Kelsey Grammer Film ‘The Space Between’ Due on Digital and VOD June 15

The Kelsey Grammer film The Space Between will come out on digital and VOD June 15 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

The film will have a limited theatrical run starting April 23.

In the coming-of-age story set during the 1990s L.A. music scene, Grammer stars as Micky Adams, an eccentric has-been rock musician who loses his grip on reality as his record label looks to drop him and his new “unique” albums. In hopes of breaking out of the mailroom, young Charlie Porter (Jackson White) is tasked with traveling to the musician’s bizarre home and forcing Micky out of his contract. Micky realizes Charlie could be the key to an artistic breakthrough and the pair’s unlikely friendship grows. The odd but powerful bond helps both gain perspective on the music industry, life, love — and the space between.

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‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ ‘The Little Things’ Repeat Atop Vudu, FandangoNow Charts

Warner had another big week on the Vudu and FandangoNow charts. The studio’s Wonder Woman 1984 again took the top spot on the Vudu chart and its The Little Things repeated atop the FandangoNow chart for the week ended March 28.

Both are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.

The DC comic-based Wonder Woman 1984, starring Gal Gadot, became available for digital purchase March 16 following its PVOD rental run. It also came in at No. 4 on the FandangoNow chart.

The Little Things, available via premium VOD rental starting March 19, is a psychological thriller starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto. It follows a Kern County deputy sheriff (Washington), who is sent to Los Angeles for a quick evidence-gathering assignment, but instead becomes embroiled in the search for a killer who is terrorizing the city. The titled landed at No. 4 on the Vudu chart.

Coming in at No. 2 on the Vudu chart was Disney/Pixar’s Oscar-nominated animated film Soul. Featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey, the film (No. 9 on FandangoNow) became available for digital purchase March 23.

Taking the bronze on the Vudu chart was Monster Hunter, based on the video game franchise. The film stars Milla Jovovich as Capt. Artemis, whose unit is caught in a sandstorm that transports them to a world ruled by dangerous and powerful monsters. The film came in at No. 6 on the FandangoNow chart.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run — available as a premium VOD rental March 4 (and also to Paramount+ streaming subscribers) — took the silver on the FandangoNow chart (No. 6 on Vudu). In the CGI-animated adventure with live action elements, SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary goes missing in a plot hatched by Plankton to get the Krabby Patty recipe, and he and his friend Patrick head to the Lost City of Atlantic City to retrieve him. It features appearances by Keanu Reeves and Snoop Dogg, among others.

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Universal’s Oscar-nominated News of the World, which came out for digital purchase March 9, took the bronze on the FandangoNow chart (No. 5 on Vudu). The film stars Tom Hanks as former Army captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, who moves from town to town sharing the news from the far reaches of the globe. He is tasked with transporting a 10-year-old girl (Helena Zengel) taken in by the Kiowa people back to her family.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended March 28, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Wonder Woman 1984
  2. Soul
  3. Monster Hunter
  4. The Little Things
  5. News of the World
  6. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
  7. The Croods: A New Age
  8. Greenland
  9. The Vault
  10. SAS: Red Notice

 

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended March 28, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. The Little Things
  2. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
  3. News of the World
  4. Wonder Woman 1984
  5. Boogie
  6. Monster Hunter
  7. The Father
  8. The Croods: A New Age
  9. Soul
  10. The Vault

Doc ‘Her Name Is Chef’ Due on Digital April 27, DVD May 11 From Virgil

The documentary Her Name Is Chef is coming to digital HD April 27 and DVD May 11 from Virgil Films.

The feature documentary explores the changing of gender roles in restaurant kitchens built around the tragic story of “Top Chef” fan favorite Fatima Ali.

Her Name is Chef showcases the stories of six talented, inspiring, females of the kitchen. Each shares their triumphs in cutting through the clichés of the restaurant industry and explores how they broke down the doors to earn the title of chef.

Host Leia Gaccione sits down with Elizabeth Falkner, Fatima Ali, Hillary Sterling, Esther Choi, Juliet Masters and Caroline Schiff.

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DEG Panel: Transactional Business Still Hardy — and Poised for Takeoff

Despite being squeezed by the pandemic, the transactional business is still sturdy and is poised to take off once new releases in the pipeline grow from a trickle to a steady stream.

That’s according to Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, and Eddie Cunningham, the former Universal Pictures Home Entertainment president who now runs Studio Distribution Services, the Universal-Warner Bros. disc distribution joint venture. The two executives spoke on a virtual DEG Expo panel March 24 moderated by Media Play News publisher and editorial director Thomas K. Arnold.

As industry pundits have observed, content in the transactional arena, which includes physical disc and digital purchases and rentals, dwarfs what consumers can find via subscription or other streaming services. That content has helped the transactional business survive recent jolts, the executives said.

Even the Blu-ray Disc and DVD business, which has been steadily declining for the last decade, remains a viable business, Cunningham said.

“In 2020 despite a pandemic and despite all the pressure of retail closures around the world … and pretty much no new releases after the first couple of months of the year — there’s still a $7 billion retail market, globally,” Cunningham said of the disc business.

“Obviously the last few months, there haven’t been that many new releases. But as that starts to come back in the second half of this year I think you’re going to see a real resurgence,” Smith added, noting that Redbox, with kiosk rentals driven by new releases, is looking forward to a more consistent flow of new content.

Cunningham said he’s been getting a similar message from the big retailers.

“Everybody’s incredibly excited about the new releases starting to come back into this business,” he said. “And I think we feel good about the fact that the big retailers … seem very, very committed to this category. We’ve got new titles every single week. We spend marketing money. We drive people into stores. We introduce fun. We introduce theater into the stores. … So a lot of them are pretty excited about us getting back into the new-release business. … Maybe we could even find a way of sort of growing this [physical] business or certainly hugely flattening the decline over the next year or two after the numbers we made during the pandemic.”

In the meantime, Cunningham said catalog has been picking up the slack, with such series as “Harry Potter,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Office” and even children’s stalwart “Curious George” selling well despite streaming availability.

“If content is available on subscription services, you can still sell a lot of content physically on those same franchises,” Cunningham noted.

“Then there’s a huge amount, about 40% of consumers, who’ve never ever until this day ever transacted digitally, so they’re a huge target for us,” he said, adding “I think physical’s going to be around for a long time to come.”

The disc rental business, which Redbox dominates with thousands of kiosks in the United States, is here to stay as well, added Smith.

“We obviously have a view that it’s going to be sustainable for the long term,” he said. “It’s a great value to consumers. It’s incredibly convenient. … The fact that we’ve got 41,000 kiosks around the U.S. really helps with that. I think what we’ve been able to do is augment that experience. We’ve got this massive loyalty program with over 37 million people in it, and so we’re rewarding them for behavior and then rewarding them with things like free content and so it gives up a great opportunity for us to reinforce that value ecosystem.”

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Redbox marketing makes sure to let consumers know when new releases are available and doesn’t discriminate between the different ways a consumer might access content. The company offers consumers both physical and digital transaction options, letting them choose.

“We’re communicating with them on a regular basis in terms of what are those [new release] movies, and again, however you want to watch it, physically or digitally, we can be there to serve you with that,” he said.

Even though the company is offering a digital alternative, physical transactions aren’t suffering, Smith noted.

“Even when our customers started to transact digitally, it didn’t mean they stopped transacting physically,” he said. “They actually started transacting physically more. It reminded them again of all these great new movies that are available.”

As head of the disc distribution joint venture, Cunningham said he’s tasked with creating efficiencies and providing a focus on the physical business. The joint venture’s mantra is “two plus two equals five,” to make a bigger whole from the combined parts, he said.

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“The coming together of Universal and Warner and other third-party distribution partners is going to enable us to do things like share boxes coming out of Technicolor, which in turn saves a lot of in-store labor, transport costs and so on,” he said. “I think we’re in a position to start maybe talking a bit more again about some front-of-store displays in some of these big retailers where we’ve lost that.”

Two plus two equals five also means finding ways to leverage the studios’ combined content.

“Over the next year or 18 months you’re going to see some amazing things coming out of [the joint venture],” Cunningham said. “There’s going to be huge opportunities on Middle Earth, DC, Bond, classic monsters. It’s actually the 90th anniversary of Dracula coming up, so we’ve got an opportunity around anniversaries. ‘Fast and Furious,’ ‘Jurassic,’ ‘Dune,’ ‘Halloween,’ there are huge opportunities to draft off these kinds of things.”

He also envisioned boxed sets of titles from different studios as an added bonus for consumers.

“We’re going to work incredibly hard to see how we can put the two studios’ content promotions together and make something bigger,” he said.

Redbox, too, is looking to combine the advantages of different businesses. In addition to its digital and physical transactional offerings, the company also has ad-supported streaming and even a content acquisition and production arm.

“In terms of Redbox Entertainment, we have a ton of data obviously about what actors work, what genres work, and so what we want to do is say, ‘OK, we’re seeing a little less product from the studios, let’s go ahead and buy it, acquire it, produce it ourselves,’” Smith said. “We’re basically making sure that we program to our consumers what we know they are going to want. And we’re agnostic so we’re releasing it across all the digital retailers and then we’re actually selling it to streamers as well on the backend. We just want to make sure there’s good content made for consumers.”

‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ Due on PVOD April 2, Digital Sellthrough April 27 and Disc May 4

The Academy Award-nominated Judas and the Black Messiah will be available as a premium VOD rental April 2, for digital purchase April 27, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD May 4.

The film came out in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously Feb. 12.

Judas and the Black Messiah is nominated for six Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield), Best Cinematography (Sean Bobbitt), Best Original Song (“Fight For You,” music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emilie II, lyrics by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas), and Best Original Screenplay (screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King, story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas). Kaluuya also won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor — Motion Picture.

Directed by Shaka King, marking his studio feature film directorial debut, the film stars Kaluuya as Fred Hampton and Stanfield as William O’Neal. The film also stars Dominique Fishback, Jesse Plemons, Ashton Sanders and Martin Sheen.

The story follows FBI informant William O’Neal, who infiltrates the Illinois Black Panther Party and is tasked with keeping tabs on their charismatic leader, Chairman Fred Hampton. A career thief, O’Neal revels in the danger of manipulating both his comrades and his handler, Special Agent Roy Mitchell (Plemons). Hampton’s political prowess grows just as he’s falling in love with fellow revolutionary Deborah Johnson (Fishback). Meanwhile, a battle wages for O’Neal’s soul. Will he align with the forces of good? Or subdue Hampton and The Panthers by any means, as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (Sheen) commands?

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Special features on Blu-ray include “Fred Hampton for the People,” in which the filmmakers and cast discuss why telling Chairman Fred Hampton’s story is more important now than ever before, and “Unexpected Betrayal,” in which the filmmakers and cast discuss William O’Neil’s complexities and his eventual betrayal of Hampton. “Fred Hampton for the People” is an extra on the DVD.

Judas and the Black Messiah impact campaign, designed by Participant, educates audiences with a more comprehensive history of the Black Panther Party, connecting its legacy to today’s movement for Black lives and empowering audiences to join local organizations advocating for Black communities. To learn more, visit www.LiveForThePeople.com.

Paraguayan Horror Film ‘Morgue’ Arises on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD May 11 From Well Go

The Paraguayan horror film Morgue will come out on digital, Blu-ray and DVD May 11 from Well Go USA Entertainment

In the supernatural thriller, after a harrowing accident, a down-on-his-luck security guard accepts a promising new gig at the local morgue. He gets locked in and eerie occurrences (and a not-quite-lifeless body) leave him to wonder: how much otherworldly rage does it take to wake the dead?

A huge breakout hit in its home country, the film is — according to first-time writer/director Hugo Cardozo — based on real events.

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The cast of newcomers includes Pablo Martínez, María del Mar Fernández, Willi Villalba, Abel Martínez, Dr. Aldo Von Knobloch, Raúl Rotela and Francisco Ayala.

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Leads Vudu Chart, ‘The Little Things’ Tops FandangoNow Chart

Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984 lassoed the top spot on the Vudu chart and The Little Things, also from Warner, topped the FandangoNow chart for the week ended March 21.

Both are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.

The Little Things, available via premium VOD rental March 19, is a psychological thriller starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto. It follows a Kern County deputy sheriff (Washington), who is sent to Los Angeles for a quick evidence-gathering assignment, but instead becomes embroiled in the search for a killer who is terrorizing the city. The titled landed at No. 4 on the Vudu chart.

The DC comic-based Wonder Woman 1984, starring Gal Gadot, topped the Vudu chart after becoming available for digital purchase March 16 following its PVOD rental run. It also came in at No. 2 on the FandangoNow chart.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run — available as a premium VOD rental March 4 (and also to Paramount+ streaming subscribers) — took the silver on the Vudu chart and the bronze on FandangoNow. In the CGI-animated adventure with live action elements, SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary goes missing in a plot hatched by Plankton to get the Krabby Patty recipe, and he and his friend Patrick head to the Lost City of Atlantic City to retrieve him. It features appearances by Keanu Reeves and Snoop Dogg, among others.

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Universal/DreamWorks’ blockbuster animated sequel The Croods: A New Age landed at No. 3 on the Vudu chart and No. 4 on the FandangoNow chart for the week. Available for digital purchase and rental, it’s a follow-up to 2013’s The Croods that finds the prehistoric family facing a new challenge when they encounter a walled-in paradise created by the sophisticated Betterman family. As they try to coexist, the differences between the two families escalate into a full-blown feud, until a new threat forces them to work together. The voice cast includes Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Nicolas Cage, Peter Dinklage, Kelly Marie Tran and Leslie Mann.

Coming in at No. 5 on both charts was Monster Hunter, based on the video game franchise and available for digital rental and purchase. It stars Milla Jovovich as Capt. Artemis, whose unit is caught in a sandstorm that transports them to a world ruled by dangerous and powerful monsters. As they fight to survive, they encounter the mysterious Hunter (Tony Jaa), whose unique skills allow him to stay one step ahead of the powerful creatures.

Two recent Oscar-nominees, Universal’s Promising Young Woman and A24’s Minari, climbed the charts. The revenge thriller Promising Young Woman jumped from No. 10 to No. 6 on the Vudu chart and made its first appearance on the FandangoNow chart, also at No. 6. The five-time Oscar nominee is available for digital rental and purchase. Minari, about a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm, moved up to No. 8 from No. 10 on the FandangoNow chart. The title, available as a premium VOD rental, earned six Oscar nods.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended March 21, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Wonder Woman 1984
  2. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
  3. The Croods: A New Age
  4. The Little Things
  5. Monster Hunter
  6. Promising Young Woman
  7. SAS: Red Notice
  8. Greenland
  9. Wrong Turn
  10. News of the World

 

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended March 21, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. The Little Things
  2. Wonder Woman 1984
  3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
  4. The Croods: A New Age
  5. Monster Hunter
  6. Promising Young Woman
  7. SAS: Red Notice
  8. Minari
  9. Cosmic Sin
  10. News of the World

Liam Neeson Actioner ‘The Marksman’ Shooting to Digital April 27, Disc May 11

The Liam Neeson action thriller The Marksman will be available for digital purchase starting April 27 and will shoot to Blu-ray and DVD May 11 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Directed by Academy Award nominee Robert Lorenz (American SniperMystic River), the film’s supporting cast includes Katheryn Winnick (The Dark Tower, “Big Sky”), Juan Pablo Raba (Peppermint, “Narcos”), Teresa Ruiz (“Narcos: Mexico,” “Here on Earth”) and Jacob Perez (Papa BearWilly Goes Way Back).

Neeson plays Jim Hanson, an ex-Marine and hardened Arizona rancher who simply wants to be left alone as he tries to make a living on an isolated stretch of borderland. But everything changes when he witnesses 11-year-old migrant Miguel (Perez) and his mother (Ruiz) fleeing from a band of assassins sent by a ruthless drug cartel. After being caught in a shoot-out, Miguel’s mother begs Jim to take her son to the safety of their family in Chicago. Defying law-enforcement, Jim and Miguel hit the road and slowly begin to forge an unlikely friendship, while the cartel’s relentless assassins blaze a bloody trail, hot on their heels.

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Extras include a making-of featurette with interviews with filmmakers and cast.

Drama ‘Here Are the Young Men’ Due on Digital April 27 From Well Go

The drama Here Are the Young Men, featuring Golden Globe winner Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen’s Gambit”), will come out on digital April 27 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Based on the novel by Rob Doyle, the coming-of-age story catalogs the last hurrah of three high school graduates intent on celebrating their newfound freedom with an epic, debaucherous bender. However, when a horrible accident sends them spiraling, the trio must grapple with the most daunting challenge of their lives: facing their own inner demons.

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In addition to Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit, The New Mutants, Emma), the film stars Dean-Charles Chapman (1917, “Game of Thrones”), Finn Cole (“Peaky Blinders,” Slaughterhouse Rulez), Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (“Vikings”), Travis Fimmel (“Vikings,” Warcraft) and Conleth Hill (“Game of Thrones”). The film is written and directed by Eoin Macken (Cold, Dreaming for You).

‘Khalid: Free Spirit’ Album Companion Film Due on Digital April 6 From Sony

Khalid: Free Spirit, a companion film to the multi-platinum recording artist’s album, will be available for digital purchase and rental April 6 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In this creative parallel to Khalid’s platinum album Free Spirit, Khalid and award-winning music video director Emil Nava expand on Khalid’s lyrics and artistry on the album to create a visual story of love, loss and the pain of growing up.

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The cast includes Khalid Robinson, Dizzy Fae, Judah Lang, Jahking Guillory, Estefania Preciado, Bianca Leonor Quinones, Maverick McConnell, Diamond White and Ed Gathegi.

The film also includes never-before-seen outtakes.