Horror Thriller ‘Margaux’ Due on Digital Sept. 9

The horror thriller Margaux will be released on digital Sept. 9 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

In the film ,as a group of seniors celebrate their final college days at a smart house, the house’s highly advanced AI system Margaux begins to take on a deadly presence of her own. A carefree weekend of partying turns into a dystopian nightmare as they realize Margaux’s plans to eliminate her tenants one way or another. Time begins to run out as the group desperately tries to survive and outsmart the smart home.

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The film stars Madison Pettis, Vanessa Morgan, Richard Harmon, Lochlyn Munro, Jedidiah Goodacre, Phoebe Miu, Jordan Buhat, Brittany Mitchell and Louis Lay.

 

Walmart Revisiting Streaming Video?

Walmart reportedly has held talks with subscription streaming video giants Disney+, Paramount+ and Peacock about incorporating the platforms in its e-commerce shopping service Walmart+, which costs $12.95 per month and features free shipping, fuel discounts and a free six-month subscription to the Spotify music service.

According to The New York Times, which cited sources familiar with the situation, Walmart appears interested in emulating marketing agreements Disney+ and Paramount+ have with Verizon and T-Mobile offering their wireless subscribers limited free SVOD access.

Piggybacking on the Walmart brand could pay dividends for NBCUniversal-owned Peacock, which has struggled generating subscribers. In addition, Walmart could sustain domestic subscriber growth at a time when SVOD expansion is primarily happening abroad.

While nothing definitive has resulted in the talks, Walmart has an underwhelming track record in streaming video. The world’s largest retailer in 2010 bought the online movie retail site Vudu for a reported $100 million. It sold the platform 10 years later to Fandango for an undisclosed amount.

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Animated ‘Rumble’ Headed to Digital Aug. 30, Disc Oct. 18

The animated family comedy Rumble arrives for purchase on digital Aug. 30 and on Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 18 from Paramount Home Entertainment. 

Based on the popular graphic novel Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell, the film is set in a world where monster wrestling is a global sport and superstar athletes are larger than life. Teenage Winnie (voice of Geraldine Viswanathan) teams up with a loveable underdog monster (voice of Will Arnett) in hopes of training him to be a champion. The duo learns the value paving your own unique path to success.

Rumble also features the voice talents of Terry Crews, NBA All-Star Charles Barkley, and WWE professional wrestlers Joe “Roman Reigns” Anoai and Becky Lynch. 

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Special features on digital and Blu-ray include “The Super-Secret Playbook,” in which Winnie (Viswanathan) narrates an exploration of her dad’s championship-winning plays for Rayburn, Sr., with pages that turn and reveal moves with fully animated wrestlers that leap off the pages; “The Mon-Stars of Wrestling,” featuring the hulking behemoths inside the six-sided Monster Wrestling ring; “Salsa with Rayburn, Jr.,” a tutorial in which Rayburn invites viewers to learn some of his signature moves step-by-step; “Massive Monsters, Wrestling Moves, and Dazzling Dances,” in which director Hamish Grieve offers a behind-the-scenes look at creating the monsters, their textures and their signature arsenal of moves; “Four Rounds in the Animation Ring”; and deleted scenes.

First Season of ‘Mayor of Kingstown’ Headed to DVD and Blu-ray Sept. 27

Season one of the dramatic series “Mayor of Kingstown” arrives on Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 27 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Starring Jeremy Renner and hailing from “Yellowstone” co-creator and Academy Award nominee Taylor Sheridan and Hugh Dillon, the series follows the McLusky family, power brokers in Kingstown, Mich., where the business of incarceration is the only thriving industry. Tackling themes of systemic racism, corruption and inequality, the series provides a stark look at their attempt to bring order and justice to a town that has neither.

The original drama series produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios first launched in November 2021 with “Yellowstone” serving as a launchpad airing a special simulcast event for the series’ premiere on Paramount Network. The premiere of  “Mayor of Kingstown” was the No. 1 original scripted drama on Paramount+ since the rebrand and cable’s biggest new scripted premiere since “Yellowstone” in June 2018 with 2.6 million total viewers, according to Paramount.

The disc release includes all 10 uncensored episodes from the inaugural season, along with more than two hours of special features, including “Behind the Story” segments for each episode; “Perdition: Making ‘Mayor of Kingstown'”; “Zero Sum Game: The Finale”; “Inside ‘Mayor of Kingstown'”; character spots; and the cast’s favorite scenes.

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In addition to Renner, the first season stars Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest, Emmy Award winner Kyle Chandler, Hugh Dillon, Taylor Handley, Emma Laird, Tobi Bamtefa, Derek Webster, Hamish Allan-Headley, Pha’rez Lass and Aidan Gillen.

‘Doctor Strange 2,’ ‘Lost City’ Debut Atop Disc Sales Charts

When there aren’t many notable DVD and Blu-ray releases for a few weeks, it doesn’t take much for big newcomers to take over the national sales charts.

The week ended July 30 saw a few such titles dominate the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart.

At No. 1 on both charts was Disney-owned Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange and the 28th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon. The movie finds Benedict Cumberbatch reprising his role as the master of the mystic arts, now tasked with preventing a malevolent force from capturing a young girl who hs the power to travel between the realms of the multiverse. It earned $411 million at the domestic box office.

No. 2 on both charts, selling 58% as many copies as the top seller, was Paramount’s The Lost City, a romantic comedy adventure movie starring Sandra Bullock as a novelist who is kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who wants her help finding a treasure described in her book, prompting her dimwitted cover model (Channing Tatum) to hatch a rescue plan. It earned $105 million at the domestic box office.

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Another July 26 disc release, Warner’s Green Lantern: Beware My Power, debuted at No. 4 on the overall disc sales chart at about 15% of the top title. It was No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart. The direct-to-video release is the latest animated film based on DC Comics characters.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 72% of total Doctor Strange unit sales, with 36% regular Blu-ray and 36% 4K Ultra HD. For Lost City, it was 34% regular Blu-ray and 9% 4K for a total of 43% in HD. Green Lantern had 56% of its sales from HD formats, with 44% regular Blu-ray and 12% 4K.

Those were the only new releases for the week to crack the top 50 overall sellers.

The top seller for three of the previous four weeks, Warner’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, slid to No. 3 on the overall chart and No. 4 on the Blu-ray Disc chart.

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The Media Play News rental chart the week ended July 31 had Lost City in the top spot.

The Redbox-exclusive Vertical Entertainment thriller Last Seen Alive slipped to No. 2, Universal Pictures’ The Bad Guys remained No. 3, Universal’s Memory slipped to No. 4, and Sony Pictures’ Morbius was No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 7-30-22
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 7-31-22
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 7-30-22
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 7-30-22

 

CEO Bob Bakish: IPL Cricket Key to Paramount+ Indian Launch in 2023

When Viacom18 — which is 49% owned by Paramount Global — earlier this year paid 205 billion rupees ($2.6 billion) for the streaming rights to the Indian Premier League (IPL) covering 410 cricket matches over a five-year period, the move was seen as a potential blow to Disney+ — and a win for Paramount+.

Speaking Aug. 4 on the fiscal call, Bob Bakish, CEO of Paramount Global, reiterated why the media giant and The Walt Disney Co. spent a combined $5.6 billion on rights to a sport most Americans have never heard of.

“Cricket is at the top of the food chain in India,” Bakish said.

Indeed, since the launch of Disney+ in late 2019, the IPL has played a key role in the SVOD’s burgeoning subscriber growth. Disney acquired the cricket rights through its acquisition of 20th Century Fox Studios from Fox Corp. The studio’s Hotstar streaming platform currently holds the IPL rights. Disney retains the linear rights.

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How that plays out for Disney+ is the $64,000 question. Currently Hotstar with the IPL represents more than 50 million Disney+ subscribers, or almost 37% of the SVOD’s subscriber base. Without the IPL, that percentage is likely to plummet and shrinking the Disney+ global subscriber base significantly.

Bakish said Paramount+ plans to offer cricket as part of a “hard bundle” tiered pricing plan, benefiting from the association while not directly investing financially as a distributor.

“It will be a real engine for streaming,” Bakish said. “And Paramount+ will benefit by being part of that…because we get the very material benefit of cricket.”

Paramount Global Q2 Streaming Sub Count Reduced to 64M After 3.9M Russian Sub Loss

Paramount Global’s strategic shift into direct-to-consumer distribution of movies and television shows continues to resonate with consumers.

The media giant Aug. 4 reported it ended the second quarter (ended June 30) with nearly 64 million streaming video subscribers across its Paramount+, Showtime Anytime, BET+ and Noggin platforms. That was after the removal of 3.9 million Russian subscribers when Paramount halted business operations in the country following its government’s unprovoked invasion of the Ukraine. Paramount ended Q1 with more than 62 million SVOD subs worldwide.

Specifically, Paramount+ added 4.9 million subs in Q2 to end the quarter with more than 43 million subs, which included the removal of 1.2 million Russia subscribers.

Paramount+ saw strong acquisition and engagement from a variety of
content led by “Halo,” “Yellowstone” prequel, “1883,” movies The Lost City, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Jackass Forever, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and the UEFA Champions League soccer tournament.

Paramount said its branded SVOD service (formerly CBS All Access) captured the most sign-ups, gross and net subscriber additions of any premium domestic streaming service in the quarter, citing Antenna’s June 2022 Report. Subscriber growth was partially driven by international market launches, including the U.K., Ireland and South Korea.

Separately, Paramount’s ad-supported VOD service Pluto TV saw its global monthly active users (MAUs) approach nearly 70 million, which the media company said is tops among all AVOD platforms in the U.S., including rival Fox Entertainment’s Tubi platform. The AVOD platform added 2.1 million MAUs in the quarter.

Pluto TV grew total global viewing hours by double digits year-over-year for the second consecutive quarter. The platform expanded its international presence, launching in the Nordics in partnership with Viaplay Group and announced partnership with Corus in Canada, which will launch later this year.

Direct-to-consumer revenue increased 56% year-over-year to $1.2 billion from $767 million in the previous-year period. Subscription revenue grew 74% year-over-year to $830 million from $476 million, principally
reflecting paid subscriber growth at Paramount+.

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The segment’s advertising revenue rose 25% year-over-year to $363 million from $291 million, reflecting growth from Paramount+ and Pluto TV, driven by increased impressions on both services. Paramount+ revenue alone grew 120%.

Paramount still believes the DTC business unit is on track to generate 100 million subscribers and $9 billion in revenue by 2024, with operating losses increasing in 2023 before moving toward profitability.

At the same time, growth across the DTC business unit impacted the bottom line. Adjusted pre-tax earnings in the quarter decreased $302 million to an expanded loss of $445 million compared to a pre-tax loss of $143 million last year.

“In Q2, we grew total company revenue by 19% and took market share in streaming, in broadcast TV, in box office and in upfront dollars, all while increasing our penetration of the most important growth market in media—streaming,” Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement.

‘Lost City’ Located Atop Redbox Disc Rental Chart

Paramount’s The Lost City took over the top spot on the Redbox disc rental chart the week ended July 31. The romantic adventure comedy stars Sandra Bullock as a novelist who is kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who wants her help finding an exotic treasure, prompting the dimwitted cover model (Channing Tatum) from her books to try to rescue her. It was up two spots to No. 3 on the Redbox On Demand chart.

Another Channing Tatum movie, MGM’s Dog, climbed to No. 1 on the Redbox On Demand chart after being labeled a “Hot Deal” by Redbox. It was No. 8 on the disc chart.

Vertical Entertainment’s action-thriller Last Seen Alive dropped to No. 2 on the Redbox disc rental chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at Redbox’s thousands of red kiosks, and slipped to No. 5 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital VOD and sellthrough transactions. The film stars Gerard Butler as a man searching for his estranged wife after she mysteriously disappears during a stop at a gas station. It is available on disc exclusively from Redbox until its wide release Aug. 9.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s The Bad Guys held the No. 3 spot on the Redbox disc rental chart. The film from DreamWorks Animation is based on the Scholastic children’s graphic novels of the same name, and follows five villainous friends who set out to fool the world into believing they’ve gone good. It was the No. 4 digital title again as well.

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Universal Pictures’s Memory dropped to No. 4 on the disc chart, and was down to No. 10 on the Redbox On Demand chart. Memory stars Liam Neeson as an expert assassin caught in a moral quagmire.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s comic book adaptation Morbius dropped to No. 5 on the Redbox disc rental chart and dropped a spot to No. 9 on the Redbox On Demand chart.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Jurassic World: Dominion slipped to No. 2 on the Redbox On Demand chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended July 31:

  1. The Lost City — Paramount
  2. Last Seen Alive — Redbox
  3. The Bad Guys — Universal
  4. Memory — Universal
  5. Morbius — Sony Pictures
  6. Uncharted — Sony Pictures
  7. Everything Everywhere All at Once — Lionsgate
  8. Dog — Warner/MGM
  9. The Forgiven — Redbox
  10. Father Stu — Sony Pictures

 

Top Digital (VOD + Sellthrough), Redbox On Demand, Week Ended July 31:

  1. Dog — Warner/MGM
  2. Jurassic World: Dominion — Universal
  3. The Lost City — Paramount
  4. The Bad Guys — Universal
  5. Last Seen Alive — Redbox
  6. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — Disney/Marvel
  7. The Black Phone — Universal
  8. Uncharted — Sony Pictures
  9. Morbius — Sony Pictures
  10. Memory — Universal

 

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Paramount+ Joining ‘The Roku Channel’ as a Premium Subscription Service

Roku Aug. 3 announced that Paramount+ will launch as a Premium Subscription within The Roku Channel later this month. The launch will make Paramount’s ad/subscription streaming platform accessible directly to consumers within The Roku Channel.

Users can subscribe to Paramount+ for $4.99 monthly with ads or $9.99 monthly without ads.

Roku has created a dedicated Live TV Guide for all Paramount+ live content, marking the first time a dedicated programming guide for a third-party streaming partner has been created. Consumers will be able to access Paramount’s live content all in one place. This includes marquee sports, such as “The NFL on CBS” and UEFA, as well as breaking news from CBS News Network and the latest in entertainment news from “Entertainment Tonight”.  Premium subscribers also have access to their local live CBS station, which includes the live stream of events and specials.

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The addition of Paramount+ to The Roku Channel will also mark the first time that live sports content will be available on the platform.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Paramount+ in its continued growth, and for the ability to provide our audience with easy access to its extraordinary breath of content, IP and live news and sporting events” Rob Holmes, VP of programming, said in a statement.

The Roku Channel offers subscriptions from more than 50 services. It allows users to use a unified one-click experience and enables simple subscription management with a single monthly bill. Users of The Roku Channel can now browse Paramount+ content before signing up, then enjoy a free seven-day trial with one click and no extra apps or other fees required. Once registered, users can watch Paramount+ content from within The Roku Channel.

The Roku Channel also features a diverse lineup of more than 80,000 free movies and programs (with ads) and more than 300 linear television channels in the U.S. It licenses and distributes content from more than 300 partners. In Q4 2021, The Roku Channel reached U.S. households with an estimated 80 million people. The Roku Channel was a top five channel on the Roku platform in the U.S. by active account reach and streaming hour engagement in Q2 2022.

Paramount+ Renews Original Series ‘iCarly’ for Third Season

Paramount+ has renewed original series”iCarly” reboot for a third season.

The 10-episode second season completed its run earlier this spring with a cliffhanger. Season three will go into production later this year and will premiere in 2023 exclusively on Paramount+ around the world.

“iCarly’s loyal fan base grew up with Carly, Spencer and Freddie, and have now fallen in love with Harper and Millicent, too,” said Tanya Giles, chief programming officer of streaming for Paramount+, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to have Miranda, Jerry, Nathan, Laci and Jaidyn return for a third season and we know Paramount+’s growing YA audience is as well. And I, for one, must find out what happens with #Creddie.”

Seasons one and two of the new “iCarly” are available to stream exclusively on Paramount+. All seasons of the original are also available on the streaming platform.

“iCarly” stars Miranda Cosgrove as Carly, Jerry Trainor as Spencer, Nathan Kress as Freddie, Laci Mosley as Harper and Jaidyn Triplett as Millicent. “iCarly” for Paramount+ is produced by Nickelodeon Studios.

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Nickelodeon’s original “iCarly” series, which ran from 2007-2012, followed a group of best friends as they created a webcast for and about kids their age while grappling with everyday problems and adventures.