The Secret: Dare to Dream, based on the 2006 best-selling book The Secret, will be released on premium VOD July 31 by Lionsgate.
The film was originally slated for an April 17 theatrical release.
Starring Katie Holmes (All We Had, Logan Lucky, The Gift) and Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama, What They Had, “Yellowstone”) with Celia Weston (Knight and Day, The Intern) and Jerry O’Connell (“Billions,” Stand by Me) and directed by Andy Tennant (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama), The Secret: Dare to Dream centers around Miranda Wells (Holmes), a hard-working young widow struggling to raise three children on her own. A powerful storm brings a devastating challenge and a mysterious man, Bray Johnson (Lucas), into her life. In just a few short days, Bray’s presence reignites the family’s spirit, but he carries a secret — and that secretcould change everything.
The 2006 book by Rhonda Byrne, a global phenomenon that empowered millions to lead happier and more fulfilled lives, has sold more than 34 million copies worldwide, has been translated into 50 languages and has appeared on The New York Times bestseller list for 190 weeks.
A fifth have purchased and more than half would consider buying premium VOD titles, according to a survey of U.S. respondents from online site TV Time.
TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the service.
In a survey of 6,891 respondents who are active users of the TV Time app in the United States, 20% of total respondents said they had purchased one PVOD title during the stay-at-home measures, while 55% agreed that they are more willing to give a title a try in a home-purchase setting.
Those with kids in the household were more likely to have purchased one PVOD movie (26%) versus those without kids (16%). Meanwhile, 42% of households with kids reported watching the movie more than once, versus 29% for those without kids.
Among genres, animation was the big winner, thanks mostly to the PVOD release of Universal’s Trolls World Tour. A quarter (25%) of PVOD purchases thus far were for the animation genre, according to total respondents.
Overall, respondents felt $20 PVOD pricing was too high. But among those who had purchased PVOD, 68% found the price was right, 24% said it was too expensive and 8% said they would pay more. The survey found respondents valued genres differently. For example, people who had purchased a horror film felt the price was too expensive (32%), compared with the average of 24% among all purchasers. On the flip side, 14% who purchased a comedy/rom-com said they would pay more, compared with the 8% average. Superhero films were priced right according to 68% of respondents.
Blockbuster films, often packed with special effects, can command a greater price than other genres, even at home, according to the survey. When respondents were asked what they thought was a reasonable PVOD price point, the superhero movie genre came out on top, with an average of $14.17. This was followed by action/adventure at $13.49. Dramas came in at $12.38. At the bottom of the list were art house movies, averaging $9.45.
Results were weighted (balanced) to reflect U.S. general population gender and age (13-54).
Premium video-on-demand, affording consumers concurrent access to new-release theatrical movies in the home, has been resurrected from its deathbed by studios as a distribution alternative with the coronavirus pandemic shuttering movie theaters.
New data from Hub Entertainment Research finds PVOD is embraced by young consumers, with more than 60% of survey respondents (18-34 years old) indicating they would probably pay to stream a just-released movie.
That interest is nearly non-existent among older consumers (35+), with just 12% indicating interest and only 2% saying they would “definitely” pay for PVOD.
The data comes from Hub’s “Monetizing Video” study, conducted in June among 2,036 U.S. consumers with broadband, age 16-74, who watch at least 1 hour of TV per week.
Notably, price doesn’t appear to be an issue for young consumers when it comes to streaming a first-run film in the home. Assuming a price of $15 to stream, 67% of 18- to 34-year-olds would definitely or probably pay. The proportion is virtually the same (65%) at $25. Amazingly, a majority of young viewers (57%) would also be willing to pay $50.
“For younger movie fans … the strong preference for streaming for TV and first-run movies, has the potential to fundamentally shift the entertainment distribution dynamic, assuming the industry is ready to accept the collateral damage —to the pay television and theater industries,” Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study, said in a statement.
Separately, 70% of respondents cited Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video as the best value for the money among all all streaming services. Among traditional pay-TV subscribers (cable, satellite, telecom), only about 40% said they get at least good value.
Respondents on average said they pay $94 monthly for pay-TV/streaming — about $22 more than they would like to pay. Traditional pay-TV subs are the most likely to feel their total TV bill is higher than what’s reasonable, according to the study.
Those who have a cable, satellite, or telco subscription — regardless of separate streaming services — feel they pay $29 more than they should be paying.
For consumers who only have cable, satellite, or telco service, the actual vs. reasonable gap is actually greater: They pay $37 more than they consider reasonable. With an actual/reasonable gap of only $6, consumers who have streaming services only — no pay-TV service — are the most likely to feel they’re paying the amount they should be paying.
“At a time of tremendous economic uncertainty, streaming services with deep catalogs of content fill a critical emotional need for consumers: The need to satisfy their home entertainment needs at a manageable cost,” Fondulas said.
Warner Bros. Pictures will roll out Scoob! internationally via a combination of theatrical exhibition and premium in-home release through premium VOD and premium digital ownership.
The international theatrical release will begin on July 8 in France, Holland and Switzerland, with additional countries rolling out over the summer months.
Premium home offerings will begin on July 1 in Australia and New Zealand.
With theaters closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the animated Scoob! debuted for both rental via PVOD and for digital ownership in the U.S. and Canada on May 15. The film is now the No. 2 digital release of all time and the No. 1 digital release for Warner Bros., according to the studio. Scoob! June 26 became available in the U.S. on WarnerMedia’s recently launched streaming service HBO Max.
“Our decision to release Scoob! as an in-home offering in May came during an unprecedented time in history, and we are delighted by the success of the film and the way it was embraced by long-time fans of this iconic character, families and children,” said Ron Sanders, president, worldwide theatrical distribution & home entertainment, and EVP, international business operations. “Following its strong domestic debut, our international strategy will combine both theatrical and in-home releases to make it easily accessible to worldwide audiences.”
The film, which will be released on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray July 21 in the U.S., recounts the meeting of Scooby-Doo and his best pal Shaggy, and how they joined with young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to form Mystery Inc. Now, after hundreds of adventures, Scooby and the gang encounter the larger world of the Hanna-Barbera universe, teaming with Blue Falcon and Dynomutt to stop Dick Dasterdly from unleashing the legendary ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. The voice cast includes Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Simon Cowell and Frank Welker.
In another blow to the theatrical window, Paramount Pictures is taking pending summer blockbuster release The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run off its theatrical slate and instead sending it direct-to-consumer via premium VOD in 2021, followed by SVOD platform CBS All Access.
The movie was originally slated for the Memorial Day weekend, but was pushed back to Aug. 7 when the coronavirus pandemic shuttered all movie theaters.
SpongeBob joins Warner Bros.’ Scoob! and Universal Pictures’ Trolls World Tour as big-budget theatrical releases bypassing the box office for distribution into home entertainment channels. Trolls generated $100 million in PVOD revenue in three weeks, while Warner has yet to release revenue data for Scoob! With the third theatrical “SpongeBob SquarePants” installment aimed at similar audiences to Scoob! and Trolls, Paramount’s decision to skip an uncertain theatrical debut makes fiscal sense.
“We are thrilled to have … a premier, first-run movie from one of ViacomCBS’s biggest brands, join CBS All Access’ expanding slate of franchise content from across ViacomCBS,” Marc DeBevoise, chief digital officer of ViacomCBS, and president and CEO of ViacomCBS Digital, said in a statement. “This launch will be perfectly timed with our continued expansion and planned rebranding of the service in early 2021, as we welcome SpongeBob and the gang from Bikini Bottom to the service in the biggest way possible.”
In addition to Sponge on the Run, all prior seasons of “SpongeBob SquarePants” also will be available on the expanded All Access service soon.
It remains to be seen how exhibitors react to Paramount’s move. AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron said he understands studios going straight to the consumer when screens are shut down. He does not agree with studios releasing new movies in theaters concurrent with home entertainment.
Regardless, direct-to-consumer has big shoes to fill considering the first “SpongeBob” movie release generated $141 million at the global box office in 2004, while the 2015 sequel, Sponge Out of Water, earned $325.1 million.
HBO Max is flexing its content muscle in the streaming wars.
The Warner Bros. animated feature Scoob! will have its exclusive U.S. SVOD premiere on HBO Max June 26 — almost a month before its July 21 disc release and a little over a month after its premium VOD debut May 15 because of the pandemic.
HBO Max, which debuted May 27, is the direct-to-consumer offering of the studio’s parent company WarnerMedia.
Scoob! was set to be the first “Scooby-Doo!” animated feature film released theatrically May 15, but with the coronavirus pandemic shutting down theaters it was instead released through premium VOD and digital sellthrough. Its release on SVOD before disc breaks longstanding windows between the two formats in which disc release typically has preceded streaming.
The film, which will be released on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, recounts the meeting of Scooby-Doo and his best pal Shaggy, and how they joined with young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to form Mystery Inc. Now, after hundreds of adventures, Scooby and the gang encounter the larger world of the Hanna-Barbera universe, teaming with Blue Falcon and Dynomutt to stop Dick Dasterdly from unleashing the legendary ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. The voice cast includes Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Simon Cowell and Frank Welker.
“HBO Max is the perfect home for these ‘meddling kids’ and their dog,’” Kevin Reilly, chief content officer for HBO Max, and president of TNT, TBS and TruTV, said in a statement. “Scoob! tells the backstory of how these beloved friends met and formed Mystery Inc. It’s a perfect addition to our kids and family offering and will sit alongside beloved original Scooby-Doo episodes.”
HBO Max also released a clip for the much-anticipated streaming debut of director Zack Synder’s director’s cut of Justice League. WarnerMedia May 20 announced its streaming debut in 2021.
In a boost to HBO Max’s unscripted lineup, the service announced an agreement to a two-year, first-look overall deal with showrunner and executive producer Sam Dean (Netflix’s “Love Is Blind”). In addition to Dean’s future assignments as showrunner for HBO Max projects, her deal includes first-look rights on all her owned or controlled concepts for her unscripted programming for all platforms. She recently wrapped production as showrunner for the upcoming HBO Max unscripted series “12 Dates of Christmas,” which will debut later this year.
“Sam is an outstanding unscripted storyteller and a top-tier showrunner,” Jennifer O’Connell, EVP of original nonfiction and kids programming, said in a statement. “After working with Sam on our reality rom-com, ‘12 Dates of Christmas,’ it was clear that her ability to tell stories with heart, humor and a wink to the audience made her a perfect fit for HBO Max. We count ourselves lucky to be in business with a producer of her caliber.”
“I am really looking forward to working with HBO Max; it’s a new and ambitious platform with an unlimited appetite to create fresh and innovative content, yet it also brings with it WarnerMedia’s history of excellence that has continually kept them at the forefront of creativity and storytelling,” Dean said in a statement. “It’s a great time to get involved as an unscripted producer. I feel blessed to be joining an incredibly strong and talented team, who I admire greatly and have loved collaborating with on ’12 Dates of Christmas.’ I am excited to get started on new projects.”
Dean has produced a variety of unscripted genre content, including social experiments, dating and competition formats. In addition to Netflix’s “Love Is Blind,” she’s worked on ABC’s “The Taste” and multiple series of “Married at First Sight” and various spin off shows within that franchise.
Paramount Pictures, like other studios, has seen its production business and theatrical slate upended by the coronavirus pandemic. The studio has been able to keep the lights on over the past three months in large part to transactional VOD and premium VOD, according to ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish.
Speaking on the first Credit Suisse Virtual Communication Confab, Bakish said home entertainment has helped Paramount justify capital spending on new movies during a year of uncertainty.
“We sold The Lovebirds [to Netflix] early in the COVID-19 window,” he said. “We also accelerated the EST window with Sonic [the Hedgehog], which performed very well for us.”
The movie, starring Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Tika Sumpter and Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic, gross more than $300 million at the global box office before the theatrical shutdown.
This much is certain: Warner Bros.’ PVOD release Scoob! was a big hit on major digital transaction charts.
In its first three days of availability, the erstwhile animated theatrical release, issued May 15 for rental or purchase at a premium price, finished atop the FandangoNow, iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Prime charts.
The movie also featured prominently as the first “theater at home” releases available on Vudu and Comcast’s Xfinity Movie Premiere.
The title, which bypassed theatrical distribution when exhibitors shuttered in March due to the coronavirus, is available to rent for $19.99, and to purchase for $24.99.
How much Scoob! has generated in revenue is anyone’s guess. That’s because unlike the traditional weekend box office tally, digital rental/retail industry numbers and how to market them during a pandemic remains a work in progress.
Universal Pictures set the bar high last month when it revealed to much media attention that its animated Trolls World Tour sequel generated $100 million in digital revenue after three weeks. Unless Scoob! tops that tally sooner, it’s a waiting game when Warner will make a fiscal announcement — if at all.
In the meantime, Trolls World Tour continues to resonate with cinema-starved consumers stuck at home with children. The feature remains near the top podium on most charts except iTunes. Newcomer Capone, from Vertical and starring Tom Hardy as the cigar-chomping title gangster, has resonated with consumers on FandangoNow and iTunes in the No. 4 position.
Early digital release holdovers, including Sony Pictures’ Bad Boys for Life, Bloodshot and Fantasy Island; Universal’s The Invisible Man; Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog; and Warner’s Birds of Prey continue to sell — albeit at reduced price points.
Indeed, Bloodshot is the No. 1 seller on Charter Spectrum, while Lionsgate’s Arkansas ranks sixth. Knives Out (Lionsgate) sits in eighth on Amazon Prime.
Disney has refused to play the PVOD game, opting instead to move some theatrical releases to Disney+ or delay box office debuts until the COVID-19 dust settles. To fill the void, Disney has pushed catalog titles, including Fox’s The Greatest Showman (No. 5 on Amazon) and Tombstone (No. 7 on iTunes).
And then there’s the elephant in the room: Netflix. With the largest SVOD subscriber base in the U.S. and worldwide, new original movie release The Wrong Missy, from Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, and starring David Spade and Lauren Lapkus, ranks No. 1 on the streamer’s U.S. chart. Netflix ended the most recent fiscal period with 70 million domestic subs.
Warner Bros. May 15 dips its toes into the controversial premium video-on-demand waters, releasing previously earmarked animated theatrical release Scoob! directly into homes for $19.99 for a 48-hour rental, or $24.99 for digital purchase.
The movie is the only major theatrical title Warner has thus far switched from the box office distribution direct to home entertainment retail. Other titles such as Wonder Woman 1984 have had their cinema debuts pushed back.
“While we’re all eager to be able to once again show our films in theaters, we’re navigating new, unprecedented times, which call for creative thinking and adaptability in how we distribute our content,” studio boss Ann Sarnoff said in a statement last month. “We know fans are eager to see Scoob! and we’re delighted we can deliver this feel-good movie for families to enjoy while they’re home together.”
Warner is hoping the movie resonates with consumers in the home the way Universal Pictures’ Trolls World Tour did. The sequel to Trolls generated $100 million in revenue, prompting Universal to declare it would revisit PVOD as a simultaneous distribution option with theatrical.
That announcement caused a firestorm among exhibitors with AMC Theatres (and Regal Cinema) angrily declaring it would no longer screen Universal (or any studio) movies with concurrent digital distribution.
Warner parent AT&T this week sought to head off any controversy with CFO John Stephens telling a virtual investor conference the studio remained firmly behind the theatrical window — for now.
“We’ll learn from [Scoob!],” Stephens told the MoffettNathanson 7th Annual Media & Communications Summit. “We’re interested in new ideas, whatever’s good for consumers, but we’ll continue to work with our [exhibition] partners.”
With theaters nationwide remaining shuttered due to the coronavirus and lack of new-release movies, PVOD money talks. And Warner Bros. & Co. are listening.
Warner May 15 is mounting a virtual premiere event for the premium VOD release of the animated feature Scoob! via Twitter.
The Twitter #ScoobMovieNight premiere event, hosted by the big dog himself, starts at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, and features Scoob! moments with stars from the movie, including Will Forte, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Frank Welker, Iain Armitage, Arianna Greenblatt, Mckenna Grace and Pierce Gagnon, and director Tony Cervone. Lennon Stella will exclusively premiere an acoustic version of lead single “Summer Feelings,” while Thomas Rhett, Kane Brown and Ava Max will be on hand to showcase their newly released single “On Me.” Both are from “Scoob! The Album,” the movie’s official musical companion also arriving May 15 and available to pre-save now here.
TikTok dance videos from the #ScoobDance challenge have racked up more than 3 billion views, according to a studio release. Other marketing includes Scoob trivia questions and a Scoob-themed PSA from Best Friends Animal Society (bestfriends.org) about helping homeless dogs and cats.
Following the preshow, fans across the U.S. and Canada can rent or buy the feature and share Tweets about it using #ScoobMovieNight. The feature will be available for a 48-hour rental via PVOD at $19.99, or premium digital ownership at $24.99. Consumers can visit https://www.watchscoob.com to preorder a copy.
Scoob! reveals the never-before-told story of Scooby-Doo’s origins. It shows how one of history’s most famous friendships began when a homeless puppy met a lonesome young boy named Shaggy, and how the two of them joined forces with aspiring young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to become the celebrated Mystery Inc. With hundreds of cases solved and adventures shared, Scooby and the gang face the biggest and most challenging mystery of their careers: a plot that will unleash the legendary ghost dog Cerberus upon the world.