‘Bumblebee,’ ‘Aquaman’ Remain Top Disc Sellers

A slate of newcomers had little luck displacing the top titles on the national sales charts the week ended April 13.

The top performing new release for the week was Sony Pictures’ A Dog’s Way Home, which debuted at No. 4 on both 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 top two titles on both charts remained the same from the prior week. Paramount’s Bumblebee took No. 1 and Warner’s Aquaman was No. 2.

Warner’s The Mule held onto the No. 3 spot on the overall sales chart but slipped to No. 7 on the Blu-ray chart.

No. 5 on the overall sales chart and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart was Warner’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Rounding out the top five on the Blu-ray chart was Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, which was No. 6 overall.

A Dog’s Way Home, about a lost dog looking for her owner, earned $42 million at U.S. theaters.

Sony Pictures’ critically panned comedy Holmes & Watson debuted at No. 8 on the overall chart and No. 9 on the Blu-ray chart. The latest pairing of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly earned just $30.6 million at the domestic box office.

Two new releases from Universal also cracked the top 20 in their first week: On the Basis of Sex debuted at No. 15 (No. 17 on the Blu-ray chart) and Welcome to Marwen, the latest film from director Robert Zemeckis, came in at No. 20 (No. 14 on the Blu-ray chart).

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Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 45% of A Dog’s Way Home sales, compared with 54% for Holmes & Watson, 47% for On the Basis of Sex and 85% for Welcome to Marwen.

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended April 14, Holmes & Watson debuted at No. 1, with The Mule at No. 2, Bumblebee at No. 3, Aquaman at No. 4 and A Dog’s Way Home at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 4-13-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 4-14-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 4-13-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 4-13-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 4-13-19
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 4-15-19

‘Bumblebee’ Transforms Into Top Disc Seller

Paramount Home Media Distribution’s Bumblebee 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 April 6.

The “Transformers” spinoff earned $127 million at the domestic box office.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Aquaman, the previous week’s top seller, slipped to No. 2 on both charts.

Another newcomer, Clint Eastwood’s The Mule, also from Warner, debuted at No. 3 on both charts.

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Rounding out the top five on both charts were Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse at No. 4 and Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns at No. 5.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 65% of first-week Bumblebee sales, with 14% of its overall tally from 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended April 7, The Mule edged out Bumblebee for the top spot. Aquaman slipped to No. 3.

Universal’s Second Act dropped to No. 4, while Spider-Verse settled for No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 4-6-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 4-7-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 4-6-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 4-6-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 4-6-19
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 4-8-19

‘Transformers’ Spinoff ‘Bumblebee’ Due Digitally March 19, on Disc April 2 From Paramount

Paramount Home Media Entertainment will release the latest live-action “Transformers” movie, Bumblebee, through digital retailers March 19, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray April 2.

The film from director Travis Knight follows an earlier mission of the Autobot warrior Bumblebee, sent by Optimus Prime to protect Earth  from the Decepticons following the fall of Cybertron. Damaged in battle and unable to remember his true identity, he forges a friendship with Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld), a teenager trying to find her place in the world who discovers and repairs the battle-scarred robot after finding him in 1987 disguised as a Volkswagen Beetle. Meanwhile, a military group led by Agent Burns (John Cena) makes a pact with Decepticon bounty hunters to seek out any Autobots seeking refuge.

The film earned $125.9 million at the domestic box office.

The digital and Blu-ray releases include Sector 7 Adventures: The Battle at Half Dome, a new motion comic following Bumblebee on his next adventure. The Blu-ray combo packs will include an exclusive printed version of the new motion comic for a limited time.

The motion comic is part of the “Sector 7 Archive” along with “Agent Burns: Welcome to Sector 7.”

Other Blu-ray and digital extras include deleted and extended scenes, including the original opening sequence; outtakes; a “Bee Vision” look at Generation 1-inspired Transformers characters on Cybertron; and several “Bringing Bumblebee to the Big Screen” featurettes, including “The Story of Bumblebee,” “The Stars Align,” “Bumblebee Goes Back to G1,” “Back to the Beetle” and “California Cruisin’ Down Memory Lane.”

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digital releases will feature Dolby Vision HDR and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack remixed specifically for home theaters.

Disruptive Gaming Market Undermines Hasbro Q4 Entertainment & Licensing Profit

Hasbro Feb. 8 reported fiscal-year 2018 (ended Dec. 31, 2018) entertainment and licensing operating profit of $17.3 million – down 82% from operating profit of $96.4 million during the previous-year period. Revenue increased 5% to $298.5 million from $285.6 million last year.

Overall net earnings topped $220.4 million from $397 million last year. Revenue reached $4.6 billion, down from revenue of $5.2 billion during the previous-year period.

The entertainment and licensing segment includes TV shows and movies for theatrical, home entertainment and over-the-top video distribution. Notable theatrical release included “Transformers” spinoff, Bumblebee, starring Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and John Cena (Blockers).

The movie has generated $456.5 million at the global box office, including $124.8 million domestically since its Dec. 21 release.

Hasbro attributed the entertainment and licensing segment decline to a one-time goodwill impairment charge of $86.3 million relating to the company’s acquisition of Boulder, Colo.-based video game developer Backflip Studios.

Hasbro said “the rapidly changing” mobile gaming industry resulted in a modification to its long-term plans for Backflip. The modifications included organizational actions and related personnel changes (i.e. layoffs), the extension of launch dates for games currently in development and the addition of partners for the development of future game releases.

“2018 was a very disruptive year … driven by a rapidly shifting consumer and retail landscape,” CEO Brian Goldner said in a statement.

CFO Deborah Thomas said the ongoing changes resulted in “our global teams focusing] on identifying incremental opportunities to deliver top and bottom line returns.

“Investments include the acquisition of the Power Rangers brand, [box office launch of] Bumblebee and new growth drivers, including Magic: The Gathering Arena and the associated Magic e-sports initiatives,” said Thomas.


Paramount Home Entertainment Posts 12% Quarterly Domestic Revenue Gain

Paramount Home Media Distribution Feb. 5 reported first-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2018) revenue of $178 million, down less than 3% from revenue of $183 million during the previous-year period.

Domestic revenue increased 12% to $111 million, while international home entertainment sales declined 20% to $67 million.

The lower home entertainment revenue reflected a decrease in the sales of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, partially offset by digital sales growth.

The studio’s top-selling home entertainment release in 2018 was Mission: Impossible – Fallout, which generated $18.7 million in combined DVD/Blu-ray Disc sales, according to The-Numbers.com.

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Theatrical revenue increased 49% to $149 million from $100 million due to the performances of Bumblebee and Instant Family compared with releases in the prior year quarter.

Bumblebee, starring Hailee Steinfeld, has grossed more than $450 million at the global box office to date, and is “solidly” profitable, according to Viacom.

Domestic box office revenue increased 44% to $89 million, while international revenue grew 58% to $60 million.

License revenue from television production increased 84% due to the first quarter release of Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House,” and season three of “Berlin Station” on Epix, among other titles.

Last November, Paramount entered into an agreement with Netflix to produce original films for the streaming service.

Overall license revenue increased 3% to $220 million from $213 million last year.

“Paramount delivered double-digit topline growth and an eighth straight quarter of improved year-over-year adjusted operating results, driven by worldwide theatrical gains, continued momentum at Paramount Television and international theme park revenue,” Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement.

China’s Tencent Partnering With Paramount on ‘Bumblebee’ and ‘Top Gun’ Theatrical Releases

Tencent, the Chinese multinational entertainment conglomerate, Dec. 5 announced a partnership and co-financing deal with Paramount Pictures for the studio’s upcoming Bumblebee theatrical release, in addition to next year’s Top Gun sequel featuring Tom Cruise.

Tencent, which operates numerous entertainment ventures in China, including Netflix knockoff Tencent Video, separately filed a $1.4 billion IPO for its Tencent Music branded streaming service.

As an investor and co-marketing partner, Tencent Pictures will assist with the marketing and promotions of Bumblebee in mainland China. Hasbro, creator and owner of the Transformers brand on which the film franchise is based, is also a co-financier on Bumblebee.

Starring Hailee Steinfeld (Pitch Perfect 3The Edge of Seventeen), John Cena (Blockers, Trainwreck), and Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Love, Simon, Spiderman: Homecoming)Bumblebee is an Autobot character set in 1987 as a prequel to the Transformers franchise.

Bumblebee represents Tencent’s first international project after Warner Bros.’ Venom and its first collaboration with Paramount. Other Hollywood domestic collaborations include Warcraft, Kong: Skull IslandWonder Woman, La La Land and Ready Player One.

“Tencent’s involvement in many high-profile international projects has demonstrated its strong capacity in marketing campaigns in China,” Jim Gianopulos, CEO, Paramount Pictures, said in a statement.


Hasbro Movie, TV Streaming Deals Soften Toys R Us Revenue Loss

Entertainment licensing of TV shows and movies proved a fiscal lifeline for venerable toy maker Hasbro.

The company Oct. 22 reported third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) net income of nearly $264 million, about equal to net income of $265.5 million during the previous-year period. Revenue fell 12% to $1.56 billion from $1.79 billion last year.

Revenue loss was in large part due to lingering effects of the shuttering of major retailer Toys R Us, ongoing changes in consumer shopping behaviors and foreign exchange — the latter having a negative impact of $32 million, or 2% of Q3 revenue.

Hasbro managed to offset the declines in part to the entertainment and licensing segment, which saw revenue increase 45% to $84.8 million compared to $58.4 million in 2017. Operating profit increased 99% to $33.7 million, or 39.7% of net revenue, compared to $16.9 million, or 28.9% of net revenue, in 2017.

Segment revenue benefited from a multiyear digital streaming deal for Hasbro television programming and revenue from the 2017 My Little Pony: The Movie.

In addition, the adoption of new accounting rules concerning revenue from contracts favorably impacted the timing of revenue recognition in the quarter. Higher revenue and a favorable mix, coupled with cost reductions, drove higher operating profit and operating profit margin in the quarter.

Brand revenue decreased 5% to $847.7 million, due in part to My Little Pony and Transformers: The Last Knight theatrical releases occurring in 2017.

Last November, Paramount Pictures and Hasbro updated a pact to produce and distribute content based on Hasbro brands, as well as original stories. The companies have partnered on five “Transformers” movies to date, as well as two “G.I. Joe” films, and the first “Transformers” spinoff, Bumblebee, slated for theatrical release on Dec. 21.

The movie co-stars Oscar-nominee Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and John Cena (Blockers), and is directed by Travis Knight.

“Global retailers have ambitious programs this holiday season … including programs behind our feature film, Bumblebee,” CEO Brian Goldner said in a statement.

“Hasbro remains in a strong financial position, including good operating profit margins, $907 million in cash and quality inventory to support our business this holiday season,” added CFO Deborah Thomas. “As we manage through a very disruptive environment, the strength of our brands and our business allows us to continue to invest to drive profitable growth in future years.”

Hasbro Upbeat Despite Toys ‘R’ Us Shutdown

Following liquidation of Toys “R” Us stores around the world, toy and game manufacturer Hasbro believes its diverse portfolio – notably entertainment and licensing – can help it weather ongoing changes at the retail level. Toys “R” Us was one of Hasbro’s biggest retail vendors.

“Our global teams executed well despite the disruption in the market,” CFO Deborah Thomas said July 23 in a statement following release of second quarter (ended July 1) financial results.

The company reported a 11% decline in profit to $60.3 million compared to net income of $67.7 million during the previous-year period. Revenue fell 7% to $904.5 million from $972.5 million last year.

“With $1.2 billion in cash, and a healthy balance sheet, our financial position is strong,” said Thomas. “Our diverse portfolio enabled us to partially offset the negative margin impact from lower revenues, but not entirely. We are working with our retailers to successfully execute their plans for Hasbro’s innovative portfolio this holiday season.”

Hasbro is banking on the recent $522 million acquisition of Saban’s Power Rangersand other entertainment brands as it further branches out into movies and TV show production.

Saban’s Power Rangers moviegenerated $142.3 million at the global box office. The title sold $14.4 million in combined DVD/Blu-ray Disc units (excluding digital) since its June 27, 2017 retail release, according to The-Numbers.com. It was also released on 4K UHD Blu-ray.

Hasbro is also working with Paramount Pictures and Netflix to produce and distribute content based on Hasbro brands, as well as original stories. Hasbro and Paramount have partnered on five Transformers movies to date, as well as two G.I. Joe films, and the first Transformers spinoff, Bumblebee, is slated for release in December.

Indeed, Hasbro’s entertainment and licensing segment was the only division to post an increase in Q2 performance. Operating income ballooned 64% to $18.6 million from $11.3 million, while revenue increased 26% to $64.7 million from $51.5 million.

“We are focused on moving beyond the near-term disruption of losing a major customer, with a clear path forward including new retailer activations to meet the consumer demand made available by the Toys ‘R’ Us departure,” said CEO Brian Goldner.