JustWatch: ‘Halloween,’ ‘Squid Game’ Top Movie, TV Show Streamed Through Oct. 17

With Halloween Kills dominating the domestic weekend box office, new data from JustWatch finds that Universal Pictures’ 2018 prequel Halloween, along with Netflix’s South Korean horror series, “Squid Game,” spearheaded consumer streaming through Oct. 17. The company’s international streaming guide tracks more than 20 million users per month across 54 countries.

Other top-streamed movies included 20th Century Film’s Free Guy and 1996’s Scream, starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, and Skeet Ulrich. Both topped Halloween Kills, which was available free to Peacock subscribers.

Top TV shows included Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building” and “Ghosts” on CBS (Paramount+).

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‘American Insurrection’ Due on Digital and DVD Dec. 7

The action thriller American Insurrection will be released on digital, on demand and DVD Dec. 7 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

In the film, after a powerful militia seizes control of the United States, a group of friends attempt to escape the escalating violence and oppression. They must move undetected as their only hope is to cross a heavily guarded border. But as the militia closes in, the friends will need to do whatever it takes to survive.

Directed by William Sullivan, the film stars Nadine Malouf, Nick Westrate, Brandon Perea, Sarah Wharton, Jarret Kerr, Toby Leonard Moore and Michael Raymond-James.

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Restored Warren Beatty Films ‘Reds’ and ‘Heaven Can Wait’ Due on Blu-ray Nov. 30

Two restored Warren Beatty films, Reds and Heaven Can Wait, are being released on Blu-ray Disc Nov. 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Beatty stars in (as well as produces, co-writes, and co-directs) the comedy Heaven Can Wait, which has been fully restored and remastered from the original negative under Beatty’s supervision.

Directed by Beatty and Buck Henry, with a screenplay by Elaine May and Beatty, the film also stars Julie Christie, James Mason, Charles Grodin, Dyan Cannon, Buck Henry, Vincent Gardenia and Jack Warden.  The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Beatty and Henry), Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Beatty and May), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Beatty), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Warden), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Cannon), and more.

The film follows Joe Pendleton (Beatty), a Los Angeles Rams backup quarterback ready to lead the team all the way to the Super Bowl until an overzealous guardian angel prematurely plucks him from the living. When he’s returned to Earth in the body of millionaire industrialist Leo Farnsworth, he inherits a world of challenges, including winning the love of a woman (Christie) who hates Farnsworth.

The Blu-ray includes the feature film in high-definition and access to a digital copy of the film.

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Directed, co-written, produced by and starring Beatty, Reds celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The story of a radical American journalist embroiled in the Bolshevik revolution  was originally released on Dec. 25, 1981. Paramount will release the film in a two-disc Blu-ray set, newly restored under Beatty’s supervision. The film was restored and remastered from the original negative in 4K with high dynamic range using a vintage print from the Paramount archives as a reference, which was approved by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.

Punctuated by interviews with real-life activists and witnesses to the revolution, Reds depicts the love story between activists John Reed (Beatty) and Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton) set against the outbreak of World War I and the rise of communism in Russia.  In addition to Keaton and Beatty, the film’s cast includes Jack Nicholson, Edward Herrmann, Gene Hackman, Paul Sorvino and Maureen Stapleton, whose performance won her an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

The film garnered 12 Academy Award nominations and won three, including Best Director for Beatty. The Oscar-nominated screenplay was written by Beatty and Trevor Griffiths.

The new Blu-ray set includes more than an hour of legacy bonus content, as well as access to a digital copy of the film.

Classic Comedy ‘Harold and Maude’ Joining ‘Paramount Presents’ Line Dec. 7

The coming-of-age comedy classic Harold and Maude arrives on Blu-ray Disc Dec. 7 as part of the “Paramount Presents” line from Paramount Home Entertainment.

In the 1971 film, directed by Hal Ashby and written by Colin Higgins, Harold (Bud Cort) is a death-obsessed teen who falls for Maude (Ruth Gordon), a happy-go-lucky, eccentric 79-year-old. To a lilting Yusuf/Cat Stevens soundtrack, Maude teaches Harold a valuable lesson about making the most of his time on earth.

Originally released on Dec. 20, 1971, the film celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and has been restored and remastered for the limited-edition release.  For the restoration, the original negative was scanned in 4K and careful color correction and cleanup were undertaken to pay homage to director of photography John Alonzo’s work and honor the look of the film, according to Paramount. In addition, the soundtrack was completely remixed using recently discovered tracks to add clarity and depth.

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The “Paramount Presents” Blu-ray includes a new commentary with Larry Karaszewski (co-screenwriter, Ed Wood; co-screenwriter, Dolemite Is My Name) and writer-director Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous), as well as a look at the film featuring Yusuf/Cat Stevens, who composed and performed the songs for the movie.

Harold and Maude is presented in collectible packaging featuring a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments.

Paramount+, Showtime OTT Bundle Services

Taking a page from the Disney streaming playbook, ViacomCBS Sept. 21 announced it is bundling Paramount+ and Showtime OTT with special introductory prices available for a limited time at both subscription tiers — $9.99 per month for Showtime and the Paramount+ Essential Plan (with ads) and $12.99 per month for Showtime and the Paramount+ Premium Plan (without ads).

The two platforms combined for 42 million subscribers during the most-recent fiscal period.

The ad-supported Essential Plan combines marquee sports, including NFL games and more than 2,000 soccer matches each year, with on-demand entertainment options spanning the full suite of current and upcoming shows and movies, as well as breaking news through CBSN. The Premium Plan features commercial-free, on-demand entertainment with 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision and mobile downloads; an extended roster of must-watch sports; and live streams of local affiliates in over 200 markets across the United States.

“Paramount+ and Showtime are both experiencing tremendous growth and momentum, and we expect this competitively priced bundle to only further expand the reach of both services,” Tom Ryan, CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming, said in a statement.

Showtime, which launched in 1976 as a movie distribution channel along with HBO and Cinemax, continues to make its mark across the cultural landscape with lineups in original television programming, including series “Billions,” “Your Honor,” “The Chi,” “Dexter,” “The L Word: Generation Q,” “City on a Hill,” “Work in Progress,” “Flatbush Misdemeanors”, “American Trust” and “Back to Life,” along with limited series “The Good Love Bird” and “The Comey Rule.”

Unscripted programming includes late-night shows “Desus & Mero” and “Ziwe.” Recent lauded docuseries and documentary films include “Couples Therapy,” “Love Fraud,” “Outcry,” “UFO,” “Kingdom of Silence” and “Belushi,” as well as Emmy-winning news series “Vice,” and political documentary series “The Circus.” Upcoming programming premiering later this year includes “Dexter: New Blood” and “Yellowjackets.” The service provides premium entertainment via 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision and mobile downloads.

Scorsese’s ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Coming to 4K Ultra HD Dec. 14

Director Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street arrives on 4K Ultra HD for the first time Dec. 14  from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Scorsese), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jonah Hill) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Terence Winter), the 2013 film earned more than $390 million worldwide.

DiCaprio plays a young, hungry and corrupt stockbroker in the story of Wall Street excess. In addition to Hill, the supporting cast also includes Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner and Jean Dujardin.

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The 4K Ultra HD release features a new film transfer supervised by Scorsese. The disc includes access to a digital copy of the film and previously released bonus content, including “The Wolf Pack,” “Running Wild” and “The Wolf of Wall Street Round Table.”

The Wolf of Wall Street will also be available on 4K Ultra HD in a limited-edition Steelbook.

ViacomCBS CFO: ‘Paw Patrol’ Concurrent Release on Paramount+ Upped Title’s Box Office Haul

ViacomCBS streaming platform Paramount+ may be late to the SVOD party, but the service is taking giant steps to reach scale and market penetration in the United States and worldwide.

Borrowing a strategic page from other media companies, ViacomCBS is intertwining movie and TV production, in addition to distribution, around streaming with a goal of enhancing existing linear and developing digital pathways to the consumer.

Speaking Sept. 14 at the virtual Banc of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference, CFO Naveen Chopra said Paramount Pictures’ releases would continue to be a vital component to the media company’s ability to connect with audiences.

ViacomCBS CFO Naveen Chopra

“Movies have always had the ability to be monetized through multiple channels, and the difference today is that we have more distribution options for our films than we’ve ever had,” Chopra said. “And you’re starting to see us take advantage of that.”

Indeed, with the recent theatrical release of animated movie Paw Patrol: The Movie, ViacomCBS made the popular children’s series’ first feature film adaptation simultaneously available for free to Paramount+ subscribers.

The title has generated $92.6 million at the global box office, including $35 million in the U.S., since its Aug. 20 debut.

Paw Patrol’s box office results actually exceeded studio expectations when we thought the movie would be an exclusive theatrical release [pre-pandemic],” Chopra said. “The simultaneous release on P+ was very synergistic. The streaming release definitely helped drive awareness and interest in seeing the movie in the theater. And the theatrical release did a lot to [market] the movie on Paramount+, and really drove it very quickly to become the most-watched originals we have released on the service.”

The CFO said the streaming service also enhanced the movie requisite ties with consumer products and toys entering the winter holiday period. That said, Chopra reiterated that incorporating streaming with theatrical is not a “one-size fits all” approach.

He said the box office sequel A Quiet Place Part II realized an exclusive 45-day theatrical window before streaming on Paramount+, while titles such as Infinite and the pending new “Paranormal Activity” release will debut on the SVOD platform.

“What we’re doing is looking at our films on a case-by-case basis, and we’re trying to optimize, based on the specifics of the movie, other constituents that are involved, and the realities of the pandemic,” Chopra said. “We’re trying to make the best decisions for each of those movies, and so far, I think it has worked very well.”

Indeed, major box office releases Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible 7, both starring Tom Cruise, have been further delayed into 2022.

“The fact is, the theatrical environment is still very dynamic, and very different in different parts of the world,” Chopra said. “And in order to really maximize the value of those assets, it makes sense to wait.”

Paramount Set to Hand Studio Reins to Nickelodeon Boss Brian Robbins

Paramount Pictures reportedly plans to name Brian Robbins, president of kids and family entertainment for ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks, to run the famed studio — replacing Jim Gianopulos, who has headed Paramount since 2017. Gianopulos will assist in the transition, which is expected to announced next week.

Jim Gianopulos

First reported by The Wall Street Journal, the expected management change — at the behest of ViacomCBS chairman Sharri Redstone — comes as Paramount grapples with the ongoing pandemic, rollout of branded Paramount+ streaming service, licensing feature films to third-party SVOD platforms, and delaying theatrical releases of benchmark Tom Cruise titles Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible 7, among other issues.

The studio recently filed a $100 million lawsuit against the insurer of Mission: Impossible 7, alleging Federal Insurance Company has paid out just $5 million to cover talent losses associated with the movie’s production delays.

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Sci-Fi Thriller ‘Zone 414’ Due on Digital, DVD and On Demand Nov. 2

The sci-fi thriller Zone 414 will come out on digital, DVD and on demand Nov. 2 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Guy Pearce, Matilda Lutz and Travis Fimmel star in the film set in Zone 414, a dangerous, dark colony of humanoids known as “the city of robots.” The colony’s creator (Fimmel) hires private investigator David Carmichael (Pearce) to track down his missing daughter. David teams up with Jane (Lutz), a highly advanced A.I. equipped with the same technology of her fellow humanoids, but with all the emotions, feelings and dreams of a human being. They travel through the city uncovering clues and a crime that calls into question the origins and true purpose behind the city of artificial humans.

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‘Ragtime’ Coming to Paramount Presents Blu-ray Line Nov. 16

Director Milos Forman’s epic Ragtime arrives for its 40th anniversary in a limited-edition two-disc Blu-ray as part of the Paramount Presents line on Nov. 16 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Based on E.L. Doctorow’s best-selling novel, Ragtime tells the story of disparate characters in New York City in the early 1900s. From the emerging New York suburb of New Rochelle to the flashy spectacle of Atlantic City, a family faces racial tensions, scandals and violence that will test everything they believe in. With music by Randy Newman, the film stars James Cagney, Brad Dourif, Moses Gunn, Elizabeth McGovern, Kenneth McMillan, Pat O’Brien, Donald O’Connor, James Olson, Mandy Patinkin, Howard E. Rollins, Jr., Mary Steenburgen, Debbie Allen, Jeff Daniels, Fran Drescher, Samuel L. Jackson, Norman Mailer and John Ratzenberger.

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The film has been remastered from a 4K film transfer and is presented in collectible packaging featuring a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments. The two-disc Blu-ray includes a newly discovered director’s cut workprint version of the film (along with the theatrical version), deleted and extended scenes, a look back at Ragtime with Larry Karaszewski and screenwriter Michael Weller, access to a digital copy of the theatrical version, and commentary by Forman and executive producer Michael Hausman.