‘Bad Boys for Life’ Takes Over Top Spot on Disc Sales Charts

Sony Pictures’ Bad Boys for Life 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 April 25.

The third movie in the “Bad Boys” action franchise starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence earned $204 million at the domestic box office. A Blu-ray trilogy of all three films was No. 12 on the overall disc chart and No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart.

Falling to No. 2 on both charts after three weeks in the top spot was Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which sold about 34.5% as many copies in its fourth week as the new “Bad Boys” did in its first.

Two newcomers took up the next spots on the charts. No. 3 was Universal’s The Gentleman, the latest action comedy from director Guy Ritchie. It earned $36.3 million at the domestic box office.

No. 4 was Well Go USA’s Ip Man 4: The Finale.

Paramount’s comedy Like a Boss debuted at No. 8 on the overall sales chart and No. 10 on the Blu-ray chart.

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Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 54% of total Bad Boys for Life unit sales, with 11% of the total coming from 4K Ultra HD. The Gentlemen had 63% of its first-week sales from Blu-ray, compared with 56% for Ip Man 4 and 48% for Like a Boss. UHD comprised 7% of the total for The Gentlemen and 10% for Ip Man 4.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended April 26, Bad Boys for Life took over the top spot, with The Gentlemen at No. 2 and Like a Boss at No. 3.

The previous week’s top rental, Universal’s Dolittle, slipped to No. 4, while Warner’s Just Mercy slid two spots to No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 4-25-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 4-26-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 4-25-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 4-25-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 4-25-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 4-27-20

Amazon CFO: First-Time Prime Video Use Doubled in Q1

With schools shuttered and millions of families housebound due to the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon in March made thousands of hours of content available for free on Prime Video without requiring a Prime membership. Amazon has more than 112 million Prime members worldwide.

That promotion, among others, contributed to Prime Video doubling its first-time user base in the first quarter — a trend that included transactional VOD movies and third-party over-the-top video access through Amazon Channels.

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Speaking on the April 29 fiscal call, CFO Brian Olsavsky said Amazon hoped the offer of free content, including ad-supported IMDb TV, would highlight the video aspects of the Prime membership to existing users and casual browsers.

“We are seeing a lot more use of our video and digital media benefits,” Olsavsky said, adding that increased numbers of consumers are also benefiting from Amazon’s Alexa voice-activated software in its CE products.

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“They’re asking questions specific to COVID-19, using it for education for their children, and we’re seeing a lot more of it used on the communication side,” he said. “It gives people and members a good opportunity to use all their Prime benefits [including music streaming and books], which they hadn’t used as much in the past.”

Amazon Spending $4 Billion on Q2 Virus-Related Costs

Amazon April 29 disclosed it is spending upwards of $4 billion on costs related to the coronavirus in the current second quarter (ending June 30), including $300 million to test all of its employees for COVID-19. The e-commerce behemoth spent $600 million on related virus costs in the first quarter, ended March 30.

With national and local government slowly opening their economies, Amazon factors large in many companies, including employing tens of thousand of workers in warehouses, supply channels and offices. To reduce liability and concerns among workers, Amazon said it would test every employee going forward. The company ended 2019 with nearly 800,000 workers.

“We’ve put some of our best people on [testing],” CFO Brian Olsavsky said on the April 29 fiscal call. “[Tests] are not readily available on the scale that we need for our employees.”

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With testing for the virus becoming a political issue for President Trump, Amazon has gone in-house to develop and procure proprietary tests for its employees coming back to offices and warehouses around the country and oversees.

“We are working to do that ourselves,” Olsavsky said. “Our main concern is getting testing in the hands of our employees.”

The CFO said overnight demand for essential items, including healthcare supplies and personal protective equipment, stretched Amazon’s internal capabilities unlike anything it had to do preparing for special sales events, including Prime Day.

“I think we’ve learned it’s easier to get ready for a holiday or for Prime Day than it is to get ready for something like this. When everything hits at once,” Olsavsky said, alluding to high demand for essential items and the need to restock them automatically.

“That’s not something we want to keep learning,” he said.

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He said that should Amazon develop “excess capacity” in its virus tests, the possibility of marketing and/or distributing outside the company exists. The executive contends the bulk of projected temporary COVID-19 expenses revolve around “very expensive people” costs, wages, productivity and relief funds.

“We can’t really tell how long that will last,” Olsavsky said. “We will probably learn a lot more in the next few weeks and months.”

Tubi Adds Another Fox Primetime Series

Fox-owned AVOD service Tubi is adding free streaming access to network TV show “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back.” All episodes of the first two seasons are now available, while current season-three episodes will be available on Tubi a week following their broadcast on Fox.

The series is part of San Francisco-based Tubi’s 300-hour offering of Gordon Ramsay content, which includes “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Kitchen Nightmares” and “The F Word.”

Earlier this week Tubi added Fox’s music competition show “The Masked Singer.”

“Making this show available on Tubi, alongside Gordon’s other series, will only grow his footprint while also further promoting his programs on Fox,” Rob Wade, president of alternative entertainment and specials at Fox Entertainment, said in a statement.

“24 Hours to Hell and Back” follows Ramsay as he drives across the country to help struggling restaurants in his state-of-the-art mobile kitchen and command center, Hell on Wheels. From California’s coastline to the heart of New Jersey and everywhere in between, Gordon is joined by celebrities and local experts, as he tries to bring each of these failing restaurants back from the brink of disaster — all in just 24 hours.

Fox says the cooking show is No. 1 for the 2019-20 season among adults 18-49 and total viewers. The series averages 4.6 million multi-platform viewers, up +113% from its live + same-day delivery.

Jeff Bezos: ‘Hardest Time We’ve Ever Faced’

Not even Amazon is immune from the impact of the coronavirus.

Founder/CEO Jeff Bezos devoted much of the e-commerce behemoth’s first-quarter (ended March 31) press release to highlight efforts the company has taken on the warfront against COVID-19 — including safeguarding its warehouse employees, hiring 175,000 more of them, increasing hourly wages by $2, working on virus detection test production, deploying AWS to school districts for at-home learning, and reserving special shopping times for seniors at Whole Foods, among other initiatives.

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“The current crisis is demonstrating the adaptability and durability of Amazon’s business as never before, but it’s also the hardest time we’ve ever faced,” Bezos said in a statement.

Indeed, while net sales increased 26% to $75.5 billion in the quarter, from $59.7 billion in previous-year period, profit declined 31% to $2.5 billion, from $3.6 billion.

The culprit: a shutdown of all non-essential shipments, including many third-party sellers (more than 50% of Amazon sales), and increased delivery-related costs. In addition, there was a $387 million unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates, which impacted net sales by 1%.

Amazon said it spent $600 million on COVID-19-related costs, which is expected to increase to $4 billion in the current second quarter.

On the entertainment front, Prime Video launched Prime Video Cinema in the U.S., the U.K., and Germany — a premium VOD movie rental service that enabled members to stream in-theater movies at home, including titles such as Birds of Prey, Emma, The Invisible Man, Onward and Trolls World Tour.

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Prime Video premiered several new Amazon Original series, including the reality competition, “Making the Cut,” hosted and executive produced by Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn; “The Forgotten Army” in India; “Love Island” in France; “Celebrity Hunted” in Italy; and the docuseries “The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team” in Australia.

As previously reported, Prime Video and the NFL announced a multiyear agreement to live-stream 11 Thursday Night Football games as well as one additional regular season game.

Online store sales increased 24% to $36.6 billion, from $29.4 billion a year ago. Store sales include packaged media such as DVD, Blu-ray Disc and music CDs. Subscription serviced revenue, which includes Prime memberships, audiobooks, transactional VOD, digital music, e-books and other non-AWS subscription services, increased 28% to $5.5 billion, from $4.3 billion a year ago.

Blu-ray Disc, DVD Release Sends ‘Bad Boys for Life’ to Top of ‘Watched at Home’ Chart

The Blu-ray Disc and DVD release of Sony Pictures’ Bad Boys for Life propelled the  action comedy into the top spot on the “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended April 25.

The third “Bad Boys” film was released digitally on March 31 after earning more than $200 million in North American theaters, making it the top box office earner in the franchise, which stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment in Disney’s “Star Wars” sequel trilogy, slipped to No. 2 after three weeks at No. 1 on the weekly chart, which tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

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Like Bad Boys, The Rise of Skywalker captured the top spot on the chart — which measures disc sales, digital purchase (electronic sellthrough, or EST) and digital rental — after it became available on disc.

Another Universal Pictures film, The Gentleman, rose to No. 3 from No. 7 the prior week, also in the wake of its release on Blu-ray Disc and DVD. The action comedy follows an American expat, played by Matthew McConaughey, as a successful marijuana dealer in London who is attempting to cash out. The film’s ensemble cast includes Michelle Dockery, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, Hugh Grant, Charlie Hunnam, Eddie Marsan and Jeremy Strong.

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Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog slipped to No. 4 from No. 3, while  Sony Pictures’  Jumanji: The Next Level remained at No. 5 for the third week.

Independent supplier Well Go USA scored its first entry on the “Watched at Home” chart with IP Man 4: The Finale, which debuted at No. 16.

  1. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  2. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney)
  3. The Gentlemen (STX/Universal, 2019)
  4. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  5. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  6. Dolittle (Universal)
  7. The Call of the Wild (Disney, 2020)
  8. Underwater (Fox)
  9. 1917 (Universal)
  10. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  11. Little Women (Sony, 2019)
  12. Bloodshot (Sony, 2020)
  13. The Way Back (Warner)
  14. Like a Boss (Paramount)
  15. Knives Out (Lionsgate)
  16. IP Man 4: The Finale (Well Go)
  17. Just Mercy (Warner)
  18. Fantasy Island (Sony, 2020)
  19. Spies in Disguise (Fox)
  20. Ford v Ferrari (Fox)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended April 25

‘Batwoman’ Season One on Disc Aug. 18

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Batwoman: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 18.

Ruby Rose stars as Kate Kane, who becomes Gotham City’s newest vigilante, Batwoman, to protect the city after the disappearance of Batman. The cousin of Bruce Wayne and daughter of the leader (Dougray Scott) of the city’s top private security firm, Kate discovers her long-lost sister is in fact alive, and now menaces the city as the supervillain Alice (Rachel Skarsten).

The cast also includes Meagan Tandy, Nicole Kang, Camrus Johnson and Elizabeth Anweis.

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“Batwoman” is a spinoff of the CW’s “Arrowverse” franchise that also includes “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl,” “Legends of Tomorrow” and “Black Lightning.”

The Blu-ray and DVD editions will include all 20 episodes from the first season, plus deleted scenes, a gag reel, an “On the Set” featurette and highlights from DC TV’s San Diego Comic-Con 2019 panels.

In addition, the Blu-ray will include a bonus disc containing all five of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover episodes with the other Arrowverse shows, and six “Crisis” featurettes.

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The first 17 episodes of the season are currently available for digital purchase. The three remaining episodes will be available after airing on the CW in the next few weeks.

Horror Film ‘Gutterballs’ Rolls to Disc From MVD

The horror film Gutterballs is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Unearthed Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

It’s the first time the film has been released on Blu-ray.

In the film, a brutally sadistic rape leads to a series of bizarre gory murders during a midnight disco bowl-a-rama at a popular bowling alley. One by one, players of two teams meet blood-drenched gruesome deaths at the hand of a black bowling-gloved masked killer.

After Gutterballs was submitted to the MPAA Rating Board, the film was released unrated after the director was told that almost 20 minutes would have to be cut to avoid an ‘NC-17’ rating. The film has a total of 516 uses of the F-word, ranking it fourth of all time for total usage of the F-word in a motion picture.

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The film is directed by Ryan Nicholson (Torched) whose special effects work can be seen on “The X-Files,” “The Outer Limits,” “Stargate” and “Andromeda.”

Bonuses include a making-of featurette, interviews and outtakes.

NPD: DVD and Blu-ray Player Sales Jump in Pandemic

Consumers are getting physical.

Sales of DVD and Blu-ray players were both up 27% in unit sales for the week ended April 18 compared with same week a year ago, according to data from the NPD Group.

“Sales are up as consumers stay at home and look for multiple forms of entertainment,” said NPD analyst Stephen Baker. “These include DVDs and Blu-ray discs to entertain children while their parents are working, backup access devices if Internet access is challenged by streaming, or simply the consumers’ realization that they may need a physical disc player as an alternative to streaming and either they didn’t already have one or the one they do have needs an upgrade.”

Meanwhile, streaming player sales jumped 42%.

Overall, NPD-tracked U.S. Consumer Tech sales increased 23% year-over-year (29% week-over-week) during the week ended April 18 to nearly $1.8 billion. This topped the 21% increase tracked during the week ended March 21 sales spike.

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“We saw broad-based increases across almost all categories, unlike in March, when the work-from-home categories dominated,” Baker said.

TVs unit sales also jumped, exceeding 1.1 million units, the highest volume ever outside holiday, an 86% increase in units. Every TV size 32 inches and above had double-digit growth while 65 inch-and-above TVs were up 139%. Consumers also bought smaller sizes as 32-inch TVs, which declined by 15% over the first 10 weeks of 2020, increased by 40% over the last 5 weeks.

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Other strong categories included networking (70%), headphones (29%), printers (61%), DIY components (111%), PC microphones (147%), range extenders (173%), TV mounts (41%) and soundbars (69% in units).

NBCUniversal’s Jeff Shell: ‘Not Realistic’ to Ignore PVOD

After setting off an industry firestorm saying Universal Pictures would pursue a movie-release strategy combining theatrical and premium video-on-demand, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell doubled down on his previous comments to The Wall Street Journal after Universal Pictures animated feature film, Trolls World Tour, generated $100 million in PVOD sales.

Speaking April 29 on the Comcast fiscal call, Shell said PVOD would continue as a “complementary offer” to consumers when theaters re-open to the public — and consumers attend.

He said the Trolls had been primed and marketed for a March 20 theatrical bow, and when the coronavirus shut down theaters, going direct-to-consumer on April 10 with a “desperately” needed children’s title during the pandemic was the only option.

“The majority of our movies, whether we like it or not, are being consumed at home,” Shell said. “It’s not realistic to assume that we’re not going to change, that this part of the business isn’t going to change like all parts of the business are going to change.”

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The executive said it remains to be seen what the distribution model will look like post-COVID-19. While he expects a gradual return to the cineplex, which he said Universal would be part of, he also expects PVOD to be a part of the business model.

“[PVOD is] not a replacement,” Shell said. “We’re just going to have to see how long [a return to theatrical] takes and where it takes us.”

AMC Theatres, trade group National Association of Theatre Owners and Regal Cinemas have blasted Universal for pledging to bypass the traditional 90-day theatrical window. Both exhibitors have said they would not distribute any Universal — or other studio — title earmarked for simultaneous in-home digital release.

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With the exception of Georgia and Texas, movie theaters in most states remain shuttered due to the coronavirus. The industry and studios are projected to lose billions in box office revenue to the shutdowns.

Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh said future PVOD releases would be determined on a “title-by-title” basis.