‘Aquaman’ Makes Another Splash on FandangoNow Chart

Aquaman emerged at No. 1 on FandangoNow’s chart of top movies for digital rental and purchase for another week.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional VOD service.

Warner’s DC Comics superhero feature held off the studio’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which levitated to No. 2 (from No. 8) on the chart for the week ended March 17. “Harry Potter” writer J.K. Rowling’s followup to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them earned $160 million in theaters, while the swimming superhero vehicle earned $334 million at the box office.

Warner also took the third spot on the FandangoNow chart with the Oscar-launded A Star Is Born, which earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song and eight nominations. The music drama starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga slipped just one spot from No. 2 the previous week.

Best Picture Academy Award winner Green Book landed at No. 4, rising from No. 10 the previous week. The film also picked up Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali.

Newly arriving on the chart were Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, which took the fifth spot, and Universal’s Mortal Engines, which came in at No. 10. Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, earned $171 million at the box office, while Mortal Engines, a post-apocalyptic actioner backed by Peter Jackson, made just $16 million theatrically.

The top films to purchase and/or rent on FandangoNow for the week ended March 17 were:

  1. Aquaman — Warner
  2. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — Warner
  3. A Star is Born(2018) — Warner
  4. Green Book— Universal
  5. Mary Poppins Returns — Disney
  6. Instant Family — Paramount
  7. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — Sony
  8. Creed II — Warner
  9. Ralph Breaks the Internet — Disney
  10. Mortal Engines— Universal

Research: U.S. SVOD Household Spending Steady Since 2016 at Just Under $8 Per Month

U.S. broadband household spending on subscription OTT video services has held steady for three years, averaging just under $8 per month since 2016, according to research from Parks Associates.

The figures suggest adoption of multiple services or expensive services by some consumers is offset by a larger base of consumers who either subscribe to one or two relatively inexpensive services or who do not spend any money on OTT video services (30% of consumers), according to Parks Associates.

“The stability in average household spend belies the activity going on under the surface,” said Brett Sappinton, Parks Associates senior director of research, in a statement. “2019 may be poised to break that trend. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon continue to pack on new subscribers. At the same time, services like ESPN+ are also experiencing phenomenal growth, and new offerings from Disney and WarnerMedia are set for release later this summer. One of three things will happen — more households will become OTT streaming households, rival services will begin to pull subscribers away from Netflix, or that spending number will go up.”

Parks Associates will discuss strategies to launch successful services in the complimentary webcast “Avoiding OTT’s Top 5 Mistakes,” co-hosted with Swrve March 26 at 11 a.m. CST.

“The deluge of OTT platforms has created greater competition for video based on choice and quality of content,” said Barry Nolan, chief strategy officer at Swrve, in a statement. “Yet as people spend more and more time consuming digital media, OTT platforms are seeing a lag in customers insights, loyalty, and revenue. We believe that by delivering the perfect message at the perfect time, OTT platforms will have a richer and more enduring experience with their customers.”

‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Casts Spell on Redbox Charts

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald worked some magic the week ended March 17, levitating to the top spot on both Redbox charts.

“Harry Potter” writer J.K. Rowling’s followup to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them took the No. 1 spot on both the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, and the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), both electronic sellthrough (EST) and streaming. The Warner release was new-to-disc for the week, streeting March 12.

Two other new disc releases, both from Universal, entered the chart for the week. Best Picture Oscar winner Green Book nabbed the No. 2 spot. The film also picked up Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali. Mortal Engines, a post-apocalyptic actioner backed by Peter Jackson, came in at No. 4, just behind the previous week’s top title, Paramount’s Instant Family, a comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne.

Warner’s fight drama Creed II landed at No. 5 on the disc chart, falling from No. 2 the previous week.

On the digital side, coming in at No. 2 for the week was Instant Family, sliding from No. 1. Green Book entered at No. 3, followed at No. 4 by another Oscar-lauded film, Warner’s A Star Is Born, which picked up an Academy Award for Best Original Song and earned eight nominations, including acting nods for Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Mortal Engines rounded out the top five on the digital chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended March 17:

  1. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (New) — Warner
  2. Green Book (New) — Universal
  3. Instant Family — Paramount
  4. Mortal Engines (New) — Universal
  5. Creed II — Warner
  6. Ralph Breaks the Internet — Disney
  7. A Star Is Born (2018)— Warner
  8. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox
  9. Robin Hood (2018) — Lionsgate
  10. The Grinch — Universal

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended March 17:

  1. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — Warner
  2. Instant Family — Paramount
  3. Green Book — Universal
  4. A Star Is Born (2018)— Warner
  5. Mortal Engines — Universal
  6. Creed II — Warner
  7. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox
  8. Nobody’s Fool (2018) — Paramount
  9. Robin Hood (2018) — Lionsgate
  10. The Possession of Hannah Grace — Sony

‘Lego Movie 2’ Due on Digital April 16, Disc May 7 From Warner

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part will arrive on digital April 16 and 4K UHD combo pack, Blu-ray combo pack and special-edition DVD May 7 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The sequel reunites the heroes of Bricksburg in a new adventure to save their city. Reprising their starring roles from the first film are Chris Pratt (“Guardians of the Galaxy,” Jurassic World) as Emmet; Elizabeth Banks (“The Hunger Games” movies, Love & Mercy) as Lucy, aka Wyldstyle; Will Arnett (“The Lego Batman Movies,” TV’s “Arrested Development”) as Lego Batman; Alison Brie (TV’s “Glow,” TV’s “Community”) as Unikitty; Nick Offerman (“Fargo,” TV’s “Parks and Recreation”) as MetalBeard; and Charlie Day (the “Horrible Bosses” movies, TV’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia”) as Benny. They are joined by Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) and Stephanie Beatriz (Short Term 12, TV’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) as new characters Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi and General Mayhem, respectively, and Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids, TV’s “Big Mouth”) as Mom.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc will feature a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

Bonus features on the 4K Blu-ray and Blu-ray include:

  • the “Everything Is Awesome” sing-along;
  • commentary by filmmakers;​
  • “They Come in Pieces: Assembling The Lego Movie 2,” a featurette highlighting voice talent, including Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett and Tiffany Haddish;
  • the animated short “Emmet’s Holiday Party: A Lego Movie Short”;
  • “Lego Sets in Action,” animations of the Lego product tied to the movie;
  • “Lego Designers,” in which toy designers highlight key play sets in the movie product line;
  • outtakes and deleted scenes;
  • “Super Cool Music Video,” a music video by Beck featuring Robyn and The Lonely Island; and
  • theatrical promotion spots.

 

The special edition DVD contains all those special features except for the sing-along.

Family Drama ‘Unbridled’ Available on DVD and Digital From Mill Creek

The family drama Unbridled is available now on DVD and for digital purchase or rental from Mill Creek Entertainment.

Starring newcomer Téa Mckay, T.C. Stallings (War Room), Dey Young (Flicka) and Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight), the film is inspired by the real-life equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP) program of the Corral Riding Academy in Cary, N.C., which helps abused girls heal by pairing them with rehabilitated horses.

It has received numerous film festival awards, including the Equus Winnie Award.

Survey: Almost Half of Consumers Frustrated by Growing Number of Entertainment Subs and Services

Nearly half of consumers (47%) are frustrated by the growing number of subscriptions and services required to watch the entertainment they want, according to Deloitte’s 13th edition of the “Digital Media Trends survey.” Meanwhile, more than half of consumers (57%) express frustration when content disappears from their streaming libraries.

While consumers know exactly what they want to watch (69% of the time), they also expressed frustrations with content discovery across platforms:

  • Forty-three percent of consumers give up on the search for content if they can’t find it in a few minutes;
  • Forty-eight percent say content is hard to find across multiple services;
  • Nearly half (49%) say the sheer amount of content available makes it hard to choose what to watch.

Consumers are also increasingly wary of how companies handle their data, with 82% citing they don’t believe companies do enough to protect their personal data, according to the study. Conversely, consumers overwhelmingly believe they are responsible for protecting (49%) and owning (88%) their data. Very few respondents (7%) believe that the government should play a role in protecting their data.

While streaming services may be frustrating to consumers, the survey also found consumer dissatisfaction with high volumes of advertising, pushing them away from pay TV.

  • Three quarters (75%) of consumers say they would be more satisfied with their pay-TV service if there were fewer ads, and 77% indicated ads on pay TV should be under 10 seconds;
  • Eighty-two percent believe there is excessive repetition of ads;
  • Forty-four percent of consumers cited “no ads” as a top reason to subscribe to a new paid streaming service;
  • While consumers indicated eight minutes per hour of ads as the right amount, they also report that 16 minutes or more is when they would stop watching.

“With more than 300 over the top video options in the U.S., coupled with multiple subscriptions and payments to track and justify, consumers may be entering a time of ‘subscription fatigue,'” said Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and U.S. telecom and media and entertainment leader, Deloitte LLP, in a statement. “As media companies and content owners wrestle with how to retain and grow their subscriber base, they should not only continue to strengthen their content libraries, quality, distribution and value, but also keep a close eye on consumer frustrations, including advertising overload and data privacy concerns.”

The average U.S. consumer now subscribes to three streaming video services, with 43% of consumers subscribing to both streaming and traditional pay television (TV) services, according to the study, which noted strong growth in streaming video subscription services (69%) and streaming music services (41%). Pay TV remained relatively flat with 65% of U.S. households subscribing, and 29% paying for live TV streaming services. High-quality, original content continues to be a dominant factor in streaming video growth, with 57% of current U.S. streaming consumers (and 71% of millennials, ages 22-35) subscribing to streaming video services to access original content.

The survey also found that 37% of U.S. millennials binge-watch every week, watching an average of four hours in a single sitting. Consumers also continue to spend more time streaming video from their paid services (46%) versus free video streaming services (29%). Consumers are not only binge-watching in high numbers, they are also streaming movies, with 70% of millennials reporting they stream movies weekly, and 40% doing so daily. Social media remains supreme with millennials (54%) in the search for new TV shows.

Study: U.S. SVOD Buyers Average 3.4 Services

Online video subscribers in the United States average 3.4 streaming services and pay an average of $8.53 per month per service, according to a new study.

The nScreenMedia study, “Keep My Customer — Why Consumers Subscribe To, Stay With, Cancel, and Come Back to Online Video Services,” also found that 70% of households in the United States and 40% of U.K. homes have a subscription to at least one streaming video service.

The study was commissioned by Vindicia, an Amdocs company providing business-to-consumer digital services monetization.

Involuntary cancellation is a problem for the industry, according to the study. These payment failures occur when a credit card problem, such as insufficient funds, results in automatic cancellation of a customer. The study revealed that more than a quarter of U.S. and a third of U.K. online video streamers have had a SVOD service canceled due to a credit card problem. And of those groups, 30% did not return to the service.

“Involuntary cancellations are a huge problem for the SVOD industry, particularly among young subscribers,” said study author Colin Dixon, founder and chief analyst at nScreenMedia, in a statement. “Young adults from 18 to 34 years old are twice as likely to have experienced involuntary cancellation in the U.K., and three times more likely in the U.S.”

“For video streaming services, the ability to acquire and retain subscribers is vital to their success,” said Anthony Goonetilleke, group president, media, network and technology, Amdocs, in a statement. “However, streaming services are losing subscribers — and millions of dollars in annual revenue — due to involuntary credit card cancellations. This kind of customer churn is largely preventable. By leveraging the right technology, video streaming providers can recover failed payment transactions and capture revenue that would otherwise be lost, enabling them to better compete in a highly competitive market.”

In terms of overall cancellations, the survey looked at how often people cancel their service and their reasons for doing so. In the United States, 38% of the survey group said they have canceled one or more services in the last year. Of that group, two-thirds said they had canceled one service only, and just one in 10 have canceled three or more services.

Netflix users are slightly less likely than average to have canceled service in the last year, according to the study, while Hulu users are slightly more likely. Amazon Prime Video users are no more or less likely than average.

The top two reasons cited for canceling a video service: people couldn’t find enough content they liked and didn’t find the service a good value for their money.

Previous customers are the best new prospects, as the study found that 33% of U.S. and 25% of U.K. cancellers have been persuaded to sign up for service again.

Discounted subscriptions are an under-exploited opportunity for service providers to win new customers. The survey revealed that a 20% discount for a three-month commitment generated the highest interest level, with 66% of U.S. and 57% of U.K. subscribers saying they were likely or extremely likely to take the offer. Three months is an important milestone, because subscribers that stay this long are much less likely to leave the service. Surprisingly, the study found that offering more than a 20% discount did not result in more interest.

The study also found that free-trial abuse is not a serious problem for online video service providers. While 49% of U.S. and 62% of U.K. online video subscribers have canceled at least one service within the free trial period, only 5% in the U.S. and 2% in the U.K. have canceled within the free-trial period four or more times in the last year.

When it comes to retaining existing subscribers, content is king. The study found that 64% of U.S. subscribers and 55% of U.K. subscribers have been with their longest-tenured service for one year or more. When asked why they stay, respondents said having plenty of interesting content to watch was the top reason. Value for money was a close second place, and ease of finding something good to watch came in third. Interesting original content was the fourth reason, while providing plenty of new shows took the fifth-place spot.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s expanding influence in the VOD market is evident. The study found that one-third of U.K. and U.S. Prime Video subscribers have purchased an add-on video service, with higher income individuals more likely to use Amazon Prime Video and to purchase an add-on. In the United States, the most popular video add-ons are premium services such as HBO, Starz, Showtime and Cinemax. CBS All Access is also very popular. In the United Kingdom, the most popular video add-ons are Eurosport Player, Discovery, ITV Hub+ and FilmBox.

To learn more about the nScreenMedia study or to download a copy, visit here.

Paramount to Bow 1989’s ‘Pet Sematary’ on 4K UHD in Time for Theatrical Release of Remake

Written for the screen by author Stephen King based on his bestseller, director Mary Lambert’s 1989 horror film Pet Sematary will stalk home entertainment on 4K Ultra HD combo pack and Blu-ray March 26 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

The film, which earned more than $57 million to become the highest grossing horror film of the time, according to the studio, is being re-released in time for the debut of the studio’s theatrical remake April 5. The story follows the Creed family who, after their cat is accidentally killed, takes the advice of a friendly neighbor and buries it in a mysterious nearby cemetery. When the cat comes back, it’s only the beginning of an unthinkable evil.

Pet Sematary will mark its 30th anniversary newly remastered in 4K under the supervision of Lambert with new bonus content, which includes the cast and crew of Paramount’s new adaptation discussing the original film’s impact and the lasting legacy of its story; a new interview with Lambert about her memories making the film, the restoration, and King’s enduring influence; and new photo galleries with behind-the-scenes images, original storyboards and vintage ads.

The 4K Ultra HD disc also features Dolby Vision.  For the 4K restoration, Lambert and Paramount went back to the original film negative to rescan it in order to recapture the original detail.

“The shadows are much softer and the colors are richer…and it looks amazing,” said Lambert in a statement.

In addition to the new bonus material, both the 4K Blu-ray and Blu-ray feature access to a digital copy of the film and previously released bonus material, including commentary by Lambert, a guided tour of the locations led by King along with an exploration of the origins of the novel, an introduction to the cast and characters, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film.

Tsujihara Out at Warner Bros.

Kevin Tsujihara is stepping down as chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment amid allegations of sexual improprieties.

“Over the past week and a half, I have been reflecting on how the attention on my past actions might impact the company’s future. After lengthy introspection, and discussions with John Stankey over the past week, we have decided that it is in Warner Bros.’ best interest that I step down as chairman and CEO,” said Tsujihara in a statement reported by Variety, adding, “My continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company’s continued success.”

“It is in the best interest of WarnerMedia, Warner Bros., our employees and our partners for Kevin to step down as chairman and CEO of Warner Bros.,” WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey said in a statement, according to the Variety report. “Kevin has contributed greatly to the studio’s success over the past 25 years and for that we thank him. Kevin acknowledges that his mistakes are inconsistent with the company’s leadership expectations and could impact the company’s ability to execute going forward.”

Stankey stated an interim leadership plan would be announced to staff March 19.

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Tsujihara March 8 had issued an email apology to staff members for his behavior regarding allegations he was having an extramarital affair with aspiring actress Charlotte Kirk, and that he helped her land roles and auditions to keep the tryst secret.

The affair, which reportedly occurred shortly after Tsujihara became studio chief in 2013, was disclosed March 6 by The Hollywood Reporter.

The story prompted Warner Bros. parent company WarnerMedia, the AT&T subsidiary created in the wake of its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, to re-open an investigation into Tsujihara regarding the allegations. A WarnerMedia management shuffle March 4, just prior to the article, had Tsujihara taking on additional duties at WarnerMedia involving programming for children and young adults.

“I deeply regret that these personal actions have caused embarrassment to the company and to all of you,” Tsujihara wrote in the March 8 email. “I realized some time ago you are right to expect more from me and I set a course to do better.”

Disney+ Is a Safe-Cracker

Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger’s announcement that the studio would abandon its long-standing “vault” strategy for its upcoming subscription streaming service is perhaps one of the most shocking shifts in an industry rocked by change.

At the March 7 shareholder meeting in St. Louis, he said that the studio would pull movies from its vault and offer them all on the pending Disney+ service.

“At some point fairly soon after launching, [Disney+] will house the entire Disney motion picture library,” Iger said. “So, movies that have traditionally been kept in the vault, and basically been brought out every few years, will be on the [streaming] service.”

The vault strategy, exploited by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment for decades, involved putting select movies, mostly animated classics such as BambiThe Lion King, and The Little Mermaid, on retail moratorium for several years to wait for a new crop of children to come along. Oft termed “treasures” or “platinum” or “gold” editions when they emerged after seven years or so for a re-release, there were snapped up at $20 to $30 apiece by eager parents, purchases made all the more urgent by the studio warning that they would soon go back into the vault. When these classic films came out, often in a new format, they shot to the top of the sales charts.

It took the digital entertainment revolution to finally crack the Disney vault — but is it a heist? If enough subscribers sign on to Disney+ at a high enough subscription price, offering a panoply of content may be a lucrative investment, but it could also devalue some of the studio’s most valuable jewels.