‘Come Play’ Tops Redbox Disc Rentals, While ‘Songbird’ Leads On Demand Chart

Universal Pictures’ supernatural thriller Come Play debuted at No. 1 on the Redbox disc rental chart the week ended Jan. 31. The film, about a young boy whose reliance on his cell phone and tablet for companionship unleashes a sinister creature, earned about $10 million at the domestic box office.

The previous week’s top rental, Well Go USA’s Synchronic, slipped to No. 2 on the disc chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at Redbox’s more than 40,000 red kiosks.

Rounding out the top five discs were Universal Pictures’ Honest Thief at No. 3,  Paramount’s Wander at No. 4, and Universal’s The War With Grandpa at No. 5.

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The Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital rental transactions, had STX Entertainment’s Songbird take over the top spot. The controversial thriller, which examines a future world where the pandemic is in full effect in 2024 after the coronvirus continues to mutate, has been circulating through VOD for a few months.

No. 2 was War With Grandpa, followed by Honest Thief at No. 3. Universal’s The Croods: A New Age, from DreamWorks Animation, was No. 4, while Paramount’s Love and Monsters was No. 5.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Jan. 31:

  1. Come Play — Universal
  2. Synchronic — Well Go USA
  3. Honest Thief — Universal
  4. Wander — Paramount
  5. The War With Grandpa — Universal
  6. Born a Champion — Lionsgate
  7. The Empty Man — 2oth Century
  8. Tenet — Warner
  9. Spell — Paramount
  10. Love and Monsters — Paramount


Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Jan. 31:

  1. Songbird — STX
  2. The War With Grandpa — Universal
  3. Honest Thief — Universal
  4. The Croods: A New Age — Universal
  5. Love and Monsters — Paramount
  6. Tenet — Warner
  7. Unhinged — Solstice
  8. Wander — Paramount
  9. News of the World — Universal
  10. Don’t Tell a Soul — Lionsgate


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‘Batman,’ ‘Fatman,’ ‘Come Play,’ ‘Trafficked’ Top New Disc, Digital Releases Available Jan. 26

After several weeks of slim pickings, home viewers have a bountiful crop of new releases available on disc and through digital retailers beginning Jan. 26, including Warner Bros.’ Batman: Soul of the Dragon, Paramount Home Entertainment’s Fatman and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Come Play.

Also new in stores are the 1955 musical Court Jester, part of the Paramount Presents line; Virgil Films’ Trafficked: A Parent’s Worst Nightmare; the Lionsgate sports actioner Born a Champion; and Season 1 of the TV series “Snowpiercer,” from Warner Bros.

Batman: Soul of the Dragon, now available on Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray two weeks after its digital sellthrough debut, is the 41st film in the DC Universe series of animated movies. The Elseworlds tale, set in the 1970s, has Bruce Wayne in martial arts training alongside other students under a master sensei to confront a deadly menace. Read a review of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray here.

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The dark comedy Fatman, now available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, was released last November through digital retailers only. The film stars Mel Gibson as Chris Cringle, the gruff, put-upon chairman of the Christmas workshop whose business is declining every year due to children becoming less enthralled by the magic of the holidays. As Cringle explains, more and more children are being naughty every year, and per the rules of his existence are eligible to receive only coal. One such child, a spoiled rich kid, orders a hit on Santa. Read a review of the  Blu-ray Disc here.

The supernatural thriller Come Play also arrives on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Jan. 26, after two weeks of availability through digital retailers. A young boy who relies on his cell phone and tablet for companionship befriends a strange and sinister non-human creature. When the mysterious creature uses the devices to break into our world, his parents must fight to save their son.

The Court Jester, which is making its Blu-ray Disc debut, stars Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury and Cecil Parker. In 2004, The Court Jester was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. 

Trafficked, a feature-length drama, becomes available Jan. 26 on DVD and digital HD through Virgil Films, the independent label headed by veteran video executive Joe Amodei. Directed by Joel Paul Reisig and written by Reisig, George Sunders, and Scott Voshel, Trafficked is based on multiple true stories from American suburban families who have had their lives uprooted after a child has been abducted and trafficked. The film tells the story of a beautiful young girl with a bright future and a dream of becoming a veterinarian.  On the eve of her 16th birthday, she sneaks out of her house to meet a handsome boy she met online and disappears.  Her parents contact the police, who assume their daughter is just out with a boyfriend. A private detective discovers the truth — a discovery that sets off a race with time.

The inspirational mixed martial arts action film Born a Champion arrives Jan. 26 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, just four days after it was released through digital retailers, in select theaters and on demand. The film stars Sean Patrick Flanery as an ex-Marine who loses a blood-soaked jujitsu match in Dubai to superstar Blaine. But years later, an online video proves that Blaine cheated, and the world demands a rematch, motivating the aging underdog to get back into shape to claim revenge.

“Snowpiercer” is a post-apocalyptic dystopian thriller television drama series that premiered on TNT on May 17, 2020. The series follows the passengers of the Snowpiercer, a gigantic, perpetually moving train that circles the globe carrying the remnants of humanity seven years after the world becomes a frozen wasteland. The series questions class warfare, social injustice and the politics of survival.

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

Flurry of New Films, Including ‘Spell,’ ‘Come Play,’ ‘Skylines’ and Animated ‘Batman: Soul of the Dragon’ Debuting Jan. 12 on Digital, Disc

A batch of new movies, including Paramount Home Entertainment’s Spell and Jungleland and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Ammonite and Come Play, top the slate of new disc and digital releases available Jan. 12.

Also new in stores are Skylines and two other new films from Lionsgate and several animated cartoon compilations and movies, including Warner Bros.’ Batman: Soul of the Dragon, which is making its digital debut two weeks prior to its release on disc.

Spell, available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, stars Omari Hardwick as a man flying his family to his father’s funeral in rural Appalachia. He loses control of the plane in an intense storm and awakens alone, wounded, and trapped in the attic of a woman who claims she can nurse him back to health with a Hoodoo figure she has made from his blood and skin.

Jungleland, a DVD-only release, is a buddy film from Vertical Entertainment that stars Charlie Hunnam, Jack O’Connell and Jessica Barden. The film was released Nov. 10 on premium VOD and for digital purchase — four days after its theatrical debut, in a limited release. Directed and co-written by Max Winkler, Jungleland follows two brothers struggling to stay relevant in the underground world of bare-knuckle boxing, and facing danger when one of them falls into debt with a crime boss.

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Ammonite, about a passionate and all-consuming love affair that changes the lives of two 19th century women, becomes available Jan. 12 through digital retailers and on demand, as well as on Blu-ray Disc and DVD.  The film, written and directed by Francis Lee (God’s Own Country), stars Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.

Come Play makes its digital debut Jan. 12, two weeks ahead of its Blu-ray Disc and DVD release. The supernatural thriller is about a young boy who relies on his cell phone and tablet for companionship. He befriends a strange and sinister non-human creature; when the mysterious creature uses the devices to break into our world, his parents must fight to save their son.

The three new releases from Lionsgate include Skylines, the third and final installment in the science-fiction “Skyline” trilogy. Directed by Liam O’Donnell, the film stars Lindsey Morgan and Rhona Mitra and was initially released last December by Vertical Entertainment in theaters and on Apple TV. It is now available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD as well as through digital retailers such as FandangoNow and Redbox On Demand. The film details the battle between defenders from Earth and invaders from the moon.

Also out from Lionsgate, on DVD and digital only, are the crime thriller American Dream,  about two entrepreneurs (Luke Bracey and Michiel Huisman) who wind up beholden to a Russian mobster (Nick Stahl), and Parallel, another Vertical Entertainment release, starring Kathleen Quinlan, in which a group of friends stumble upon a mirror that serves as a portal to a “multiverse,” but soon discover that importing knowledge from the other side in order to better their lives brings increasingly dangerous consequences.

Also available on Jan. 12 is the crime thriller Coming From Insanity, which home viewers can rent or purchase from digital retailers or watch on demand. The Level 33 Entertainment release follows Kossi, one of many children trafficked and sold into servitude in Nigeria.

Warner’s Batman: Soul of the Dragon, the 41st film in the DC Universe series of animated movies, arrives on digital sellthrough Jan. 12 ahead of its Jan. 26 release on Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. The Elseworlds tale is set in the 1970s and finds Bruce Wayne in martial arts training alongside other students under a master sensei to confront a deadly menace. Batman, joins forces with Richard Dragon, Ben Turner and Lady Shiva, and their mentor O-Sensei, to battle the monsters of this world and beyond.

Also on the cartoon front, Paramount Home Entertainment is out with Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete Twelfth Season on DVD only. In the 12th season, Gary tries out a new pair of legs to keep up with SpongeBob and Plankton and practice ruling the world in SpongeBob’s aquarium.

Cartoon fans also may be interested in Mill Creek Entertainment’s release of Ultraman Taro: The Complete Series  on Blu-ray Disc as both a special edition Steelbook and in standard packaging. It’s the North American debut of the series, which has never been broadcast on TV or available on any home entertainment format.

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

Universal/Focus Features Top Plodding Weekend Box Office as Trade Group Warns of Exhibitor Bankruptcy Without Congress Help

Universal Pictures’ specialty films unit Focus Features saw two of its releases — Let Him Go and Come Play — top another sluggish domestic weekend (through Nov. 8) undermined by wary moviegoers and scant major new studio titles due to the ongoing pandemic.

The yearly domestic box office topped $1.978 billion through the weekend — largely based on theatrical releases prior to the coronavirus pandemic shutting down all screens in mid-March. That’s down more than 75% from last year.

New release Let Him Go, which stars Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as a Montana couple who seek to rescue their grandson from a dangerous living situation, topped the weekend with $4.1 million in ticket sales. It was followed by $1.7 million in box office receipts for horror film Come Play, which has generated $5.6 million after two weeks of release.

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Both titles are earmarked for early PVOD release as part of Universal’s landmark agreement with AMC Theatres enabling the studio to offer theatrical releases to consumers in the home three weekends after their big screen launch. AMC gets a share of the direct-to-consumer revenue.

Rounding out the podium was The War With Grandpa, the 101 Studios’ family comedy starring Robert De Niro that took in $1.5 million to reach $13.4 million after three weeks. Liam Neeson drama Honest Thief grabbed $1.1 million to help the Open Road Films title reach $11.2 million after four weeks of release.

Disney/Pixar Animation’s catalog title Toy Story finished fifth with $500,000 in ticket sales — nearly 25 years after the animated classic was first released.

In a media interview, John Fithian, CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, warned that without an immediate fiscal lifeline from Congress, the exhibitor industry could face a wave of bankruptcies. The industry is pushing “Save Our Stages,” a bipartisan addendum to a larger stimulus bill languishing on Capitol Hill.

“Even though we’re allowed to open in 48 states, without a substantial slate of big movies, and with people still worried about the virus, our revenues have been decimated,” Fithian told Variety. “We’re losing money while operating. And we were shut down entirely for many, many months. It’s life or death for many, many, many theater companies.”

AMC Theatres CEO: ‘We Came Out Ahead’ on ‘Come Play’ PVOD Release

AMC Theatres’ landmark PVOD agreement with Universal Pictures has generated positive revenue for the fiscally-challenged exhibitor — 18 days before its first direct-to-consumer release. Speaking Nov. 2 on the third-quarter call, CEO Adam Aron said the studio’s PVOD release of horror movie Come Play, slated for Nov. 20, has already proven fiscally accretive to AMC.

“On the only one of [six planned] PVOD movies that has been released as of yet, our analysis is that AMC came out ahead financially as we had modeled, but much better than some [analysts] had postulated or feared,” Aron said.

In return for allowing Universal to sell PVOD access to its theatrical releases in the home 17 days after a movie’s box office debut, AMC gets an undisclosed cut of the PVOD revenue. Come Play from Focus Features won the domestic weekend box office with$3.1 million in ticket sales.

On the heels of a $905 million quarterly fiscal loss, scant domestic moviegoers and new government mandates to re-close screens across the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Italy, and in parts of Spain due to coronavirus infection upticks, Aron’s back remains against the wall.

The CEO borrowed from former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s famous wartime rally speech in the House of Commons during the early days of World War II.

“We shall not flag or fail,” Aron said. “We shall fight on the seas and oceans. We shall fight in the air. We shall defend our islands. We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight in the hills. That is exactly where we are now at AMC. We are fighting this virus with all of our smarts, and all of our minds.”

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AMC’s enemy is multifaceted: A resurgent virus, ongoing public concern, government regulation and dwindling cash to fund operations. To counter the challenges, which include restructuring debt, selling shares and offloading movie screens in the Baltics, AMC is marketing transactional VOD titles on its website, and offering free 30-day passes to SVOD services AMC Networks’ Shudder and Sundance Plus.

Aron remains upbeat that a vaccine will be found and that backlogged tentpole studio releases portend a record 2021 box office.

“At AMC, it is our considered opinion that there is good news down the road,” Aron said. “Once the movies start flowing next year, there will be a new big title almost every single week.”


Domestic Weekend Box Office Revenue Drops 19%

U.S. movie theaters continue their sputtering existence, with consumers spending just $8.9 million at the box office the weekend ended Nov. 1. That was down 19.1% from $11 million in ticket sales the previous weekend. The top draw was Come Play, the horror drama from Universal Pictures’ Focus Features, which generated $3.1 million from more than 2,100 screens nationwide in its debut.

The runner-up was Honest Thief, the Liam Neeson actioner from Open Road Film, which generated $1.35 million from more than 2,300 screens — down 42.7% from the previous weekend. The film has collected more than $17 million at the global box office, including $9.5 million in the U.S.

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That tally surpassed The War With Grandpa, which generated $1 million at the box office, down 43.5% from the previous weekend, to finish third for the weekend. The Robert De Niro comedy has sold $16.8 million in tickets worldwide.

Finally, the Warner Bros. espionage thriller Tenet took in another $885,000 (down 31.9%) to bring its domestic gross past $53 million. So far the film has generated $347 million in ticket sales worldwide.

Rounding out the Top 10: The Empty Man ($561,000); re-release Hocus Pocus ($456,000); The Nightmare Before Christmas ($386,000); Monsters, Inc. ($232,000); Spell ($210,000), and The New Mutants ($145,000).