Mill Creek Releasing 20th Anniversary Blu-ray of ‘Battlefield Earth’

Mill Creek Entertainment will release a 20th anniversary Blu-ray Disc of the 2000 sci-fi movie Battlefield Earth Sept. 15.

Based on L. Ron Hubbard’s best-selling book, the story takes place in the year 3000 where Earth is ruled by a vicious alien race known as the Psychlos that have stripped the planet of its resources and eradicated most the human population. One of the few surviving humans, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler (Barry Pepper) is in pursuit of a better place to live, but is soon captured by a Psychlo slavemaster to join fellow “man-animals” in mining efforts. Jonnie eventually gains the attention of the evil Psychlo security officer Terl (John Travolta) and his assistant Ker (Forest Whitaker) who have discovered a vein of gold which they are unable to recover without the assistance of humans. While Terl attempts to makes Jonnie his personal slave, Jonnie uses his position to rally the other humans and unite in a plot to destroy the aliens and restore the human race to its former glory.

A notorious box office flop in its day, Battlefield Earth received seven Razzie Awards, including Worst Picture.

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The new Blu-ray will include more than 70 minutes of new bonus interviews and featurettes, including:

  • “Leverage: Writing the First Draft” — A new interview with screenwriter J.D. Shapiro;
  • “Saga in the Year 2000: Directing Battlefield Earth” — A new interview with director Roger Christian;
  • “Endangered Species: Scoring Battlefield Earth” — A new interview with composer Elia Cmiral;
  • “Domes and Drones: Creating the Miniatures” — A new interview with model maker E. James Small;
  • “Psychlo Circus: Designing Battlefield Earth” — New select scene commentary with production designer Patrick Tatopoulos.

 

‘Scoob!’ Debuts at No. 1 on Disc Sales Charts

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Scoob! 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 July 25.

The CG-animated film based on the classic “Scooby-Doo” cartoon and other Hanna-Barbera characters had been slated for a theatrical release but due to the coronavirus pandemic was instead released through premium VOD, and was finally released on disc July 21.

The No. 2 seller on both charts, in its third week, was Universal Pictures’ Trolls World Tour. The DreamWorks Animation sequel had been the top disc seller the previous two weeks.

Another newcomer, Lionsgate’s Capone, debuted at No. 3 on the overall disc chart and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart. The film from director Josh Trank stars Tom Hardy as legendary mobster Al Capone in the waning years of his life.

The No. 3 Blu-ray was Warner’s Batman Beyond: The Complete Series.

The No. 4 overall disc seller and No. 5 Blu-ray was Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog.

The No. 5 overall seller was Warner’s The Mule, followed by Paramount’s Top Gun at No. 6.

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Other newcomers in the top 20 included Lionsgate’s Survive the Night at No. 7 on both charts, and Shout! Factory’s Resistance at No. 8 overall (No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart).

Criterion Collection’s Marriage Story, the disc release of the Oscar-winning Netflix movie, was No. 8 on the Blu-ray Disc sales chart.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 46% of first-week Scoob! sales, compared with 48% for Capone, 45% for Survive the Night and 49% for Resistance. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray comprised 5% of total Scoob! sales.

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Scoob! was also No. 1 on the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended July 26, with Survive the Night at No. 2. Trolls World Tour dropped to No. 3 after a couple of weeks in the top spot.

Redbox’s own Becky dropped two spots to No. 4, and Lionsgate’s Force of Nature slipped a spot to No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 7-25-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 7-26-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 7-25-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 7-25-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 7-25-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 7-27-20

Amazon CFO: Studio Investment Slowed Due to COVID-19

Despite outsized revenue in its most-recent fiscal quarter, Amazon July 30 disclosed it has slowed investment in studio productions largely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The studio spent about $6 billion on original content in 2019, a figure it was expected to expand in 2020 before the pandemic, while not matching Netflix’s reported $17 billion+ content budget.

Speaking on the fiscal call, CFO Brian Brian Olsavsky said spending reductions at Amazon Studios have not been done for cost savings, but rather for “people reasons.”

Olsavsky said Amazon Studios, like most studios, has delayed productions of original TV shows and movies due to COVID-19, a reality that prompted rollout of Amazon Cinema, which offered Prime members access to new-release movies at premium VOD pricing.

“In this time when people want entertainment, people are having trouble creating new content across the board, which is a bit of a challenge,” he said. “It’s not something we’re doing intentionally. It’s something we’re doing to protect the actors and film crews. We think that is the right decision.”

Olsavsky, without giving specifics, said some things have changed in the “entertainment area” due to the pandemic and that Amazon Studios is adapting to changes in consumer access and acquisition of home entertainment.

“[Home] entertainment is seeing usage growth [due to the pandemic],” he said. “It’s a bifurcated world out there.”

‘HBO Now’ Rebrands to ‘HBO’ on Amazon Fire TV; No Deal Yet on HBO Max

HBO Now, the subscription streaming video service launched in 2015, is slowly being absorbed into the HBO brand — and ultimately HBO Max.

WarnerMedia July 30 disclosed it has reached a deal with Amazon for continued support of HBO Now for Amazon Prime members. The new deal, which replaces an agreement set to expire July 31, will give subscribers continued access through a standalone app and via Amazon Channels beginning Aug. 1. The extension mirrors an agreement between WarnerMedia and Roku for HBO Now access on the streaming media device’s platform.

Distribution of HBO Max on Amazon Fire TV and Roku, however, remains unresolved. On AT&T’s fiscal call, CEO John Stankey said about 3 million Max subscribers accessed the platform through WarnerMedia, leaving more than 33 million HBO subs in the U.S. who have yet to activate the free Max app.

Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos July 29 was asked before the House Anti-Trust Subcommittee whether the e-commerce behemoth uses its “gatekeeper” status to extract content and other giveaways from WarnerMedia in exchange for allowing Max on Fire TV.

Bezos said he did not know the details of the negotiations but said he thought a deal would eventually be produced. He said there could be scenarios, “if we’re just talking in the abstract,” where it could be inappropriate for Amazon to withhold access and other scenarios where it would be “very normal business and very appropriate” to deny access.

“I think this is kind of  [negotiating between] two large companies … is kind of normal,” Bezos said.

Amazon Hits Another Fiscal Quarter Home Run, Media Revenue Up 48%

Amazon July 30 announced it generated $45.9 billion in second-quarter (ended June 30) online retail revenue, which includes physical and digital media content, books, music, videos, games and software. Sales include digital products sold on a transactional basis. The 48% increase compared with $31 billion in online revenue during the previous-year period.

Subscription revenue, which includes annual and monthly fees associated with Amazon Prime memberships, as well as audiobook, digital video, digital music, e-book, and other non-AWS subscription services, increased 29% to $6 billion, from $4.6 billion a year ago.

Total revenue across all operating segments totaled $88.9 billion, up more than 40% from $63.4 billion in the previous-year period.

“This was another highly unusual quarter, and I couldn’t be more proud of and grateful to our employees around the globe,” founder/CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

In entertainment, Prime Video launched Watch Parties, a feature that enables Prime members to interact with each other via chat on a desktop while watching Prime Video content, including TV shows and movies.

Prime Video introduced Prime Video Profiles, allowing customers to create and manage up to six profiles within a single account. Each profile offers individualized recommendations, season progress, and watchlists based on individual profile activity.

Amazon premiered several Amazon Original series, including “Upload” from Emmy-winner Greg Daniels, “Homecoming” season two, “Bosch” season six, and “Regular Heroes,” a docuseries focusing on COVID-19 heroes. Additionally, Amazon premiered several original movies, including Selah and the Spades, The Goldfinch, The Vast of Night, 7500 and the family action-comedy My Spy, along with local Indian movies Ponmagal Vandhal and Gulabo Sitabo.

‘Scoob!’ Surges in Home-Viewing Demand After Blu-ray Disc, DVD Release

The animated Scoob! debuted at No. 2  on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the week ended July 25, with demand for the film skyrocketing in the wake of its release on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD and DVD.

The Warner Bros. film was the first full-length animated Scooby-Doo movie intended for theatrical release, but with the mid-March closure of theaters due to the COVID-19 pandemic the film instead debuted digitally, on premium VOD and EST, on May 15.

Another rerouted animated movie, Trolls World Tour, from DreamWorks Animation, remained at No. 1 for the fourth consecutive week on the “Watched at Home” chart, which  tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

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Scoob! was available for streaming on the new HBO Max SVOD service prior to its release on physical media.

Paramount’s three seasons of “Yellowstone” again rounded out the top five.

With no new theatrical product entering the home entertainment pipeline, home viewing demand remains high for recent high-profile feature films such as Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog, Universal Pictures’ The Invisible Man and Sony Pictures Jumanji: The Next Level, which finished at Nos. 7, 8 and 9, respectively.

Another PVOD release, Universal Pictures’ The High Note, starring Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross, debuted at No. 10 after its release through regular digital channels. The film becomes available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on Aug. 11.

Also new to the chart: Lionsgate’s Capone, a multi-platform release about the notorious gangster Al Capone (No. 18), and the British science-fiction film Archive, released digitally to home audiences by Vertical Entertainment (No. 20).

  1. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  2. Scoob! (Warner Bros.)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  4. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  5. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  6. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  7. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  8. The Invisible Man (Universal)
  9. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  10. The High Note (Universal)
  11. Force of Nature (Lionsgate)
  12. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  13. Bloodshot (Sony)
  14. Batman Beyond: Seasons 1-3 (Warner)
  15. Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  16. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  17. The Hunt (Universal)
  18. Capone (Lionsgate)
  19. Fantasy Island (Sony Pictures)
  20. Archive (Vertical)

 

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 July 25

Cartoon Network’s ‘We Bare Bears: The Movie’ on DVD Sept. 8

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release We Bare Bears: The Movie on DVD Sept. 8. The movie is currently available to own through digital retailers.

Based on the hit Cartoon Network series “We Bare Bears,” the TV movie finds the bears’ love of food trucks and viral videos catching the attention of the menacing Agent Trout from the National Wildlife Control, who pledges to restore the “natural order” by separating them forever. Seeking refuge in Canada, the Bears embark on an epic road trip filled with new friends, dangerous obstacles and massive parties.

Bobby Moynihan and Demetri Martin return as the voices of the bears, with recurring guest stars including Patton Oswalt, Ellie Kemper, Charlyne Yi and Jason Lee.

Bonus features include commentary, the movie pitch, deleted scenes, early sketches, and animatics and pencil tests.

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“We Bare Bears” premiered in 2015 and has earned numerous awards including a BAFTA Children’s Award, a Jury Award for Best TV Series at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, and several Annie Awards.

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The Secret: Dare to Dream

DIGITAL REVIEW:

Available 7/31/20;
Lionsgate;
Drama;
$19.99 VOD;
Rated ‘PG’ for language and an injury image.
Stars Katie Holmes, Josh Lucas, Celia Weston, Jerry O’Connell, Sarah Hoffmeister, Aidan Pierce Brennan, Chloe Lee.

A timely feel-good movie for these uncertain times, director Andy Tennant’s romantic take on the self-actualization best-seller by Rhonda Byrne, The Secret: Dare to Dream stars Katie Holmes as a widowed single mother who is burdened by debt and lives in a crumbling house with her three young kids. Enter Josh Lucas’ enigmatic character, Bray, who literally collides with Holmes’ Miranda and proceeds to fix her car bumper and her roof, rousing a modicum of suspicion and jealousy from her fiancé, Tucker (Jerry O’Connell).

Bray also offers sage words of advice to Miranda and her children, which prompts one of them to ask, “Are you sure you’re not from California?” Miranda, skeptical at first, later concedes to his positive thinking philosophy when she says to him: “I think we collided for a reason.”

Byrne’s book and documentary The Secret delves into the new age belief in the Laws of Attraction: That is, think positively, and positive things will come to you.

As Byrne says: “Joy attracts more joy. Happiness attracts more happiness. Peace attracts more peace. Gratitude attracts more gratitude. Kindness attracts more kindness. Love attracts more love.  Your job is an inside one. To change your world, all you have to do is change the way you feel inside.  How easy is that?”

The movie expands this concept into a story of family, of hope and the notion that if you wish hard enough, you may just get the proverbial pony you’ve always wanted.

Warner Releasing Animated ‘Batman: Death in the Family’ Interactive Movie Oct. 13

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Oct. 13 will release Blu-ray Disc and digital editions of Batman: Death in the Family, a compilation of animated shorts based on DC Comics characters that includes the studio’s first interactive film presentation.

The centerpiece of the compilation is the extended-length Death in the Family, based on the landmark 1988 Batman comic book storyline in which readers were given a chance to vote via telephone poll about whether or not to kill off the second Robin, Jason Todd.

Produced, directed and written by Brandon Vietti, the interactive Blu-ray presentation allows viewers to guide the storyline through their remote control, with numerous plot twists and several possible endings. Viewers can also choose to allow the story to tell itself, as there is an option to let the Blu-ray decide its own path.

Batman: Death in the Family

Batman: Death in the Family is essentially a comic book come to life,” Vietti said. “We’ve paid homage to the 1988 interactive experience of DC’s ‘A Death in the Family’ comics release by giving fans a unique opportunity to craft their own story through a branching tool that can lead in multiple directions. The viewer gets to choose these characters’ paths, and each choice paves an alternate future for all of the characters and, ultimately, the story.”

The animated Death in the Family short is based not only on the original comic book run, but also Vietti’s 2010 Batman: Under the Red Hood animated movie, which is based on a comic book storyline in which Jason Todd returns.

“From the very first navigation card, we wanted to give the audience an impression of what they’re getting into, but then also give them something unexpected — maybe even something they’ll regret, so they have to think twice about every future choice they make,” Vietti said. “Branched storytelling has to be stronger than just the gimmick of the choices — it has to be rewarding and offer new and worthwhile insights into the characters. It needs to involve you, and keep you searching for the next twist. So we sought to subvert expectations and do something very different.”

‘Batman: Death in the Family’ interactive menu

The digital version of Death in the Family is presented in a non-interactive format pre-assembled under the title Under the Red Hood: Reloaded, and three other non-interactive versions as bonus features: Jason Todd’s Rebellion, Robin’s Revenge and Red Hood’s Reckoning. Considering the various configurations, the Blu-ray also offers approximately five minutes of story content not included in the digital version.

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The Death in the Family Blu-ray and digital editions will also include four additional “DC Showcase” animated shorts that were previously released in 2019 and 2020 as bonus material with earlier DC Universe animated movies: Sgt. Rock, Adam Strange, Death and The Phantom Stranger.

Originally attached to Batman: Hush, Sgt. Rock finds battle-weary Sgt. Rock (Karl Urban) thinking he has seen everything that World War II can dish out. But he is in for the surprise of his life when he is assigned to lead a company consisting of legendary monsters into battle against an unstoppable platoon of Nazi zombies.

Inspired by Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman,” Death tells the story of Vincent, an artist with unresolved inner demons who meets a mysterious girl who helps him come to terms with his creative legacy and eventual death. Death was originally included with Wonder Woman: Bloodlines.

Attached as a bonus feature on the release of Superman: Red Son, The Phantom Stranger finds the enigmatic DC mystery man (voiced by Peter Serafinowicz) simultaneously playing both omniscient narrator and active character in a story of supernatural comeuppance for evil doers set in the 1970s.

Adam Strange, originally released with Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, tells the story of a rugged asteroid mining colony where the town drunk turns out to be legendary space adventurer Adam Strange, whose heroic backstory is played out in flashbacks as he struggles to save the very people who have scorned him for so long.

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The ‘R’-rated Blu-ray Disc will include audio commentaries by “DC Daily” hosts Amy Dallen and Hector Navarro on Sgt. Rock, Adam Strange, Death and The Phantom Stranger, plus the Under the Red Hood: Reloaded version of Death in the Family.

Cinedigm Partners With Bloody Disgusting for Ad-Supported Horror Streaming Network

Cinedigm and horror Web brand Bloody Disgusting have partnered to launch a new AVOD and ad-supported linear horror streaming network set to premiere in time for the Halloween season.

The network will offer a free source for horror content, targeting genre enthusiasts and casual viewers alike, according to a press release.

Featuring a mix of horror classics, contemporary cult favorites, and original programming, the channel will “reflect the programming and curatorial sensibilities” of Bloody Disgusting and the technology and distribution capabilities of Cinedigm, according to the release. Cinedigm will push the channel to more than 60 partners globally, which includes distribution partners such as Vizio, Samsung, Xumo and Tubi.

Horror is one of the most popular entertainment genres worldwide, representing over 9% of all film and entertainment spending and generating more than $1.2B in global ticket sales in 2019, according to the release.

“Despite a huge, mainstream fanbase, there is no dedicated ad-supported horror network on either basic cable or via linear OTT distribution,” according to the release. “Bloody Disgusting’s launch will fill an important void for operators in this popular genre.”

For nearly 20 years, Bloody Disgusting has been a destination for horror aficionados with an audience of more than 20 million dedicated fans seeking coverage of all things horror. The Chicago-based media company produces a namesake website and mobile app, and also produces the weekly show on YouTube “This Week in Horror” with a social footprint of more than 2 million engaged fans. Bloody Disgusting has also both produced and distributed films in the horror genre, including the Sundance Film Festival films V/H/S, V/H/S/2 and The Woman, as well as the TIFF Midnight Madness film Southbound.

The Bloody Disgusting channel will celebrate horror alongside feature presentations of their original films. New programming from Jon Grilz’ “Creepy,” “Bloody Disgusting’s Boo Crew,” “SCP Archives,” “Horror Queers” and “This Week in Horror” will also debut on the network this October with special trick-or-treat events planned for Halloween.

Cinedigm will also provide content from its catalog, which includes horror titles such as The Collector, Psycho, White Zombie and “Tales from the Crypt” and foreign favorites such as Destroy All Monsters, World of Kanako and Tenebrae.

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Bloody Disgusting has had more than 1.6 million downloads over the last 30 days, according to the release. Its podcasts regularly chart in the top 20 in their respective categories (Fiction, Film Review, and Film Interview). “Creepy” charts in the top five in fiction and is in the top 20 of all podcasts during the Halloween season. Both current and new podcasts will be made available in the consumer iOS and Android apps in addition to film and television programming. The company further expects to include additional mixed media content, including eBooks, comics and other content in the near future.

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“We are excited to bring our slate of original programming and network of podcasts to new audiences through this partnership. Cinedigm is the perfect partner to help bring this network to market,” said Tom Owen, president of Bloody Disgusting, in a statement.

“For nearly 20 years, Bloody Disgusting has been a leading tastemaker and the top media destination for the massive global horror fanbase,” Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Digital Networks, said in a statement. “Our goal is to partner with the market leader when we launch new channels, and in the horror genre, there is no better partner than Bloody Disgusting. We are excited to scare the hell out of the world together.”