DEG to Present Hedy Lamarr Award to PBS’s Sara DeWitt Nov. 9

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group will present its fourth annual Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology to Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS Kids Digital.

The DEG created the Innovation Award to recognize female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

The DEG also will present the Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology, which recognizes female college students whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise. The Emerging Leader award will be presented to Molly Mielke, who is earning her bachelor’s degree in film, TV and digital media at UCLA. Mielke will receive a financial award to continue her education.

Sony Electronics is presenting sponsor of the awards, which will be presented during an online event Nov. 9, to coincide with the 106th anniversary of Lamarr’s birth (Nov. 9, 1914).

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“We are thrilled to present DEG’s 2020 Hedy Lamarr Innovation Award to Sara DeWitt, who is a potent example of the power of media, and of women in media, to push technological innovation forward and at the same time, benefit society on a larger level,” Amy Jo Smith, president and CEO of DEG, said in a statement. “I’m equally excited to present our Emerging Leader Award to Molly Mielke to support her vision for immersive storytelling. These communicators embody Hedy Lamarr’s dedication to progress through innovation in media and technology.”

“I am honored to receive this award,” DeWitt said in a statement. “I am truly amazed to be associated with Hedy Lamarr and the other pioneers recognized by DEG through this program! I know that I am fortunate to work with a team at PBS Kids who is passionate about improving technology and media for young children, and I am so grateful for this recognition.”

Austrian-American actress Lamarr was a Hollywood legend who is best known for her roles in film classics including Samson and DelilahThe Strange Woman, and Tortilla Flat. She was also a lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering “frequency hopping,” which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology. Conceived by Lamarr and composer George Antheil for radio guidance systems and patented in 1942, this highly secure technology resists interference and dropout, and is utilized today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications.

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To honor Lamarr, the Innovation Award seeks to recognize and commemorate female industry leaders who have made a similar impact in the field of entertainment technology. Past honorees include Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Nonny de la Peña, CEO of Emblematic Group; and Dean Willow Bay of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

To determine the award winners, DEG enlisted its Canon Club Advisory Board, which comprises a cross-section of leaders representing the entertainment, technology, IT and consumer electronics industries. Among other factors, the judging panel based its decisions on the candidates’ embodiment of the following principles: Innovation, Engagement and Excellence.

‘Ava’ Shoots to No. 1 on ‘Watched at Home’ Chart

Ava, a thriller starring Jessica Chastain as an assassin, debuted at No. 1 on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Sept. 26. The film, distributed by Vertical Entertainment, bowed on VOD Sept. 25.

The movie is also available to rent on disc from Redbox. However, 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, does not account for rental data.

The three seasons of Paramount’s drama series “Yellowstone” continued to occupy the top five, with the third season at No. 2, the second season at No. 4 and the first season at No. 1.

No. 3 was Lionsgate’s The Secret: Dare to Dream, which moved up nine spots after its release on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Sept. 22. Based on the 2006 self-help book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, the movie stars Katie Holmes as a widowed mother of three who meets a handyman (Josh Lucas) who inspires her with the power of positive thinking.

Other newcomers to the list included Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs at No. 15. The English-language version of the South Korean animated fairy tale movie was released on disc and digital Sept. 22 by Lionsgate.

And at No. 16, fresh of its sweep of the Emmy comedy series categories, was the sixth season of “Schitt’s Creek” distributed digitally by CBS. A DVD of the complete series releases Nov. 10 from Liosngate.

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The previous week’s top title, the fifth season of the fantasy TV series “Outlander,” distributed by Sony Pictures, dropped to No. 10.

Magnolia Pictures’ Alone, a thriller about a recently widowed woman who flees the city only to be kidnapped by a strange man and held captive in his cabin, also rose nine spots, to No. 6.

At No. 7, Warner’s fourth season of “Rick and Morty” returned to the list for the first time since June after the Sept. 22 release of the season on Blu-ray and DVD.

  1. Ava (Vertical)
  2. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  3. The Secret: Dare to Dream (Lionsgate)
  4. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  5. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  6. Alone (Magnolia)
  7. Rick and Morty: Season 4 (Warner)
  8. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  9. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  10. Outlander: Season 5 (Sony Pictures)
  11. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  12. Hocus Pocus (Disney)
  13. RBG (Magnolia)
  14. On the Basis of Sex (Universal)
  15. Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs (Lionsgate)
  16. Schitt’s Creek: Season 6 (CBS)
  17. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Warner)
  18. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  19. Irresistible (2020, Universal)
  20. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)

 

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 Sept. 26.

‘Outlander: Season 5’ Jumps to No. 1 on ‘Watched at Home’ Chart

The fifth season of the fantasy TV series “Outlander,” distributed by Sony Pictures, was the top title on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Sept. 19.

The Blu-ray and DVD edition of the season arrived in stores Sept. 15.

Also new to the list at No. 7 is the anime movie Weathering With You, released on Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 15 by Shout! Factory.

No. 12 saw the debut of Lionsgate’s The Secret: Dare to Dream, which became available for digital sellthrough Sept. 15. Based on the 2006 self-help book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, the movie stars Katie Holmes as a widowed mother of three who meets a handyman (Josh Lucas) who inspires her with the power of positive thinking.

The other new release on the list, at No. 15, is Magnolia Pictures’ Alone, a thriller about a recently widowed woman who flees the city only to be kidnapped by a strange man and held captive in his cabin.

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The three seasons of Paramount’s drama series “Yellowstone,” which the previous week took the top three spots, dropped to second, third and fourth 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. Season three was No. 2, followed by season two then season one.

Warner’s eight-film “Harry Potter” collection rounded out the top five.

The Sept. 18 death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg inspired viewers to revisit two 2018 films about her: the documentary RBG, from Magnolia, at No. 10, and the biopic On the Basis of Sex, from Universal, at No. 16. In the latter, Felicity Jones plays a younger Ginsberg making a name for herself as a civil rights attorney.

  1. Outlander: Season 5 (Sony Pictures)
  2. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  4. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  5. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  6. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  7. Weathering With You (Shout! Factory)
  8. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  9. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  10. RBG (Magnolia)
  11. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Warner)
  12. The Secret: Dare to Dream (Lionsgate)
  13. Irresistible (2020, Universal)
  14. Hocus Pocus (Disney)
  15. Alone (Magnolia)
  16. On the Basis of Sex (Universal)
  17. Guest House (Lionsgate)
  18. The Silencing (2020, Lionsgate)
  19. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Warner)
  20. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (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 Sept. 19.

Pauly Shore’s ‘Guest House’ Most-Viewed New-Release Movie in U.S. Homes

Three new films appeared on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Sept. 12: Guest House at No. 7, Superman: Man of Tomorrow at No. 12, and The Karate Kid at No. 14.

Guest House, from Lionsgate, is a comedy starring Pauly Shore, best known for a string of 1990s comedies such as Encino Man and Jury Duty. Shore, the son of comedian Sammy Shore and The Comedy Store founder Mitzi Shore, plays a squatter who refuses to move from a guest house even after the property is sold to a newly engaged couple. The film was released through digital platforms and retailers on Sept. 4, ahead of its Nov. 10 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release date.

Superman: Man of Tomorrow, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, was released as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on Sept. 8, two weeks after its digital release. It’s the 40th entry in the direct-to-video DC Universe series of superhero movies based on DC Comics characters, produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment. It details the early days of the Man of Steel’s shy alter ego, Clark Kent, in Metropolis.

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The Karate Kid is a 1984 martial arts drama starring Ralph Macchio Jr., who reprises his role as Daniel LaRusso in “Cobra Kai,” a Web series based on the movie and its sequels. Consumers were likely motivated to watch the movie by the recent surge in popularity of “Cobra Kai,” the first two seasons of which became available on Netflix on Aug. 28.

The political satire Irresistible, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, made the biggest jump 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.

Irresistible moved up to No. 10 after debuting at No. 19 the prior week in the wake of its Sept. 1 release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc (though its disc version hasn’t cracked the top 50 on VideoScan’s sales chart in either its two weeks on shelves). The film was written and directed by Jon Stewart and features a cast headed by Steve Carell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Mackenzie Davis and Topher Grace. Carell portrays a campaign strategist who runs a Democratic mayoral candidate (Cooper) in a small right-wing town. A Focus Features production, Irresistible was rerouted from a May 2020 theatrical release by the coronavirus pandemic and instead debuted in June on premium VOD. It became available through regular digital channels on Aug. 18.

The top five remain relatively unchanged from the prior week  — and from the week before that. Paramount’s popular TV drama series “Yellowstone,” long a favorite among home viewers, again took the top three spots on the chart, though this week season three leapfrogged season two to take the No. 2 spot. Universal’s The King of Staten Island switched places with RLJ FIlms’ The Tax Collector to finish as No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

  1. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  2. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  4. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  5. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  6. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  7. Guest House (Lionsgate)
  8. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  9. 42 (Warner)
  10. Irresistible (2020, Universal)
  11. The Silencing (2020, Lionsgate)
  12. Superman: Man of Tomorrow (Warner)
  13. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Warner)
  14. The Karate Kid (Sony)
  15. Rogue (Lionsgate)
  16. The Vanished (2020, Paramount)
  17. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  18. Scoob! (Warner)
  19. 1917 (Universal)
  20. Made In Italy  (IFC Films)

 

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 Sept. 12.

DEG Announces New Board of Directors; Jim Wuthrich Named Chairman

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group on Sept. 8 announced its incoming board of directors and additional new member companies in the growing direct-to-consumer video segment.

New DEG members include A+E Networks, Amazon’s Prime Video, Disney+, ESPN+, FilmRise, Peacock and ZOO Digital. A+E Networks, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, ESPN+ and Peacock are also represented on DEG’s D2C Alliance Steering Committee.

New board members to serve for the 2020-21 fiscal year (Aug. 1 – July 31) include Jeremy Settle of AT&T, Rebecca Heap of Comcast Corp., Michael Bonner of NBCUniversal and Dan Cohen of ViacomCBS.

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A+E Networks, Disney and Xperi are member companies newly represented on the DEG Board. A+E Networks is represented on the board by Mark Garner, Disney is represented by Alisa Bowen, and Xperi is represented by Bill Neighbors. Neighbors is one of two special board advisors. These appointed, non-voting seats are open to DEG member companies not currently eligible for the board, including associate and affiliate members.

The officers of the DEG board were elected to a two-year term in 2020 and will continue to serve through July 2022. Officers include chair Jim Wuthrich of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment & Games; vice chair Dan Cohen of ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group; CFO Andrea Downing of PBS Distribution; secretary Rick Hack of Intel; and chair emeritus Matt Strauss of Peacock.

‘Black Panther’ Shoots Up ‘Watched at Home’ Chart in Wake of Actor Chadwick Boseman’s Death

The unexpected death of actor Chadwick Boseman sent his hit movie Black Panther back into the top 10 of the “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Aug. 29, even though his passing of cancer at age 43 came with just one day left in the tracking period.

Black Panther, distributed to home audiences through the Walt Disney Co., debuted at No. 9 on the chart.

Two other older movies also appeared on the weekly 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.

The original Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, from 1989, debuted at No. 14, while its 1991 sequel, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, bowed at No. 13.

Demand for the two titles was sparked by the Aug. 28 theatrical and PVOD launch of the third installment in the franchise, Bill & Ted Face the Music, with original stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter reprising their roles as two time-traveling slackers.

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Also new to the chart: the complete “Game of Thrones” series, from Warner, at No. 17, and Tesla, the IFC Films biopic that stars Ethan Hawke as visionary inventor Nikola Tesla, at No. 18.

Paramount’s popular TV drama series “Yellowstone,” long a favorite among home viewers, took the top three spots on the chart, with Season 1 at No. 1.

RLJ Entertainment’s The Tax Collector dropped to No. 4 after three weeks in the top spot, while DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, distributed digitally and on disc to home audiences by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, slipped to No. 6 from No. 2 — exiting the top five for the first time since it debuted on the chart in late June.

Rounding out the top five, at No. 5, was Universal’s The King of Staten Island, which soared up from No. 14 the previous week after its Aug. 25 release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

  1. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  2. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  4. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  5. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  6. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  7. The Silencing (2020, Lionsgate)
  8. The Vanished (2020, Paramount)
  9. Black Panther (Disney)
  10. Made In Italy (IFC Films)
  11. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  12. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  13. Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (MGM)
  14. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (MGM)
  15. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  16. The Rental (IFC Films)
  17. Game of Thrones: S1-8 (Warner)
  18. Tesla (IFC)
  19. Deep Blue Sea 3 (Warner)
  20. 1917  (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 Aug. 29.

‘The Silencing’, ‘The Vanished’ Among Five New Releases on Weekly ‘Watched at Home’ Chart

Five new films appeared on the “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Aug. 22, led by Lionsgate’s The Silencing and Paramount’s The Vanished, both of which debuted in the top 10.

The Silencing debuted at No. 6 on the weekly chart, which tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. The  U.S.-Canadian action thriller follows a reclusive hunter and police sheriff who track down a murderer they suspect kidnapped the hunter’s daughter five years earlier. The film, released through digital retailers on Aug. 14, was directed by Robin Pront from a screenplay by Micah Ranum and stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Annabelle Wallis.

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The Vanished (No. 7), also released through digital retailers in mid-August ahead of an Oct. 20 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release, is about an idyllic family vacation that turns into a living nightmare for parents Paul (Thomas Jane) and Wendy (Anne Heche) when their young daughter disappears without a trace. When the local sheriff (Jason Patric) fails to chase down any new leads, the frantic parents have no choice but to take matters into their own hands.

Also new to the “Watched at Home” chart are RLJ Entertainment’s Spree (No. 15), a horror satire that follows a social media-obsessed, ride-hail driver played by Joe Keery, and Sony Pictures’ Sputnik (No. 18), a Russian science-fiction horror film that stars Oksana Akinshina as a young doctor who is recruited by the military to assess a cosmonaut who survived a mysterious space accident and returned to Earth with a dangerous organism living inside him.

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Warner’s Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons, a direct-to-video animated superhero film version of the CW Seed series of the same name, debuted at No. 20 after its Aug. 18 disc release date. The film was released through digital retailers two weeks earlier.

The top five on the “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Aug. 22 remains unchanged from the prior week, with RLJ’s The Tax Collector at No. 1 for the third consecutive week. The film, which stars Shia LaBeouf and Bobby Soto as “tax collectors” working for a Los Angeles crime lord, was released through digital retailers on Aug. 7.

Rounding out the top five are DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, distributed to home audiences by Universal Pictures, and three seasons of Paramount’s “Yellowstone,” with Kevin Costner.

  1. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  2. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  4. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  5. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  6. The Silencing (2020, Lionsgate)
  7. The Vanished (2020, Paramount)
  8. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  9. Made In Italy (IFC Films)
  10. You Should Have Left (Universal)
  11. The Rental (IFC Films)
  12. Deep Blue Sea 3 (Warner)
  13. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  14. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  15. Spree (2020, RLJ Entertainment)
  16. Scoob! (Warner Bros.)
  17. The High Note (Universal)
  18. Sputnik (Sony Pictures)
  19. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Universal)
  20. Deathstroke Knights & Dragons (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 Aug. 22.

Women in Home Entertainment 2020: The 12 Captains and What They Like to Watch, Whom They’d Like to Meet

Media Play News asked the 12 “captains” in our third annual Women in Home Entertainment issue to participate in a detailed Q&A. An abridged Q&A appears in the August 2020 print and digital edition of Media Play News. The full Q&A has been broken down into three sections, running here on consecutive days. This is the third and final part, a fun look inside their personal lives, about what they like to watch and whom they’d most like to meet.

SEE A PHOTO GALLERY OF THE TOP 12 WOMEN IN HOME ENTERTAINMENT

 

THE CAPTAINS OF HOME ENTERTAINMENT: WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY, PART THREE

What are the last two or three movies, TV shows or original series you watched — and please tell us why you love them?

Sarah Aubrey, Head of Original Content, HBO Max: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. I was obsessed with Michelle McNamara’s very personal account of her hunt to reveal the identity of the Golden State Killer and HBO has done a wonderful job of bringing that book to life. Getting to see Michelle’s perspective has been moving and inspiring. I have been catching up on the latest season of “Better Things” and Pamela Adlon is a god.

SEE ALSO ‘WOMEN IN HOME ENTERTAINMENT 2020: THE 12 CAPTAINS TALK COVID-19, REMOTE WORKING AND LASTING CHANGES’

Kelly Campbell, President, Hulu: Hamilton on Disney+ — I think I’ve watched this 10 times since it launched on Disney+.  It’s powerful on so many levels. Thought-provoking creativity and storytelling at its finest. Thirteenth on Netflix — a critical film of our time that provides an eye-opening look at history. Palm Springs on Hulu — so very clever — the writing, the acting, the set — I love it all. I’m a sucker for romantic comedies, but this one goes above and beyond!

SEE ALSO ‘WOMEN IN HOME ENTERTAINMENT 2020: THE 12 CAPTAINS TALK CAREER PATHS, HIGHLIGHTS AND TOUGH CALLS’

Agnes Chu, SVP, Content, Disney+: Hamilton is a given.  So in addition to that, a shout-out to our sister service, Hulu, and their recent premiere of Palm Springs, which totally delivered on much needed belly-laughs during these hard times. Mindy Kaling’s series “Never Have I Ever” because of its nuanced and fresh twist on family comedy, harnessing such a delightfully specific voice to capture coming-of-age and the complexities of grief. I was laughing and crying at the same time, and I loved it. Finally, I’ve been watching Hong Kong kung-fu soap operas produced in the 1980s, often set as Chinese historical period pieces. Cantonese was my first language, and it’s important to me that my daughter also hears the language as she learns to talk. While hilariously low budget and corny, these soap operas also kick ass because every episode involves elaborate martial arts.

SEE ALSO ‘WOMEN IN HOME ENTERTAINMENT 2020: THE 12 CAPTAINS — WHO THEY ARE’

Andrea Downing, Co-President, PBS Distribution: American Experience: The Vote, a film about the hard-fought campaign waged by American women for the right to vote. It is an extraordinary story of the courage and determination it took to achieve the passage of the 19th Amendment. This is the 100-year anniversary of the amendment’s passage, and is particularly timely given our nation’s current movement to correct long-standing social injustices.“World on Fire” is an incredible series about World War II that shows us the war from the perspective of individuals impacted by it. And Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, a brilliant Stanley Nelson film for “American Masters,” explores the complicated man who became a legend and changed the world of jazz.

Dametra Johnson-Marletti, GM, Digital Store Category Management, Microsoft Corp.: Becoming, The Last Dance and “Yellowstone.” There is so much great content today — but these are the most recent three that I have enjoyed. All capture my interest for different reasons. Becoming is inspiring and uplifting. Given the current state of the world, and in particular the manner in which those in leadership positions carry themselves and behave — it is just flat-out refreshing and heart-warming to hear someone speak with intellect, grace and strength. For that reason, I thoroughly enjoyed Becoming. As a former professional basketball player, and someone that grew up LOVING the Lakers, and being in awe of Michael Jordan, The Last Dance is just a must watch. It was super fun reliving all those great moments and interesting to see an inside view of Jordan and player dynamics. Finally, for the purposes of pure escapist entertainment, I continue to enjoy time spent watching “Yellowstone.” Each season brings a different side of the characters and interesting storylines. Not to mention I love all things Kevin Costner.

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Jessica Schell, EVP and GM, Film, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment: Limiting the kids’ screen time has gone out the window, but we’ve tried to make our TV viewing feel more special by instituting “family movie nights” a few times a week. Trying to find something that works for me and my husband plus daughters ages 4, 12 and 14 is a challenge! Some of the best evenings have been when we’ve revisited classics like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Wizard of Oz and the “Harry Potter” movies, which have something for each of us: nostalgia and the joy of introducing something you love to your kids.

Amy Jo Smith, President and CEO, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group: That’s a hard question because there are so many great shows on many platforms. I’m personally attracted to documentaries. The Staircase was one of my favorites as it was revealing to see the inside story of a murder trial. I also liked the Aaron Hernandez story and the Bill Gates documentary Inside Bill’s Brain. “Succession” and “Ozark” are both fantastic dramas. But, when push comes to shove, I always love watching a “Seinfeld” episode!

Lexine Wong, Senior EVP, Worldwide Marketing, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment: I have watched so many TV shows and films during the quarantine — new and old, popular and eclectic. I would have to say my favorite TV series was The Last Dance. It was so well done and so cool to see Jordan and all the players, past and present. Having that behind-the-scenes look into Jordan’s life was fascinating. And maybe because I was missing sports as a whole, it was fun to tune into something ‘live’ for a few weeks.  I also caught up on all the seasons of “The Crown,” “The Good Doctor” and “Ozark,” just to name a few. I just watched an indie movie, The Young Offenders, which I had never seen, and it was funny and charming. I also re-watched Crash, Argo and The Blind Side recently, which are all so good for different reasons. And I’ve been reading lots of scripts and books as well. I highly recommend Catch and Kill and The Splendid and the Vile.

 

If you could spend the day with any famous person, alive or dead, who would it be — and why?

Aubrey: Connie Britton. We are old friends from making “Friday Night Lights” together and overdue for a backyard margarita.

Campbell: Living, I would say Oprah! I’ve always looked up to Oprah. I love hearing people’s stories, and there is no one more masterful at asking the right questions to learn people’s stories than Oprah. She brings empathy, passion and positivity to all that she does. If it’s someone no longer with us, then it would most definitely be my father-in-law. He passed away before I met him. I’d love to spend a day with him, getting to know the man that shaped the incredible human that is my husband.

Chu: I’ve been reading my daughter the “Little People, Big Dreams” books. We picked up the one that told the story of Martin Luther King Jr., and it made me so emotional. While progress has been made since his death, it has not nearly been enough — what would MLK say today and what actions must we take to achieve our dream of equality?

Johnson-Marletti: Michelle Obama. I would love to sit and talk with her to get first-hand accounts of how she has navigated life. She is an accomplished business leader, a mother who by all accounts has done a wonderful job with her girls, and someone who has navigated the scrutiny and muck of D.C. while demonstrating class, intellect, faith and grace. I think spending a day with such a person would only be goodness.

Kim Overall, EVP, Consumer Insights and Innovation, Sony Pictures Entertainment: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. I think they would be incredibly insightful across many of the topics and challenges we are facing. And I imagine they’d be accessible, relatable and engaging.

Smith: George Clooney because I’d love to know what it’s like to be equal parts humanitarian, talented at his trade, and strong enough to marry a smart, accomplished, beautiful woman. And, because, you know … George Clooney! Or, Alfred Hitchcock because I’d love to hear his take on how movies have evolved and what his vision would be to use Ultra HD and immersive technologies to improve them further.

Wong: So many to choose from! I think I’d go with Angelina Jolie, because she’s a very private celebrity who has made strong, deliberate career choices that resonate because of her passion and commitment to the stories she is telling. I would love to hear what she has to say on life, love, politics and the causes she supports.

Indie Films, Older Movies Score on Weekly ‘Watched at Home’ Chart

The lack of fresh theatrical product continues to lead home viewers toward older films as well as niche product from independent suppliers.

The crime drama The Tax Collector, from RLJ Entertainment, remained No. 1 on the “Watched at Home” chart the week ended Aug. 15. The film, which stars Shia LaBeouf and Bobby Soto as “tax collectors” working for a Los Angeles crime lord, was released through digital retailers on Aug. 7.

New to the chart were two more independent films, Homefront and Made In Italy, which debuted, respectively at No. 6 and No. 7 on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart, which tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

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Homefront, from Open Road Films, is a 2013 action thriller that stars Jason Statham, James Franco, Winona Ryder and Kate Bosworth. The film earned $51.7 million during its theatrical run.

Made In Italy is a new comedy-drama written and directed by James D’Arcy. Starring Liam Neeson and his son, Micheál Richardson, as well as Valeria Bilello and Lindsay Duncan, the film follows an artist who must restore a villa with his estranged son after his wife dies in a terrible car crash. Made in Italy was released Aug. 7 through in select theaters and on VOD.

Also new to the weekly chart is Universal Pictures’ The King of Staten Island, a Judd Apatow-helmed comedy rerouted from theaters to an early digital release, at a premium price, in June. The film debuted at No. 11 on the “Watched at Home” chart after its release the prior week through digital retailers.

Jurassic World entered the chart at No. 19, a week after its sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, debuted at No. 18 amid publicity around the next installment in the dinosaur franchise, Jurassic World: Dominion, slated to bow in theaters next summer. Fallen Kingdom moved up two spots to finish the week at No. 16.

Rounding out the top five the week ended Aug. 15 were DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour at No. 2 and the three seasons of “Yellowstone,” from Paramount, at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5.

  1. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  2. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  4. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  5. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  6. Homefront (2013, Open Road Films)
  7. Made In Italy (IFC Films)
  8. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  9. The Rental (IFC Films)
  10. You Should Have Left (Universal)
  11. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  12. Deep Blue Sea 3 (Warner)
  13. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  14. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  15. Scoob! (Warner Bros.)
  16. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Universal)
  17. The Invisible Man (Universal)
  18. Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  19. Jurassic World (Universal)
  20. 1917 (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 Aug. 15.

Analyst: AVOD ‘Under Appreciated’ Market Dynamic

While the growth of subscription streaming video services led by Netflix has dominated home entertainment headlines over the years, growth of ad-supported VOD platforms still remains a lurking presence, according to analyst Michael Nathanson with MoffettNathanson in New York.

Speaking Aug. 20 on the DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group Mid-Year 2020 Digital Media Entertainment Report webcast, Nathanson said during the first three months of the coronavirus pandemic streaming video consumption in the United States increased 86% from the previous-year period — driven by Netflix with 32% market share. Nathanson said that among the 28% of streaming services other than competitors Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, ad-supported VOD is gaining the most traction among consumers.

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Major AVOD services include ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV, Disney’s Hulu, Fox Corp.’s Tubi, The Roku Channel, Redbox TV, IMDb TV, Peacock and Shout! TV, among others.

“That 28% of streaming minutes is where we think the streaming wars are actually happening,” Nathanson said. Calling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic a “once-in-a-lifetime” moment for SVOD, underscored by Netflix adding as many new subscribers in the first half of the year than it did in 2019, Nathanson said AVOD represents a cost-efficient alternative.

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“If you don’t think you want to get into the streaming wars and chase Disney and Netflix down a rabbit hole of spending, you can have advertisers underwrite the cost of content [via AVOD],” he said. “We think this is a place where [media] companies that don’t want to play in the streaming wars, but have content libraries looking for a home will play the game.”

Nathanson projects a quadrupling of revenue for AVOD over the next four years as traditional linear pay-TV  consumption falls and content holders look for alternative distribution channels outside of SVOD. The analyst believes AVOD and other forms of digital distribution will account for 75% of all ad spending by 2024 as linear TV consumption declines and broadcasters move away from original content spending.

“It’s pretty much going to be a digital-only world,” Nathanson said.