Disney Dropping ‘Fox’ From Content Branding

The Walt Disney Company will drop the “Fox” name from some of the assets it acquired in its $71.3 billion buyout of 21st Century Fox studio from the Murdoch family last March, according to reports.

As such, the 20th Century Fox film studio will now be known as 20th Century Studios, while the studio’s indie-arm, Fox Searchlight Pictures, is now just Searchlight Pictures. Logos for the newly named subsidiaries have been similarly updated without the “Fox” name.

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The name change has apparently not yet extended to Disney-owned production units 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios, though a potential name change could be coming on that front as well, according to Variety.

Also unknown is how the rebranding will affect the name of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Inquiries to the studio have not yet been answered.

The primary reason for the re-branding is to distinguish the new Disney-owned properties from assets such as the Fox broadcast network and Fox News Channel that were not included with the sale and are still controlled by the Murdoch family under the Fox Corp. banner.

Disney has already started phasing out “Fox” from company email addresses and is using the Fox-less branding for upcoming projects such as the films Downhill and Call of the Wild.

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Interestingly, the history of the 20th Century Fox studio began with the merger of two independent studios in 1935: Twentieth Century Pictures, founded in 1933, and Fox Film Corporation, founded in 1915. Rupert Murdoch bought 20th Century-Fox in the 1980s and dropped the hyphen from the name. Fox Searchlight was created in 1994.

Iconic 20th Century Fox studio elements such as the spotlight logo and the musical fanfare date back to the Twentieth Century Pictures days, and will be retained by Disney.

Jay & Silent Bob Reboot

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street 1/21/20;
Lionsgate;
Comedy;
Box Office $3.41 million;
$19.98 DVD, $21.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for pervasive strong crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and some nudity.
Stars Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Harley Quinn Smith, Shannon Elizabeth, Jason Lee, Fred Armisen.

The latest addition to Kevin Smith’s View-Askewniverse is an unexpected treat for longtime fans of the filmmaker’s work. That it even exists is somewhat of a miracle.

Smith had been trying to make Clerks 3, but when one of the key actors dropped out, he shelved the project. With progress on a Mallrats sequel also stalled, Smith instead wrote another “Jay & Silent Bob” movie, with the urging of his long-time friend and co-star Jason Mewes, who plays the stoner Jay in the films alongside Smith’s Silent Bob. But before production began, Smith suffered a heart attack in early 2018, though he eventually recovered.

As a result, Jay & Silent Bob Reboot might be Smith’s most personal film since 1997’s Chasing Amy, though in a completely different way. Where that film, his third, was an introspective rumination on the fleeting nature of young love, his latest romp is a comedic reflection of his entire career, and more often than not a parody of it, while also taking aim at Hollywood’s penchant for remakes, reboots and an endless string of comic book movies.

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Chasing Amy also happens to be an apropos starting point for dissecting Reboot, since that’s the film that gave birth to the idea of the Jay and Silent Bob drug dealer characters being the inspiration for the fictional “Bluntman and Chronic” comic book featured at the heart of that film’s story.

Reboot unabashedly tells the same story, albeit updated, as 2001’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, in which the duo, fearing damage to their reputations, trekked from New Jersey to Hollywood in an attempt to stop a film version of “Bluntman and Chronic” from being made.

Jay and Silent Bob end up profiting from that film (see Clerks II), but after 18 years the studio wants to reboot it, and through some legal maneuvers manage gain copyright control over the duo’s actual identities, preventing them from using their own names. As a result, they scheme to return to Hollywood to disrupt production of the reboot, too. The twist now is that the reboot’s director is Kevin Smith, playing a fictional version of himself.

Along the way, Jay and Silent Bob join forces with a rebellious teen (played by Smith’s real-life daughter, Harley Quinn Smith) and her friends, as they make their way to “Chronic-Con,” a blatant spoof of Comic-Con. Smith manages to work references to nearly all his previous movies into the adventure, including updating the audience on what happened to a few of the main characters from the shared universe (and even answering a 25-year-old question that lingered back to his original film, 1994’s Clerks).

This is all catnip for Smith’s fans, who can easily forgive the juvenile humor and crude behavior surrounding the central antagonists, even as the story veers off the rails in its final act. Such are the trademark selling points of Smith’s works, not drawbacks, in a way only someone such as Smith could get away with. These are at their core stoner comedies, after all.

Sophistication isn’t the goal here, just the boundless energy and sense of fun of a pop-culture-obsessed filmmaker embracing what he loves. Smith even manages to sneak in a few heartfelt moments of character, paying off decades of the audience’s investment in their stories.

And, seemingly as a result of the goodwill generated by the film’s roadshow tour, the departed Clerks III cast member decided to sign up after all, and it looks like that film is now a go, too.

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The film’s home video editions offer a few interesting, if somewhat unstructured, behind the scenes material. Primary among them is nearly an hour of cast interviews that have been cobbled together as some sort of ersatz making-of documentary. Presenting their thoughts without the framework of an interviewer, they mostly talk about their characters and the wackiness of the story.

Then, there’s a separate half hour of Smith and Mewes interviewing their co-stars.

Rounding out the extras are a 10-minute blooper reel and two minutes of Smith and Mewes fixing their Jay and Silent Bob hair.

 

‘Joker’ Dances to Top Spot on Disc Sales Charts

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Joker easily topped 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 Jan. 11.

The gritty comic book film, which is based on the enigmatic Batman villain, brought in $334.1 million from the domestic box office and more than $1 billion worldwide. It recently earned 11 Oscar nominations, the most of any film in the 2019 field.

The film outsold the No. 2 title, Lionsgate’s Rambo: Last Blood, by a nearly 10-to-1 margin overall, and nearly 15-to-1 on the Blu-ray chart.

Another newcomer, Lionsgate’s critically acclaimed black-and-white drama The Lighthouse, debuted at No. 3 on both charts, coming in barely behind the “Rambo” sequel on the Blu-ray chart.

No. 4 on both charts was Sony Pictures’ Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

DreamWorks Animation’s Abominable, distributed by Universal Pictures, came in at No. 5 on both charts.

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Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 73% of first-week Joker sales, and 72% of The Lighthouse. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of Joker accounted for a whopping 23% of its total disc sales.

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Joker was also the No. 1 title on the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Jan. 12.

No. 2 was Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, followed at No. 3 by the previous three weeks’ top rental, Rambo: Last Blood.

Universal’s Hustlers dropped to No. 4, followed by Abominable at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 1-11-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 1-12-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 1-11-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 1-11-20

 

Merchandising: ‘Maleficent’ Is Mistress of Exclusives

Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil arrived at retail Jan. 14 with a couple of retailer exclusives.

Target offered the fantasy sequel based on “Sleeping Beauty” as a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a filmmaker gallery book for $34.99.

Target’s ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ 4K UHD Blu-ray Gallery booklet

Best Buy had a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil for $34.99.

Best Buy’s ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ Steelbook

Best Buy also had a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook for Disney’s 2016 version of The Jungle Book, which was just released in the UHD format.

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Walmart had an exclusive tied to Paramount’s Gemini Man, offering a bonus Vudu digital movie of xXx: Return of Xander Cage with the Gemini Man Blu-ray ($22.96) or 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray ($27.96).

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‘Joker’ Takes No. 1 Spot on Redbox Charts

Warner’s Joker took over the No. 1 spot on Redbox’s kiosk disc rental and On Demand charts the week ended Jan. 12.

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.

Sony Pictures’ Once Upon a Time in Hollywood rose to No. 2 on the disc rental chart and No. 3 on the On Demand chart.

Lionsgate’s Rambo: Last Blood, the top disc rental the past three weeks, dropped to No. 3 on the disc chart and No. 4 on the On Demand chart.

STX Films’ Hustlers, distributed by Universal Pictures, was No. 4 on the rental chart and No. 2 on the On Demand chart.

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Universal’s Abominable slipped to No. 5 on the disc rental chart and was No. 8 on the On Demand chart.

Lionsgate’s Angel Has Fallen was No. 5 on the digital chart and No. 7 on the disc chart.

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

  1. Joker — Warner
  2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — Sony Pictures
  3. Rambo: Last Blood — Lionsgate
  4. Hustlers — Universal
  5. Abominable — Universal
  6. It: Chapter Two — Warner
  7. Angel Has Fallen — Lionsgate
  8. Ad Astra — Fox
  9. The Lighthouse — Lionsgate
  10. Good Boys — Universal

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Jan. 12:

  1. Joker — Warner
  2. Hustlers — STX
  3. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — Sony Pictures
  4. Rambo: Last Blood — Lionsgate
  5. Angel Has Fallen — Lionsgate
  6. Good Boys — Universal
  7. Ad Astra — Fox
  8. Abominable — Universal
  9. It: Chapter Two — Warner
  10. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle — Sony Pictures

 

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Season Two of ‘Castle Rock’ on Disc May 19

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Castle Rock: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD May 19 (order date April 14). The season will be released for digital sellthrough Jan. 21. The Blu-ray will include a redemption code for a digital copy.

The disc release will include all 10 episodes from the second season of the Hulu original series about the small town that’s inhabited by author Stephen King’s most infamous literary characters.

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In season two, a feud between warring clans comes to a boil when budding psychopath Annie Wilkes (Lizzie Caplan), from Misery, gets waylaid in Castle Rock. Local businessman Reginald “Pop” Merrill (Tim Robbins) is dragged into the fight, when Pop’s nephew, legendary bully John “Ace” Merrill (Paul Sparks), stirs up trouble.

Season two also stars Barkhad Abdi, Yusra Warsama, Elsie Fisher and Matthew Alan.

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The fictional Maine town of Castle Rock has figured prominently in King stories such as Cujo, The Dark Half, It, Needful Things, The Body and Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.

The season two disc includes the featurette “Annie Wilkes: Mother of Sorrow.”

Paramount Releasing ‘The Corrupted’ on DVD Feb. 25

Paramount Home Entertainment will release the crime thriller The Corrupted on DVD Feb. 25. The film is currently in theaters and available on demand and digitally.

The film stars Sam Claflin as an ex-con whose attempts to return to a peaceful life with his son are sidetracked when he learns his brother is caught up with a corrupt property developer (Timothy Spall). The cast also includes Hugh Bonneville and Charlie Murphy.

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‘Avengers: Endgame’ Top 2019 Seller; ‘It: Chapter Two’ Was Top Disc Seller in December

Movies owned by Walt Disney Studios took four of the top five spots on the list of combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales for 2019, and five of the top 10, according to the NPD Group’s VideoScan tracking service. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment finished 2019 with three titles on the top 10, while Sony Pictures had two titles on the list, both “Spider-Man” movies.

The top seller was Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, which has been the year’s top selling title almost from the moment it came out on Blu-ray and DVD in August.

There was some jostling in the top 10 list for the full year in the final month of 2019, with nine of the 10 titles on the list from November holding on through the end of the year. Warner’s Aquaman, Disney’s Captain Marvel and Disney-owned Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody remained in their respective positions at No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4. Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4 climbed into the No. 5 spot in the final month, pushing Warner’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald to No. 6.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, distributed by Sony Pictures, locked in at No. 7 for the year. Disney’s photorealistic remake of The Lion King, a late October disc release, climbed to the No. 8 spot for the year, while Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum reached No. 9, pushing Sony’s animated Oscar winner Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to No. 10.

That dropped Warner’s A Star Is Born remake off the year’s top 10 list.

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For December, Warner’s It: Chapter Two was the month’s top seller. The horror sequel was released on disc Dec. 10.

In fact, the month’s top six titles were all December new releases. No. 2 was Universal’s home video of the Downton Abbey movie, No. 3 was Lionsgate’s Rambo: Last Blood, No. 4 was HBO’s disc of the eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones,” No. 5 was Sony Pictures’ Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and No. 6 was the animated Abominable, from Universal.

Toy Story 4 was No. 7 for the month, while Universal’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, the previous month’s top seller, was No. 10.

Two Christmas catalog titles, Warner’s Elf and Christmas Vacation, were the No. 8 and No. 9 sellers in December, respectively, just like they were a year ago.

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According to NPD, the December 2019 top 10 by units sold were:

  1. It: Chapter Two (Warner)
  2. Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture (Universal)
  3. Rambo: Last Blood (Lionsgate)
  4. Game of Thrones: The Complete Eighth Season (HBO)
  5. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony Pictures)
  6. Abominable (Universal)
  7. Toy Story 4 (Disney)
  8. Elf (Warner)
  9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Warner)
  10. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Universal)

 

2019 Top 10:

  1. Avengers: Endgame (Disney/Marvel)
  2. Aquaman (Warner)
  3. Captain Marvel (Disney/Marvel)
  4. Bohemian Rhapsody (Fox)
  5. Toy Story 4 (Disney)
  6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Warner)
  7. Spider-Man: Far From Home (Sony Pictures)
  8. The Lion King (2019) (Disney)
  9. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum (Lionsgate)
  10. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Sony Pictures)

 

‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Leads Disc Sales in November

‘The Witcher’ Switches Spots With ‘Mandalorian’ on Parrot’s TV Demand Charts

Netflix’s “The Witcher” returned to the No. 1 spot on not only Parrot Analytics’ digital originals rankings the week ended Jan. 11, but also the data firm’s overall list of TV series from any platform, including broadcast and cable, again pushing the Disney+ “Star Wars” spinoff “The Mandalorian” to No. 2.

A “digital original” is 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+.

“Mandalorian” series was No. 1 most of the last couple of months of 2019 before “The Witcher” took over the last week of the year. “The Mandalorian” took the top spot back the first week of 2020.

For the week, “The Witcher” registered 118.4 million average daily Demand Expressions, the proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. That was down 10.5% in expressions compared with the previous week, when it was No. 2.

“The Mandalorian” was close behind, with 115.8 million expressions, down 18.5% from the previous week.

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Netflix’s psychological thriller “You” stayed at No. 3 on the digital originals chart, with expressions down 10.9% to 83.2 million.

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” stayed No. 4, registering 73.6 million expressions, down 6.8% from the previous week.

DC Universe’s “Titans” held onto the No. 5 spot on the digital originals chart, with expressions up 3.5% to 56 million.

DC Universe’s “Harley Quinn” animated series made a big move on the originals chart to No. 9, from No. 13 the previous week. Expressions rose 2.6% to 29.99 million. The season finale is due Jan. 17.

Netflix’s “Narcos” jumped to No. 10, from No. 14 the previous week, with expressions up 3.9% to 29.96 million. A new season of “Narcos: Mexico” debuts Feb. 13.

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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.

‘Joker,’ ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,’ ‘1917,’ Netflix’s ‘The Irishman’ Pace Oscar Race

A couple of Netflix originals joined a handful of studio films, a gritty comic book movie and a critically acclaimed competitor from South Korea in the race for Best Picture at the 92nd Academy Awards, as announced the morning of Jan. 13.

Netflix’s The Irishman and Marriage Story were among the nine films nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Netflix also earned Best Animated Feature nomination for Klaus and I Lost My Body, plus a Best Documentary Feature nom for American Factory from the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions.

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The Irishman earned 10 nominations. In addition to Best Picture, it will contend for Best Director for Martin Scorsese, Best Supporting Actor for Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects and Best Costume Design.

Marriage Story earned a total of six nominations. It is also up for Best Actor for Adam Driver, Best Actress for Scarlett Johansson, Best Supporting Actress for Laura Dern, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Original Score for Randy Newman.

Johansson was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Jojo Rabbit.

Warner’s Joker led all films with 11 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix, Best Director for Todd Phillips, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Costume Design, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Film Editing, Cinematography, and Makeup and Hairstyling. The film is available now on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digitally.

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood also earned 10 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio, Best Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt, Cinematography, Costume Design, Production Design, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. The film is available now on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digitally from Sony Pictures.

Universal’s 1917, which was the No. 1 film at the box office the weekend of Jan. 10-12, also earned 10 nominations, including Best Picture, Director for Sam Mendes, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Score, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, and Makeup and Hairstyling.

Other Best Picture nominees include Ford v Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, and South Korea’s Parasite.

Ford v Ferrari will be released through digital retailers Jan. 28, and on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 11 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. It also earned nominations for Film Editing, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.

Parasite, which is also up for Best International Feature Film (formerly Best Foreign-Language Film) among its six noms, will be released through digital retailers Jan. 14, and on Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 28 from Universal. It is also contending for Best Director for Bong Joon Ho, Original Screenplay, Film Editing and Production Design.

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In addition to Klaus and the French film I Lost My Body, nominees for Best Animated Feature include Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4, Fox’s Missing Link. The latter three are all available now on Blu-ray, DVD and digitally.

The top-grossing film and top-selling home video of 2019, Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame, distributed by Disney, earned a single nomination, for Best Visual Effects.

Composer John Williams earned his 52nd Oscar nomination, for Best Original Score for Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The film is also up for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Editing.

The winners will be announced Feb. 9 on ABC. A full list of nominees is available here.