FandangoNow to Host ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Live Watch Party Today

FandangoNow, the transactional video on-demand service from Fandango, at 4 p.m. PST/7 p.m. EST is hosting a live watch party of Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog.

The watch party will feature a live Twitter commentary from the film’s stars Ben Schwartz (Sonic) and Lee Majdoub (Agent Stone) along with the film’s director Jeff Fowler exclusively on Fandango’s Twitter page, with the hashtag #SonicWatchParty.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” debuted on FandangoNow on March 31 and already ranks as one of the top-selling family titles on the service, according to FandangoNow.

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Fans can submit questions for Schwartz and Fowler at #SonicWatchParty.

Sonic is currently available to purchase on FandangoNow  at $19.99 in HD and SD and in 4K ULTRA HD at $24.99 here.

Sony to Bow Six Classics in 4K UHD Exclusively in Limited Edition Set

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment June 16 will bow six classics — Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Lawrence of Arabia, Jerry Maguire, Dr. Strangelove, Ghandi and A League of Their Own — exclusively in a limited-edition set called the “Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection.”

The six films are only available on 4K Ultra HD disc within this special collector’s set with a limited-edition run of fewer than 8,000 units in the United States. Included with the collection is a hardbound 80-page book, featuring in-depth sections about the making of each film within the set via an all-new essay written by film historian Julie Kirgo. In addition, the set also includes an exclusive disc featuring excerpts from Columbia Pictures’ televised 50th anniversary special, which originally aired in 1975 and has never been officially available. These excerpts feature rare on-camera insights from such luminaries as Frank Capra, Phil Silvers and Orson Welles. The exclusive disc also includes the vintage behind-the-scenes documentary “Mr. Attenborough and Mr. Gandhi,” which was filmed on the set of Gandhi and features interviews with cast and crew.

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In a recent Sony Pictures Home Entertainment poll, consumers were asked which modern classics they wanted to see included in a 4K gift set. Out of more than 30,000 responses, A League of Their Own and Jerry Maguire were picked as No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

‘Elvira: Mistress of the Dark,’ ‘Sixteen Candles’ Among Titles Coming to Blu-ray From Arrow and MVD in April

Beyond the Door, Sixteen Candles, Why Don’t You Just Die!, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and The Wind are coming to Blu-ray from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group in April.

Due on April 7 is Beyond the Door (1974), Ovidio G. Assonitis’ play on The Exorcist. Juliet Mills stars as a young pregnant housewife from San Francisco that becomes possessed by a demonic being. Limited to just 3,000 copies, this release includes the uncut English export version, Devil Within Her, as well as Italy Possessed, a brand-new documentary on Italian exorcism films.

April 14 comes the John Hughes classic Sixteen Candles (1984), starring Molly Ringwald. Arrow presents the film with a brand-new restoration from a 4K scan of the original camera negative. The release will also include both the theatrical and extended versions of the film and a collection of new and archived bonus features.

On April 21, Arrow will bow Why Don’t You Just Die!  (2018). The horror-comedy hybrid and feature debut from writer/director Kirill Sokolov is a tale of bloody mayhem that puts a group of terrible people in one room together and unleashes them.

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Coming April 28 is Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988). The queen of horror makes her feature film debut as she travels to Massachusetts to claim an inheritance after quitting her job. The release features a brand-new 4K restoration scanned from the original film elements.

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Also due April 28 is The Wind (1986), making its worldwide Blu-ray debut. Written and directed by cult icon Nico Mastorakis (Island of DeathThe Zero Boys), this slasher is the story of a Los Angeles novelist that travels to remote Greek island in search of isolation to write her newest book. There she witnesses a murder and becomes the killer’s next target during a windy night. The film’s score was composed by Hans Zimmer and Stanley Myers.

Disney to Furlough Non-Essential Employees Beginning April 19

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, The Walt Disney Co. will start furloughing non-essential U.S. employees April 19, the company announced.

Disney committed to full pay and benefits for all employees through April 18.

“With no clear indication of when we can restart our businesses, we’re forced to make the difficult decision to take the next step and furlough employees whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time,” a Disney representative said in a statement.

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Furloughed workers will remain Disney employees through the furlough period and will receive full healthcare benefits with Disney will paying the cost of premiums.

Disney did not report the number of employees that would be affected.

Report: Disney+ Tops App Download Chart in U.S., Netflix Globally in 2020

Disney+, which launched Nov. 12 in the United States, posted the top number of app downloads domestically while Netflix was No. 1 in app downloads globally in the first three months of 2020.

That’s according to a study by Apptopia and Braze.

Disney+ scored 14.1 million app downloads domestically while No. 2 Netflix tallied 11.9 million and No. 3 Hulu racked up 8.1 million. Globally, Netflix with 59.1 million downloads was followed by YouTube with 39.4 million and Amazon Prime Video with 27.1 million. In Europe, Netflix also ruled with 14 million downloads, followed by Amazon Prime Video with 6.6 million and YouTube with 5.8 million.

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As far as the top streaming apps by time spent in the app, YouTube Kids ruled everywhere — globally, in Europe and domestically. Coming in at No. 2 in all territories was Netflix with YouTube at No. 3. Amazon Prime Video was No. 4 globally and in Europe, while Disney+ landed at No. 4 domestically, No. 6 globally and No. 7 in Europe.

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As the coronavirus pandemic hit, March saw a 30.7% increase in streaming sessions, according to the report.

Doc ‘Refugee’ Coming to Digital April 14 From Virgil

Virgil Films will release the documentary Refugee April 14 on digital and VOD.

From the executive producer of Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, Refugee is a harrowing account of Europe’s migrant crisis. It follows a family of Syrian refugees separated by the borders of Europe who fight to be reunited as they migrate from Syria to Germany.

In 2015, at the height of the Syrian war, Raf’aa, a Syrian mother, was forced to make the ultimate sacrifice. With her husband Nazem in the hospital, and the bombs getting closer to Qamilshi, she fled Syria to find asylum for her family, leaving Nazem and their two children Ahmed and Hamoudi behind. They had hoped to reunite in Europe within a few weeks, but by the time Nazem and the children left, it was too late. The political climate had changed and the borders to Europe were closed. Safe in Germany, Raf’aa is traumatized by what she witnessed on her journey and prays her children have not endured the same. Meanwhile 2,000 miles away, Nazem and her children live through their own nightmare in one of the worst refugee camps in Europe. Over the next 18 months, viewers witness a testament to the human spirit as the family fights to be reunited and how a father shields his children from what it means to be a refugee.

Refugee from Virgil Films on Vimeo.

 

Universal Launches Free YouTube Channel ‘The Shows Must Go On’ Featuring Musical Theater

Universal Pictures on April 2 announced the new “The Shows Must Go On” YouTube Channel, providing live theater fans with a West End and Broadway experience in their own homes online for free.

Starting April 3, the channel will make available a selection of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals, launching with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. The 2000 adaptation, inspired by the West End production, stars Donny Osmond, Maria Friedman, Richard Attenborough and Joan Collins.

Each show will be available weekly at 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST for a limited 48-hour period online.

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On Good Friday, April 10, the channel will bow a second production, Jesus Christ Superstar (2012), the arena production starring Tim Minchin, Melanie C and Chris Moyles.

Further shows will be announced at a later date.

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Alongside full-length shows, clips of famous performances and behind-the-scenes footage will be uploaded regularly to the channel.

For fans who wish to make a charitable donation, a variety of organizations will be listed on the channel videos, including Acting for Others, Broadway Cares and Actors Benevolent Fund.

The initiative comes from the Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Content Group, a London-based “repertoire centre” of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment that acquires and produces multi-genre entertainment for distribution across theatrical, home entertainment, television and digital platforms on a worldwide basis.

T-Mobile Offering Customers Free Quibi Subscription

T-Mobile is offering customers a free subscription to short-content streaming service Quibi via the promotion “Quibi on Us” when the service launches on April 6.

Quibi, led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, delivers content designed specifically for smartphones. All Quibi videos are 10 minutes or less and feature such stars as Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen, Liam Hemsworth and Reese Witherspoon.

Via the exclusive deal with Quibi, T-Mobile customers with two or more voice lines at standard rates on Magenta and ONE plans with taxes and fees included — along with discounted First Responder, Military and Magenta Plus 55 plans — or small business customers with up to 12 lines, can get Quibi (regularly $4.99) added to their plan at no extra cost. Customers can sign up between now and July 7 to get “Quibi on Us” by going to mytmobile.com or the T-Mobile app for iOS or Android beginning April 6. Until April 3, T-Mobile customers can sign up in the T-Mobile Tuesdays app or online for access to three bonus episodes of Jennifer Lopez’ “Thanks a Million” on April 6.

After a full year of “Quibi on Us” and “Netflix on Us,” a promotion that offers SVOD service Netflix at no cost, Un-carrier customers can choose to continue with one or the other.

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“T-Mobile customers have always been ahead of the curve — streaming more data, watching more mobile video — so when we first heard about Quibi, we knew our customers would love it,” said Mike Sievert, president and CEO of T-Mobile, in a statement. “And, with more of us staying home right now, Quibi’s never been more needed. It comes on the scene with a totally different experience, made for mobile, quick to watch and as entertaining as anything you’ve ever seen.”

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“Quibi and T-Mobile are a perfect match — we’re both changing our industries by giving our customers what they want in truly unique and innovative ways,” said Meg Whitman, CEO of Quibi, in a statement. “And, since Quibi is built for an optimal mobile experience, we chose T-Mobile as our exclusive wireless launch partner. With the only nationwide 5G network, T-Mobile was the obvious choice for our customers.”

More than 85% of mobile video streamed on T-Mobile’s network is short-form content, according to the company.

FandangoNow Offering Digital Rental Preorders on ‘Trolls World Tour’ With Additional Discount on Other DreamWorks Titles

FandangoNow, the transactional video-on-demand service from Fandango, is for the first time offering preorders for digital rental of Trolls World Tour, debuting digitally April 10.

Also, those who preorder the rental of the film can rent or buy a number of DreamWorks Animation films available on FandangoNow at 50% off the regular price, including the original Trolls. The preorder offer is valid until April 9, and those who preorder the title can enjoy the DreamWorks Animation film discounts through April 17.

“We’re looking forward to working together with DreamWorks Animation on this first-of-its-kind event where housebound film fans can gather around the couch for the highly-anticipated debut of a new movie directly from the studio,” said Cameron Douglas, head of FandangoNow, in a statement. “We’re also pleased to offer an extra incentive where families can watch as many DreamWorks Animation movies available on FandangoNow as they like at a major discount, while getting ready for the April 10 home debut of Trolls World Tour.”

Trolls World Tour, the sequel to 2016’s Trolls, features the return of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, James Corden and many more in their original roles. Fans can find an exclusive clip here.

‘Bush: Live in Tampa’ Due April 24 in Blu-ray-DVD-CD Combo Pack From MVD

The concert film Bush: Live in Tampa will come out in a special edition package that includes a Blu-ray Disc, DVD and audio CD from MVD Entertainment Group and Cleopatra Entertainment.

Led by guitarist/vocalist Gavin Rossdale, alt rockers Bush were the first post-Nirvana British band to hit it big in America.

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Performing to a sold-out crowd of 10,000 diehard fans at the MidFlorida Amphitheater in Tampa during their 2019 Altimate Tour, Bush put on a 90-minute concert that was filmed in 4K UHD with 15 cameras to capture the show from every angle. Produced by award-winning producer Barry Summers of Rock Fuel Media, the concert features the band’s biggest hits including “Machinehead,” “Glycerine,” “Comedown,” “Swallowed,” “Everything Zen” and their newest hit song “Bullet Holes” from the John Wick 3 soundtrack.

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Other tracks include “The Chemicals Between Us,” “This Is War,” “The Sound of Water,” “Body,” “The Disease of Dancing Cats” and “Little Things.”