‘1917’ Tops Disc Sales; ‘My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising’ Repeats as No. 1 Blu-ray

The relative lack of new impactful DVD and Blu-ray releases combined with stores transitioning into the holiday shopping season yielded a catalog free-for-all on the national disc sales charts the week ended Nov. 7.

The first week after Halloween saw most of the spooky favorites that dominated the charts the previous two months fade away, while a selection of Christmas favorites are beginning to surge again due to clearance promotions and not much in the way of new competition to keep catalog fare in general from taking over.

The week’s top title on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, was Universal Pictures’ 1917, the Award-winning World War I drama first released on disc in March. It had been No. 24 a week earlier. It marks the film’s second time in the top spot, which it previously occupied upon its debut 32 weeks ago just as the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns were beginning.

On the dedicated Blu-ray Disc chart, however, 1917 was No. 3, rising eight spots from the previous week. The top Blu-ray for a second-consecutive week was Funimation’s anime movie My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising, which was No. 3 on the overall disc chart. The film is one of the few recent releases on the chart, and its ability to rise above the fray on the Blu-ray battlefield is likely due to the fact that it was released only as a Blu-ray combo pack (with a DVD and digital copy).

Also making a huge jump during the week was Warner’s Joker, to No. 2 on both charts. The previous week it was No. 58 overall.

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The week’s top new release, at No. 4 overall and No. 8 on the Blu-ray Disc chart, was Liongate’s Antebellum, the horror film about a modern-day black woman who finds herself transported back in time to pre-Civil War slavery days where she must confront the racist attitudes of the time. Just 47% of its overall sales came from the Blu-ray Disc format, but 12% of its total was from the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version (translating to more than 25% of its Blu-ray sales).

Rounding out the top five overall disc sellers was Warner’s Birds of Prey, which jumped up from No. 95 a week earlier. It was No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart.

Lionsgate’s Knives Out was the No. 5 Blu-ray seller, No. 9 on the overall disc chart.

Among the Christmas favorites to return to the fold were Warner’s A Charlie Brown Christmas at No. 11 overall, DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls Holiday at No. 15, Universal’s 2018 animated movie The Grinch at No. 18 (up from 169 the week before), Warner’s Elf at No. 24, and Warner’s The Polar Express at No. 30.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Nov. 8, Antebellum debuted at No. 1, followed by Redbox’s An Imperfect Murder at No. 2.

The previous week’s top rental, Lionsgate’s Friendsgiving, dropped to No. 3, while not cracking the top 50 sales charts in either of its two weeks on shelves.

Rounding out the top five were Paramount’s The Vanished and Redbox’s Ava.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 11-7-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 11-8-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 11-7-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 11-7-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 11-7-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 11-9-20

‘Hocus Pocus’ Tops Disc Sales Again While Anime Movie Claims No. 1 Blu-ray Spot

Disney’s Hocus Pocus topped the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, the week ended Oct. 31, its fourth time in the top spot in the five weeks leading up to Halloween. It maintained the No. 3 spot on the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart.

The 1993 film, about three sisters tried as witches in Salem and resurrected in modern times, as always been a top seller during the spooky season, but has been particularly dominate relative to other discs due to the lightened load of new releases during the coronavirus pandemic, which has allowed catalog titles to dominate the disc charts in general.

Other discs getting a boost from the lead-up to Halloween include Disney’s The Nightmare Before Christmas at No. 3 (No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart), Warner’s Beetlejuice at No. 4 (No. 8 Blu-ray), Warner’s It: Chapter One at No. 5, Universal’s Tremors: Shrieker Island at No. 6 (No. 5 Blu-ray chart), Warner’s The Meg at No. 8, the 1978 original Halloween from Lionsgate at No. 9, Universal’s 2018 remake of Halloween at No. 10 (No. 16 Blu-ray), Paramount’s A Quiet Place at No. 12 (No. 18 Blu-ray), Disney’s Halloweentown I & II double feature at No. 13, Lionsgate’s eight-film “Saw” collection at No. 19 (No. 10 Blu-ray), and Paramount’s Addams Family/Addams Family Values double feature at No. 20 (No. 25 Blu-ray).

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The top new release was Funimation’s My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising, which was the No. 2 overall seller and No. 1 on the dedicated Blu-ray Disc chart. Based on the “My Hero Academia” manga franchise, the film earned more than $13 million during a limited box office run in U.S. theaters in December 2019, but didn’t make its way to home video until October, when it became available via digital sellthrough and as a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital combo pack.

The only other new release in the top 20, at No. 16, was Universal’s Fatima, a DVD-only historical drama about a trio of girls who witness a vision of the Virgin Mary in Portugal during World War I.

The previous week’s top-selling Blu-ray, Universal’s Back to the Future Trilogy re-release, slipped to No. 2 (No. 7 on the overall disc sales chart). Warner’s Batman: Death in the Family slipped two spots to No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart (and was down from No. 9 to No. 37 on the overall disc chart).

The Blu-ray Disc chart also saw a few catalog re-releases pop into the top 30. The Criterion Collection’s deluxe edition Blu-ray of 2019 Best Picture Oscar winner Parasite was No. 9, while Arrow Video’s remastered edition of 1984’s The Last Starfighter debuted at No. 23. And Lionsgate’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook boxed set of the five “Rambo” films, a Best Buy exclusive, was No. 29.

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The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Nov. 1 had Lionsgate’s Friendsgiving debut at No. 1. The comedy stars Malin Akerman and Kat Dennings as a pair of thirtysomethings who decide to skip Thanksgiving with their families and host their own for their friends.

The previous week’s top disc rental, Paramount’s The Vanished, slipped to No. 2, followed by Well Go USA’s heist film Cut Throat City at No. 3.

Rounding out the top five rentals were Lionsgate’s The Doorman at No. 4 (down two spots) and RLJE Films’ The Tax Collector holding steady at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 10-31-20
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 11-1-20
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 10-31-20
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 10-31-20
Sales Report for Week Ended 10-31-20
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 11-2-20

Merchandising: Best Buy Offers ‘Paranoia Agent’ Blu-ray Steelbook

Among the scant deals on new DVD and Blu-ray releases Oct. 13, Best Buy as usual had a few exclusive Steelbook editions of new titles.

Most notable was a Blu-ray Steelbook of Funimation’s Paranoia Agent: The Complete Series for $37.99.

The anime series focuses on a boy named Lil’ Slugger who attacks a series of seemingly unconnected victims with a golden baseball bat. As detectives attempt to find a link between the victims, they discover that the victims’ lives have somehow improved.

A regular Blu-ray edition of the show will be widely released Dec. 15.

Best Buy also offered a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook edition of Sony Pictures’ District 9, for $27.99.

Best Buy’s ‘District 9’ 4K Steelbook

Target was holding a buy-two-get-one-free sale on music, movies and books.

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Funimation Streaming Service Coming to Latin America

Anime content provider Funimation is expanding its streaming service to Latin America this fall.

Currently available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, the service will expand to Mexico and Brazil later this year.

Funimation also announced it would offer select subtitled and dubbed anime series in Spanish and Portuguese. The announcement was made during FunimationCon 2020, a free two-day virtual fan festival celebrating anime.

“Anime is special in that it speaks equally to people from different cultures, regions and languages around the world,” said Colin Decker, CEO of Funimation global group. “Audiences in Latin America are among the most passionate in the world and have been clamoring for more. Expanding Funimation to Mexico and Brazil is the natural next step for us to serve those fans and extend our brands.”

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Funimation is an independently operated joint venture between U.S.-based Sony Pictures Entertainment and Japan’s Aniplex, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan). Its streaming services offer a catalog of more than 700 anime series and 13,000-plus hours of content available on 15 platforms and in 47 countries, according to the company.

FYE Partners With Funimation on Exclusive ‘My Hero Academia’ Products

Trans World Entertainment’s FYE retail chain has collaborated with anime giant Funimation on a collection of “My Hero Academia”-themed products, available now exclusively at FYE stores and www.FYE.com for a limited time.

FYE and Funimation partnered with Japan Crate to create an exclusive triple-collaboration “My Hero Academia Crate.” The crates feature an assortment of “My Hero Academia”-themed sweets and snacks from Japan. All crates include a free trial subscription to the FunimationNow anime streaming service.

Also part of the collaboration are “Plus Ultra Cereal,” packed with Ultra Berry Blast cereal, and “Bakugo’s Explosion Chocolate Bar,” with popping candy inside.

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The new season of “My Hero Academia” is streaming now on FunimationNow and Hulu.

Sony Merging Anime Streaming Businesses

Sony Pictures Television and Aniplex, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), have announced the combination of multiple Sony-owned anime streaming businesses.

France’s Wakanim, Australia’s Madman Anime Group and U.S.-based Funimation will form a joint venture to be owned by Aniplex and Sony Pictures Television. The venture will be led by Funimation GM Colin Decker.

Under this structure, Funimation will acquire and distribute anime content from Japan across the global portfolio of brands, “each with deep regional expertise in serving fans,” according to a Sony release.

“Now with a larger global footprint, the combined businesses will expand their 360 degree, multi-channel approach to fan engagement that spans home entertainment, theatrical distribution, live events and merchandising,” the release stated.

As the first project of this union, Funimation will be the exclusive streaming home of the latest installment in the “Fate/Grand Order” series for one month. Starting Oct. 5, “Fate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia” will be simulcast in the United States on FunimationNow and will launch on Wakanim and Madman Anime Group’s AnimeLab in their respective territoriesFate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia” is the first TV animation series of the “Fate/Grand Order” mobile game, with more than 41 million downloads worldwide.

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“Anime is a growing area of importance for us at Sony Pictures Television,” said Sony Pictures Television chairman Mike Hopkins in a statement.By combining these businesses, we immediately increase our global reach and expertise in SVOD, theatrical, home video, merchandising, events and more. Along with our world-class marketing capabilities, we’re well-positioned to deliver unprecedented results for our partners and the best possible anime experience for the fans.”

“Through Sony group’s integration of anime related streaming services, we are thrilled that numerous Japanese anime titles will be distributed globally through its digital platforms,” said Aniplex president Atsuhiro Iwakami in a statement. “We hope our partnership will contribute to the further development and expansion of the Japanese anime industry.”

“For 25 years, Funimation has served creators, publishers, and fans,” added Decker in a statement. “By merging, we can extend our support of the industry for another 25 years with some of the most respected talent, and brands, in global anime.”

Anime Supplier Funimation Acquires Manga Entertainment

Anime content supplier Funimation, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Television, has acquired Manga Entertainment, the leading distributor of anime in the United Kingdom and Ireland, according to a Funimation press release.

Headquartered in London, Manga is a long-term partner of Funimation and serves anime fans across a wide range of channels, including Blu-ray/DVDs, broadcast, theatrical and digital (EST).

“Following its immediate consolidation of Funimation’s U.K. home entertainment business, Manga will become the largest distributor of anime Blu-rays/DVDs, offering fans more than 900 hours of subtitled and dubbed entertainment — the biggest catalog of titles available anywhere in the U.K. and Ireland,” according to the Funimation press release.

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The acquisition also will allow most of the titles — many for the first time — to become available for streaming to fans throughout the U.K. and Ireland on the SVOD FunimationNow service over the coming months, according to the release.

Titles include such series as “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood,” “Naruto Shippuden,” “Ghost in the Shell: Innocence” and “Sword Art Online.”

“With this acquisition, we will create a truly immersive anime experience for fans in the U.K. and Ireland. This begins with providing fans access to Manga’s library of titles to enjoy whenever and wherever they want on FunimationNow,” said Mitchel Berger, VP of sales and distribution for Funimation in a statement. “Together with the Manga team, Funimation will bring its fan-first omnichannel approach to serving anime fans — engaging with them directly through the widest array of touchpoints.”

“On behalf of Manga Entertainment, we’re thrilled to join Funimation and their expanding global business,” said Jerome Mazandarani, managing director of Manga Entertainment, in a statement. “We’re excited for the new opportunities that lie ahead and to serve anime fans in the U.K. and Ireland in a bigger way than ever before.”

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Funimation, which today provides streaming, home entertainment, theatrical and broadcast distribution, as well as merchandise licensing in many territories around the world. With a catalog of more than 600 titles encompassing more than 10,000 hours of subtitled and dubbed entertainment, Funimation directly serves consumers in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand through its subscription service FunimationNow. In November 2018, FunimationNow became the first Sony Pictures Television service to launch on Amazon’s Prime Video in the U.K.

‘Aquaman’ Tops Disc Sales Chart, Though More People Bought ‘Glass’

A retail exclusive had a big impact on the national home video sales rankings the week ended April 20.

Nominally, the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, saw Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Aquaman return to the top spot in its fourth week on shelves.

Debuting at No. 2 on the overall chart and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart was Universal Pictures’ Glass, the latest thriller from M. Night Shyamalan that serves as a sequel to both 2000’s Unbreakable and 2016’s Split. It earned $111 million at the domestic box office.

However, Walmart offered an exclusive triple-feature Blu-ray containing the three films, an option chosen by many consumers to obtain their copy of Glass.

The standalone version of Glass sold 90% as many copies as the No. 1 overall title, and the trilogy sold 14%. Combined, that would mean more people bought Glass during the week than any other movie.

The top reported Blu-ray Disc seller was the newly released anime movie Dragon Ball Super: Broly, which earned $30.7 million at the domestic box office. Aquaman was No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart.

The standalone Glass sold 79% as many copies as Broly, while the trilogy sold 20%, so the combined tally wouldn’t have been enough to make it the top seller.

No. 4 on both charts was Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, followed at No. 5 by Paramount’s Bumblebee.

Among the week’s other new releases, Warner’s direct-to-video animated movie Justice League vs. The Fatal Five debuted at No. 12 overall and No. 8 on the Blu-ray chart.

Fox’s The Kid Who Would Be King debuted at No. 11 overall and No. 13 on the Blu-ray chart.

Lionsgate’s sci-fi thriller Replicas bowed at No. 14 overall and No. 17 on the Blu-ray chart.

Blu-ray Disc accounted for 84% of first-week Broly sales, compared with 61% for Glass, 55% for Kid and 51% for Replicas.

Fatal Five, which was released only on Blu-ray combo pack formats, had 11% of its sales come from 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. UHD Blu-ray accounted for 12% of Glass sales and 6% for Kid.

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On Media Play News‘ rental chart for the week ended April 21, Glass debuted at No. 1, while Warner’s The Mule held onto the No. 2 spot.

Sony Pictures’ Holmes & Watson, the previous week’s top rental, fell to No. 3. Replicas debuted at No. 4 and Bumblebee slipped to No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 4-20-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 4-21-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 4-20-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 4-20-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 4-20-19
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 4-22-19

TiVo Inks Software Deal with Anime Provider Funimation

TiVo March 14 announced it is licensing software to Funimation, the anime content provider and a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Television. The software includes TiVo branded content search and recommendation technology.

The software will enable Funimation to test, manage and fine-tune search and recommendation performance in real-time to help improve the user experience and generate more engagement from viewer searches.

The software is now fully operational on Funimation’s website and on Funimation Now, the company’s streaming video platform, as well as across a wide range of over-the-top video platforms, including Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku streaming devices.

As part of the agreement, TiVo is also providing Funimation with an integrated product and merchandise search function that provides a single landing page for both viewable programs and relevant ecommerce merchandise including DVDs.

“Funimation provides an opportunity to showcase our personalization technology for content providers to help them make the consumer entertainment experience more engaging and streamlined,” Sean Moore, VP, content provider accounts, TiVo, said in a statement. “Through features like ‘More Like This,’ viewers will no longer have to search for content they might like; the content will now find them.”


Hulu and Funimation Announce New Anime Deal

Hulu and Funimation, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Television, have announced a multiyear partnership and output deal. The deal marks Hulu’s largest agreement for anime programming to date and will significantly expand its anime collection with new subtitled and dubbed titles from Funimation each year, according to a press release from the companies.

The deal grants Hulu a first look at U.S. streaming video on-demand rights to future anime series produced and released by Funimation beginning in 2019, and will make Hulu and Funimation the co-exclusive premiere destinations to certain new subtitled anime hits day and date with the worldwide premiere in Japan, according to the release. It also broadens Hulu and Funimation’s previously-existing agreement and will make both Hulu and Funimation the co-exclusive U.S. premiere homes to dozens of new anime titles each year.

Hulu and Funimation continue to be the only platforms in the United States to stream all subtitled and dubbed episodes of anime shows such as “My Hero Academia,” “Attack on Titan” and “Tokyo Ghoul,” according to the release. Funimation’s catalog of anime titles includes more than 600 shows offering over 10,000 hours of subtitled and dubbed entertainment.

“This expansive agreement, which symbolizes both companies’ shared commitment to anime, along with the support of SPT, further cements Funimation’s position as a global leader in anime distribution,” said Gen Fukunaga, president and CEO at Funimation, in a statement. “It will fuel the acquisition of new titles and provide both Funimation and Hulu subscribers with access to the very best in anime that Japan has to offer.”

“Funimation has been a longtime partner of ours, and together we have curated a full library of the most sought-after anime series from all over the world on Hulu,” said Lisa Holme, Hulu’s VP of content acquisition, in a statement. “With this new deal, we are doubling-down on our investment to continue growing our world class anime offering with even more shows that we know our viewers love to watch.”