Home Entertainment Divisions Change Names

Two of the five major studios have quietly changed the names of their home entertainment divisions.

Paramount Pictures is once again using Paramount Home Entertainment, after several years of operating as Paramount Home Media Distribution.

And Walt Disney Studios’ home entertainment arm is now known as Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International.

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Originally, studios used the “home video” moniker for their home entertainment units, but then the launch of DVD shifted consumer habits away from renting video cassettes at dedicated video rental stores. Instead, consumers were buying discs — priced low for initial sale, unlike VHS cassettes — at large mass merchants and consumer electronics stores such as Walmart and Best Buy.

Soon, “home video” divisions became “home entertainment” business units, in the belief that “video” was a throwback to the old mom-and-pop video stores, which were rapidly closing up as the business shifted. Even Blockbuster Video became Blockbuster Entertainment, while trade publication Video Store Magazine in 2004 became first Home Media Retailing and then Home Media Magazine.

Director John Singleton Movies Live On at Retail

Pioneering director John Singleton, who died April 29 at age 51 after suffering a stroke last week, was the first African American (and youngest) nominated for an Academy Award for 1991 seminal hit, Boyz in the Hood.

Filmed in South Central Los Angeles where Singleton grew up, the teen hood drama starred Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia Long, Regina King and Angela Bassett.

The movie, which was the acting debut for Ice Cube and Chestnut, was selected for preservation by the U.S. Library of Congress in the National Film Registry.

Singleton’s theatrical movies — spearheaded by 2 Fast 2 Furious in 2003 (Universal Pictures) — generated nearly $780 million in global ticket sales when adjusted for inflation.

2 Furious, sequel to original The Fast and the Furious (2001) was Singleton’s top-grossing international release — in addition to home entertainment seller.

The Universal Pictures Home Entertainment title featuring the late Paul Walker and Tyrese Gibson, sold about $6 million combined DVD/Blu-ray Disc units, according to The-Numbers.com.

Other home video releases include Four Brothers, Baby Boy, Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, Abduction and Shaft.

Four Brothers, starring Mark Wahlberg, Gibson, Andre Benjamin and Garrett Hedlund, was released on disc by Warner Home Video in 2005.

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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 2012 released “The John Singleton 4-Movie Collection” combo pack on DVD featuring Higher Learning, Baby Boy, Boyz n the Hood and Poetic Justice.

Paramount Home Media Distribution released Singleton’s Shaft reboot, starring Samuel L. Jackson, in 2000 on DVD and later on Blu-ray Disc.

Paramount included the title in a 3-Pack titled “Samuel L. Jackson Ultimate Collection,” also featuring Coach Carter and Rules of Engagement.

Lionsgate released Abduction, starring Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins, on disc in 2012.

 John Singleton — Hollywood’s Best Film Directors from documentarian David Freydt is available on Amazon Prime Video.

‘Bumblebee,’ ‘Aquaman’ Remain Top Disc Sellers

A slate of newcomers had little luck displacing the top titles on the national sales charts the week ended April 13.

The top performing new release for the week was Sony Pictures’ A Dog’s Way Home, which debuted at No. 4 on both 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 top two titles on both charts remained the same from the prior week. Paramount’s Bumblebee took No. 1 and Warner’s Aquaman was No. 2.

Warner’s The Mule held onto the No. 3 spot on the overall sales chart but slipped to No. 7 on the Blu-ray chart.

No. 5 on the overall sales chart and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart was Warner’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Rounding out the top five on the Blu-ray chart was Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, which was No. 6 overall.

A Dog’s Way Home, about a lost dog looking for her owner, earned $42 million at U.S. theaters.

Sony Pictures’ critically panned comedy Holmes & Watson debuted at No. 8 on the overall chart and No. 9 on the Blu-ray chart. The latest pairing of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly earned just $30.6 million at the domestic box office.

Two new releases from Universal also cracked the top 20 in their first week: On the Basis of Sex debuted at No. 15 (No. 17 on the Blu-ray chart) and Welcome to Marwen, the latest film from director Robert Zemeckis, came in at No. 20 (No. 14 on the Blu-ray chart).

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Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 45% of A Dog’s Way Home sales, compared with 54% for Holmes & Watson, 47% for On the Basis of Sex and 85% for Welcome to Marwen.

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended April 14, Holmes & Watson debuted at No. 1, with The Mule at No. 2, Bumblebee at No. 3, Aquaman at No. 4 and A Dog’s Way Home at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 4-13-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 4-14-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 4-13-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 4-13-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 4-13-19
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 4-15-19

Final Season, Full Series Set of ‘Broad City’ Coming to DVD July 9 From Paramount

The fifth and final season and full series set of critically acclaimed series “Broad City” will arrive on DVD July 9 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

Executive produced by Amy Poehler, “Broad City” stars series creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer​, as a pair navigating their 20s in New York. The show’s many guest stars have included Fred Armisen, Amy Sedaris, Seth Rogen, RuPaul, Kumail Nanjiani, Kelly Ripa, Jane Curtin, Fran Drescher, Amy Ryan, Aidy Bryant, Whoopi Goldberg, Cynthia Nixon, Seth Green, Tracee Ellis Ross, Hillary Clinton, Tony Danza and Wanda Sykes.​

“Broad City” season five will be available in a two-DVD set and “Broad City” The Complete Series will be available in an 11-DVD set, which includes an extra disc of special features.

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Season 1 (two discs) includes 10 episodes; outtakes and deleted scenes;  video commentary on select episodes; and a photo gallery. Season 2 (two discs) includes 10 episodes; outtakes and deleted scenes;  a pop-up enhanced episode; “Hack Into Broad City”; and “Body by Trey” videos. Season 3 includes 10 episodes; “Hack Into Broad City”; “Behind the Scenes with Broad City”;  deleted scenes; and NOMO FOMO, an art show about broads in the city. Season 4 (two discs) includes 10 episodes; “Hack Into Broad City”; “Behind Broad City”; and deleted and extended scenes. Season 5 (two discs) includes 10 episodes; “Hack Into Broad City”; and  outtakes and deleted/extended scenes. The complete series special features disc includes “Abbi & Ilana’s Broad City”; “Behind the Scenes,” which includes two set tours and two featurettes on the costumes; a fan surprise; “The Making of Season 5,” which includes three featurettes, one of which is exclusive to the DVD; and “A NYC Broad City Send-Off Fit for a Queen” exclusive to the DVD.

‘Bumblebee’ Transforms Into Top Disc Seller

Paramount Home Media Distribution’s Bumblebee debuted at No. 1 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 April 6.

The “Transformers” spinoff earned $127 million at the domestic box office.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Aquaman, the previous week’s top seller, slipped to No. 2 on both charts.

Another newcomer, Clint Eastwood’s The Mule, also from Warner, debuted at No. 3 on both charts.

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Rounding out the top five on both charts were Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse at No. 4 and Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns at No. 5.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 65% of first-week Bumblebee sales, with 14% of its overall tally from 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended April 7, The Mule edged out Bumblebee for the top spot. Aquaman slipped to No. 3.

Universal’s Second Act dropped to No. 4, while Spider-Verse settled for No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 4-6-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 4-7-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 4-6-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 4-6-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 4-6-19
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 4-8-19

‘Jack Ryan: Season One’ on Disc June 4

Paramount Home Media Entertainment will release Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan: Season One on Blu-ray and DVD June 4 (order date April 23).

The Amazon Prime Video original series stars John Krasinski as the CIA analyst from the Tom Clancy novels, who finds himself at the center of a search for a terrorist figurehead preparing to attack the United States. The cast also includes Wendell Pierce and Abbie Cornish.

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The two-disc Blu-ray and three-disc DVD sets include all eight episodes from the first season, plus exclusive deleted scenes.

Amazon has renewed the series for a second and third season.

 

‘Bumblebee’ Screenwriter Relished Chance to Put a Woman in the Driver’s Seat

A girl and her car are at the center of the “Transformers” reboot Bumblebee, available now on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and digital from Paramount Home Media Entertainment.

And that’s just as screenwriter Christina Hodson intended.

“As soon as I got the call about working within the ‘Transformers’ franchise I knew I wanted to tell a female-driven story,” she said in an interview with Media Play News on the Paramount lot.

It’s something that blockbuster action franchises rarely feature.

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“Honestly, it’s more about the big picture for me; it’s just about seeing girls in these kinds of roles,” she said. “I think we haven’t seen it often enough. We see so many movies where we just take for granted that it’s the boy or the man that’s at the lead going on the adventure.…  It’s wonderful to just introduce into the world a new spin on that, to see a woman — forgive me — at the steering wheel.”

She based the character of Charlie on her two nieces. One is neither a “girly-girl” nor a “tomboy,” but “something in between” like Charlie, she said. Another has a special relationship with her dad that inspired Charlie’s.

Hodson said she wants more women to get into screenwriting to provide more balance.

“The numbers are crazy, and we’ve got to work on fixing them, and the one thing that I can say — knowing a lot of the female screenwriters of my generation — is we are bringing more women up with us,” she said. “That’s very much our goal.”

To talk about Bumblebee, editor-in-chief Stephanie Prange visited the Paramount lot to learn about the sound effects and more:

She also talked to screenwriter Hodson about the need for more girl power in the movies. Here is the full interview:

Merchandising: ‘Bumblebee’ Exclusives Centered on Retailers

While Paramount’s Bumblebee was the biggest new release of April 2, it didn’t arrive with much in the way of exclusive editions. Rather, two of the big three retailers touted the title with promotions for their own services.

Target, for example, offered a free $5 store gift card with the purchase of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack of Bumblebee, priced at $29.99.

Walmart offered the Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray combo packs with a digital copy of the original 2007 Transformers film redeemable through Walmart’s proprietary Vudu digital storefront.

Best Buy, typically for them, offered a Steelbook edition of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, at $32.99.

Best Buy ‘Bumblebee’ Steelbook

Bumblebee

 BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 4/2/19;
Paramount;
Sci-Fi;
Box Office $127.2 million;
$29.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray, $34.99. UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of sci-fi action violence.
Stars Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Ortiz, Jason Drucker, Pamela Adlon, Stephen Schneider, Glynn Turman, Len Cariou. Voices of Dylan O’Brien, Angela Bassett, Justin Theroux, Peter Cullen.

It’s hard to deny that the five live-action “Transformers” films have just about worn out their welcome even among the most avid fans of the franchise and toy line on which it’s based. With the movies for the most part having devolved into spectacles of mind-numbing action, incomprehensible plotting, unrecognizable characters and a jumble of references to the iconic “Transformers” lore established in the old cartoons and comic books, it was clear a change in direction was in order.

Bumblebee, directed by stop-motion animation veteran Travis Knight, is just the creative spark the franchise needed to re-connect with the audience, returning to the basics of the brand’s premise without over-complicating the story with an abundance of jokey characters and a fetish for the military industrial complex.

As the sixth live-action “Transformers” film, Bumblebee could be seen as either a prequel to the other five, or as a reboot, depending on what direction producers decide to take it in the future. There are obvious references to the other films embedded throughout, so if further movies didn’t materialize then it plays pretty well as a prequel, with some mental gymnastics employed to explain away moments where the story seems to completely ignore what has been established in the earlier films.

It’s somewhat evident that an earlier iteration of the movie was meant to more closely align with Bay’s world, particularly since a comic book prelude released before the film depicts Bumblebee working with the British secret service in the 1960s, playing off his involvement in World War II in the fifth film. Bumblebee, on the other hand, shows him landing on Earth in 1987, which isn’t necessarily inconsistent, but raises a few questions. An alternate opening sequence — included among the Blu-ray’s 19 minutes of deleted scenes — is a bit more vague about Bumblebee’s arrival on Earth.

So, in the same vein as X-Men: First Class, it wouldn’t be surprising if future sequels didn’t bother connecting to the existing continuity, though, recently one of the film’s producers indicated future installments would lean more toward the Bay continuity after all.

Bumblebee plays like a throwback to a 1980s Steven Spielberg movie, while the story is somewhat of a gender-swapped version of the set-up to the 2007 film, in which Shia LeBeouf came across Bumblebee in a used-car lot.

Fleeing from the Decepticon conquest of his home planet of Cybertron, Bumblebee crashes on Earth and loses his memory. Having taken on the disguise of a 1960s Volkswagen Beetle, he is discovered in a junkyard by Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), a mechanically inclined rebellious teenager looking for meaning in her life following the sudden death of her father. She repairs Bumblebee and learns that he’s an alien robot with the ability to transform into a car. And he’s being pursued by the U.S. military and Decepticon bounty hunters. With Charlie’s help, Bumblebee starts to regain his identity enough to remember the mission given to him by Autobot leader Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) to protect Earth from the Decepticons so the Autobots can use it as a base to regroup.

The film comes to life with seamless visual effects that look great on Blu-ray, and a soundtrack peppered with some of the top hits of the 1980s.

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The girl and her living car angle might also bring to mind Herbie: Fully Loaded, which itself was an attempt to freshen up a shopworn franchise. For the most part, though, Bumblebee offers up a good chunk of the kind of “Transformers” fun that fans have been waiting to see since the 1980s, particularly the battles on Cybertron.

The Blu-ray also comes with a mini-comic featuring Bumblebee’s next adventure, in which he tussles with another Decepticon who has come looking for him. One of the extras on the disc is a motion comic containing this story with an extended ending that more explicitly ties Bumblebee to the events of the first Bay movie.

The disc also contains 10 minutes of outtakes, a four-minute profile of various “Transformers” characters with their “Generation One”-inspired designs, and 47 minutes of decent behind-the-scenes featurettes.

‘What Men Want’ Due on Digital April 23, Disc May 7 From Paramount

The comedy What Men Want, starring Taraji P. Henson, will come out on digital April 23 and Blu-ray combo pack and DVD May 7 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

The film earned $50.1 million in theaters.

Ali Davis (Henson) is a successful sports agent who’s constantly boxed out by her male colleagues. After a wild night out with the girls, she mysteriously gains the ability to hear men’s thoughts. With her newfound power, Ali looks to outsmart her colleagues as she races to sign the next basketball superstar, but the lengths she has to go to will put her relationship with her best friends and new love interest to the test. The film also stars Aldis Hodge, Richard Roundtree, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Erykah Badu, Max Greenfield and Tracy Morgan.

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The digital and Blu-ray combo pack (with a digital copy) releases include more than an hour of bonus features, including a gag reel, deleted and extended scenes, a spoof infomercial featuring Badu, and interviews with the cast. The Blu-ray also features a commentary with director Adam Shankman.