British Home Entertainment Eyes Bullish Half-Year Sales

The British Association for Screen Entertainment said more than 38 million copies of movies and TV shows sold in the first six months of 2018, including 21% and 5% increases, respectively, in digital and disc sales of the Top 10 releases.

New releases represented 44% of sales in the world’s No. 2 home entertainment market, up 3% from the previous-year period.

Through the first-half of the year, digital retail represented 22.4% of revenue, up 6.9% from the previous-year period. Average consumer spending on digital transactions increased to £31.50 ($41.19).

Blu-ray Disc sales represented 12.9% of revenue – up 0.7% — with 4K UHD now representing 12% of the Blu-ray market. DVD generated 64.7% of sales, down from 72.3% last year.

“Whether you consider the performance of the top [sellers], the rise in digital transactions or the increased consumer spend on high-definition Blu-ray and 4K UHD titles, there is much to suggest that being able to access a film in your home … remains important to many,” Liz Bales, CEO at BASE, said in a statement.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment’s The Greatest Showman ended the period as the top-selling title, with 1.4 million units sold. The movie is also Britain’s all-time fastest-selling digital release, with more than 500,000 units sold since May.

Robert Price, managing director at Fox Home Entertainment in the U.K., said there was much to be positive about the home entertainment sector thus far in 2018, especially in the context of a challenging trading environment and unsteady consumer confidence.

“As an industry we must ensure our relevance to audiences sustains,” Price said. “We need to capitalize on successes where we see them and be bold and collaborative in approaching challenges and meeting the needs of a customer base still clearly very much in love with ownership and collection.”

Other top-selling digital releases included Justice League (Warner Home Entertainment) with more than 170,000 digital copies sold; Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Fifty Shades Freed (120,000 units), and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Blade Runner 2049 from (112,000 digital copies).

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s Star Wars VII – The Last Jedi sold more than 1.03 million copies across all formats, and StudioCanal’s marmalade-eating bear found a home with more than 835,000 families with Paddington 2 (released by Warner in the United States)

Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle sold more than 600,000 units since its release in April. Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther sold 513,000 units.

 

PBS ‘American Masters’ Documentary on Baseball’s Ted Williams to Bow July 24 on DVD and Digital

PBS Distribution will release American Masters — Ted Williams: “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” on DVD and Digital HD July 24.

The program premieres July 23 on PBS.

Co-produced by Albert M. Tapper Productions, in association with Major League Baseball, David Ortiz’ Big Papi Productions and Nick Davis Productions, the program explores not only the Baseball Hall of Famer’s on-field accomplishments but also his complicated relationships with family, teammates, press, fans and himself. The release honors Williams’ centennial and marks the first baseball subject in the series’ 32-year history.

Narrated by Jon Hamm, the documentary features never-before-seen archival footage and in-depth interviews with those who knew and studied Williams, including his daughter Claudia Williams, author/journalist Ben Bradlee Jr., veteran baseball writer Roger Angela, and broadcasters Bob Costas and the late Dick Enberg.

Williams is the last player to hit over .400, finishing the 1941 season batting .406. Former players — including Baseball Hall of Famers Willie McCovey and Wade Boggs, three-time All-Star Jim Kaat, and current Cincinnati Reds first baseman and former National League MVP Joey Votto — share how Williams influenced them in the program.

‘Nova: Wonders’ Due on DVD and Digital July 31 From PBS

The “Nova: Wonders” series will be available on DVD and Digital HD July 31 from PBS Distribution.

The program, hosted by three young scientists, explores the frontiers of science, following researchers who are tackling the biggest unanswered questions about life and the cosmos. Each episode poses a big scientific question and takes viewers along on a journey to explore how far we’ve come in our quest for answers, and how we’ve managed to get here. Among the topics pondered are the secret language of animals, what’s hidden in the human body, the artificial intelligence technologies that could rival and surpass the abilities of the human mind, the controversial power to engineer life in a lab, and the mysteries of the universe.

The DVD retails at $34.99.

‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ 4K Collector’s Set Due July 17

The long-delayed limited-edition 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray collector’s edition of director James Cameron’s sci-fi action classic Terminator 2: Judgment Day will be released July 17 from Lionsgate.

The set includes the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (with Blu-ray and digital copy) of the film with a replica of a Terminator EndoArm. Just 6,000 of the boxed sets ($174.99 each) will be released in the United States, featuring a life-sized replica of the T-800 arm mounted on a stand with a numbered sticker with James Cameron’s signature.

A standalone version of the 4K combo pack was released in December.

Blu-ray and Digital HD special features include the 55-minute documentary “T2: Reprogramming the Terminator,” featuring commentary from the cast and crew (including Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Edward Furlong); two feature commentaries, including 23 members of the cast and crew; “The Making of T2” 30-minute featurette; seamless branching to view three different versions of the movie; two deleted scenes with audio commentary; and trailers.

 

‘Inheritance’ Due on Digital June 15

The psychological thriller Inheritance will be released on Digital HD June 15 from Portola Pictures.

The film will be available to rent or own on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video.

Directed by Tyler Savage from his own script, the film puts a chilling twist on the universal feeling of being trapped by your family history.  The film premiered at Dances with Films.

Savage makes his feature film debut alongside executive producer Nicholas Gonda (Tree of Life), cinematographer Drew Daniels (Krisha, It Comes At Night) and producers J.P. Castel (Krisha), Dash Hawkins (Party Crashers) and Chase Joliet (It Comes at Night), who also leads the cast.  Joliet is joined onscreen by Sara Montez (“Pitch”), Tim Abell (Sniper: Special Ops), Kate Norby (The Devil’s Rejects), Dale Dickey (Hell or High Water, “True Blood”), Krisha Fairchild (Krisha) and Drew Powell (“Gotham”).

Pop band Mini Mansions provides the score.

‘Bill Nye: Science Guy’ Doc Coming to Disc April 24, Digital HD April 19 from PBS

PBS Distribution will release POV: Bill Nye: Science Guy on Blu-ray and DVD April 24 and Digital HD April 19.

The Blu-ray retails at $29.99; the DVD at $24.99.

The documentary is a behind-the-scenes portrait of Bill Nye, known as the “Science Guy,” former host of a popular kids’ show and now the CEO of the Planetary Society. Nye is on a mission to stop the spread of anti-scientific thought and action, and he’s leading an undertaking to launch LightSail, a satellite propelled by sunlight, while in turn fulfilling the legacy of his late professor and Planetary Society co-founder Carl Sagan. As Nye takes on climate change deniers and evolution opponents, the documentary explores his life and work through supporters and critics.

In addition to Nye, the film features Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ann Druyan and many other notable voices in the field.

PBS to Release ‘Little Women’ Adaptation on Digital May 14, Disc May 22

PBS Distribution will release Masterpiece: Little Women, featuring Emily Watson and Angela Lansbury, on DVD ($24.99) and Blu-ray ($34.99) May 22 and Digital HD May 14.

Little Women airs on “Masterpiece” May 13 and May 20.

Masterpiece: Little Women (Photo courtesy of Patrick Redmond)

Based on the classic novel, the story follows the four March sisters on their journey from childhood to adulthood while their father is away at war. Under the guidance of their mother Marmee (Emily Watson), the girls navigate what it means to be a young woman, from gender roles to sibling rivalry, first love, loss and marriage. The March sisters are played by newcomer Maya Hawke as Jo, Willa Fitzgerald (“Scream: The TV Series”) as Meg, Annes Elwy (King Arthur: Excalibur Rising) as Beth and Kathryn Newton (“Big Little Lies”) as Amy. Also appearing are Angela Landsbury as their cantankerous wealthy Aunt March; Michael Gambon as benevolent neighbor Mr. Laurence; Jonah Hauer-King (Howards End) as Laurie Laurence, the boy next door; and Dylan Baker (“The Good Wife”) as Mr. March.

Little Women is one of the most-loved novels in the English language, and with good reason,” said writer and executive producer Heidi Thomas in a statement. “Its humanity, humor, and tenderness never date, and as a study of love, grief, and growing up it has no equal. There could be no better time to revisit the story of a family striving for happiness in an uncertain world.”