Documentary ‘The Uncondemned’ Coming to Digital and DVD April 9 From Virgil

The documentary The Uncondemned is coming to EST, VOD and DVD April 9 from Virgil Films.

It follows an underdog group of young lawyers and activists who defied the odds to do what had never been done: prosecute rape as an international war crime.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was understaffed, underfunded and overwhelmed as they attempted to prosecute their first case of genocide in 1997. Then, three heroic Rwandan women overcame their fears and feelings of shame to come forward and speak for all those who could not.

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The film captures the remarkable story — involving secret memos, witness assassinations and other setbacks and barriers — that changed the course of international judicial history.

‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Swings to Top of Both Redbox Charts

Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse swung to the top of both Redbox charts for the week ended March 24.

The animated superhero film, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, took the No. 1 spot on both the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, and the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), both electronic sellthrough (EST) and streaming. The Sony release was new-to-disc for the week, streeting March 19.

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One other new release entered the disc chart for the week, Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, which floated in at No. 5. The reboot of the Disney classic, starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, earned $171.8 million in theaters.

On the digital side, coming in at No. 2 for the week was Warner’s superhero epic Aquaman, which earned $334.8 million at the box office.

Paramount’s Instant Family, a comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne, held strong on both charts, finishing in the same spot at No. 3 on the disc chart and dropping just one spot from No. 2 to No. 3 on the digital chart.

Emerging on the digital chart at No. 10 was A Simple Favor, a comedy starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, which was released late last year.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended March 24:

  1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (New) — Sony
  2. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — Warner
  3. Instant Family— Paramount
  4. Green Book— Universal
  5. Mary Poppins Returns (New) — Disney
  6. Mortal Engines— Universal
  7. Creed II — Warner
  8. Ralph Breaks the Internet— Disney
  9. A Star Is Born(2018)— Warner
  10. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended March 24:

  1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — Sony
  2. Aquaman— Warner
  3. Instant Family— Paramount
  4. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald— Warner
  5. Green Book— Universal
  6. A Star Is Born(2018)— Warner
  7. Mortal Engines— Universal
  8. Creed II — Warner
  9. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox
  10. A Simple Favor — Lionsgate

‘We Are Columbine’ Director Revisits Dark Day With Her Classmates in Virgil Films Doc

Decades after the cameras and the spotlight are gone, those touched by school shootings can continue to suffer as they try to process a day that changed their lives.

That’s the subject of Virgil Films’ documentary We Are Columbine, due on EST, VOD and DVD April 9 and directed by Laura Farber.

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Farber has a unique perspective on the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado; she was a freshman at the school when two students shot and killed 13 people (12 students and one teacher) nearly 20 years ago on April 20, 1999.

“I wanted something to be told by the people that experienced it,” Farber said. “And I felt like I could bridge that gap between outsiders and the people that were there. It’s a lot more difficult than anticipated because a lot of us don’t like talking about Columbine — still to this day.”

It took some convincing, but Farber was able to gather a collection of freshmen at the time of the shooting as well as teachers and administrators to revisit the event.

The director herself wasn’t immune to the effects of recalling such a terrible time when she went back to film at her high school.

“Everything was the same, so much so that the first day of filming —I didn’t know I needed more therapy until I went to film — that first day of filming, thank god, I had one of the producers with me,” Farber recalled. “She had to do that first walkthrough of the school with Gus [former student Gustavo D’Arthenay] because I was emotionally ill, physically ill the entire day because I think just coming back that first time was a lot — not anticipated for sure.”

The first interview subject she was able to convince to participate in the project was her friend Amy Staley.

“I’m doing this only because it’s you, only because of our friendship,” Staley says in the film. “I don’t like talking about it like this. I don’t think anybody likes us talking about it. I don’t like people exploiting our experiences, and I know that you won’t.”

During Staley’s interview, Farber learned just how close she had come to something awful. Bomb equipment had been under the lunch table at which they had sat on that fateful day, Staley recalled in the film.

“I was with Amy on that day, and I didn’t know that until we sat down together and talked about it,” Farber said. “I totally forgot.”

Columbine principal Frank DeAngelis had become wary of students asking to film at the high school, creating another potential obstacle.

“I had to get Frank’s permission, because he’s the principal, and once I told him what I wanted to do, which was not sensationalized, he trusted me to come in and film,” Farber said. “But at the time, there was an issue with a student from an Ohio high school that came to the school, did a tour, asked a bunch of questions, and he said he was doing research for a presentation, and then went and threatened his own school. So after that Frank was like, ‘Hey, I’m not letting anybody in unless they are students from Columbine.’ And that was kind of perfect timing for me.”

“You’re one of my kids; I trust ya,” DeAngelis says in the documentary.

The kids she knew from Columbine were loath to discuss the shooting, though teacher Kiki Leyba (also interviewed in the film) had them write down their thoughts 20 years ago.

In addition to D’Arthenay (a musician who provides some of the soundtrack for the film) and Staley, Farber interviewed two others who were freshmen at Columbine during the shooting.

“I think for our class, for those four years, we got to all be together,” Farber noted. “We were the youngest, and we were there the longest. It was a big part of our recovery being able to go back every day and be with each other.”

But it was different for everyone who experienced the shooting.

“Everyone has their own Columbine,” she said. “I’d love to find out what’s going on with the seniors that had to leave immediately after, and they were surrounded by no one and what that did to their recovery.”

Since the shooting at Columbine High School, which is recognizing a 20th anniversary this year — including a screening of Farber’s film in Colorado on the exact date of the anniversary, April 20 — many other school shootings have dominated the news and then receded.

Though Farber talked to Media Play News before the recent suicides of victims affected by shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in 2018 and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., in 2012, she stressed the need for victims to express their feelings.

“We’re going to carry this with us for the rest of our lives, but we can decide what that’s going to look like,” Farber said.

Doc ‘The Oyster Farmers’ Coming to Digital and DVD March 19 From Virgil

The documentary The Oyster Farmers is coming to DVD, digital and VOD March 19 from Virgil Films.

The film tells the story of those who are working to restore oyster reefs and natural oyster populations to the Barnegat Bay. Oysters were once a staple food for communities in the Northeast of the United States, and the Barnegat Bay was home to one of the largest oyster seed beds in the 1800s. Overharvesting and disease wiped out the populations of oysters, which has had significant ecological impact in the last century.

The Oyster Farmers from Virgil Films on Vimeo.

 

Warner’s ‘A Star Is Born’ Shoots to No. 1 on Redbox Charts

It may have picked up just one Academy Award (Best Original Song) from its eight nominations, but A Star Is Born triumphed on both Redbox charts the week leading up to the Oscar ceremony Feb. 24.

Warner’s 2018 update of the classic film story landed at No. 1 on both the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, and the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), both electronic sellthrough (EST) and streaming, the week ended Feb. 24.

The film, which earned $210.9 million at the box office and debuted on disc Feb. 19, stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga — both nominated for Oscars for their performances — as two musicians who come together on stage and in life in a complex journey through the beauty and heartbreak of a relationship struggling to survive.

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Four other new releases appeared on the Redbox disc chart for the week. Lionsgate’s Robin Hood, another retelling of a classic story, starring Taron Egerton as Robin Hood and Jamie Foxx as Little John, debuted at No. 2. Paramount Pictures’ Overlord, a story produced by J.J. Abrams about a team of American paratroopers who encounter Nazi super-soldiers, entered the chart at No. 4. Lionsgate’s Backtrace, an action thriller starring Sylvester Stallone, debuted at No. 8. And 20th Century Fox’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? — which earned three Oscar noms, for Best Actress (Melissa McCarthy), Best Supporting Actor (Richard E. Grant) and Best Adapted Screenplay — entered the disc chart at No. 10.

Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which won all but one of the five Oscars for which it was nominated, including Best Actor for Rami Malek, finished its second week in disc release at No. 3, falling from No. 1.

On the digital chart, Bohemian Rhapsody fell one spot to No. 2, behind A Star Is Born, which shot up the chart from No. 10 the previous week. Robin Hood took the third spot, followed by Paramount’s Tyler Perry comedy Nobody’s Fool at No. 4 (from No. 2 the previous week), Overlord at No. 5 and Can You Ever Forgive Me? at No. 6.

Interestingly, two titles released in the fall of last year appeared on the digital chart. Sony Pictures’ Nov. 13 release Searching, which stars John Cho as a distraught father who sifts through his missing daughter’s digital footprint determined to find her, appeared at No. 9. And Universal Pictures’ Sept. 25 release Skyscraper, an actioner starring Dwayne Johnson, came in at No. 10.

 

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Feb. 24:

  1. A Star Is Born (2018) (New) — Warner
  2. Robin Hood (2018) (New) — Lionsgate
  3. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox
  4. Overlord (New) — Paramount
  5. The Grinch — Universal
  6. Nobody’s Fool — Paramount
  7. Widows — Fox
  8. Backtrace (New) — Lionsgate
  9. The Girl in the Spider’s Web — Sony
  10. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (New) — Fox

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Feb. 24:

  1. A Star Is Born (2018) — Warner
  2. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox
  3. Robin Hood (2018) — Lionsgate
  4. Nobody’s Fool — Paramount
  5. Overlord — Paramount
  6. Can You Ever Forgive Me? — Fox
  7. The Grinch — Universal
  8. Widows — Fox
  9. Searching — Sony
  10. Skyscraper — Universal

‘A Star Is Born’ No. 3 Best Seller of All Time on FandangoNow

After its first two weeks of digital release, A Star Is Born has become the No. 3 best-selling title of all time, eclipsing 2013’s Frozen in total digital purchases on FandangoNow, Fandango’s VOD service.

Only 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle rank ahead of Bradley Cooper’s music-based drama in all-time sales.

Nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, A Star Is Born made its EST debut Jan. 15.

A Star Is Born is selling like a superhero movie on FandangoNow,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. “We’ve definitely seen an Oscar bump in sales, and its continued success on digital is a testament to the film’s unforgettable music, the beautiful work of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, and a classic love story that fans want to experience again and again.”

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The all-time top five sellers on FandangoNow, by units sold, are:

  1. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  2. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
  3. A Star Is Born (2018)
  4. Frozen (2013)
  5. Black Panther (2018)

Warner Bros.’ Record Box Office Drives WarnerMedia’s Banner 2018

Spurred by Warner Bros.’ record $5.5 billion global box office, WarnerMedia generated more than $9.2 billion in revenue in 2018 — up nearly 7% from revenue of $8.6 billion when the company operated as Time Warner prior to the closing of AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition.

The media company comprising Warner Bros., HBO, Turner and Otter Media, posted Q4 operating income of $2.7 billion; and $5.69 billion for the year.

The company said it generated $564 million in fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2018) revenue from the sales of video games and home entertainment, which was down nearly 15% from revenue of $682 million in the previous-year period. For the year, revenue dropped nearly 45% to $1.08 billion from $1.93 billion in 2017.

Sales of packaged media and digital from movies and TV shows topped $1.56 billion and $416 million, respectively, in the previous-year quarter under Time Warner. WarnerMedia does not breakout home video revenue.

In 2018, Warner Bros. theatrical revenue was driven led by Ready Player One and the fourth-quarter releases Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Aquaman, the latter grossing nearly $1.1 billion at the global box office to date.

Warner Q4 revenue topped $4.5 billion and included revenue of $2.1 billion from theatrical product, $1.8 billion from television product and $564 million from video games and home entertainment. Operating expenses totaled $3.7 billion, and the operating income margin was 18.1%.

HBO revenue in the quarter reached $1.7 billion and included $1.4 billion of subscription and $259 million of content and other revenue. Operating expenses totaled $1.1 billion and the operating income margin was 37.2%.

Turner Q4 revenue reached $3.2 billion, compared to $107 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Revenue during the quarter included $1.8 billion of subscription revenue, $1.1 billion of advertising and $219 million of content and other revenues. Operating expenses totaled $1.9 billion, compared to $59 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Turner’s operating income margin was 40.2% compared to 44.9% in the year-ago quarter.

The increases were predominantly due to the June 2018 acquisition of Time Warner.

 

‘Night School,’ ‘Venom’ Top Redbox Charts

It was a split decision at Redbox the week ended Dec. 30.

Universal Pictures’ Night School, a comedy starring Kevin Hart that earned $77.3 million in North American theaters, debuted at No. 1 on the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines.

Sony Pictures’ Venom, a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, remained on top of the Redbox On Demand chart for the second consecutive week. The Redbox On Demand chart tracks transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), both electronic sellthrough (EST) and transactional streaming.

Night School debuted at No. 2 on the Redbox On Demand chart. In the film, a successful salesman (Hart) sees his life turned around after getting fired for accidentally destroying his workplace. Forced to attend night school so he can finally get his GED and find another job, he soon finds himself amongst a group of misfit students, a teacher with no patience for class clowns (Tiffany Haddish) and his high school nemesis-turned-principal (Taran Killam) who will strive to make sure he fails the course.

Venom, with a domestic gross of $213 million 2018’s No. 10 movie, slipped to No. 2 on the Redbox disc-rental chart its second week in kiosks.

The Predator, from 20th Century Fox, debuted at No. 3 on the Redbox kiosk chart while slipping to No. 7 from No. 6 the prior week on the Redbox On Demand chart.

Rounding out the top five on the Redbox disc-rental chart were the Sony Pictures revenge thriller The Equalizer 2 at No. 4, down from No. 3 the prior week, and Universal Pictures’ The House With a Clock in its Walls at No. 5. The latter, a family fantasy about a young boy who is sent to live with his uncle in a spooky old house, had debuted at No. 2 the previous week.

Another new release, Sony Pictures’ White Boy Rick, debuted at No. 7 on the kiosk chart. The film, a biographical crime drama about the youngest-ever FBI informant, earned $24 million in theaters after debuting at the Telluride Film Festival.

On the Redbox On Demand digital chart, Lionsgate’s A Simple Favor, a black comedy about a vlogger who tries to solve the disappearance of her rich and mysterious best friend, slipped to No. 3 after bowing at No. 2 the prior week.

The Equalizer 2 finished the week at No. 4 followed at No. 5 by The House With a Clock in its Walls. Both films slipped a spot from the prior week.

White Boy Rick came in at No. 6 on the Redbox On Demand digital chart.

 

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ending December 30

  1. Night School (new)
  2. Venom
  3. The Predator (new)
  4. The Equalizer 2
  5. The House With a Clock in its Walls
  6. Smallfoot
  7. White Boy Rick (new)
  8. Peppermint
  9. A Simple Favor
  10. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ending December 30

  1. Venom
  2. Night School
  3. A Simple Favor
  4. The Equalizer 2
  5. The House With a Clock in its Walls
  6. White Boy Rick
  7. Peppermint
  8. The Predator
  9. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
  10. Smallfoot

 

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Disney’s Bob Iger Wants to Expedite Home Video Window

Following strong Q4 home entertainment and theatrical results, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger said he has no plans to downsize the theatrical window as it relates to Disney movies transferring earlier to the company’s pending over-the-top video service, Disney+.

The same restraint, however, cannot be said about retail channels, including DVD, Blu-ray Disc and electronic sellthrough.

Speaking Nov. 8 on the fiscal call, Iger said that with the studio generating a record $3 billion in operating revenue – up 27% from a record $2.3 billion in the previous-year period – shortening the traditional 90-day window would only dampen revenue (and anger exhibitors).

Indeed, studio revenue reached nearly $10 billion in the fiscal year, up 19% from $8.4 billion last year.

“With us, if it ain’t broke … ,” quipped Iger, in response to an analyst’s question whether OTT video platform Disney+ afforded the studio opportunities to give consumers earlier streaming access to branded movies in the home.

Iger said Disney would continue fight to maintain the traditional theatrical window, which has been under (now measured) attack by Netflix.

“We have a studio that is doing extremely well and a [release window] formula that is serving us really well in terms of its bottom line,” he said.

Interestingly, Iger gave a shout out to home entertainment – his first in years – which he said continued to deliver strong retail results for digital and physical content. In fact, the executive said there is ongoing internal strategy about putting theatrical content into retail channels sooner.

“The home video window continues to be quite important to us,” said Iger. “You’ll likely see us protect that as well, although there’s going to be discussion around whether there’s an opportunity to move product into that window maybe a little sooner.”

Iger quickly clarified Disney was not looking to encroach – at the moment – upon the theatrical window.

Disney is ending a record year in home entertainment with five of the top-six selling DVD/Blu-ray Disc titles, including Black Panther, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Coco, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and just-released, Solo: A Star Wars Story. The titles — excluding Solo — have generated nearly $400 million in combined revenue since their release.

Lionsgate Promotes Kapouranis to President of International TV and Digital Distribution

Lionsgate has promoted Agapy Kapouranis to president of international television and digital distribution.

She will report to Lionsgate president of worldwide television and digital distribution Jim Packer.

She succeeds Lionsgate veteran Peter Iacono, who has decided to leave the studio to become CEO of TravelCadabra.

During her seven years with the company, Kapouranis has structured a broad range of complex global and regional licensing deals encompassing the company’s films and television series, including alternative programming formats and Starz original programming, to a broad range of digital and linear platforms around the world.

She has broad experience in the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD), electronic sellthrough (EST) and transactional video-on-demand (TVOD) space, according to a Liongate release.

“Having an executive with experience in all forms of global distribution such as Agapy gives Lionsgate an advantage as we continue to navigate a dynamic and fast-changing environment with our growing and evolving portfolio of content,” Packer said in a statement. “She is the ideal executive to carry Peter’s leadership of our international team into the future. Peter is a great international sales and marketing executive who has helped lead the charge as we’ve built a robust network of digital and linear relationships around the world. We wish him the very best in his entrepreneurial endeavors.”

Kapouranis joined Lionsgate in 2011. She first served as SVP of television and digital distribution and was based in Paris for four years. In that capacity, she closed global digital EST deals with Apple, Xbox, Playstation and Google. She was later promoted to EVP of worldwide subscription video on demand, the position she held until her latest promotion.

Iacono has been part of the worldwide television and distribution group leadership team for nearly 10 years, leading all international distribution, acquisitions, sales and marketing for Lionsgate’s television and catalog feature slate. He recently spearheaded the company’s new Latin American first-run pay television deal with Amazon Prime.

“It’s been a pleasure working with an innovative studio like Lionsgate for going on a decade where I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by one of the best international sales and distribution teams in the business,” said Iacono in a statement. “It is time for a new adventure where I will be CEO of TravelCadabra an internet travel, entertainment and e-commerce platform launching in early 2019 for which we have been fortunate enough to secure up to $10 million in initial funding.  It gives me great pleasure to pass the stewardship of Lionsgate brilliant international distribution team to such a talented and dynamic executive as Agapy as I venture on this entrepreneurial path.”