Kino Lorber Studio Classics Announces September 2021 Slate

Kino Lorber has announced its slate of “Studio Classics” home releases for September 2021.

Due Sept. 7 on Blu-ray is 1965’s The Tomb of Ligeia, starring Vincent Price, Elizabeth Shepherd, John Westbrook, Derek Francis, Oliver Johnston and Richard Vernon. Price, director/producer Roger Corman and screenwriter Robert Towne hook up for horror in Edgar Allan Poe’s most terrifying tale of passion, possession and purr-fect evil! When a dead wife sinks her claws into immortality — and comes back as a ferocious feline — she leads her husband’s (Price) new bride on a deadly game of cat and mouse. And when the fur starts flying, she soon learns that even in death she can land on her feet. The Blu-ray includes new commentary by film historian Tim Lucas, commentary by Corman, commentary by Shepherd, and “Trailers From Hell” with Joe Dante.

Also due Sept. 7 on Blu-ray is 1973’s Theater of Blood from director Douglas Hickox and starring Vincent Price, Diana Rigg, Robert Morley, Jack Hawkins, Dennis Price and Ian Hendry. Price delivers a thrilling tour-de-force performance as a small-time actor plotting big-time revenge. This dramatically delicious concoction is an equal mixture of horror, comedy and Shakespeare. After years of suffering deadly reviews, hammy Shakespearean actor Edward Lionheart (Price) decides it’s curtains for his critics. Bumping off his detractors with executions inspired by the Bard, Lionheart stages a beheading in the manner of Cymbeline, a stabbing inspired by Julius Caesar and even an untimely removal of a pound of flesh improvised from The Merchant of Venice. Extras include new commentary by screenwriter/producer Alan Spencer, commentary by film historians David Del Valle and Nick Redman, and “Trailers From Hell” with Alan Spencer.

Code Red Sept. 7 releases 1992’s Death Ring on Blu-ray. When ex-Special Forces agent Matt Collins (Mike Norris) wins a survivalist competition, he becomes “the toughest man alive” — perfect fodder for perverse millionaire Danton Vachs (Billy Drago), whose annual manhunt attracts the most vicious killers in the world. As the diabolical competition begins, Collins, ‘Skylord’ Harris (Chad McQueen) and John Blackwell (Don Swayze) must kill their attackers one by one … or be added to their fatal list of prey.

Due Sept. 14 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD is 1963’s Bluebeard (aka Landru), in French with English subtitles and starring Michele Morgan, Stephane Audran, Charles Denner, Danielle Darrieu, Hildegard Knef and Juliette Mayneil. Legendary French New Wave director Claude Chabrol brings the shocking true story of serial killer Henri Désiré Landru to the screen. Landru (Denner) is a seemingly respectable Parisian who devises a sick and ingenious scheme to supplement his dwindling income during the First World War. First, he lures wealthy dowagers to his villa. Then, he cons them into forking over their fortunes. Finally, he kills them, chops them up and immolates the pieces. This jet-black comedy was written by acclaimed author Françoise Sagan. Includes a 4K restoration from the original camera negative, plus a new audio commentary by film historian Kat Ellinger.

Also due Sept 14 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD is 1965’s Blue Panther (aka Marie-Chantal vs. Doctor Kha) in French with English subtitles, and starring Marie Laforet, Stephane Audran, Roger Hanin, Akim Tamiroff, Serge Reggiani and Charles Denner. Director Claude Chabrol took a turn into the Eurospy genre with this ’60s-chic romp. On a train bound for Switzerland, a secret agent (Hanin) entrusts Marie-Chantal (Laforet) with a jewel in the shape of a panther with ruby eyes. Unbeknownst to her, this jewel contains a virus powerful enough to destroy all humankind. The fiendish Doctor Kha is just one among many spies from different nations trying to get their hands on the panther. But the cool-as-ice Marie-Chantal will evade all attacks by sheer female cunning, and shows panther-like qualities in dealing with her male — and female — foes. Includes a 4K restoration from the original camera negative, and a new commentary by film historians Howard S. Berger, Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson.

Sept. 14 also sees the Blu-ray Disc and DVD release of 1966’s Rififi in Paris (aka Du rififi a Paname/The Upper Hand), starring Jean Gabin, George Raft, Gert Frobe, Mireille Darc, Marcel Bozzuffi and Claude Brasseur. From author Auguste Le Breton comes this stylish crime caper. In Paris, a grizzled gold-smuggler (Gabin) is at war with other local gangsters who want a piece of the action. To make matters worse, he must match wits with a coin-tossing Mafioso (Raft) and the U.S. Treasury Department. Includes new audio commentary by filmmaker/historian Daniel Kremer and cinematographer Aaron Hollander.

Another Sept. 14 release is 1965’s Masquerade on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, starring Cliff Robertson, Jack Hawkins, Marisa Mell, Charles Gray and John Le Mesurier. From director Basil Dearden comes a tongue-in-cheek spy caper. The British government is in negotiations with the Middle Eastern oil-rich nation of Ramaut to allow in British drilling agencies, but Ramaut withdraws from the talks, leaving Britain desperate. British Colonel Drexel (Hawkins) is enlisted in a covert operation to kidnap the Ramaut prince, Jamil (Christopher Witty), in order to force an oil agreement between the countries. Drexel brings in American David Frazer (Robertson) to assist, but Frazer finds someone else has plans for Jamil. Includes a new 2K remaster, and a new commentary by film historians Howard S. Berger and Chris Poggiali.

Another Sept. 14 release is 1966’s Arabesque on Blu-ray, Starring Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren, Alan Badel, Kieron Moore, Carl Duering and John Merivale. Stanley Donen directions this high-speed, high-class tale of international intrigue. An American hieroglyphics professor (Peck) is hired by a mysterious Arab oil magnate to decipher a secret message. When the hidden meaning is revealed, the chase is on as he and the oil magnate’s exotic yet unpredictable companion (Loren) find themselves caught in the middle of an assassination plot. Includes a new commentary by film Historians Howard S. Berger, Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson; and the archival featurette “Music by Mancini” with Henry Mancini and columnist Leonard Feather.

Code Red Sept. 14 releases 1972’s The French Conspiracy (aka L’Attentat/The Assassination/Plot) on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, in French with English subtitles. Discovering that exiled Algerian OAS terrorist Sadiel (Gian Maria Volontè) is about to return to France, both the CIA and the French Secret Service go on red alert. They blackmail a journalist, François Darien (Jean-Louis Trintignant), into helping them to entice Sadiel to Paris, in order to assassinate him. Meanwhile Michael Howard (Roy Scheider) discovers the double-cross, only to be warned off by the CIA, who are quite happy to have the French dig their own political grave. A taut, gripping drama unfolds, as two secret service agencies fight for superiority on the streets of Paris. Includes a 4K Restoration from the original camera negative, and both the original French and English dub cuts.

Due Sept. 21 on DVD and Blu-ray Disc is 1970’s Skullduggery, starring Burt Reynolds, Susan Clark, Roger C. Carmel, Edward Fox, Alexander Knox and Wilfrid Hyde-White. An expedition into the interior of Papua New Guinea comes across a tribe of ape-like people, the Tropis, who may or may not be ancestors of early man. However, the influence of modern man is to have devastating effects upon these forgotten people. When one of the Tropis is allegedly murdered, the following murder trial centers around the question of whether the Tropis are human or animal. Includes a new 2K master, and a new commentary by film historians Howard S. Berger, C. Courtney Joyner and Sergio Mims.

Also due Sept. 21 on DVD and Blu-ray Disc is the 1970 Western Macho Callahan, starring David Janssen, Jean Seberg, Lee J. Cobb, David Carradine, Bo Hopkins and James Booth. Diego “Macho” Callahan (Janssen), a man tricked into enlisting in the Confederate army, is later thrown into a hellish stockade on desertion charges. He eventually breaks out of the prison camp and sets out to kill Duffy (Cobb), the man in yellow boots who bamboozled him into signing enlistment papers. However, after accidentally killing a Confederate officer (Carradine), he finds himself pursued by a gang of vicious bounty hunters intent on collecting the reward put up by the dead officer’s widow (Seberg). Includes a new 4K restoration from the original camera negative, plus a new audio commentary by filmmaker Alex Cox.

Another Sept. 21 release on Blu-ray is 1974’s Golden Needles, starring Joe Don Baker, Jim Kelly, Elizabeth Ashley, Burgess Meredith, Ann Sothern and Roy Chiao. From director Robert Clouse comes this suspense story of a priceless ancient Chinese statue that is pursued halfway across the world. The legend of the golden statue (which contains seven youth-restoring acupuncture needles) promises the owner health and incredible vigor, but can also deliver a painful death. Includes a new 2K master, a new commentary by film historians Howard S. Berger and Chris Poggiali, newly commissioned art by Vince Evans, radio spots, a TV Spot, theatrical trailer and an image gallery.

Another Sept. 21 release on Blu-ray is 1982’s Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, starring Steve Martin, Rachel Ward, Carl Reiner, Reni Santoni, George Gaynes and Francis X McCartney.

Martin re-teams with director Carl Reiner, following The Jerk and The Man with Two Brains, for this black-and-white comedy noir. As the private eye of private eyes, Martin is Rigby Reardon. He’s tough, rough and ready to take on anything when Juliet Forrest (Ward) appears on the scene with a case: her father, a noted scientist, philanthropist and cheesemaker, has died mysteriously. Reardon immediately smells a rat and follows a complex maze of clues that lead him to the “Carlotta Lists.” By weaving the plot and production design around memorable movie clips, Martin and Reiner summon some familiar friends to assist Reardon: Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner, Cary Grant, Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Burt Lancaster, Charles Laughton, Fred MacMurray, Ray Milland, Vincent Price, Barbara Stanwyck and Lana Turner — just to name a few. Extras include a new audio commentary by filmmaker Allan Arkush and film historian/filmmaker Daniel Kremer, four radio spots, three TV spots, the theatrical trailer and a “Buttometer” teaser trailer.

Sept. 21 also sees the Blu-ray release of 1988’s Masquerade, starring Rob Lowe, Meg Tilly, Kim Cattrall, Dana Delany, John Glover and Doug Savant. In this sexually charged mystery about a wealthy woman who falls for the wrong man, Olivia (Tilly) seems to have it all. But behind the serene facade of her Easthampton seaside estate, something is missing: passion. Enter Tim (Lowe), the sexy sailing instructor and playboy who’s not ashamed of sleeping with his boss’ insatiable wife (Cattrall) or social climbing for sport. And when he sets his sights on Olivia, she falls under the seductive spell of this handsome stranger, unaware that he has his eye on more than just her beauty. Includes a new audio commentary by director Bob Swaim.

Also due on Blu-ray Disc Sept. 21 is 1990’s Bird on a Wire, starring Mel Gibson, Goldie Hawn, David Carradine, Bill Duke, Joan Severance and Stephen Tobolowsky. From director John Badham, the action-packed comedy stars Gibson as Rick Jarmin, a man hiding under the FBI Witness Protection Program who gets nervous when old flame Marianne Graves (Hawn) recognizes him. But before he can assume a new identity, the man he put in jail (Carradine) is released and comes to pay his respects. Rick and Marianne find themselves thrown together on an exhilarating cross-country scramble, barely evading the gangsters, police and an amorous veterinarian (Joan Severance). Includes a new 2K master; a new audio commentary from Badham, producer/second unit director Rob Cohen and film historian/filmmaker Daniel Kremer; and the theatrical trailer.

Code Red Sept. 21 releases on Blu-ray the 1970 family movie Pufnstuf from “Land of the Lost” producers Sid & Marty Krofft, starring Jack Wild, Martha Raye, Cass Elliott, Billie Hayes, Billy Barty and Felix Silla. After a bad day at school, Jimmy (Wild) runs to the shore to play his flute, but he can’t believe his eyes when his ordinary flute comes to life. When a magical talking boat appears, he boards the ship only to discover that it has been sent by an evil witch named Witchiepoo to keep him prisoner and take his flute. It’s up to the fantastic dragon H.R. Pufnstuf and his comical companions, Cling and Clang, to come to the rescue in an adventure beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.

Arriving on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Sept. 28 is 1960’s Seven Days … Seven Nights (aka Moderato Cantabile), starring Jeanne Moreau, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Pascale de Boysson, Jean Deschamps, Didier Haudepin and Colette Regis. The black-and-white French film from director Peter Brook stars Moreau, who won the award for Best Actress at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival, as Anne Desbarèdes, a wealthy, bored housewife who believes she has witnessed a murder in a quayside bistro. Rushing to the scene of the crime, she strikes up a conversation with Chauvin (Belmondo), an employee of her husband who also saw the crime. The troubled woman continues to return to the café, increasingly identifying herself with the murder victim and becoming obsessed with Chauvin. Includes trailers and a new audio commentary by filmmaker/historian Daniel Kremer.

Also due Sept. 28 on DVD and Blu-ray Disc is 1978’s The Hunter Will Get You (aka L’Alpagueur), starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Bruno Cremer, Laura Antonelli, Jean Negroni, Jean-Pierre Jorris and Patrick Fierry. The French film from writer-director Phillippe Labro sees Belmondo play “L’Alpagueur,” a tough-as-nails mercenary named Roger Pilard who does what the police are unable to do — for a price, of course. After busting a drug-trafficking ring in Rotterdam, Pilard is put on the trail of “L’Épervier” (“The Hawk”), a ruthless thief who employs petty criminals to help him rob banks and then murders them. One of these criminals narrowly escapes death, but is captured and put in prison. Pilard, adopting a false identity, arranges to be placed in the same cell. There he learns how to track down “The Hawk,” who, in the meantime, has carried out a final act of vengeance. Will the hunter get his hawk? Includes the theatrical trailer, an interview with Labro, and new audio commentary by film historians Howard S. Berger, Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson.

Sept. 28 also sees the release of 1976’s Illustrious Corpses (aka Cadaveri Eccellenti/The Context) on Blu-ray Disc and DVD. The Italian film from director Francesco Rosi stars Lino Ventura, Max Von Sydow, Fernando Rey, Tino Aumont, Marcel Bozzuffi and Tino Carraro. The politically charged crime thriller features Ventura as Inspector Rogas, a detective assigned to investigate the mysterious murders of some Supreme Court judges. During the investigation he discovers a conspiracy that involves the Italian Communist Party. Includes a 4K restoration from the original camera negative, new audio commentary by filmmaker Alex Cox, and English and Italian trailers.

Also due Sept. 28 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD is 1973’s Lucky Luciano, starring Gian Maria Volonte, Rod Steiger, Edmond O’Brien, Vincent Gardenia, Charles Cioffi and Larry Gates.

The Italian film from director Francesco Rosi paints an epic portrait of notorious Mafia boss Charles “Lucky” Luciano. In 1946, after serving time for the murder of his colleagues in crime, Luciano was pardoned and sent back to his homeland of Sicilia. Rather than changing his life around, it was here that he became one of the most powerful leaders of crime the world has ever known. Includes a 4K restoration from the original camera negative, trailers, and a new audio commentary by film critic and author Simon Abrams.

Another Sept. 28 release will be 1973’s A Full Day’s Work (aka Une journee bien remplie) on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. In this French-Italian comedy, Jacques Dufilho plays a father who has carefully planned the execution of the nine jurors who sent his son to the gallows. Dressed in black, on a black motorcycle with his elderly mother (Luce Marquand) in the sidecar, the vengeful man calmly and methodically does away with each of the nine in the span of a single day — before the police or anyone else can stop him. Includes a 4K restoration from the original camera negative, trailers, and a new audio commentary by film critic and author Simon Abrams.

Code Red Sept. 28 releases 1979’s Story of a Woman on Blu-ray, starring Robert Stack, Bibi Andersson, James Farentino, Annie Girardot, Frank Sundstrom and Birgitta Valberg. From Leonardo Bercovici, the co-writer of The Bishop’s Wife, Kiss the Blood Off My Hands and Portrait of Jennie, comes this passionate love story starring Ingmar Bergman regular Bibi Andersson. While studying to be a concert pianist in Rome, a Swedish girl named Karin (Andersson) falls in love with a handsome medical student named Bruno (James Farentino). When she discovers that Bruno is married to an older woman, she heads home to Sweden and marries an American diplomat (Robert Stack). The diplomat is then assigned to Rome, where Karin becomes torn between the two men. Includes a musical score by the legendary John Williams.

‘F9’ Now Available for On Demand Viewing

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on July 30 released F9: The Fast Saga for home viewing via video on demand digital rental at a premium price of $19.99.

The ninth film in the “Fast & Furious” series and 10th in the franchise (including Hobbs & Shaw), the film has earned $165 million at the domestic box office since its June 25 premiere. The movie’s total worldwide haul is $624.5 million, having opened as early as May 19 in some territories.

The story involves Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) leading his crew on another worldwide adventure to stop an evil scheme by his brother (John Cena).

F9: The Fast Saga was directed by Justin Lin from a screenplay by Daniel Casey and Lin.

The film’s digital and disc sellthrough dates have not been announced.

Hulu Adds NFL Network to Live TV Channel Line-Up

NFL Network is now available to Hulu’s Live TV subscribers in the $64.99 a month subscription plan.

The addition of NFL Network to Hulu’s 75-plus live TV channel line-up  brings live NFL preseason games, exclusive live NFL regular season games, studio shows such as “Good Morning Football” and “NFL Total Access,” as well as “NFL GameDay Morning” and “NFL Now,” and original series such as “A Football Life,” “NFL 360” and “America’s Game.”

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Hulu has also launched a sports add-on featuring six sports networks with a collection of live games, recent highlights, sports news and events. For $9.99 per month, Hulu’s Live TV subscribers can add NFL RedZone, Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, MAVTV Motorsports Network, TVG and TVG2 to their live TV line-up.

“With the launch of NFL Network and our new Sports Add-on, Hulu + Live TV continues to be the ultimate destination for sports fans to watch thousands of hours of live and on­demand sports programming,” Reagan Feeney, Hulu SVP of Live TV content programming and partnerships, said in a statement. “Starting today, viewers can bring even more game day action to their living room with live games and events, original shows, motorsports, horse racing and much more.”

“We are excited to bring NFL Network and NFL RedZone to Hulu + Live TV subscribers,” Hans Schroeder, EVP and COO of NFL Media, said in a statement. “One of our top priorities as a League remains broadening the distribution platforms for NFL content, and so we’re very pleased to bring our lineup of award-winning shows and live games to Hulu’s live subscribers.”

Gravitas Ventures Bows Doc ‘Finding Kendrick Johnson’ in Theaters and on VOD

Gravitas Ventures has acquired rights to distribute the documentary Finding Kendrick Johnson, directed by Jason Pollock, in the United States and Canada.

It bowed in 20 theaters around America and on VOD starting July 30.

The filmmaker cracks a major case dealing with the racially charged murder of a teen, according to a Gravitas release.

Kendrick Johnson was found dead rolled up in a gym mat in his high school in 2013. Since then, the state of Georgia has ruled his death an accident. Two independent autopsies have proven otherwise.

“The case of Kendrick Johnson is one of the most important in U.S. history,” Pollock said in a statement. “K.J. deserves justice, and hopefully our film will help his family get one step closer to that outcome.”

The documentary is narrated by Hollywood veteran Jenifer Lewis, who also serves as an executive producer. Other executive producers and producers include actor Hill Harper and Space Jam: A New Legacy director Malcolm D. Lee.

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“This is the most important film I’ve ever worked on,” Lewis said in a statement. “What this family has gone through is unspeakable but we must speak it so the public knows the truth. Jason has done a brilliant job on this vital story of injustice.”

Pollock’s previous film, Stranger Fruit, cracked the Mike Brown case open by releasing never-before-seen footage of Mike the night before he was killed by a police officer. Pollock promises that Finding Kendrick Johnson will also have evidence which will crack the case open, according to the press release.

“We have found a lot of new game changing evidence in K.J.’s case, and we’re looking forward to the public seeing everything and making up their own minds,” said Pollock in a statement.

“Gravitas is proud to partner with Jason Pollock again on his latest film, which now more than ever, reinforces the notion that justice and accountability should be vigorously pursued, no matter how long it takes,” Brendan M. Gallagher, Gravitas Ventures EVP and general counsel, said in a statement.

‘Black Widow’ Lawsuit Could Upend Talent Compensation Agreements

NEWS ANALYSIS — Scarlett Johansson’s breach-of-contract lawsuit — filed July 29 against Walt Disney Studios and Marvel Entertainment regarding the studio’s decision to simultaneously release Marvel Studios’ Black Widow in theaters and on the Disney+ subscription streaming platform — could upend Hollywood contracts with actors, producers and distributors.

Johansson alleges Disney made Black Widow available to Disney+ subscribers as a $29.99 Premier Access add-on in an effort to reduce its compensation to the actor, which was in part based on box office take. She reportedly is the highest-grossing and highest-paid actress in Hollywood.

Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff (aka Black Widow) character has been a mainstay within the Marvel Cinematic Universe since first appearing in Iron Man 2 in 2010. With the character getting her own solo movie, the financial stakes on the release were high. So high, Disney pushed back the theatrical debut three times from an original May 2020 launch due to the COVID-19 pandemic effectively shuttering much of the exhibition business.

From the gist of the lawsuit, Johansson claims she was assured Disney would follow an exclusive theatrical release strategy for Black Widow. With such a strategy in place, the studio delayed due to the pandemic, then instead chose to release the title concurrently in theaters and on its branded PVOD platform, Premier Access, a decision that earned the studio more than $60 million in incremental revenue in addition to the $80 million opening domestic box office.

Disney’s first-ever disclosure of Premier Access revenue suggested the haul was a fiscal home run. Disney first went with hybrid distribution for the Labor Day 2020 release of Mulan. That was followed in March this year with Raya and the Last Dragon and Cruella in May. Action adventure movie Jungle Cruise bows in theaters and Premier Access July 30.

However, Black Widow’s domestic box office take plummeted 68% in its second week, and another 55% in its third, a drop that led the National Association of Theatre Owners to blast Disney’s hybrid release strategy. The film also has yet to receive a release date in China, suppressing its potential international box office take. And, with a pristine copy made available online by Disney+, Black Widow quickly became the most pirated movie of the pandemic era, according to Torrent Freak. Many industry watchers also pointed to these factors as reasons MCU fans weren’t returning to theaters for multiple viewings of the film — a phenomenon typically required for a blockbuster film to sustain its box office legs.

Thus far, Black Widow has earned $159 million domestically and $160 internationally for a global total of $319 million, making it the second-lowest earner of the 24 MCU movies, on par with some of its earlier releases before 2012’s The Avengers made it a must-watch franchise, and certainly the lowest earner of any movie the character has appeared in, which previously was the aforementioned Iron Man 2 at $621 million.

In addition, Disney announced Black Widow would be available for digital purchase Aug. 10, giving it just a 32-day theatrical window, well short of the 90 days of a traditional theatrical release, and even the 45 days of newer agreements between studios and theaters that emerged during the pandemic. The announced Sept. 14 Blu-ray and DVD release date is just a 67-day window.

Apparently, Johansson’s contract with Disney/Marvel didn’t include a provision for PVOD distribution (and additional compensation). While Disney called the lawsuit “sad and distressing,” the litigation could redefine theatrical distribution in the age of COVID. Johansson’s lawsuit also has reportedly inspired other actors in Disney hybrid releases, such as Emma Stone of Cruella, and Emily Blunt of Jungle Cruise, to consider filing lawsuits of their own against Disney.

“Given how the pandemic has affected how movies are now released today, the court is going to look very closely at the contract between Ms. Johansson and the film company,” Krenar Camili, an attorney in Little Falls, N.J., told Esquire Digital. “If it was indeed a breach of contract for them to release the movie in both formats at the same time, then Johansson will need to prove that she suffered damages by their doing so.”

Indeed, Disney disclosed that Johansson had been paid $20 million for Black Widow, trying to undermine the actor’s claim of fiscal harm. Johansson’s agent, CAA, criticized Disney for disclosing their client’s financial agreement.

“They have shamelessly and falsely accused Ms. Johansson of being insensitive to the global COVID pandemic, in an attempt to make her appear to be someone they and I know she isn’t,” Bryan Lourd, co-chairman of the Creative Artists Agency, said in a statement.

But to Aron Solomon, head of strategy at Esquire Digital, the case centers on how actor/producer/director compensation agreements are written in the SVOD/pandemic era. Specifically, Solomon believes the case, regardless of the outcome, will see studios more narrowly define talent’s compensation dependent upon a movie’s distribution strategy.

“While Disney’s comments have far more of a theatrical rather than legal impact, they set the stage for a pandemic-centered battle Royale,” Solomon wrote. “Essentially, this case has the potential to redefine the entire notion of what ‘industry standard’ is today and what it could become tomorrow.”

Cinedigm Launches Three Channels on Sling TV

Cinedigm has placed three of its channels on Sling TV: the family friendly Dove Channel, pop culture channel CONtv and documentary channel Docurama.

Docurama is a streaming service dedicated to bringing audiences acclaimed, cutting-edge documentaries. Popular titles include Anthony Bourdain: A Cook’s Tour, Beatles: How The Beatles Changed The World and Kobe: The Life of a Legend.

The Dove Channel is a source for family friendly content, feature films and television titles suitable for all audiences. It features comedy classics such as “The Little Rascals,” young adult series “H20: Just Add Water” and “Dance Academy,” and faith favorites such as The Ultimate Gift.

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CONtv: carries a diverse range of film and television series focusing on the action/thriller, horror, anime and sci-fi/fantasy genres, including films featuring superstars such as Milo Gibson and Peter Facinelli (Gangster Land) and anime classics such as “Yu-Gi-Oh!”

Sling TV delivers live and on-demand television to compatible internet-connected devices through monthly subscriptions starting at $35 per month. Through its genre-based “Extras,” customers can pick their personal channel lineup.

“Since its inception, Sling TV has been at the forefront of live TV streaming,” Jennifer Soltesz, VP of business development and strategy at Cinedigm, said in a statement. “Working with Sling TV not only allows us to reach a diverse, new audience, but it gives us a partner with the same forward-thinking drive. We can’t wait to show these new customers the amazing networks Cinedigm has to offer.”

Report: Disney+ Hotstar to Top 46 Million Subs by End of Year

Disney ended its most-recent fiscal period with 103 million Disney+ subscribers. Of that total, 33% originate from India as a result of Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox, whose assets included the Hotstar streaming service, which features localized content and live cricket matches.

Now, new data from Media Partners Asia projects the Disney+ Hotstar platform will generate 46 million subs by the end of the year. Together with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, the three platforms will total 89 million combined subs, or 80% of the Indian market. That compares with 57 million subs at the end of 2020.

MPA’s The Future of India’s Online Video Market: Focus on SVOD projects there will be 193 million subscription streaming video subs in India by 2026 — a small percentage considering the country is the second most populous with more than 1.3 billion residents.

The report brief suggests Indian SVOD revenue will top $1.8 billion by 2026, with ad-supported VOD totalling $2.4 billion in revenue.

India has a big mobile consumer base, topping 500 million handsets, with more than 1 billion video screens. Netflix, which launched Indian service in 2016, recently bowed a mobile-only subscription plan in the region. The SVOD pioneer reportedly trails Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar in subscribers.

Disney Partners With Postable to Promote ‘Luca’ Home Entertainment Release

Disney is partnering with Postable to promote the transactional digital, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc, Blu-ray and DVD release of Pixar Animation’s Luca on Aug. 3.

To help market the retail release, Disney and Pixar are celebrating International Friendship Day by partnering with the online postcard snail mail sender to help friends say “ciao.” Movie fans can send physical postcards featuring movie characters Luca, Alberto and Giulia, with four greeting options each showing appreciation for companionship, adventure and acceptance while supplies last.

To send a Luca postcard, consumers can visit https://www.postable.com/luca, type a personal message, add their name and address, and Postable will mail the postcard free of charge.

Disney has also released a new Luca in-home trailer, which includes two alternate openings, deleted scenes and related bonus features.

Set in a seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Luca is a coming-of-age story about a young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer. Luca shares his amazing adventures with his friend Alberto. But their fun is threatened by a deeply held secret: They’re sea monsters from a world below the water’s surface.

Disney first released the erstwhile theatrical release June 18 exclusively to Disney+ subscribers for free.

Weekend Box Office: Disney Takes PVOD ‘Jungle Cruise’

Walt Disney Studios is re-entering controversial PVOD waters July 30. The studio will begin streaming the newly released feature film Jungle Cruise into Disney+ subscriber homes as a $29.99 add-on while simultaneously launching the ride-based action adventure, starring Dwyane Johnson and Emily Blunt, in theaters nationwide.

Disney’s last hybrid release — Black Widow — performed well its first weekend, generating $80 million at the domestic box office while generating another $60 million in lucrative Premier Access revenue to dominate the opening weekend.

Then things changed.

Second-week box office revenue plummeted, and this week the Marvel Cinematic Universe hero’s lead star, Scarlett Johansson, filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Disney over the PVOD release.

Black Widow has generated more than $319 million at the global box office, including $159 million domestically.

In a widely derided statement, Disney characterized the litigation as “sad and distressing,” even publicly questioning Johansson’s alleged “callous disregard” for the ongoing pandemic and its global impact on Hollywood, movies and distribution.

Johansson claims PVOD denied her the maximum financial compensation from a traditional theatrical window release, a contractual predicament Disney hopefully avoided with the Jungle Cruise stars. Following the fallout over the first-ever Premier Access revenue disclosure, it’s doubtful Disney will go public with Cruise digital sales.

Regardless, the movie has generated positive buzz on social media and among critics, and features the popular Johnson and Blunt, who is coming off a big success in A Quiet Place Part II. Industry estimates eye the movie generating upwards of $35 million over the three-day weekend. Pre-pandemic, Jungle Cruise was expected to generate $50 million on its opening weekend.

Other new releases include The Green Knight, A24’s medieval fantasy film starring Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander and Joel Edgerton, among others, and Stillwater, featuring Matt Damon as a rough and tough American trying to rescue his daughter in a foreign country.

The films are projected to generate from $2 million to $7 million on the low end, and $12 million on the high end in ticket sales.

‘Mortal Kombat’ Wins Round Two On Disc Sales Charts

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Mortal Kombat remake spent its second consecutive week atop 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 24.

The week’s top newcomer was Lionsgate’s Spiral: From the Book of Saw, the ninth entry in the “Saw” horror franchise. It sold 78% as many units in its first week as Mortal Kombat did in its second. Spiral earned $23.2 million at the domestic box office. Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 69% of its total sales (33% from 4K UHD and 36% from regular Blu-ray).

The No. 3 overall disc seller was Warner’s Space Jam, still riding a boost from the recent release of remake Space Jam: A New Legacy. It was No. 11 on the Blu-ray chart.

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The No. 4 overall disc seller, and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart, was MGM’s Wrath of Man, the Jason Statham revenge actioner distributed on disc by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Warner also had the No. 5 overall seller in Godzilla vs. Kong, which was No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart in its sixth week.

The No. 5 Blu-ray seller, and No. 6 on the overall disc chart, was another newcomer, CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment’s Star Trek: Discovery — Season Three.

Another newly released TV show on disc, Lionsgate’s The Walking Dead: The Complete Tenth Season, was No. 8 on both charts.

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The Media Play News rental chart the week ended July 25 had Wrath of Man in first place for a second week.

Spiral debuted as the No. 2 rental, pushing Mortal Kombat to No. 3.

Rounding out the top five were the Redbox-exclusive Out of Death at No. 4, and Paramount’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 7-24-21
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 7-25-21
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 7-24-21
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 7-24-21
Sales Report for Week Ended 7-24-21
Digital Transactions Snapshot for Week Ended 7-26-21