Redbox Acquires U.S. Distribution Rights to Bruce Willis Actioner ‘Vendetta’

Redbox Entertainment Sept. 17 announced it has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the action-thriller Vendetta. Written and directed by Jared Cohn (The Horde), Vendetta stars Bruce Willis, Clive Standen (Taken), Thomas Jane (The Last Son), Theo Rossi (Army of the Dead), and Mike Tyson (The Hangover). The film will premiere in 2022 and is expected to have a limited theatrical run and be available day-and-date on digital platforms.

When his daughter is murdered, William Duncan (Standen) takes the law into his own hands, setting out on a quest for retribution. After killing the street thug responsible for her death, he finds himself in the middle of a war with the thug’s brother (Rossi), father (Willis), and their gang, who are equally hell-bent on getting even. What ensues is a tense back-and-forth game of vengeance. By the end, William comes to find that the quest for revenge never has a winner.

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“We’re always on the lookout for films that have engrossing storylines and casts that will bring those stories to life,” Redbox CEO Galen Smith said in a statement. “Vendetta has all those elements and it will have audiences on the edge of their seats when it premieres next year.”

Vendetta is produced by Amar Balaggan (William, Past Never Dies), Benjamin Rappaport (Drone, The Last Word) and Ross Mrazek (The Swearing Jar, The Butterfly Effect 3) of B.A.R. None Productions and Corey Large (Cosmic Sin, It Follows, The November Man, Lone Survivor) of 308 Enterprises in association with Vector Film Services, Media Capital Group, and T.N.G. Capital Corp.

The deal was negotiated by Marc Danon of Redbox Entertainment and Brian O’Shea of The Exchange.

Redbox Nabs Movie Rights to Morgan Freeman, Cole Hauser Actioner ‘Muti’

Redbox Entertainment Sept. 8 announced it has acquired North American rights to the action movie Muti from writer-director George Gallo (Bad Boys), starring Morgan Freeman and Cole Hauser (“Yellowstone”).

Hauser plays a detective trying to come to grips with the death of his daughter. He sets out to find a serial killer whose victims are based on a brutal “muti” tribal ritual. He enlists the help of a university anthropologist (Freeman) to help.

Supporting cast includes Peter Stormare (Fargo) and former NFL player Vernon Davis. Principal photography recently wrapped in Mississippi and will continue in Italy. The screenplay is written by Bob Bowersox, Jennifer Lemmon, Francesco Cinquemani, Giorgia Iannone, Luca Giliberto and Ferdinando Dell’Omo. The film is based on a story by Joe Lemmon and Cinquemani.

Redbox, which is expanding its brand beyond DVD rental kiosks into movie acquisitions and licensing, will stream the film on its ad-supported branded Redbox Live TV platform, digital retail and app in 2022.

“After reading the script, we knew this was a special film that will have audiences at the edge of their seats,” Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, said in a statement. “The casting is phenomenal, and George’s past work and other projects speaks for itself. We can’t wait to premiere this next year.”

The deal was negotiated by Marc Danon of Redbox Entertainment and Bret Saxon of Wonderfilm Media.

Redbox Entertainment Partners With Command Films on Multi-Picture Slate

Redbox Entertainment, the retailer’s original entertainment division, is partnering with Command Films, the new production company founded by writer and executive producer Charles Murray and veteran film executive Marc Danon, on a multi-picture slate of programming.

Redbox will distribute six films over the next three years that support Command’s mandate to create content amplifying Black voices and experiences within commercial genres through the partnership.

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“Redbox reaches diverse and vibrant communities across America, and our commitment to improving systemic inequalities through representation provides the ideal platform to elevate underrepresented voices and the art they create,” Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, said in a statement. “When Marc introduced the plan he and Charles put forth with Command, I knew the partnership would provide an opportunity to develop films that entertain and inspire audiences while giving them ways to connect through stories that move them.”

Charles Murray

Murray has been a writer, producer and director for more than 20 years. He has worked with such companies as Lucasfilm and Marvel and has written and executive produced major television series, including “Sons of Anarchy,” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Luke Cage.” Most recently, Murray served as showrunner for the Netflix limited series “True Story,” starring Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes, and set up “Blood Brothers,” an eight-episode limited series with A&E Studios that chronicles the friendship between Muhammed Ali and Malcolm X.

Danon, who also serves as head of original content for Redbox Entertainment, is a programming veteran who has acquired critical and commercial hits, including John Wick, Dear White People and Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain.

“Independent filmmaking has been my North Star all my life,” Murray said in a statement. “At the heart of this partnership lies a mutual passion and deep respect for Black creatives and the desire to ensure their exceptional talent is felt within the industry.”

“Galen has made it clear that Redbox is committed to championing content that brings diverse perspectives to the world,” Danon said in a statement. “His call to action aligned perfectly with what Charles and I have been developing over the past few years — stories that entertain, educate, and inspire, one film at a time.”

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The strategic partnership is the newest development in Redbox’s expansion into original content and distribution in theaters, On Demand, and through Redbox kiosks. Since its inception in 2019, Redbox Entertainment has released more than 21 films, including Capone (Tom Hardy), Shadow in the Cloud (Chloë Grace Moretz and Nick Robinson), SAS: Red Notice (Sam Heughan and Ruby Rose) and American Traitor: The True Story of Axis Sally (Al Pacino and Meadow Williams). Last year, Redbox announced a partnership with Basil Iwanyk to form Asbury Park Pictures, launching a slate of 12 action features. The venture’s first production Black Site recently wrapped production.

Redbox Expands Original Film Slate Acquiring True-Crime Thriller ‘Bandit’

Redbox Entertainment and Quiver Distribution July 26 announced they have acquired the North American distribution rights to Bandit, starring Josh Duhamel, Elisha Cuthbert, Nestor Carbonell and Mel Gibson. The film will be available in theaters and on demand in 2022.

Directed by Allan Ungar and written by Kraig Wenman, the crime drama is based on Robert Knuckle’s best-selling novel The Flying Bandit, the real-life story of Gilbert Galvan Jr., who lived under the name Robert Whiteman when he was dubbed the Flying Bandit in 1987.

Josh Duhamel in Redbox Original ‘Bandit’

Galvan Jr. successfully got away with 63 bank and jewelry heists during his crime spree. The movie tells the tale of the career criminal (Duhamel), who escapes from a U.S. prison and crosses the border into Canada, assuming a new identity. After falling in love and getting married, he claims to take a job as a traveling security consultant, and his crimes continue. Only when he turns to lifetime gangster Tommy (Gibson) for an investment does his simple career become complicated, and he finds himself at the center of a special forces cross-country manhunt.

“The outstanding ensemble cast along with Kraig’s skillful adaptation and Allan’s remarkable directing brings this riveting story to life,” Redbox CEO Galen Smith said in a statement. “We’re delighted to bring this edge-of-your-seat thriller to audiences next year.”

The deal was negotiated by Marc Danon, head of original content for Redbox Entertainment.

Bandit is the latest in a string of acquisitions from Redbox that includes She Ball (Nick Cannon), The Last Son (Sam Worthington), Capone (Tom Hardy), Shadow in the Cloud (Chloë Grace Moretz and Nick Robinson); SAS: Red Notice (Sam Heughan and Ruby Rose); and American Traitor: The True Story of Axis Sally (Al Pacino and Meadow Williams).

The license agreement comes on the heels of Redbox’s venture with John Wick producer Basil Iwanyk to form Asbury Park Pictures, which is programming a slate of high-concept action and thriller films over the next few years.

Redbox Entertainment Acquires Nick Cannon Film ‘She Ball’

Redbox Entertainment has acquired the North American distribution rights to She Ball, a feature written, produced and directed by Nick Cannon, who also stars.

The film will be released simultaneously in theaters and will be widely available on demand including via Redbox on Aug. 6.

She Ball follows the love of basketball through the struggles of Avery Watts (Cannon), who enlists the help of a women’s streetball league to help him save the embattled Inglewood Community Center he manages, all while trying to raise his 7-year-old daughter.

The film also stars Bryan ‘Birdman’ Williams, Chris Brown, Cedric the Entertainer, DC Young Fly, Evan Ross, Faizon Love and Rebecca De Mornay. The movie also features athletes from the WNBA, Ball Up, and the Basketball Beauties League, including Melody Rae, and Jaliyah Manuel. K.D. Aubert, Luenell and Marla Gibbs also star in the film.

“Nick Cannon, one of the most prolific Black voices in our industry, has created a feature that truly captures the spirit of our unique times with She Ball,” Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, said in a statement. “She Ball tackles the critical issues of race and justice facing our nation today in an enlightening and entertaining way.”

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“Seeing this project come to life with my incredibly talented and committed team has been nothing but rewarding, powerful and, most importantly — fun!” Cannon said in a statement. “I believe this film conveys a strong message about the importance of aligning with today’s racial and social justice movements and fight for equality; while also taking us through a resonant example of someone in the community trying to make ends meet. I’m excited to partner with Galen and Redbox on this project to ensure the film reaches a wide audience who will hopefully enjoy taking the journey with Avery!”

She Ball is produced by Cannon, Williams, Brown, Roger Ubina, Demetrius Spencer and Benjamin Sumpter. Executive producers are Michael Goldman and Robert H. Keetch.

She Ball is the latest in a string of acquisitions from Redbox that includes The Last Son (starring Sam Worthington), Capone (starring Tom Hardy), Shadow in the Cloud (starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Nick Robinson), SAS: Red Notice (with Sam Heughan and Ruby Rose) and American Traitor: The True Story of Axis Sally (with Al Pacino and Meadow Williams). It also comes on the heels of Redbox’s venture with “John Wick” producer Basil Iwanyk to form Asbury Park Pictures, which is programming a slate of high-concept action and thriller films over the next few years.

The film is part of the “Redbox Original” slate of theatrical movies aimed at Redbox’s 40 million U.S. customers.

Redbox has engaged Vertical Entertainment as its distribution partner for the feature.

The deal was negotiated by Marc Danon, head of original content for Redbox Entertainment.

Redbox Entertainment Acquires ‘The Last Son’

Redbox Entertainment has acquired North American distribution rights to The Last Son.

The film stars Sam Worthington, Colson Baker, Thomas Jane and Heather Graham, with Tim Sutton (Donnybrook) directing from a Black List script by Greg Johnson.

The film will be released simultaneously in theaters and On Demand later this year.

Set in the Sierra Nevada in the late 19th century, The Last Son centers on Isaac LeMay (Worthington), a murderous outlaw cursed by a terrible prophecy, hunting down his offspring to prevent his own murder before targeting his son Cal (Baker). With bounty hunters and the enigmatic U.S. Officer Solomon (Jane) on their tail, all are set on a collision course toward a brutal game of cat-and-mouse.

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The Last Son was filmed in Montana late last year and is currently in post-production.

“With an outstanding ensemble cast, talented director, and an incredible story, we’re excited to be a part of this stellar production,” Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, said in a statement.

“We are pleased to be partnering with Redbox on the release of the picture; they have been a part of The Last Son team since the beginning,” added Andre Relis, CEO of VMI Worldwide.

The Last Son is the latest in a string of acquisitions from Redbox that includes Capone (Tom Hardy), Shadow in the Cloud (Chloë Grace Moretz and Nick Robinson), SAS: Red Notice (Sam Heughan and Ruby Rose), and American Traitor: The True Story of Axis Sally (Al Pacino and Meadow Williams). It also comes on the heels of Redbox’s venture with “John Wick” producer Basil Iwanyk, to form Asbury Park Pictures, which is programming a slate of high-concept action and thriller films over the next few years.

The deal was negotiated by Marc Danon, head of original content for Redbox Entertainment, and J.D. Beaufils and Andre Relis of VMI Worldwide.

DEG Panel: Transactional Business Still Hardy — and Poised for Takeoff

Despite being squeezed by the pandemic, the transactional business is still sturdy and is poised to take off once new releases in the pipeline grow from a trickle to a steady stream.

That’s according to Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, and Eddie Cunningham, the former Universal Pictures Home Entertainment president who now runs Studio Distribution Services, the Universal-Warner Bros. disc distribution joint venture. The two executives spoke on a virtual DEG Expo panel March 24 moderated by Media Play News publisher and editorial director Thomas K. Arnold.

As industry pundits have observed, content in the transactional arena, which includes physical disc and digital purchases and rentals, dwarfs what consumers can find via subscription or other streaming services. That content has helped the transactional business survive recent jolts, the executives said.

Even the Blu-ray Disc and DVD business, which has been steadily declining for the last decade, remains a viable business, Cunningham said.

“In 2020 despite a pandemic and despite all the pressure of retail closures around the world … and pretty much no new releases after the first couple of months of the year — there’s still a $7 billion retail market, globally,” Cunningham said of the disc business.

“Obviously the last few months, there haven’t been that many new releases. But as that starts to come back in the second half of this year I think you’re going to see a real resurgence,” Smith added, noting that Redbox, with kiosk rentals driven by new releases, is looking forward to a more consistent flow of new content.

Cunningham said he’s been getting a similar message from the big retailers.

“Everybody’s incredibly excited about the new releases starting to come back into this business,” he said. “And I think we feel good about the fact that the big retailers … seem very, very committed to this category. We’ve got new titles every single week. We spend marketing money. We drive people into stores. We introduce fun. We introduce theater into the stores. … So a lot of them are pretty excited about us getting back into the new-release business. … Maybe we could even find a way of sort of growing this [physical] business or certainly hugely flattening the decline over the next year or two after the numbers we made during the pandemic.”

In the meantime, Cunningham said catalog has been picking up the slack, with such series as “Harry Potter,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Office” and even children’s stalwart “Curious George” selling well despite streaming availability.

“If content is available on subscription services, you can still sell a lot of content physically on those same franchises,” Cunningham noted.

“Then there’s a huge amount, about 40% of consumers, who’ve never ever until this day ever transacted digitally, so they’re a huge target for us,” he said, adding “I think physical’s going to be around for a long time to come.”

The disc rental business, which Redbox dominates with thousands of kiosks in the United States, is here to stay as well, added Smith.

“We obviously have a view that it’s going to be sustainable for the long term,” he said. “It’s a great value to consumers. It’s incredibly convenient. … The fact that we’ve got 41,000 kiosks around the U.S. really helps with that. I think what we’ve been able to do is augment that experience. We’ve got this massive loyalty program with over 37 million people in it, and so we’re rewarding them for behavior and then rewarding them with things like free content and so it gives up a great opportunity for us to reinforce that value ecosystem.”

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Redbox marketing makes sure to let consumers know when new releases are available and doesn’t discriminate between the different ways a consumer might access content. The company offers consumers both physical and digital transaction options, letting them choose.

“We’re communicating with them on a regular basis in terms of what are those [new release] movies, and again, however you want to watch it, physically or digitally, we can be there to serve you with that,” he said.

Even though the company is offering a digital alternative, physical transactions aren’t suffering, Smith noted.

“Even when our customers started to transact digitally, it didn’t mean they stopped transacting physically,” he said. “They actually started transacting physically more. It reminded them again of all these great new movies that are available.”

As head of the disc distribution joint venture, Cunningham said he’s tasked with creating efficiencies and providing a focus on the physical business. The joint venture’s mantra is “two plus two equals five,” to make a bigger whole from the combined parts, he said.

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“The coming together of Universal and Warner and other third-party distribution partners is going to enable us to do things like share boxes coming out of Technicolor, which in turn saves a lot of in-store labor, transport costs and so on,” he said. “I think we’re in a position to start maybe talking a bit more again about some front-of-store displays in some of these big retailers where we’ve lost that.”

Two plus two equals five also means finding ways to leverage the studios’ combined content.

“Over the next year or 18 months you’re going to see some amazing things coming out of [the joint venture],” Cunningham said. “There’s going to be huge opportunities on Middle Earth, DC, Bond, classic monsters. It’s actually the 90th anniversary of Dracula coming up, so we’ve got an opportunity around anniversaries. ‘Fast and Furious,’ ‘Jurassic,’ ‘Dune,’ ‘Halloween,’ there are huge opportunities to draft off these kinds of things.”

He also envisioned boxed sets of titles from different studios as an added bonus for consumers.

“We’re going to work incredibly hard to see how we can put the two studios’ content promotions together and make something bigger,” he said.

Redbox, too, is looking to combine the advantages of different businesses. In addition to its digital and physical transactional offerings, the company also has ad-supported streaming and even a content acquisition and production arm.

“In terms of Redbox Entertainment, we have a ton of data obviously about what actors work, what genres work, and so what we want to do is say, ‘OK, we’re seeing a little less product from the studios, let’s go ahead and buy it, acquire it, produce it ourselves,’” Smith said. “We’re basically making sure that we program to our consumers what we know they are going to want. And we’re agnostic so we’re releasing it across all the digital retailers and then we’re actually selling it to streamers as well on the backend. We just want to make sure there’s good content made for consumers.”

Redbox Entertainment Acquires Rights to Two New Movies

Redbox Entertainment, the movie acquisition arm of the packaged-media kiosk vendor/AVOD provider, continues to aggressively seek independent titles for distribution in the U.S. and abroad.

The unit reportedly acquired rights to two films, Chick Fight, starring Bella Thorne, and Shadow in the Cloud, a Toronto Film Festival entrant screened to potential buyers last week at a makeshift movie drive-in in downtown Los Angeles.

Shadow in the Cloud, written and directed by New Zealand filmmaker Roseanne Liang, stars Chloë Grace Moretz and Nick Robinson. Moretz plays a World War II pilot who joins the crew of a B-17 Flying Fortress. Onboard, Moretz comes into contact with a supernatural force that is destroying the plane from within.

Shadow in the Cloud is a captivating film with mesmerizing visual effects. Roseanne Liang’s distinct vision and Chloë Grace Moretz’s knock-out performance are guaranteed to bring audiences to the edge of their seats,” Peter Jarowey, CEO of Vertical Entertainment and Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, said in a joint statement. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with the amazing female-led filmmaking team and Endeavor Content to bring this film to North American audiences next year.”

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Redbox also teamed with Quiver Distribution for Chick Fight, an action-comedy starring Malin Akerman (“Billions”), Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”), Bella Thorne (Midnight Sun) and Kevin Connolly (“Entourage”). The film, by director Paul Leyden, is slated for release on Nov. 13.

Redbox Launches Movie Production Company

Redbox Entertainment has partnered with Thunder Road Films to co-launch Asbury Park Pictures — an indie production house tasked with producing original movies.

The films come with budgets from $10 million to $12 million each — and are largely filmed in Eastern Europe, South East Asia and Canada.

The movies will be distributed in the United States via Redbox’s more than 40,000  DVD/Blu-ray Disc rental kiosks and, digitally, through Redbox On Demand, the company’s transactional VOD platform. International distribution will be handled by third-party distributors.

Thunder Road Films is known for co-producing the “John Wick” franchise with Lionsgate. Initial Asbury Park movies include actioner/thrillers War Comes Home, Blacksite and Numb.

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Asbury Park management includes Marc Danon, head of original content at Redbox Entertainment, who will spearhead the partnership with Thunder Road boss Basil Iwanyk; Mike Gabrawy, ex-head of production at Arclight Films; and Erica Lee, president of Thunder Road.

Marc Danon

The move into original content marks a switch of sorts for Redbox, which in 2014 shuttered Redbox Instant, a disc/subscription streaming service, due to not wanting to get into original content spending battles with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

Redbox in 2019 formed Redbox Entertainment with a mandate by its private equity owners to branch out into original content. The company than hired ex-Lionsgate executive Danon to head the venture.

Redbox Live TV Expands to 60 Channels; Adds Cheddar and Tastemade, Among Others

Redbox Aug. 13 announced new channel additions to its ad-supported live TV platform. The packaged media kiosk vendor said Tastemade’s Streaming Network, featuring original programming in the categories of food, travel, and home & design, and Cheddar are now live and will join a growing list of news, lifestyle, and sports entertainment programming.

Redbox Live TV, which launched earlier this year, now has more than 60 channels, including three Redbox channels for movie lovers. The channels include Redbox Rush (for action fans), Redbox Comedy (for those who love stand-up comedy and the best comedy movies) and Redbox Movies.

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Within the past few weeks, Redbox Free Live TV has added nearly 20 channels. New channels added this week include Wired, Architectural Digest, Black News Channel, CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation), Go Traveler, Outdoor America, Hard Knocks Fighting. Channels recently added include America’s Test Kitchen, Complex, The Design Network, Real Nosey, Funny or Die, beIN Sports, Outside TV, Chive TV, Thrill One, Voyager Documentaries, Hungry and Just for Laughs Gags.

“We’ve seen significant viewership growth in the News, Lifestyle and Food categories,” Chris Yates, GM, Redbox On Demand, said in a statement.

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Redbox Free Live TV can be accessed via Redbox.com, Roku, iOS and Android devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Vizio Smart TVs, LG TVs and Chromecast. The service doesn’t require a login, just click “Free Live TV,” choose a channel and start watching.

“We are excited to partner with Redbox on launching one of the first live news channels on their TV platform delivering top business and headline news to their customers,” said Priya Nevrekar, senior director of distribution and business development for Altice News.

“We believe that our premium programming is a great addition to Redbox’s lifestyle and entertainment offering and the continued growth of its streaming business as a powerful complement to its established kiosk footprint,” added Jeremy Strauss, head of business development at Tastemade.

With the launch of Redbox Free Live TV, the company continues its transformation into a multi-channel content provider and programmer. Last year, Redbox launched Redbox Entertainment, a new division to produce and distribute original content across its service. Through Redbox Entertainment, the company is developing a slate of movies that will be available through Redbox VOD and at kiosks.