‘Toy Story 4’ Enters Disc Sales Charts at No. 1

Disney’s Toy Story 4 easily 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 unit chart the week ended Oct. 12.

The latest sequel from Pixar Animation Studios earned $433.6 million at the domestic box office.

Slipping to No. 2 on both charts was Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Far From Home, the Marvel superhero movie that had debuted a week earlier in the top spot. It sold 28% as many copies in its second week as Toy Story 4 did in its first.

No. 3 on the overall sales chart (No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart) was perennial Halloween-season favorite Hocus Pocus, the 1993 film about a family of witches.

The newly arrived Annabelle Comes Home, from Warner, debuted at No. 4 on the overall chart and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart. The latest installment of the “Conjuring” horror franchise earned $74 million at U.S. theaters.

Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin dropped a spot to No. 5 on the overall sales chart and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart.

The No. 5 Blu-ray seller was Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, which was No. 6 on the overall sales chart.

Other new releases to bow in the top 10 include Lionsgate’s Midsommar at No. 10 overall and No. 7 on the Blu-ray chart, while HBO’s Deadwood: The Movie, a follow-up to the TV show that ended in 2006, landed at No. 13 overall and No. 14 on the Blu-ray chart.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 82% of first-week Toy Story 4 unit sales — not too surprising, as the DVD-only version was available only in limited supplies at a few major retailers. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition accounted for 9% of Toy Story 4‘s first-week total.

Blu-ray comprised 48% of sales for Annabelle Comes Home, 73% for Midsommar and 43% for Deadwood.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Oct. 13, Spider-Man: Far From Home held onto the top spot for a second week, with Toy Story 4 debuting at No. 2 (Redbox doesn’t have a distribution deal with Disney and thus takes longer to stock its kiosks with the studio’s fare).

Annabelle Comes Home bowed as the No. 3 rental, with the Aladdin remake at No. 4 and John Wick: Chapter 3 at No. 5.

Midsommar debuted as the No. 8 rental.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 10-12-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 10-13-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 10-12-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 10-12-19

 

Did Netflix’s ‘El Camino’ Run Out of Gas?

Netflix’s big-budget “Breaking Bad” movie sequel (El Camino) from creator Vince Gilligan offers a lengthy tale of morality and corruption through the gritty eyes of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) — the meth-cooking partner-in-crime to high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston), who perished in the 2013 series finale.

El Camino premiered on Netflix Oct. 11, reportedly generating 8.2 million viewers in the United States opening weekend, including an average of 6.5 million per minute, and 2.6 million per minute opening day, according Nielsen.

The data made news largely based on the “Breaking Bad” legacy and the fact Netflix remains secretive about ratings data of original programming.

It also suggests the possibility El Camino hasn’t generated much traction with subscribers. Perhaps Nielsen disclosed premature data.

Regardless, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CCO Ted Sarandos made no mention of the movie during the service’s Oct. 16 fiscal webcast.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The service last year said a lot about Bird Box, Sandra Bullock’s dystopian thriller that attracted 45 million households during its first week of release.

Kevin Costner’s Bonnie & Clyde thriller The Highwaymen generated 40-million first-month views, and Ben Affleck auctioneer Triple Frontier attracted 52 million households in 30 days.

The Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston original comedy Murder Mystery set an all-time weekend streaming record with 30.87 million views. Another 20 million streamed The Christmas Chronicles, starring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus.

On the Oct. 16 webcast, however, Sarandos just talked about pending movie releases 6 Underground, The Irishman, Marriage Story and The Two Popes, among others.

“It’s our first time we’ve seen the scale and this volume of films in one quarter, so we’re really excited about it,” Sarandos said.

The El Camino love will have to wait.

‘Breaking Bad’ Movie a Streaming Sensation

El Camino, the feature film sequel to the TV series “Breaking Bad,” was seen by nearly 6.5 million viewers its opening weekend, according to Nielsen, the ratings company.

According to Nielsen’s SVOD Content Ratings, the film reached nearly 8.2 million unique viewers in the United States during its first three days of availability on Netflix.

El Camino has Aaron Paul reprising his role as Jesse Pinkman, who in the series finale had been enslaved by a drug lord and ordered to cook meth, only to be set free by his former partner, Walter White (Bryan Cranston. He’s last seen driving off in an El Camino that belonged to a drug lord.

Nielsen’s SVOD Content Ratings does not include mobile or PC streaming.

Nintendo Switch Game Console Tops 15 Million Unit Sales in North America

Nintendo continues to spearhead the sluggish North American video game industry as market rivals Microsoft and Sony ready next-generation consoles launches a year from now.

Nintendo Oct. 17 disclosed it has sold 15 million Switch and Switch Lite consoles in North America since the device’s bow in 2017. The console has sold another 10 million units in Europe, which combined reported top PlayStation 4 console sales.

The Japanese hardware manufacturer’s Switch platform has led The NPD Group’s monthly game market research data for more than 10 straight months.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The company said Switch titles have average more than 1 million unit sales each, including four that have surpassed have surpassed 6 million unit sales: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

 

Netflix Nabs Rights to Comic Book Series ‘Bone’

Netflix on Oct. 16 announced that it has secured the rights to Jeff Smith’s  New York Times best-selling international comic book series, Bone, with plans to develop an animated children’s series that follows the Bone cousins on an adventure through a desert and into a mysterious valley filled with various creatures.

Bone has been published in over 30 countries since 1991, with over 8 million copies sold in North America alone.

“I’ve waited a long time for this,” Smith said in a statement. “Netflix is the perfect home for Bone. Fans of the books know that the story develops chapter by chapter and book by book. An animated series is exactly the way to do this! The team at Netflix understands Bone and is committed to doing something special – this is good news for kids and cartoon lovers all over the world.”

‘Melody Makers,’ Steve Marriott Biopic and Heavy Metal Music Docs Coming to Disc This Winter From MVD

Three music documentaries are coming from MVD Entertainment Group and Cleopatra Entertainment in November and December.

Due Nov. 8 on Blu-ray plus DVD and CD combo pack is Humble Pie: The Life and Times of Steve Marriott, about one of rock’s most dynamic, exciting, and sadly unsung heroes of rock ‘n’ roll. Showcasing revelatory interviews with Humble Pie’s Peter Frampton, Jerry Shirley and Greg Ridley; the Black Crowes’s Chris Robinson; Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick; John Waite; Simon Kirke; Quiet Riot’s Kevin Dubrow; Ricky Byrd; and Marriott historian John Heller, among others, the documentary tells the tale of Marriott’s tragically short life via the use of previously unseen photos, memorabilia and home movies. It includes rare performance footage of the Small Faces and Humble Pie.

Come on Feel The Noize: The Story of How Rock Became Metal is due on DVD Dec. 13. It features exclusive, long-lost live material from rock’s most iconic bands and artists, as well as all-new original interviews to delve into the rich history of heavy metal: from its scandalous origins in the 1960s to its heyday in the 1980s.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Melody Makers: Should’ve Been There, coming on DVD Dec. 17, reveals anecdotes and unpublished photos from the world’s most influential music publication, Melody Maker magazine, with its intimate access to legendary rock bands, including the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Queen, the Who, Led Zeppelin and the Animals. It features never-before-seen photographs of rock giants such as Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Davies, Frank Zappa and Patti Smith. At the heart of this film is Melody Maker‘s head photographer, Barrie Wentzell, who takes viewers on an intimate journey with his colleagues into the world of rock icons. These journalists, with cameras in hand, had free rein and were creatively involved with the artists, something unheard of today. The film captures this unique period telling the story behind the magazine’s rise and fall, showing firsthand how the artists, the record companies and journalists came to move a generation.

Kevin Sayar Appointed CEO of Free Video Streaming Service Kanopy

Veteran higher education executive Kevin Sayar has been named CEO of Kanopy, the free video streaming platform for critically acclaimed films and  documentaries offered with the support of libraries and universities.

Sayar succeeds Olivia Humphrey, who is relocating with her family back to her native Australia. Humphrey will remain as Kanopy’s executive chairman of the board.

Sayar has an extensive background as a leader and innovator in the higher education industry, according to a Kanopy release. He joins Kanopy from ProQuest, a provider of content and software solutions that supports critical research within the global academic market. During his tenure at ProQuest, Sayar served in multiple roles, including SVP and GM of ProQuest Books, as well as SVP and GM of the software business unit, ProQuest Workflow Solutions.

Sayar spearheaded innovations that transformed how libraries and patrons discovered, acquired, accessed and utilized e-books, according to the release. Under his leadership, ProQuest Books grew to over $200 million in revenue and remains the market leader.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“I am honored to be named the second CEO in Kanopy’s history,” Sayar said in a statement. “Under Olivia’s leadership, Kanopy has grown from an ambitious dream into a critical digital media resource for library patrons worldwide. I look forward to working with the company’s talented team to further its impressive growth by delivering value that exceeds the expectations of our library customers, content partners, and users.”

Prior to joining ProQuest, Sayar was the president and co-founder of ebrary, one of the first electronic book internet companies. From its founding in 1999, ebrary grew into the leading e-book platform to libraries and researchers worldwide, with the largest scholarly catalog of e-books from academic, trade and professional publishers, according to the release. The company was acquired by ProQuest in 2011.

Kanopy has added more than 200 new library partners in the last three months alone. Earlier this month, the company announced the appointments of Dave Barney as CTO and Chase Rigby as chief product officer.

In her new role, Humphrey will focus on Kanopy’s international expansion.

“It has been a great honor to serve as the CEO of Kanopy since founding the company 12 years ago and I am incredibly proud of everything our team has accomplished together, but this transition is about my family,” Humphrey said in a statement. “Kevin is the right leader to continue Kanopy’s rapid growth and he will be able to apply his significant experience working with libraries to deepen relationships with our partners.”

Report: India Considering Censorship of Netflix, Amazon, Disney Streaming Video Content

With India and its second-largest population in the world, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney have aggressively sought an over-the-top video presence in the nascent market.

The influx of foreign SVOD services has reportedly prompted some government officials to ask for increased monitoring of content on the platforms — above existing regulations.

Reuters reports that public complaints about alleged obscenity or religious slights included in foreign streamed programming has some Indian lawmakers considering content censorship.

“The self-regulation isn’t the same for all, which is raising a concern … the directions are clear, we have to see how to address the problems,” an unidentified government official told the news agency.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Indeed, Netflix and Disney-owned Hotstar agreed to sign a self-regulation of content code, while Amazon did not.

Netflix’s popular original series “Sacred Games,” about an Indian cop rooting out corruption and violence, has reportedly faced unsuccessful legal challenges regarding alleged offensive scenes and negative comments about Hindus and a former Prime Minister.

Other complaints have revolved around the lack of mandatory anti-smoking messages on Bollywood content streaming Netlfix and Prime Video.

“With [censorship] regulation, all of the [global] content will need to be sanitized for India – a huge, expensive and time-consuming exercise,” global tech analyst Prasanto Roy told Reuters.

“Sacred Games,” now in its second season, has been an international hit for Netflix, including translation in 20 languages.

“We’ve been producing shows that are incredibly relevant in their home territories, and the nice windfall is that they get viewed all over the world,” Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos said March. “It’s really accelerating the brand perception of Netflix as … someone who’s producing content that you care about in every part of the world.”

 

Netflix Brass Doubles Down Indifference to Pending SVOD Competition

With Disney and Apple just weeks away from launching branded subscription streaming video services, Netflix remains defiant to the pending competition, which includes service launches from WarnerMedia (HBO Max) and NBC Universal (Peacock) early next year.

Speaking on the Oct. 16 fiscal earnings webcast, CCO Ted Sarandos walked back any apparent corporate weakness regarding comments CEO Reed Hastings made in the United Kingdom last month about a whole new world in over-the-top video awaiting come November.

“I think I got the subtlety of the brave – the whole new world Aladdin reference,” Sarandos quipped. “Everyone else took it pretty literal.”

Many on Wall Street had taken Hastings’ comment to suggest Netflix was concerned, especially after HBO Max and Peacock took away Netflix streaming rights to popular reruns of “Seinfeld” and “The Office,” respectively.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“From when we began in [2007] streaming, Hulu and YouTube and Amazon Prime Video were all in the market,” Hastings said. “All four of us have been competing heavily, including with linear TV, for the last 12 years. So fundamentally, there’s not a big change here.”

Hastings said he found it “interesting” to see both Apple and Disney launching services in the same week after 12 years of not showing much interest in SVOD.

“I was being a little playful with a whole new world in the sense of the drama of it coming,” Hastings added. “But fundamentally, it’s more of the same, and Disney is going to be a great competitor. Apple is just beginning, but they’ll probably have some great shows, too.”

Indeed, until just recently, Disney exclusively licensed original movies and rights to create original Marvel TV series to Netflix.

The Netflix co-founder reiterated that the SVOD market remains more in competition with linear TV than within its market. He said OTT video is still a relatively small player compared to broadcast TV.

“So, just like in the [shareholder] letter … [writing about] multiple cable networks over the last 30 years not really competing with each other fundamentally but competing with broadcast TV, I think it’s the same kind of dynamic here [with streaming video],” Hastings said.

 

Criterion’s January 2020 Slate Includes ‘Fail Safe’

The list of Criterion Collection Blu-ray and DVD releases for January 2020 includes Pedro Almodóvar’s All About My Mother, George Cukor’s romantic comedy Holiday, Jean-Luc Godard’s Le petit soldat, Sidney Lumet’s nuclear-war thriller Fail Safe, and a Blu-ray edition of Lumet’s Tennessee Williams adaptation The Fugitive Kind.

Arriving Jan. 7 on DVD and Blu-ray is 1938’s Holiday, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. The special edition includes a new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include Holiday (1930), a previous adaptation of Philip Barry’s play, directed by Edward H. Griffith; a new conversation between filmmaker and distributor Michael Schlesinger and film critic Michael Sragow; audio excerpts from an American Film Institute oral history with director George Cukor, recorded in 1970 and ’71; a costume gallery; plus an essay by critic Dana Stevens.

Due Jan. 14 is 1960’s The Fugitive Kind, bringing together four Oscar-winning actors: Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Joanne Woodward and Maureen Stapleton. The Blu-ray includes a high-definition digital restoration, approved by Lumet, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Extras include an interview from 2009 with Lumet; Three Plays by Tennessee Williams, an hour-long 1958 television presentation of one-act plays, directed by Lumet and starring Ben Gazzara and Lee Grant, among others; a program from 2010 discussing Williams’s work in Hollywood and The Fugitive Kind; plus an essay by film critic David Thomson.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Arriving Jan. 21 on DVD and Blu-ray is 1963’s Le petit soldat, Godard’s examination of the use of torture in the Algerian War. The special edition includes a high-definition digital restoration, approved by cinematographer Raoul Coutard, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray, and a new English subtitle translation. Extras include an interview with Godard from 1965; an interview with actor Michel Subor from 1963; an audio interview with Godard from 1961; plus an essay by critic Nicholas Elliott.

All About My Mother, from 1999, arrives on Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 28 with a new 2K digital restoration supervised by executive producer Agustín Almodóvar and approved by the director, with a new English subtitle translation, and 5.1 surround DTS-HD master audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include a 52-minute documentary from 2012 on the making of the film, featuring interviews with Pedro and Agustín Almodóvar; actors Penélope Cruz, Marisa Paredes, Cecilia Roth and Antonia San Juan; production manager Esther García; and author Didier Eribon. Other extras include a television program from 1999 featuring Pedro Almodóvar and his mother, Francisca Caballero, along with Cruz, San Juan, Paredes and Roth; a 48-minute post-screening Q&A in Madrid from 2019, featuring the Almodóvars and Paredes; plus an essay by film scholar Emma Wilson. The Blu-ray will include an interview with Pedro Almodóvar and a tribute he wrote to his mother, both from 1999.

Also due on Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 28 is 1964’s Fail Safe, starring Henry Fonda as the U.S. president and Walter Matthau as a trigger-happy political theorist. The special edition includes a new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include an audio commentary from 2000 featuring director Sidney Lumet; a new interview with film critic J. Hoberman on 1960s nuclear paranoia and Cold War films; “Fail Safe Revisited”, a short documentary from 2000 including interviews with Lumet, screenwriter Walter Bernstein and actor Dan O’Herlihy; plus an essay by critic Bilge Ebiri.