Warner’s ‘Blade Runner: The Final Cut,’ ‘Million Dollar Baby,’ ‘Selena’ Among Warner Titles Now Available on FilmRise AVOD Service

Blade Runner: The Final Cut, director Ridley Scott’s final cut of the classic 1982 film, including extended scenes and never-before-seen special effects, in addition to five more Warner films are available now on FilmRise’s ad-supported streaming network.

FilmRise licensed the titles from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

“We are excited to be partnering with Warner Bros. in bringing these beloved films to audiences through our streaming network,” said FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher in a statement. “Die-hard fans of Blade Runner deem this final cut as the only version of the cult classic reflecting Ridley Scott’s original artistic vision for the project. The additional five films are undoubtedly part of American culture — classics that fans can view over and over again.”

The five other films available include the Oscar-lauded Million Dollar Baby, starring Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank; Free Willy, the whale tale that spawned three sequels; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the 1990 feature starring Corey Feldman; Gremlins, 1984’s comedy-horror film executive produced by Steven Spielberg; and Selena, Jennifer Lopez’s break-out role as recording star Selena Quintanilla-Pérez who was tragically murdered at 23.

FilmRise Acquires Exclusive U.S. SVOD Rights to ‘CHiPs’

FilmRise has acquired from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution the exclusive U.S. SVOD rights to the 1970s TV show “CHiPs,” starring Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox, according to the company.

The show is available on Prime Video, through FilmRise’s Prime Video Direct self-service program.

“We are thrilled to have concluded a deal with Warner Bros. to bring this classic television favorite to Amazon’s Prime Video audience,” said FilmRise CEO and co-founder Danny Fisher in a statement. “The show is a perfect fit for the Prime Video service, which boasts an ever-expanding catalog of classic film and TV.”

“CHiPs” ran for more than six seasons on NBC. It followed California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers Jon (Wilcox) and Ponch (Estrada) as they patroled the streets of Los Angeles.

FilmRise has also brought other classic TV shows to the Prime platform, including “Hell’s Kitchen” and “3rd Rock from the Sun.”

FilmRise Signs Deal With ITV Studios for Streaming Rights to Gordon Ramsay Shows

Independent film and TV distribution company FilmRise has signed an exclusive deal with ITV Studios Global Entertainment for the ad-supported video rights to two TV programs headlined by television personality and chef Gordon Ramsay: the reality series “Hell’s Kitchen” (seasons 1-15) and “Kitchen Nightmares.”

The two shows June 1 became exclusively available for free across the FilmRise streaming network, including its Roku, Xbox, Apple, Amazon Fire TV and Android platforms.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring such iconic reality series, such as ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ and ‘Kitchen Nightmares,’ to even more audiences,” said FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher. “With our partnership with U.K. powerhouse ITV Studios Global Entertainment, FilmRise is dedicated to providing exceptional programming across a range of platforms to best serve our viewers.”

Others series streaming through FilmRise’s network include the Emmy Award-winning sitcom “3rd Rock from the Sun” from Carsey-Werner and “Unsolved Mysteries” with Robert Stack.

Original ‘Roseanne’ Series Available to Stream on FilmRise’s Ad-Supported Network

FilmRise has just released the complete original series of “Roseanne” on its ad-supported streaming network.

The series, starring Roseanne Barr, John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf, is available to stream for free across FilmRise apps, including on the Roku and Xbox platforms. The company will soon launch “Roseanne” on FilmRise apps across additional platforms, connected TVs, and mobile devices.

ABC recently re-booted the Emmy award-winning sitcom featuring many of the original cast members to strong ratings.

During the original run that aired from 1988 to 1997, “Roseanne” reached No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings, at one point becoming the most watched television show in the United States. The show remained in the top 4 rated shows for six of its nin seasons. Its finale attracted 16 million viewers.

“We are thrilled to offer fans of this unique series an opportunity to watch all of the original ‘Roseanne’ seasons for free on FilmRise ad-supported platforms,” said Danny Fisher, CEO of FilmRise, in a statement. “The original ‘Roseanne’ broke social barriers and connected with millions of viewers, and we are excited to bring this iconic show to the FilmRise streaming network.”

FilmRise licensed the show from Carsey-Werner Television Distribution.


Indie Company Rises With New Vision

“Roseanne” is once again a success on TV — and capitalizing on that reboot is a company flying quietly under the radar with digital rights to the classic Roseanne Barr series and others from television production stalwart Carsey-Werner.

That company is FilmRise, which, along with CEO Danny Fisher and his partners, has risen from the ashes of bankruptcy on a vision of digital content distribution.

“My brother and I went personally bankrupt in 2012,” recalls Danny Fisher. “We lost it all, and I had a vision for a company that was digitally minded, and we created that company in the basement and kitchen of my house, my Brooklyn brownstone.”

Starting with a handful of titles, one of which Jack Fisher (now president of FilmRise) had produced, the two brothers, together with third founder, current chairman Alan Klingenstein, built a business. They raised an initial $200,000 from a couple of investors to prove an essentially digital distribution concept, and FilmRise took off.

“In the last two years, we’ve raised $112 million, we have a 15,000-square-foot office, we have 65 people on staff, and the company’s been in the black for several years,” Fisher said. “We’re doing very well.”

Danny Fisher said the company has three key businesses: acquisition and distribution, which includes such successes as the theatrical feature My Friend Dahmer and the Carsey-Werner deal; AVOD, advertising-supported video-on-demand streaming services under the FilmRise banner; and original television production, a new venture.

On the acquisition and distribution side, “in the digital space, we are one of top aggregators for Amazon Prime and we’ve been very close to Amazon from the days of working out of my basement,” Fisher said. “Of course, we work with Netflix, Hulu, many other platforms as well and including pay-TV.”

But they also acquire features, such as My Friend Dahmer.

“We don’t sort of have a brand in the sense that we are an art house, or genre house,” Fisher said.  “We take on everything. I don’t mean we take on everything like everything that comes our way. We are extremely selective. What I mean is we work with a lot of different genres, everything from art house to foreign language to mainstream commercial films.”

How does the company decide what to acquire?

“There is a proprietary method that we have that my investors are not even privy to so I have to leave that part, but I will just say that’s a model that I developed in my basement,” Fisher said. “Essentially, we’ve been able to figure out how to acquire titles the people want to see. We figured that part out. How we get there is a little more involved. We look for quality content that we believe to have viewers. Whether they are DVD buyers or whether they are watching in a theater or watching online — we acquire titles that people want to see.”

As for the second aspect of the business, advertising-based VOD, FilmRise has expanded rapidly in an arena that many have ignored as SVOD has taken the spotlight.

“We launched a while ago but it’s really only in the last few months we’ve gotten to real critical mass where it’s become a real key part of our business. We have our own streaming network and our streaming network is ad-supported,” Fisher said. “Currently, we have 22 channels on Roku. We’re now just launched on Xbox and Windows and we are about to launch on Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV as well as mobile applications worldwide.”

While Crackle might be one of the best-known AVOD platforms, FilmRise is quietly rising in the space.

“I think we are approaching the size of Crackle probably,” Fisher said. “We are kind of under the radar. If you look at the Roku ranks, FilmRise [with all of its channels] is right behind Crackle.”

FilmRise has many different genre-based, ad-supported VOD channels, such as FilmRise Documentary, FilmRise Thriller, FilmRise Gay & Lesbian and FilmRise Horror.

Fisher sees an opportunity in ad-supported VOD.

“What about those people who can’t afford or don’t want to pay any money? It’s a different kind of audience,” he said. “They’re willing to watch a commercial in order to have it for free and to have no obligations, to have to get a cable box or to have to pay Netflix or anybody a fee. It’s a different type of audience. When you think worldwide, it’s a really, really big audience, I mean it’s a billion plus audience. It’s a less glamorous audience, because right now you’re not going to be able to produce ‘Orange is the New Black’ and ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Stranger Things’ and all that for an ad-supported channel.”

But “right now” isn’t what FilmRise is all about. They are indeed getting into original TV production, the third aspect of their business, planning for the future.

“We brought onboard to be head of production Vlad Wolynetz [formerly with AMC], and he oversaw production of shows like ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘The Walking Dead,’ and most recently produced ‘Waco’ for Paramount,” Fisher said. “He’s head of production and what we’re looking to do there is enter into co-productions and co-financing deals with other entities, and we’re in discussions right now with major studios and major networks on some very substantial deals.”

None of these plans seem unusual for a company planning to follow the axioms of the day in entertainment — the right acquisitions (including distribution on disc, which is still “a solid business,” Fisher said), digital AVOD and original productions.

“We’re trying to be hopefully just a little bit smarter than everybody else,” Fisher said. “We don’t have to be a lot smarter. We just have to be like 1% smarter than everybody else to be successful.”

FilmRise’s Ad-Supported Roku Channel Adds Classic Carsey-Werner TV Shows

FilmRise has launched several classic Carsey-Werner TV shows on its ad-supported Roku streaming channel, including the “3rd Rock From the Sun.”

The FilmRise channel ranks at No. 15 among top free channels on the platform, according to a release from the company. The channel generates more than 300 million monthly ad impressions and reaches nearly 20 million users who can watch movies and TV on demand for free, according to the release.

FilmRise will soon launch ad-supported channels on Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, Apple TV, and smart TVs such as Vizio, among other platforms, and is currently in development on iOS and Android for mobile viewing via worldwide apps.

Other Carsey-Werner sitcoms available on the Roku channel include “Cybill,” “Grace Under Fire” and “Grounded for Life.”

“FilmRise’s tremendous growth on Roku sheds light on the power of ad-supported free digital streaming,” said Danny Fisher, CEO of FilmRise. “By bringing our vast library of quality content to viewers who don’t wish to pay a transactional or subscription fee, we’ve unlocked the potential to reach new and diverse audiences who want to experience the best in film and TV — including timeless TV series and iconic movies.”

FilmRise Acquires eSports Documentary

FilmRise has acquired the worldwide distribution rights to John Keating’s Gamechangers: Dreams of Blizzcon, a feature-length documentary film about professional eSports.

The company will release the feature starting June 12 on the film festival circuit, at gamer events/tournaments, and various linear, TVOD, OTT, and SVOD platforms around the world.

The documentary explores the high pressure, high-stakes lifestyle of professional eSport stars through the eyes of two of the world’s best StarCraft II players, unraveling the childhood stories that led them into the world of gaming. StarCraft is a sci-fi real-time strategy game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. Shortly after its release in 1998, the game became a pop culture sensation in South Korea, sparking the phenomenon known today as eSports.

“Keating does a wonderful job of capturing the passion of these young men and the fierce competition that they must endure,” said FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher in a statement. “We are excited to present their lives and dedication to this eSport through this groundbreaking film.”

To celebrate the acquisition, FilmRise and ESL are hosting a special invitation only preview screening of the film on March 4 at the world’s biggest eSports event: Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice, Poland, which ESL produces. A Q&A with director John Keating and producer Zachary Henderson will follow the screening.