Talk of Replication Backlog Recalls Good Ol’ Days

I’m hearing rumblings from various quarters about a replication backlog on discs.

Whether it’s because of the enormous demands of the game business or just an unrecognized and continued demand for physical media during the holidays, it reminds me of the glory days of disc, when replicators could not keep up with orders.

More than one industry insider, including one from a major studio, has noted that street dates are being pushed back as major replicator Technicolor is backlogged.

The Twitter-ing is starting to show, as one eager fan asked HighDefDiscNews.com what was up with the pre-order listing for Batman: The Complete Animated Series on Blu-ray, which was no longer available.

“Pressing delay. They can’t fill orders by that date, so it’s getting bumped. This plant issue is starting to cause a pile-up,” was the twitter answer from HighDefDiscNews.

The outlet added, “Right now, it seems like everyone is just trying to meet retail demands. Black Friday should be a lovely mess this year.”

Let me know if you’ve heard anything at sprange@mediaplaynews.com.

‘Smallfoot’ to March to Digital Dec. 4, Disc Dec. 11 from Warner

The animated Smallfoot will come out on digital (including Movies Anywhere) Dec. 4 and Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD Dec. 11 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The film, featuring music by Zendaya and Common, turns the Bigfoot legend upside down when a bright young Yeti (voice of Channing Tatum) finds something he thought didn’t exist — a human. News of the “smallfoot,” Percy (voice of James Corden), throws the simple Yeti community into an uproar over what else might be out there in the big world beyond their snowy village. The film also features the voice talent of Zendaya, Common, LeBron James, Danny DeVito, Gina Rodriguez, Yara Shahidi, Ely Henry and Jimmy Tatro.

The Blu-ray Combo Pack, which features a Blu-ray disc, a DVD and a digital version of the movie, includes an interactive sing-along that lets viewers follow the words of their favorite songs from the film. Other bonuses include:

  • the “Super Soozie” Mini Movie, with custom animation featuring the yeti toddler Soozie;
  • Migo in “The Secret of the Yeti Stones,” a featurette with Tatum;
  • “Yeti or Not, Here They Come! Imagining Smallfoot,” a making of featurette;
  • the Nial Horran “Finally Free” music video;
  • the Cyn “Moment of Truth” music video;
  • the “Wonderful Life: In 28 Languages, Sung Around the World” music video; and
  • theatrical promos.

 

DVD bonus features include “Yeti or Not, Here They Come! Imagining Smallfoot.”

‘Night School’ in Session on Digital Dec. 11, Disc Jan 1 From Universal

The comedy Night School, starring Kevin Hart, will come out on digital (including Movies Anywhere) Dec. 11, on demand Dec. 28, and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 1 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

A successful salesman (Hart, Jumanji, Ride Along 1 & 2) sees his life turned around after getting fired for accidentally destroying his workplace. Forced to attend night school so he can finally get his GED and find another job, he soon finds himself amongst a group of misfit students, a teacher with no patience for class clowns (Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip, Uncle Drew) and his high school nemesis-turned-principal (Taran Killam, Killing Gunther, Ted 2) who will strive to make sure he fails the course.

The 4K Ultra HD release will be available in a combo pack with Blu-ray and digital. Bonus features on 4K Ultra HD include an extended cut and gag reel. Bonus Features on Blu-ray and digital include an extended cut, an alternate opening, deleted scenes, a gag reel and several features:

  • “Night School’sin Session,” introducing the band of misfits;
  • “Who’s the Student? Who’s the Teacher?,”in which Hart and Haddish discuss their long friendship;
  • “Prom Night Revisited,” in which the cast looks back at their own high school proms;
  • “Cap ‘n Gown ‘n Giggles,” about Hart’s graduation speech turned comedy show;
  • “Making of the Dance Battle,” about the dance rehearsal for the prom night dance battle;
  • “Christian Chicken,” a never-before-seen Christian Chicken commercial;
  • “Game Over,” in which Hart joins castmates Yvonne Orji and Megalyn Echikunwoke discuss the complicated relationship between Maya and Teddy; and
  • “Extended Performance ‘El Sueno,’” an extended version of Luis’s original “El Sueno.”

Bonus features on DVD include an extended cut, alternate opening and deleted scenes.

All releases include feature commentary with director Malcom D. Lee.

‘The House That Never Dies: Reawakening’ Coming on DVD and Digital Dec. 4 From Well Go

The Chinese sequel The House That Never Dies: Reawakening will come out on DVD and digital Dec. 4 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Based on true events at one of Beijing’s haunted houses, the film stars Joan Chen (The Last Emperor, Judge Dredd), Julian Cheung (The Grandmaster), Mei Ting (Blind Massage) and Gillian Chung (Ip Man: The Final Fight) in a story that takes place a hundred years after a mutiny by warlords in Beijing when an expert in cultural relics encounters supernatural phenomena at the mansion on 81 Chaoyangmennei Street. The discovery of baby skeletons and weird spells reveal a haunting tale of the wrongly deceased still seeking justice from the living world.

Sony’s FunimationNow Added to Amazon Prime Video Channels in U.K.

Amazon has added anime service FunimationNow to its line-up of Prime Video Channels in the United Kingdom, becoming the first Sony Pictures Television service to launch on Prime Video there.

For a subscription fee of £4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial, Prime members who subscribe to FunimationNow have access to hundreds of new and classic anime shows and movies ad-free, with English subtitles and dubbing, according to Amazon Prime Video U.K.

At launch FunimationNow will bring Prime members anime shows such as “My Hero Academia,” “Attack on Titan,” “Black Clover,” “Overlord” and “Assassination Classroom.” New anime releases coming this autumn include “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime,” “SSSS Gridman” and the final season of “Fairy Tail.”

Customers who subscribe to FunimationNow will also soon be getting access to new shows with English subtitles the day after they air in Japan, with English dubbed versions available a couple of weeks later, according to Amazon Prime Video U.K.

“It’s great that we can now offer U.K. Prime members access to popular anime shows with the addition of Sony’s FunimationNow on Prime Video Channels,” said Alex Green, European MD of channels and sport at Amazon Prime Video. “FunimationNow adds an incredible line up of anime to the wide selection of entertainment we offer customers on Prime Video in the U.K.”

“We are pleased to be working with Amazon to offer FunimationNow as part of their Prime Video Channels line-up,” said Gen Fukunaga, president and CEO at Funimation. “This will further expand our global footprint and enables us to bring the best in anime to many more fans in the U.K.”

FunimationNow joins more than 70 channels available on Prime Video Channels in the United Kingdom, including live and on-demand entertainment and sports, available as individual subscriptions.

‘Frontline: Trump’s Showdown’ Coming to DVD Dec. 11 From PBS Distribution

Frontline: Trump’s Showdown will come out on DVD ($24.99) Dec. 11 from PBS Distribution.

The program is currently available for download from iTunes.

The program begins with the president elect’s meeting with the leaders of the intelligence community just before his inauguration. In the meeting, senior officials warned Trump that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. At the end of the meeting, FBI Director James Comey privately shared with Trump details of a secret “dossier” of unverified and potentially compromising material — an encounter the president would come to see as a “shakedown” (according to J.D. Gordon, one of Trump’s closest campaign advisers).

The program draws on more than 60 interviews with former leaders of U.S. intelligence agencies, Trump advisors, attorneys, authors, and journalists. It includes thousands of photographs and hundreds of hours of archival footage.

Complete ‘Rescue Me’ Series Available on Blu-ray Disc From Mill Creek

All seven seasons of the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated “Rescue Me” are available in one Blu-ray box set from Mill Creek Entertainment.

From series creators Denis Leary and Peter Tolan, “Rescue Me” was an uncompromising portrayal of the New York City firefighters of 62 Truck, whose duty to save lives puts their own in constant turmoil — on the front lines, in the firehouse, and at home.

The series stars Denis Leary (The Amazing Spider-Man), Andrea Roth (Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why”), Daniel Sunjata (ABC’s “Notorious”), Callie Thorne (USA’s “Necessary Roughness”) and Steven Pasquale (CBS’s “Doubt”).

The 16-disc special edition Blu-ray set, with all 93 episodes, retails at $149.98.

Movies Anywhere Celebrates First Birthday With 6 Million Users and 150 Million Movies Collected

Movies Anywhere, the cloud-based digital movie library service backed by most of the major studios, is celebrating its first birthday with 6 million registered users, 150 million movies collected and more than 1 billion minutes viewed.

To mark its first year, for a limited period, fans who sync for the first time with one digital retailer will receive a copy of Happy Feet. Those who sync for the first time with two digital retailers also receive The Martian and The Fate of the Furious.

“This has been a very exciting first year of growth and immersive engagement for Movies Anywhere,” said Karin Gilford, GM, Movies Anywhere. “Our users are among the most passionate and engaged movie fans, so it’s been incredibly rewarding to see them embrace and value our product in such a positive way.  We look forward to further evolving and enhancing the Movies Anywhere experience in the upcoming year.”

The service, which allows consumers to access their digital movie purchases in one place with one password, is backed by five Hollywood studios and six digital retailers. Studios include Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures (including Focus Features, DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment), The Walt Disney Studios (including Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm) and Warner Bros. Participating digital retailers are iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV and FandangoNow.

Other first-year milestones for the service include:

  • Fans have streamed more than 35 million movies on more than 100 different devices;
  • 95 percent of users reported high levels of satisfaction with the app, according to an August 2018 Futuresource report; and
  • The service was nominated for “Fan Favorite App” in the Google Play Best of 2018 Awards.

 

The digital movie sales and rights-locker storage service launched last October with support from five of the six major studios, four of the biggest online retailers, and an opening library of more than 7,300 movies. Over the past year the service has grown to more than 7,500 movies and has added FandangoNow and Microsoft Movies & TV to its digital retailer lineup. Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate are not part of the service, which also does not feature television programming.

Digital purchases of movies, TV shows and other filmed content, known in the industry as “electronic sellthrough,” or EST, rose 18% in the third quarter compared with the same quarter in the year prior, a significant uptick from the single-digit gains posted in prior years, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. Industry observers attribute at least some of the gain to the rising popularity of Movies Anywhere platform.

 

Cinedigm Adds Combat Go and Wham to Ad-Supported Roku Channel

Cinedigm has added two more digital channels — the martial arts platform Combat Go by JungoTV and the esports network Wham — as linear offerings on the free, ad-supported Roku Channel.

Both channels also feature a VOD component, and join Cinedigm networks The Dove Channel, CONtv and Docurama, which launched in the Roku Channel Store in September.

The Roku Channel is a top five channel on the platform in active account reach, according to the Cinedigm release. Customers can access content via Roku devices, including Roku TV, as well as via the Web.

Combat Go is a partnership between Cinedigm and the global distribution company JungoTV. Created by JungoTV CEO George Chung, a five-time World Karate Champion and Inductee in the Black Belt Hall of Fame, Combat Go presents curated content selected by martial arts experts, featuring fight commentary and analysis, original docuseries and martial arts movies.

Created for gamers, Wham Network provides programming covering all aspects of the gaming industry from esports to casual gaming. The channel’s offerings include original series, top teams competing in esports tournaments, in-depth coverage of special gaming events, and updates on the latest in esports and gaming news.

“Cinedigm is proud to continue our partnership with Roku, as we bring Combat Go and Wham Network to one of the best-selling streaming devices on the market,” said Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Digital Networks. “Martial arts and esports have quickly emerged as two of the most popular sports in the world. Now, with the additions of Combat Go and Wham Network, Roku users will be able experience this global phenomenon first-hand, as they discover and enjoy a diverse range of hard-hitting martial arts action and in-depth esports programming carefully curated by the industry’s top experts.”