Roku Inks Pay 1 Window Rights Deal With Saban Films

Roku and Saban Films May 27 announced a landmark agreement granting Roku its first-ever Pay 1 window streaming rights to movies released by Saban Films. Under the agreement, a selection of Saban’s 2021 film slate will stream free exclusively on Roku’s ad-supported streaming service, The Roku Channel, in the U.S. and Canada following theatrical and home entertainment release.

“Streaming has become an incredible way to experience movie-making magic from the comfort of your own home and we are thrilled to bring an extraordinary lineup of entertainment to The Roku Channel,” Bill Bromiley, president of Saban Films, said in a statement.

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Saban’s first film to premiere on The Roku Channel will be Echo Boomers, starring two-time Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon and Patrick Schwarzenegger on June 15. The crime thriller was released last December on DVD by Paramount Home Entertainment.

Future film debuts include Happily, starring Joel McHale and Kerry Bishé; Percy vs Goliath (U.S. only), starring Academy Award winner Christopher Walken, Christina Ricci and Zach Braff; Under the Stadium Lights, starring Laurence Fishburne and Milo Gibson.

“Saban Films is a great partner with a history of creating standout films,” said Rob Holmes, VP of programming for Roku. “This first-of-its-kind agreement allows us to bring these compelling films exclusively to our large, engaged audience for free.”

Launched in 2017, The Roku Channel is the home of free and premium entertainment on the Roku platform, including a lineup of more than 40,000 free movies and programs and 190+ free live linear television channels. The Roku Channel licenses and distributes content from more than 175 partners. In addition to Roku devices, The Roku Channel is available on Web, iOS and Android devices, Amazon Fire TV and select Samsung TVs and can be accessed internationally in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

In the first quarter of 2021, The Roku Channel reached U.S. households with an estimated 70 million people.

Saban Films remains active in the acquisition, production and distribution space. The company’s recent projects run the gamut from theatrical films such as The Homesman, starring Hilary Swank, to two of the biggest Fathom events with Rob Zombie’s 3 From Hell and Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, the sequel to the 2001 comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, which the company partnered on after coming onboard at the script stage.

‘Tenet’ Arrives on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD; Other New Home Releases Include ‘War With Grandpa,’ ‘Echo Boomers,’ ‘Infidel’

Warner Bros.’ Tenet, the closest thing to a theatrical blockbuster  since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March, becomes available on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 15.

Despite the raging virus, the film was released theatrically over the Labor Day weekend and wound up generating around $50 million in domestic ticket sales, a far cry from what had been expected for the high-profile  espionage thriller from The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan.

Also newly available for home viewing is the Universal Pictures comedy The War With Grandpa, starring Robert De Niro, which becomes available Dec. 15 through digital retailers such as FandangoNow, Redbox On Demand, Google Play and Microsoft a week ahead of its Dec. 22 disc debut.

Tenet stars John David Washington as a secret agent, known as “the Protagonist,” who manipulates the flow of time to stop a third World War. The film’s international ensemble cast also includes Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, and Martin Donovan, with Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh.

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The War With Grandpa stars De Niro as a grandfather who tangles with his grandson over rights to the young boy’s room after he moves in with his family. The film also was released theatrically amid widespread closures and restrictions and pulled in around $18 million in the United States and Canada.

The week’s slate of new home releases also includes Warner’s The Wolf of Snow Hollow, on DVD and Blu-ray Disc (with digital code); Paramount’s Echo Boomers (DVD + digital); and Universal Pictures’ Infidel (DVD and Blu-ray Disc).

Written and directed by, and starring, Jim Cummings, The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a reimagining of the werewolf legend about a small-town sheriff who, while struggling with family problems and a lackluster department, is tasked with solving a series of brutal murders that are occurring on the full moon. The cast also includes Riki Lindhome, Jimmy Tatro, Marshall Allman, Chloe East, Annie Hamilton and the late Robert Forster in one of his final roles. The Blu-ray and DVD include the featurette “The Story and the Genre.” The Blu-ray also has the featurettes “The Impetus,” “Working With Jim Cummings” and “The Design of the Werewolf.”

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Echo Boomers is a crime thriller about a recent college graduate (Patrick Schwarzenegger) who leaves school in debt and is pulled into a criminal underground operation with a group of modern-day Robin Hoods who steal from the rich and give to themselves.

Infidel is a thriller about an American journalist (Doug Rawlins) who is kidnapped while attending a religious conference in the Middle East and held hostage by the Iranian regime, which accuses him of espionage. His wife (Claudia Karvan) takes matters into her own hands and tries to find her husband and bring him back home.