‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Outpaces ‘Dora’ to Stay No. 1 on the Home Video Sales Charts

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw held onto the No. 1 spot on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended Nov. 23.

The week’s top newcomer on both charts was Paramount’s Dora and the Lost City of Gold, which sold 81.8% as many copies in its third week as Hobbs & Shaw did in its third. The live-action adaptation of Nickelodeon’s “Dora the Explorer” cartoon earned $60.5 million at the domestic box office.

Disney’s photorealistic remake of The Lion King slid to No. 3 on both charts in its fifth week on disc.

Another Disney release, Pixar Animation Studios’ Toy Story 4, rose a spot to No. 4 on both charts in its seventh week on disc.

The ‘R’-rated Universal Pictures comedy Good Boys slid to No. 5 on both charts in its second week.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 56% of first-week sales for Dora, which sold 91% as many Blu-ray copies as the top title.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Nov. 24 had Dora in the top spot, with Good Boys sliding to No. 2. Hobbs & Shaw was down a spot to No. 3.

Warner’s The Kitchen rose two spots on the rental chart to No. 4, while Sony Pictures’ The Angry Birds Movie 2 dropped two slots to land at No. 5 in its second week.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 11-23-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 11-24-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 11-23-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 11-23-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 11-23-19

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Paramount;
Family Adventure;
Box Office $60.48 million;
$25.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG’ for action and some impolite humor.
Stars Isabela Moner, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña, Eva Longoria, Jeff Wahlberg, Nicholas Coombe, Madeleine Madden, Temuera Morrison, Adriana Barraza, Benicio del Toro, Danny Trejo.

It would be easy to assume that a movie based on Nickelodeon’s long-running animated “Dora the Explorer” TV series might be just another sappy, dumbed-down diversion aimed at kids. But in the hands of director James Bobin, Dora and the Lost City of Gold turns out to be a charming, fun adventure that all ages can enjoy, not just fans of the TV series.

Bobin, who has already demonstrated his deft touch with similar material as director of the two most recent “Muppets” movies, and screenwriters Nicholas Stoller and Matthew Robinson bring a slightly subversive sensibility that honors the concept while poking fun at it at the same time.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The cartoon, of course, dealt with the adventures of 7-year-old Dora, her monkey sidekick, Boots, and her cousin, Diego, as they talk and sing to the audience to solve puzzles and learn new facts about the world. And the movie jumps right in with a live-action version of the “Dora” theme that sets up the movie as providing more of the same. But it turns out Dora and Diego are just imaginative youngsters who live in the South American jungle with Dora’s parents (Michael Peña and Eva Longoria), a pair of professors researching ancient civilizations.

After Diego moves away to Los Angeles with his parents, Dora is left to explore on her own, and the movie cuts to 10 years later, with the 16-year-old Dora (Isabela Moner) running through the jungle as if nothing has changed (though, in a bit of meta-humor, she now live-streams her adventures as a means of talking to her audience). As her parents prepare to embark on a search for a lost city, Dora is sent to live with Diego in L.A., much to her chagrin.

Having spent 10 years in the city, Diego is now a more-or-less normal kid trying to survive high school, while Dora continues to be Dora.

The movie mines Dora’s fish-out-of-water adjustments to high school for some good laughs, as she is basically the cartoon character dropped into the real world. The tone brings to mind The Brady Bunch Movie in the way the humor stems from the juxtaposition of the central characters living in their own little world for regular reality to react to.

Things take a turn, however, as Dora, Diego and some of their fellow high schoolers are kidnapped by mercenaries who want to find the same city of gold that Dora’s parents are seeking, putting Dora back in her element and turning the tables on the students who were making fun of her for survivalist skills.

The kids quickly escape into the jungle and set off to find the legendary city and Dora’s parents on their own, pursued by the bad guys, who are aided by Swiper the Fox, lest any of his fans worry he would be left out of the action.

From here the film takes on the vibe of a junior “Indiana Jones” adventure, while also taking some cues from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, in terms of putting the ensemble into unusual situations.

In addition to the opening sequence, the film’s most direct nod to the cartoon version comes in the form of a clever sequence in which the characters are exposed to jungle spores that make them hallucinate an animated world. The making of this playful scene is the subject of a four-minute featurette on the Blu-ray.

The behind-the-scenes material is pretty standard as far as these things go, with plenty of interviews from the cast and filmmakers. The nine-minute “All About Dora” features the talented Moner offering her insights on playing the character as a teenager. “Can You Say Pelicula?” is a four-and-a-half-minute examination of some of the stunts as well as the comedic sensibilities of Eugenio Derbez. A four-minute “Dora’s Jungle House” video offers a lot of details about Dora’s parents’ house that aren’t readily apparent from the movie.

The latter should please fans looking to live in this world a bit more, as will more than 13 minutes of deleted scenes, extended sequences and alternate takes.

The Blu-ray also includes an amusing two-minute blooper reel.

Netflix Inks New Deal With Nickelodeon

Netflix and Nickelodeon have formed a multiyear output deal to produce original animated feature films and television series for kids and families based both on the Nickelodeon library of characters as well as new IP.

The deal is an expansion of the existing relationship between the companies, which has already brought several titles to Netflix, including animated specials Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling and Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus. Also forthcoming are specials based on “The Loud House” and “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

“Nickelodeon has generated scores of characters that kids love, and we look forward to telling wholly original stories that re-imagine and expand on the worlds they inhabit,” Netflix VP of original animation Melissa Cobb said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to continue collaborating with Brian Robbins, Ramsey Naito, and the creative team at Nickelodeon in new ways as we look to find fresh voices and bring bold stories to our global audience on Netflix.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Nickelodeon’s next step forward is to keep expanding beyond linear platforms, and our broader content partnership with Netflix is a key path toward that goal,” Nickelodeon president Brian Robbins said in a statement. “The Nickelodeon Animation Studio is home to the world-class artists and storytellers behind some of the most iconic characters and shows ever made, and our head of animation, Ramsey Naito, has been building on that legacy over the past year by ramping up development and production exponentially. The ideas and work at our Studio are flowing, and we can’t wait to work with Melissa and the Netflix team on a premium slate of original animated content for kids and families around the world.”

HBO Max Expands Executive Team

AT&T’s pending subscription streaming service HBO Max Oct. 2 added several executives to its ranks.

The service, which is set to launch in Spring 2020, named Billy Wee SVP of original animation, and Nikki Reed VP of kids and family scripted originals.

Billy Wee

Wee comes from WarnerMedia’s TBS, where he was VP of original programming, and Reed hails from Viacom’s Nickelodeon, where she was VP of original series development.

“The kids and family space has a long history at WarnerMedia, from our legendary animation to classic motion pictures, and is now an essential part of HBO Max,” Kevin Reilly, chief content officer of HBO Max, and president of TNT, TBS and truTV, said in a statement. “We now have a top-notch team to create a slate of original content appealing to kids, tweens, young adults and the whole family.”

Nikki Reed

Separately, Max added Sarah Lyons as SVP of product experience. She previously worked for AT&T’s DirecTV unit as VP of OTT media products.

WarnerMedia executive Katie Soo, was named SVP of growth marketing, while Keith Camoosa, was named SVP of data insights and operations.

DirecTV Now’s Jess Miller was named VP of project management, while former Crunchroll executive Reid DeRamus was named senior director of business operations.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Meanwhile, Sean Kisker, transitions to EVP and chief strategy officer for Otter Media and WarnerMedia direct-to-consumer. He will work with Josh Walker, chief strategy officer and EVP of financial planning, WarnerMedia Entertainment.

“We have gathered an all-star team of executives whose innovative contributions have directly advanced the digital media industry,” said Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media.

 

Viacom Expands Pluto TV Access to Android Devices in Europe

Viacom has expanded access to its ad-supported streaming video service, Pluto TV, on Android devices in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Pluto TV will be available via its app on Google Play and connected televisions.

Acquired earlier this year for $340 million, Pluto TV represents Viacom’s most-ambitious attempt to expand brand awareness and exposure in the over-the-top video ecosystem worldwide.

Viacom brands include Paramount Pictures, BET, MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

With Netflix and Amazon Prime Video dominating the SVOD market, Viacom contends free ad-supported streaming video represents a competitive alternative.

Pluto TV users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland have access to more than 30 thematically-curated channels, including Pluto TV Movies, KultKrimi and recently-launched Comedy Central Pluto TV and Comedy Central — Made in Germany.

Pluto TV in the U.K. features more than 60 channels, including Pluto TV Movies, Pluto TV Indies, Pluto TV Inside and Pluto TV Crime.

Pluto TV launched earlier this month on Apple TV and iOS, and is now available on all major mobile devices and TVs.

Olivier Jollet, managing director Europe, Pluto TV, said that as today’s media consumption diversifies, premium video content isn’t limited to the TV.

“With the launch on Android tablets and mobile devices, Pluto TV is available right in our users’ pocket … on the couch, on their daily commute or at their holiday destination.”

Nickelodeon ‘Paw Patrol’ DVD Released as Walmart Exclusive

Paw Patrol: Ready, Race, Rescue, a feature-length episode of the Nickelodeon series, will be released Sept. 2 exclusively at Walmart on DVD along with other series merchandise.

The DVD will be bundled with a digital copy of the 44-minute episode at $14.96.

The preschool series “PAW Patrol” is produced by Spin Master Entertainment. Ready, Race, Rescue follows the 2018 direct-to-video release Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups. In the new adventure, the pups take to the track for the Adventure Bay 500 and need to speed into action when legendary race car driver, The Whoosh, can’t compete.

The Ready, Race, Rescue product assortment will include toys, apparel, accessories, footwear, home, and health and beauty items. Walmart and Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products are also partnering on events in 800 stores nationwide the weekend of Sept. 7.

VNCP is also planning race-themed marketing initiatives to celebrate the exclusive collection, starting with a NASCAR sponsorship with partner Spin Master Entertainment. A Ready, Race, Rescue-themed Kids Zone, “Paw Patrol” costumed character appearances and activations will be featured at NASCAR’s event in Richmond, Va., Sept. 21. In the lead up to the event, seven influencers across the country will “Race Across America” and post from various states before “arriving” in Richmond.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In its sixth season, “Paw Patrol” follows a pack of rescue pups — Chase, Marshall, Rubble, Skye, Rocky, Zuma, Everest and Tracker — who are led by a tech-savvy boy named Ryder. The series features a curriculum that focuses on citizenship, social skills and problem-solving. Nickelodeon recently renewed the series for a seventh season of 26 half-hour episodes.

Nickelodeon Celebrates 20 Years of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ With 200-Episode DVD Set

Nickelodeon is celebrating 20 years of “SpongeBob SquarePants” with a special DVD collection, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Best 200 Episodes Ever!, comprised of two box-sets, available exclusively on Amazon Prime Day July 15.

The DVD collection will be available nationwide at other outlets Aug. 27 from Nickelodeon and Paramount Home Entertainment.

Each DVD set comes with the special-edition 20th anniversary “SpongeBob SquarePants” poster, which was created specifically for Nickelodeon for San Diego Comic-Con and features all 760 characters and creatures that have ever appeared on the show.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The DVD collection contains SpongeBob SquarePants: The First 100 Episodes and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Next 100 Episodes and features every deep-sea adventure from the first 200 episodes of the series.

Viacom’s Pluto TV Inks Deal with U.K.’s Channel 5

When Viacom acquired ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV for $340 million earlier this year, the corporate parent to Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, BET, MTV and Nickelodeon, had scant over-the-top video distribution.

Now, thanks to aggressive dealmaking, Pluto TV is expanding Viacom’s digital content reach globally.

The Los Angeles-based platform signed a distribution deal with Channel 5, the TV broadcaster in the United Kingdom owned by Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN).

Specifically, three branded channels — Pluto TV Drama, Pluto TV Food and Pluto TV Movies – are headed to Channel 5’s “My5” OTT platform — the latter distributed through Apple TV, YouView, Freeview and related devices.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Collaborating with a well-established VOD platform like My5 allows us to pursue our ongoing goal to further enhance Pluto TV’s visibility in the U.K.,”  Olivier Jollet, Pluto’s managing director in Europe, said in a statement. “The three curated Pluto TV channels not only add to My5’s existing line-up, but also enable the My5 audience to experience a small portion of Pluto TV’s diverse programming.”

Pluto has expanded distribution (and Viacom content) through recent deals involving Comcast Cable’s X1 platform, Cox Contour, CNN, Cinedigm and BBC Studios.

“This is a global opportunity,” Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said earlier this year. “It’s going to accelerate our strategy on multiple dimensions. We see a very material opportunity there.”

Indeed, Oli Thomas, VP of digital at VIMN in the U.K., Northern and Eastern Europe, said the MY5 arrangement elevates the U.K. broadcaster’s streamer’s diversity in OTT content.

“The Pluto TV channels further enhance our proposition in the U.K.,” he said. “We know that movies and drama in particular work well in the on-demand space and we’re thrilled to debut such an exciting range of library content on My5.”

Viacom Africa to Launch Nickelodeon-Themed eSports Platform

Viacom is set bow its first interactive eSports gaming platform based on its Nickelodeon kids franchise through Viacom Africa.

The African division of the parent to Paramount Pictures, MTV and Comedy Central, among others, is said to be working with Australia-based Emerge Gaming for the “NickX’ platform, which will be based on the latter’s ArcadeX technology.

NickX would afford Nickelodeon’s target market access to an esports tournament platform featuring branded games and content.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The global eSports market is projected to reach 453.8 million players in 2019, up 15% from 2018, according to research firm NewZoo. This user base will consist of 201.2 million eSports enthusiasts (up 16.3%) and 252.6 million occasional players (up 14%).

The NickX platform will be accessible for free through the Nick app, Android and iOS devices. Viacom and Emerge would split revenue from premium subscriptions, in-app subscriptions and advertising. The platform is slated for launch in July.

“Viacom represents the absolute best in terms of … leading global brands with [worldwide] reach and represents the first [major] brand to partner with Emerge Gaming,” Bert Mondello, chairman of Emerge Gaming, said in a statement. “The strategy is to provide kids with educational content through ‘NickX’ while [also] creating an engaging gaming environment.”

 

 

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 6/4/19;
Warner;
Animated;
$24.98 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for fantasy violence.
Voices of Troy Baker, Darren Criss, Kyle Mooney, Baron Vaughn, Eric Bauza, Rachel Bloom, John DiMaggio, Tara Strong, Tom Kenny, Carlos Alazraqui, Cas Anvar, Keith Ferguson, Brian George, Ben Giroux, Andrew Kishino, Jim Meskimen.

The popularity of the 2015-16 Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book miniseries made a movie version a no-brainer. Fortunately, respective rights holders Warner Bros. and Nickelodeon agreed to join forces to produce the pleasantly surprising Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Bringing the two worlds together is a better fit than one might imagine, as both Batman and TMNT present heroes expertly trained in the martial arts with a vast supporting cast to play off of.

The key team up here, however, is between the villains, as the story brings together like-minded cult leaders Shredder and Ra’s al Ghul in an alliance that forces Batman and the turtles to join forces to stop them.

The film has fun pairing up different members of the supporting casts, and presents some great fight sequences, most notably Batman taking on all four turtles at once, and another of Batman in a brutal one-on-one showdown with Shredder.

The colorful animation style is evocative of the classic designs of many of the characters without looking too cartoony, finding a nice balance between the absurdity of the premise and a story that takes itself seriously but doesn’t forget to keep a tongue in its cheek. Yet it also doesn’t forget the nature of its characters and isn’t afraid to play up the bloody violence of which they’re capable.

The comic book itself a collaboration between two companies, DC Comics and IDW, spawned a second miniseries in 2017 and a third in 2019. So there should be plenty of material for future movies to work with.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Blu-ray includes the featurettes “Cowabunga, Batman! When Comic Worlds Collide,” an interesting look at the history of comic book crossovers that runs about 13 minutes, and “Fight Night in Gotham,” an 18-minute video that delves into the animation techniques used to depict the different fight match-ups and the fighting styles of the characters.