Docs ‘Secrets of Highclere Castle,’ ‘Hudson River School’ Coming to PBS Living in July

The documentaries Secrets of Highclere Castle and The Hudson River School: Artistic Pioneers begin streaming on PBS Living in July from PBS Distribution.

The subscription rate for the PBS Living Channel is $2.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription. PBS Living is also available on Apple TV Channels in the Apple TV app at a subscription rate of $2.99 per month with no additional annual fees.

In Secrets of Highclere Castle, viewers get the insider story about the famous mansion from the multi Emmy award-winning series “Downton Abbey.” Viewers step inside one of Britain’s best-known manor houses. It may be more famous now than any time in its 1,300-year history as the setting of “Downton Abbey,” but England’s Highclere Castle has its own stories to tell. In its heyday, Highclere was the social epicenter of Edwardian England. Viewers see how all the inhabitants of Highclere lived, from the aristocrats who enjoyed a life of luxury to the army of servants toiling “below stairs.” They also find out how the current inhabitants, Lord and Lady Carnarvon, spend their $1 million in annual upkeep funds, and what life in the castle is like today.

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In The Hudson River School: Artistic Pioneers, viewers learn about a group of artists who captured images of 19th century America in their lifelike landscape paintings.

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In the vicinity of New York’s Hudson River Valley, the Adirondack Mountains, Catskill Mountains and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, a group of American painters led by British born artist Thomas Cole forged an artistic vision of the American wilderness. This was the first American school of landscape painting that emerged between 1825 and 1880. In addition to Cole, men with the names of Asher Durand, Jasper Cropsey, Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Church would impress the world with their creative brilliance and wondrous vision. On canvas they would bring to life 19th century America through imagination, interpretation, color and conviction. The Hudson River School: Artistic Pioneers focuses on the story of these men and their message, its founder Cole, and other influential celebrants of this movement.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Q1 Revenue Falls

Universal Pictures’ home entertainment unit April 30 reported first-quarter (ended March 31) revenue of $171 million, down 36% from revenue of $267 million during the previous year period.

The decline reflected the retail success of The Grinch, Halloween and Night School in last year’s first quarter, compared with the relative lower performance from 1917, Downton Abbey and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw in this year’s first quarter.

The revenue did not include Universal’s premium VOD hit Trolls World Tour, which was released on April 10.

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Total studio revenue decreased 22.5% to $1.4 billion, reflecting decreases in theatrical revenue, content licensing, home entertainment and other revenue. Theatrical revenue decreased 28.8%, underscoring difficult comparison to the success of films in the first quarter of 2019, including How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Us and Glass, offset by the performance of films in this year’s first quarter, including 1917, Dolittle and The Invisible Man.

Indeed, The Invisible Man saw its theatrical run cut short by exhibitor shutdowns due to the coronavirus.

Content licensing revenue decreased 15.4%, driven by the timing of when content was made available under licensing agreements, partially offset by the performance of certain 2020 releases that were made available on premium video-on-demand after theater closures due to COVID-19, including Emma and The Hunt.

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‘Downton Abbey’ Tops Disc Sales; Rambo Leads in Blu-ray Sales

Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture, distributed by Universal Pictures, debuted at No. 1 the week ended Dec. 21 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales.

A continuation of the popular PBS TV series, Downton Abbey was the No. 2 Blu-ray. It earned $97 million at the domestic box office.

The No. 1 Blu-ray for the week and No. 2 overall sellers was Lionsgate’s Rambo: Last Blood. The fifth “Rambo” movie earned $44.8 million in U.S. theaters. The latest “Rambo” sequel sold 80% as many copies as Downton Abbey.

Another new release, DreamWorks Animation’s Abominable, distributed by Universal, was No. 3 on both charts after a $60.7 million domestic box office haul.

The previous week’s top seller, Warner’s It: Chapter Two, dropped to No. 4 for the week.

The No. 5 overall seller was Sony Pictures’ Overcomer, a faith-based sports film that earned $35 million at U.S. theaters. It was No. 8 on the Blu-ray chart.

The No. 5 Blu-ray was Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, also from Sony Pictures, which was the No. 6 overall seller.

The only other newcomer to land on the top 20 charts was 20th Century Fox’s sci-fi drama Ad Astra, which was No. 7 on the overall sales chart and No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart.

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Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 43% of Downton Abbey sales, compared with 58% for Rambo: Last Blood, 52% for Abominable, 38% for Overcomer and 64% for Ad Astra. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray made up 13% of Rambo: Last Blood‘s total and 18% of Ad Astra‘s.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Dec. 22, Rambo: Last Blood debuted at No. 1, followed by Abominable at No. 2 and Ad Astra as No. 3.

Universal’s Hustlers dropped to No. 4, while Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was No. 5.

The previous week’s top rental, It: Chapter Two, slid to No. 6 in its second week.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 12-21-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 12-22-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 12-21-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 12-21-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 12-21-19
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 12-23-19

‘Downton Abbey’ Feature Film Gets Home Release Dates

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has announced home release dates for Downton Abbey, the hit movie based on the celebrated PBS TV series.

The film, which earned $94.5 million in North American movie theaters, will be available digitally Nov. 26, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and on demand on Dec. 17, the studio said.

Aimed at holiday gift-givers, the home versions come with a broad variety of bonus features, including exclusive conversations with the cast, deleted scenes and a recap of the Emmy Award-winning TV series, from Carnival Films.

The Downton Abbey film will also be available in a Deluxe Limited Edition, featuring the Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and digital code, presented in exclusive packaging along with a collectible photo book and recipe cards.

The feature film stars original cast members from the TV series as well as a host of newcomers.  The film chronicles the Crawley family one year after the conclusion of the series, as they prepare for the most important moment of their lives: an impending visit from the Royal Family.

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  • Blu-ray, DVD and digital extras include:
  • Deleted scenes
  • Cast conversations – exclusive roundtable interviews with the cast.
  • “The Royal Visit” – A look at how the royal visit proved to be an ambitious event both on and behind the camera.
  • “True to the Twenties” – A look at how Downton Abby was loyal to the grandeur of the 1920s.
  • “Welcome to Downton Abbey” – A behind-the-scenes look at the grandeur of Highclere Castle and how it serves as a cornerstone in the Downton Abbey franchise.
  • “The Brilliance of Julian Fellowes” – A feature on writer Julian Fellowes.
  • Feature commentary with director Michael Engler

A recap of the TV series will be included on the Blu-ray Disc and iTunes digital versions only.