Disney Partners With Postable to Promote ‘Luca’ Home Entertainment Release

Disney is partnering with Postable to promote the transactional digital, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc, Blu-ray and DVD release of Pixar Animation’s Luca on Aug. 3.

To help market the retail release, Disney and Pixar are celebrating International Friendship Day by partnering with the online postcard snail mail sender to help friends say “ciao.” Movie fans can send physical postcards featuring movie characters Luca, Alberto and Giulia, with four greeting options each showing appreciation for companionship, adventure and acceptance while supplies last.

To send a Luca postcard, consumers can visit https://www.postable.com/luca, type a personal message, add their name and address, and Postable will mail the postcard free of charge.

Disney has also released a new Luca in-home trailer, which includes two alternate openings, deleted scenes and related bonus features.

Set in a seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Luca is a coming-of-age story about a young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer. Luca shares his amazing adventures with his friend Alberto. But their fun is threatened by a deeply held secret: They’re sea monsters from a world below the water’s surface.

Disney first released the erstwhile theatrical release June 18 exclusively to Disney+ subscribers for free.

Report: Disney’s ‘Soul’ Top-Streamed Movie in the Past Seven Months

New data from Samba TV finds the Dec. 25, 2020 debut of Disney/Pixar’s Soul remains the most-streamed movie in the past seven months — topping Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat and Amazon Prime Video’s Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm, among others.

Fallout from the pandemic has seen Hollywood alter traditional movie distribution to include direct-to-streaming launches for new titles. Disney and WarnerMedia have led the move, followed by Hulu, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video.

Warner is releasing its entire 2021 theatrical slate on HBO Max concurrently with box office rollout.

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Direct-to-streaming movies continued to roll out, with major blockbusters hitting living room screens the same day as, or even before, their theatrical debuts across all major platforms. While Soul and WW84 continued to lead the pack from the fourth quarter of 2020 over both their three-day premiere window and for 30 days after, March held some huge debuts as well, with HBO Max’s Zack Snyder’s The Justice League and Godzilla vs. Kong seeing sizable three-day viewership tallies.

Through the end of the first quarter, Soul had generated more than 5.8 million household views, followed by WW84 with 4.3 million. Mortal Kombat started strong with 3.6 million households since its April 23 launch. Detective drama The Little Things has slightly more than 3 million households.

Pay-TV Viewership Decline Continues

Separately, according to Samba TV’s analysis, there was a 10% quarter-over-quarter decline in the daily average number of TV-viewing U.S. households consuming linear-TV, along with a 14% decline in total minutes viewed. Every month since November has progressively seen lower daily average U.S. household tune-ins than the previous month.

On top of that, linear-TV advertising impressions were down year-over-year across the U.S., U.K., and Germany showing that demonstrates that the industry has not quite returned to pre-pandemic levels and likely will continue to shift to digital as viewers increase time-shifting and streaming behaviors.

Interest in premium linear content is down: The average number of households that watched Showtime, HBO and Starz each day in the first quarter of 2021 was lower than it was in the fourth quarter of 2020. Starz saw the steepest drop-off at -21%, followed by HBO (-17%) and Showtime (-6%).

Linear-TV losses were widespread: 81% of U.S. TV networks saw quarter-over-quarter declines based on average daily household. Live sports continued its viewership slide as well. Q1 2021 was full of major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, but overall sports viewership continued to decline year-over-year, which started with the stoppage of major sports leagues in March.

Report: More Than 3 Million U.S. Households Streamed ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Through End of 2020

The nation’s most-hyped theatrical release, Wonder Woman 1984, was streamed by 3.03 million U.S. households through the end of the year, according to new data from Samba TV. WarnerMedia released the DC superhero movie starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and Kristen Wiig on Christmas Day in theaters and on the HBO Max SVOD service.

Samba tracks viewer recommend program data — called Automatic Content Recognition — from more than 13.5 million smart TVs in the United States.

The company said about 250,000 homes tuned in each of the last three nights of the year, with female streamers over-indexing about 2% when compared to the overall. Asian households increased by 16%, Hispanic (+14%), and African American (+4%), as did households making more than $100,000, residents aged 25-54, and under 20 years old. Viewership remained strongest in Seattle (+72%), San Francisco (+67%), and Portland (+41%).

Meanwhile, Disney/Pixar Animation’s Soul continued its mastery over WW84 with 3.8 million domestic households streaming the movie on Disney+ in its opening week (Dec. 25-31), while nearly 487,000 U.K. households watched it. The peak in both countries was on Dec. 26 when just over 1 million and 136,000 watched it, respectively.

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In the U.S., households with incomes under $75,000 over-indexed, as did homes with streamers under 45 years old. Households with a female increased streaming by 5%, followed by black households (+7%), and Hispanic (+15%). Of the top 25 markets, the most over-indexing were Portland (+20%), Los Angeles (+19%), and Seattle (+13%).

Finally, Samba said 109,000 U.K. households and 427,000 U.S. homes streamed the live-action Mulan remake from Christmas to New Year’s Eve (Dec. 24 through Dec. 31). The peak in the U.K. was on Dec. 26 with nearly 20,000 homes watching it that day, while in the U.S. the peak was on Dec. 25, with nearly 85,000 households streaming it that day.

Disney has not released data on how Mulan fared on its PVOD debut over the Labor Day weekend and through the end of 2020.

Samba reported that U.S. households with residents 44 years old and younger over-indexed as compared to the country overall. Black households increased 3%, while Hispanic homes increased 20%. Notably, Asian households under indexed by 12%. Of the Top 25 markets, St. Louis (+54%) and Orlando (+32%) over-indexed the most.

Pixar to Launch First Episodic Series on Disney+; Chris Evans Voicing ‘Toy Story’-Based ‘Lightyear’ Movie

Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios is set to release it first-ever episodic series, “Win or Lose,” on the Disney+ subscription streaming service in 2023. The announcement, which included separate mentions regarding streaming spin-offs from Pixar movies Up and Cars (featuring the character Lightning McQueen), was made Dec. 10 at Disney’s marathon Investor Day event. The Up-based series is called “Dug Days” and launches late next year.

Separately, “Toy Story” character Buzz Lightyear is inspiring his own movie, appropriately called Lightyear, with Chris Evans (Captain America) voicing the title role in a film described as an origin story for the Buzz Lightyear action figure.

Evans clarified on Twitter that he will not be playing a version of the toy Buzz, who was voiced by Tim Allen in all four “Toy Story” movies, but rather a human who inspired the toy.

Disney’s ‘Onward’ Atop U.K. Weekly Official Film Chart

After five months and four stints as runner-up, Disney and Pixar Animation’s Onward finished atop the U.K.’s Official Film Chart for the week ending Oct. 21. The animated fantasy adventure stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as brother elves Ian and Barley Lightfoot, who set off on a quest to reunite with their late father for one day.

Onward pushed Warner’s four-week chart-topper Scoob! to No. 2, as Disney’s Frozen II finished at No. 3. Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith entered the chart at No. 4 thanks to a limited-edition Blu-ray Disc Steelbook release.

Signature Entertainment’s Papillon, starring Rami Malek and Charlie Hunnam, dropped one place to No. 5; The Greatest Showman (20th Century Home Entertainment) held on to No. 6, and record-breaking former chart topper Trolls World Tour (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) dropped to No. 7.

Blumhouse horror movie You Should Have Left, starring Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried, debuted at No. 8. In the film, a former banker (Bacon) and his actress wife (Seyfried) book a holiday in the remote Welsh countryside with their daughter (Avery Essex). The perfect retreat turns into a nightmare when banker Bacon loses his grasp on reality, and suspects a sinister force is within the house.

Finally, two Paramount Home Entertainment releases, Elton John biopic Rocketman and video game adaptation Sonic the Hedgehog moved into the No. 9 and No. 10 spots for the week.

The Official Film Chart Top 10 – Oct. 21, 2020

Previous Week
Rank Title Studio
2 1 Onward Disney
1 2 Scoob! Warner
3 3 Frozen II Disney
New 4 Star Wars: Revenge of The Sith  Disney
4 5 Papillon Signature Entertainment
6 6 The Greatest Showman 20th Century Home Entertainment
5 7 Trolls World Tour DreamWorks Animation
New 8 You Should Have Left Universal
17 9 Rocketman Paramount
7 10 Sonic the Hedgehog Paramount

Disney’s Record $10B Global Box Office Suggests Rosy Home Entertainment Future

Walt Disney Studios set a record $10 billion in worldwide box office ticket sales through Dec. 8 with current theatrical hit Frozen II — a notable milestone achieved without a “Star Wars” movie or breakout 20th Century Fox title.

Disney in July broke its previous $7.6 billion box office haul. Fox Studios’ theatrical titles topped $2 billion at the box office.

For home entertainment, Disney’s fiscal largess is a gift that keeps on giving despite ongoing consumer migration toward over-the-top video distribution.

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Disney titles have historically performed well in sales of DVD and Blu-ray Disc, and more recently in digital sellthrough as well. Despite launching a branded SVOD platform featuring original movies, Disney will continue to stream new releases after their retail window.

And that’s a no brainer when looking at recent movie sales.

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Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame is the top-selling disc in 2019, according to VideoScan. Captain Marvel, Bohemian Rhapsody (Fox), Toy Story 4 and Aladdin all rank among the top 10 this year.

It’s a trend Disney Home Entertainment has driven the past four years.

In 2016, Disney led all studios at retail disc sales with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, supported by Pixar’s Finding Dory, Zootopia and Captain America: Civil War.

The next year Disney again topped retail disc sales with Moana and Beauty and the Beast.

In 2018, Disney home entertainment outdid itself, spearheaded by Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Coco and Thor: Ragnarok.

Last November, CEO Bob Iger Iger gave a shout out to home entertainment — his first in years — which he said continued to deliver strong retail results in the face of OTT.  At the time Iger suggested there was ongoing internal strategy about putting theatrical content into retail channels sooner.

“The home video window continues to be quite important to us,” he said. “You’ll likely see us protect that as well, although there’s going to be discussion around whether there’s an opportunity to move product into that window maybe a little sooner.”

To date, Disney’s 90-day theatrical window remains largely intact.

 

 

 

Bob Iger: ‘If Steve (Jobs) Were Alive,’ (Disney, Apple) Would be Combined Companies

Pending retirement and 20/20 hindsight can do wonders for the printed page.

With his departure from The Walt Disney Co. set for 2021, CEO Bob Iger has already authored a memoir on his long-running stint heading the world famous brand.

The book, “The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company,” is available everywhere Sept. 23, including Amazon.

In excerpts disclosed on Vanity Fair’s website, Iger delves into his relationship with late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and how he was stunned to find out 10 minutes before announcing Disney’s $7.4 billion acquisition of Pixar in 2006 that Jobs’ cancer had returned.

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Iger suggests that had Jobs lived (he died in 2011), he believes — surprisingly — that the two would have facilitated a merger of sorts between Disney and Apple.

It’s an interesting revelation, if not unrealistic considering who Jobs was.

The mercurial executive was a majority shareholder of Pixar and a member of Disney’s board. He was also notoriously self-centered in his vision for Apple and the world revolving around it — not the other way around.

While fighting a return of terminal cancer (despite being one of the richest people on Earth) would cloud anyone’s judgment, when it comes to streaming video and content IP, Jobs’ insolence toward the emerging distribution model and owning content was glaring.

Despite pioneering music, TV show and movie distribution through iTunes, Jobs infamously dismissed Apple TV as a “little hobby,” to be re-evaluated in the distant future.

That attitude contributed to Apple (with more than $200 billion in cash) sitting on the sidelines as Iger-led Disney swooped in to buy Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm (Star Wars) — the latter two properties for a combined $8 billion.

Disney has made more than $18 billion on its Marvel investment. The first four Star Wars movies produced by Disney-owned Lucasfilm have already paid for that acquisition. And Pixar’s Toy Story 4 is the fourth film from that studio to top $1 billion at the global box office.

It seems doubtful that had Jobs lived, Apple would have jumped into content ownership. Jobs’ successor Tim Cook has only now decided to push Apple TV into the SVOD ecosystem.

Indeed, Iger, in his book, said Jobs had grown frustrated dealing with the Disney culture and former CEO Michael Eisner.

“Among his many frustrations was a feeling that it was often too difficult to get anything done with Disney,” Iger wrote.

Yet, today Apple has ratcheted up original content, spending Netflix-like billions on programming featuring ‘A’-list talent such as Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

The move has generated headlines but comes as Disney, AT&T/WarnerMedia, Comcast and Viacom all bow separate and competing over-the-top video platforms.

Instead of being an innovator as it was with the PC, iTunes, smart phones and tablets, Apple is chasing the competition, a reality noted earlier this year by Netflix’s Ted Sarandos.

“We’ve been competing with 500 channels of cable and penetrated nearly every household in the world for a long time,” Sarandos told the media in March. “So, it’s the same stable of competitors [Apple, Disney, AT&T, Viacom]; just very late to the game.”

 

Skydance Media Names Former Pixar CCO John Lasseter Head of Animation

In a controversial move, former Pixar Animation Studios chief creative officer John Lasseter has been named head of Skydance Animation.

Lasseter, who abruptly resigned from The Walt Disney Co. in 2017 following allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior, will report to David Ellison, CEO, Skydance Media, in Santa Monica beginning later this month.

“We did not enter into this decision lightly,” Ellison said in a statement. “John has acknowledged and apologized for his mistakes and, during the past year away from the workplace, has endeavored to address and reform them.”

Ellison said Lasseter is a singular creative and executive talent whose impact on the animation industry cannot be overstated.

“He was responsible for leading animation into the digital age, while telling incomparable stories that continue to inspire and entertain audiences around the globe,” Ellison said.

Indeed, Lasseter’s signature animation style to Pixar’s films grossing more than $11 billion in global box-office receipts. Lasseter was the executive producer of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Academy Award-winning feature Frozen (2013), which also won an Academy Award for best original song (Let It Go). The film, which crossed the $1 billion mark in March 2014, is the number one animated feature of all time.

Lasseter made his directorial debut in 1995 with Toy Story, the world’s first feature-length computer-animated film, for which he received a Special Achievement Academy Award recognizing his inspired leadership of the filmmaking team. He and the rest of Toy Story’s screenwriting team earned an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay, marking the first time an animated feature had ever been recognized in that category.

Lasseter also directed A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Cars (2006) and Cars 2 (2011). Lasseter executive produced all Pixar features since Monsters, Inc. (2001), including the studio’s eight Academy Award-winners Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007), WALL•E (2008), Up (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010), Brave (2012), and Inside Out (2015), as well as films The Good Dinosaur (2015), Finding Dory (2016), Cars 3 (2017), Coco (2017) and Incredibles 2 (2018).

Lasseter said he was grateful to David and the Skydance team for the opportunity and acknowledged being entrusted with an “enormous” responsibility.

“I have spent the last year away from the industry in deep reflection, learning how my actions unintentionally made colleagues uncomfortable, which I deeply regret and apologize for,” Lasseter said. “It has been humbling, but I believe it will make me a better leader.”

In his new role, Lasseter will be responsible for setting the overall strategy and creative direction for Skydance Animation. He will drive the division’s artistic growth, overseeing production and operations, to ensure a robust slate of animated entertainment across all media.

Established in 2017, Skydance Animation has embarked on a multi-year partnership with Ilion Animation Studios, a dedicated CGI feature animation studio based in Madrid, to develop and produce a slate of high-end animated feature films and television series.

Its first two animated feature-length films have been announced: Luck, directed by Alessandro Carloni and written by Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger and an Untitled Action Fantasy, directed by Vicky Jenson and written by Linda Woolverton.