Amblin Partners Inks New Film Distribution, Streaming Deal With Universal

Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners production company has signed a new multiyear film distribution partnership with Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. The new deal calls for Amblin movies to be marketed and distributed theatrically via Universal Pictures and Focus Features each year, while also providing Amblin with new opportunities in the streaming film marketplace via Peacock.

Amblin’s continuing partnership with Universal builds on a long history between the two companies, dating back to Spielberg’s arrival on the Universal lot as an intern in 1968. The new agreement further evolves the entities’ 2015 agreement that resulted in a number of hits, most recently Oscar Best Picture Winner Green Book, and 1917, which won three Oscars, two Golden Globes and grossed more than $385 million at the worldwide box office.

NBCUniversal has also agreed to re-invest in Amblin, continuing its position as an equity holder and providing fresh capital to fund new production and development efforts across the company’s film and television businesses.

Alibaba Pictures, eOne and Reliance Entertainment will all continue as equity holders, with Alibaba releasing Amblin films in China; eOne releasing in the U.K., Spain, Australia, New Zealand and Benelux; and Reliance releasing in India.

Participant, which as a founding partner played a key role in the formation of Amblin Partners in 2015, is ending its role as an equity holder of the company. This transition will allow Participant flexibility with respect to distribution of its films, while still keeping open opportunities to work together with Amblin on future projects.

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“My decades-long relationship with Universal truly transcends any single business deal, and to once again renew our corporate vows reaffirms that Universal is Amblin’s home,” Spielberg said in a statement. “In addition to Universal, we are blessed to continue forward with a global family of partners, including Alibaba, eOne and Reliance, each of which has supported us for many years and enabled our storytelling to touch the lives of millions of moviegoers around the world.”

“Steven Spielberg and Amblin Partners have delivered award-winning critical and commercial hits that stand the test of time amongst films in the Universal canon,” added Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group.

‘1917’ Tops Disc Sales; ‘My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising’ Repeats as No. 1 Blu-ray

The relative lack of new impactful DVD and Blu-ray releases combined with stores transitioning into the holiday shopping season yielded a catalog free-for-all on the national disc sales charts the week ended Nov. 7.

The first week after Halloween saw most of the spooky favorites that dominated the charts the previous two months fade away, while a selection of Christmas favorites are beginning to surge again due to clearance promotions and not much in the way of new competition to keep catalog fare in general from taking over.

The week’s top title on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, was Universal Pictures’ 1917, the Award-winning World War I drama first released on disc in March. It had been No. 24 a week earlier. It marks the film’s second time in the top spot, which it previously occupied upon its debut 32 weeks ago just as the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns were beginning.

On the dedicated Blu-ray Disc chart, however, 1917 was No. 3, rising eight spots from the previous week. The top Blu-ray for a second-consecutive week was Funimation’s anime movie My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising, which was No. 3 on the overall disc chart. The film is one of the few recent releases on the chart, and its ability to rise above the fray on the Blu-ray battlefield is likely due to the fact that it was released only as a Blu-ray combo pack (with a DVD and digital copy).

Also making a huge jump during the week was Warner’s Joker, to No. 2 on both charts. The previous week it was No. 58 overall.

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The week’s top new release, at No. 4 overall and No. 8 on the Blu-ray Disc chart, was Liongate’s Antebellum, the horror film about a modern-day black woman who finds herself transported back in time to pre-Civil War slavery days where she must confront the racist attitudes of the time. Just 47% of its overall sales came from the Blu-ray Disc format, but 12% of its total was from the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version (translating to more than 25% of its Blu-ray sales).

Rounding out the top five overall disc sellers was Warner’s Birds of Prey, which jumped up from No. 95 a week earlier. It was No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart.

Lionsgate’s Knives Out was the No. 5 Blu-ray seller, No. 9 on the overall disc chart.

Among the Christmas favorites to return to the fold were Warner’s A Charlie Brown Christmas at No. 11 overall, DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls Holiday at No. 15, Universal’s 2018 animated movie The Grinch at No. 18 (up from 169 the week before), Warner’s Elf at No. 24, and Warner’s The Polar Express at No. 30.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Nov. 8, Antebellum debuted at No. 1, followed by Redbox’s An Imperfect Murder at No. 2.

The previous week’s top rental, Lionsgate’s Friendsgiving, dropped to No. 3, while not cracking the top 50 sales charts in either of its two weeks on shelves.

Rounding out the top five were Paramount’s The Vanished and Redbox’s Ava.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 11-7-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 11-8-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 11-7-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 11-7-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 11-7-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 11-9-20

‘1917’ Back Atop U.K. Home Video Chart

Entertainment One’s 1917 returned to the No. 1 spot on the Official Film Chart following its release on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD. The three-time Oscar-winning World War I movie from Universal Pictures and director Sam Mendes sold 146,000 DVD/Blu-ray Disc units for the week ended May 27, knocking last week’s chart-topper Bad Boys For Life from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment down to No. 2.

Disney/Pixar’s Onward maintained  the third spot while Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker climbed two places to No. 4. Little Women (Sony Pictures) dropped one spot to No. 5.

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Disney’s The Call of the Wild entered the chart in sixth. The Harrison Ford-starring reboot about a dog named Buck whose life is uprooted when he is removed from his home and ends up in the wilds of the Alaskan Yukon during the 1890s Gold Rush, was released on disc in the United States on May 12 by Disney/Fox.

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Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Cats debuted at No. 7 featuring Taylor Swift, James Corden, Jason Derulo and Dame Judi Dench as a tribe of cats, with one of them ascending for yearly reincarnation.

Finally, Disney’s Frozen II (8), Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: The Next Level (9) and Dinesy/Fox’s Jojo Rabbit (10) remained in the Top 10 for another week.

Early Digital Releases Push ‘1917’, ‘Onward’ Atop Weekly U.K. Home Entertainment Chart

Sam Mendes’ Oscar-nominated World War I movie 1917 replaced Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as the top-selling weekly home entertainment release in the United Kingdom through May 13. The Universal Pictures movie is distributed by Hasbro’s Entertainment One in the U.K.

In the second spot was Disney’s Onward, which entered The Official Film Chart rankings eight weeks early on digital due to the coronavirus’ upending retail distribution schedules. Rise of Skywalker completed the podium.

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The Official Film Chart is a weekly rundown of the U.K.’s favorite films bought on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and digital download and is compiled by the Official Charts Company, based on sales across a seven day period through outlets including mail order, entertainment shops, supermarkets and download stores.

Rounding out the Top 20 selling titles of the week in order included JoJo Rabbit (2C Studios); Birds of Prey (Warner Home Video); Frozen 2 (Disney); Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment); The Gentleman (EIV); Spies in Disguise (Disney/Fox); Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount Home Entertainment); Knives Out (Lionsgate U.K.); Playing With Fire (Paramount); Spider-Man: Far From Home (SPHE); Joker (Warner); LeMans ’66 (Disney/Fox, known as Ford v. Ferrari in the U.S.); Rocketman (Paramount); Avengers: Endgame (Disney/Marvel); Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment); Midway (Lionsgate) and Spider-Man: Homecoming (SPHE).

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‘Bad Boys for Life’ Again Tops ‘Watched at Home’ Chart

Sony Pictures’ Bad Boys for Life was once again the movie consumers most watched at home during the week that ended May 2.

The third “Bad Boys” film nabbed the top spot on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the previous week, after it was made available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD.

New to the chart — which tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group — is Warner Bros.’ Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge, which debuted at No. 17 after its release on Blu-ray Disc and DVD.

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Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge is the latest film in the “Mortal Kombat” franchise, based on the Midway Games video game series of the same name. It was released directly to home audiences, first through digital retailers (April 15) and then on disc (April 28).

The film finds the Scorpion character seeking revenge on those who murdered his family after being resurrected by Quan Chi, while Liu Kang, Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage are picked to participate on the Mortal Kombat tournament for the fate of Earthrealm.

Paramount Home Entertainment’s Sonic the Hedgehog jumped up two spots, to No. 2 from No. 4 the previous week, on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart after it became available for digital rental. Previously, it had only been available for digital purchase at $19.99 (since March 31). Sonic becomes available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on May 19.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment in Disney’s “Star Wars” sequel trilogy, slipped to No. 3 from No. 2.

Sony Pictures’  Jumanji: The Next Level moved up to No. 4 after three weeks at No. 5, a position now held by Universal Pictures’ The Gentlemen, which slipped from the No. 3 spot the prior week.

  1. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney)
  4. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  5. The Gentlemen (STX/Universal, 2019)
  6. Dolittle (Universal)
  7. The Call of the Wild (Disney, 2020)
  8. 1917 (Universal)
  9. Little Women (Sony, 2019)
  10. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  11. Underwater (Fox)
  12. Like a Boss (Paramount)
  13. Bloodshot (Sony, 2020)
  14. The Way Back (Warner)
  15. IP Man 4: The Finale (Well Go)
  16. Knives Out (Lionsgate)
  17. Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge (Warner)
  18. Spies in Disguise (Fox)
  19. Frozen II (Disney)
  20. Fantasy Island (Sony, 2020)

 

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 May 2

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Q1 Revenue Falls

Universal Pictures’ home entertainment unit April 30 reported first-quarter (ended March 31) revenue of $171 million, down 36% from revenue of $267 million during the previous year period.

The decline reflected the retail success of The Grinch, Halloween and Night School in last year’s first quarter, compared with the relative lower performance from 1917, Downton Abbey and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw in this year’s first quarter.

The revenue did not include Universal’s premium VOD hit Trolls World Tour, which was released on April 10.

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Total studio revenue decreased 22.5% to $1.4 billion, reflecting decreases in theatrical revenue, content licensing, home entertainment and other revenue. Theatrical revenue decreased 28.8%, underscoring difficult comparison to the success of films in the first quarter of 2019, including How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Us and Glass, offset by the performance of films in this year’s first quarter, including 1917, Dolittle and The Invisible Man.

Indeed, The Invisible Man saw its theatrical run cut short by exhibitor shutdowns due to the coronavirus.

Content licensing revenue decreased 15.4%, driven by the timing of when content was made available under licensing agreements, partially offset by the performance of certain 2020 releases that were made available on premium video-on-demand after theater closures due to COVID-19, including Emma and The Hunt.

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‘Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker’ the Most-Watched Transactional Home Release

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment in the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy, was the most-watched home release the week ended April 4 outside the streaming universe, according to a new weekly tally of transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

The new “Watched at Home” chart measures disc sales, digital purchase (electronic sellthrough, or EST) and digital rental.

The Rise of Skywalker was released digitally March 17 and on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD two weeks later, on March 31, by Disney and LucasFilm. The disc release gave the title a boost. On the previous week’s chart for the week ended March 28, before its availability on disc, The Rise of Skywalker was No. 6.

Directed by J.J. Abrams, The Rise of Skywalker earned more than $515 million at the domestic box office and just over $1 billion worldwide.

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Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog debuted at No. 2 on the “Watched at Home” chart the week ended April 4, solely on the strength of its digital sales. The film, which earned $306.8 million at the global box office, was made available for purchase through digital retailers on March 31, just 46 days after its theatrical opening. The early release was  prompted by a mass shuttering of movie theaters due to efforts to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic; the normal theatrical-to-home window is about three months. Sonic becomes available on disc and for digital rental on May 19.

The third spot on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart went to another early digital release, Sony Pictures’ Bad Boys for Life. The third “Bad Boys” movie, with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, grossed $204.4 million in North American theaters and $419 million globally. The film was made available for home viewing on March 31 and will be issued on disc on April 21.

Another Sony Pictures release, Jumanji: The Next Level, finished the week at No. 4, down two spots from the prior week. The fantasy adventure film, which generated $796.6 million in worldwide movie-ticket sales  to become the tenth-highest-grossing film of 2019, was released through digital retailers on March 3 and on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD on March 17.

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Rounding out the top five was Universal Pictures’ 1917, the acclaimed World War I movie that was released digitally March 10 and on disc March 24. The previous week 1917 was ranked at No. 3.

The week ended March 28’s most-watched film, Disney’s Onward, slipped to No. 6 the week ended April 4. The latest Pixar animated movie was made available for digital purchase on March 20 and premiered on the subscription streaming service Disney+ on April 3.

  1. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney)
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  3. Bad Boys for Life (Sony Pictures)
  4. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony Pictures)
  5. 1917 (Universal)
  6. Onward (Disney)
  7. Bloodshot (Sony Pictures)
  8. The Call of the Wild (Disney)
  9. Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Disney)
  10. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  11. Dolittle (Universal)
  12. Knives Out (Lionsgate)
  13. The Gentlemen (Universal/STX)
  14. Spies in Disguise (Fox)
  15. Frozen II (Disney)
  16. Ford v Ferrari (Fox)
  17. Contagion (Warner)
  18. The Way Back (Warner)
  19. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony Pictures)
  20. Just Mercy (Warner)

 

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 April 4

‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ Returns to No. 1 on Redbox Rental Chart

Sony Pictures’ adventure sequel Jumanji: The Next Level returned to the No. 1 spot on Redbox’s kiosk disc rental chart the week ended April 5, and was the top title on the On Demand chart for the third consecutive week.

The Redbox disc rental chart tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks. The Redbox On Demand chart tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals.

The previous week’s top disc rental, Universal Pictures’ 1917, dropped to No. 2 on that chart and maintained the No. 2 spot on the On Demand chart.

Fox’s Spies in Disguise, slipped to No. 3 on the disc chart and No. 5 on the digital chart.

Sony Pictures’ new version of The Grudge stayed at No. 4 on the disc rental chart and dropped to No. 7 on the digital chart.

Lionsgate’s Knives Out slid to No. 5 on the disc chart in its fifth week, and No. 6 on the digital chart.

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Warner’s Just Mercy rose to No. 3 on the On Demand chart, while Sony Pictures’ new digital release of Bad Boys for Life was No. 4.

Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog debuted on the digital chart at No. 9.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended April 5:

  1. Jumanji: The Next Level — Sony Pictures
  2. 1917 — Universal
  3. Spies in Disguise — Fox
  4. The Grudge (2020) — Sony Pictures
  5. Knives Out — Lionsgate
  6. Charlie’s Angels (2019) — Sony Pictures
  7. Gemini Man — Paramount
  8. Uncut Gems — Lionsgate
  9. Richard Jewell — Warner
  10. Ford v Ferrari — Fox

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended April 5:

  1. Jumanji: The Next Level — Sony Pictures
  2. 1917 — Universal
  3. Just Mercy — Warner
  4. Bad Boys for Life — Sony Pictures
  5. Spies in Disguise — Fox
  6. Knives Out — Lionsgate
  7. The Grudge (2020) — Sony Pictures
  8. Contagion — Warner
  9. Sonic the Hedgehog — Paramount
  10. Uncut Gems — A24

 

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‘1917’ Emerges Atop Home Video Sales Charts

The Oscar-winning war film 1917 debuted at No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended March 28.

The Sam Mendes-directed film, which earned $159 million at the domestic box office, won Academy Awards for cinematography, visual effects and sound mixing. The film’s central gimmick follows a pair of messengers for the British army during World War I through a single shot as they make their way through the front lines to warn another division of a German ambush.

The previous week’s top seller, Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: The Next Level, dropped to No. 2 on the scoreboard, selling 78% as many copies as 1917.

Landing at No. 3 on both charts in its fifth week was the Disney animated sequel Frozen II. That was down a spot from the previous week. The film had been the top title for three weeks before that.

Slipping a spot to No. 4 on both charts was the animated Spies in Disguise, from Disney-owned 20th Century Fox.

Lionsgate’s Midway bumped up a spot to No. 5 on both charts, perhaps getting a boost from another war film entering the market.

The only other newcomer to crack the top 20 during the week was Sony Pictures’ new version of The Grudge, at No. 10 on both charts.

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Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 63% of total 1917 unit sales, with 21% of its total coming from the 4K UHD Blu-ray version. For The Grudge, which wasn’t released on 4K disc, Blu-ray accounted for 52%.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week, 1917 was also No. 1, pushing Jumanji: The Next Level to No. 2.

Spies in Disguise slipped to No. 3, while The Grudge entered the chart at No. 4, and Lionsgate’s Knives Out took No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 3-28-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 3-29-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 3-28-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 3-28-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 3-28-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 3-30-20

‘1917’ Tops Redbox Disc Rentals; ‘Jumanji’ Remains Atop On Demand List

Universal Pictures’ 1917 took over the No. 1 spot on the Redbox kiosk disc rental chart the week ended March 29. The Redbox disc rental chart tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks.

The previous week’s top disc rental, Sony Pictures’ adventure sequel Jumanji: The Next Level, slipped to No. 2 on that chart, but did remain at No. 1 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals.

The On Demand chart had 1917 at No. 2.

Fox’s Spies in Disguise slipped to No. 3 on both charts.

Sony Pictures’ new version of The Grudge debuted at No. 4 on the disc chart and No. 5 on the digital chart.

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Warner’s Just Mercy was No. 4 on the On Demand chart.

Lionsgate’s Knives Out dropped to No. 5 on the disc chart in its fifth week, and took the No. 6 spot on the digital chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended March 29:

  1. 1917 — Universal
  2. Jumanji: The Next Level — Sony Pictures
  3. Spies in Disguise — Fox
  4. The Grudge (2020) — Sony Pictures
  5. Knives Out — Lionsgate
  6. Charlie’s Angels (2019) — Sony Pictures
  7. Uncut Gems — Lionsgate
  8. Richard Jewell — Warner
  9. Bombshell — Lionsgate
  10. Midway (2019) — Lionsgate

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended March 29:

  1. Jumanji: The Next Level — Sony Pictures
  2. 1917 — Universal
  3. Spies in Disguise — Fox
  4. Just Mercy — Warner
  5. The Grudge (2020) — Sony Pictures
  6. Knives Out — Lionsgate
  7. The Invisible Man (2020) — Universal
  8. Ford v Ferrari — Fox
  9. Contagion — Warner
  10. Uncut Gems — A24

 

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