Imax Debuts Biggest Widescreen in the World

Imax has opened its largest theatrical projection screen in the world. Covering the 574-seat Traumpalast (“Dream Palace”) auditorium in Leonberg, Germany, the screen is 69 feet high, 125 feet wide and weighs more than 500 pounds, equipped with Imax’s 12-channel sound technology. It was manufactured in Joliette, Canada, by American-based Strong/MDI Screen Systems.

“The Imax at Traumpalast is a tremendous achievement and will provide audiences with an immersive viewing experience on the world’s most incredible scale,” Mark Welton, president of Imax Theatres, said in a statement. “We’re grateful for Strong/MDI’s partnership as we unveil this record-breaking screen.”

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Lochmann Filmtheaterbetriebe operates eight Imax Traumpalast screens across Germany.

The opening comes ahead of MGM’s much-delayed No Time to Die, the last James Bond movie featuring Daniel Craig in the title role. The movie bowed Sept. 30 in Germany and the U.K., among other regions. It bows Oct. 8 in the United States.

The movie’s director Cary Fukunaga reportedly used Imax’s 15/70mm cameras, enabling No Time to Die to be the first Bond film to include 40 minutes of Imax exclusive expanded aspect ratio, or the ratio between the width and height of the screen.

Roku Bows Streaming Media Devices in Germany

Germany has a new government … and Roku streaming video consumer technology. The day after Germans narrowly elected a new political party to replace longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, Roku launched its line-up of streaming devices, including the Roku Express, Roku Express 4K, Roku Streaming Stick 4K and Roku Streambar.

The Express, Express 4K and Streambar are available starting tomorrow (Sept. 28) from MediaMarkt, Saturn, Amazon, Expert, Euronics and Otto.de. The Roku Streaming Stick 4K will be available from the same retail partners in October.

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At launch consumers will be able to watch entertainment from a wide selection of local and global services, including:

  • Movies & TV: ARD Mediathek, ZDF, Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, Apple TV, STARZPLAY, Sky Ticket, TVNOW (soon RTL+), KiKA, Netzkino, ProSieben, Sat.1, Kabel Eins, Pluto TV, Rakuten TV, watch4.com and more.
  • News: Tagesschau, Bild TV, TRT World, Deutsche Welle, Bloomberg and more.
  • Sports: Sky Ticket, TVNOW (soon RTL+), DAZN, Motorvision.TV, SPORTTOTAL, The Tennis Channel etc.
  • Music: Spotify, VEVO, Berliner Philharmoniker and more.

 

Notably missing from the presser: The Roku Channel.

“We are excited to launch our award-winning streaming players and platform in Germany, with a great selection of entertainment to watch for German consumers,” Bart Bomers, VP EMEA at Roku, said in a statement.

New data from Digital TV Research projects that Germany will surpass U.K. in SVOD subscriptions in 2026, with 52 million to 51 million subs.

Roku, together with Netflix, co-launched the subscription streaming video market in 2008. Based in Los Gatos, Calif., Roku leads the streaming device market, along with Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Google Chromecast. The company’s success recently spurred Comcast to launch its own line of Xfinity-branded streaming devices.

Digital Entertainment Group International Bows First ‘Mega Movie Week’ Promotion in Germany

The Digital Entertainment Group International, the global arm of the DEG focused on the home entertainment sector, May 13 helped to launch Germany’s first ever “Mega Movie Week” in partnership with The Federal Association for Audiovisual Media (Der Bundesverband für Audiovisuelle Medien e.V./BVV) and the Society for the Promotion of Audiovisual Media (Die Gesellschaft zur Förderung audiovisueller Medien mbH/FAM).

Through May, 16 distributors are offering a selection of current movies at reduced prices across 11 digital platforms.

With “Mega Movie Week” Germany, the DEGI is evolving the model and creative of the popular “Mega Movie Week U.K.” and Nordics campaigns of the last few years. The campaign aims to drive awareness, engagement and transaction by educating new consumers on the benefits of the electronic sellthrough format and encouraging trial and participation in the category.

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“Mega Movie Week” is available to German consumers on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Chili, Maxdome Store, Microsoft, PlayStation, Rakuten TV, Sky Store, Videobuster, Videociety and Videoload.

More than 200 titles include German favorites After Truth to German-language movies Es ist zu Deinem Besten or Gott, Du Kannst ein Arsch Sein! to Disney/Pixar’s Soul and Warner Bros.’ 1917 and Tenet.

Distributors taking part in “Mega Movie Week” include Constantin Film, DCM Film Distribution, Edel Motion, Koch Films, LEONINE Studios, Lighthouse Home Entertainment, Neue Visionen Medien, Paramount Home Entertainment, Splendid Film, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Germany, Studiocanal, Tiberius Film, Tobis Film, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, The Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Netflix Filming German Adaptation of War Novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’

Netflix through the end of May is finishing principal photography on a German adaptation of World War I drama All Quiet on the Western Front near Prague in the Czech Republic.

The film is based on the 1928 novel by journalist Erich Maria Remarque, whose pacifist text and critical look at World War I was unwelcome in early 1930s Germany. Consequently, the literary text as well as the Oscar-winning 1930 Hollywood film adaptation fell victim to Nazi censorship, forcing Remarque into Swiss exile.

Since March, filming on the first German film adaptation of the book has been in full swing near Prague. Director Edward Berger has gathered an ensemble cast of actors from Vienna’s Burgtheater in Austria, in addition to Daniel Brühl, Devid Striesow and Andreas Döhler, among others.

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“This German world bestseller is able to convey the inhuman terror of war perhaps more impressively than any other literary work,” Berger said in a statement. “For me, creating its first German film adaptation is one of the most exciting challenges of all.”

All Quiet on the Western Front is expected to debut in the second half of 2022.

Pluto TV Adds 24 Channels in German-Speaking Countries

ViacomCBS’s ad-supported VOD platform, Pluto TV, has added 24 content channels for distribution in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Acquired last year for $340 million, Pluto TV with 75 channels represents ViacomCBS’s aggressively global drive for AVOD distribution competing against Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.

Channel additions include “Pop-Up” channels featuring iconic brands such as “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “iCarly,” “Blue’s Clues,” “Victorious,” “Bubble Guppies” and “Sam & Cat,” among others. In addition, MTV channels “Dating,” “The Hills” and “Totally Turtles” are now available in English language for German viewers.

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“Within the last four months alone, we have been able to increase our channel offering by a third of the entire portfolio,” Olivier Jollet, managing director of Europe, said in a statement. “This a major step in pushing Pluto TV to the next level.”

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ViacomCBS, Sky Ink Content Distribution Deal for Germany, Switzerland, Austria

ViacomCBS Networks International and Comcast-owned Sky have signed a distribution deal for select content offered in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Under terms of the deal, Sky’s satellite customers in the countries now have access to Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Nick Toons.

“With robust collaborations already in place in the UK and Italy, we truly value our partnership with Sky and are excited to be able to deliver premium kids’ content, both linear and on-demand, to more families in these regions,” Raffaele Annecchino, president, ViacomCBS Networks EMEA and Asia, said in a statement.

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Manuel Kindervater, VP Partner Channels/Strategy at Sky Germany, said the Nickelodeon brand, “perfectly expand” the Sky family portfolio.

“We are pleased that families will be able to enjoy the diverse programs of Nick Jr and Nick Toons with Sky and Sky Ticket from April; anytime linear or on-demand,” Kindervater said.

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Disney+ Ups Free SVOD Promotions in Germany and United Kingdom

With Disney set to launch its branded subscription streaming video service, Disney+, in Europe on March 24, the media giant has rolled out promotional offers with mobile carriers T-Mobile and O2 in Germany and the United Kingdom, respectively.

Unlike its 12-month free service offer to Verizon subscribers in the United States, Disney is offering six months of free service in Germany and the U.K. The service will launch with more than 500 movies, 350 TV series and a slate of 26 exclusive Disney+ Originals across its Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic brands.

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“We’re delighted to be working with Disney to bring these incredible shows and movies to our customers, demonstrating that there are more reasons than ever to join the U.K.’s No.1 network,” Mark Evans, CEO of O2, said in a statement.

Jan Koeppen, president of The Walt Disney Company EMEA, said the O2 and T-Mobile agreements represent a “new chapter” in the way Disney delivers its “timeless stories” to consumers.

“With the Disney announcement to enter the streaming business, it was clear to us that we had to make this attractive offer accessible to our customers,” said Dirk Wössner, board member for Deutsche Telekom’s German business.

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All MagentaMobil, MagentaZuhause and MagentaTV subs receive six months of Disney+ free, which normally costs €5.99 ($6.66) per month.

 

Netflix Top-10 Lists Underscore Streamer’s Vital Global Markets

During the end-of-year winter lull, Top 10 lists permeate the media landscape, including at Netflix.

The SVOD behemoth reportedly disclosed its most-viewed TV series and titles overall in five key markets outside the United States: the United Kingdom, India, Australia, France and Germany.

The U.K., Germany and France collectively had about 21 million subscribers at the end of 2018, according to Statista. India, with its massive population and large mobile user base, remains a new market for streamers, including Netflix. The Economic Times of India estimates Netflix’s sub count at 1 million to 2 million.

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The streaming video pioneer continues to lead the growth of SVOD services in Australia with more than 11.2 million Aussies having a subscription — up 25% from a year ago, according to Roy Morgan.

As expected, many of Netflix’s top programs in the United States also fared well globally — underscoring the streamer’s push toward producing local content for a worldwide audience.

Top performers include “Stranger Things,” “Black Mirror,” “The Witcher,” “The Umbrella Academy,” movies 6 Underground, The Irishman, The Highwaymen and Murder Mystery, and documentary  “Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes,” among others.

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Notable exclusion from the U.K., the new installment of “The Crown.”

Netflix’s Top 10 most-popular releases, movies and TV series by country as reported by Deadline.com:

Top 10 Most Popular Releases of 2019 in U.K.:

“The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann”
6 Underground
Murder Mystery
“The Witcher”
The Irishman
“After Life”
“Stranger Things 3”
“Our Planet”
“Sex Education”
“Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes: Limited Series”

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“The Witcher”
“After Life”
“Stranger Things 3”
“Sex Education”
“The Umbrella Academy”
“You”
“Unbelievable”
“Top Boy”
“Black Mirror”
“Dirty John”

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in Australia:
Murder Mystery
6 Underground
“The Witcher”
Isn’t It Romantic
“Lunatics”
The Irishman
“Stranger Things 3”
Extremely, Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Triple Frontier
“Dead to Me”

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“The Witcher”
“Lunatics”
“Stranger Things 3”
“Dead to Me”
“The Umbrella Academy”
“Unbelievable”
“Dirty John”
“Sex Education”
“Rick and Morty: S4”
“You: S2”

Top Ten Most Popular Movies:
Murder Mystery
6 Underground
Isn’t It Romantic
The Irishman
Extremely, Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Triple Frontier
Aquaman
The Highwaymen
The Perfect Date
Falling Inn Love

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in India:
“Sacred Games: S2”
Kabir Singh
Article 15
“Bard of Blood”
Drive
Badla
House Arrest
6 Underground
“Delhi Crime”
Chopsticks

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“Sacred Games: S2”
“Bard of Blood”
“Delhi Crime”
“Sex Education”
“Leila”
“Stranger Things 2”
“Typewriter”
“Little Things: S3”
“The Witcher”
“The Spy”

Top 10 Most Popular Movies:
Kabir Singh
Article 15
Drive
Badla
House Arrest
6 Underground
Chopsticks
Baazaar
Luka Chuppi
Romeo Akbar Walter

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in France:
“Money Heist: S3”
“The Witcher”
6 Underground
“Sex Education”
“Umbrella Academy”
“Stranger Things 3”
“You: S2”
Triple Frontier
“Elite S2”
“Family Business”

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“Money Heist: S3”
“The Witcher”
“Sex Education”
“Umbrella Academy”
“Stranger Things 3”
“You: S2”
“Elite S2”
“Family Business”
“Raising Dion”
“13 Reasons Why: S3”

Top 10 Most Popular Movies:
6 Underground
Triple Frontier
Banlieusards (Street Flow)
The Irishman
Klaus
The Perfect Date
Isn’t It Romantic
Tall Girl
Murder Mystery
Falling Inn Love

Top 10 Most Popular Releases in Germany:
6 Underground
“Money Heist”
“The Witcher”
Murder Mystery
The Irishman
“Sex Education”
Triple Frontier
Isn’t It Romantic
Falling Inn Love
The Perfect Date

Top 10 Most Popular Movies:
6 Underground
Murder Mystery
The Irishman
Triple Frontier
Isn’t It Romantic
Falling Inn Love
The Perfect Date
Wie Jodie Uber Sich Hinauswuchs
The Knight Before Christmas
The Highwaymen

Top 10 Most Popular Series:
“Money Heist”
“The Witcher”
“Sex Education”
“Stranger Things 3”
“You”
“The Umbrella Academy”
“13 Reasons Why”
“The I-Land”
“Elite”
“Black Mirror”

German Synagogue Shooter Live-Streamed Killings on Amazon’s Twitch Video Game Platform

Amazon-owned Twitch has confirmed that the suspected shooter near a synagogue in Halle, Germany, that left two people dead, live-streamed the event on the video game streaming platform.

A suspect has been arrested in what German police called an anti-Semitic attack that occurred on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

Twitch confirmed that the 35-minute video streamed on the platform had apparently been filmed with a head-mounted camera.

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“We are shocked and saddened by the tragedy that took place in Germany today, and our deepest condolences go out to all those affected,” a Twitch spokesperson told CNBC. “Twitch has a zero-tolerance policy against hateful conduct, and any act of violence is taken extremely seriously. We are working with urgency to remove this content and permanently suspend any accounts found to be posting or reposting content of this abhorrent act.”

 

Disney’s ESPN+ Streaming Service Soon Home to German Bundesliga Soccer

Disney-owned sports subscription streaming video service, ESPN+, will become in 2020 the U.S. home for the Bundesliga, Germany’s top professional soccer league.

Launched last year, ESPN+ costs $5 monthly, or $50 annually, featuring sports and related content not available on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, ESPN Classic and ESPN News.

“With a strong connection to the American soccer community, a growing audience in the U.S. and some of the most well-known clubs and players in the world, the addition of the Bundesliga further cements ESPN+ as a must-have for any soccer fan,” Russell Wolf, EVP and GM, ESPN+, said in a statement.

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The Bundesliga joins an extensive lineup of soccer on ESPN+ that features over 2,000 top football matches per year from around the world, including exclusive coverage in the US of Italy’s Serie A, the UEFA Nations League, England’s FA Cup and EFL, MLS, the Dutch Eredivisie and more.

Robert Klein, CEO of Bundesliga International, said the deal underscores that Germany continues to be an important source of talent for U.S. national soccer teams.

“With ESPN+, we’re excited to take fans on their journey in the lead up to their home World Cup in 2026,” Klein said.

The service is also streaming 22 matches of the West African Football Union (WAFU) Cup of Nations, which began Sept. 28  from the Stade Lat Dior in Thies, Senegal.