‘Hocus Pocus,’ ‘Back to the Future’ Dominate National Disc Sales Charts

A pair of perennial catalog favorites dominated the national DVD and Blu-ray sales charts the week ended Oct. 24.

Disney’s Hocus Pocus, a frequent Halloween-season top seller, returned to the top spot on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales. It was the 1993 film’s third time in the top spot in the past four weeks.

On the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart, a collection of the three “Back to the Future” movies took over the top spot, boosted by a new 4K Ultra HD edition of the trilogy released to mark the 35th anniversary of the 1985 original. Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy was the No. 2 overall disc seller, with 80% of its total unit sales coming from the 4K Ultra HD version (another 16% came from the regular Blu-ray edition).

The No. 3 overall disc seller, and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart, was Universal’s Tremors: Shrieker Island, the direct-to-video seventh entry in the comedic horror monster franchise. A seven-movie “Tremors” collection released only on DVD was No. 50.

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Another catalog title, Disney’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, landed at No. 4 overall and No. 5 on the Blu-ray Disc chart.

The No. 5 overall seller was Warner’s A Charlie Brown Christmas, the 1965 animated special that has been trending lately after the news that it and other “Peanuts” specials would be available exclusively on the Apple TV+ streaming service, ending annual traditions of broadcasting them on network television.

Similarly, 1966’s It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was No. 7 (No. 14 on the Blu-ray chart), and 1973’s A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving was No. 13. The boxed set of all three specials, The Peanuts Holiday Collection, was No. 38 overall and No. 26 on the Blu-ray chart.

Maintaining the No. 2 spot on the Blu-ray sellers chart was Warner’s Batman: Death in the Family, a collection of animated shorts based on DC Comics characters, featuring an interactive Batman story that allows viewers to guide the plot. A Blu-ray-only release, it dropped two spots to No. 9 on the overall disc chart.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Oct. 25, the thriller The Vanished, from Paramount, debuted at No. 1.

The previous week’s top rental, Lionsgate’s The Doorman, dropped to No. 2.

Newcomer The Owners, a horror movie from RLJE Films, debuted at No. 3.

Rounding out the top five were Redbox’s Ava at No. 4 and RLJ’s The Tax Collector, at No. 5, each down two spots from the previous week.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 10-24-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 10-25-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 10-24-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 10-24-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 10-24-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 10-26-20

‘After We Collided,’ ‘Back to the Future’ Collection Top Weekly ‘Watched at Home’ Chart

After We Collided, a romantic drama from Open Road Films, topped the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the week ended Oct. 24.

The film, a sequel to 2019’s After and based on the best-selling book of the same name, stars Josephine Langford as a college girl, Tessa Young, dealing with the aftermath of an intense breakup. The film was released Oct. 23 in select theaters and digitally (for rental and purchase) and will be issued on DVD on Nov. 24. The cast also includes Hero Fiennes Tiffin (as Tessa’s ex, Hardin Scott), Dylan Sprouse, Shane Paul McGhie, Candice King, Khadijha Red Thunder, Inanna Sarkis, Samuel Larsen and Selma Blair.

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Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy debuted at No. 2 on the “Watched at Home” chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc) compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy, containing all three movies in the series, was released Oct. 20 on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Disc and DVD to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the release of the first film.

In 1985, Director Robert Zemeckis, executive producer Steven Spielberg and producer/screenwriter Bob Gale began the three-part journey with Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and a time-traveling DeLorean to the past, present and future. The collection, featuring discbook packing, comes with a bonus disc with more than an hour of new content, such as rare audition footage from actors Ben Stiller, Kyra Sedgwick, Jon Cryer, Billy Zane, Peter DeLuise and C. Thomas Howell; a tour of the film’s props and memorabilia hosted by Gale; a sneak peek at the new musical show; and a special episode of the YouTube series “Could You Survive The Movies?” Exclusives include the 4K trilogy with levitating hoverboard replica at Amazon, the Blu-ray trilogy with levitating hoverboard replica at Target, and steelbook editions at Best Buy.

Vertical Entertainment’s Ava finished the week at No. 3, the same spot it held the previous week, while Warner Bros.’ eight-film collection of “Harry Potter” movies slipped to No. 4 from No. 2.

Rounding out the top five on the “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Oct. 24 was the Walt Disney Co.’s Hocus Pocus, a perennial Halloween favorite, down from No. 4 the prior week.

Other newcomers to the chart are Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo!, from Warner Bros; the World War II drama  A Call to Spy (No. 18), from IFC Films; and Universal Pictures’ Tremors: Shrieker Island (No. 19).

Happy Halloween Scooby-Doo! is the 31st direct-to-video movie based on the popular Hanna-Barbera cartoon classic. It was released on DVD and through digital retailers on Oct. 6, although it was available previously (since Sept. 15) as a Walmart exclusive.

A Call to Spy is a historical drama  written and produced by Sarah Megan Thomas and directed by Lydia Dean Pilcher. Based on the true stories of three women who worked as spies in British war leader Winston Churchill’s Secret Army, the film stars Sarah Megan Thomas, Radhika Apte and Stana Katic. A Call to Spy was released domestically Oct. 2 in theaters and through digital retailers.

Tremors: Shrieker Island, the seventh film in the long-running “Tremors” thriller franchise, was released Oct. 20 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD as well as through digital retailers. The film finds Michael Gross returning as Graboid hunter Burt Gummer, joined by Jon Heder as his potential protégé as they take on a batch of genetically modified Graboids terrorizing a tropical island. Also on Oct. 20 Universal issued all seven “Tremors” movies in a five-DVD set.

  1. After We Collided (Open Road)
  2. Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy (Universal)
  3. Ava (Vertical)
  4. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  5. Hocus Pocus (Disney)
  6. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  7. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  8. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  9. Beetlejuice (Warner)
  10. The Secret: Dare to Dream (Lionsgate)
  11. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  12. The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney)
  13. The Phenomenon (1091)
  14. Happy Halloween Scooby-Doo (Warner)
  15. Halloween (2018, Universal)
  16. Then Came You (Vertical)
  17. Batman: Death in the Family (Warner)
  18. A Call to Spy (IFC)
  19. Tremors: Shrieker Island (Universal)
  20. Trolls World Tour (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 Oct. 24.

Merchandising: Retailers Bring ‘Back to the Future’ Exclusives

Universal Pictures’ new Back to the Future Trilogy boxed set arrived Oct. 20 with exclusive editions from Best Buy and Target.

Best Buy, as usual, offered a Steelbook edition of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version of the trilogy, at $64.99.

Best Buy’s ‘Back to the Future Trilogy’ Steelbook

Target offered a gift set of the regular Blu-ray, at $42.99, which included a levitating hoverboard replica.

Target’s ‘Back to the Future Trilogy’ gift set

The 4K version of the hoverboard gift set was available from Amazon for $69.98.

The other notable exclusive for the week came at Target, which offered a Steelbook edition of The Twilight Saga from Lionsgate, for $29.99.

Target’s ‘Twilight Saga’ Steelbook

Target also offered 30% off select Halloween movies and books.

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‘Tremors,’ ‘Bill & Ted’ Sequels Top New Releases for Home Viewing

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Tremors: Shrieker Island and Warner’s  Bill & Ted Face the Music top the slate of new releases available for home viewers beginning Oct. 20.

Other new titles consumers can watch at home include Paramount’s The Vanished and a new collector’s set of all three “Back to the Future” movies from Universal, including the trilogy’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray debut.

Tremors: Shrieker Island, the seventh film in the long-running “Tremors” thriller franchise, is being released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD as well as through digital retailers. The film finds Michael Gross returning as Graboid hunter Burt Gummer, joined by Jon Heder as his potential protégé as they take on a batch of genetically modified Graboids terrorizing a tropical island.

Universal also is releasing all seven “Tremors” movies in a five-DVD set.

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The first film, which starred Kevin Bacon and dealt with large worm-like creatures attacking a small desert community, spawned a series of direct-to-video sequels starting in 1996, all of which featured Gross reprising his Gummer character from the original.

Bill & Ted Face the Music becomes available on standard digital sellthrough after an initial release on premium VOD rental and purchase from MGM and Orion Pictures.

The third film in the “Bill & Ted” franchise finds Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves reprising their roles as the time traveling title duo, who are tasked with emissaries from the future with writing the song that will unite humanity for all time.

The film was slated for a wide theatrical release over the summer that was pushed back as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, it was released via PVOD and in a handful of theaters that opened after quarantine restrictions were lifted, earning $3.3 million at the domestic box office.

The film becomes available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on Nov. 10.

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The Vanished on Oct. 20 becomes available on DVD. The thriller has already been available for digital sellthrough and on demand. Written and directed Peter Facinelli, the film deals with a family vacation that takes a terrifying turn when parents discover their young daughter has vanished without a trace. Stopping at nothing to find her, the search for the truth leads to a shocking revelation.

The film stars Thomas Jane, Anne Heche, Jason Patric and Facinelli, and is rated ‘R’ for violence, language, brief sexuality and drug use.

Other new releases of note available for home viewing on Oct. 20 include the Well Go USA urban drama Cut Throat City, with Wesley Snipes, on Blu-ray Disc and DVD (it was released digitally two weeks earlier); the Lionsgate zombie horror film Alone; and season one of “The Great,” the 10-episode Hulu series about Catherine the Great, arriving on DVD and for digital purchase or rental from Paramount.

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

‘Forrest Gump,’ ‘Mary Poppins’ Among Top ‘Feel-Good’ Movie Purchases, Rentals in the U.K.

Looking to jumpstart retail sales of movies in the United Kingdom, a new study commissioned by the Entertainment Retailers Association found that Oscar-winning Forrest Gump is the nation’s favorite feel good film for comfort, escapism and to positively boost moods. The drama is followed by classics such as sci-fi comedy, Back to the Future and family favorite, Mary Poppins.

The nationwide research of 2,000 adults done in April and commissioned for the ERA’s “Must See #FilmsWithFeels” campaign, found that nearly a third (31%) of adults use movies to escape from their real world worries. Over a quarter (26%) of Brits also stated they regularly watch comforting films on a Sunday, to distract them from stresses about the busy week ahead.

Psychologist Cliff Arnell, who analyzed the findings, said the combined 57 years between the theatrical releases of Gump, Future andPoppinsunderscores the fact the films have become cross-generational in their appeal.

“[This is] a powerful positive motive to watch a film again,” said Arnell. “Taking the time to watch an uplifting film, is one of the easiest ways of escaping from [stress]. Giving ourselves permission to switch off our worry buttons and have our imagination buttons pressed is highly therapeutic.”

It’s not always films with happy endings that provide that warm feeling. The study found 11% of Brits confessed to feeling happier after a tear-jerker such as Marley and Me.

“When people say they connect with a film, there’s a resonance between their own lives and something that is happening on the screen. Seeing it, hearing it and most of all feeling this can have powerful effects on our attitudes and behaviors,” Arnell said.

UK’s Top 10 ultimate feel good films:

  1. Forrest Gump (29%)
  2. Back to the Future (25%)
  3. Mary Poppins (25%)
  4. Sister Act (22%)
  5. Marley & Me (18%)
  6. School of Rock (16%)
  7. Beauty and the Beast (live action) (13%)
  8. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (13%)
  9. The Blues Brothers (12%)
  10. The Breakfast Club (12%)

Top 10 family favorite feel good films

  1. Toy Story (40%)
  2. Mrs Doubtfire (32%)
  3. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (31%)
  4. (29%)
  5. Sound of Music (20%)
  6. Paddington (19%)
  7. Minions (17%)
  8. Finding Dory (16%)
  9. Oliver (13%)
  10. The BFG (12%)

Top 10 re-watchable films

  1. Dirty Dancing (26%)
  2. Grease (25%)
  3. Bridget Jones’s Diary (24%
  4. Four Weddings & a Funeral (17%)
  5. Notting Hill (16%)
  6. Bridesmaids (16%)
  7. Mean Girls (15%)
  8. Pitch Perfect (15%)
  9. PS I Love You (12%)
  10. Magic Mike (10%)

Top 10 comedies

  1. Life of Brian (23%)
  2. American Pie (23%)
  3. The Hangover (22%)
  4. The Fully Monty (21%)
  5. Cool Runnings (20%)
  6. Airplane (19%)
  7. Shaun of the Dead (18%)
  8. Ted (17%)
  9. Ghostbusters (16%)
  10. Dirty Grandpa (11%)