‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’ Getting Simultaneous VOD and Theatrical Release Sept. 1

Bill & Ted Face the Music, the third installment in the “Bill & Ted” franchise, is heading to VOD Sept. 1 on the same day it hits theaters (that are open).

In the Orion Pictures film, the stakes are higher than ever for the time-traveling William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winter) and Theodore “Ted” Logan (Keanu Reeves). To fulfill their rock and roll destiny, the now middle-aged best friends set out on a new adventure when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it. Along the way, they will be helped by their daughters, a new batch of historical figures, and a few music legends to seek the song that will set their world right and bring harmony in the universe.

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Bill & Ted Face the Music is directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest), from a screenplay by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon (Bill & Ted’s Excellent AdventureBill & Ted’s Bogus Journey).

The news came as Orion released the official poster and trailer during the online Comic-Con@Home.

Best-Selling Book Inspires Hope-Filled ‘The Secret: Dare to Dream’

The power of positive thinking fueled Rhonda Byrne’s best-selling book and documentary The Secret, released in 2006.

More than a decade later, her philosophy of hope continues to inspire in the romantic drama The Secret: Dare to Dream.

Lionsgate will release the film on premium VOD July 31 as a 48-hour rental at $19.99. Before the PVOD shift due to the pandemic, sister company Roadside Attractions had planned an initial theatrical release April 17 on 1,000-plus screens.

The Secret: Dare to Dream stars Katie Holmes (All We Had, Logan Lucky, The Gift) and Josh Lu-cas (Sweet Home Alabama, What They Had, “Yellowstone”) with Jerry O’Connell (“Billions,” Stand by Me) and Celia Weston (Knight and Day, The Intern). It is directed by Andy Tennant (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama).

“The idea behind making a Hollywood movie of The Secret was to reach a much greater audience around the world, so that many more people will realize the power they have to create the life they want, from this very moment,” says Byrne.

The story centers on Miranda (Holmes), a young widow trying to make ends meet while raising her three children and dating her boyfriend (O’Connell). A devastating storm brings an enormous challenge and a mysterious man, Bray (Lucas), into Miranda’s life. Bray reignites the family’s spirit but, unbeknownst to Miranda, also holds an important secret — one that will change everything. Woven throughout the story are a series of seeming coincidences. The characters — primarily through the pessimistic Miranda and the relentlessly optimistic Bray — contemplate the nature of chance.

“What are the odds?” notes Miranda’s son about their meeting with Bray.

“My whole life is like that gut feeling that something bad is going to happen — and then it does,” Miranda says at one point.

Meanwhile, Bray sees good portent in events.

“I’m open to the possibility that whatever happens — even the bad stuff  — can lead to positive things,” he tells Miranda’s family.

“Miranda, played by Katie Holmes in our film, has been facing significant challenges brought about by very difficult circumstances,” says producer Robert Katz (Crash). “Although she worked very hard at her job, managing her limited fi nances, raising her children as a single mom and navigating a relationship, Miranda expected and believed that these circumstances would not change. They would not get better. Her life was hard and she was doing her best to face them every day. She was in survival mode — something many of us are familiar with, especially these days. When an unexpected visitor enters her life, Miranda slowly begins to believe that she has the power to change her thoughts, and with them, her expectations and her life.”

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Shot through the feel-good film is the inspirational message in Byrne’s The Secret.

“The movie demonstrates how easy it is to change our life through changing our thinking,” Byrne says. “We can have life circumstances coming down hard on us, as is demonstrated in the movie, and yet by simply thinking more positively and being grateful we can change every aspect of our life.”

Byrne discovered the idea for The Secret in 2004, after a string of personal obstacles and the death of her father. Her daughter gave her a copy of Wallace D. Wattles’ self-help book The Science of Getting Rich, and she used what she learned to write and produce The Secret. A documentary was released in March 2006 with the book debuting in November 2006, published by Simon & Schuster. In each, Byrne interviews business leaders and entrepreneurs who reveal real-life stories of how they have changed their lives in profound ways. The documentary and book focus on the power of positive thinking and the “Law of Attraction,” which says that people can manifest their thoughts into reality — that “thoughts become things.”

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The Secret book has sold more than 34 million copies worldwide, has been translated into 50 languages and appeared on The New York Times best-seller list for 190 weeks — and it con-tinues to attract fans. More than 7 million copies of the book have been shipped in the United States since 2006.

The film’s marketing campaign leverages the publishing phenomenon. A movie tie-in edition of the book released earlier this year features the film’s key art on a belly band. Simon & Schuster has already posted a trailer for the movie, with a book shot, on the Amazon detail page of The Secret.

Meanwhile, the documentary film The Secret has been a success on disc as well.

In extending the brand of the book and documentary, Byrne says her ultimate aim is that The Secret: Dare to Dream will be another vehicle to spread her message.

“I truly hope that people will realize from this movie that they are not at the mercy of life’s circumstances, but that they have an untapped power to change every aspect of their life — health, money, relationships, happiness, success — into what they want,” Byrne says.

Katz adds that he wants viewers to take away the film’s message “that things can change for the better and belief that the power (and tools) to make the most meaningful changes in our lives and the lives of others lies within us all.”

Lionsgate to Bow ‘The Secret: Dare to Dream’ on PVOD July 31

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, originally slated for an April 17 theatrical release, will be available to rent at $19.99 for 48 hours.

Starring Katie Holmes, Josh Lucas, Jerry O’Connell and Celia Weston and directed by Andy Tennant, The Secret: Dare to Dream follows Miranda (Holmes), a young widow trying to make ends meet while raising her three children and dating her boyfriend (O’Connell). A devastating storm brings an enormous challenge and a mysterious man, Bray (Lucas), into Miranda’s life. Bray reignites the family’s spirit but, unbeknownst to Miranda, also holds an important secret — one that will change everything.

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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 appeared on The New York Times bestseller list for 190 weeks.

‘Trolls World Tour’ and ‘The Outpost’ Lead FandangoNow Chart

Trolls World Tour topped FandangoNow’s streaming chart, with The Outpost at No. 2, for the week ended July 12.

FandangoNow is ticketing service Fandango’s transactional VOD service.

Available to digitally rent or buy, the Universal animated musical Trolls World Tour, featuring the voices of Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, premiered as a premium VOD rental in early April.

Rod Lurie’s action thriller The Outpost, also available to digitally rent or buy, stars Scott Eastwood and Orlando Bloom.

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Coming in at No. 3 was Universal’s The King of Staten Island, loosely based on the life of star Pete Davidson, available on PVOD at $19.99.

The service’s top 10 titles for the week ended July 12, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Trolls World Tour
  2. The Outpost
  3. The King of Staten Island
  4. Force of Nature
  5. You Should Have Left
  6. Irresistible
  7. Scoob!
  8. The Invisible Man
  9. Bad Boys for Life
  10. The High Note

U.S. Survey: A Fifth Have Purchased and More Than Half Would Consider PVOD

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.

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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.

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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).

Report: Young Adults Willing to Buy PVOD Movies

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.

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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.

‘Scoob!’ Rolling Out Internationally in July Via Theatrical and Premium In-Home Release

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 coronavirus pandemic, the animated Scoob! debuted for both rental via PVOD and for digital ownership in the U.S. and Canada 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.

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“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 of worldwide theatrical distribution and home entertainment, and EVP of international business operations for Warner. “Following its strong domestic debut, our international strategy will combine both theatrical and in-home releases to make it easily accessible to worldwide audiences.”

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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.

‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run’ Skipping Theaters, Going to PVOD, CBS All Access

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.”

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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 Touts Exclusive June 26 SVOD Premiere of ‘Scoob!’ Before Disc

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.

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“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.”

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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.

Bakish: Paramount Jumpstarting Biz Through Digital Retail

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.

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The executive said the company is monetizing the Paramount library by releasing more than 100 movies via CBS All Access and through the Sunday Night Movie on the Paramount Network.

“We’re already seeing a material benefit on the time-spent side by consumers,” Bakish said.

“Look, COVID in the short term has set us back in terms of film releases and TV productions, obviously,” he said. “But we continue to see a path to nicely improved profitability over the longer term.”