‘Luca’ Tops August Disc Sales

Disney’s Luca earned top honors on the top 10 list of combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales for August 2021 according to the NPD Group’s VideoScan tracking service.

The Pixar Animation Studios film, which bypassed theaters domestically in favor of a Disney+ streaming debut, arrived on disc Aug. 3, giving it nearly the full month to accumulate retail sales.

The No. 2 seller for the month was Lionsgate’s Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. The action-comedy sequel was released on disc Aug. 17 and was a top disc on the weekly sales charts for two consecutive weeks.

The No. 3 August seller was Paramount’s suspenseful sequel A Quiet Place Part II, which had been No. 4 in July after just four days of the disc being available that month. It moved up a spot in its first full month of availability.

No. 4 in August was Warner’s 1996 sports comedy Space Jam, which had been No. 3 in July after getting a boost from a new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition and the release of a new sequel, Space Jam: A New Legacy. Its sales were strong enough over the past two months to enter the year-to-date top 10 at No. 6.

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The top July title, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Mortal Kombat remake, dropped to No. 5 in August, though it did crack the top 10 for top-selling titles of the year to date.

Other newcomers in the monthly top 10 included Warner’s Batman: The Long Halloween — Part Two at No. 6, Warner’s The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It at No. 8 (after being released the last week of the month), and Warner’s Those Who Wish Me Dead, which took No. 9 after an Aug. 3 disc release.

On the year-to-date chart, August results didn’t alter the top five at all, with Universal’s The Croods: A New Age remaining the year’s top-selling title. But Space Jam and Mortal Kombat climbing into the top 10 pushed Warner’s The Meg and Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection off the list.

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According to NPD, the August 2021 top 10 by units sold were:

  1. Luca (Disney)
  2. Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (Lionsgate)
  3. A Quiet Place Part II (Paramount)
  4. Space Jam (Warner)
  5. Mortal Kombat (Warner)
  6. Batman: The Long Halloween — Part Two (Warner)
  7. Godzilla vs. Kong (Warner)
  8. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Warner)
  9. Those Who Wish Me Dead (Warner)
  10. E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial (Universal)

 

Year-to-date Top 10 (through August 2021):

  1. The Croods: A New Age (Universal/DreamWorks)
  2. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner)
  3. Godzilla vs. Kong (Warner)
  4. Raya and the Last Dragon (Disney)
  5. Monster Hunter (Sony Pictures)
  6. Space Jam (Warner)
  7. News of the World (Universal)
  8. Soul (Disney)
  9. Tom & Jerry (2021, Warner)
  10. Mortal Kombat (2021, Warner)

 

‘Mortal Kombat’ Tops Disc Sales for July

‘The Awakening,’ ‘Casanova Last Love’ Arriving on Blu-ray Disc in October

The Cohen Media Group has set October release dates for The Awakening and Casanova Last Love, which are coming to Blu-ray. The Awakening will release Oct. 5 and Casanova Last Love, Oct. 12

The Awakening is a 2011 mystery about the death of a child at a boarding school. When the death is blamed on a ghost, hoax exposer Florence Cathcart is certain that science and reason can explain it. But the truth she discovers is more terrifying than she could ever imagine, and soon the ghost hunter becomes the hunted. Starring Rebecca Hall (The Town), Dominic West (The Wire) and Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter films), The Awakening is filled with haunting twists.

Casanova, Last Love is the latest romantic period piece from director Benoit Jacquot (Farewell, My Queen). Set in 18th century London, the film is centered on Casanova (Vincent Lindon), famous for his taste of pleasure and gambling. Exiled from Paris, Casanova in this city he knows nothing about meets on several occasions a young prostitute, Marianne de Charpillon (Stacy Martin). She attracts him to the point he starts disregarding all other women. The legendary seducer is ready to do anything to get her, but Charpillon always escapes under various excuses. She challenges Casanova: “You will only have me if you stop desiring me!”

Tubi Kicks Off LatinX Heritage Month With Original Programming

Tubi, Fox Entertainment’s ad-supported FAST streaming platform, announced the premiere original soccer comedy Domingo and dramatic thriller La Dosis as part of its LatinX Heritage Month programming, beginning Sept. 17, as the platform continues to build on the success of Tubi en Español and cater to its Spanish-speaking audiences.

Domingo is Tubi’s first-ever Spanish-language original movie, and Mexican director Raúl López Echeverría’s feature debut with Samuel Goldwyn Films and Picture Tree International. Viewers will also be treated to a curated selection of Spanish and English-language titles, from “El Chicano” and “Desierto” to “¿Quién es la Máscara?,” “Devious Maids” and “La Bamba.”

The movie tells the story of Domingo (Eduardo Covarrubias, “Bajo Tierra”), a man of 55 living in a poor suburb near Guadalajara. When his wife (Imelda Sánchez) abruptly leaves him, he decides to do everything in his power to realize his lifelong dream of becoming a professional soccer commentator. He soon realizes how much his impassioned weekly commentaries on local amateur matches are changing lives throughout his neighborhood.

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Domingo was inspired from observing working-class districts in the suburbs of Guadalajara, where football grounds are a central part of the community and dear to the inhabitants’ hearts. The film will also have a local premiere in competition at the Guadalajara International Film Festival, and will screen as part of the TIFF industry Selects line-up.

La Dosis follows Marcos (Carlos Portaluppi, “Vidas Robadas”), an experienced ICU nurse in a provincial Argentine clinic who begins to suspect that his charismatic coworker is murdering patients. La Dosis is directed by Martin Kraut (“Luisa”) and also stars Ignacio Rogers (“Sabado Uno”), German de Silva (“Wild Tales”) and Arturo Bonin (“Looney Love”).

‘Celebrity Antiques Road Trip’ and ‘Antiques Road Trip’ Coming to PBS Living Channel in October

Two series set in Great Britain,  “Celebrity Antiques Road Trip” and “Antiques Road Trip,” are coming to PBS Living channel in October.

The subscription rate for PBS Living is $2.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription. PBS Living is also available on Apple TV Channels in the Apple TV app at a subscription rate of $2.99 per month with no additional annual fees.

“Celebrity Antiques Road Trip”

In 100 episodes (five seasons) of “Celebrity Antiques Road Trip,” two celebrities take to the road in a classic car on a tour through a different part of Great Britain. With antiques experts by their sides, they search the local stores for hidden treasures, competing to see who will make the most when they bring their items to auction. Their adventures take them off the beaten path and allow them to learn about the little-known stories behind some of the greatest events in British history. Featuring Phyllis Logan (“Downton Abbey”), Diana Rigg (“All Creatures Great and Small,” “Game of Thrones”), Jennifer Saunders (“Absolutely Fabulous”), Charles Dance (“The Crown,” “Game of Thrones”) and many others.

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In 110 episodes of “Antiques Road Trip,” two experts hit the road in a classic car for a tour through Great Britain to search the local stores for antiques and collectibles of all kinds, competing to see whose finds will make the biggest small fortune at auction. Their off-the-beaten path adventures take them to locales where they can also lose themselves in items from the past, while learning the little-known stories behind some of the greatest events in British history. Intriguing finds include rare shoe buckles, Cantonese jardinières, an antique pond yacht, a Scottish sporran, a rare stool that may have been a seat for a royal derriere, and more.

ViacomCBS Launches BET Studios

ViacomCBS Sept. 15 announced the launch of BET Studios, a studio venture offering equity ownership for black content creators. Propelled by the infrastructure and financing of BET and ViacomCBS, BET Studios aims to create premium television series and films for an array of internal buyers, including Paramount+, Showtime, CBS, Nickelodeon, BET+ and BET, in addition to select third-party platforms.

BET Studios will launch with principal partners movie/TV producer Kenya Barris; actress, director, writer Rashida Jones; and screenwriter/producer Aaron Rahsaan Thomas.

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Kenya Barris, Rashida Jones and Aaron Rahsaan Thomas

 

BET Studios will operate with dedicated staff reporting to Barris, Jones and Thomas. This group will utilize the BET and larger ViacomCBS infrastructure and shared services to support day-to-day tactics.

Barris created the Netflix original comedy “#BlackAF,” and the multi-series “-ish” franchise, which includes ABC’s Peabody Award-winning sitcom “Black-ish” and spin-off series “Mixed-ish” and “Grown-ish,” which airs on Freeform. Most recently, Barris co-wrote Coming 2 America for Paramount, which licensed the movie to Amazon Prime Video.

“The demand for premium content from black creators has accelerated dramatically as a result of both the rapidly changing media and social landscapes,” Scott Mills, president of BET, said in a statement.

Black Entertainment Television was founded in 1980 by Robert L. Johnson, who later sold the company to ViacomCBS. BET ended 2015 with a reported access in 88 million U.S. pay-TV households. Johnson later bought Acorn Media and Image Entertainment, creating RLJ Entertainment, which he sold to AMC Networks.

“BET Studios is an exciting and novel extension of the storied BET brand, and we have a structure well-suited to our times to bring top talent into this production company with real ownership,” said David Nevins, chief content officer of scripted originals at Paramount, and chairman and chief executive officer of Showtime Networks.

BET Studios will be headed by Aisha Summers Burke, who was recently appointed EVP and GM of the new venture. In this role, Burke will be responsible for working collaboratively with the studio’s creative partners and key internal constituencies. Along with overseeing the day-to-day creative affairs for the company, she will also be responsible for the BET Studios content slate and focusing on growing the Studio’s production output across both internal and external platforms. Burke will report to Mills.

Prior to joining BET, Burke spent 13 years at Warner Bros. Television, most recently serving as VP of scripted television for the cable and streaming division of Warner Horizon before it merged with Warner Bros. TV in 2020.

BET in 2019 launched BET+, a SVOD service operated by Tyler Perry Studios and the BET Networks.

Roku: Holiday Shoppers Expect to Increase Spending, Streaming Video in 2021

Consumer confidence is strong with shoppers projected to increase spending heading into the winter holidays, according to new data from Roku’s 2021 Annual Holiday Consumer Shopping study in partnership with The Harris Poll.

This year’s survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults found 72% of holiday consumers expressing confidence the economy will improve in the next 12 months. More than 36% of respondents plan on spending more this year, a significant increase from the past three years (and the highest number reported since 2018). Another 39% of streaming holiday shoppers (shoppers who have streamed content in the last three months) plan to spend more in 2021, a major increase from 2020. The report also finds consumers expect to spend a record $937 on holiday purchases — a 5% increase from 2020.

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Consumers Report Spending More Time Streaming than Watching Traditional TV

In 2020, consumers reported for the first time that they spent more time streaming TV than watching traditional TV on average. The 2021 holiday report finds that the divide between time spent streaming and watching traditional TV grew 500%. The average holiday shopper reported they now spend 78 minutes more per week streaming video.

These self-reported numbers trend with the rapid growth in TV streaming. Millennials watch 30% more TV streaming content than linear television content, according to July 2021 Roku viewership insights. Overall, one-third of holiday shoppers (32%) stated they do not have traditional pay-TV. Nearly half of Gen Z holiday shoppers are cordless, and 83% of baby boomer cord cutters said that it was unlikely they would reactivate or purchase a new pay TV subscription.

TV streaming is now mainstream with 86% of US households now streaming – that’s the same number that report owning a washing machine according to Statista!

“Individual spending could hit record levels this holiday season as consumers report significant growth in their holiday spending plans,”  Dan Robbins, VP of Ad Marketing and Partner Solutions at Roku, said in a statement.

In-Store Makes Comeback, but Online Remains Dominant

2021 is expected to see a return to in-store shopping. Nearly half of shoppers (43%) plan to shop in-store this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This marks an 11-percentage point increase from 2020 (32%), when COVID concerns kept many shoppers away from retail stores. However, online shopping remains dominant, with the majority of shoppers (57%) planning to do most of their shopping online.

Millennial Holiday Shoppers are Streaming and Spending More

Millennials, America’s largest generation with a combined spending power of more than $1.4 trillion annually, are leading the pack away from traditional TV to TV streaming. Nearly one-third of millennial shoppers (31%) are cordless and unreachable via pay TV ad campaigns. This demographic is also primed to spend with more than half of these millennials (51%) — highest among generational groups — planning to spend more on gifts this holiday than in 2020. Millennial holiday consumers report planning to spend more than $1,000 on gifts this holiday.

Big Ticket Purchases Increase

With the holiday consumer economic confidence improving, 32% of consumers plan to purchase big-ticket items over $500 this season — the most since the study’s inception. What are they buying? Two in three holiday shoppers (63%) said they plan to purchase consumer electronics this year. Who are they buying for? With spending increasing in the forecast there will be a lot of gifts to go around this year and millennials plan to spend the most on themselves ($157) compared to other age groups. Men plan to spend nearly twice as much on their spouse/significant other than women do this holiday season ($213 versus $118) and they are also feeling generous towards themselves as men plan to spend twice as much on self-gifting as women plan to ($120 versus $61).

Marketers Shifting to Buy TV The Way Holiday Consumers Watch TV

Nearly half of consumers (49%) said they have seen an ad on their TV streaming device that caused them to pause what they were watching and shop for the product online, a significant increase from 2020. 46% of holiday consumers say they rely on traditional or TV streaming ads for inspiration when shopping for gifts. The “always-on” consumer is driving marketers to buy TV advertising where holiday shoppers now watch TV, making streaming a must-have for advertisers this season.

“The consumer march away from traditional television to streaming TV is now a full stampede,” said Connie Xu, Director of Brand Strategy at The Harris Poll.  “Holiday shoppers on average spend more time streaming TV than watching traditional TV. This shift will break decades-old advertising models as brands adapt to the new consumer streaming landscape by reaching shoppers where they now spend most of their TV viewing time.”

NAB Show Canceled for Second Year, Eyes Return in April 2022

Concerns over the coronavirus Delta variant, and the pullout of several high-profile exhibitors, has prompted organizers of the annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show to scrap its live event, scheduled for October in Las Vegas.

Key elements of the show will be offered online, with a planned return to an in-person event in April 2022.

The move comes less than one month after organizers announced they would require attendees to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

The April 2020 NAB Show was one of the first big events to be canceled after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020.

In a Sept. 15 email Chris Brown, EVP and managing director of Global Connections and Events at the NAB, wrote, “For more than a year we have worked tirelessly to bring our industry together safely in Las Vegas at NAB Show. Unfortunately, the pandemic and surge of the Delta variant has presented unexpected and insurmountable challenges for our global community. … It has become apparent in the face of these challenges that we can no longer effectively host NAB Show or our co-located events, the Radio Show and Sales and Management Television Exchange, in person. … We will not move forward with a show that delivers anything less than the excellence our community has come to expect and deserves from us.

While we are disappointed that we will not be together again in person next month, we look forward to converging at the 2022 NAB Show, April 23-27, 2022, to reignite our passion for our business and focus on a bright future ahead.

Stay tuned for details regarding virtual options for accessing select 2021 NAB Show content through NAB Amplify.”

The NAB Show has become increasingly focused on streaming in recent years.

AT&T CFO: WarnerMedia Sale to Discovery Expected to Close First Half of 2022

AT&T’s WarnerMedia minority stake sale to Discovery remains on schedule to close in the first six months of 2022, according to AT&T CFO Pascal Desroches.

Speaking at the virtual Bank of America Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference, Desroches said the $43 billion deal affording Discovery operating control of Warner Bros. Pictures, HBO and Turner is in compliance with government rules surrounding antitrust issues, adding he saw no reason why the merger wouldn’t be approved.

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“We feel really good about the ability of this to be approved,” he said.

Pascal Desroches

After racking up $180 billion in debt acquiring assets, including Time Warner (now WarnerMedia) and DirecTV, AT&T has been selling off minority stakes (and operating control) in both companies and others in an effort to reduce debt, generate cash and focus on its legacy telecom business, in addition to broadband and 5G distribution.

The telecom is selling Vrio, the Latin American operating unit of DirecTV with more than 10 million subscribers, to a private Argentinian company. This week it announced a reported $50 million sale of tabloid channel TMZ to Fox Corp.

AT&T CEO John Stankey has also suggested a possible merger between DirecTV and Dish Network assets — a move the latter’s founder/chairman Charlie Ergen has been advocating for years.

‘Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’ Tops Redbox Charts for Fourth Week

Lionsgate’s Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard remained No. 1 on both the Redbox disc rental chart and the Redbox On Demand chart the week ended Sept. 12.

It was the fourth consecutive week on top of both charts for the action comedy, a sequel to 2017’s The Hitman’s Bodyguard starring Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek.

The No. 2 disc rental for the second week was Sony Pictures’ Peter Rabbit 2, which slipped to No. 4 on the Redbox On Demand chart.

Warner’s The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It remained No. 3 on the disc rental chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at Redbox’s more than 40,000 red kiosks, and took No. 2 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital VOD and sellthrough transactions.

The No. 4 disc rental was Lionsgate’s The Gateway, a crime thriller starring Shea Whigham and Olivia Munn.

No. 5 on the disc rental chart was Quiver’s The Girl Who Got Away, about a woman who kidnaps five young girls and pretends they’re her own daughters — only one of whom manages to escape with her life.

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The No. 3 On Demand title was horror sequel Don’t Breathe 2, from Sony Pictures, up two digital spots from the previous week.

Paramount Home Entertainment’s A Quiet Place Part II slipped to No. 5 on the digital chart and No. 7 on the disc chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Sept. 12:

  1. Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard — Lionsgate
  2. Peter Rabbit 2 — Sony Pictures
  3. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It — Warner
  4. The Gateway — Lionsgate
  5. The Girl Who Got Away — Quiver
  6. Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman — Redbox
  7. A Quiet Place Part II — Paramount
  8. Great White — RLJ
  9. Wrath of Man — Warner
  10. Spirit Untamed — Universal/DreamWorks

 

Top Digital (VOD + Sellthrough), Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Sept. 12:

  1. Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard — Lionsgate
  2. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It — Warner
  3. Don’t Breathe 2 — Sony Pictures
  4. Peter Rabbit 2 — Sony Pictures
  5. A Quiet Place Part II — Paramount
  6. Wrath of Man — MGM
  7. Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman — Redbox
  8. F9: The Fast Saga — Universal
  9. Joe Bell — Vertical
  10. Those Who Wish Me Dead — Warner

 

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‘Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’ Enters U.K. Home Entertainment Chart No. 1

The Lionsgate U.K. action-comedy Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard made its U.K. retail debut atop the weekly home entertainment sales chart for the period ended Sept. 15. The sequel to the 2017 buddy actioner The Hitman’s Bodyguard, co-starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, led all titles in packaged-media and digital unit sales. A combo of the two movies ranked No. 9 in sales.

Warner’s horror sequel The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It remained at No. 2 for a second week, while fantasy adventure newcomer Monster Hunter, starring Milla Jovivich, Tony Jaa and Ron Perlman, debuted at No. 3, driven by digital sales.

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The former headliner, Paramount Home Entertainment sequel A Quiet Place Part II, dropped to No. 4. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Nobody was No. 5, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Peter Rabbit 2 finished No. 6 — both falling one place on the chart since last week.

Disney’s Cruella remained at No. 7, while Oscar winner The Father (Lionsgate) dropped five spots to No. 8. Finally, Zack Snyder’s Justice League (Warner) climbed three spots to return to No. 10.

The Official Film Chart Top 10 – Sept. 15, 2021

Rank Previous Week Movie Distributor
1 NEW HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD LIONSGATE
2 2 THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT WARNER
3 NEW MONSTER HUNTER SONY PICTURES
4 1 A QUIET PLACE PART II PARAMOUNT
5 4 NOBODY UNIVERSAL
6 5 PETER RABBIT 2 SONY PICTURES
7 7 CRUELLA DISNEY
8 3 THE FATHER LIONSGATE
9 NEW THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD/HITMAN’S WIFE’S LIONSGATE
10 13 ZACK SNYDER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE WARNER