Arrow SVOD Platform Sets July 2021 Slate

Arrow Video has announced the July 2021 lineup for its subscription-based Arrow platform, featuring a selection that highlights genre classics with a “cinematic road trip across the country,” according to a press release.

The Arrow SVOD service is available in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom on Roku devices, Apple TV and iOS devices, Android TV and mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV devices, and on Web browsers at www.arrow-player.com.

The July lineup leads with a selection of films highlighting genre classics from revolutionary American filmmakers, including George Romero, Lucky McKee, William Grefe, Jill Gevargizian, Bill Rebane, Chelsea Stardust, and Patrick Picard.

Films include:

July 1: The Woman, The Driller Killer, Deadly Manor, Dark August, The Crazies, Season of the Witch, Heavy Trip (U.S./Canada/UK), Slumber Party Massacre II (U.S./Canada), American: The Bill Hicks Story (U.S./UK), Ice Cream Man (U.S./Canada/UK), God Told Me To (U.S./Canada), Manhattan Baby (U.S./Canada), Maniac (U.S./Canada), and Vigilante (U.S./Canada).

July 2: The first episode from “Hammer House of Horror,” Witching Time.

July 9: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Slayer, The Mutilator, Scared Stiff, The Annihilators, She-Devils On Wheels, Shock Waves (U.S./Canada) and an installment of “Hammer House of Horror,” The Thirteenth Reunion (U.S.).

July 10: Holiday Fear, Mother Fucker (U.S./Canada/UK), and two shorts from Nicholas Payne Santos (Uncle Peckerhead).

July 12: Companeros (U.S./Canada), Massacre Time (U.S./Canada/UK), And God Said to Cain (U.S./Canada/UK), Bandidos (U.S./Canada/UK), and My Name is Pecos (U.S./Canada/UK).

July 16: The Stylist, A Ghost Waits, Lake Michigan Monster, The Chill Factor, Deadbeat at Dawn, Trapped Alive, The Prowler (U.S./Canada), and Hammer House of Horror: Rude Awakening (U.S.).

July 19: Irezumi and Giants and Toys (both U.S./Canada/UK).

July 23: The Bloodhound, Switchblade Sisters, The Prey, The Hills Have Eyes, The El Duce Tapes, The Witch Came From the Sea, Growing Pains (U.S.), The Prowler (U.S./Canada) and a short film Satanic Panic ‘87 from director Bryan M. Ferguson.

July 30: Hammer House of Horror: The House That Bled Death (U.S.).

Second OTT.X Impact Awards Now Accepting Submissions for Socially Important Streaming Content

OTT.X, the industry trade association for OTT streamers, has opened submissions for the second annual OTT.X Impact Awards.

The OTT.X Impact Awards is a program created by and for the over-the-top streaming industry to recognize creators, producers, platforms and channels who are using the power of streaming video to make a positive impact. Submissions are being accepted through Sept. 30 for audio/visual works that premiered, and are distributed, through OTT channels and platforms. Nominations will be announced Nov. 9 and winners will be named at the Impact Awards Ceremony to be held on Dec. 9, 2021.

“Our industry has the attention of millions of people globally,” said Mark Fisher, OTT.X president and CEO. “The stories we tell, messages we send and truths we reveal have the power to change the world. Using this power to promote understanding, acceptance, equality and to inspire positive action is a responsibility that OTT.X and our membership are committed to.”

Paul Colichman, CEO of Here Media and OTT.X Impact Awards Steering Committee chair, added, “As streaming transforms the entertainment landscape, it also democratizes video content distribution. This allows for more programs that focus on social justice, equality, kindness and compassion.”

The inaugural OTT.X Impact Awards was held virtually on Dec. 10, 2020, and recognized three winners, including Here Media’s “Girls Voices Now — ‘Not Quite Here, Not Quite There’” for Impactful Short Title; Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s “Going From Broke” for Impactful Series; and Passion River’s Intelligent Lives for Impactful Full-Length Feature.

Content must premiere on an OTT channel or platform, maintain exclusive
availability via OTT distribution and be available in the United States for three weeks. The qualifying period for the 2021 awards is the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2021.

For more information as well as content submissions, visit the OTT.X Impact Awards site here.

Roku Adds Apple TV+ Button to Remote Control

In a subtle marketing move, Roku has released an updated remote control that features a button to connect directly with the Apple TV+ subscription streaming service. Though the partnership has been rumored for a few months, the June 30 image release by Roku of the updated remote confirms the scuttlebutt.

While neither company issued comments on the situation, the Apple streaming service — with a reported 40 million subscribers — finds itself significantly running behind SVOD frontrunners Netflix (with 208 million subs), Amazon Prime Video (150 million), Hulu (40 million) and Disney+ (103 million), despite launching a week ahead of the Disney-branded service.

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Wall Street analysts firm MoffettNathanson recently concluded from a proprietary survey that more than 60% Apple TV+ subs are on a promotional plan, with 30% saying they would not sign up for the $4.99 monthly service once the free trial period ended.

Despite a sluggish start with scant original programming, Apple has rebounded with several critically acclaimed programs, including “Ted Lasso,” “The Morning Show,” “Dickinson” and “Central Park,” among others.

“As always, we wonder what Apple TV+ does to stand out in an increasingly crowded field,” analyst Michael Nathanson wrote in a note. “We see AppleTV+ as still sputtering versus [its] peers.”

Original Roku remote control

Roku, along with Netflix, co-launched the subscription streaming video market in 2008 with a branded Netflix media player. The SVOD pioneer eventually became one of the original default buttons in 2011 on the Roku remote along with Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster On Demand in 2013, and M-Go — the latter rebranded as FandangoNow in 2016. Other platforms joining the remote and paying Roku a reported $1 per consumer sign-up included YouTube, Hulu and Showtime.

“For members who want even more convenience when instantly watching TV shows and movies streaming from Netflix, the answer is about to be right in their hands,” former Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt said at the time, when Netflix had 16 million subs in North America and no international service.

HBO’s ‘Mare of Easttown’ Heading to Disc Sept. 14

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the HBO limited series Mare of Easttown on DVD Sept. 14. A Blu-ray Disc edition will be available the same day from Warner Archive Collection. The show is available now for digital purchase.

The seven-part drama stars Kate Winslet as Mare Sheehan, a respected small-town Pennsylvania detective investigating a local murder while also balancing her own personal life, which is rapidly falling apart around her.

The cast also includes Julianne Nicholson, Jean Smart, Angourie Rice, Evan Peters, Guy Pearce, David Denman, Joe Tippett, Cailee Spaeny, John Douglas Thompson, Patrick Murney, James McArdle, Sosie Bacon, Neal Huff, Kate Arrington, Ruby Cruz, Eisa Davis, Enid Graham, Justin Hurtt-Dunkley, Izzy King, Mackenzie Lansing, Cameron Mann, Kiah McKirnan, Jack Mulhern, Anthony Norman, Drew Scheid and Madeleine Weinstein.

Extras include the featurettes “Invitation to the Set,” “Mare of Easttown: A Closer Look,” “Welcome to Easttown” and “Making Mare of Easttown.”

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Netflix Set to Bow R.L. Stine Horror Movie Trilogy ‘Fear Street’ Over Three Weeks, Beginning July 2

R.L Stine’s best-selling horror series “Fear Street” has been frightening readers for 30 years. Now, the story spanning 300 years is getting a feature film treatment by Chernin Entertainment for Netflix.

The streamer will bow the Fear Street film trilogy, starting with Part 1 set in 1994 when a group of teenagers discover the terrifying events that have haunted their town for generations ​may all be connected — and they may be the next targets.

Following Shadyside’s sinister history, Fear Street jumps to 1978 in Part 2 and concludes with Part 3 set in the year 1666. In a unique move, Netflix will debut each film a week apart beginning July 2.

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As part of the promotion, the Netflix PR team interviewed writer-director Leigh Janiak about the non-binge release schedule, how she turned the horror genre on its head, and recasting the same actors in different roles.

Netflix: How did you first get involved with these films and what drew you to this project? Were you an R.L. Stine fan?

Janiak: “I grew up reading the Fear Street books. I remember being drawn to them because they felt edgy; there was blood, there was sex, there were all of the things that felt cool. I was a teenager in the ’90s, so when [former 20th Century Fox executive] Peter Chernin and Kori Adelson, an executive at Chernin, first approached me about being a part of these films, it just felt like it hit the sweet spot of my teenagedom. I was looking for buoyancy and fun in my next project, and Fear Street was perfect. I think a lot of people who grew up with these books feel the same way and Kori knew there was potential to create a great franchise around them. Peter had this great idea of creating an event around these films where they would be released one after another, but the idea of how that would actually work hadn’t been cracked, and that challenge was really what drew me to the project.”

How did you crack the story and structure of the films?

“The central question was: How do you get an audience to be so engaged in a movie that they want to go see the next installment immediately? It’s a common exploration for a TV series, but not so much for features. Usually with traditional feature sequels, you have that year or two in between so people are just hungry for more of the world. So for us, we cracked the idea when we started thinking about the project as a hybrid between film and TV.

The project started to come together around this idea of the systemic oppression that permeates culture and tells certain people that you’re “other” and you are never going to win. And I think that’s a common thing to feel growing up, especially for anyone who’s been born into a world they feel like they can’t escape. The Shadysiders are born into this world where their fate has already been determined for them.”

How did you go about adapting the sprawling universe of the books into these films?

“The stories within R.L. Stine’s books are centered on this idea of infinite repeatability. Every story takes place in this town called Shadyside and focuses on a different person who lives on Fear Street, but the films aren’t a direct adaptation of any individual story. The spirit of the books is definitely infused throughout — it’s embodied in our story, our characters, and the overall craziness that ensues — but we created the idea of Sunnyvale existing next to Shadyside and the history behind these two towns. The Fier family and the Goode family are names from the books, but we created the mythology in the films.”

Were there any horror tropes that you wanted to upend with Fear Street

“I thought the films provided a good opportunity to make our protagonists the ones who aren’t usually the protagonists in a horror movie. Up until very recently, straight white people were the only characters who ever lived at the end. So it was important to me and my writers that Fear Street was led by people who society has, again, traditionally called an “other,” and that’s kind of where this idea of having our main characters be queer came from. We wanted to tell a love story and we wanted it to be true to the experience of being queer in the 90s. We wanted to make their relationship feel authentic to what a gay experience might’ve been like outside of a modern lens. Sam and Deena aren’t living in a fully safe world where everyone can know about them. And that was really important in shaping their journey, which is difficult because I think, for some viewers, Sam can be a little unlikable at first because she’s denying who she is and trying to be this other person, but I think it was important to show that that was the experience for so many kids.”

Talk about the decision to use the same actors for various roles. 

“I’ve been obsessed with shows like ‘Quantum Leap’ that use the same actors, but put them in different time periods. There’s something really satisfying about it. I’m also just personally interested in the idea of the past repeating itself, of ideas of reincarnation and being attached to your ancestors. I just thought it was fun. And I thought it would also be satisfying to be able to revisit characters that we had killed in the first two movies and to see them again.”

RLJE Sets Aug. 3 DVD, Blu-ray Disc Release Date for Shudder’s ‘Seance’

RLJE Films announced the Aug. 3 release of Seance, a horror film written and directed by Simon Barrett (You’re Next, The Guest).

The film will be available on DVD for an SRP of $27.97 and on Blu-ray Disc for $28.96.

Seance originally premiered on Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium subscription streaming service for horror and thriller movies. RLJE is another AMC business unit.

Starring Suki Waterhouse (Assassination Nation, The Divergent Series: Insurgent), Madisen Beaty (Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), and Ella-Rae Smith (“Into the Badlands,” Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw), Seance follows the story of a new student at the prestigious Edelvine Academy for Girls named Camille Meadows. Soon after her arrival, she is invited by six other girls to join them in a late-night ritual, calling forth the spirit of a dead former student who reportedly haunts the school halls. When morning comes around, one of the girls is dead, leaving the others wondering what they might have awakened.

DVD and Blu-ray bonus features include commentary from the director, behind-the-scenes footage, outtakes, deleted scenes, decapitation pre-viz, and a “Behind the Scenes” photo gallery.

Disney+ to Debut New Animated ‘Loki,’ ‘Simpsons’ Crossover Short July 7

Disney+ has announced The Good, The Bart, and The Loki, a new Marvel-themed short from “The Simpsons” premiering July 7.

In the new short coming exclusively to Disney+, Loki is banished from Asgard once again and must face his toughest opponents yet — the Simpsons and Springfield’s mightiest heroes — as the God of Mischief teams up with Bart Simpson in the crossover production.

Tom Hiddleston, star of the series “Loki” on Disney+, provides the voice of Loki.

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The Good, The Bart, and The Loki is the second in a series of Disney+ shorts from “The Simpsons” that highlight the service’s brands and titles. The previously released “Star Wars”themed short Maggie Simpson in ‘The Force Awakens from Its Nap’ is now streaming on Disney+.

New episodes of Marvel Studios’ original series “Loki” stream Wednesdays on Disney+.

FilmRise Acquires Streaming Rights to ‘Dark Blood’

FilmRise has announced the acquisition of Dark Blood, starring Tony and Emmy award-winning, John Leguizamo (John Wick, Carlito’s Way, Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet, Ice Age). The deal gives FilmRise theatrical, digital and broadcast rights in North and South America. The movie is directed by Colombian filmmaker Harold Trompetero (Diastole y systole: Los movimientos del Corazon, Violet of a Thousand Colors, Riverside) and follows a father imprisoned after committing a crime avenging the death of his son.

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“John Leguizamo’s performance in Dark Blood is a tour de force,” Danny Fisher, CEO of FilmRise, said in a statement. “The power, fear and compassion that Trompetero evokes through Leguizamo’s performance is a testament to his impressive directing skills.”

The film will have its North American premiere this September coinciding with National Hispanic Heritage Month. The deal was negotiated by Katie Carroll, manager, independent film acquisition at FilmRise, and Priscilla Ross Smith, CEO of The Coven, a sales agency in Lyon, France.

Cinedigm Launching Elvis Presley Streaming Channel

Elvis has re-entered the building through a new streaming deal with Cinedigm, in partnership with Elvis Presley Enterprises.

Cinedigm June 30 announced the upcoming launch of an ad-supported (AVOD) and linear streaming service, The Elvis Presley Channel, featuring archival content and specials, as well as musical content from other rock ‘n roll artists that inspired the music industry. The channel seeks to provide viewers an intimate view into the artist that defined a generation with exclusive films, specials, and documentaries. The Elvis Presley Channel will also give fans a chance to watch rare home footage from the Graceland Archives.

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Expected to launch in early 2022, Cinedigm is planning to make the channel available in the United States and Canada for linear and AVOD platforms on connected TVs, digital set-top boxes, media- streaming devices and the web. The Los Angeles distributor plans to stream programming across the broader OTT landscape, which includes Samsung Smart TVs, Pluto TV, Roku, Hulu, Amazon Prime Channels and Tubi, among others.

“The opportunity to build a branded channel around Elvis opens up streaming possibilities to an entirely new demographic in the fastest-growing segment of the ad-supported business,” Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Digital Networks, said in a statement.

Marc Rosen, president, entertainment, Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which owns Elvis Presley Enterprises, said the Elvis fandom is incredibly passionate and loyal.

“Cinedigm is best-in-class when it comes to serving fervent fan bases,” Rosen said.

The launch of The Elvis Presley Channel continues Cinedigm’s expansion into the legacy icon space, which began last year through the successful launch of The Bob Ross Channel — showcasing memorable moments and paintings from the long-running public television series. The channel features more than 350 classic episodes.

Cinedigm plans to feature continual Elvis programming with specials and documentaries, including “Singer Presents … Elvis” (the ’68 Comeback Special), “Elvis Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite,” and “Elvis by the Presleys” on The Elvis Presley Channel.

Additionally, Cinedigm is planning to tap into the archives of legends such as Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and more. Many of music’s most iconic locations will be on display, with specials highlighting impact cities like Memphis that helped shape rock ‘n’ roll, as well as general music documentaries.

The deal was negotiated by Josh Thomashow, Executive Director of Acquisitions at Cinedigm, and Andrew O. Miller on behalf of Authentic Brands Group (ABG).