Lionsgate’s ‘Hell Fest’ Only New Release to Crack Redbox Top 10

Lionsgate’s newly released Hell Fest is the only new release to make the Redbox charts for the week ended Jan. 13.

The slasher film,  about a group of teens who are stalked by a serial killer at a Halloween carnival, debuted at No. 9 on the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, and No. 10 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), both electronic sellthrough (EST) and transactional streaming.

Universal Pictures’ Night School once again scored a double win, remaining at No. 1 for the third consecutive week on the Redbox kiosk chart and the second week on the digital chart.

Venom, a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, remained at No. 2 on the kiosk chart but slipped to No. 4 on the digital chart.

Universal Pictures’ The House With a Clock in Its Walls, a family fantasy about a young boy who is sent to live with his uncle in a spooky old house, remained at No. 3 on the kiosk chart but slipped to No. 9 from No. 5 on the digital chart.

White Boy Rick, from Sony Pictures, moved up to No. 4 on the Redbox disc-rental chart after debuting at No. 7 the prior week.

Bowing at No. 5 was 20th Century Fox’s Bad Times at the El Royale, which became available to Redbox one week after its street date.

On the Redbox digital chart, Paramount’s Book Club, released back in August, reappeared in the top 10 at No. 2.

Bad Times at the El Royale was No. 3, with White Boy Rick rounding out the top five.


Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ending January 13

  1. Night School
  2. Venom
  3. The House With a Clock in Its Walls
  4. White Boy Rick
  5. Bad Times at the El Royale
  6. The Equalizer 2
  7. The Predator
  8. Peppermint
  9. Hell Fest (new)
  10. Smallfoot


Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ending January 13

  1. Night School
  2. Book Club
  3. Bad Times at the El Royale
  4. Venom
  5. White Boy Rick
  6. A Simple Favor
  7. Peppermint
  8. The Equalizer 2
  9. The House With a Clock in Its Walls
  10. Hell Fest


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Buy or rent Redbox On Demand movies

Fox Mounts Series of Promotions for Home Release of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is preparing for the upcoming home release of the hit music biopic Bohemian Rhapsody with a series of promotions celebrating the film and the music of Queen.

Bohemian Rhapsody arrives on digital Jan. 22, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on Feb. 12.


Rock Like Queen Tour Bus

Fans in New York City (Jan. 25), Austin (Jan. 30), Las Vegas (Feb. 5) and Los Angeles (Feb. 12, the day the disc becomes available in stores) will have a chance to hop on board the double-decker Rock Like Queen Tour Bus and sing along to their favorite Queen songs. Fans can sign up for a spot on the Rock Like Queen Tour registration site (click here to access).


“Get Loud” Extravaganza

The Rock Like Queen Tour will culminate in Los Angeles with a celebration at the legendary Whiskey A-Go-Go on the famed Sunset Strip. The celebration will include musical tributes to Queen and the late lead singer Freddie Mercury, a performance by the Queen Extravaganza tribute band, and more. Free tickets are available online by clicking here.


“Alexa, play Ay-Oh live!”

Fans who can’t make the Rock Like Queen Tour  can join the fun at home via a new Amazon Alexa skill that allows fans to sing “Ay-Oh” with Freddie Mercury when they call out “Alexa, play Ay-Oh live!” It’s a recreation of the band’s celebrated 1985 Live Aid 1985, which is prominently featured in the film. Fans can activate the skill via Amazon Alexa devices Jan. 22 through March 31.


#StompforQueen Social Media Celebration

Fox is mounting a social media promotion, inviting fans to “Stomp, Stomp, Clap.”  To join #StompforQueen fans can re-share the just-released video found on Bohemian Rhapsody official channels (Facebook/Instagram @bohemianrhapsodymovie and Twitter @BoRhapMovie) or post their very own “Stomp, Stomp, Clap” on any social platform. Fox may include some of the videos in a tribute video to Mercury, launching in February. A worldwide $100,000 donation will be made to the Mercury Phoenix Trust founded by Queen founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor in memory of Mercury.

DC Universe Scores Big with ‘Young Justice,’ ‘Titans’ on Digital Originals Chart, Parrot Analytics Says

Three digital originals cracked the top 10 the week ended Jan. 12, led by the DC Universe show “Young Justice,” according to Parrot Analytics.

The program – an adaptation of the entire DC Universe with a focus on young superheroes – debuted at No. 4 after its average daily Demand Expressions more than doubled from the prior week, to 28 million.

Demand Expressions is a proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. The metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

“Young Justice” initially aired on a linear platform, the Cartoon Network, but was canceled in 2013 after two seasons. Warner Bros. Animation subsequently resurrected the series, with Season 3, “Young Justice: Outsiders,” premiering Jan. 4 on DC Universe, a video-on-demand service operated by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Digital Networks. DC Universe launched last September.

“You,” which airs on Netflix and debuted at No. 8 on the digital originals chart, is a modern thriller that also transitioned from a linear platform, Lifetime, where it launched last September. In December it was announced that “You” would move to Netflix as a “Netflix Original,” title, ahead of the premiere Season 2.

“You” finished the week ended Jan. 12 with 21.6 million average daily Demand Expressions, up 16% from the prior week.

A third new entry into the digital originals top 10, “Lemony Snickets’ A Series of Unfortunate Events,” posted a 12.5% gain in average daily Demand Expressions to finish the week at No. 9. The third and final season of the show, which like the movie of the same name is based on the children’s novel series about the misadventures of the three Baudelaire children, was released on Netflix on Jan. 1.

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” remained at No. 1 for the second consecutive week despite a 31% decline in average daily Demand Expressions. DC Universe’s Titans, which had debuted at No. 1 the last full week in 2018 before dropping to No. 3, nudged back up to No. 2, with 31.7 million average daily Demand Expressions.

Another Netflix show, “Black Mirror,” finished the week at No. 3, with a 26% drop in demand. The quirky sci-fi series had shot into the top 10 at No. 2 the prior week in the wake of hoopla surrounding the release of a standalone interactive film titled Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, released Dec. 28.

Rounding out the top five on the digital originals chart for the week ended Jan. 12 was Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” with a 9% spike in demand—despite the fact that the series is currently on hiatus and gearing up for its third season.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.


Ingram Entertainment Buys Rival Baker & Taylor’s Retail Entertainment Assets

Ingram Entertainment Inc., for years the leading national distributor of home entertainment products, announced Jan. 14 that it has purchased certain assets of the Baker & Taylor LLC entertainment products distribution business, such as retail customer agreements for the purchase of video and audio music products.

The purchase, which does not involve book products or the Baker & Taylor businesses that provide support and services to public libraries, retail booksellers and publishers, took effect Jan. 11.  Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

David Ingram, chairman of Ingram Entertainment, said structural changes in the physical home entertainment marketplace led to a deal with Baker & Taylor.

David Ingram

“Acquiring these entertainment assets of Baker & Taylor will enhance our financial performance by enabling us to process more units through our existing facilities throughout the country,” he said. “Those efficiencies will better position us to work with our suppliers to provide our retailers – including former Baker & Taylor retail entertainment customers – with the products they need for the success of their businesses. We look forward to the opportunities this transaction provides for our suppliers, customers, and associates.”

Bob Webb, Ingram Entertainment’s president and CEO, added, “Baker & Taylor has been a respected competitor and a valued contributor to the home entertainment products distribution business for many years.  Ingram Entertainment looks forward to the opportunity to increase our sales of products to video, audio music and online retailers.

Webb also expressed appreciation to all the personnel at both Ingram Entertainment and Baker & Taylor who assisted in the purchase and will be assisting in the transition.

Bob Webb

Baker & Taylor president David Cully said the sale of his company’s retail entertainment assets “will allow both companies to bring greater value to customers through the strengths of our respective wholesale distribution businesses. For Baker & Taylor, that means delivering the most innovative and efficient content distribution services to our retail, public library and publisher service customers everywhere.”

In a similar transaction, La Vergne, Tennessee-based Ingram Entertainment in June 2014 purchased the assets of V.P.D. IV Inc. of Folsom, California.

V.P.D. (which did business as Video Products Distributors Inc.) also was a distributor of DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, video games and gaming systems.

During the heyday of the VHS era, when independent rental stores still accounted for the majority of the home entertainment business, most video cassettes came to mark through third-party distributors like Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Major Video Concepts, Artec, WaxWorks and Flash Distributors.

Distributors met each spring in Indian Wells, California, for annual meetings with studio executives, where through their trade group, the National Association of Video Distributors (NAVD), they lobbied for better pricing and terms as well as a standard Tuesday street date for new home video releases.

The rise of national video rental chains, most notably Blockbuster, saw studios establish direct relationships with key retail buys, minimizing the importance of third-party distributors. This trend accelerated with the advent of DVD.

During the heyday of the VHS rental cassette, distributors were so powerful that most held their own annual trade shows for retail clients. Media Play News publisher Thomas K. Arnold was a frequent speaker at the annual WaxWorks show in Owensboro, Ky. He is shown here in October 1996 with WaxWorks VP Noel Clayton.

Disney Celebrates ‘Little Mermaid’ 30th with 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Release

Walt Disney Studios Jan. 11 announced the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray debut of The Little Mermaid in honor of the animated classic’s 30th anniversary.

The musical tale of princess Ariel and her sidekicks Sebastian and Flounder will be released as part of the “Signature Collection” Feb. 26 on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as well as on standard Blu-ray Disc.

The Signature Collection edition of the 1989 film — which won two Oscars, for Best Original Score and Best Original Song (“Under the Sea”) — will be released digitally two weeks earlier, on Feb. 12, in HD and 4K Ultra HD.

New bonus features bring celebrated composer Alan Menken and some of Disney’s most recognizable leading ladies together around a piano to reminisce, sing and celebrate “The Little Mermaid.” The latest installment of “Stories from Walt’s Office” compares Walt and Ariel’s love of collecting treasures. Viewers will also receive an inside look at the “The Little Mermaid” cast in their original recording sessions, explore hidden treasures and fun facts from the film, and enjoy a special performance of “Part of Your World” by Disney Music Group a cappella singing group DCapella.

Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale about a beautiful mermaid princess who dreams of becoming human, The Little Mermaid was directed by John Musker and Ron Clements and features the voice talents of Jodi Benson as Ariel, Pat Carroll  as Ursula, Samuel E. Wright as Sebastian, Christopher Daniel Barnes as Eric, Kenneth Mars as Triton, Buddy Hackett  as Scuttle, Jason Marin  as Flounder and René Auberjonois as Chef Louis. The film was originally released in theaters on Nov. 15, 1989 and is the 28th film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, and the first in what many described as a new Disney animation renaissance.

The Little Mermaid is the seventh title to join the Walt Disney Signature Collection. Others are Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, Bambi, The Lion King and Lady and the Tramp.

Kevin Hart-Starring ‘Night School’ Scores Double Win at Redbox

Universal Pictures’ Night School scored a double win at Redbox in the first week of the new year.

The Kevin Hart-starring comedy, which earned $77.3 million in North American theaters, remained at No. 1 for the second consecutive week on the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines.

The film also knocked Sony Pictures’ Venom out of the No. 1 spot on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), both electronic sellthrough (EST) and transactional streaming.

Venom, a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, was No. 2 on both charts.

Night School’s lingering popularity might be due in part to the controversy surrounding Hart, who in December was briefly tapped to host the 2019 Academy Awards. After being blasted for homophobic jokes and tweets he made more than eight years ago, the Academy asked him to apologize; he ultimately stepped down as host.

In Night School, Hart portrays a successful salesman who 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) and his high school nemesis-turned-principal (Taran Killam) who will strive to make sure he fails the course.

Universal Pictures’ The House With a Clock in its Walls, a family fantasy about a young boy who is sent to live with his uncle in a spooky old house, moved back up to No. 3 on both charts from No. 5 the prior week.

The Sony Pictures revenge thriller sequel Equalizer 2 remained at No. 4 on both charts for the second consecutive week.

Rounding out the top five on the Redbox disc-rental chart was The Predator, from 20th Century Fox, down two spots from its No. 3 debut the prior week.

The No. 5 spot on the Redbox digital chart went to Lionsgate’s A Simple Favor, also down from No. 3 the previous week.

The sole new release to chart at Redbox the week that ended Jan. 6 was A-X-L, a science-fiction adventure from Global Road Entertainment that debuted on the kiosk chart only at No. 10. The film only earned $8.2 million in domestic theaters against a reported budget of $10 million.


Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ending January 6

  1. Night School
  2. Venom
  3. The House With a Clock in its Walls
  4. The Equalizer 2
  5. The Predator
  6. White Boy Rick
  7. Peppermint
  8. Smallfoot
  9. A Simple Favor
  10. A-X-L (new)


Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ending January 6

  1. Night School
  2. Venom
  3. The House With a Clock in its Walls
  4. The Equalizer 2
  5. A Simple Favor
  6. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
  7. Peppermint
  8. White Boy Rick
  9. Smallfoot
  10. The Predator


Visit the Redbox website

Buy or rent Redbox On Demand movies

Home Entertainment Community at CES 2019

Home entertainment executives again gathered for the annual DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group reception Jan. 8 in Las Vegas during CES 2019. The DEG honored Warner Bros. with the Excellence in 4K UHD Content Award for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc, and Sony Electronics with the Excellence in 4K Product Award for its Sony Master Series A9F OLED TV. Dolby Labs was presented with the Emiel N. Petrone Innovation in Entertainment Technology Award for Dolby Vision, an imaging innovation developed in collaboration with a wide range of studios, creatives, and post-production partners.

Streaming, TVOD Fuel Consumer Spending on Home Entertainment to Record Heights

Consumer spending on home entertainment hit a new record in 2018, buoyed by subscription streaming as well as transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group announced Jan. 8.

Total consumer spending on home entertainment during the year shot up to an estimated $23.3 billion, up 11.5% from total consumer spending in 2017, the DEG said, noting that figures are preliminary. Final numbers will be issued in early February.

As expected, subscription streaming — chiefly through Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu — led the way, with a 30% year-over-year gain to $12.9 billion.

Consumers spent an estimated $2.46 billion on digital purchases of movies, TV shows and other content, up 14.4% from what they spent in 2017.

They spent another $2.09 billion to stream movies on demand, the electronic equivalent of renting a DVD or Blu-ray Disc, up 6.2% from the prior year.

Total spending on TVOD, the DEG estimates, came in at $4.55 billion, a healthy 10.5% spike from TVOD spending in 2017.

Total disc sales continued to fall, despite the growing popularity of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, with consumer spending on physical media in 2018 coming in at an estimated $4.03 billion, a 14.6% drop from the prior year.

In the fourth quarter, home entertainment spending was particularly strong, with an overall gain of 13% to $6.3 billion.

Subscription streaming the fourth quarter was up 30% to an estimated $3.49 billion, while EST rose 20.2% to $664 million and on-demand streaming was up 21.8% to nearly $517 million.

Combined consumer spending on DVDs and Blu-ray Discs in the fourth quarter of 2018 was $1.24 billion, down 14.8% from the fourth quarter of 2017.

Sales of 4K UHD content rose 70% during the year and 46% in the fourth quarter. The number of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray titles available in the market grew to 445 titles, with another 682 4K titles available digitally.

The box-office performance of films released in the year rose nearly 15%.

Among the bestselling film titles released on 4K for the home in 2018 were: Justice League (Warner Bros.), Ready Player One (Warner Bros.), Mission: Impossible — Fallout (Paramount), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Universal Pictures), Deadpool 2 (20th Century Fox) and Avengers: Infinity War (Walt Disney Studios).

4K UHD TV penetration rose 61% over the year-earlier period, to 48 million households, DEG says. Also during the year, penetration of 4K-capable player devices (game consoles and set-top boxes) rose 66%, to 13 million homes.



Hulu Tops 25 Million Subs

Hulu on Jan. 8 announced it added 8 million subscribers in 2018 to bring its year-end total to 25 million subscribers across its subscription on demand (SVOD) and live TV plans in the United States.

That’s a  47% year-over-year increase in subscribers for Hulu, although the subscription streamer did not break out how many subscribers only use its SVOD service.

“Consumers have spoken loudly about their desire for more choice and control in their TV experience. They are seeing the enormous benefits of streaming, they’re deciding which content and brands are most important to them, and they’re choosing Hulu,” Hulu CEO Randy Freer said in a statement.

Hulu said one of the more notable viewing trends it saw in 2018 was that consumers place a great deal of value on having a comprehensive, flexible viewing experience. Viewers who subscribe to Hulu + Live TV spend 50%  of their time watching on-demand or recorded programming. Accordingly, Hulu invested significantly in securing exclusive content and enhancing its streaming technology to support a superior experience across its live and on-demand plans.

Also in 2018, Hulu expanded its on-demand library to more than 85,000 episodes in 2018, adding more current series to its roster including “The Good Doctor,” “Killing Eve,” “The Orville,” “Superstore” and “Grown-ish.”

Hulu announced it grew its advertising revenue more than 45% to nearly $1.5 billion – the most in the Hulu’s history – and increased its advertiser base by 50%.

The median age of a Hulu viewer is 32 – nearly 25 years younger than the average broadcast TV viewer (56) – and the average annual household income of a Hulu viewer rose to $93,000 in 2018, according to the company.

Binge viewing is prevalent on Hulu. Looking at the top 100 shows on Hulu, over half of all viewing sessions consist of three or more episodes of the same series, the company announced.

Following its two Golden Globe wins for Season 1, Hulu’s hit drama “The Handmaid’s Tale” returned in Season 2 with a 76% gain in total consumption compared to Season 1.

“Castle Rock” was Hulu’s highest performing new original of 2018 and was the second-highest performing Hulu Original this year, behind “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Redbox, Sony Pictures Extended Disc, Digital Distribution Pact

Redbox and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) on Jan. 7 announced a new multi-year distribution deal that continues to make SPHE DVD and Blu-ray Disc titles available at Redbox kiosks on the day they are released.

Additionally, as part of the deal SPHE titles will also be available on Redbox On Demand, the company’s year-old digital retailer that allows consumers to buy and stream movies and other content over the Internet. Redbox  On Demand is considered to be one of the big eight digital retailers.

“Sony Pictures Home Entertainment continues to be a great partner in making their content accessible to Redbox consumers no matter how they want to watch it,” said Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox.  “We’re excited about their 2019 content slate and look forward to making it available at our kiosks and through Redbox On Demand.”

“Redbox continues to be an important distribution partner for our content,” said Jason Spivak, EVP of distribution at SPHE. “At Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, we are committed to satisfying all the ways audiences engage with entertainment, and our deal with Redbox is an important part of our efforts to provide a wide range of options for our consumers.”

The new deal goes into effect with SPHE’s latest and upcoming home entertainment releases, including Goosebumps 2Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Holmes & Watson.

Redbox has distribution deals in place with all major studios except Walt Disney. The company has always stocked DVDs and Blu-ray Discs from Sony Pictures and Paramount Pictures as soon as they are released, but 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. used to hold back releases from Redbox for as long as a month because the studios feared rentals would cannibalize sales, particularly since Redbox kiosks are often situated outside big retail stores like Walmart. Universal even sued Redbox over renting its discs.

Over the last year, however, Redbox has negotiated new distribution deals with these studios that have either reduced the holdbacks to one week or eliminated them entirely.