Disney+ Streaming Service to Offer Original Shorts from Walt Disney Animation Studios

Walt Disney Animation Studios (Disney Animation) has launched an internal program enabling animators at the company to pitch their own short films to stream on the parent company’s Disney+ subscription streaming video service bowing in November.

Dubbed “Short Circuit” experimental films, the program’s selected content will begin streaming on Disney+ in early 2020.

Initial titles include “Jing Hua” from Jerry Huynh, who reportedly worked as a technical director on Disney animated theatrical/home entertainment hits Moana and Ralph Breaks the Internet, among others.

“Just a Thought” from Brian Menz, whose credits include Bolt, Big Hero 6, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, Zootopia, Moana and Ralph Breaks the Internet.

And finally, story artist Natalie Nourigat’s (Ralph Breaks the Internet) short film, “Exchange Student.”

All three films have their debut June 14 at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France — the same venue that premiered Moana in 2016.

Lack of Home Entertainment Releases Contribute to 39% Drop in Q2 Disney Studio Operating Income

A lack of home entertainment releases in the second quarter (ended March 31) contributed to Disney reporting a 39% drop in studio operating income to $534 million compared to operating income of $875.4 million during the previous-year period. Revenue fell 15% to $2.1 billion from $2.4 billion last year.

The decrease in home entertainment results was due to lower unit sales reflecting the performance of Thor: Ragnarok and Star Wars: The Last Jedi in the prior-year record quarter compared to no comparable Marvel or Star Wars titles in the current quarter.

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Other significant titles included Ralph Breaks the Internet in the current quarter and Coco in the prior-year quarter.

The results do not include Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame, which was released in the current third quarter.

Growth in TV/SVOD distribution results was due to a benefit from the adoption of new revenue accounting guidance and increases in domestic pay television title availabilities and rates, partially offset by lower free television sales in part in anticipation of the launch support of Disney+.

‘Creed II’ Punches to Top of Disc Sales; ‘Ralph’ Remains Top Blu-ray

MGM’s Creed II, distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, topped the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, the week ended March 9.

However, the boxing sequel, the eighth film in the “Rocky” franchise and a follow-up to 2015’s Creed, topped out at No. 2 in its debut on the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart, where Walt Disney Studios’ Ralph Breaks the Internet took the top spot for a second consecutive week.

On the overall sales chart, Ralph in its second week sold 94% as many copies as the debuting Creed II. But only 53% of Creed II sales were of a Blu-ray disc format (11% of its overall sales were of the 4K UHD Blu-ray), while 65% of Ralph sales were of a Blu-ray format (7% from UHD BD).

Creed II, which also serves as a direct sequel to 1985’s Rocky IV, earned $115.7 million at the domestic box office, slightly more than the first Creed.

No. 3 on the overall sales charts was another newcomer, Paramount’s Instant Family, a heartwarming comedy about foster families and the adoption process. Instant Family landed at No. 5 on the Blu-ray chart, as 45% of its total sales were of the Blu-ray version.

No 4. on the overall sales chart, and No. 6 on the Blu-ray chart, was Warner’s 2018 A Star Is Born remake in its third week on shelves.

The No. 5 overall title, in its fourth week, was 20th Century Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which was No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid: Signature Collection was the No. 3 Blu-ray and No. 6 on the overall sales chart.

Other newcomers debuting on the top 20 overall sellers chart include Fox’s The Favourite at No. 9 (No. 8 Blu-ray), Lionsgate’s Ben Is Back at No. 10 (No. 14 Blu-ray), and Lionsgate’s The Vanishing at No. 12 (No. 10 Blu-ray).

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended March 10, Instant Family debuted at No. 1, with Creed II at No. 2, A Star Is Born at No. 3, Bohemian Rhapsody at No. 4 and Sony Pictures’ Venom at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 3-9-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 3-10-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 3-9-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 3-9-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 3-9-19
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 3-11-19


‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Sets High Score on Disc Sales Charts

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s Ralph Breaks the Internet easily debuted at No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended March 2.

The animated film, a sequel to 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph, earned $200 million at the domestic box office.

The previous week’s top seller, Warner’s 2018 edition of A Star Is Born, dropped to No. 2 on the overall sales chart and No. 4 on the Blu-ray chart. In its second week, A Star Is Born sold about one-third as many copies as the Disney newcomer.

Bohemian Rhapsody, from 20th Century Fox, landed at No. 3 on both charts in its third week on shelves.

Coming in at No. 4 overall and No. 2 on the Blu-ray chart was the new “Signature Collection” Blu-ray edition of Disney’s 1989 animated classic The Little Mermaid.

Rounding out the top five on both charts was Lionsgate’s Robin Hood remake.

Other new releases landing in the top 10 include Lionsgate’s Between Worlds, a thriller starring Nicolas Cage, at No. 8 overall and No. 11 on the Blu-ray chart, while the Sony Pictures horror movie The Possession of Hannah Grace debuted at No. 9 overall and No. 13 on the Blu-ray chart.

The historical drama Mary Queen of Scots, from Universal Pictures, debuted at No. 9 on the Blu-ray chart and No. 21 overall.

Disney’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, no doubt timed with the March 8 theatrical debut of Captain Marvel, jumped back to No. 8 on the Blu-ray chart, as 93% of sales of the title for the week were from a Blu-ray format, with 86% from the UHD Blu-ray (it was No. 33 overall).

Ralph saw 79% of its sales come from the Blu-ray format, 8% from 4K UHD Blu-ray. Little Mermaid was a Blu-ray-only re-release and had 21% of its sales from UHD BD. Blu-ray accounted for 68% of Mary Queen of Scots sales, with 11% from the UHD BD.

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended March 3, A Star Is Born took No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Bohemian Rhapsody at No. 2 and Robin Hood at No. 3.

The Possession of Hannah Grace debuted at No. 4, while Universal’s Night School returned to the rental chart at No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 3-2-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 3-3-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 3-2-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 3-2-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 3-2-19
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 3-4-19

‘Sugar Rush’ Steering Wheel Auction to Benefit Charity

As part of the home video promotions for Ralph Breaks the Internet, Walt Disney Animation Studios has donated a replica of the Sugar Rush steering wheel for an eBay auction, with 100% of the proceeds to be donated to Make-A-Wish.

The auction began Feb. 26 and runs through 6 a.m. Pacific time March 5 at www.eBay.com/ralphbreakstheinternet.

In the film, the steering wheel on Vanellope’s Sugar Rush game breaks, prompting her and Ralph to head to the Internet to buy a new one, which they find for sale on eBay listed for $200.

The replica steering wheel has been autographed by cast members Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot and Jane Lynch. The winning bidder will also receive a Blu-ray copy of the movie and a limited-edition autographed poster by the cast and filmmakers including Silverman, John C. Reilly, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Phil Johnston, Rich Moore and Clark.

The bid was up to $1,675 as of the morning of Monday, March 4.

Make-A-Wish helps grant life-changing wishes to children with critical illnesses. Since 1980, Disney has helped Make-A-Wish grant more than 130,000 wishes. More than 10,000 Disney wishes are granted every year.

Update: the winning bid was $1,725.

Merchandising: Retailers Double-Up ‘Ralph’ Promotions With ‘Little Mermaid’

Target ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ 4K Blu-ray

While the Feb. 26 Blu-ray release of Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet came with its fair share of promotional exclusives, retailers offered the same types of exclusives with the new “Signature Collection” Blu-ray of The Little Mermaid that arrived the same day.

Target ‘The Little Mermaid’ 4K Blu-ray

Target offered the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo packs of both Ralph Breaks the Internet and The Little Mermaid with “filmmaker gallery and storybook” packaging for $32.99 each. The standard 4K editions were offered at $29.99 each.

Best Buy offered Steelbook editions for each 4K Blu-ray, at $34.99 each.

Best Buy ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Steelbook

In conjunction with the release of the films, Best Buy ran a promotion touting Disney animated classics on Blu-ray for $19.99 each and on DVD for $14.99.

Best Buy ‘The Little Mermaid’ Steelbook

The Disney Store gave away an exclusive set of four lithographs with preorders of the Ralph Blu-ray, as well as a coupon for $10 off a $40 purchase through March 10. Likewise, preorders of the Little Mermaid Blu-ray came with a lithograph set of concept art from that film.

The Disney Princess selfie

The promotions for both films coming out the same day tie in to a cameo by the Disney Princesses in the Wreck-It Ralph sequel, including Ariel of The Little Mermaid.

Speaking of preorders, Target is promoting its future exclusive for the new-to-theaters How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, which will be offered as a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital combo pack with wearable dragon wings for $27.99.

Other deals for the week at Best Buy included a $34.99 Steelbook for the Captain America: The First Avenger 4K Blu-ray, and a Blu-ray boxed set of the first seven seasons of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” for $99.90 (a savings of $73.09).

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Netflix’s ‘Roma’ Leads Oscar Nominations

The critically acclaimed film Roma from director Alfonso Cuarón scored a major victory in Netflix’s efforts to be taken seriously as a movie-distribution outlet, securing 10 Oscar nominations.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 91st Academy Awards Jan. 22. Roma tied with Fox Searchlight’s The Favourite, which also had 10 nominations.

Roma is available now for viewing on the SVOD service, having qualified for the Oscars with a brief theatrical run at the end of 2018. Its nominations include Best Picture, Best Foreign-Language Film (representing Mexico), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress for Yalitza Aparicio, Best Supporting Actress for Marina de Tavira, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. Its 10 nominations tie it with 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for most nominations by a foreign-language film.

Another Netflix-distributed film, the Coen Bros.’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, earned three nominations, including adapted screenplay, original song for “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” and costume design.

The Favourite earned nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress for Olivia Colman (who takes over as Queen Elizabeth II on Netflix’s “The Crown” later this year), Best Supporting Actress for Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, Best Director for Yorgos Lanthimos, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Production Design.

An aggressive marketing push from Walt Disney Studios helped secure seven nominations for Marvel Studios’ Black Panther, including for Best Picture, the first comic-book based superhero film to earn such an honor (a decade after the snub of The Dark Knight supposedly prompted the Academy to increase the Best Picture field from five nominees to up to as many as 10 – there were eight this year). Black Panther also earned noms for Best Original Score, Best Original Song for “All the Stars,” Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. The film is readily available through digital channels and on Blu-ray and DVD. It was the No. 3-selling disc of 2018, according to the NPD Group.

And in a bit of a double whammy for comic book movies, Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse earned a nomination for Best Animated Feature, alongside Disney’s Incredibles 2 (available now on disc and digital) and Ralph Breaks the Internet (available digitally Feb. 12 and on disc Feb. 26), Fox’s Isle of Dogs (available now on disc and digital), and Gkids’ Mirai.

Other Best Picture nominees include Universal’s BlackKklansman (available on disc and digital), which earned six nominations; Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody (on digital now, disc Feb. 12), which earned five noms, including Best Actor for Rami Malek; Universal’s Green Book (on digital Feb. 19, disc March 15), which earned five noms; Warner’s A Star Is Born (available now digitally, on disc Feb. 19), which earned eight noms, including Best Original Song for “Shallow”; and Annapurna’s Vice.

Like Roma, Cold War also was nominated for Best Foreign-Language Film, representing Poland, and Best Director, for Paweł Pawlikowski, marking the first time two foreign-language nominees were also nominated in the directing category. The other foreign-language nominees were Lebanon’s Caparnaum, Germany’s Never Look Away and Japan’s Shoplifters (due on Disc and Digital Feb. 12 from Magnolia Home Entertainment).

The 91st Academy Awards ceremony will be held Feb. 24 in Los Angeles. A full list of nominees is available at Oscars.com.

FandangoNow Streaming Video of ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Easter Eggs

FandangoNow Jan. 15 announced it is streaming a video of so-called “Easter eggs” from Disney Animation’s Ralph Breaks the Internet.

An Easter egg is an intentional inside joke, hidden message or image, or secret feature of a movie or video game.

Disney will release the movie on digital formats Feb. 12 — two weeks ahead of the movie’s DVD/Blu-ray Disc release Feb. 26.

Fans can enjoy a sample of the bonus features by watching an exclusive video on Fandango, which covers just a few of the film’s Easter eggs.

Capturing the spirit of the wild, wild worldwide Web, Ralph Breaks the Internet features video-game bad boy Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) and winsome fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman).

The movie generated more than $435 million at the global box office.

Bonus features include “How We Broke the Internet,” which offers a peak behind the scenes, and “Surfing for Easter Eggs,” showing how to find the inside jokes and hidden references in the movie.

Additional features cover the music, deleted scenes, music videos and “BuzzzTube Cats,” a compilation of cat videos like you’ve never seen before. Plus: “Baby Drivers – Slaughter Driving School,” which takes you behind the wheel with some of the film’s artists as they attend race car driving school.