Cult Video Game Movie ‘Double Dragon’ Due Jan. 22 from MVD’s Rewind Collection

Double Dragon, the cult classic 1994 movie based on the video game hit, is smashing its way to Blu-ray and DVD combo pack Jan. 22 in MVD Entertainment Group’s “Rewind Collection.”

It’s the year 2007, and what remains of Los Angeles is now New Angeles, a city ravaged by earthquakes, tidal waves and vicious gangs. The evil tycoon Koga Shuko (Robert Patrick, Terminator 2: Judgment Day) is obsessed with finding the two halves of a talisman known as the “Double Dragon,” which will give him mystical powers. Two teenaged brothers, Jimmy (Mark Dacascos, John Wick 3) and Billy Lee (Scott Wolf, “Party of Five”) find themselves in possession of the amulet’s missing half, thrusting them into the adventure of their lives. With the help of Maria (Alyssa Milano, “Charmed”) and her vigilante group the Power Corps, Jimmy and Billy must summon all of their courage, resourcefulness and martial-arts skills to stop the villain’s malevolent plan.

Double Dragon was arguably one of my favorite projects for the Rewind Collection,” said MVD’s Eric Wilkinson, who oversees the collection, in a statement. “This release marks the first time Double Dragon will be available on Blu-ray and in HD in North America. Special features producer Richard Schenkman and I worked tirelessly to create some amazing brand-new bonus material that includes a feature length making-of documentary that I know collectors will love. With these new bonus features, along with some great archival bonus material and the addition of the pilot of the ‘Double Dragon’ animated television series (courtesy of Invincible Entertainment), MVD is proud to present the definitive edition of Double Dragon in a kick-ass (pun intended) Blu-ray plus DVD combo pack collector’s set.”

Bonus features include the new featurette “The Making of Double Dragon,” featuring interviews with stars Scott Wolf and Marc Dacascos, writers Peter Gould and Michael Davis, and producer Don Murphy; the new featurette “Don Murphy: Portrait of a Producer”; an archival making-of featurette; a behind-the-scenes featurette; the 1993 “Double Dragon” animated series pilot episode “The Shadow Falls”; a storyboard gallery; press photos, marketing and behind-the-scenes photo galleries; TV spots; a VHS home video trailer; the original theatrical trailer; a collectible mini-poster; and a reversible sleeve featuring alternate artwork.

Series Finale of ‘A Chef’s Life,’ Season One of ‘Poetry in America’ Coming to DVD and Digital Jan. 8 From PBS

Two explorations of American culture, the series finale of “A Chef’s Life” and season one of “Poetry in America” will come out on DVD and digital Jan. 8 from PBS Distribution.

“A Chef’s Life” has taken viewers on a journey to meet unsung farmers, home cooks and chefs, and elevate quintessential Southern dishes to new modern classics. After five seasons of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series, only a handful of dishes remain on host and author Vivian Howard’s bucket list. She tackles them all with the help of some friends in this series finale, The Final Harvest, which features some of the show’s most beloved personalities along with memorable flashbacks. Howard’s parents, Mrs. Scarlett and Mr. John, share intimate moments and reveal how their daughter’s success has changed their family. Her husband describes the impact of the series on his family and community.

“Poetry in America” gathers personalities from all walks of life to interpret, explore, and debate 12 American poems. Show host and Harvard professor Elisa New meets with athletes, poets, politicians, musicians, architects, scientists, actors and entrepreneurs to experience and share the power of poetry. Season one follows Carl Sandburg to Chicago and Emily Dickinson to Amherst. Along the way notable personalities such as actor Cynthia Nixon, former Vice President Joe Biden and architect Frank Gehry share their reflections on poems from Gwendolyn Brooks to Allen Ginsberg to Nas. Highlights include sports superstar Shaquille O’Neal reading “Fast Break” by Edward Hirsch and musician Herbie Hancock and former President Bill Clinton sharing their thoughts on Langston Hughes’ “Harlem.” The 12 American poems explored in season one are are “I cannot dance upon my toes” by Emily Dickinson, “Fast Break” by Edward Hirsch, “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden, “Hymmnn and Hum Bom!” by Allen Ginsberg, “Skyscraper” by Carl Sandburg, “Harlem” by Langston Hughes, “Musée des Beaux Arts” by W.H. Auden, “Shirt” by Robert Pinsky, “To Prisoners” by Gwendolyn Brooks, “The Gray Heron” by Galway Kinnell, “N.Y State of Mind” by Nas and “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus.

ACM Films and Kandoo Films Join Allied Vaughn MOD Service

ACM Films and Kandoo Films have joined Allied Vaughn’s manufacture-on-demand disc service.

Established in 1992 by Oscar nominated and Emmy Award-winning producer Howard Barish, Kandoo Films is a Los Angeles-based production company that specializes in creating independent feature films, documentaries, and promotional and digital content for television and film. Available now on DVD and Blu-ray MOD from Kandoo is Hospitality, in which a former prostitute (Emmanuelle Chriqui) with a checkered past must protect her son (Conner McVicker) when an ex-con (Sam Trammell) recently released from prison, a crooked cop (JR Bourne) and a thug (Jim Beaver) bring trouble to her isolated bed and breakfast.

ACM Films is an American production company founded in 2016 by Alexander C. Magaña, based in Los Angeles. Available now on DVD and Blu-ray MOD from ACM is Slapped! The Movie, about two friends who are opposites and switch bodies after a strange encounter with a magical bum.

‘Suspiria’ Remake Due on Digital Jan. 15, Disc Jan. 29 From Lionsgate

Luca Gudagnino’s re-imagining of Dario Argento’s 1977 horror cult classic Suspiria arrives on digital Jan. 15 and Blu-ray (plus digital) Jan. 29 from Lionsgate.

Starring Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth and Chloë Grace Moretz, Guadagnino’s directorial follow-up to his Oscar-winning Call Me by Your Name (Best Adapted Screenplay, 2017) follows young American dancer Susie Bannion, who arrives in 1970s Berlin to audition for the world-renowned Helena Markos Dance Company and stuns the troupe’s famed choreographer, Madame Blanc. When she vaults to the role of lead dancer, Olga, the previous lead, breaks down and accuses the company’s female directors of being witches.

Special features on Blu-ray and digital include the featurettes “The Making of Suspiria,” “The Secret Language of Dance,” and “The Transformations of Suspiria.”

Fox Innovation Lab Releases 5G Study on U.S. Open Trial

The Fox Innovation Lab has released a 5G study with Fox Sports, Intel, AT&T and Ericsson, highlighting the project at this year’s U.S. Open Golf Championship.

5G is the next-generation mobile technology.

The study, “5G at the U.S. Open: Live Streaming Without the Handicap,” outlines the results of the companies’ trial in June to put 5G to the test, streaming 4K video to Fox Sports national broadcast. The study reveals how the companies were able to deliver higher amounts of data with no delay and remove the cost of running fiber around the Shinnecock Hills golf course and reduce personnel and equipment needed on site. The study also showed the process could improve backhaul transmission costs to the distribution center. 

“While this was a fairly simple trial, it indicated that 5G is a technology that could drive the savings of millions of dollars over the course of a production year in terms of fiber deployment and backhaul transmission, after it is fully deployed over multiple types of sports broadcasts,” stated Mike Davies, FOX Sports SVP of technical and field operations, in the report. 

“From the Lab to on-location, we worked with our partners to integrate the capabilities of 5G into the workflow of a large-scale sports production, resulting in performance learnings that inform future, more complex use cases,” stated Danny Kaye, EVP of 20th Century Fox and managing director of the Fox Innovation Lab.

Season One of “Frankie Drake Mysteries” Due on DVD Jan. 8 From PBS

The first season of the female-driven crime mystery series “Frankie Drake Mysteries” will be released on DVD Jan. 8.

The series premiered digitally on Prime Video Channels and PBS Passport.

Set against a backdrop of social change, radical politics and jazz music, the series follows Toronto’s only female private detective Frankie Drake (Lauren Lee Smith) in the 1920s as she takes on the cases the police don’t want or can’t handle. Her gender is her biggest advantage. Along with her partner Trudy (Chantel Riley), Frankie and the Drake Detective Agency take on cases of all shapes and sizes, from airplanes and booze running to American G-men, Communists and union busters.

‘Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3’ Game Coming Exclusively to Nintendo Switch

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is heading exclusively to the Nintendo Switch video game system, Nintendo announced.

Nintendo made the announcement with a trailer shown during The Game Awards in Los Angeles.

The game brings together superheroes and villains from across the Marvel Universe to battle for the limitless power of the Infinity Gauntlet, one Stone at a time. The team of characters must use their superpowers to defeat the mad cosmic tyrant Thanos and his ruthless warmasters, The Black Order. The game will feature an original story and a playable cast of dozens of Marvel superheroes, including the Avengers, the X-Men, and — for the first time in series history — the Guardians of the Galaxy, according to the Nintendo release.

Up to four players can drop in for co-op battles in a variety of ways: They can play online (through a Nintendo account), link up offline via local wireless or pass a Joy-Con controller to a friend to join the team, according to Nintendo. With another pair of Joy-Con (sold separately), four players can team up on one system. In addition to the series’ traditional perspective, the new entry will let players select a dynamic, zoomed-in heroic view, allowing for a more immersive play style for single-player or multiplayer when using multiple systems.

“As longtime fans of the franchise, we could not be prouder and more excited to bring back Ultimate Alliance with its biggest game yet,” said Mike Jones, VP and executive producer, Marvel Games, in a statement. “Marvel Ultimate Alliance is all about teaming up with your friends and creating your own ‘dream team’ of superheroes to go on adventures across the Marvel Universe, and Nintendo Switch is perfect for delivering on that promise of cooperative gameplay and shared experiences.”

“The Marvel Ultimate Alliance games have been beloved by fans for more than a decade, and this new installment on Nintendo Switch will deliver even more of the thrills and heroics that the franchise is known for,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s SVP of sales and marketing, in a statement. “Thanks to our partnership with Marvel, the fate of the Marvel Universe will literally be in the hands of Nintendo Switch players, whether they’re at home or on the go.”

Additional details about the game will be announced in the future, according to Nintendo.

Hulu First SVOD Service to Offer Payment through Venmo

Hulu announced it is the first streaming service to offer payment through the peer-to-peer app Venmo.

“At Hulu, we want to bring our viewers choice and flexibility, in as many ways as possible,” read a company statement. “From infusing our product with your favorite features like Night Mode on Web to supporting all the devices that matter most to you, we constantly strive to make it easy for you to stream, any way you want. And that includes how you want to pay for your Hulu subscription.

“That’s why we’ve partnered with Venmo, the app you love to use to send money, to bring you a new way to pay for your Hulu subscription.”

Beginning Dec. 6, Hulu subscribers with a Venmo account were able to sign up for a new Hulu account and pay with the peer-to-peer app.

“Pay with Venmo in just a few clicks — no need to pull out your credit card and type in your card number,” read the Hulu statement. “Just use your mobile Web browser to sign up for Hulu and select Venmo as your payment option. From there, your Venmo balance or linked payment method will be used for your monthly recurring subscription.”

Existing Hulu subscribers will soon be able to switch payment preferences to Venmo, too, according to the company.

Cinedigm to Launch Service for OTT Operators and Content Distributors

Cinedigm is planning to launch matchpoint, a managed-service technology platform that “enables content distributors, OTT service operators, web publishers, and OEMs to efficiently and cost-effectively create compelling OTT and media subscription services,” according to a company press release.

The service will be offered at “competitive pricing to suit the unique needs of potential customers,” and will be available for preview at the upcoming CES in Las Vegas at the Mirage Hotel from January 8-11, according to the company.

Features of the platform include OTT applications; support for mixed-media content types, including music, streaming audio, linear video channels, podcasts, audiobooks, eBooks, digital comics and magazines; support for third-party distribution, offering distribution channels into third-party ecosystems such as Amazon Channels and virtual MVPDs; and systems analytics, detailing  content consumption and content performance analysis, subscriber growth management along with churn prediction and cohort analysis, marketing performance and attribution management, user engagement and user retention tracking, territorial and device penetration analysis, ad fill rates and ad performance monitoring, customer service and ticket management, and quality of service monitoring.

In development for more than four years, matchpoint serves as the platform for the management and operation of Cinedigm’s portfolio of OTT channels. The company recently utilized the matchpoint Dispatch distribution module to automate the delivery of more than 5,000 hours of digital programming to third-party partners, including the launch of Dove Channel on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 platform, which resulted in a 93% cost savings and completion of delivery in less than a third of the time it would have taken with third-party vendors, according to the release.

“From the rise of third-party distribution to the evolving needs of consumers, the OTT space looks very different than it did three years ago,” said Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Networks, in a statement. “However, most vendors have not been able to keep pace with these innovative developments. We created the matchpoint platform to address the key challenge facing the OTT space — creating a product that is cost effective and at the same time efficient in delivering great content experiences globally on any platform — be it an app, virtual vMVPD, or third-party ecosystem.

“With the introduction of matchpoint, we are now able to more effectively and easily meet the growing demands of the OTT business. Additionally, we have significantly decreased our time-to-market output, while reducing the many challenges that arise with the digital distribution of multiple types of media through automation — providing fast deployment and extensive support for a wide variety of media and mediums.”

The service will be commercially available to customers beginning in fiscal Q1 2019, according to the release.

 

Research: Number of Global UHD TV Homes Passes 200 Million

The number of homes worldwide using an Ultra HD TV has now passed the 200 million mark, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics’ Connected Home Devices service.

The report, 4K and 8K Ultra HDTV Global Market Forecast, predicts that 222 million homes will own an Ultra HD TV by the end of 2018, an increase of nearly 50% over the past twelve months. The report also forecasts that more than 600 million homes will own an Ultra HD TV by 2023. The vast majority of these homes will have a 4K display — only 3% of Ultra HD TVs in use will be 8K-ready by this time.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • North America will continue to lead in adoption of Ultra HD TVs, with 71% of homes owning one by 2023;
  • The largest market in terms of annual sales of Ultra HD TVs is the Asia Pacific region, where they will reach nearly 46 million units this year;
  • Sales of 8K Ultra HDTVs will reach more than 400,000 units in 2019 and more than 11 million by 2023, which will represent a 6% share of the total Ultra HD TV market; and
  • By 2023 3.9% of Ultra HDTV homes in North America will own 8K displays, compared to 4.1% in Asia Pacific and 1.7% in Western Europe.

“The success of Ultra HDTV has been driven by technology adoption rather than content and services,” said David Mercer, principal analyst and the report’s author, in a statement. “4K video and TV services are now becoming more widely available, meeting the expectations of 4K Ultra HDTV owners for the best quality TV experience. But our expectations for 8K services should be cautious: while Japan has now launched 8K TV in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the rest of the world will be slower to follow suit, given that the number of homes with 8K-ready TVs will remain low until the mid 2020s.”

“Owners of 8K TVs will primarily be watching 4K and HD content, while the TV’s image processors will do a good job of scaling most content to give impressive images,” said David Watkins, director at Strategy Analytics, in a statement. “Amidst the excitement surrounding 8K TVs, it is important to remember that image resolution, whether native or otherwise, is only one element in perceived video quality, and TV vendors and content players alike should not lose focus on other important drivers of consumer satisfaction, such as High Dynamic Range (HDR) and High Frame Rate (HFR).”