The animated and live action comedy Tom & Jerry will be available via premium VOD rental April 16, followed by release on digital, Blu-ray and DVD May 18 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
The film, which previously debuted simultaneously in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service, is directed by Tim Story (Fantastic Four, Think Like a Man, Barbershop) and features Chloë Grace Moretz (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, The Addams Family), Michael Peña (Cesar Chavez, American Hustle, Ant-Man) and Colin Jost (How to be Single, TV’s “Saturday Night Live”).
In Tom & Jerry, the iconic mouse Jerry moves into New York City’s finest hotel on the eve of “the wedding of the century,” forcing the event’s desperate planner (Moretz) to hire Tom to get rid of him. The ensuing cat and mouse battle threatens to destroy her career, the wedding and possibly the hotel itself. But soon, an even bigger problem arises: a diabolically ambitious staffer conspiring against all three of them.
The Benedict Cumberbatch thriller The Courier will come out via premium VOD rental April 16 from Lionsgate.
The film is currently in theaters.
In this true-life Cold War spy thriller, unassuming British businessman Greville Wynne (Cumberbatch) becomes entangled in one of the greatest international conflicts in history. Recruited by MI6 and a CIA operative (Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe winner Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Wynne forms a covert partnership with Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze), and both men risk everything in a danger-fraught race against time to provide the intelligence needed to prevent nuclear confrontation and end the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Warner had another big week on the Vudu and FandangoNow charts. The studio’s Wonder Woman 1984 again took the top spot on the Vudu chart and its The Little Things repeated atop the FandangoNow chart for the week ended March 28.
Both are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.
The DC comic-based Wonder Woman 1984, starring Gal Gadot, became available for digital purchase March 16 following its PVOD rental run. It also came in at No. 4 on the FandangoNow chart.
The Little Things, available via premium VOD rental starting March 19, is a psychological thriller starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto. It follows a Kern County deputy sheriff (Washington), who is sent to Los Angeles for a quick evidence-gathering assignment, but instead becomes embroiled in the search for a killer who is terrorizing the city. The titled landed at No. 4 on the Vudu chart.
Coming in at No. 2 on the Vudu chart was Disney/Pixar’s Oscar-nominated animated film Soul. Featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey, the film (No. 9 on FandangoNow) became available for digital purchase March 23.
Taking the bronze on the Vudu chart was Monster Hunter, based on the video game franchise. The film stars Milla Jovovich as Capt. Artemis, whose unit is caught in a sandstorm that transports them to a world ruled by dangerous and powerful monsters. The film came in at No. 6 on the FandangoNow chart.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run — available as a premium VOD rental March 4 (and also to Paramount+ streaming subscribers) — took the silver on the FandangoNow chart (No. 6 on Vudu). In the CGI-animated adventure with live action elements, SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary goes missing in a plot hatched by Plankton to get the Krabby Patty recipe, and he and his friend Patrick head to the Lost City of Atlantic City to retrieve him. It features appearances by Keanu Reeves and Snoop Dogg, among others.
Universal’s Oscar-nominated News of the World, which came out for digital purchase March 9, took the bronze on the FandangoNow chart (No. 5 on Vudu). The film stars Tom Hanks as former Army captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, who moves from town to town sharing the news from the far reaches of the globe. He is tasked with transporting a 10-year-old girl (Helena Zengel) taken in by the Kiowa people back to her family.
The sci-fi thriller Chaos Walking, starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, will come out via premium VOD rental April 2 from Lionsgate.
In the film — based on the best-selling novel The Knife of Never Letting Go and set in the not-too-distant future — Todd Hewitt (Holland) discovers a mysterious girl named Viola (Ridley). She has crash-landed on his planet, where the women have disappeared and the men are afflicted by “The Noise,” a force that puts all their thoughts on display. In this dangerous landscape, Viola’s life is threatened and, to protect her, Todd must discover his inner power and unlock the planet’s dark secrets.
The Academy Award-nominated Judas and the Black Messiah will be available as a premium VOD rental April 2, for digital purchase April 27, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD May 4.
The film came out in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously Feb. 12.
Judas and the Black Messiah is nominated for six Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield), Best Cinematography (Sean Bobbitt), Best Original Song (“Fight For You,” music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emilie II, lyrics by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas), and Best Original Screenplay (screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King, story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas). Kaluuya also won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor — Motion Picture.
Directed by Shaka King, marking his studio feature film directorial debut, the film stars Kaluuya as Fred Hampton and Stanfield as William O’Neal. The film also stars Dominique Fishback, Jesse Plemons, Ashton Sanders and Martin Sheen.
The story follows FBI informant William O’Neal, who infiltrates the Illinois Black Panther Party and is tasked with keeping tabs on their charismatic leader, Chairman Fred Hampton. A career thief, O’Neal revels in the danger of manipulating both the Panthers and his handler, Special Agent Roy Mitchell (Plemons). Hampton’s political prowess grows just as he’s falling in love with fellow revolutionary Deborah Johnson (Fishback). Meanwhile, a battle wages for O’Neal’s soul. Will he align with the Panthers? Or subdue Hampton and the Panthers by any means, as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (Sheen) commands?
Special features on Blu-ray include “Fred Hampton for the People,” in which the filmmakers and cast discuss why telling Chairman Fred Hampton’s story is more important now than ever before, and “Unexpected Betrayal,” in which the filmmakers and cast discuss William O’Neil’s complexities and his eventual betrayal of Hampton. “Fred Hampton for the People” is an extra on the DVD.
A Judas and the Black Messiahimpact campaign, designed by Participant, educates audiences with a more comprehensive history of the Black Panther Party, connecting its legacy to today’s movement for Black lives and empowering audiences to join local organizations advocating for Black communities. To learn more, visit www.LiveForThePeople.com.
Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984 lassoed the top spot on the Vudu chart and The Little Things, also from Warner, topped the FandangoNow chart for the week ended March 21.
Both are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.
The Little Things, available via premium VOD rental March 19, is a psychological thriller starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto. It follows a Kern County deputy sheriff (Washington), who is sent to Los Angeles for a quick evidence-gathering assignment, but instead becomes embroiled in the search for a killer who is terrorizing the city. The titled landed at No. 4 on the Vudu chart.
The DC comic-based Wonder Woman 1984, starring Gal Gadot, topped the Vudu chart after becoming available for digital purchase March 16 following its PVOD rental run. It also came in at No. 2 on the FandangoNow chart.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run — available as a premium VOD rental March 4 (and also to Paramount+ streaming subscribers) — took the silver on the Vudu chart and the bronze on FandangoNow. In the CGI-animated adventure with live action elements, SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary goes missing in a plot hatched by Plankton to get the Krabby Patty recipe, and he and his friend Patrick head to the Lost City of Atlantic City to retrieve him. It features appearances by Keanu Reeves and Snoop Dogg, among others.
Universal/DreamWorks’ blockbuster animated sequel The Croods: A New Age landed at No. 3 on the Vudu chart and No. 4 on the FandangoNow chart for the week. Available for digital purchase and rental, it’s a follow-up to 2013’s The Croods that finds the prehistoric family facing a new challenge when they encounter a walled-in paradise created by the sophisticated Betterman family. As they try to coexist, the differences between the two families escalate into a full-blown feud, until a new threat forces them to work together. The voice cast includes Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Nicolas Cage, Peter Dinklage, Kelly Marie Tran and Leslie Mann.
Coming in at No. 5 on both charts was Monster Hunter, based on the video game franchise and available for digital rental and purchase. It stars Milla Jovovich as Capt. Artemis, whose unit is caught in a sandstorm that transports them to a world ruled by dangerous and powerful monsters. As they fight to survive, they encounter the mysterious Hunter (Tony Jaa), whose unique skills allow him to stay one step ahead of the powerful creatures.
Two recent Oscar-nominees, Universal’s Promising Young Woman and A24’s Minari, climbed the charts. The revenge thriller Promising Young Woman jumped from No. 10 to No. 6 on the Vudu chart and made its first appearance on the FandangoNow chart, also at No. 6. The five-time Oscar nominee is available for digital rental and purchase. Minari, about a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm, moved up to No. 8 from No. 10 on the FandangoNow chart. The title, available as a premium VOD rental, earned six Oscar nods.
Transactional VOD, or the digital rental or sale of titles, is here to stay — including the higher-priced COVID-induced newcomer PVOD — said panelists during the OTT.X spring summit.
“It’s still, if you actually include the declining physical part of the business, it’s still a $10 billion business,” said Fandango’s Cameron Douglas, who oversees transactional services FandangoNow and the recently acquired Vudu. “It also was the first year, last year, that you actually saw growth, combined physical and digital business en masse. So I absolutely think that there’s a continued appetite for consumers for transactional video whether it’s Blu-ray and DVD or TVOD.”
“It’s absolutely here to stay, and the reason for that is that is consumers cannot afford to sign up for every single subscription service that’s out there, and there’s no way that you can replicate the selection that’s available on transactional platforms,” added Jill Allen, SVP of Sony Pictures Entertainment. “It’s just ubiquitous. It’s on every platform. And if you want to watch a movie, you generally know that it’s available to rent or buy somewhere. And then in addition TVOD has various benefits in terms of the windows, too, getting the earlier window. So in the near term I see it continuing. Even though it’s definitely benefited from COVID, looking forward I see it still being a very vibrant, large business.”
Transactional services also offer a deeper library of content than subscription services, panelists noted.
“I don’t know how many pieces of content Peacock has or Netflix has but it’s relatively small compared to a transactional platform,” Douglas added. “I think Vudu, at last count, has 225,000 movies and TV shows. I promise you that even the biggest services on the subscription side have nothing that size library.”
The studio leap into premium VOD (PVOD), usually a $20 one-time rental, has been successful as well, panelists noted, with Premier Digital’s Michele Edelman saying that a friend had shared a story about watching a first-run film at home.
“She said, ‘I treated myself to a theatrical movie in my house,’” Edelman said. “’I’d just had dinner, and I watched Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar.’ She said, ‘It was the best experience.’”
Edelman noted that “everyone’s screens are bigger,” making watching movies at home more theater-like.
“They’re creating this really great theatrical experience where they are,” she said.
Roku’s Mike Gamboa agreed.
“Consumers love new release movies,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon, but I think they have been demanding the flexibility to watch either in theaters or at home. And I think from our perspective, the success of Trolls [World Tour on PVOD] and Scoob! [also on PVOD] kind of demonstrated that consumers love new-release movies at home, and the economics and technical infrastructure is in place to support that business model. So we do see opportunity and viability of PVOD and TVOD to support the new-release movies.”
Sony’s Allen, too, noted that PVOD produced changes in how the teams at the studio worked together.
“We’ve never collaborated so closely with our theatrical team,” she said.
Indeed, Douglas noted, PVOD titles were able to benefit from theatrical marketing as never before.
“I’m looking forward to a real PVOD title,” Douglas said. “We really haven’t had one. Premium VOD in its initial incarnation was meant to be a theatrical movie that has a short window to home entertainment. Because theaters haven’t really opened up yet, a real PVOD title is going to be the real test.”
With the windows shifting during the pandemic and studios experimenting with different windows and pricing, the calculus in how to release a title has become complex during the past year, Allen said.
“You now have to navigate around a whole new set of competitive windows and, internally, as a content provider, you have to look at when your content is going into other windows as well, too,” she said. “So it’s become a little bit more complex.”
Allen said she has to look at individual release plans for each of her studio’s own titles and also what windows the other studios’ titles are employing.
“You had Wonder Woman  that had multiple new-release windows,” she noted. “If you’re competing against the third new-release window of that, is that now a big deal? So understanding the competitive landscape, very, very complex. Even within each studio, if you have a title that’s on a subscription service. If I have a Christmas-themed movie, and I have it available on an SVOD service, can I sell that movie right now?”
While new releases have been few and far between during the pandemic as the pipeline shrank to a trickle, TVOD services and studios leaned on catalog to fill the gap, panelists noted.
“We’ve seen huge growth in [catalog] the last year because of the dearth of new release content,” Douglas said, adding the services have noticed “people rediscovering their favorites, collecting them, adding them to their library, including full series of television shows, where they’re buying almost the entire series of ‘Married With Children’ or ‘M*A*S*H’ or ‘The Office.’”
Sony, too, has been mining catalog while production slowed.
“It’s been our lives since COVID started,” Allen said.
Indeed, consumers are responding by collecting digitally, noted Edelman.
“I just heard the other day, someone said, ‘I started building my digital library,’” she said. “’I now have in my library my absolute favorite films, and I’m buying them at these really discounted prices because it was worth it.'”
“It’s the best subscription service you could ever have,” added Douglas.
The crime drama The Little Things is coming to premium VOD rental March 19 at $19.99, digital sale April 20, and Blu-ray and DVD May 4.
The film debuted in theaters and on WarnerMedia’s HBO Max SVOD service Jan. 29.
The psychological thriller stars Academy Award winners Denzel Washington (Training Day, Glory), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club). It follows Kern County Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon (Washington), who is sent to Los Angeles for what should have been a quick evidence-gathering assignment. Instead, he becomes embroiled in the search for a killer who is terrorizing the city. Leading the hunt is L.A. Sheriff Department Sergeant Jim Baxter (Malek), impressed with Deke’s cop instincts, unofficially engages his help. But as they track the killer, Baxter is unaware that the investigation is dredging up echoes of Deke’s past, uncovering disturbing secrets that could threaten more than his case.
Paramount held an in-vehicle, drive-through and drive-in screening for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run Feb. 26 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Attendees proceeded through multiple experiential environments with digital interactions and photo moments along the way. In addition to a screening of the new “SpongeBob” movie — available March 4 on the studio’s new streaming service Paramount+ and via premium VOD rental — attendees also got a sneak peek clip of the new Paramount+ series “Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years.”
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run debuts March 4 as a premium VOD rental, and for a limited time, fans who rent the movie on Vudu and FandangoNow can get a code for 50% off the purchase of more than 25 select family titles on the two Fandango transactional VOD services.
Titles include the previous “SpongeBob” movies (The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie), Sonic the Hedgehog, Love and Monsters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Wonder Park, Sherlock Gnomes, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Bumblebee, The Rugrats Movie, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Harriet the Spy, Hotel for Dogs, Imagine That, Good Burger, Snow Day, Clockstoppers and a number of other family classics.