FandangoNow Launches Imax Enhanced

FandangoNow, the transactional VOD service from Fandango — in collaboration with Imax Corp. and DTS — Oct. 1 announced the launch of Imax Enhanced on select Sony 4K Android TVs in the United States.

Additional devices will be added in the coming months.

Imax Enhanced combines exclusive, digitally remastered 4K HDR content and DTS audio technologies with the high-end consumer electronics.

Starting Oct. 1, fans can rent Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Spider-Man: Far From Home — featuring 45 minutes of Imax’s exclusive expanded aspect ratio. In addition, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and The Angry Birds Movie 2, as well as Paramount Pictures’ Bumblebee, among other blockbuster movies, will be part of FandangoNow’s exclusive line-up of Imax Enhanced titles.

The collaboration with Imax Enhanced will add dozens of new titles to FandangoNow.

FandangoNow meets Imax Enhanced’s standard for 4K HDR streaming and uses a special variant of the DTS codec technology integrated in home audio equipment to deliver an Imax signature sound experience with more immersive, powerful sound, according to the company.

Imax Enhanced is supported by participating studios such as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Paramount Pictures, as well as a roster of 15 device partners across televisions, projectors and A/V receivers — all of which have met performance requirements set by Imax, DTS and leading technical specialists throughout Hollywood.

Rotten Tomatoes Adds More Than 600 Critics as Part of Inclusion Initiative

As part of an initiative to increase inclusion, movie recommendation service Rotten Tomatoes announced that over the past year it has added more than 600 individually-approved critics, whose film and TV reviews now count towards Tomatometer scores.

Fifty-five percent of the new critics are women, 60% are freelancers and 10% publish reviews on modern platforms including YouTube and podcasts.  Rotten Tomatoes is also making meaningful progress in increasing ethnic diversity in the Tomatometer critics pool, according to the service.

In August 2018, Rotten Tomatoes revamped the critics criteria for its Tomatometer movie and TV rating system with an increased focus on critics’ individual qualifications, allowing for more freelance critics to be accepted and those working with newer media platforms that go beyond the traditional written review.

“Rotten Tomatoes is connecting audiences with authentic, trusted information from professional critics and fellow fans, to help them discover entertainment and decide what to watch in theaters and at home,” said Paul Yanover, president of Rotten Tomatoes parent Fandango, in a statement.  “Significant advancements are happening across Rotten Tomatoes, from the team’s work to increase critic diversity in the Tomatometer to expanding consumer confidence with the new Verified Audience Score. We are especially proud to commit to another $100,000 grant in 2020 to support film festivals and industry initiatives that further inclusion in entertainment criticism.”

New critics are spotlighted on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer Critics home page.

Rotten Tomatoes recently surveyed the 600 new individually-approved Tomatometer critics about their experiences over the past year. Ninety-two percent of the participants said that becoming a Tomatometer-approved critic has helped them amplify and legitimize their voice in criticism and 73% have seen an increase in their site traffic, views and social media followers, according to the service. However, many identified a number of barriers that still exist for newer critics. Sixty-one percent cited travel costs to festivals as a continuing concern, while 59% felt that proving their legitimacy as journalists to publications was their greatest challenge. Forty-three percent said they are still not able to secure invitations to press screenings of films.

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“We are encouraged by the progress we’re making towards creating a Tomatometer-approved critics pool that reflects the global entertainment audience and we will continue to build on our momentum,” said Jenny Jediny, Rotten Tomatoes senior manager, critic relations, in a statement. “We invite our industry colleagues to join us in our effort to create more opportunities for journalists, especially those from underrepresented groups. Our new critics have shared with us the obstacles they still face, such as gaining access to press screenings and film festivals and securing writing assignments.”

To help critics from underrepresented groups gain access to key film festivals, Rotten Tomatoes established a $100,000grant program in 2018 to assist with travel and lodging expenses associated with festival attendance. Rotten Tomatoes also hosted an in-person workshop and published online resources for critics to help them navigate film festivals, work with publicists and pitch editors.

Rotten Tomatoes to date has helped more than 160 journalists attend film festivals by donating grant money to the 2018 and 2019 Toronto International Film Festivals’ Media Inclusion Initiative, as well as the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and 2019 SXSW Film Festival and Conference, according to the service. Rotten Tomatoes is renewing its grant program in 2020, designating another $100,000 for donations to film festivals and other industry initiatives that are committed to increasing inclusion in criticism.

According to Rotten Tomatoes’ consumer research, fans value both the Tomatometer score, representing critical opinion, and the Audience Score when determining what to watch.  To increase consumer confidence in its Audience Score, Rotten Tomatoes in May introduced Verified Ratings and Reviews. For eligible movies at the time of launch and beyond, Verified Audience Scores are made up of ratings from fans who are confirmed to have purchased tickets to those movies. Those fans’ written reviews display a “verified” badge.

Since the launch in May, more than 130 movies have received Verified Audience Scores, with more than 475,000 Verified Ratings and 88,000 Verified Written Reviews posted by fans.  Currently, Rotten Tomatoes users can get their rating and review “verified” if they purchased their movie ticket on Fandango. Top exhibitors AMC Theatres, Regal and Cinemark Theatres plan to participate as ticket purchase authenticators in the future. Visitors to the Rotten Tomatoes site can still rate and review movies regardless of whether or not they are confirmed ticket purchasers and their reviews are posted on the site.

‘Rocketman’ Returns to Dodger Stadium

Paramount Home Entertainment on Aug. 25 hosted a Rocketman-themed night at Dodger Stadium to commemorate Elton John’s historic concert there in 1975 — and to promote the film’s Aug. 27 release on Blu-ray disc and DVD. Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s long-time lyricist, and Jamie Bell, who portrays Taupin the film, were there to celebrate.  Rocketman has been available for digital purchase since Aug. 6. The film grossed nearly $100 million at the domestic box office, making it the second successful rock ‘n’ roll movie (after Bohemian Rhapsody) over the past nine months to appear in theaters and then become available for home viewing.

Fandango and FandangoNow Celebrate Box Office Bow of ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

To celebrate the theatrical release of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Fandango has launched a online map of the film’s L.A. locations and its transactional VOD service FandangoNOW is hosting a playlist of movies that Tarantino screened for his crew to help inspire the film’s 1960s vibe.

The playlist includes such films as Easy Rider, Rosemary’s Baby and Valley of the Dolls as well as a selection of Tarantino films.

“A love letter to old Hollywood, Once Upon a Time is the kind of film writer-director Quentin Tarantino was born to make,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. “Not only does it feature two of Hollywood’s biggest icons, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, starring opposite one another for the first time in a feature film, but they are surrounded by a tremendous ensemble cast who truly bring a Hollywood era’s long-gone back to life in glorious big-screen fashion. Like Tarantino’s best work, you’ll want to watch it again and again.”

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is leading Fandango’s weekend sales, outselling all of Tarantino’s previous titles at the same point in the Fandango sales cycle, according to the online ticketing service.

FandangoNow Celebrates 15th Anniversary of ‘The Notebook’ With Sale

In honor of this week’s 15th anniversary of the theatrical release of The Notebook, FandangoNow is offering the romance for purchase at $7.99 in SD or HD through July 1.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional VOD service.

Fans of the 2004 love story can also find a collection of other movies featuring the film’s stars, Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling, as part of the FandangoNow Flashback anniversary collection at https://www.fandangonow.com/list/flashbacks.

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Also, as part of the celebration, Rotten Tomatoes’ 21 Most Memorable Movie Moments series is featuring a special video devoted to the iconic “Kiss in the Rain” scene in “The Notebook,” narrated by director Nick Cassavetes.

‘Captain Marvel’ Soars on FandangoNow Chart

Disney’s superhero blockbuster Captain Marvel was the top film purchased and/or rented on FandangoNow for the week ended June 16.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional VOD service.

Captain Marvel, which earned $426.8 million in theaters, stars Brie Larson as the Marvel Comics character Carol Danvers.

Universal’s horror film Us landed at No. 2. Writer-director Jordan Peele’s followup to Get Out, the film stars Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss. It earned $175 million at the box office.

Another Universal title, The Upside, took the third spot. The comedy stars Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston as an out-of-work ex-con and a wealthy quadriplegic who unexpectedly come together and help each other bring back their zest for life. It earned $108.2 million in theaters.

In fourth place was Lionsgate’s romance Five Feet Apart, about two teens with cystic fibrosis who fall in love but are forced to stay apart because of their illness. It made $45.7 million in theaters.

Rounding out the top five was Paramount’s animated adventure Wonder Park. It’s the story of a young girl named June who makes an incredible discovery — the amusement park of her dreams has come to life filled with wild rides operated by fun-loving animals. It features the voices of Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis, John Oliver, Kenan Thompson and Ken Jeong, among others, and made $45.2 million at the box office.

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The top 10 films purchased and/or rented on FandangoNow for the week ended June 16 were:

  1. Captain Marvel * (Disney)
  2. Us* (Universal)
  3. The Upside * (Universal)
  4. Five Feet Apart * (Lionsgate)
  5. Wonder Park * (Paramount)
  6. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral * (Lionsgate)
  7. Captive State * (Universal)
  8. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World * (Universal)
  9. The Mustang * (Universal)
  10. The Kid * (Lionsgate)

*Available in 4K

 

FandangoNow Launches ‘Best LGBTQ Movies of All Time’ List for Pride Month

In celebration of Pride Month, FandangoNow is hosting a “Best LGBTQ Movies of All Time” promotion, featuring a collection of the 200 top-reviewed LGBTQ films, hand-picked by FandangoNow’s sister site, Rotten Tomatoes.

Taking the top spot is Academy Award-winner Moonlight, starring Mahershala Ali. Can You Ever Forgive Me, starring Melissa McCarthy, came in at No. 2, with Call Me By Your Name and The Favourite, at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. Coming in at No. 5 was Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Booksmart, just released in theaters, took the No. 6 spot.

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MCU Titles Surge at FandangoNow

FandangoNow has seen a spike in sales for all 20 Marvel cinematic universe titles since the theatrical bow of Avengers: Endgame, with all appearing among its top 100 films, according to the service.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional VOD platform.

The site also reported a surge in preorders and first-day sales for Captain Marvel, hitting home this week. The female-driven superhero film is pacing similarly to Marvel’s Black Panther, one of FandangoNow’s most purchased titles of all time, according to the service.

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Captain Marvel is one of the year’s most entertaining films, and one of the most talked-about Marvel movies ever,” said FandangoNow managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. “It’s clear fans want to see lots more of Brie Larson’s high-flying superhero, and are excited to watch all the bonus content, deleted scenes and outtakes, especially after seeing her in Avengers: Endgame.”

According to a FandangoNow survey of fans planning to watch Captain Marvel at home, 91% are excited to revisit Captain Marvel’s origin story at home after seeing her on the big screen in Avengers: Endgame, while 60% plan to watch Captain Marvel at home before they head to the theater to see the MCU’s next chapter, Spider-Man: Far from Home.

Since the release of Endgame, the five best-selling MCU titles are:

  1. Spider-Man Homecoming*
  2. Iron Man
  3. Captain America: The First Avenger*
  4. Marvel’s The Avengers*
  5. Avengers: Age of Ultron*

 

*Available in 4K

 

‘The Upside’ Climbs to Top of FandangoNow Chart

The comedy The Upside was the top film purchased and/or rented on FandangoNow for the week ended May 19.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional VOD service.

The Universal film stars Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston as an out-of-work ex-con and a wealthy quadriplegic who unexpectedly come together and help each other bring back their zest for life. It earned $108.2 million in theaters.

Lionsgate’s Cold Pursuit, starring Liam Neeson, jumped up two spots to No. 2. In the film, which earned $32 million at the box office, Neeson plays a grieving snowplow driver who seeks revenge against the drug dealers who killed his son.

Taking the third spot was Universal’s Fighting With My Family, a comedy about World Wrestling Entertainment star Paige featuring Dwayne Johnson. It made $23 million in theaters.

Another Universal title, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the series about a boy and his dragon, dropped two spots to No. 4. It made $160 million at the box office.

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Boosted by the May 17 theatrical debut of the third installment in the Lionsgate series, the double feature of John Wick and John Wick 2, starring Keanu Reeves as a hitman out for revenge, jumped five spots to No. 5 on the week’s chart.

Entering the chart at No. 10 was Universal’s horror sequel Happy Death Day 2U. The follow-up to 2017’s Happy Death Day earned $28 million at the box office.

The top 10 films purchased and/or rented on FandangoNow for the week ended May 19 were:

  1. The Upside (Universal)
  2. Cold Pursuit * (Lionsgate)
  3. Fighting With My Family (Universal)
  4. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World * (Universal)
  5. John Wickand John Wick: Chapter 2 (Double Feature) * (Lionsgate)
  6. What Men Want* (Paramount)
  7. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part* (Warner)
  8. Glass* (Universal)
  9. Aquaman * (Warner)
  10. Happy Death Day 2U* (Universal)

*Available in 4K

Rotten Tomatoes Revises Audience Movie Ratings

Movie rating service Rotten Tomatoes is changing its Audience Rating System to feature verified ratings and reviews.

For eligible movies moving forward, Audience Scores will be made up of ratings from fans who are confirmed to have purchased tickets to those movies. Those fans’ written reviews will also display a “verified” badge.

“We know from our research that fans consult Rotten Tomatoes’ Audience Score along with the Tomatometer, when making decisions on what to watch,” Paul Yanover, Fandango president, said in a statement. “Having an Audience Score and reviews from fans who are confirmed ticket purchasers, will add even more usefulness to our product and increase consumer confidence.”

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Rotten Tomatoes users can opt-in to get their rating and review “verified” if they purchased their movie ticket on Fandango. Exhibitors AMC Theatres, Regal and Cinemark Theatres plan to participate as ticket purchase authenticators later this year. Every visitor to the Rotten Tomatoes site will still be invited to rate and review movies regardless of whether or not they are confirmed ticket purchasers. Reviews (both verified and unverified) will still be listed, with those that are verified marked with a “verified” badge, so that readers will know that the reviewer purchased a ticket to that movie.

On Fandango’s site and mobile apps, Rotten Tomatoes will begin powering Fandango’s fan rating system, replacing its previous five-star fan rating, according to the service. Once their ticket purchases are confirmed through their Fandango user account, Fandango ticket buyers’ ratings and reviews will now count towards the Verified Audience Score displayed on Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes, as well as on other platforms that syndicate Rotten Tomatoes scores.

The service has previously come under fire as users have been able to manipulate the Audience Score for a particular movie through coordinated online campaigns by those who hadn’t even seen the film. In particular, a recent campaign against Captain Marvel, which has a strong female character, drew criticism of the service.

The launch of Verified Ratings and Reviews is part of the Rotten Tomatoes’ overall plan to modernize its Audience Rating System over the next year, “making it even more helpful to fans as they make their entertainment viewing decisions,” according to a press release.

Rotten Tomatoes introduced an earlier product enhancement in February, and reports each change in a Product Update Blog.

In addition to enhancing its Audience Rating System, Rotten Tomatoes has been working over the past 18 months to increase the diversity of the critical voices that make up its Tomatometer, which aggregates the collective opinions of thousands of Tomatometer-approved critics for movies and TV shows, according to the release. Last August, Rotten Tomatoes made an enhancement to its critics community, by debuting revamped Tomatometer critics criteria. With an increased focus on the critic’s individual qualifications versus the publications that they write for, Rotten Tomatoes’ goal is to enable a wider and more diverse pool of critics’ perspectives to be included in the Tomatometer. Since launch, Rotten Tomatoes has added more than 500 new Tomatometer-approved critics and publications, with plans to add even more critics in the future, according to the release.

Additionally, Rotten Tomatoes announced the establishment of a $100,000 grant program to create more opportunities for critics serving underrepresented groups to cover major film festivals and gain access to press screenings. To date, Rotten Tomatoes has donated $25,000 respectively to the press inclusion initiatives at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, 2019 Sundance Film Festival and 2019 SXSW Film Festival and Conference, according to the release.