Warner Bros./AMC Theatres Re-Releasing ‘American Sniper’ for Veterans Day Fundraiser

AMC Theatres is set to re-release Warner Bros. Pictures’ American Sniper from director Clint Eastwood on Veterans Day (Nov. 11) as part of a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project.

The largest North American exhibition chain will donate all $5 ticket sales to the nonprofit, which assists wounded U.S. military personnel across a variety issues.

The 2014 movie, which showcases U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, played by Bradley Cooper, was nominated for six Academy Awards. The movie generated $350 million domestically, and almost $550 million worldwide.

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‘Dune’ Outmaneuvers Halloween Box Office Sand Trap

With Halloween falling on a Sunday, the domestic box office saw Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures’ sci-fi reboot Dune generate $15.5 million in estimated ticket sales across a sluggish weekend. The tally upped director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s same-titled 1965 novel to $69.4 million in 10 days across North American screens, and $250 million worldwide.

The movie is streaming concurrently for free to HBO Max subscribers in the U.S. Warner and Legendary have already greenlighted a sequel for 2023.

Among new releases, Funimation’s My Hero Academia: World Heroes Mission saw led the small field with $6.5 million in ticket sales across 1,600 screens — underscoring the company’s ongoing success bringing anime content to the big screen. The result topped competitors Last Night in Soho (Focus Features) and Searchlight Pictures’ Antlers with $4.2 million in revenue, respectively. The latter’s Wes Anderson release, The Last Dispatch, generated $2.8 million in revenue across 788 screens.

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Among theatrical returnees, Halloween Kills predictably topped all horror films, generating $8.5 million in North American revenue, and upping its domestic gross to $85 million and $115 million worldwide.

MGM’s latest James Bond movie No Time to Die generated $7.8 million in revenue across its fourth North American weekend, upping the total to $133 million, $539 million globally. Sony Pictures’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage added $5.75 million, to up its five-weekend domestic tally to $190 million; $360 million worldwide.

Dutch War Drama ‘The East’ Heads to DVD, Blu-ray, On Demand Nov. 2

Magnolia Home Entertainment has set a Nov. 2 release date for The East, Dutch filmmaker Jim Taihuttu’s compelling story of a soldier coming home from the 1945-49 Indonesian National Revolution.

The East will be released on DVD ($26.98), Blu-ray Disc ($29.98) and on demand on such platforms as Vudu, Amazon Prime Video and Google Play.

The story centers on a young Dutch soldier who joins an elite unit led by a mysterious captain known only as “The Turk.” When the fighting intensifies, the young soldier finds himself questioning — and ultimately challenging — his commander’s brutal strategy to stop the resistance. The film grapples with the young man’s tumultuous relationship with himself, his honor and his loyalty to his country.

Drama ‘Two Yellow Lines’ Due on 4K Digital Nov. 9

The drama Two Yellow Lines will be released on 4K digital Nov. 9 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, veteran smokejumper Jack Elliot fells trees on a steep mountain slope high in the Montana wilderness when his phone rings. His estranged ex-wife can’t pick up their teenage daughter from camp in Wyoming. Jack hasn’t seen her in four years, ever since he lost his entire unit to a rogue wildfire.

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Over the next five days, Jack and his daughter battle as they ride across the wild Montana landscape and sleep beneath a bounty of stars. Watching his baby grow into a woman, and seeing her hero shrink to a man, a battle that starts off face-to-face, slowly turns back-to-back.

Target Announces Holiday Deals

Each Sunday, starting Oct. 31, Target announced it will unveil new week-long “Holiday Best” deals available in store and online.

The chain will offer first look at the next week’s deals in Target’s digital weekly ad. The first week of deals, starting Oct. 31 and running through Nov. 6, include:

 

Deals for Nov. 4-6, include:

 

Deals tagged “Holiday Best” at Target, offer the chain’s “best planned price of season,” according to Target. If shoppers see a lower deal price later in the season, Target pledges to match it with the Holiday Price Match Guarantee.

Warner’s ‘Dune’ Poised for Sluggish Second Weekend Box Office Win

After a month of $40 million+ domestic weekend box office movie openings, the Halloween period through Oct. 31 suggests a slowdown of sorts — led by the second weekend screening of Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures’ Dune.

Sony Pictures’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage opened the month with the studio’s first tentpole title release in the pandemic era to an impressive $90 million through Oct. 3. MGM’s latest James Bond actioner, No Time to Die, generated $55 million through Oct. 11, followed by Universal Pictures’ Halloween Kills with $49 million, and Dune at $41 million through Oct. 24.

Director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation Frank Herbert’s same-titled 1965 sci-fi novel is projected to generate another $18.4 million in ticket sales, ahead of Focus Features’ new release Last Night in Soho, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, among others, with a projected $8.3 million in revenue.

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Dune again streams for free to HBO Max subscribers for the movie’s first month of release.

Funimation’s My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission is projected to open with $8 million in ticket sales, followed by Disney/Searchlight’s horror pic, Antlers, starring Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons, at $3.6 million, and Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch with $3.1 million.

Former chart toppers No Time to Die ($8.1 million), Halloween Kills ($7.8 million), Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($6 million), The Addams Family 2 ($3.2 million), along with 20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong ($4 million), round out the weekend.

Charter Loses 133,000 Q3 Pay-TV Subscribers

Charter Communications Oct. 29 announced that its Spectrum TV service lost 133,000 residential subscribers in the third quarter (ended Sept. 30). That compared with a gain of 77,000 pay-TV subs in the previous-year period. Charter ended the quarter with 15.3 million Spectrum subs — down from 15.7 million in the previous-year period.

The company added 243,000 high-speed internet subs, to end the quarter with 27.9 million subs. That compared with a gain of 494,000 broadband subs and 26.8 million overall in the previous-year period.

Charter was one of first multichannel video distributors to offer broadband-only subscribers with an online TV option — Spectrum TV Plus — that included a free Roku player.

“The value of our connectivity products allowed us to add over 1 million customer relationships over the last year,” CEO Tom Rutledge said in a statement. “Looking forward, we remain focused on improving both the quality and value of our products as demand for more advanced services
grows. As data usage both inside and outside the home continues to increase, so do our network and product capabilities.”

Jeff Shell Upbeat on Concurrent Peacock, Theater Movie Release Strategy

When Universal Pictures released Halloween Kills on the Peacock subscription streaming platform the same time as the sequel’s box office debut on Oct. 15, the move marked NBCUniversal’s ongoing proactive steps to rejigger movie distribution in the streaming ecosystem.

Speaking on the Oct. 28 Comcast quarterly earnings call, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said the decision to offer $9.99 monthly Peacock subscribers (not $4.99 free ad-supported subs) early access to Jaime Lee Curtis’ return as Laurie Strode and her cursed lifelong battle against Michael Myers, paid off.

“We added a few million more subscribers,” Shell said, adding that the move, coupled with the Tokyo Summer Olympics on Peacock, energized the platform. NBCUniversal gave no updates on Peacock subscriber data, which topped 54 million sign-ups and 20 million paid subs through June 30.

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Kills, which generated $49.4 million to lead all weekend new releases, was the second movie after The Boss Baby: Family Business on July 1 to have a concurrent streaming bow. The latter, a sequel to 2017’s The Boss Baby, also topped its opening weekend box office with $16 million in ticket sales.

Shell said the results underscore the reality that streaming and box office can co-exist without cannibalizing revenue streams. The executive was instrumental in Universal taking a hatchet to the 90-day theatrical window — now releasing some titles on premium VOD just 17 days after their exhibitor debut.

“We’ve seen across all streaming platforms that movies move the dial,” Shell said. “It shows that you can play in two different markets.”

In addition to releasing select titles on Peacock and in theaters at the same time, the SVOD service in 2022 will have exclusive access to all Universal titles four months after their box office debut as part of the studio’s new Pay 1 window distribution strategy.

Shell said he remained “really excited” about the status of Peacock going forward.

“We’ve been in business for just over a year, and we’re already more than a third of where Hulu is now, which is a service that’s been more than decades in the making,” he said.

Notably, Kelly Campbell, former president of Hulu, was hired by Shell to the same position at Peacock earlier this month.

Western ‘Old Henry’ Heading to Blu-ray Nov. 9

Shout! Factory will release the Western Old Henry on Blu-ray Disc Nov. 9. The film from Shout! Studios and Hideout Pictures is currently in theaters and available digitally.

Old Henry stars Tim Blake Nelson as a widowed farmer who along with his son (Gavin Lewis) warily take in an injured man (Scott Haze) with a satchel of cash. When a posse of men claiming to be the law come for the money, the farmer must decide who to trust. Defending against a siege of his homestead, he reveals a talent for gunslinging that surprises everyone, calling his true identity into question.

The cast also includes Trace Adkins and Stephen Dorff. The film was written and directed by Potsy Ponciroli.

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‘Free Guy’ Holds Off Batch of Newcomers to Remain Top Disc Seller for Second Week

Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ Free Guy remained the No. 1 seller 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 Oct. 23.

In maintaining the top spot for a second consecutive week, the video game-themed action comedy starring Ryan Reynolds held off several new releases that landed in the top 10 on both charts, including the second through fourth spots.

The week’s top new release, debuting at No. 2, was Paramount’s Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, which in its first week sold about 80% as many copies as Free Guy did in its second. The third live-action film based on Hasbro’s “G.I. Joe” brand of military action figures looks at the backstory of the ninja warrior Snake Eyes before he becomes a commando for the anti-terrorist Joe team. Snake Eyes was a box office disappointment with just over $28 million at the domestic box office.

No. 3 on both charts was the direct-to-video animated DC Comics superhero film Injustice, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Based on the video game franchise of the same name, the film depicts a rift in the Justice League when Superman seeks authoritarian control over Earth to avenge the death of Lois Lane in an attack by the Joker. It sold about 30% fewer copies than Snake Eyes.

Universal Pictures’ Old debuted at No. 4 on both charts. The latest thriller from director M. Night Shyamalan depicts a group of strangers struggling to escape a secluded tropical beach when they discover it is surrounded by radiation that causes them to age rapidly. It earned $48.2 million at the domestic box office.

The fourth newcomer to crack the top 10 was Lionsgate’s The Protégé, an action-thriller starring Maggie Q and Michael Keaton about an assassin who seeks to avenge the death of her mentor. It landed at No. 7 on the overall disc sales chart and No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart.

No. 5 on both charts was Universal’s F9: The Fast Saga in its fifth week on shelves.

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Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 61% of total Snake Eyes unit sales, with 18% from a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition and 43% from the regular Blu-ray. It should be noted that aside from digital copies none of the Snake Eyes options were combo packs, meaning the 4K version had just a 4K disc, while the Blu-ray had just a Blu-ray disc.

Injustice saw 84% of its total sales come from Blu-ray Disc, 24% from 4K and 60% from regular Blu-ray. Of note, 16% of its sales were of a DVD version available only at Walmart.

Old had 56% of its unit sales come from Blu-ray Disc formats (20% 4K and 36% BD), while Protégé had 62% (19% 4K and 43% BD).

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The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Oct. 24 had Old debut in the top spot, followed by Snake Eyes at No. 2 and Protégé at No. 3.

Free Guy wasn’t readily available at Redbox kiosks upon its initial disc release.

The previous week’s top rental, Vertical Entertainment’s Joe Bell, slipped to no. 4, with F9 dropping to No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 10-23-21
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 10-24-21
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 10-23-21
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 10-23-21
Sales Report for Week Ended 10-23-21
Digital Transactions Snapshot for Week Ended 10-25-21