New App Aids in Streaming Movie Search, Discovery

A new app called Picticular promises to help movie fans easily and conveniently find films currently streaming on all platforms as well as upcoming releases. The app also offers recommendations and, in the future, will allow movie ticket sales.

Similarly to a dating app, users can either swipe right or left to accept or reject film choices as suggested by the app’s proprietary AI technology.

Conceived in 2018 and co-founded by serial entrepreneur Todd Courtney, pioneering Google senior executive Marcel Van Lohuizen and former iHeartMedia executive Lasse Hamre, Picticular says its advantage is its laser focus on films and how to easily access them — either on a streaming platform for immediate viewing or for marketing purposes for a new film.

“We’re all film enthusiasts and there were countless times when I just gave up on my search for a film,” Courtney said. “There had to be a better and more convenient way to access films, particularly with the growing universe of streaming platforms. With Picticular, the fun of discovery begins while the frustration ends.”

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Beyond the ability to easily find films on streaming platforms, Picticular also offers:

    • Immediate accessibility of content: Users can click on films in the app and can immediately begin viewing the film on the streaming platform’s app;
    • Friend matching: App allows friends to privately share selections with each other;
    • Ticket purchasing: Moviegoers can soon purchase theater tickets directly from the app;
    • Entertainment news: Movie fans will receive celebrity and entertainment news updates;
    • Recommendations: With proprietary AI technology, the app will provide film suggestions to the user, based on previous selections.

 

Picticular also has established relationships with Hollywood. Most recently, Saban Films, which releases around 30 films per year through Paramount or Lionsgate, has been using the app since last December. For the Mel Gibson film Fatman, Picticular captured comprehensive user data and the trailer had nearly two million views.

“As a studio executive, the benefits are significant,” said Jonathan Saba, SVP of distribution and marketing for Saban Films. “For example, Picticular’s private swiping feed ensures an impulsive decision around each film that ultimately provides us with invaluable data. The app allows for full visibility of past or current films with a critical monetization model and branding opportunities.”

‘Batman,’ ‘Fatman,’ ‘Come Play,’ ‘Trafficked’ Top New Disc, Digital Releases Available Jan. 26

After several weeks of slim pickings, home viewers have a bountiful crop of new releases available on disc and through digital retailers beginning Jan. 26, including Warner Bros.’ Batman: Soul of the Dragon, Paramount Home Entertainment’s Fatman and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Come Play.

Also new in stores are the 1955 musical Court Jester, part of the Paramount Presents line; Virgil Films’ Trafficked: A Parent’s Worst Nightmare; the Lionsgate sports actioner Born a Champion; and Season 1 of the TV series “Snowpiercer,” from Warner Bros.

Batman: Soul of the Dragon, now available on Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray two weeks after its digital sellthrough debut, is the 41st film in the DC Universe series of animated movies. The Elseworlds tale, set in the 1970s, has Bruce Wayne in martial arts training alongside other students under a master sensei to confront a deadly menace. Read a review of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray here.

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The dark comedy Fatman, now available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, was released last November through digital retailers only. The film stars Mel Gibson as Chris Cringle, the gruff, put-upon chairman of the Christmas workshop whose business is declining every year due to children becoming less enthralled by the magic of the holidays. As Cringle explains, more and more children are being naughty every year, and per the rules of his existence are eligible to receive only coal. One such child, a spoiled rich kid, orders a hit on Santa. Read a review of the  Blu-ray Disc here.

The supernatural thriller Come Play also arrives on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Jan. 26, after two weeks of availability through digital retailers. A young boy who relies on his cell phone and tablet for companionship befriends a strange and sinister non-human creature. When the mysterious creature uses the devices to break into our world, his parents must fight to save their son.

The Court Jester, which is making its Blu-ray Disc debut, stars Danny Kaye, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury and Cecil Parker. In 2004, The Court Jester was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. 

Trafficked, a feature-length drama, becomes available Jan. 26 on DVD and digital HD through Virgil Films, the independent label headed by veteran video executive Joe Amodei. Directed by Joel Paul Reisig and written by Reisig, George Sunders, and Scott Voshel, Trafficked is based on multiple true stories from American suburban families who have had their lives uprooted after a child has been abducted and trafficked. The film tells the story of a beautiful young girl with a bright future and a dream of becoming a veterinarian.  On the eve of her 16th birthday, she sneaks out of her house to meet a handsome boy she met online and disappears.  Her parents contact the police, who assume their daughter is just out with a boyfriend. A private detective discovers the truth — a discovery that sets off a race with time.

The inspirational mixed martial arts action film Born a Champion arrives Jan. 26 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, just four days after it was released through digital retailers, in select theaters and on demand. The film stars Sean Patrick Flanery as an ex-Marine who loses a blood-soaked jujitsu match in Dubai to superstar Blaine. But years later, an online video proves that Blaine cheated, and the world demands a rematch, motivating the aging underdog to get back into shape to claim revenge.

“Snowpiercer” is a post-apocalyptic dystopian thriller television drama series that premiered on TNT on May 17, 2020. The series follows the passengers of the Snowpiercer, a gigantic, perpetually moving train that circles the globe carrying the remnants of humanity seven years after the world becomes a frozen wasteland. The series questions class warfare, social injustice and the politics of survival.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Fatman

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 1/26/21;
Paramount;
Action;
Box Office $0.28 million;
$19.99 DVD, $22.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for bloody violence, and language.
Stars Mel Gibson, Walton Goggins, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Chance Hurstfield, Robert Bockstael, Eric Woolfe, Susanne Sutchy, Deborah Grover.

The idea at the center of Fatman hints at a fun deconstruction of a Christmas movie — a kid upset with his gift hires a hitman to kill Santa Claus. However, the premise turns out to be more intriguing than the execution.

Mel Gibson stars as Chris Cringle, who is presented as the gruff, put-upon chairman of the Christmas workshop whose business is declining every year due to children becoming less enthralled by the magic of the holidays. The workshop gets paid by the U.S. government based on the number of presents delivered, but as Cringle explains, more and more children are being naughty every year, and per the rules of his existence are eligible to receive only coal.

One such child is a spoiled rich kid named Billy (Chance Hurstfield) who tortures his classmates into dropping out of the school science fair so he can win. He is so incensed by receiving a lump of coal that he steals $25,000 from his grandmother to send an assassin played by Walton Goggins to kill Cringle.

In a twist, the killer has his own beef with Santa over crappy childhood Christmases, and has been amassing a collection of toys that seem to have come from the workshop.

Meanwhile, to make ends meet, Cringle takes on another contract with the U.S. government, this time outsourcing the workshop’s elves to make military hardware.

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A modernist take on Santa that is somewhere between Elf and Die Hard by way of No Country for Old Men, the film offers some clever takes on the Santa myth, such as when Cringle returns from his Christmas deliveries and reveals a gunshot wound he has to patch up, the result of an increasingly violent society mistaking his sleigh as hostile. Gibson is certainly a non-traditional Santa, eschewing the jolly red suit for antacid tablets and shots of whiskey to get by in the harsh winters, and using his knowledge of the naughty list to shame men into not cheating on their wives.

The film’s absurdist quality makes it passable as a curio, though its leisurely pacing and sparse action make it seem to drag on a lot longer than its 99 minutes.

Among the Blu-ray extras is a nice commentary track with Mel Gibson, directors Eshom and Ian Nelms, producer Michelle Land, and cinematographer Johnny Derango, that gives a good idea of the flavor the filmmakers were after.

Also included are two storyboard-to-film comparisons of key scenes, running a total of 10 minutes.

Finally, the Blu-ray offers six deleted scenes running nine minutes total with optional commentary by the filmmakers.

Paramount’s ‘Fatman,’ ‘Love and Monsters’ Take Over Redbox Charts

A pair of films distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment took over the No. 1 spots on Redbox’s disc rental chart and the Redbox On Demand chart the week ended Dec. 13.

The disc chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks, saw Paramount’s Fatman take over the top spot. While the disc won’t be widely released until Jan. 26, Redbox has it early. The movie stars Mel Gibson as an action-oriented Santa who must fight for his life when a disgruntled kid sends a hitman after him.

Fatman was No. 2 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital rental transactions, with Paramount’s Love and Monsters taking the top spot there. Love and Monsters stars Dylan O’Brien as a man trying to reconnect with his high school girlfriend (Jessica Henwick) in a dystopian future where giant monsters have overtaken the Earth.

Another Paramount title, the comedy Buddy Games, was No. 4 on both charts. Paramount also had two more films on the On Demand chart: The Vanished, about a couple searching for the missing daughter, at No. 7, and the newly released Wander, a thriller about a mentally unstable man who gets caught up in a murder conspiracy, at No. 8.

Lionsgate’s Unhinged remained at No. 2 on Redbox’s disc rental chart, and slipped to No. 3 on the Redbox On Demand chart.

Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan remained dropped to No. 3 on the disc rental chart after spending three of the previous four weeks in the top spot.

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Rounding out the top five on both charts was The New Mutants, from Disney-owned 20th Century Studios, which dropped a spot from the previous week.

Newcomers on the top 10 disc chart include MPI’s Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot, another retelling of the Camelot tale, at No. 8, and Lionsgate’s Smiley Face Killers, a horror film about a man who believes he is being stalked by a hooded figure, at No. 9.

Another title new to the On Demand chart, at No. 9, was STX Films’ Songbird, a controversial thriller about a future world where the pandemic is in full effect in 2024 after the coronvirus continues to mutate. It hit premium VOD Dec. 11.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Dec. 13:

  1. Fatman — Paramount
  2. Unhinged — Lionsgate
  3. Mulan (2020) — Disney
  4. Buddy Games — Paramount
  5. The New Mutants — 20th Century
  6. Iron Mask — Lionsgate
  7. The Rental — Shout! Factory
  8. Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot — MPI
  9. Smiley Face Killers — Lionsgate
  10. 2067 — RLJ

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Dec. 13:

  1. Love and Monsters — Paramount
  2. Fatman — Paramount
  3. Unhinged — Lionsgate
  4. Buddy Games — Paramount
  5. The New Mutants — 20th Century
  6. Elf — Warner
  7. The Vanished — Paramount
  8. Wander — Paramount
  9. Songbird — STX
  10. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation — Warner

 

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