Thriller ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ Available for Premium Digital Ownership and Rental July 2, on Disc Aug. 3

The Angelina Jolie thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead arrives for early premium digital ownership and rental July 2 and on Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 3.

The film is directed by Oscar nominee Taylor Sheridan and stars Oscar winner Angelina Jolie (Girl, Interrupted, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Maleficent) and Nicholas Hoult (X-Men).

Jolie stars as Hannah, a smoke jumper reeling from the loss of three young lives she failed to save from a fire. When she comes across a bloodied and traumatized 12-year-old boy, the two set out together to cross miles of thick forest. Braving deadly lightning storms that challenge even Hannah’s well-honed survival skills, they’re unaware of the true dangers they face as they’re hunted by two killers while a massive fiery blaze heads straight for them.

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The Blu-ray includes a making-of featurette and the DVD “Those Who Wish Me Dead First Look.”

‘Wrath of Man’ Continues Atop Vudu and FandangoNow Charts

The Jason Statham actioner Wrath of Man led both the Vudu and FandangoNow charts for a second consecutive week.

Both are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.

Warner Bros.’ Wrath of Man, based on the 2004 French film Cash Truck and available as a premium VOD rental, took the top spot for the week ended June 6. In the film, which pairs director Guy Richie with Statham, a mysterious new security guard for a cash truck surprises his co-workers when he unleashes precision skills during a heist. The crew is left wondering who he is and where he came from. The marksman’s ultimate motive becomes clear as he takes dramatic and irrevocable steps to settle a score.

Debuting in the No. 2 spot on both charts was Lionsgate’s horror sequel Spiral: From the Book of Saw, available as a premium digital rental. Spiral centers on Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock), who is working in the shadow of his father, an esteemed police veteran played by Samuel L. Jackson.  Along with his rookie partner (Max Minghella), Banks takes charge of an investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past.

Godzilla vs. Kong, from Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, dropped from No. 2 to No. 3 on both charts. The film stars Alexander Skarsgård and Millie Bobby Brown and debuted for digital purchase May 21. In this installment in the MonsterVerse, Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe.

Falling from No. 3 to No. 4 on both charts was the Sony Pictures horror film The Unholy, which became available for digital purchase May 25. Based on James Herbert’s best-selling book Shrine, the film follows a young hearing-impaired girl who is visited by the Virgin Mary and can suddenly hear, speak and heal the sick. As people from near and far flock to witness her miracles, a disgraced journalist (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) hoping to revive his career visits a small New England town to investigate. As terrifying events begin to happen all around him, he starts questioning if these miracles are the works of the Virgin Mary or something much more sinister.

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Taking the fifth spot on the Vudu chart (No. 6 on the FandangoNow chart) was the Liam Neeson actioner The Marksman, available for digital rental and purchase. The Universal Pictures film follows a hardened border town rancher (Neeson) who helps a young boy escape to safety across America with vicious drug cartel assassins on their heels.

The fifth spot on the FandangoNow chart went to the Bob Odenkirk action thriller Nobody, available as a premium digital rental. Odenkirk plays a mild-mannered father and husband who hits a boiling point when he’s robbed.

Boosted by a successful sequel in theaters, the horror thriller A Quiet Place, available for digital purchase and rental, appeared on the Vudu chart at No. 8.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended June 6, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Wrath of Man
  2. Spiral: From the Book of Saw
  3. Godzilla vs. Kong
  4. The Unholy
  5. The Marksman
  6. Tom & Jerry
  7. Raya and the Last Dragon
  8. A Quiet Place
  9. Four Good Days
  10. The Courier

 

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended June 6, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Wrath of Man
  2. Spiral: From the Book of Saw
  3. Godzilla vs. Kong
  4. The Unholy
  5. Nobody
  6. The Marksman
  7. Profile
  8. Raya and the Last Dragon
  9. Tom & Jerry
  10. The Courier

‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Stomps to Top of Vudu and FandangoNow Charts

The actioner Godzilla vs. Kong led both the Vudu and FandangoNow charts the week ended May 23.

Both are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.

From Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, the film stars Alexander Skarsgård and Millie Bobby Brown and debuted for digital purchase May 21. In this installment in the MonsterVerse, Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe.

Disney’s animated Raya and the Last Dragon, available for digital rental or purchase, rose to No. 2 from No. 4 on the Vudu chart and remained at No. 3 on the FandangoNow chart for the week. In the fantasy adventure, long ago, in the world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. When sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned, and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the last dragon in order to finally stop the Druun for good.

Falling to No. 2 on the FandangoNow chart (No. 4 on Vudu) after a three-week reign at No. 1 on both charts was the Liam Neeson actioner The Marksman, available for digital rental and purchase. The Universal Pictures film follows a hardened border town rancher (Neeson) who helps a young boy escape to safety across America with vicious drug cartel assassins on their heels.

Rising from No. 9 to No. 3 on the Vudu chart and from No. 8 to No. 5 on the FandangoNow chart was the animated and live-action comedy Tom & Jerry, which became available for digital purchase May 18. The Warner Bros. film, featuring Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña and Colin Jost, follows the iconic mouse Jerry who moves into New York City’s finest hotel on the eve of “the wedding of the century,” forcing the event’s desperate planner (Moretz) to hire Tom to get rid of him. The ensuing cat and mouse battle threatens to destroy her career, the wedding and possibly the hotel itself. But soon, an even bigger problem arises: a diabolically ambitious staffer conspiring against all three of them.

Landing at No. 4 on the FandangoNow chart (No. 6 on Vudu) was Universal Pictures’ Nobody, available for premium VOD rental. The suspense actioner stars Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”) as a seemingly ordinary suburban husband and father whose pent-up fury is unleashed when his home is broken into. His search for vengeance unveils a secret from his past.

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Taking the fifth spot on the Vudu chart (No. 8 on FandangoNow) was Lionsgate’s Chaos Walking, which became available for digital purchase May 14. In the film — based on the best-selling novel The Knife of Never Letting Go and set in the not-too-distant future — Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) discovers a mysterious girl named Viola (Daisy Ridley). She has crash-landed on his planet, where the women have disappeared and the men are afflicted by “The Noise,” a force that puts all their thoughts on display. In this dangerous landscape, Viola’s life is threatened and, to protect her, Todd must discover his inner power and unlock the planet’s dark secrets.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended May 23, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Godzilla vs. Kong
  2. Raya and the Last Dragon
  3. Tom & Jerry
  4. The Marksman
  5. Chaos Walking
  6. Nobody
  7. The Little Things
  8. Four Good Days
  9. The Croods: A New Age
  10. Justice Society: World War II

 

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended May 23, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Godzilla vs. Kong
  2. The Marksman
  3. Raya and the Last Dragon
  4. Nobody
  5. Tom & Jerry
  6. Four Good Days
  7. The Little Things
  8. Chaos Walking
  9. Riders of Justice
  10. Together Together

Horror Thriller ‘Sound of Violence’ Due on Cable and Digital VOD May 21 From Gravitas Ventures

The horror thriller Sound of Violence will debut on cable and digital VOD May 21 from Gravitas Ventures.

The film, written and directed by Alex Noyer (808, SXSW 2015) premiered at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival and stars Jasmin Savoy Brown (the upcoming Scream revival, “The Leftovers”), Lili Simmons (“Ray Donovan,” “Banshee,” Bone Tomahawk), James Jagger (“Vinyl,” The Outpost) and Tessa Munro (“S.W.A.T.”).

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The film follows Alexis, who recovered her hearing after witnessing the brutal murder of her family when she was 10. The experience awakens synesthetic abilities in her and starts her on a path of self-discovery through the healing tones of brutal violence. Supported and loved by her roommate Marie, who is unaware of the dark secrets behind her music, she goes on to pursue a career teaching and experimenting to find new sounds. Faced with the likelihood of losing her hearing again, Alexis escalates her pursuit of her masterpiece through gruesome sound experiments.

‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ ‘The Little Things’ Repeat Atop Vudu, FandangoNow Charts

Warner had another big week on the Vudu and FandangoNow charts. The studio’s Wonder Woman 1984 again took the top spot on the Vudu chart and its The Little Things repeated atop the FandangoNow chart for the week ended March 28.

Both are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.

The DC comic-based Wonder Woman 1984, starring Gal Gadot, became available for digital purchase March 16 following its PVOD rental run. It also came in at No. 4 on the FandangoNow chart.

The Little Things, available via premium VOD rental starting March 19, is a psychological thriller starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto. It follows a Kern County deputy sheriff (Washington), who is sent to Los Angeles for a quick evidence-gathering assignment, but instead becomes embroiled in the search for a killer who is terrorizing the city. The titled landed at No. 4 on the Vudu chart.

Coming in at No. 2 on the Vudu chart was Disney/Pixar’s Oscar-nominated animated film Soul. Featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey, the film (No. 9 on FandangoNow) became available for digital purchase March 23.

Taking the bronze on the Vudu chart was Monster Hunter, based on the video game franchise. The film stars Milla Jovovich as Capt. Artemis, whose unit is caught in a sandstorm that transports them to a world ruled by dangerous and powerful monsters. The film came in at No. 6 on the FandangoNow chart.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run — available as a premium VOD rental March 4 (and also to Paramount+ streaming subscribers) — took the silver on the FandangoNow chart (No. 6 on Vudu). In the CGI-animated adventure with live action elements, SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary goes missing in a plot hatched by Plankton to get the Krabby Patty recipe, and he and his friend Patrick head to the Lost City of Atlantic City to retrieve him. It features appearances by Keanu Reeves and Snoop Dogg, among others.

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Universal’s Oscar-nominated News of the World, which came out for digital purchase March 9, took the bronze on the FandangoNow chart (No. 5 on Vudu). The film stars Tom Hanks as former Army captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, who moves from town to town sharing the news from the far reaches of the globe. He is tasked with transporting a 10-year-old girl (Helena Zengel) taken in by the Kiowa people back to her family.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended March 28, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Wonder Woman 1984
  2. Soul
  3. Monster Hunter
  4. The Little Things
  5. News of the World
  6. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
  7. The Croods: A New Age
  8. Greenland
  9. The Vault
  10. SAS: Red Notice

 

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended March 28, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. The Little Things
  2. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
  3. News of the World
  4. Wonder Woman 1984
  5. Boogie
  6. Monster Hunter
  7. The Father
  8. The Croods: A New Age
  9. Soul
  10. The Vault

DEG Panel: Transactional Business Still Hardy — and Poised for Takeoff

Despite being squeezed by the pandemic, the transactional business is still sturdy and is poised to take off once new releases in the pipeline grow from a trickle to a steady stream.

That’s according to Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, and Eddie Cunningham, the former Universal Pictures Home Entertainment president who now runs Studio Distribution Services, the Universal-Warner Bros. disc distribution joint venture. The two executives spoke on a virtual DEG Expo panel March 24 moderated by Media Play News publisher and editorial director Thomas K. Arnold.

As industry pundits have observed, content in the transactional arena, which includes physical disc and digital purchases and rentals, dwarfs what consumers can find via subscription or other streaming services. That content has helped the transactional business survive recent jolts, the executives said.

Even the Blu-ray Disc and DVD business, which has been steadily declining for the last decade, remains a viable business, Cunningham said.

“In 2020 despite a pandemic and despite all the pressure of retail closures around the world … and pretty much no new releases after the first couple of months of the year — there’s still a $7 billion retail market, globally,” Cunningham said of the disc business.

“Obviously the last few months, there haven’t been that many new releases. But as that starts to come back in the second half of this year I think you’re going to see a real resurgence,” Smith added, noting that Redbox, with kiosk rentals driven by new releases, is looking forward to a more consistent flow of new content.

Cunningham said he’s been getting a similar message from the big retailers.

“Everybody’s incredibly excited about the new releases starting to come back into this business,” he said. “And I think we feel good about the fact that the big retailers … seem very, very committed to this category. We’ve got new titles every single week. We spend marketing money. We drive people into stores. We introduce fun. We introduce theater into the stores. … So a lot of them are pretty excited about us getting back into the new-release business. … Maybe we could even find a way of sort of growing this [physical] business or certainly hugely flattening the decline over the next year or two after the numbers we made during the pandemic.”

In the meantime, Cunningham said catalog has been picking up the slack, with such series as “Harry Potter,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Office” and even children’s stalwart “Curious George” selling well despite streaming availability.

“If content is available on subscription services, you can still sell a lot of content physically on those same franchises,” Cunningham noted.

“Then there’s a huge amount, about 40% of consumers, who’ve never ever until this day ever transacted digitally, so they’re a huge target for us,” he said, adding “I think physical’s going to be around for a long time to come.”

The disc rental business, which Redbox dominates with thousands of kiosks in the United States, is here to stay as well, added Smith.

“We obviously have a view that it’s going to be sustainable for the long term,” he said. “It’s a great value to consumers. It’s incredibly convenient. … The fact that we’ve got 41,000 kiosks around the U.S. really helps with that. I think what we’ve been able to do is augment that experience. We’ve got this massive loyalty program with over 37 million people in it, and so we’re rewarding them for behavior and then rewarding them with things like free content and so it gives up a great opportunity for us to reinforce that value ecosystem.”

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Redbox marketing makes sure to let consumers know when new releases are available and doesn’t discriminate between the different ways a consumer might access content. The company offers consumers both physical and digital transaction options, letting them choose.

“We’re communicating with them on a regular basis in terms of what are those [new release] movies, and again, however you want to watch it, physically or digitally, we can be there to serve you with that,” he said.

Even though the company is offering a digital alternative, physical transactions aren’t suffering, Smith noted.

“Even when our customers started to transact digitally, it didn’t mean they stopped transacting physically,” he said. “They actually started transacting physically more. It reminded them again of all these great new movies that are available.”

As head of the disc distribution joint venture, Cunningham said he’s tasked with creating efficiencies and providing a focus on the physical business. The joint venture’s mantra is “two plus two equals five,” to make a bigger whole from the combined parts, he said.

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“The coming together of Universal and Warner and other third-party distribution partners is going to enable us to do things like share boxes coming out of Technicolor, which in turn saves a lot of in-store labor, transport costs and so on,” he said. “I think we’re in a position to start maybe talking a bit more again about some front-of-store displays in some of these big retailers where we’ve lost that.”

Two plus two equals five also means finding ways to leverage the studios’ combined content.

“Over the next year or 18 months you’re going to see some amazing things coming out of [the joint venture],” Cunningham said. “There’s going to be huge opportunities on Middle Earth, DC, Bond, classic monsters. It’s actually the 90th anniversary of Dracula coming up, so we’ve got an opportunity around anniversaries. ‘Fast and Furious,’ ‘Jurassic,’ ‘Dune,’ ‘Halloween,’ there are huge opportunities to draft off these kinds of things.”

He also envisioned boxed sets of titles from different studios as an added bonus for consumers.

“We’re going to work incredibly hard to see how we can put the two studios’ content promotions together and make something bigger,” he said.

Redbox, too, is looking to combine the advantages of different businesses. In addition to its digital and physical transactional offerings, the company also has ad-supported streaming and even a content acquisition and production arm.

“In terms of Redbox Entertainment, we have a ton of data obviously about what actors work, what genres work, and so what we want to do is say, ‘OK, we’re seeing a little less product from the studios, let’s go ahead and buy it, acquire it, produce it ourselves,’” Smith said. “We’re basically making sure that we program to our consumers what we know they are going to want. And we’re agnostic so we’re releasing it across all the digital retailers and then we’re actually selling it to streamers as well on the backend. We just want to make sure there’s good content made for consumers.”

‘Antebellum’ Tops Vudu, FandangoNow Charts

The premium VOD release Antebellum led both the Vudu and FandangoNow charts for the week ended Sept. 20.

Both are transactional video-on-demand services owned by Fandango.

From Lionsgate and QC Entertainment — the producer of Get Out and Us Antebellum stars Janelle Monáe in a thriller about a successful author who finds herself trapped on a 19th century slave plantation.

Another Lionsgate title, The Secret: Dare to Dream, which became available for digital sale Sept. 15 after a PVOD run, took the No. 2 spot on the Vudu chart and landed at No. 3 on the FandangoNow chart. The dramatic romance stars Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas and is based on the best-selling book The Secret.

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Meanwhile, Bill & Ted Face the Music, the third installment in the iconic comedy series starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, took the bronze on the Vudu chart and the silver on the FandangoNow chart after remaining at No. 1 on both for three consecutive weeks.

Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended Sept. 20, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Antebellum
  2. The Secret: Dare to Dream
  3. Bill & Ted Face the Music
  4. Cats and Dogs 3: Paws Unite
  5. Alone
  6. The Tax Collector
  7. Trolls World Tour
  8. Beetlejuice
  9. The Owners
  10. The Silencing

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended Sept. 20, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Antebellum
  2. Bill & Ted Face the Music
  3. The Secret: Dare to Dream
  4. Alone
  5. The Tax Collector
  6. The King of Staten Island
  7. Fatima
  8. Blackbird
  9. Trolls World Tour
  10. The Grizzlies

Studios, Distributors, EMA Team Up on Massive Digital Movie Rental Promotion

A consortium of studios and key digital retailers, cable companies and satellite providers is sponsoring a digital rental movie sale May 31 through June 3 in which consumers can stream up to 250 different movies at prices as low as $2.99 for recent releases and 99 cents for older, catalog titles.

The “Ultimate Movie Weekend” initiative, led by the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), is believed to be the first time such a coordinated promotion has been undertaken in the United States.

The goal, according to EMA SVP Sean Bersell, is to “introduce consumers who haven’t rented digitally previously to the value and convenience of digital rental, and to entice consumers who haven’t rented digital recently to re-engage.”

The campaign will offer recent releases and catalog movies from Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. Participating digital retailers and cable and satellite companies include Altice USA’s Optimum and Suddenlink TV, Amazon Prime Video, the Apple TV app and iTunes, Atlantic Broadband, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, Cox, DIRECTV, DISH, FandangoNOW, Frontier Communications, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, PlayStation Store, Redbox On Demand, U-Verse, and Vudu.

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The tagline for the Ultimate Movie Weekend is “Rent the Biggest Movies for Less.” Participating retailers will offer between 50 and 250 movies at discounted prices as low as $2.99 for recent releases and $0.99 for catalog movies. The Ultimate Movie Weekend sale includes some of the latest releases that are not yet available on subscription video services. Among the movies in the promotion are A Star Is Born (2018), Bumblebee, Fifty Shades of Grey, First Man, Forrest Gump, The Hunger Games, Robin Hood (2018), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Step Brothers, and Wonder Woman.

The promotional campaign will be supported by a significant media buy, social media marketing, direct-to-consumer outreach, and a dedicated website, www.ultimatemovieweekend.com. The Ultimate Movie Weekend sale is patterned after similar successful efforts last year in Australia, France and the U.K.

“While the popularity of digital movie rentals continues to grow, there is the opportunity to introduce even more consumers to the value and convenience of digital rental, so the industry has come together to offer a compelling promotion that we hope will attract new customers and remind infrequent digital renters of this option,” said EMA president and CEO Mark Fisher. “Plus, with the start of the summer, which is traditionally a heavy movie-viewing season, it’s a good time to remind consumers of the pleasure of getting together with family and friends for a movie night.”

According to industry statistics, in the first quarter of 2019, digital rental generated $564 million in consumer spending, which accounted for approximately 10% of all home entertainment consumer spending in the quarter.

“This is the first effort of its kind in the U.S., and the breadth of participants demonstrates that the home entertainment industry is making it a priority to communicate the value proposition of digital rentals to consumers,” said Richard Smith, SVP, domestic digital sales, for Paramount Pictures and chair of EMA’s Ultimate Movie Weekend planning committee. “We see significant potential to grow this sector of the industry, and in doing so grow the overall home entertainment market.”

“Our studio partners have assembled a fantastic slate of movies, many unavailable on subscription services, which FandangoNow will offer at compelling prices,” added Cameron Douglas, VP of home entertainment at Fandango and chair of the EMA. “Convenience and value have always been the hallmark of home entertainment, and these great movies at discounted prices draws attention to the ease and affordability of renting digitally.”