potential to grow this sector of the industry, and in doing so grow the overall home entertainment market.”

“Our studio partners have assembled a fantastic slate of movies, many unavailable on subscription services, which FandangoNow will offer at compelling prices,” added Cameron Douglas, VP of home entertainment at Fandango and chair of the EMA. “Convenience and value have always been the hallmark of home entertainment, and these great movies at discounted prices draws attention to the ease and affordability of renting digitally.”