‘The Suicide Squad’ Tops Disc Sales Charts for Second Week

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s The Suicide Squad was again 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 No. 6.

It’s the second-consecutive week in the top disc sales spots for the James Gunn-directed DC Comics adaptation about a team of supervillains who are extorted by a U.S. government agency into conducting dangerous covert operations.

The top newcomer, at No. 2 overall and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart, was Paramount’s Paw Patrol: The Movie, the big-screen version of the popular Nickelodeon animated series. It sold about 70% as many discs in its first week as Squad did in its second, with Blu-ray Disc accounting for about 37% of its total sales.

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The No. 3 overall disc seller and No. 2 Blu-ray was Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ Free Guy in its fourth week on shelves.

Rounding out the top five on both charts were Paramount’s Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins (No. 4 overall, No. 5 Blu-ray) and Universal Pictures’ F9: The Fast Saga (No. 5 overall, No. 4 Blu-ray).

Other notable newcomers in the top 20 include Decal’s Pig at No. 9 overall (No. 11 on the Blu-ray chart), and Sony Pictures’ The Crown: The Complete Fourth Season at No. 20 overall (with just 18% of its sales tally coming from Blu-ray it didn’t crack the list of top 30 Blu-rays).

Pig is an acclaimed drama that stars Nicolas Cage as a reclusive former chef who returns to the city to search for his prized truffle-hunting pig after it is stolen. It earned $3.2 million at the domestic box office.

Season four of “The Crown” is the latest installment of the Emmy-winning Netflix series about Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family.

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The Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Nov. 7 was led by Free Guy, with Universal’s Stillwater at No. 2, both up two spots from the previous week.

The previous week’s top rental, Sony Pictures’ Don’t Breathe 2, slipped to No. 3, followed by The Suicide Squad at No. 4, and Universal’s M. Night Shyamalan thriller Old maintaining the No. 5 spot.

Paw Patrol: The Movie debuted as the No. 7 rental.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 11-6-21
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 11-7-21
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 11-6-21
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 11-6-21
Sales Report for Week Ended 11-6-21
Digital Transactions Snapshot for Week Ended 11-8-21

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

Paramount Home Entertainment’s Paw Patrol: The Movie remained atop the Official Film Chart, the U.K.’s weekly home entertainment retail tracker through Nov. 10.

The live-action animation movie sold 20,000 more combined digital/disc units than its closest competitor, Warner Bros.’ The Suicide Squad, which moved up one spot to No. 2.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s F9: The Fast Saga sped up one spot to No. 3, while Disney’s Black Widow jumped six spots to No. 4, and the studio’s Jungle Cruise remained anchored at No. 5.

The week’s biggest mover was Lionsgate’s The Courier, which climbed 30 spots to No. 6. Based on a true story, Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the unassuming filed operator who is recruited into the Cold War by the British and U.S. secret services to act as their liaison and work with a Soviet officer to put an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Warner Bros.’ Space Jam: A New Legacy (No. 7) and Universal’s The Croods: A New Age (No. 8) both fell this week, landing just ahead of new entry, Paramount’s Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins (No. 9), which made its debut on digital downloads only. The film is a spin-off of the G.I. Joe series centered on the character of Snake Eyes, played by Henry Golding.

Finally, 20th Century Studios’ Free Guy rounded off the week at No. 10.

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

Rank Previous Week Movie Distributor
1 1 PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE PARAMOUNT
2 3 THE SUICIDE SQUAD WARNER
3 4 FAST & FURIOUS 9 UNIVERSAL PICTURES
4 10 BLACK WIDOW DISNEY/MARVEL
5 5 JUNGLE CRUISE DISNEY
6 36 THE COURIER LIONSGATE
7 2 SPACE JAM – A NEW LEGACY WARNER
8 6 THE CROODS – A NEW AGE UNIVERSAL
9 NEW SNAKE EYES – GI JOE ORIGINS PARAMOUNT
10 8 FREE GUY 20TH CENTURY

© Official Charts Company 2021

ViacomCBS CEO: Paramount Sticking With Multiple Theatrical Windows

With accelerated access to Paramount Pictures’ theatrical releases driving subscriber growth at Paramount+, the studio might appear eager to shorten the theatrical window to as little as 17 days (three weekends) as Universal Pictures does on select movies.

That was the question posed to ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish on the media giant’s Nov. 4 fiscal call. Bakish, who is staking much of the company’s future on streaming, including ad-supported VOD and free ad-supported streaming television (FAST), said the popularity of streaming and a resurging box office underscore the need to apply a multiple-release strategy on theatrical movies.

Paramount is employing the new industry standard 45-day theatrical window on most releases (shortened from 90 days), while mixing in shorter windows for select titles (i.e. A Quiet Place Part II), and concurrent streaming access on Paramount+ for others (Paw Patrol: The Movie).

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A Quiet Place Part II generated almost $300 million at the global box office, including $160 million at domestic screens, while being offered early on Paramount+. Paw Patrol: The Movie generated $128 million globally, including $40 million domestically, while streaming concurrently on the SVOD since its box office debut.

In the third quarter, Paramount deployed three different release models for theatrical titles, including “exclusive premier,” “day-and-date,” and “45-day window.”

“We’re experimenting with a bunch of [release] models on the Paramount+ side based on what we think is best for a specific film, obviously keeping in mind all the constituents involved in that,” Bakish said.

“The reality is, we see them all work,” he said. “So, it’s not a question of moving away one [window] or the other. We’re going to continue to optimize on a per-film basis. We’re definitely not moving off the ’45-day fast fall.'”

Bakish reiterated that the Quiet Place sequel performed well at the box office, despite the pandemic, while also driving Paramount+ subs. The executive said this weekend’s (Nov. 5) theatrical release, Clifford the Big Red Dog, would stream concurrently on Paramount+.

“We think [the] kids and family [market] in this continued COVID time, [that] these films are right for day-and-date release,” he said.

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
1 NEW PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE PARAMOUNT
2 9 SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY WARNER
3 NEW THE SUICIDE SQUAD WARNER
4 1 F9: THE FAST SAGA UNIVERSAL
5 3 JUNGLE CRUISE DISNEY
6 2 THE CROODS: A NEW AGE UNIVERSAL
7 8 OLD UNIVERSAL
8 4 FREE GUY 20TH CENTURY
9 5 VENOM SONY PICTURES
10 7 BLACK WIDOW DISNEY/MARVEL

© Official Charts Company 2021

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.”

‘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.

Nickelodeon CEO Not Worried About Disney+

In the lucrative battle for children streamers of video content, Nickelodeon features a character line-up (SpongeBob SquarePants, Paw Patrol, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, iCarly) more than capable of competing against Disney and its branded Disney+ SVOD platform, said CEO Brian Robbins, who is also chief content officer of kids and family at Paramount+.

According to Nielsen, children from 2 to 11 years of age are watching 11+ hours of content weekly on connected streaming devices. Speaking Aug. 20 on “CNBC Squawk Box,” Robbins said SpongeBob SquarePants characters are being spun-off in separate series and movies on Paramount+.

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“It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” Robbins said. “SpongeBob is truly ubiquitous. He might be the most popular animated character of all time.”

Robbins said ViacomCBS remains “excited” about the launch of Paramount+, and the Aug. 20 theatrical debut of Paw Patrol: The Movie, which the executive says is a preschool juggernaut.

“It’s the biggest preschool franchise in the world,” he said. “We want to continue to leverage our biggest franchises into direct-to-consumer relationships with our audiences.”

Relationships that include consumer products and amusement rides.

“That’s the case with ‘Paw Patrol,’ it’s not only the biggest preschool show for us, it’s a CPG juggernaut for us,” Robbins said.

When asked about kid-friendly Disney+, which ended its most recent fiscal period with 116 million subscribers worldwide, the executive said the kids market is big enough for multiple players.

“Kids are enormous consumers of content … they seek out what they want,” Robbins said. “Sometimes that’s going to be on Disney+ and that’s OK, a lot of the time it’s going to be on Nickelodeon and Paramount+.”

Weekend Box Office: Can ‘Free Guy’ Hold Off ‘Paw Patrol’?

NEWS ANALYSIS — Disney’s 20th Century Studios release Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds as a bank teller who discovers he’s a character in a video game, dominated last weekend’s domestic box office, generating more than $28 million in its theatrical debut ($60 million globally).

With a high approval score on social media and among movie critics, Free Guy would appear a lock to again top weekend ticket sales through Aug. 22, especially since Disney is not concurrently offering the movie on Premier Access as it did for Jungle Cruise and Black Widow. The movie is projected to generate more than $15 million at U.S. screens.

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But Paramount Pictures’ Paw Patrol: The Movie aims to change that trajectory. The adventure comedy is the biggest animated theatrical release since Universal Pictures’ The Boss Baby: Family Business on July 1, which generated $16 million its opening weekend, and Warner Bros. Pictures’ animation/live-action hybrid Space Jam: A New Legacy, which scored $31 million in its opening July 18 weekend.

In addition to strong social media approval, Paw Patrol is a venerable brand for Nickelodeon through ongoing TV series and consumer products. The movie is projected to generate $14 million in domestic ticket sales.

In a recent National CineMedia and Screenvision Media consumer survey through Aug. 2, 79% of respondents were not overly concerned about the new Delta variant. Another 87% said they have seen a movie in the theater this year and plan to go to the movie theater between now and the end of this year.

The survey also found that moviegoers are outpacing the general population for being fully vaccinated (82% vs. 61% national average at the time of the survey).

Other new releases include Warner’s Reminiscence, which is also streaming for free on HBO Max; Searchlight Pictures’ horror film The Night House; and Lionsgate’s The Protégé.

Returning titles include Jungle Cruise, MGM/United Artists’ Aretha Franklin biopic Respect; Sony Pictures’ Don’t Breathe 2; Warner’s The Suicide Squad, and Universal Pictures’ Old.