Let’s Give Home Entertainment Teams the Respect They Deserve

One of the more disturbing trends in Hollywood is that while home entertainment teams played a key role in keeping the studios afloat during the height of the pandemic, they are now the target of consolidations and restructurings as studios seek to balance the books at a time when the theatrical business is just beginning to come back.

What does it mean when we hear that studios are “merging” their home entertainment and theatrical teams? Invariably, it’s the home entertainment staffers who are shown the door.

Don’t get me wrong – I get that consolidations and restructurings are good business in these challenging times. Hollywood took a huge hit last year when movie theaters were shut down, virtually overnight, and while PVOD has certainly proven itself a life saver the revenues from movies premiering at home are hardly enough to make up for the millions of dollars in lost theatrical revenue. We also have talented theatrical marketers who all of a sudden found themselves with little to do.

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But can’t there be some sort of balance? Why is that home entertainment teams are taking the biggest, and sometimes the only, hit?

I think part of it is that traditionally, theatrical has been seen as the ‘A’ team. But as loathe as I am to resort to tired clichés, that’s akin to comparing apples with oranges. Home entertainment is a completely different ballgame. It’s not a bunch of minor leaguers, hoping to break into the majors. It’s more like the difference between Broadway and Hollywood, between stage and screen — two very different business models, two very different skill sets.

But then again, home entertainment has never gotten the respect it deserves. Forty years ago, when the business was birthed, studios were hoping to sell their movies to consumers. But when enterprising retailers bought movies on videocassette and began renting them, instead, Hollywood had a cow. Studios began suing retailers, their best customers, and it was only when the high court invoked the First Sale Doctrine, effectively allowing rentals, that grudging acceptance set in.

Studios began hiring dedicated “home video” executives, mostly from the consumer packaged goods side of the business. One prominent studio home video president had been a refrigerator salesman. As the business grew, the home video business generated more and more money for the studios – as well as incredible ingenuity, such as Disney’s moratorium strategy and the Warner-led push toward revenue-sharing. And yet the segment’s leaders were still looked upon as second-class citizens several rungs down the ladder from the vaunted theatrical executives who ran the studios.

DVD brought a new level of respect to home entertainment. The new format, which shifted consumer habits from renting movies to buying them, brought in so much cash that home entertainment executives were even given a seat at the greenlighting table, particularly after home video revenues in 2001 for the first time ever exceeded theatrical revenues.

But when disc sales leveled off in the middle 2000s and attempts to launch a next-generation successor to DVD were bungled by a format war, home entertainment executives slowly began to be pushed out of the boardroom and into the backroom.

In the meantime, the caliber of home entertainment executives had improved significantly. When disc sales began to decline, home entertainment marketers refused to accept defeat. They jumped on the nascent EST model and came up with all sorts of clever tactics, including early windows, to grow the business. They adopted all the latest technologies, from data analytics to VR and AR, to promote new home entertainment releases. And when streaming began to take off — in part due to an early misstep in which studios sold or licensed their catalogs to Netflix — executives on the transactional side of the home entertainment business rallied. They did what they could to capitalize on their strengths, from forging new distribution deals — such as the Warner-Universal joint venture for physical product, and Lionsgate’s new deal with Sony Pictures — to issuing popular streaming series on disc, riding SVOD awareness much like theatrical awareness.

When the pandemic hit and the theatrical business effectively ended, home entertainment teams swooped in to save the day. They began mining catalogs for anniversary and seasonal reissues. They stepped up 4K Ultra HD release schedules. They were PVOD first responders, pivoting on short notice and essentially launching a brand-new business until their theatrical counterparts could take over.  And they perfected the art of out-of-the-box thinking, taking creativity and ingenuity to new heights. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment launched a Twitter catalog watch-party series, which spotlighted several library classics and anniversary releases. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment also held social media watch-alongs, hosted by film talent and encouraging viewers to post reactions in real time on their social media accounts. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment held a virtual fan event celebrating all the superheroes and super villains in the DC Multiverse and featuring panels with talent and filmmakers, displays of cosplay and fan art, and more. Lionsgate struck a series of promotional partnerships with digital retailers, including a “Best of Lionsgate” catalog promotion with Microsoft Movies & TV that led to a triple-digit lift in sales. And Paramount Home Entertainment marketers worked in tandem with digital retailers such as FandangoNow and Vudu to create curated promotions marketed primarily through Instagram and other social media channels. Home entertainment teams also worked tirelessly to create theatrical-style campaigns for PVOD releases such as Love and Monsters and Spell, including virtual junkets, New York Comic-Con panels and more.

As Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos himself said in a Feb. 26 memo announcing big cuts to the studio’s home entertainment marketing team, “Many of the employees impacted by this restructuring have been part of the home entertainment division for many years. Throughout those years, they have shown enormous resilience and adaptability as the marketplace shifted from physical to digital formats.  Particularly, as we’ve faced the unique challenges of the last 12 months, the home entertainment teams have been absolutely instrumental in the continued success of the company, demonstrating incredible dedication, commitment and agility in the face of enormous and unforeseen hurdles….”

“Absolutely instrumental,” and, yet, ultimately expendable. I’m not trying to step on anyone’s toes here, and I’m certainly not trying to tell the studios chiefs how to run their businesses. But somehow, this just doesn’t feel right.

Paramount Merger of Theatrical, Home Entertainment Marketing Teams Leads to 23 Staff Departures

Paramount Pictures is the latest studio to merge its theatrical and home entertainment marketing teams, a move that has led to the departure of 23 home entertainment marketing and distribution personnel, including marketing chief Vincent Marcais, longtime publicity head Brenda Ciccone, and Dina Marovich, SVP, worldwide media and interactive marketing.

Dina Marovich

Marcais was named EVP, worldwide marketing, for the studio’s home entertainment division in March 2018. Ciccone was appointed SVP, worldwide publicity and communications, Home Entertainment/TV Licensing, in March 2011, six years after she joined the studio as VP, publicity, for Paramount Home Entertainment. Marovich is a 15-year veteran of the studio and was promoted into her present role in 2011.

In a Feb. 26 memo obtained by Media Play News, Jim Gianopulos, chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, wrote that after an extensive review, “we have concluded that the best path forward for the company is for all home entertainment marketing functions, with the exceptions of brand marketing and customer marketing, to merge into the existing theatrical marketing departments.  As a result of this change, a total of 26 home entertainment marketing roles, including both staff and union positions, will merge into the theatrical marketing teams. Brand and customer marketing will be streamlined and realigned within the existing home entertainment structure.”

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Michele Bell

Michele Bell has been promoted to EVP, worldwide creative services and will report into the Theatrical Marketing division along with Leda Chang, VP, digital marketing, and Michele Rumain, VP, media.

Three other executives who previously reported to Marcais now report directly to Bob Buchi, president of worldwide home entertainment: Alanna Powers, SVP, new release and catalog brand marketing; Scott Klein, SVP, TV partners brand marketing; and Melinda Froelich, SVP, international marketing.

In addition to the 26 merged home entertainment roles, 23 home entertainment marketing positions are being eliminated, Gianopulos wrote.

“Many of the employees impacted by this restructuring have been part of the home entertainment division for many years,” he wrote in the memo. “Throughout those years, they have shown enormous resilience and adaptability as the marketplace shifted from physical to digital formats.  Particularly, as we’ve faced the unique challenges of the last 12 months, the home entertainment teams have been absolutely instrumental in the continued success of the company, demonstrating incredible dedication, commitment and agility in the face of enormous and unforeseen hurdles. We thank all of those affected by this restructuring for their indelible contributions and wish them continued success in their next chapters.”

Gianopulos wrote that the review was prompted by a changing business, with the objective of “achieving overhead savings, identifying opportunities to leverage centers of excellence, creating greater synergies between the divisions, streamlining processes in response to changing windows, and minimizing duplication of effort.”

Last August, Warner Bros. announced a similar restructuring that by the end of the year had seen the exit of such prominent and longtime executives as Ron Sanders, president of Warner Bros. worldwide theatrical distribution and president of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment; George Feltenstein, SVP of theatrical catalog marketing; Melissa Hufjay, VP of publicity for TV, animation and originals; Rosemary Markson, SVP of TV marketing; and Jay Reinbold, SVP of category management.

In October 2020, Sony Pictures Entertainment said it is combining marketing teams between theatrical, television and home entertainment distribution, leading to a staff reduction of about 35 personnel. Keith Le Goy, president of networks and distribution, and Josh Greenstein, president of the motion picture group, now jointly oversee studio marketing. Lexine Wong, senior EVP of worldwide marketing for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, became head of global multichannel distribution marketing, one of three executives managing Sony’s new U.S. marketing group, along with Paul Noble and Danielle Misher, co-heads of global theatrical marketing. All three report to Greenstein and Le Goy.

Then, in December, at Lionsgate, longtime home entertainment executive Ron Schwartz was promoted to lead worldwide distribution for all content in the company’s motion picture group. The promotion was part of the group restructuring into four verticals under chairman Joe Drake. The verticals are strategy and innovation, marketing, distribution, and content.

“Strengthening our company for the realities of a rapidly shifting marketplace has been priority one,” Drake said in a statement. “That transformation began well before this year, but the pandemic has accelerated these changes and spurred us to adapt and enhance our flexibility.”

Fry’s Electronics Shutters All Its Stores, Was Once a Top Blu-ray Disc, DVD Retailer

Fry’s Electronics, the big-box consumer electronics chain that for years was known for its large and eclectic Blu-ray Disc and DVD selection, on Feb. 24 announced it is closing all 31 of its stores.

The chain, which for at least two years has suffered inventory problems, with store shelves largely empty, made the announcement on its website.

“After nearly 36 years in business as the one-stop-shop and online resource for high-tech professionals across nine states and 31 stores, Fry’s Electronics Inc. has made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently as a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the  announcement read.

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“The company will implement the shut-down through an orderly wind-down process that it believes will be in the best interests of the company, its creditors, and other stakeholders. The company ceased regular operations and began the wind-down process on Feb. 24, 2021. It is hoped that undertaking the wind-down through this orderly process will reduce costs, avoid additional liabilities, minimize the impact on our customers, vendors, landlords and associates, and maximize the value of the company’s assets for its creditors and other stakeholders.”

Fry’s Electronics opened its first store in May 1985 in Sunnyvale, Calif., as an outgrowth of the Fry’s Supermarkets chain, which founder Charles Fry had sold in 1972 to Dillons. Years later, his three sons banded together to launch a consumer electronics retail operation, initially focused on computer hardware and software.

At its peak, the chain numbered 34 stores and had branched out into a wide range of consumer electronics, including appliances and cameras. In the early 2000s Fry’s became a leading retailer of DVDs and then Blu-ray Discs, going deep into niche categories such as anime that the chain’s buyers believed would appeal to the stores’ core techie shoppers.

Fry’s Electronics stores were known for their themes. The Burbank, Calif. store had a kitschy space age theme, while the Fry’s store in San Jose paid homage to the Mayans and the Sunnyvale store focused on the history of Silicon Valley.

By 2019 customers noticed stores shelves were increasingly barren. The San Jose Mercury News devoted a lengthy article to Fry’s plight in September 2019, observing that “as customers of Fry’s Electronics wonder why the stores’ shelves are so bare and speculate that the company is in trouble, the electronics chain says it’s making some changes but that it is not closing…. Some Fry’s customers on Twitter are wondering whether the company is going out of business because it’s so easy to order stuff from Amazon. Others are speculating the dearth of goods may have something to do with President Donald Trump’s tariff war with China…. In response to inquiries by this news organization, a spokesman for the San Jose-based retailer said Tuesday that the company is ‘converting most of its suppliers to consignment,’ and that its shelves will be restocked over the next few weeks.”

Looking Back: 2006, a ‘Transformative Year’ in Home Entertainment

Fifteen years ago, the home entertainment industry was virtually unrecognizable from what it is today. Netflix was a small player, renting DVDs by mail. The explosive growth of DVD had slowed and studio executives were grappling with a brewing format war between two high-definition discs, Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD, both debuting in summer. The 25th annual home video convention touched down in Las Vegas for the third-to-the-last time, and a front-page story in Home Media Magazine said the business was “at a transformative moment.” The home entertainment business, the story said, was taking twin paths: “packaged media, with two next-generation formats on the market, and digital downloading, which has given birth to a new business model: EST, or electronic sellthrough.” Streaming wasn’t yet in anyone’s vocabulary.

(This is the first in an occasional series.)

‘Croods’ Sequel Debuts on Disc; Other Top New Releases Include ‘Redemption Day,’ ‘The Last Vermeer’

DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age, distributed by Universal Pictures, the Paramount Pictures action thriller Redemption Day, and the World War II drama The Last Vermeer, from Sony Pictures, top the slate of new releases available for home viewing beginning Feb. 23.

Also newly available for home audiences are the documentary 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story, from Virgil Films; the remake of the horror classic Wrong Turn, from Lionsgate; and the 1972 biopic The Lady Sings the Blues, which Paramount is releasing for the first time on Blu-ray Disc.

The Croods: A New Age arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Feb. 23 while it continues to top the domestic box office. The animated film was made available for digital sellthrough Feb. 9. It was released Nov. 25 in U.S. theaters and topped the weekend box office for three straight weeks before becoming available through premium VOD Dec. 18, then returned to the top of the box office charts earlier this month.

A computer-animated sequel to 2013’s The CroodsA New Age features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds and Peter Dinklage, and deals with the caveman Crood family encountering the more civilized Bettermans.

Redemption Day arrives on DVD Feb. 23 after showing in select theaters and an earlier release through digital retailers and on demand. In the film, having just returned home, decorated U.S. Marine Captain Brad Paxton (Gary Dourdan) finds his wife Katie kidnapped by a terrorist group while working in Morocco. He is forced back into action for a daring and deadly operation to save the women he loves. The film also stars Serinda Swan, Martin Donovan, Ernie Hudson, Sami Naceri and Andy Garcia.

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The Last Vermeer becomes available Feb. 23 on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and through digital retailers. Based on the book The Man Who Made Vermeers by Jonathan Lopez, the film follows a Dutch Jew fighting in the Resistance who after the war winds up identifying and redistributing stolen art — and fighting to save the life of a flamboyant art dealer.

Lionsgate’s Wrong Turn also arrives Feb. 23 on Blu-ray Disc (plus digital) and DVD. The reboot of the franchise is executive produced by Martin Moszkowicz (Resident Evil franchise), Bill Bromiley (3 From HellWe Summon the Darkness) and Jonathan Saba (The VanishedHangman), and stars Matthew Modine, Emma Dumont, Charlotte Vega, Daisy Head and Bill Sage.

The documentary 7 Yards: The Chris Norton Story  will come out on DVD and digital Feb. 23 from Virgil Films. 7 Yards is a feature-length film that explores the resilience and perspective of Chris Norton, a promising college football star who in 2010, at the age of 18, suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury. Doctors gave him just a 3% chance to ever move again, but he defied that diagnosis. After years of physical therapy and training, Norton and his story went viral in 2015 when he successfully walked across the college graduation stage with the help of his fiancée Emily. Video of Norton walking to get his diploma touched the world, and it received more than 300 million views. Soon after, Chris and Emily set an ambitious new goal: walk seven yards side-by-side down the wedding aisle.

Lady Sings the Blues stars Diana Ross as singer Billie Holiday. The drama was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Actress in a Leading Role for Ross. The late comedian Richard Pryor also stars as the unforgettable Piano Man.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

PVOD, TVOD, Here I Come!

This month’s cover story in the February 2021 issue of Media Play News could’ve been written about me. I love movies. I’m prone to binge-watching episodic series. And I enjoy weird documentaries and concert videos.

Since I tend to be a Type A control freak, I like to be in charge of what I watch and when I watch it. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone that I haven’t watched any broadcast TV at all since Election Night last November.

I also enjoy going to the movies, mostly for the thrill of watching something new, something fresh, something most people haven’t seen yet. So when theaters were shuttered — and here in California, they’re still dark — I jumped at the chance to watch new movies in my family room, even if it would set me back $20. Being a man of a certain age, I passed on Trolls World Tour, but the lure of Scoob! and childhood memories of my Saturday morning cartoon marathons made the Warner release my very first PVOD purchase. I wasn’t disappointed, and since then I’ve probably watched at least a half dozen other premium VOD releases – drawn, again, by the thrill of being among the first to see it.

At the same time, I’ve been buying and renting much more frequently, both digitally and on disc. I’m as addicted to Netflix as the next guy, but maybe being in the industry makes me a little more aware than most people about all the great content I’m missing that’s not available on Netflix or the other streamers.

So during the past 11 months (has it really been almost a year?) of this never-ending COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve rented and bought dozens of movies, new and old, and at the same time made numerous trips to my DVD/Blu-ray Disc room to pull out favorites from my personal collection.

I just finished watching all six “Rocky” movies on Blu-ray Disc with my middle son. We tried starting the “Rambo” series, but the discs are damaged so I just placed an order for a new set of “Rambo” Blu-rays for $25.

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Before that, I had a nostalgic moment and pulled out my Incredible Mr. Limpet DVD, the first movie I saw in the theater.

My youngest son and I watched all six years of “The Sopranos” on Blu-ray Disc — his first time, and my third — and after that we went on a gangster movie binge. We watched the first two “Godfather” movies from my library, bought the new edit of the third film in the series, Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, on Blu-ray Disc from Amazon, and rented several other movies, including Goodfellas and Casino, digitally through Redbox On Demand.

My wife, meanwhile, raced through The Queen’s Gambit and “Designated Survivor” on Netflix and, before that, “Outlander” on Hulu.

I’ll join her, eventually, since there is an awful lot of great programming I’d like to get back to — including season 3 of “Ozark,” although by now it’s been so long I’ll probably have to watch the first two seasons again just to figure out what’s going on.

But until movie theaters reopen, I’m going to keep bringing the theater into my home.

‘Monster Hunter,’ ‘Horizon Line’ Top New Disc, Digital Releases Available Feb. 16

Monster Hunter, from Sony Pictures, and Universal Pictures’ Horizon Line top the slate of new releases available for home viewing beginning Feb. 16.

Also newly available for home audiences are several season sets of popular TV series, including “Lovecraft Country” and “Harley Quinn,” both from Warner Bros. — as well as several PBS programs.

Monster Hunter becomes available for digital sellthrough on Feb. 16, ahead of its March 2 release on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

The film, based on the video game franchise, stars Milla Jovovich as Capt. Artemis, whose unit is caught in a sandstorm that transports them to a world ruled by dangerous and powerful monsters. As they fight to survive, they encounter the mysterious Hunter (Tony Jaa), whose unique skills allow him to stay one step ahead of the powerful creatures. Also in the cast are Tip “T.I.” Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta, Josh Helman, Jin Au-Yeung and Ron Perlman.

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, Monster Hunter earned $11.1 million at the domestic box office.

Home video extras include deleted scenes and the featurettes “The Monster Hunters: Cast and Characters,” “Monstrous Arsenal: Weaponry in the Film” and “For the Players: From Game to Screen.”

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The thriller Horizon Line is being released Feb. 16 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD. The film was released earlier through digital retailers. Horizon Line follows a former couple, Sara (Allison Williams) and Jackson (Alexander Dreymon), as they board a single-engine plane for a quick flight to their friend’s wedding on a tropical island. When their pilot suffers a fatal heart attack, the two find themselves in a predicament, since neither knows how to fly, or land, a plane. Making things worse is an approaching storm.

Also out Feb. 16 are Lovecraft Country: The Complete First Season, on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and digital, and Harley Quinn: The Second Season, on DVD and digital. Warner Archive is making available a bundle of the first two “Harley Quinn” seasons on Blu-ray Disc.

“Lovecraft Country” is a drama series developed by Misha Green, based on Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel of the same name. It follows a young Black man who travels across the United States in the pre-Civil Rights movement 1950s in search of his father. He and his companions touch down in a small town fictionalized by famed horror writer H.P. Lovecraft as the setting for many of his dark stories. The series premiered in August 2020 on HBO.

“Harley Quinn” is an adult animated series based on the DC Comics character of the same name created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. The second season premiered in April 2020; a third season was greenlit last September and is bound for HBO Max.

Also available beginning Feb. 16 on DVD and through digital retailers are four new releases from PBS Distribution: American Masters: Laura Ingalls Wilder — Prairie to Page; Nova: Saving Notre Dame; Miss Scarlet & the Duke (Masterpiece Mystery); and Masterpiece: The Long Song.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Two Stars for Stars of ‘Love Story’ Upon 50th Anniversary ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray Disc Release

To celebrate the Feb. 9 Blu-ray Disc release of Love Story on the classic romance’s 50th anniversary, stars Ali MacGraw, 81, and Ryan O’Neal, 79, received stars on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, Calif. The  first-ever virtual double-star ceremony was held on Friday, Feb. 12. Love Story was released by Paramount Home Entertainment as part of the studio’s “Paramount Presents” line of collectable classics.

Newly restored from a 4K film transfer, the 1970 romance captures the highs and lows of young love in a film based on Erich Segal’s best-selling novel. Love Story was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and became a cultural phenomenon, earning more than $100 million at the domestic box office. In 2002, the AFI placed it at No. 9 on its list of the 100 greatest love stories of all time.

Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw both received Oscar nominations for their starring roles as Harvard students Oliver (O’Neal) and Jenny (MacGraw).

‘American Skin’ Again the Most-Watched Movie in Homes Last Week

With a scarcity of new releases, there were few changes to the weekly “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Feb. 6.

The Vertical Entertainment drama American Skin, about a Marine veteran who seeks justice when his son is killed by a police officer, finished in first place for the third consecutive week on the chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, but not premium VOD or disc rental) compiled from studio and retailer data and presented by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Universal’s Let Him Go shot up to No. 2 from No. 14 the prior week, fueled by its Feb. 2 release on Blu-ray Disc and DVD. Based on the novel of the same name by Larry Watson, the film stars Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as a husband and wife who, following the death of their son, leave their Montana ranch to trek through North Dakota to rescue their young grandson from the clutches of a ruthless family. The film earned $9.4 million in U.S. theaters and was released for digital sellthrough on Jan. 19.

Let Him Go displaced Warner Bros.’ Tenet from the No. 2 slot. The Christopher Nolan actioner slipped to No. 6.

Greenland, another STX Films release, switched spots with Universal’s Honest Thief to land at No. 3, with the latter slipping a spot to No. 4.

Once again rounding out the top 5 was Universal’s The War With Grandpa.

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Groundhog Day, the 1993 Bill Murray comedy about a man caught in a time loop who has to relive Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, over and over again, was the highest-charting new entry. The Sony Pictures release debuted at No. 7.

There is only one other new entry on the “Watched at Home” chart, Bleeker Street’s Wild Mountain Thyme, which bowed at No. 20. The film was released on DVD and through digital retailers Feb. 2 by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Wild Mountain Thyme, directed by John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck), follows headstrong farmer Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt), who has her heart set on winning her neighbor Anthony Reilly’s love. The problem is Anthony (Jamie Dornan) seems to have inherited a family curse and remains oblivious to his beautiful admirer. Stung by his father Tony Reilly’s (Christopher Walken) plans to sell the family farm to his American nephew (Jon Hamm), Anthony is jolted into pursuing his dreams in this comedic romantic tale.

  1. American Skin (Vertical Entertainment)
  2. Let Him Go (Universal)
  3. Greenland (STX)
  4. Honest Thief (Universal)
  5. The War with Grandpa (Universal)
  6. Tenet (Warner)
  7. Groundhog Day (Sony)
  8. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  9. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  10. Songbird (STX)
  11. Synchronic (Well Go)
  12. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  13. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  14. The Wolf of Wall Street (Paramount)
  15. Godzilla: King of the Monsters (Warner)
  16. Come Play (Universal)
  17. The Office: Complete Series (Universal)
  18. The Big Short (Paramount)
  19. 100% Wolf (Viva Pictures Distribution)
  20. Wild Mountain Thyme (Universal)


Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended Feb. 6.

‘Croods,’ ‘Freaky,’ ‘Greenland’ Top Slate of New Disc, Digital Releases Out Feb. 9

The Croods: The New Age, Freaky and Greenland, all from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, top the slate of new disc and digital releases available for home viewing beginning Feb. 9.

Also newly available for home audiences — with Valentine’s Day in mind — are two new entries in the acclaimed Paramount Presents line of movie classics, Love Story and Elizabethtown, as well as a Steelbook special edition of the horror classic My Bloody Valentine, from Shout! Factory.

The Croods: A New Age, the computer-animated sequel to 2013’s The Croods, both from DreamWorks Animation, becomes available Feb. 9 for digital purchase through digital retailers and cable operators, two weeks ahead of its Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD debut.

The film was released theatrically over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend and ultimately grossed $46 million domestically and $149 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. The Croods: A New Age was released as a premium video-on-demand (PVOD) 48-hour rental on Dec. 18.

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Freaky and Greenland are both arriving on disc Feb. 9, two weeks after they became available for purchase through digital retailers and cable operators.

Freaky is a horror film from Blumhouse that earned $15.2 million worldwide in theaters. The film — in which a teenage girl (played by Kathryn Newton) switches bodies with a relentless serial killer (Vince Vaughn) — was released as a premium VOD rental on Dec. 3, just 21 days after its theatrical bow.

The dystopian disaster film Greenland, from STX Films, was released as a PVOD rental on Dec. 18 and is slated to become available for streaming on HBO Max at some point in the first quarter of this year. In the meantime, it is available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Feb. 9.

The film follows a family fighting for survival as a planet-killing comet races to Earth. John Garrity (Gerard Butler), his estranged wife Allison (Morena Baccarin) and young son Nathan make a perilous journey to their only hope for sanctuary.

Also on Feb. 9, Paramount is adding the acclaimed classic Love Story and director Cameron Crowe’s romantic Elizabethtown to its vaunted “Paramount Presents” line, which now numbers 15 titles.

Love Story, starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw as two college students who remain lovers against all odds, has been newly restored from a 4K film transfer in time for its 50th anniversary. Based on Erich Segal’s best-selling novel, Love Story was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and became a cultural phenomenon, earning more than $100 million at the domestic box office. In 2002, the AFI placed it at No. 9 on its list of the 100 greatest love stories of all time.

The limited-edition Blu-ray includes the newly restored film; a new “Filmmaker Focus” with film historian Leonard Maltin; previously released content, including a commentary by director Arthur Hiller, an introduction by film critic Ben Mankiewicz, “Love Story: A Classic Remembered” and the theatrical trailer; and digital copy access. Packaging includes a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments.

The limited-edition Elizabethtown Blu-ray Disc includes the 2005 film, which stars Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst, newly remastered from a 4K transfer supervised by Crowe. The disc is presented in collectible packaging that includes a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster, and an interior spread with key movie moments. It also includes a new “Filmmaker Focus” with Crowe, never-before-seen deleted scenes, and an alternate ending with an introduction by Crowe. Along with access to a digital copy of the film, the Blu-ray also includes previously released special features, including deleted and extended scenes with an introduction by Crowe; the “On the Road to Elizabethtown,” “The Music of Elizabethtown,” “Meet the Crew” and “Training Wheels” featurettes; and a photo gallery.

Also out Feb. 9 is a new two-disc Steelbook edition of the 1981 Canadian slasher film My Bloody Valentine, from Shout! Factory. The film follows a group of young adults who throw a Valentine’s Day party, only to find themselves the targets of a vengeful killer dressed in mining gear.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.