‘Old’ is Indeed New as M. Night Shyamalan’s Thriller Tops Quiet Weekend Box Office

Universal Pictures’ Old surprisingly topped the July 25 domestic box office with an estimated $16.5 million ($20 million globally) in ticket sales in another pandemic-affected weekend as infections of the new delta variant spike nationwide.

The horror/thriller from director M. Night Shyamalan, which stars Gael García Bernal and Rufus Sewell, among others, bested Paramount Pictures’ Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins and also exceeded the sophomore weekend take of Warner Bros. Pictures’ Space Jam: A New Legacy, starring LeBron James.

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Space Jam: A New Legacy, which is concurrently streaming for free to subscribers on HBO Max, finished behind Disney/Marvel’s Black Widow. The superhero movie generated $11.6 million across 4,250 screens to up its North American box office total to $154 million.

Should Old generate less than $50 million at the box office after 17 days, Universal could distribute the title direct-to-consumers via PVOD as part of the studio’s revenue-sharing agreement with AMC Theatres and Regal.

Snake Eyes, the third live-action movie based on the “G.I. Joe” toy line and a reboot of the film franchise, generated a reported $13.3 million across 3,521 screens.

‘Old’ is New in Weekend Box Office Forecast

The Universal Pictures thriller Old, from director M. Night Shyamalan, joins Paramount Pictures’ newest “G.I. Joe” franchise release Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins as the July 25 weekend’s biggest new theatrical releases.

The two films will take on previous domestic box office champs Disney/Marvel Studios’ Black Widow and Warner Bros. Pictures’ Space Jam: A New Legacy

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Unlike Black Widow and Space Jam: A New Legacy, both Old and Snake Eyes will have exclusive theatrical runs. Universal, which has abbreviated window agreements with AMC Theatres and Regal, could offer Old to consumers in the home for $19.99 PVOD after three weekends if total ticket sales fall below $50 million.

The studio’s sequel The Forever Purge is available today (July 23) across myriad digital platforms, including Redbox Digital, Vudu Fandango and Amazon Prime Video.

Both Old and Snake Eyes are reportedly projected to generate around $15 million each this weekend across 3,500 screens, which includes Thursday (July 22) previews.

Black Widow and reigning box office topper Space Jam: A New Legacy, starring LeBron James, are concurrently available online, the former, starring Scarlett Johansson, via a $29.99 Premier Access Disney+ add-on, and the latter for no extra charge to HBO Max subscribers.

Recent data from Samba TV found that 2 million households have purchased Black Widow, a $60+ million tally Disney confirmed in its first-ever PVOD data disclosure. Some observers contend the strong in-home consumer demand hurt the Marvel superhero’s sophomore weekend box office, which plummeted about 68%.

Other holdovers include Universal’s F9: The Fast Saga with $4.8 million projected box office, according to Box Office Pro; Sony Pictures’ Escape Room: Tournament of Champions ($3.7 million); The Boss Baby: Family Business ($3.3 million, Universal); The Forever Purge ($2.2 million); A Quiet Place Part II ($1.5 million, Paramount), and Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain ($1 million, Focus Features).

‘Unbreakable’ Headed to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Digital Sept. 21

The 2000 sci-fi drama Unbreakable will arrive on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and digital for the first time Sept. 21 from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

The Ultimate Collector’s Edition will also be released as a limited-edition Steelbook available only at Best Buy stores that consumers can preorder beginning Aug. 10.

In the film, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, after David Dunn (Bruce Willis) emerges from a horrific train crash as the sole survivor — and without a single scratch on him — he meets a mysterious, unsettling stranger (Samuel L. Jackson) who believes comic book heroes walk the earth, and whose sinister, single-minded obsession will impact David’s life forever.

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Bonus features include deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette, a look at comic book artistry and leading artists, a scene from a film Shyamalan made as a child, and animated storyboard and final scene comparisons of the train sequence.

Universal Q4 Home Entertainment Revenue Drops

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Jan. 23 reported fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2019) revenue of $276 million, which was down 12.4% from revenue of $315 million in the previous-year period.

After a promising start to the fiscal year, the home entertainment studio saw fiscal declines in Q3 and Q4 to end the year with $957 million in revenue, compared with $1.05 billion in 2018.

The studio’s top DVD/Blu-ray Disc release in 2019 was DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

Overall, it was a disappointing year for Universal Pictures. Filmed-entertainment Q4 revenue decreased 21% to $1.6 billion, primarily reflecting lower theatrical revenue.

Indeed, box office revenue plunged 59.1%, reflecting the volume and strength of releases in last year’s fourth quarter, including The Grinch and Halloween (where’s Michael Myers when you need him?). Pre-tax earnings fell 48.9% to $91 million in Q4partially offset by lower programming and production costs.

With M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass ($247 million) and Jordan Peele’s Us ($255 million) as top-performing box office releases, Universal Pictures saw 2019 revenue decline 9.2% to $6.5 billion compared to 2018, partially offset by higher content licensing revenue.

Indeed, pre-tax earnings increased 13.5% to $833 million from $734 million in 2018, reflecting lower revenue, more than offset by lower operating expenses.

‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ Flies to Top of FandangoNow Chart

The animated How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World was the top film purchased and/or rented on FandangoNow for the week ended May 5.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional VOD service.

The Universal film, the third in the series about a boy and his dragon, made $160 million at the box office. The “How to Train Your Dragon Trilogy” came in at No. 9, showing there was strong interest in the franchise for the week.

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Landing at No. 2 was the Warner romantic comedy sendup Isn’t It Romantic, starring Rebel Wilson. Wilson and Anne Hathaway star in the current theatrical release The Hustle, which perhaps boosted interest in the Wilson title.

Universal’s Glass, from filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, came in third on the FandangoNow chart, while Universal’s Fighting With My Family, a wrestling story starring Dwayne Johnson, landed at No. 4.

In the No. 5 spot was Lionsgate’s Cold Pursuit, starring Liam Neeson as a grieving snowplow driver who seeks revenge against the drug dealers who killed his son. The film earned $32 million at the box office.

The top 10 films purchased and/or rented on FandangoNow for the week ended May 5 were:

  1. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World *
  2. Isn’t It Romantic *
  3. Glass *
  4. Fighting With My Family
  5. Cold Pursuit *
  6. Aquaman *
  7. Serenity
  8. The Mule *
  9. How to Train Your Dragon Trilogy *
  10. Arctic *

 

*Available in 4K

‘Glass’ Breaks to No. 1 on Redbox Charts for Another Week

Universal’s Glass took the top spot on both the Redbox disc rental and digital charts for a second consecutive week for the week ended April 28.

The thriller, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, is a sequel to both 2000’s Unbreakable and 2016’s Split, and debuted a week earlier in the No. 1 spot on the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, as well as the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals.

Sony’s Escape Room, about six strangers who find themselves in a maze of deadly mystery rooms, came in at No. 2 on both charts.

Warner’s The Mule, starring Clint Eastwood, dropped just one spot, from No. 2 to No. 3, on both the disc rental chart and the digital chart, while Warner’s Aquaman and Paramount’s Bumblebee landed at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, on both charts.

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The only other new release on the disc chart, save Escape Room, was the Redbox original Benjamin, about a family who forms an intervention for a kid who is doing drugs, but finds they have problems of their own. It stars Bob Saget (who also directed) and Rob Corddry. It landed at No. 9 on the disc chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended April 28:

  1. Glass— Universal
  2. Escape Room(New) — Sony
  3. The Mule— Warner
  4. Aquaman— Warner
  5. Bumblebee— Paramount
  6. Replicas — Lionsgate
  7. Holmes & Watson— Sony
  8. A Dog’s Way Home — Sony
  9. Benjamin(New) — Quiver
  10. Second Act — Universal

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended April 28:

  1. Glass — Universal
  2. Escape Room — Sony
  3. The Mule — Warner
  4. Aquaman— Warner
  5. Bumblebee— Paramount
  6. Replicas— Lionsgate
  7. Holmes & Watson— Sony
  8. Instant Family — Paramount
  9. A Dog’s Way Home — Sony
  10. Second Act — STX

Glass

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 4/16/19;
Universal;
Thriller;
Box Office $111.04 million;
$28.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray, $44.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence including some bloody images, thematic elements, and language.
Stars James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard.

After a career of gimmicky storytelling and a reputation for surprise plot twists, M. Night Shyamalan presents a class in subverting expectations with Glass.

However, the approach employed in connecting two of his most memorable films has left a lot of fans scratching their heads over whether it was worth the wait.

Fans of Shyamalan’s 2000 superhero movie deconstruction Unbreakable had been clamoring for a sequel since it was released, but hopes for one diminished as the years ticked away, particularly as the quality of the writer-director’s output declined in the eyes of critics and audiences alike.

In the midst of a bit of a career renaissance, however, Shyamalan dropped a cameo into 2016’s Split that brought the prospects of that long-awaited sequel back to the forefront.

In particular, with respect to spoiler concerns, an appearance by Bruce Willis in Split as his Unbreakable character teased an eventual confrontation between his strongman hero and the multiple personalities of James McAvoy’s Split psychopath.

And while they do face off in Glass, the bulk of the film involves them being captured and committed to an insane asylum for treatment alongside Unbreakable villain Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson). Their doctor (Sarah Paulson) hopes to convince them that their abilities are not superhuman at all, but the result of self-delusion and some freaky but explainable physical tricks.

While it’s fun to see the lead trio and some of the supporting cast return to their roles, watching them end up in a group therapy session is not exactly where audiences were expecting this to go. Though with Mr. Glass involved, viewers can rest assured that whatever return to normalcy the doctor has in mind is probably not going to be in the cards, especially with a potential showdown over the fate of a highrise looming.

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McAvoy’s character from Split, it turns out, was originally from a draft of Unbreakable, but removed due to plot complications his presence was causing in the screenplay. As a result, the characters from the two films mesh well together and pave the way for a few more surprises Shyamalan has up his sleeve to round out what has come to be known as the “East-Rail 177 Trilogy,” after the train derailment that kicks off the first film.

According to Shyamalan in the Blu-ray bonus materials, the first cut of the film was 3 hours and 20 minutes, meaning that more than an hour was sliced out to achieve the final 2-hour-9-minute run time. About 14 minutes of this material is offered as deleted scenes on the disc, with optional introductions for each by Shyamalan. There’s also an alternate opening sequence that runs a couple of minutes as well.

The bulk of the extras are about 40 minutes of various behind-the-scenes featurettes, covering both the making of this film and the elements that were established in the two previous entries.

“The Collection of Main Characters” runs 8:43 and profiles both the three lead characters and the actors who play them.

“A Conversation With James McAvoy and M. Night Shyamalan” is a 5:10 segment of the pair interviewing each other.

The 2:54 “Bringing the Team Back Together” looks at the various members of the cast and crew who previously worked with Shyamalan.

The 2:16 “Raven Hill Memorial” chronicles filming at an old asylum, and the 1:56 “Night Vision” delves into bringing the film’s storyboards to life.

Rounding out the list are “David Dunn vs. The Beast” (2:11) “Glass Decoded” (2:52), “Breaking Glass: The Stunts” (1:28), “Connecting the Glass Universe” (2:54), “M. Night Shyamalan: Behind the Lens” (2:46), “The Sound of Glass” (1:50) and “Enhancing the Spectacle” (2:53).

‘Glass’ Breaks Out on Digital April 2, Disc April 16 From Universal

Glass, from writer-director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth SenseSigns), is coming to digital (including Movies Anywhere) April 2 and to 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and on demand April 16 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film earned $107.9 million in theaters.

Glass completes Shyamalan’s grounded-in-reality, comic-book thriller trilogy, started with Unbreakable and Split. It stars James McAvoy (SplitAtonement)Samuel L. Jackson (Hitman’s Bodyguard, “Avengers” Franchise, Unbreakable), Bruce Willis (Unbreakable, Die Hard), Sarah Paulson (Ocean’s Eight, “American Horror Story”) and Anya-Taylor Joy (SplitThe Witch). The story offers s closer look at the world of the Elijah Price, also known as Mr. Glass (Jackson), David Dunn (Willis) and Kevin Wendell Crumb (McAvoy) as they experience a series of escalating encounters in an escape from an asylum and embark on a battle of good versus evil.

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More than 60 minutes of special features on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and digital include:

  • “The Collection of Main Characters,”a look at all the main players and how they fit in the universe created by Shyamalan;
  • “Bringing the Team Back Together,” in which the cast and crew share personal stories of why Shyamalan’s productions feel like seeing family again;
  • “David Dunn vs. The Beast,” an in-depth look at the animalistic face-off between David Dunn and the Beast;
  • Glass Decoded,” in which Shyamalan unveils some secrets of continuity and style from across the trilogy;
  • “Breaking Glass: The Stunts,” about the stunts that show the superhuman strength of the Beast;
  • “Connecting the Glass Universe,” exploring Shyamalan’s stylistic approach to the trilogy and the concept of a comic book movie grounded in reality;
  • “M. Night Shyamalan: Behind the Lens,” in which the cast and crew discuss Shyamalan’s meticulous approach to storytelling;
  • “The Sound of Glass,” in which composer West Dylan Thordson elaborates on his use of string instruments to create tension, and explains why recording the score on-location enhanced the tone of the movie;
  • “Enhancing the Spectacle,” in which the VFX team provides details on the task of using CGI to intensify the narrative;
  • “Raven Hill Memorial,” about the Raven Hill Memorial Hospital location;
  • “Night Vision,” a look at the the storyboards and their similarity to the final shots in the film;
  • an alternate opening with an introduction by Shyamalan;
  • deleted scenes with introductions by director Shyamalan;
  • and “A Conversation with James McAvoy and M. Night Shyamalan.”

 

DVD special features include the alternate opening, deleted scenes and “A Conversation with James McAvoy and M. Night Shyamalan.”

Apple Inks ‘Peanuts’ Streaming Video Content Deal

Apple’s measured entrance into streaming video and original programming took another step forward after the tech giant inked a deal with DHX Media, the Canadian distributor of children’s content, including “Charlie Brown,” “Snoopy” and related “Peanuts.”

Under the agreement (first reported by Variety), DHX and unit Peanuts Worldwide will produce original branded content for Apple’s pending 2019 subscription streaming video service.

DHX acquired the rights to the late Charles Schulz’s iconic “Peanuts” brand in 2017 for $345 million — a deal that included the “Strawberry Shortcake” franchise.

Publicly-owned DHX, which also owns the “Teletubbies,” “Degrassi,” “Caillou,” “Inspector Gadget,” and “Yo Gabba Gabba!” brands, has generated about $436 million in revenue this year.

Apple, through iTunes, the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, has long embraced digital distribution of third-party movies and TV shows. Emulating Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu into the SVOD market, however, has proven to be more complicated.

Despite free cash reserves exceeding $200 billion, Apple sat on the sidelines as Disney bought Marvel and Lucasfilm, and Netflix and Amazon embarked on global expansion strategies underscored by original content production.

Following the short-lived “Planet of the Apps” online reality show in 2016, Apple in 2017 launched “Carpool Karaoke: The Series,” produced by James Corden, who originated the concept on “The Late Late Show with James Corden.”

That same year, Apple hired TV executives Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg to spearhead original content production. Armed with a reported $1 billion operating budget, the pair inked Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon for an original series based on morning TV, in addition to a planned reboot of “Amazing Stories.”

Apple now has more than 20 projects in development, including series from directors Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash) and M. Night Shyamalan (Split, Devil, The Village, upcoming Glass). It reportedly is projected to spend upwards of $4 billion on original content by 2022.