‘1917’ Tops Redbox Disc Rentals; ‘Jumanji’ Remains Atop On Demand List

Universal Pictures’ 1917 took over the No. 1 spot on the Redbox kiosk disc rental chart the week ended March 29. The Redbox disc rental chart tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks.

The previous week’s top disc rental, Sony Pictures’ adventure sequel Jumanji: The Next Level, slipped to No. 2 on that chart, but did remain at No. 1 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals.

The On Demand chart had 1917 at No. 2.

Fox’s Spies in Disguise slipped to No. 3 on both charts.

Sony Pictures’ new version of The Grudge debuted at No. 4 on the disc chart and No. 5 on the digital chart.

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Warner’s Just Mercy was No. 4 on the On Demand chart.

Lionsgate’s Knives Out dropped to No. 5 on the disc chart in its fifth week, and took the No. 6 spot on the digital chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended March 29:

  1. 1917 — Universal
  2. Jumanji: The Next Level — Sony Pictures
  3. Spies in Disguise — Fox
  4. The Grudge (2020) — Sony Pictures
  5. Knives Out — Lionsgate
  6. Charlie’s Angels (2019) — Sony Pictures
  7. Uncut Gems — Lionsgate
  8. Richard Jewell — Warner
  9. Bombshell — Lionsgate
  10. Midway (2019) — Lionsgate

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended March 29:

  1. Jumanji: The Next Level — Sony Pictures
  2. 1917 — Universal
  3. Spies in Disguise — Fox
  4. Just Mercy — Warner
  5. The Grudge (2020) — Sony Pictures
  6. Knives Out — Lionsgate
  7. The Invisible Man (2020) — Universal
  8. Ford v Ferrari — Fox
  9. Contagion — Warner
  10. Uncut Gems — A24

 

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Merchandising: Stores Deliver ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Exclusives

After weeks of touting preorders for Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, retailers finally had the discs available for consumers March 31 despite the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

Among the big three retailers, Target and Walmart stores remain open, with adjusted hours, since they offer groceries and other essential household goods.

Best Buy stores are closed for walk-ins but are offering shipping for online orders, as well as curbside pickups for local shoppers.

Target’s $34.99 Rise of Skywalker 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack comes with a gallery booklet and an exclusive bonus DVD with the featurette “The Final Alliance,” a chronicle of the various starships used in the final battle.

Target’s ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Walmart offered the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack as a limited edition with fold-out artwork packaging for $34.96.

Walmart’s ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Best Buy has its customary $34.99 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook treatment for Rise of Skywalker.

Best Buy’s ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Steelbook

In addition, Best Buy has the exclusive U.S. distribution of the $249.99 nine-movie, 27-disc “Skywalker Saga” boxed set that includes a 4K disc, a Blu-ray disc and a bonus disc for each of the episodic films. Rogue One and Solo are available on 4K separately.

Best Buy’s exclusive ‘Star Wars’ The Skywalker Saga’ boxed set

Speaking of 4K, Disney also released all the films not yet available on 4K as three-disc standalone combo packs (ie episodes one through seven and Rogue One are new on 4K, while Last Jedi and Solo remain available on 4K from their earlier combo pack releases, though Disney seems set to re-release them with new packaging once existing inventory thins out). The retailers had them for $29.99 each.

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The online Disney Movie Club was offering various membership discounts such as 50% off all items in the order plus free shipping with the purchase of one at the full price ($34.99), which lowers the average to under $20 when all eight 4K combo packs are purchased together. DMC VIP members (those who fulfilled the membership requirement of buying five full-price discs previously) qualify for a 60% discount, pushing the average price to under $17.

Among other promotions, Target was offering a buy-two-get-one-free mix-and-match sale on video games.

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‘Birds of Prey’ on Disc May 12

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Birds of Prey and the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD May 12.

Margot Robbie reprises her role from Suicide Squad as Harley Quinn, the Joker’s former girlfriend who sets off on her own and finds the entire criminal underground of Gotham City is out to get her. She ends up protecting a girl named Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) from the gangster Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). The cast also includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Black Canary, Rosie Perez as Renee Montoya, and Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Birds of Prey will feature Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+. The 4K and Blu-ray discs will also include a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

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Bonus materials include a “Birds Eye View Mode” with pop-up facts and video while the movie plays, a gag reel, and the featurettes “Birds of Prey: Birds of a Feather,” “Grime and Crime,” “Wild Nerds,” “Romanesque,” “Sanity is Sooo Last Season” and “A Love/Skate Relationship.”

The film was released early through digital retailers March 24.

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‘Stranger Things’ Takes Top Spot on Parrot’s Originals Chart for Seventh Week; ‘Mandalorian’ No. 2

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” remained No. 1 on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals rankings the week ended March 28, its seventh-consecutive week back in the top spot.

A “digital original” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

“Stranger Things” registered 69.4 million average daily Demand Expressions, the proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. That was up 0.3% compared with the previous week.

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The Disney+ “Star Wars” spinoff “The Mandalorian” rose to No. 2 with 57.5 million expressions, up 6.3% from the previous week. The show received some publicity in the past week over reports that Rosario Dawson had been cast to play the live-action version of fan-favorite character Ahsoka Tano in season two.

Speaking of Ahsoka Tano, the animated Disney+ series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” which is in the midst of showing an Ahsoka Tano story arc, slid to No. 3, dropping 0.2% in expressions to 55.3 million.

The CBS All Access series “Star Trek: Picard” climbed to No. 4 with a 15.2% jump in expressions to 47.6 million. The finale of the show’s first season debuted March 26.

Netflix’s “The Witcher” rose a spot to No. 5, with expressions down 4.3% to 42.7 million.

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The Demand Expressions metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ Scores Top Spot on Disc Sales Charts

Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: The Next Level earned the top spot 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 March 21.

The video game-themed adventure sequel earned $316.8 million at the domestic box office.

In addition, a double-feature of Next Level with the previous “Jumanji” movie, Welcome to the Jungle, was No. 10 on the overall sales chart and No. 7 on the Blu-ray chart. The collection would have added another 3.9% to Next Level sales.

Disney’s Frozen II, which had been the top seller the previous three weeks, slid to No. 2 on both charts, selling about 21% as many copies in its fourth week as the standalone version of the new “Jumanji.”

The animated Spies in Disguise, from Disney-owned 20th Century Fox, slipped to No. 3 on the overall sales chart and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart.

The newly released direct-to-video animated Superman: Red Son, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, debuted at No. 4 on the overall sales chart and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart.

Another title in its fourth week, Lionsgate’s Knives Out, was No. 5 on both charts for the week.

Warner’s Clint Eastwood-directed docudrama Richard Jewell debuted at No. 7 on the overall sales chart and was the No. 8 Blu-ray in its first week.

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Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 57% of first-week Jumanji: The Next Level unit sales, with the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray comprising 10% of its overall tally. For Superman: Red Son, Blu-ray made up 84% of its sales, with 11% from the UHD disc. Richard Jewell saw 51% of its first-week sales come from Blu-ray.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended March 22, Jumanji: The Next Level was No. 1.

The previous week’s top rental, Spies in Disguise, dropped to No. 2.

Knives Out stayed at No. 3, while Richard Jewell debuted at No. 4. Lionsgate’s Uncut Gems slid three spots to No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 3-21-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 3-22-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 3-21-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 3-21-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 3-21-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 3-23-20

Warner Releasing ‘Impractical Jokers: The Movie’ Digitally April Fool’s Day

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is fittingly giving Impractical Jokers: The Movie an early digital retail release on April Fools’ Day, April 1.

The film, which arrives on home video after only five weeks in theaters, is an extension of the successful “Impractical Jokers” TV series that began in 2011 and has aired more than 200 episodes over eight seasons on truTV.

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Impractical Jokers: The Movie stars James “Murr” Murray, Brian “Q” Quinn, Joe Gatto, and Sal Vulvano, also known as the comedy troupe The Tenderloins, playing themselves in a fictional story of a humiliating high school mishap from the early ’90s. Featuring appearances from Paula Abdul, Jaden Smith, and Joey Fatone, the movie combines the fictional narrative with real life footage of over-the-top punishments and callbacks to classic moments from the series. Once the Impractical Jokers hit the road, they compete in hidden camera challenges for the chance to turn back the clock and find redemption.

Directed by Chris Henchy, the film is produced by Funny Or Die. It debuted in theaters Feb. 21 and earned $10.7 million at the domestic box office.

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1917

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Universal;
Drama;
Box Office $ 159.23 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray, $44.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for violence, some disturbing images, and language.
Stars George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Director Sam Mendes’ 1917 puts viewers in the midst of World War I with a personal story about two messengers sent to the front lines to prevent a slaughter. Or, at the very least, delay it.

Mendes co-wrote the film, Krysty Wilson-Cairns, based on stories his grandfather told him about serving in the trenches. The plot is simple enough. With the German army having moved its lines to set up an ambush, two British messengers are sent with intelligence from aerial surveillance to call off an attack by another division before 1,600 men are needlessly killed in a battle they have no chance of winning.

The journey proves a harrowing one, filled with booby traps, dogfights, snipers, and stray enemy soldiers lurking about. Of course, the underlying threat is always the nature of war itself, and the prospect of those potentially saved being killed anyway the next time they’re ordered into an attack.

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The main gimmick of the film is that it is presented in one continuous shot for the two hour-duration, following the soldiers as they receive their orders and throughout the ordeals they encounter. Technically it’s more like two shots, given there’s a very clear break in the story to allow for a time jump, though the camera seemingly holds its position for the duration while it waits for the action to resume.

The key to the film is its technical mastery, from the camerawork to the visual effects, in re-creating a French countryside devastated by the effects of one of the bloodiest wars ever waged. The set design and lighting are impeccable, making this one of the most beautiful war films to hit screens in a long time.

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Pulling off the single take involves some visual trickery in stitching together sections of footage blended by wipes and pans, and trying to identify the transition points on subsequent viewings is part of the joy of it.

Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deacons points out the seams in a very technical-minded solo commentary in which he discusses in great detail the processes used for filming. This is a must-listen to anyone interested in the process of filmmaking.

The other commentary is by Mendes, which also delves into some of the technical details but focuses more on the origins of the story and the performances of his actors. Interestingly, Mendes advocates anachronisms that reflect the time in which the film is made, admitting to purposefully depicting racial minorities serving alongside white soldiers in a segregated army because he wanted to reflect the diversity of modern times.

The only other extras on the Blu-ray are five making-of featurettes that run a total of 38 minutes, and can be played individually or using the discs “Play All” option. These cover pretty much all aspects of the production, from Mendes’ conception of the story to creating the WWI period, with extensive interviews from the cast and filmmakers, including a video about Thomas Newman’s amazing musical score.

‘Robert the Bruce’ Skipping Theaters, Heads to Digital April 24

Screen Media has canceled the upcoming theatrical release of the docudrama Robert the Bruce and will instead release the film through digital platforms and video-on-demand April 24.

The film is something of an unofficial sequel to Braveheart, picking up the story of Scottish king Robert the Bruce and his fight to free Scotland from English rule. Angus Macfadyen, who played Robert the Bruce in Braveheart in 1995, reprises the role and also co-wrote the film.

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The story finds Robert the Bruce injured in battle and hiding out from the English army. He is nursed back to health by a widow and her family, who risk their lives for the hope of a free Scotland in defiance of their clan, which is pledged to support England.

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The film coincides with the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, when Robert the Bruce declared Scotland a free land. It’s also the the 25th anniversary of Braveheart.

Screen Media is a division of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ Gets High Score on Redbox Charts

Sony Pictures’ adventure sequel Jumanji: The Next Level debuted at No. 1 spot on Redbox’s kiosk disc rental and On Demand charts the week ended March 22.

The Redbox disc rental chart tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks. The Redbox On Demand chart tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals.

The previous week’s top title on each chart, Fox’s Spies in Disguise, slipped to No. 2 on both charts.

Lionsgate’s Knives Out stayed at No. 3 on the disc chart in its fourth week, and held the No. 5 spot on the digital chart.

Lionsgate’s Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler, slipped to No. 5 on the disc chart and No. 3 on the On Demand chart.

Another new release, Warner’s docudrama Richard Jewell, debuted at No. 4 on each chart.

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Universal Pictures’ The Invisible Man, which was made available for video-on-demand as a result of the theatrical shutdown due to coronavirus fears, landed at No. 6 on Redbox’s digital chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended March 22:

  1. Jumanji: The Next Level — Sony Pictures
  2. Spies in Disguise — Fox
  3. Knives Out — Lionsgate
  4. Richard Jewell — Warner
  5. Uncut Gems — Lionsgate
  6. Charlie’s Angels (2019) — Sony Pictures
  7. Bombshell — Lionsgate
  8. Midway (2019) — Lionsgate
  9. Frozen II — Disney
  10. Ford v Ferrari — Fox

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended March 22:

  1. Jumanji: The Next Level — Sony Pictures
  2. Spies in Disguise — Fox
  3. Uncut Gems — A24
  4. Richard Jewell — Warner
  5. Knives Out — Lionsgate
  6. The Invisible Man (2020) — Universal
  7. Contagion — Warner
  8. Ford v Ferrari — Fox
  9. Dark Waters — Universal
  10. Bombshell — Lionsgate

 

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Uncut Gems

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Lionsgate;
Thriller;
Box Office $50 million;
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for pervasive strong language, violence, some sexual content and brief drug use.
Stars Adam Sandler, Lakeith Stanfield, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, Eric Bogosian, Judd Hirsch.

A disturbing and offbeat thriller from the Safdie brothers, Uncut Gems offers what is undoubtedly the best performance of Adam Sandler’s career.

Sandler plays Howard, a New York jeweler and gambling addict who is deeply indebted to loan sharks. He manages to get his hands on a rare Ethiopian black opal expecting to auction it off to raise the money to pay his debts. Yet his fortunes continue to spiral out of control as he desperately tries to stay one step ahead of his past catching up with him.

Sandler’s reputation for comedy creates a certain expectation among viewers that lends to the film’s sense of unease, as it undercuts seeming moments of levity with an undercurrent of tension that always threatens to boil over. Sandler’s presence makes it easy to root for Howard despite his constant penchant for screwing up his own life. pIt could almost be considered a comedy of errors if it weren’t so gritty.

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Set in 2012, the film ties Howard’s predicaments to the real-life NBA playoff series between Boston and Philadelphia, with former Celtics superstar Kevin Garnett playing himself as a client of Howard. Garnett becomes obsessed with the opal, believing it gives him good luck as the series progresses, which puts Howard in a bind as he needs to hand it over to the auction house while outrunning the enforcers of his bookies, who won’t let him make any additional bets to cover his losses.

One of the highlights of the film is a starmaking turn by newcomer Julia Fox as Howard’s employee and mistress, the kind of arm candy every middle-aged sad sack wants to envision on their arm.

The Blu-ray includes the featurette “Money on the Street,” a half-hour making-of video that details the extensive production history of the film, which is based on real elements from the Safdie’s own childhood remembrances of their father’s stories about the diamond district. The featurette offers some good insights from the filmmakers and cast about its themes of aspirations outpacing ability.

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