‘The Hurt Locker’ Coming to 4K Ultra HD Digital Feb. 4 From Lionsgate

Director Kathryn Bigelow’s Academy Award-winning war film The Hurt Locker will arrive on digital 4K Ultra HD and on demand Feb. 4 from Lionsgate.

The film won six Oscars, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.

It has been remixed in Dolby Atmos by Academy Award-winner Paul N.J. Ottosson (part of the team responsible for The Hurt Locker’s Best Sound Editing/Best Sound Mixing wins) for the home entertainment release.

The Hurt Locker stars Academy Award-nominee Jeremy Renner (2009, Best Actor, The Hurt Locker; 2010, Best Supporting Actor, The Town), Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty and Evangeline Lilly, with Ralph Fiennes, David Morse and Guy Pearce.

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The film follows Staff Sergeant William James, head of an elite squad of soldiers tasked with disarming bombs in the heat of combat. To do this nerve-shredding job, it’s not enough to be the best: you have to thrive in a zone where the margin of error is zero and think as diabolically as a bomb-maker.

Hulu Adds Download Feature for Android, Fire Devices

Hulu announced an added a treat to its features on Halloween.

Hulu subscribers to the ad-free service can now download content for Android and Fire (FireOS) devices for offline viewing. The download feature had previously only been available with iOS devices.

The announcement came just before the streaming wars heat up with the launches of Apple TV+ (Nov. 1) and Disney+ (Nov. 12).

Hulu launched the download feature for iOS devices in early October.

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LGBTQ Coming-of-Age Drama ‘The Experience’ Due on VOD, EST and DVD Nov. 5 From Random

The LGBTQ coming-of-age drama The Experience will arrive on VOD, EST and DVD Nov. 5 from Random Media.

The film stars Allison Kove (Rotten), Ava Capri (Little Rituals) Shawn Christian (“Days of Our Lives”), Lou Ferrigno Jr. (“S.W.A.T”), Sabina Gadecki (“Entourage”), Brigitte Nielsen (Beverly Hills Cop II) and Gordon Thomson (“Dynasty”).

Set against the unique backdrop of a tough love wilderness program for the wayward children of the elite upper class, The Experience examines the life of Scarlet (Kove), a teenage girl whose ongoing behavior — partying, piercings and suicide attempts — has landed her at the Hills of Heaven wilderness camp, where she begrudgingly hauls a 40-pound backpack in the sweltering heat of an arid, hilly back country. When a mysterious girl named Dillion (Capri) arrives at camp, Scarlet begins to open up and maybe even fall in love. However, just when the girls are making a meaningful connection, they are forced to reconcile their reality in ways they cannot begin to fathom and question the very fabric of their own existence.

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The Experience is a powerful and offbeat coming-of-age story that has every emotion conjured for our teenage lead characters,” said writer-director Katerina Gorshkov in a statement. “We are particularly excited to have powerhouse Brigitte Nielson cast in the film, as her role is not her usual action-thriller villain.”

Jim Henson Company Launches Kids’ Series for Download on iTunes and Google Play

The Jim Henson Company, in partnership with Premiere Digital Services, has launched several of its children’s series on iTunes and Google Play for download in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

Content includes seasons one and two of the language acquisition series “Word Party,” (U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia); season one of the animated series “Dot.,” created by Randi Zuckerberg (U.S. and U.K.); and the puppet series “Pajanimals,” “Jim Henson’s Mother Goose Stories” and “The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss” (U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia). The classic Henson fantasy series “The Storyteller” and “The Storyteller: Greek Myths” are available for download in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia.

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“Partnering with Premiere Digital Services has allowed more beloved Jim Henson Company titles to be available to our fans than ever before,” said Jim Henson VP of global distribution Anna Moorefield. “Consumers can expect additional favorites as we continue to make our productions available to established and new audiences wherever and whenever they want to watch.”

“We are thrilled to partner with The Jim Henson Company and expand the reach of their timeless and iconic catalog in the transactional VOD space,” said head of Premiere business development Jeff Goldman. “Working together with The Jim Henson Company and our platform partners, we have the experience and relationships to bring these amazing shows starring some of the best-loved characters to fans of all ages around the world.”

Home Entertainment on a Roll as Consumer Spending Soars 15%

Consumer spending on home entertainment rose 15%, to an estimated $5.7 billion, in the third quarter of 2018, according to numbers released this week by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

For the first three quarters of the year, spending was at nearly $17 billion, an 11% year-over-year gain.

Digital purchases of movies, TV shows and other filmed content, known in the industry as “electronic sellthrough,” or EST, rose 18% in the quarter compared with the same quarter in the year prior, a significant uptick from the single-digit gains posted in prior years.

Consumers spent an estimated $624 million in the third quarter to buy content digitally from vendors such as Apple iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, FandangoNow, Redbox On Demand, Microsoft Movies & TV and Google Play. That’s up from $529 million in the third quarter of 2017.

Industry observers attribute at least some of the gain to the rising popularity of the multi-studio Movies Anywhere platform, which uses a cloud-based digital rights locker to allow consumers to have immediate access to their purchased content at any time, on a wide range of devices, from home theaters to mobile phones.

The EST spending gain also was driven by a 31% surge in spending on movies that played theatrically prior to their digital release, generally two weeks prior to their appearance on Blu-ray Disc and DVD.

For the year through Sept. 30, EST spending was at $1.8 billion, up more than 12% from the comparable period in 2017.

On the physical side of the business, consumer spending on discs was down 11.5% to an estimated $844 million.

But sales of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs soared 68% in the quarter from the same quarter last year “as more consumers purchased new TVs and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players equipped with the advanced technology,” according to the DEG.

Thanks to the big increase in spending on digital purchases,  total spending on  content buys was only down 1% in the quarter. This marks the first time that EST spending gains nearly offset the decline in physical media purchases.

Transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), the digital equivalent of renting a movie, also realized significant gains, with consumer spending up nearly 10% to an estimated $497 million in the quarter from the prior-year quarter. The big digital sellers of content, such as Apple iTunes, FandangoNow and Redbox On Demand, also offer consumers a lower-cost option to stream movies on a temporary basis, generally for a 48-hour period and a start time within 30 days of the transaction date.

Consumer spending on streaming subscriptions rose more than 30% in both the third quarter and the first nine months of this year, totaling an estimated $3.3 billion and $9.4 billion, respectively. The DEG report attributed these numbers to data compiled by global information provider IHS Markit.

The DEG also said more than 4.2 million 4K Ultra HD TVs were sold in the first three quarters of 2018, bringing the total number of U.S. households to more than 42 million, an increase of 80% from the prior year period. Approximately 2.3 million Ultra HD Blu-ray playback devices (both dedicated players and video game consoles) were sold through to consumers in the first nine months of the year.

Growth of 4K Ultra HD content is rapidly expanding, the DEG reported, with 392 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc titles available representing more than $162 million in consumer spend for the period. There are also 595 4K titles available digitally.