‘Barbie’ Available for Premium Digital Purchase and Rental Beginning Sept. 12

Warner Bros. Pictures’ summer theatrical blockbuster Barbie is coming to digital retail channels beginning Sept. 12 for premium rental (PVOD) and premium sale (PEST). The top-grossing theatrical release of the year, at $1.38 billion, will be available to buy at $29.99 and rent at $24.99, across all digital platforms.

Barbie, co-starring Margot Robbie in the title role, and Ryan Gosling as Ken doll, generated another $13.2 million in ticket sales over the 4-day Labor Day weekend, to up its North American tally past $612 million.

‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Debuts Atop Weekly Vudu Chart

Sony’s Marvel Comics-based Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse debuted atop the chart of the 10 most-popular films on Fandango’s transactional digital service Vudu the week ended Aug. 13.

Newly available for digital purchase Aug. 8, the followup to Into the Spider-Verse follows Miles Morales as he reunites with Gwen Stacy and, as Spider-Man, is catapulted across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. 

Falling from the top spot to No. 2 on the chart was the horror flick Insidious: The Red Door, available for premium digital rental and sale. The fifth installment in the horror franchise from Sony/Screen Gems features original cast members Patrick Wilson (who also directs), Rose Byrne, Andrew Astor and Ty Simpkins.

Falling from No. 2 to No. 3 on the chart was Disney’s live-action remake The Little Mermaid, which debuted for digital purchase July 25. A reimagining of Disney’s animated musical classic, it follows Ariel (Halle Bailey), a young mermaid with a thirst for adventure who falls for the human Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King). While mermaids are forbidden to interact with humans, she makes a deal with the evil sea witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy), which gives her a chance to experience life on land but ultimately places her life — and her father’s crown — in jeopardy. 

Falling from No. 3 to No. 4 on the chart was Warner Bros.’ The Flash. Ezra Miller returns as The Flash/Barry Allen in the DC superhero’s first-ever standalone feature film, which debuted for premium digital sale and rental on July 18. In the film, worlds collide when Barry uses his superpowers to travel back in time in order to change the events of the past.

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Remaining at No. 5 on the chart was Universal’s Fast X, which became available for regular digital purchase Aug. 1 after a premium-priced run. It’s the 10th installment in the Fast & Furious speeding cars franchise starring Vin Diesel.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended Aug. 13, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
  2. Insidious: The Red Door
  3. The Little Mermaid (2023)
  4. The Flash
  5. Fast X
  6. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
  7. Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken
  8. Cobweb
  9. Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
  10. Joy Ride

Tom Hanks Drama ‘A Man Called Otto’ Tops Weekly Vudu Chart

Sony Pictures’ A Man Called Otto, starring Tom Hanks, topped the chart of the 10 most-popular films on Fandango’s transactional digital service Vudu the week ended March 5.

The drama, available for digital purchase, stars Hanks as a man who no longer sees purpose in life after the death of his wife. He is ready to end it until he meets an unlikely friend. The film is based on the best-seller A Man Called Ove.

The Universal Pictures thriller Knock at the Cabin, available for premium digital rental and purchase, fell from the top spot to No. 2 on the chart. The film from director M. Night Shyamalan follows a young girl and her parents who, while vacationing at a remote cabin, are taken hostage.

A couple of sequels landed at No. 3 and No. 4 on the chart.

Debuting in the third spot was Warner Bros.’ Magic Mike’s Last Dance, available for premium digital rental and purchase. In the third installment in the franchise, “Magic” Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) takes to the stage again after a lengthy hiatus, following a business deal that went bust, leaving him broke and taking bartender gigs in Florida. 

Landing at No. 4 was Sony Pictures’ Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, the 21st film in the anime franchise. It is available for digital purchase.

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Falling two spots to No. 5 on the chart was Universal Pictures’ Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, available for digital purchase. The DreamWorks animated film is a sequel to Puss in Boots and the sixth installment in the “Shrek” franchise. It follows the continuing adventures of the character Puss (voiced by Antonio Banderas). The film will start streaming on Peacock March 10.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended March 5, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. A Man Called Otto
  2. Knock at the Cabin
  3. Magic Mike’s Last Dance
  4. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero (English Language Version)
  5. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
  6. The Whale
  7. Plane
  8. M3GAN
  9. Violent Night
  10. The Fabelmans

Oscar-Nominated Doc ‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed’ Headed to HBO, HBO Max March 19, Digital Feb. 28

The Oscar-nominated HBO documentary film All the Beauty and the Bloodshed debuts March 19 on HBO and on HBO Max.

The film will be available to rent or own digitally beginning Feb. 28.
 
From Participant, Neon and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras (HBO and Participant’s Citizenfour), the film is an interconnected story about internationally renowned artist and activist Nan Goldin told through her slideshows, interviews, photography, archival family snapshots and rare footage of her personal fight to hold the Sackler family accountable for the opioid overdose crisis.
 
The critically acclaimed film premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in the main competition, where it became the second documentary ever to win the Golden Lion for best film. It was the only film to play at Venice, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and New York Film Festival in 2022. The film was only the second documentary to be selected as the centerpiece for New York Film Festival.
 
The political film interweaves Goldin’s past and present, from the actions of Prescription Addiction Intervention Now (P.A.I.N.) at renowned art institutions to Goldin’s photography of her friends and peers through her epic “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency,” and her legendary 1989 NEA-censored AIDS exhibition “Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing.” 

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In these works, Goldin captures her friendships with beauty and raw tenderness. These friendships, and the legacy of her late sister Barbara Holly Goldin, anchor all of Goldin’s art and are integral to the film. Goldin’s early experiences in suburbia and the effect of toxic families led to her ongoing resistance against a society that oppresses the most stigmatized.
 
The film follows P.A.I.N., a group Goldin founded to shame museums into rejecting Sackler money, destigmatize addiction, and promote harm reduction. Inspired by Act Up, the group orchestrated protests to expose the Sacklers and the crimes of their Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin.
 
The film garnered top film critic awards including Best Documentary from the New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and National Society of Film Critics. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed has also been nominated for the BAFTA, Independent Spirit, ACE Eddie, and DGA awards.

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.”

AMC Theatres Launches Movie VOD Service

AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron has long hinted getting into home entertainment.

Now, the world’s largest theatrical exhibitor has announced that beginning Oct. 15 the company’s 20 million AMC Stubs members in the United States can rent or buy approximately 2,000 digital movies from the top Hollywood studios at AMCTheatres.com, AMC Theatres On Demand, as well as on the AMC Theatres mobile, connected devices and SmartTV applications.

AMC Stubs members who use their first transaction to buy or rent a movie distributed by Lionsgate or Paramount Pictures can choose an additional three movies from a selection of that studio’s films.

Adam Aron

“The addition of AMC Theatres On Demand, which extends our movie offerings for AMC Stubs members into their homes, makes perfect sense for AMC Theatres, for our studio partners and for our millions of movie-loving guests,” Aron said in a statement.

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AMC says it has agreements with every major Hollywood studio to make selections of their movies available for digital rental and purchase, including both new release and popular catalog movies.

New releases will become available on AMC Theatres On Demand the same time they are available digitally nationwide, following the traditional theatrical window set by each studio for each movie.

“We can reach movie lovers directly and make it easy for them to access films digitally,” Aron said.

As part of a first-ever cross-platform marketing partnership between AMC Theatres and AMC Networks, AMC Stubs members will also be able to find movies from AMC Networks’ IFC Films and RLJE Films catalogues on the AMC Theatres On Demand platform beginning in late 2019.

Through the partnership, AMC Theatres will also promote AMC Networks’ targeted streaming services Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and UMC directly to moviegoers, including more than 20 million AMC Stubs households.

“This is a great opportunity for us to both make our film titles available to movie customers and also increase awareness of our growing streaming services, which are all focused on specific genres and content categories fans are passionate about,” said Ed Carroll, chief operating officer of AMC Networks.

Movies can be purchased or rented through AMCTheatres.com, the AMC Theatres mobile app, Roku and SmartTVs with more services and devices to be added in the near future.

AMC Stubs membership will be required for all digital transactions.