Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Animation’s groundbreaking PVOD release of Trolls World Tour topped digital charts, including No. 1 on iTunes, Amazon Video and Redbox On Demand, among others (through April 12), following its April 10 launch. Financial results have not been released.
The sequel to the 2016 original Trolls movie was released on PVOD for $19.99 on the same day it had been scheduled to debut in theaters prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
With movie theaters shuttered globally to reduce the spread of the virus, studios have either postponed launch dates for tentpole titles or expedited a movie’s retail distribution, including Universal’s The InvisibleMan, Paramount Pictures’ Sonic the Hedgehog and Sony Pictures’ Bloodshot, among others.
Disney has said it would debut Artemis Fowl on its branded subscription streaming video platform — the first of several other undisclosed titles.
“The measures being taken right now are because of the unforeseen circumstances,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Comscore, told Business Insider. “And consumers have an appetite for new content. We are literally stuck at home.”
Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, doubts PVOD has much of a long-term shelf life. He says studios cannot recoup production/marketing costs of big-budget movies for $20 to households.
FandangoNow, the transactional video-on-demand service from Fandango, is for the first time offering preorders for digital rental of Trolls World Tour, debuting digitally April 10.
Also, those who preorder the rental of the film can rent or buy a number of DreamWorks Animation films available on FandangoNow at 50% off the regular price, including the original Trolls. The preorder offer is valid until April 9, and those who preorder the title can enjoy the DreamWorks Animation film discounts through April 17.
“We’re looking forward to working together with DreamWorks Animation on this first-of-its-kind event where housebound film fans can gather around the couch for the highly-anticipated debut of a new movie directly from the studio,” said Cameron Douglas, head of FandangoNow, in a statement. “We’re also pleased to offer an extra incentive where families can watch as many DreamWorks Animation movies available on FandangoNow as they like at a major discount, while getting ready for the April 10 home debut of Trolls World Tour.”
Trolls World Tour, the sequel to 2016’s Trolls, features the return of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, James Corden and many more in their original roles. Fans can find an exclusive clip here.
The DreamWorks Animation film Abominable is coming out on digital Dec. 3 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and on demand Dec. 17 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
With the biggest opening for an original animated film this year, according to Universal, Abominable features the voice talents of Chloe Bennet (Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”), Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winner Sarah Paulson (“American Horror Story”), Eddie Izzard (Cars 2), Tenzing Norgay Trainor (“Liv and Maddie”), Albert Tsai (“Fresh Off the Boat”), Tsai Chin (The Joy Luck Club) and Michelle Wong (“Scandal”).
The film made $166.6 million at the worldwide box office.
In the story, teenage Yi (Bennet) encounters a young Yeti on the roof of her apartment building in China. She and her friends Jin (Trainor) and Peng (Tsai) name him “Everest” and embark on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family at the highest point on Earth. The trio of friends has to stay one-step ahead of Burnish (Izzard), a wealthy man intent on capturing a Yeti, and zoologist Dr. Zara (Paulson) to help Everest get home.
Lionsgate’s A Madea Family Funeral debuted at No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, the week ended June 8.
The latest film directed by Tyler Perry, the 11th and reportedly final installment in the franchise featuring him playing Madea, earned $73.3 million at the domestic box office.
On the Blu-ray Disc sales chart, however, Madea landed at No. 3, as just 26% of sales of the film were of the Blu-ray Disc format.
The week’s top Blu-ray Disc seller for a third consecutive week was DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, distributed by Universal Pictures. The third “Dragon” film dropped to No. 2 for the week after two weeks in the top spot, selling about 60% as many copies as the debuting Madea.
The week’s No. 3 overall seller and No. 2 Blu-ray was another newcomer, the animated direct-to-video superhero adventure Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a crossover featuring the popular characters that was distributed by Warner Bros. and produced with the assistance of TMNT rights holders Nickelodeon. Blu-ray Disc comprised 82% of its first-week sales.
No. 4 on both charts was Warner’s The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part in its fourth week on shelves.
Another Warner title, Aquaman, was No. 5 on both charts in its 11th week of disc availability.
DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World was the No. 1 title on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended June 1.
The animated film, which is distributed by Universal Pictures, was the top title on both charts for a second consecutive week.
The only newcomer to debut in the top 20 was Sony Pictures’ Outlander: Season Four, which was No. 2 on both charts. Blu-ray Disc accounted for 42% of sales of the latest release from the popular Starz fantasy series.
No. 3 on the overall chart and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart was Unviersal’s The Upside.
Warner’s The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part landed at No. 4 on the overall chart and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart.
No. 5 on both charts was Lionsgate’s Cold Pursuit.
On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended June 2, The top four remained the same from the previous week: Upside at No. 1, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World at No. 2, Warner’s Isn’t It Romantic at No. 3, and Cold Pursuit at No. 4.
The Lionsgate comedy Drunk Parents debuted as the No. 5 rental.
DreamWorks Animation announced that “Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous,” an animated action-adventure series, is set to debut globally on Netflix in 2020 as part of an ongoing multiyear agreement with the SVOD pioneer.
Set within the same timeline as the 2015 movie,Jurassic World, the Netflix original series inspired by the movie franchise from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment.
“Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous”follows a group of six teenagers chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at a new adventure camp on the opposite side of Isla Nublar.
But when dinosaurs wreak havoc across the island, the campers are stranded. Unable to reach the outside world, they’ll need to go from strangers to friends to family if they’re going to survive.
The seriesbuilds on a five-year relationship between DreamWorks Animation and Netflix that has seen 18 original series debut on the service, including the “Tales of Arcadia”trilogyfrom Guillermo del Toro, “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power,” “Spirit Riding Free,”and “The Boss Baby: Back in Business,” among others.
Following NBC Universal’s acquisition of the studio, DreamWorks Animation and Netflix expanded their relationship to include first looks at animated series based on Universal Pictures properties as well as original and acquired IP.
DreamWorks Animation has a number of additional series slated to debut on Netflix in 2019, including “Archibald’s Next Big Thing”and the Fast & Furiousanimated series.
DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World debuted at No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended May 25.
The third “Dragon” film, distributed by Universal Pictures, earned $160.6 million at the domestic box office and outsold the No. 2 ranked title by a 5-to-1 margin. A collection of the entire “Dragon” trilogy debuted at No. 6 on the charts.
Bowing in second place on both charts was STX’s The Upside, also distributed by Universal. A remake of the 2011 French film The Intouchables, about an unambitious man taking a job caring for a wealthy quadriplegic, The Upside stars Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston and earned $108 million in U.S. theaters.
The previous week’s top Blu-ray, Warner’s The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, slid to No. 3 on both charts.
Lionsgate’s Cold Pursuit, which had been the top seller on the combined chart the previous week, dropped to No. 4 on both charts.
Rounding out the top five on both charts was another newcomer, the romantic comedy spoof Isn’t It Romantic, from Warner Bros. It earned $48.8 million at the domestic box office.
Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 66% of Dragon unit sales, compared with 45% for Upside 40% for Isn’t It Romantic. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version of Dragon comprised 8% of its total overall unit sales.
The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended May 26 had The Upside at No. 1, with Dragon at No. 2 and Isn’t It Romantic at No. 3.
Cold Pursuit slid to No. 4, while Universal’s Fighting With My Family dropped to No. 5.
The 1980s TV cartoon character She-Ra is having a renaissance with DreamWorks Animation’s Netflix original series “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.”
The second season of the series, which debuted in November 2018 with 13 episodes, drops (all at once in seven episodes) April 26, and the show runner and voice actors from “She-Ra” converged on WonderCon in Anaheim, Calif., March 30 to discuss the reboot.
Panelists included executive producer Noelle Stevenson, Aimee Carrero (voice of Adora/She-Ra), A.J. Michalka (voice of Catra), Marcus Scribner (voice of Bow), Karen Fukuhara (voice of Glimmer), Lauren Ash (voice of Scorpia) and Merit Leighton (voice of Frosta).
While the new series may pay homage to the original (and there are some Easter eggs about the original series in season two), it’s definitely a different take, with complex female relationships.
“I think it’s what I’ve been the hungriest for in media,” said Stevenson in an interview after the panel. “You see these male characters who get to have all of these really complex relationships to each other, like even villains and heroes and the richness of those relationships, and it just was something I was really hungry for.”
The relationship between Princess Adora (She-Ra) and Catra is at the center of the show. Leader of the Princess Alliance, Adora in season two is embarking on a quest of self-discovery as She-Ra while fighting her former friend Catra, who is rising in the ranks of the Horde.
“I think it’s been my favorite part of acting in this show because so rarely do you see complex female relationships in a show about young people, and it’s probably one of the things that young people deal with the most, having to say goodbye to a friend that no longer is going in the same direction that they are going in, but still having a lot of love for them but not being around them and making the difficult decision to separate from them,” said Carrero (voice of Adora) in an interview after the panel.
The relationship is a fan focus.
“It’s definitely been talked about between a lot of fans, and Aimee (Carrero) and I, as well, as actors,” said Michalka (voice of Catra) in an interview after the panel. “And I think there is kind of a really deep love between those two characters in the sense that I think maternally Adora has kind of taken care of Catra for years and now Catra is figuring out who she is as an adult. I think a lot of anger is coming out of this character from the fact that Adora is no longer in her life. But these are two best friends and their relationship is beautiful, and I do think there’s something deeper there, and hopefully we will be able to explore that later in the show.”
Scribner (voice of Bow) said in the after-panel interview that he appreciated the new take on the series.
“It’s really exciting to be a part of a remake that’s staying true to the source material, but at the same time is kind of flipping the script and reflecting a more accurate tone or reality and culture that we are in right now,” he said.
When asked about the LGBTQ implications of the series during the panel, Stevenson said she wanted the series to speak for itself.
“If you stick with the show, you’ll find the answers to some of your questions there, but I really want the show to stand on its own and speak for itself,” she said. “It’s always important to us. It’s at the heart of the show, and you will see it on your screen.”
Season two is just seven episodes while the first season was 13. The shorter sequence should help audiences keep engaged, showmakers said.
“All of the seasons were planned as 13-episode arcs, but now they’re being divided so it’s going to be a little bit different experience, and I’m interested to see how it goes,” said Stevenson.
“The good thing is there won’t be a ton of lag time between seasons, which I think is good just in terms of memory and intake because, we’re all used to seeing so much on all these streaming platforms so how do you stay engaged with where a season’s leaving off and when a new one starts,” added Michalka.
During WonderCon, DreamWorks introduced a trailer for the second season:
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World digitally April 30, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray May 21.
The third film in the “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise features the Vikings and dragons of Berk facing their darkest threat, as the bonds between village chief Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless are tested when the dragon discovers his soulmate, Light Fury. The voice cast also includes America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Kit Harrington, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
The film earned $146.4 million at the domestic box office.
The home video edition will include two DreamWorks Shorts: Bilby, an adventure to protect a helpless bird in the Australian Outback; and Bird Karma, a 2D-animated tale of a long-legged bird’s journey of blissful joy, inescapable greed and the accidental discovery of the consequences when too much is not enough.
Other extras include feature Commentary with writer-director Dean DeBlois, producer Bradford Lewis and head of character animation Simon Otto; an alternate opening and deleted scenes with intros by DeBlois; and several behind-the-scenes featurettes.
To promote the home video release, Universal has partnered with Facebook and Messenger to debut two exclusive baby dragon Night Lights to train, as well as an in-store augmented reality experience. Disc packages will include a code that fans can use to unlock Night Light they can hatch, train and send on adventures within the Dragon Pets instant game available on Facebook and Messenger. Additionally, participating retailers around the world will unveil in-store displays that trigger an AR adventure bringing Toothless and Light Fury to flight. Both the in-home and in-store experiences are compatible with iOS and Android devices with the latest version of the Facebook and Messenger apps.
NEWS ANALYSIS: DreamWorks Animation founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and former HP chief executive Meg Whitman March 8 at SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, unveiled details about Quibi, the streaming video service slated to launch in 2020.
The platform, which is targeting cord-cutters and younger-demo consumers comfortable streaming short-form video on mobile devices, aims to capture 20 minutes of the 70 minutes consumers spend daily watching scripted and non-scripted content, according to Katzenberg.
“Six years ago it was six minutes. A year and a half ago, it was 40 minutes. And today it’s 70 minutes,” he said, as reported by Techcrunch. “People love being able to watch great short form content on the go.”
Banking on Katzenberg’s studio clout and $1 billion in fiscal backing, Quibi reportedly has inked original content deals with director/producers Sam Raimi, Antoine Fuqua, Guillermo del Toro and Jason Blum. Content creators include Justin Timberlake, Kobe Bryant, Scooter Braun, Jennifer Lopez and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, among others.
The platform is also producing an original program on the creation of Snapchat and founder Evan Spiegel.
Whitman, who said she follows the data, claims confidence about Quibi based on the fact “our users” are watching a lot of video on mobile.
“They’re excited about the opportunity to see something differentiated,” she said.
So was Verizon in 2015 when it launched go90, the ambitious ad-supported streaming video app for mobile devices (i.e. cell phones) that featured original content from Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and helped launch Kobe Bryant’s Oscar-winning animated short, Dear Basketball.
The app lasted less than three years without generating traction with the same audience Quibi is targeting. Verizon ended up posting a $1 billion loss on the venture — a dubious footnote to retiring CEO Lowell McAdam’s legacy.
Katzenberg and Whitman say Quibi will not look to rival Netflix or YouTube. Instead, it will compete for a share of the online video behemoths’ mobile video users featuring about 100 original content items weekly, including a MTV-style music news program.
“We’re using a lot of judgment, and we’ll know whether it works when it launches,” Whitman said.