Paramount’s ‘Paw Patrol’ Climbs Atop U.K. Home Entertainment Chart

Paramount Pictures’ Paw Patrol: The Movie entered the Official Film Chart No. 1 for the retail week ended Nov. 3. The animated feature wrested control of the U.K. home entertainment chart from Universal Pictures’ F9: The Fast Saga, which fell to the No. 4 spot.

The big-screen adaptation of the hugely popular kids’ TV series topped the chart based exclusively on digital downloads. With Tyler Perry and Ron Pardo heading up the main voice cast, the movie features star cameos from Jimmy Kimmel, who plays newscaster Marty Muckraker, and Kim Kardashian, who takes on the role of Delores, the sassy poodle.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros. Pictures’ Space Jam: A New Legacy leaped seven spots to No. 2, following its release on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K UHD. DC Comics’ 2021 film The Suicide Squad bowed at No. 3, with its sales only from digital transactions.

Disney’s Jungle Cruise finished No. 5, and Universal Pictures’ animated adventure The Croods: A New Age finished No. 6. M. Night Shyamalan’s Old (Universal) climbed one spot to No. 7, following its release on disc, while 20th Century Studios’ Free Guy dropped four spots to No. 8.

Sony Pictures’ Venom fell four spots to No. 9, and Disney’s Black Widow rounded off the chart at No. 10.

The Official Film Chart Top 10 – Nov. 3, 2021

Rank Previous Week Movie Distributor

© Official Charts Company 2021

Shari Redstone, Bob Bakish Credit Late Hasbro CEO for Viacom, CBS Merger, ‘Transformers’ Movies Success

Following the death of Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner, Shari Redstone, non-executive chair of the ViacomCBS board of directors, late Tuesday hailed Goldner for his efforts in helping her re-unite Viacom and CBS Corp. in 2019.

Goldner, who died Oct. 12 at the age of 58 following a seven-year battle with cancer, had served on the ViacomCBS board. He was instrumental in transforming toy properties “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe” into movie franchises

Brian Goldner

Redstone said Goldner’s “guidance and leadership” not only contributed to the ViacomCBS merger, but also in the execution of a “vision that has significantly shaped the company and will take us well into the future.”

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“While I will always be grateful for the incredible contributions Brian made to this company, what we will all miss the most is his wisdom, his kindness, his commitment, and his friendship,” Redstone said in a statement. “He will always hold a special place in our hearts and he will be forever missed.”

Bob Bakish, CEO of ViacomCBS, said Goldner not only transformed Hasbro from its traditional roots in toys and games into a multi-platform content creator, as a member of the ViacomCBS board, he was an “essential voice” guiding the evolution movies, toys and consumer goods, in addition to championing “our commitment to sustainability.”

Across seven movies, the “Transformers” franchise has generated $5.8 billion at the global box office, in addition to hundreds of millions more in home entertainment and consumer products revenue.

“[Goldner’s] passion for delighting consumers also shone through in his long-time partnership with Paramount Pictures that helped build Transformers into an iconic film franchise,” Bakish said. “We extend our deepest sympathies to Brian’s family and to the entire Hasbro community during this difficult time.”

Bob Bakish: Paramount Theatrical/Streaming Co-Releases Limited to Family Movies

Paramount Pictures’ theatrical release Paw Patrol: The Movie was the studio’s first concurrent box office/Paramount+ streaming debut — a strategy the studio plans to employ going forward on family movies, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish told an investor group.

Speaking Sept. 22 on the virtual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, Bakish said Paramount would stick to a shortened 45-day exclusive window for major releases such as A Quiet Place Part II, Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible 7.

The executive said the simultaneous release of Paw Patrol on Paramount+ made the movie the most-watched original title on the platform, and helped drive box office. The animated movie has generated $37.2 million in U.S. theaters, $103.3 million worldwide.

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“The combined release strategy drove incremental performance,” Bakish said. “We think that’s actually a good [distribution] model for kids and family films, particularly in these COVID times. It gives consumers optionality, where they feel most comfortable. We did a bunch of research on that.”

The CEO said Paw Patrol outperformed The Green Knight at the box office, despite the latter releasing exclusively in theaters. He said the concurrent release also helped Paramount “eventize” the movie’s release across ViacomCBS properties, including consumer products.

“We promoted Paw Patrol both in theaters and on Paramount+ on over 2 million [consumer product items] at retail,” Bakish said. “That, too, built excitement around it.”

The studio is also releasing the upcoming Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin and The Space Between exclusivity to Paramount+. The studio is also releasing the first two episodes of original Paramount+ crime drama “Mayor of Kingstown” on the Paramount Network before reverting exclusively to the streaming platform.

“We think exclusive availability, particularly at lower budget level movies, is a compelling value creation opportunity for streaming,” Bakish said.

ViacomCBS Announces Leadership Transition, Business Split at Paramount Pictures

ViacomCBS is splitting Paramount Pictures into separate movie and TV production operating units, while also naming a new studio chief executive.

Jim Gianopulos, chairman/CEO of Paramount Pictures, will transition oversight of the venerable movie studio to newly named president/CEO Brian Robbins, who maintains his current responsibilities leading Nickelodeon. Gianopulos will serve in an advisory role at Paramount through the end of the year to help ensure a smooth transition.

Separately, Paramount Television Studios will now become part of the premium network group under the leadership of David Nevins, chairman/CEO of Showtime Networks, bringing together the divisions’ scripted content capabilities. Nicole Clemens will continue to lead PTVS in her capacity as president, PTVS, reporting directly to Nevins.

No other organizational changes with the studio were announced.

As part of this transition, and in line with ViacomCBS’s previously announced streaming content leadership structure, Robbins will assume oversight of movies produced for Paramount+, as well as continue to be responsible for kids and family content globally for the streaming service. Nevins and Clemens will also continue to serve in their current Paramount+ roles of chief content officer of scripted originals, and president of original scripted series, respectively.

“A passionate storyteller who takes a holistic view of the entertainment ecosystem, Brian is an expert at building powerhouse global franchises by leaning into the unique strengths of new and established platforms – including theatrical releases, streaming, linear, consumer products and more,” Bob Bakish, president/CEO of ViacomCBS, said in a statement. “With Brian drawing on his extensive experiences across animation and live action, and David overseeing Paramount Television Studios, we will build on Paramount’s incredible legacy and chart a new path for the studio.”

Bakish hailed Gianopulos as “a towering figure in Hollywood” who successfully led Paramount from the success of the “A Quiet Place” franchise to the Oscar-winning Rocketman, to Sonic the Hedgehog and Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

Gianopulos’s career in the global entertainment industry spans nearly 40 years. He took the reins of the studio in April 2017, revitalizing the studio and restoring profitability consistently throughout his tenure.

“Gianopulos has overseen the creation of films that have achieved both critical acclaim and commercial success,” Bakish said. “I want to extend my deepest gratitude to Jim for his leadership in establishing a revitalized Paramount.”

As President of Nickelodeon since October 2018, Robbins has overseen the evolution of content and franchises at one of the top entertainment brands for kids across theatrical, streaming and linear TV. Franchises such as “Paw Patrol” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reach hundreds of millions of young people around the world through TV shows, movies and consumer products, while SpongeBob SquarePants has become one of the most popular animated characters of all time.

Under Robbins’ leadership, Nickelodeon has become a driver of subscribers and engagement at Paramount+ since its launch in March 2021. Programming for young audiences, such as Paw Patrol: The Movie and the series and films in the “SpongeBob SquarePants” universe, account for a double-digit share of total streams, and the platform’s slate includes numerous highly anticipated releases from the likes of Nickelodeon’s Avatar Studios.

Prior to his appointment at Nickelodeon, Robbins served as president of Paramount Pictures’ Paramount Players division, where he worked closely with legacy-Viacom brands to identify talent and properties to be developed into co-branded feature films. Previously, Robbins co-founded the multiplatform media company Awesomeness in 2012 and served as its CEO. He also co-founded Tollin/Robbins Productions and was the Founder and president of Varsity Pictures.

Robbins has executive-produced numerous television and movie hits, including “Kenan and Kel” and “All That,” the latter of which Robbins adapted into the Nickelodeon feature film Good Burger; directed the Paramount films Varsity Blues and Hardball; executive produced “Blue Mountain State” for Spike TV (now Paramount Network); and also produced the television series “Smallville” and “One Tree Hill,” among others.

Robbins is the recipient of a Directors Guild Award, a Peabody Award and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Pioneer Prize. He is also an Emmy Award nominee.

Prior to joining Paramount, Gianopulos served as the chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment from 2000 to September 2016. In this role, he was responsible for feature film production, marketing, and global distribution of film and television content in all media. During his time as Chairman and CEO of Fox, the studio had its most profitable years ever, and in 2014, 20th Century Fox broke the all-time industry global box-office record, earning more than $5.5 billion. Gianopulos also has the distinction of having championed two of the biggest film successes in history, Titanic and Avatar.

‘A Quiet Place Part II’ Scores Third Week Atop U.K. Home Entertainment Chart

Paramount Pictures’ A Quiet Place Part II held on to score a third week at No. 1 on the U.K. Official Film Chart through Sept. 8, following its release on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

With 71% of its total this week made up of physical copies, A Quiet Place Part II denied Warner Home Video’s The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It the top spot, though the horror sequel did take the title of the week’s biggest digital download.

Oscar-winner The Father (Lionsgate) climbed four places to No. 3, thanks to its release on disc, landing just ahead of the highest new chart entry, Universal Pictures’ Nobody at No. 4.

The actioner stars Bob Odenkirk as Hutch Mansell, a dad who finds himself the target of a vengeful drug lord after he intervenes to help a woman being harassed by a group of men. The formerly non-confrontational father is then forced to head down a brutal path in order to save his family.

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David Lynch’s original 1984 Dune (Sanctuary) made a top 10 debut at No. 6 thanks to its re-release via a new 4K Ultra HD package. Finally, A Quiet Place:2-Movie Collection soared 23 places to a new peak at No. 8 thanks to its release on physical formats.

This week’s Official Film Chart online show features a preview of crime thriller The Birthday Cake starring Ewan McGregor, available to download and keep from Sept. 13.

The Official Film Chart Top 10 – Sept. 8, 2021

Rank Previous Week Movie Distributor

© Official Charts Company 2021

‘Free Guy’ Reigns Supreme Again at Weekend Box Office

Disney/20th Century Studio’s action comedy Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds, held off cute animated puppies and Hugh Jackman at the domestic box office, generating an estimated $18.8 million in revenue across more than 4,000 North American screens through Aug. 22. The tally is about 34% less than the movie’s previous weekend opening of $28.4 million. To date, the movie has generated more than $63 million in the U.S., and $112 million worldwide.

The resilient showing masked a weak overall box office that saw less than $60 million in ticket sales — the lowest weekend tally since June 20.

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In the second spot, with almost $13 million in revenue across 3,100 screens ($34.5 million globally), was Paramount Pictures’ Paw Patrol: The Movie, an impressive debut considering the target audience is under the age of 12. The animated feature crushed Warner Bros. Pictures’ Reminiscence, starring Hugh Jackman, with just $2 million in reported revenue across 3,200 screens. The movie, along with Warner’s entire 2021 theatrical slate, is streaming for free to HBO Max subscribers for the first 31 days of release.

How bad did it get for Warner? Reminiscence revenue finished behind a pack of repeat showings, including Disney’s Jungle Cruise with $6.2 million ($92.5 million worldwide); Sony Pictures’ Don’t Breathe 2 with $5 million ($19.6 million); MGM’s Respect ($3.8 million, $15.1 million); The Suicide Squad ($3.4 million, $49.2 million); Lionsgate new release The Protege ($2.9 million) and Searchlight Pictures’ opening weekend bow of The Night House at $2.8 million.

Paramount Pictures Bounces Back from 2020 COVID Quarter

With just one significant theatrical release in the quarter, Paramount Pictures was able to bounce back from a disastrous prior-year COVID quarter (ended June 30) that still undermines home entertainment.

The delayed release of A Quiet Place Part II helped increase theatrical revenue to $134 million, from just $3 million in Q2 2020. Through six months of the fiscal year, revenue is down 35%, from $170 million in the same time period in 2020.

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With the Quiet Place sequel releasing on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on July 27, and two weeks earlier digitally, its Q2 fiscal impact on retail was delayed to the third quarter.

As a result, “licensing and other” revenue decreased 17% year-over-year to $533 million due to lower home entertainment revenue as a result of the absence of theatrical releases due to the pandemic. That compared with revenue of $644 million in the prior-year when the studio filled retail channels with both new (Sonic the Hedgehog) and catalog titles.

Studio operating income in the quarter fell 38% to $72 million, from $116 million in the prior-year quarter.

Through six months, however, “licensing and other” revenue increased 19% to more than $1.5 billion, from $1.28 billion a year ago. Operating income increased 93% to $276 million, from $116 million.

‘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).

‘Black Widow’ Bites Big as Marvel Cinematic Universe Returns Atop Domestic Weekend Box Office

Disney/Marvel Studios super hero tentpole release Black Widow ended the domestic box office weekend (through July 11) as most of its Marvel predecessors did: at No. 1.

The Scarlett Johansson-starrer generated $80 million across 4,160 screens over the three-day period. The first Marvel theatrical release in two years saw $39.5 million in ticket sales on Friday July 9 — the 10th biggest opening night for a June movie release. Black Window had generated generated more than $22 million at the foreign box office entering the weekend, pushing the title’s global haul past $215 million.

The movie also generated more than $60 million on subscription streaming service Disney+, where it is available for $29.99 purchase only.

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Meanwhile, Universal Pictures’ trio of sequel releases that dominated the previous weekend’s box office continued strong, with F9: The Fast Saga generating more than $10 million, followed by The Boss Baby: Family Business with more than $8 million, and The Forever Purge with almost $7 million. Paramount Pictures’ enduring A Quiet Place Part II held strong with about $3 million — topping $150 million in domestic ticket sales.

The tallies suggest vaccinated moviegoers are returning to cinemas in greater numbers as business-as-usual returns to many public events following the pandemic — despite the increasing prevalence of the Delta variant in new COVID-19 infections.

(This story was updated on July 12)

Dan Cohen Expands Senior Management Duties at ViacomCBS

Dan Cohen, president of ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group, is adding distribution of ViacomCBS International Studios content to his group’s mandate, which will now oversee all ViacomCBS content licensing and distribution globally.

He had been named president of global distribution in June 2020, after serving as president of global content licensing at ViacomCBS since Viacom and CBS merged in December 2019.

Prior to assuming senior management duties at ViacomCBS, Cohen served as president of worldwide home entertainment and television distribution for Paramount Pictures.

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The expanded responsibilities are part of ViacomCBS’s moves announced June 23 to unify the company’s U.S. and international businesses under a simplified global leadership structure.

Separately, Chris McCarthy and Brian Robbins were each promoted to the role of president and CEO, with global oversight for their respective brand groups, MTV Entertainment Group and Nickelodeon. In addition, George Cheeks, president and CEO CBS, expanded his role to include responsibility for a global content strategy across ViacomCBS’s FTA networks around the world.

All three continue to report to Bob Bakish, president and CEO of ViacomCBS, and work closely with Raffaele Annecchino, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International.