‘Holmes & Watson’ Is Top Disc, ‘The Mule’ Top Digital Release on Redbox Charts

Sony’s Holmes & Watson took the top spot on the Redbox physical rental chart but lost out to Warner’s stubborn holdover The Mule on the digital chart for the week ended April 14.

The Will Ferrell-John C. Reilly comedy debuted in the No. 1 spot on the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, but the Clint Eastwood vehicle The Mule trotted up from No. 2 to No. 1 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals.

Holmes & Watson, a sendup of the classic Sherlock Holmes mysteries, finished at No. 2 on the digital chart.

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Paramount’s “Transformers” reboot Bumblebee landed at No. 3 and the DC swimming superhero flick Aquaman floated at No. 4 on both charts.

Two other new releases entered the disc chart for the week. Sony’s A Dog’s Way Home, about the many lives of a reincarnating dog, sat at No. 5, while Universal’s Steve Carell starrer Welcome to Marwen, finished at No. 6.

 

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended April 14:

  1. Holmes & Watson (New) — Sony
  2. The Mule — Warner
  3. Bumblebee — Paramount
  4. Aquaman— Warner
  5. A Dog’s Way Home (New) — Sony
  6. Welcome to Marwen(New) — Universal
  7. Second Act — Universal
  8. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — Sony
  9. Mary Poppins Returns — Disney
  10. Instant Family — Paramount

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended April 14:

  1. The Mule— Warner
  2. Holmes & Watson— Sony
  3. Bumblebee— Paramount
  4. Aquaman— Warner
  5. A Dog’s Way Home — Sony
  6. Instant Family — Paramount
  7. Welcome to Marwen— Universal
  8. Second Act— STX
  9. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — Sony
  10. A Star Is Born (2018) — Warner

‘The Mule’ Battles ‘Bumblebee’ on Redbox Charts

Warner’s The Mule was a stubborn competitor for Paramount’s Bumblebee on the Redbox charts for the week ended April 7.

The Clint Eastwood drama took the No. 1 spot on the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, and the “Transformers” reboot topped the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals. The Mule, meanwhile, came in at No. 2 on the digital chart while Bumblebee finished second on the disc chart.

Both titles were new releases on disc for the week. Bumblebee, starring Hailee Steinfeld, earned $127.2 million at the box office while The Mule took in $103.8 million.

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Warner’s Aquaman, the No. 1 title on both charts in the previous week, slipped to No. 3 on the two Redbox charts while the Jennifer Lopez comedy Second Act fell from second place to fourth on both charts.

Vice, a disc new release from Fox, finished at No. 6 on both the disc and digital charts. The Oscar-lauded film, starring Christian Bale and Amy Adams, chronicles the life and legacy of vice president Dick Cheney.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended April 7:

  1. The Mule (New) — Warner
  2. Bumblebee (New) — Paramount
  3. Aquaman — Warner
  4. Second Act — Universal
  5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — Sony
  6. Vice (2018) (New) — Fox
  7. Mary Poppins Returns — Disney
  8. Instant Family — Paramount
  9. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald— Warner
  10. Ralph Breaks the Internet — Disney

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended April 7:

  1. Bumblebee — Paramount
  2. The Mule — Warner
  3. Aquaman— Warner
  4. Second Act — Universal
  5. Instant Family — Paramount
  6. Vice (2018) — Fox
  7. A Star Is Born (2018) — Warner
  8. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — Sony
  9. Green Book— Universal
  10. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald— Warner

Redbox Bows First On Demand Original Movie With Bob Saget Film ‘Benjamin’

Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu aren’t the only ones getting into original content.

Redbox on April 9 announced its first exclusive, Bob Saget’s new film, Benjamin.

The dark comedy, which tackles the serious topic of drug addiction, will be released exclusively on Blu-ray Disc and DVD at more than 41,500 Redbox kiosks nationwide on April 23.

Also on April 23, the film will be available for a la carte streaming or digital purchase on Redbox On Demand, the company’s on-demand digital movie store.  The film is the first “Redbox Original” released on Redbox On Demand.

Saget directed and stars in Benjamin, which also features a heavyweight cast of comedians and actors, including Rob Corddry, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Kevin Pollak, Peri Gilpin, Dave Foley, Cheri Oteri, Max Burkholder, Clara Mamet, David Hull, Jonny Weston, and James Preston Rogers.

The story unfolds as a family calls an intervention on Facebook for Bob Saget’s on-screen son, Benjamin; a 15-year-old they think is under the influence of drugs. Yet soon it becomes clear that those confronting Benjamin’s problems have many problems of their own.

“We’re making Benjamin available at Redbox because we believe in the power of movies to bring people together around topics that matter,” said Redbox CEO Galen Smith. “Redbox has the unique ability to market films directly to our more than 50 million customers who like the choice of renting from $1.75 a night from the kiosk or instantly on their favorite device or smart TV via Redbox On Demand.”

Now in the midst of a national standup comedy tour, Saget reveals his dramatic, nuanced side while directing and starring in Benjamin.

“This film tackles serious subject matter – our kids and the temptations and challenges they face – but tells it through the lens of a familiar cast of comedic actors who make the topic approachable and poignant,” Saget says. “An exclusive Redbox release brings the important message of the film directly to communities nationwide that are facing the battle of addiction.”

Saget is a Grammy-nominated comedian, actor, director and New York Times best-selling author. Saget hosts, writes and executive produces the new ABC series “Videos After Dark,” featuring home videos with an edgier twist. The show premiered an hour-long first look on March 12 with the full season debuting later this year.

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Saget also can be seen in the upcoming Season 5 of the Netflix series “Fuller House.” His new hour stand-up special, “Zero To Sixty,” is streaming on Amazon Prime and is available to rent or buy on Amazon, iTunes and many other platforms. Saget continues to tour across North America with his standup comedy act.

Benjamin is produced by Nicholas Tabarrok and written by Joshua Turek.  The director of photography is Arthur Albert, the editor is Bruce Green and the music composer is Peter Melnick.

Consumers can watch the trailer at Redbox.com/Benjamin and add it to their “Wish List” before the April 23 release date. On April 23, consumers can visit Redbox.com/Benjamin to reserve a copy for rental at their local Redbox kiosk or stream it via Redbox On Demand.

Redbox Taps TiVo for Recommendation Engine

Redbox has engaged TiVo Corp.’s Personalized Content Discovery platform, including search, recommendations and insights, to engage new customers, increase retention and enhance loyalty across Redbox.com, Redbox On Demand and physical boxes nationwide, according to TiVo.

Redbox has more than 41,500 kiosks nationwide renting movie discs and games and a transactional VOD service Redbox On Demand.

“TiVo’s platform enables more tailored recommendations to connect Redbox consumers with the content they love, across viewing devices,” according to the TiVo press release.

Redbox will also enable TiVo’s Video and Video Game Metadata, including access to TiVo’s library of enhanced entertainment metadata and high-resolution imagery, to further personalize content discovery, according to the release.

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“We are excited that Redbox has selected our technology to give their customers a highly personalized, feature-rich entertainment experience they can enjoy across all of their devices,” said Walt Horstman, SVP and GM, advanced media and advertising, TiVo. “Redbox is fully utilizing our Personalized Content Discovery platform and showcasing how it can be used in many non-linear environments, including redbox.com, their mobile apps, and physical boxes throughout the country.”

“With TiVo’s Personalized Content Discovery platform, we are able to offer our consumers a more engaging and relevant entertainment experience across multiple devices,” said Ash Eldifrawi, chief marketing and customer experience officer at Redbox. “We’re gaining a more holistic view of all of our audience metrics, helping us align our data and insights across all devices and platforms, ultimately allowing us to grow our business.”

Luncheon Fetes Fast Forward Award Honorees

FandangoNow VP of home entertainment Cameron Douglas, Redbox CEO Galen Smith, Google Play head of media and entertainment Jonathan Zepp, and the team at Apple iTunes were honored with Fast Forward Awards at a luncheon April 4 in Los Angeles at the Universal Hilton.

The awards, presented by Media Play News, recognize people, technologies, organizations, products or services that move the home entertainment industry forward.

The luncheon was produced by Media Play News and hosted by the Entertainment Merchants Association, which used the occasion to announce a new Leadership Development Foundation to foster executive talent.

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“All of today’s honorees are truly worthy of recognition for their leadership in our industry,” said EMA president and CEO Mark Fisher.

Media Play News publisher Thomas K. Arnold noted that all of the honorees are involved in the digital transactional business. Not all consumers want to get their entertainment buffet-style with the content curated for them as offered by subscription streaming services; many consumers would like to choose the content they would like to see a la carte, he said.

Warner Bros. Entertainment SVP of sales Michael Rweyemamu presented the award to Smith of Redbox, which has nearly doubled the selection of films and TV shows available on its year-old digital movie store, Redbox On Demand, and last December announced a new deal in which its app is featured on all Vizio Smartcast TV. Rweyemamu noted the irony of the occasion, considering the rocky relationship between the studio and the kiosk company several years ago when the two fought over release windows for low-priced rentals.

“Ten years ago, had you told me I’d be presenting an award to Redbox, I’d have said, ‘Hell, no!’” Rweyemamu joked.

He praised Smith for his leadership.

“Galen, you’ve been a great partner,” he said. “We started off on a rocky road like some relationships, but we’re in a really good place right now. And a lot of that has to do with the fact that you were really tenacious. You were really disciplined, really open to conversations to allow us to be where we are today.”

Smith also noted the evolution of the relationship between the two companies.

“In a similar vein, receiving an award from Warner Bros. I didn’t think was ever going to happen,” Smith said.

The company’s Redbox on Demand digital service “is a real natural evolution for our business,” Smith said.

“We’ve got 50 million customers that rent from us every year; it’s an opportunity for us to help them move to digital,” he said. “This is the last bastion of customers who haven’t moved yet. We have an opportunity to bring them over.”

He also praised the transactional model.

“We did a stint in a more of an SVOD-type business, and it didn’t really work,” he said, in reference to a failed joint venture with Verizon. “Our consumers are transactional, and so we want to do everything we can to support the business.”

In presenting the award to FandangoNow’s Douglas, industry veteran and former DreamWorks home entertainment chief Kelly Sooter praised him for his ability to anticipate trends and forge strong partnerships and lasting relationships — and for always being in touch with the consumer.

“He knows everything about … how consumers behave,” she said.

FandangoNow has been revving up its promotional muscle and is aggressively tying in digital purchases and rentals with its movie-ticket-selling sister company.

Douglas noted he got involved in the digital business at DreamWorks when he was asked to help with a startup (M-GO, which eventually was acquired by movie service Fandango and became FandangoNow).

“As we finally refined what we were doing and launched in 2013 as a transactional service, I truly felt like I was now building the future of digital home entertainment,” Douglas said.

He noted FandangoNow’s early and strong support for 4K and initiatives such as binge bundles and the “Fresh Picks” program, which curates titles deemed “Fresh” by sister service Rotten Tomatoes.

Praising Google Play’s Zepp, who was unable to attend, Paramount Pictures president of worldwide home media distribution Bob Buchi said, “He truly has the talent and the vision to market very impressively to consumers and really change the way that they behave.”

Buchi noted that Google Play, which is in its seventh year, “really put a movie store in the hand of millions of consumers with the Android mobile platform [and] really elevated and streamlined the experience of purchasing or renting a digital product, and opened up a whole new world in literally over 100 countries.”

“They continued to enhance the product day in and day out,” he said. “It’s now on every major television manufacturer and streaming sticks, so it’s really never been easier to rent or to purchase a movie.

“They’re also super champions of 4K which is great for adoption and great for all of our futures.”

Google Play Movies & TV is currently on a big 4K push, automatically upgrading customers’ past movie purchases to the new format, so they can stream them in 4K, even if the movies were originally purchased in standard or high definition.

Google Play’s Bill Kotzman accepted the award on Zepp’s behalf and read a statement from the honoree: “Transactional home entertainment is and will remain a key part of the media and entertainment business.… Google continues to invest heavily in transactional, and we’re excited to continue to grow the category in partnership with all of you.”

The EMA’s Steven Apple accepted the award for the iTunes team. Apple’s iTunes service began the year with a game-changing deal with No. 1 TV manufacturer Samsung. New Samsung SmartCast TVs will allow consumers to access their iTunes movie and TV show libraries through a new app.

Photos of the event are here.

Media Play News Fast Forward 2019 Awards Luncheon

Media Play News honored four digital retailers with the publication’s second annual Fast Forward Awards for driving the home entertainment industry forward. This year’s awards included a luncheon and ceremony, held April 4 at the Universal Hilton in Universal City, Calif., and hosted by the Entertainment Merchants Association. Awards went to Cameron Douglas of FandangoNow, Jonathan Zepp of Google Play Movies & TV, and Galen Smith of Redbox, and the team at Apple iTunes. EMA used the event to launch its EMA Leadership Development Foundation, aimed at supporting professional training and development within the home entertainment industry, and particularly within the EMA membership.

‘Aquaman’ Tops Redbox Disc and Digital Charts

Warner’s Aquaman landed on top of both Redbox charts the week ended March 31.

The superhero film, which earned more than $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office, took the No. 1 spot on both the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, and the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital transactions, including both electronic sellthrough and streaming rentals. The Warner release arrived on disc March 26 and was No. 2 on Redbox’s digital list the week before.

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One other new release entered the disc chart for the week, STX Film’s Second Act, which debuted at No. 2. The comedy starring Jennifer Lopez is distributed on disc by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Second Act was also No. 2 on the digital chart.

Warner’s The Mule and Paramount’s Bumblebee popped up on the digital list at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively. Both were released for digital distribution March 19.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended March 31:

  1. Aquaman (New) — Warner
  2. Second Act (New) — Universal/STX
  3. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — Sony
  4. Mary Poppins Returns — Disney
  5. Instant Family— Paramount
  6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — Warner
  7. Green Book— Universal
  8. Ralph Breaks the Internet— Disney
  9. Creed II — Warner
  10. Mortal Engines— Universal

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended March 31:

  1. Aquaman— Warner
  2. Second Act — STX
  3. Instant Family — Paramount
  4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — Sony
  5. A Star Is Born (2018)— Warner
  6. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald— Warner
  7. The Mule — Warner
  8. Bumblebee — Paramount
  9. Green Book— Universal
  10. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox

‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Swings to Top of Both Redbox Charts

Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse swung to the top of both Redbox charts for the week ended March 24.

The animated superhero film, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, took the No. 1 spot on both the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, and the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), both electronic sellthrough (EST) and streaming. The Sony release was new-to-disc for the week, streeting March 19.

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One other new release entered the disc chart for the week, Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, which floated in at No. 5. The reboot of the Disney classic, starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, earned $171.8 million in theaters.

On the digital side, coming in at No. 2 for the week was Warner’s superhero epic Aquaman, which earned $334.8 million at the box office.

Paramount’s Instant Family, a comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne, held strong on both charts, finishing in the same spot at No. 3 on the disc chart and dropping just one spot from No. 2 to No. 3 on the digital chart.

Emerging on the digital chart at No. 10 was A Simple Favor, a comedy starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, which was released late last year.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended March 24:

  1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (New) — Sony
  2. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — Warner
  3. Instant Family— Paramount
  4. Green Book— Universal
  5. Mary Poppins Returns (New) — Disney
  6. Mortal Engines— Universal
  7. Creed II — Warner
  8. Ralph Breaks the Internet— Disney
  9. A Star Is Born(2018)— Warner
  10. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended March 24:

  1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — Sony
  2. Aquaman— Warner
  3. Instant Family— Paramount
  4. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald— Warner
  5. Green Book— Universal
  6. A Star Is Born(2018)— Warner
  7. Mortal Engines— Universal
  8. Creed II — Warner
  9. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox
  10. A Simple Favor — Lionsgate

Sony Stopping Retailers from Selling Digital Video Game Codes

In another blow to packaged-media retail, Sony Interactive Entertainment is taking steps to stop retailers such as GameStop, Amazon and Best Buy from selling digital codes to its video games.

The move would hinder consumers from bypassing the credit card payment option at Sony’s PlayStation Network and purchasing codes to PS4 titles at physical and online retail.

“We can confirm that as of April 1, Sony will no longer offer full games through SIE’s Global Digital at Retail program,” the company told The Verge in a statement. “This decision was made in order to continue to align key businesses globally. To support full games and premium editions, SIE will introduce increased denominations at select retailers.”

The move will reportedly not affect pending releases of Days Gone and Mortal Kombat 11.

Sony said the new policy would not affect downloadable content, add-ons, virtual currency, gift cards and season passes. The publisher will also continue to offer third-party PSN credit options at select retailers.

Sony’s action mirrors efforts by Disney to stop Redbox from selling digital codes to its movies. That move resulted in litigation with a federal judge last summer granting Disney’s request for a preliminary injunction against Redbox.

That injunction only applies to newer “combo pack” releases with a revised disclaimer on the package. Redbox said it would continue selling digital codes to earlier Disney releases such as Frozen and older “Star Wars” movies.

‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Casts Spell on Redbox Charts

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald worked some magic the week ended March 17, levitating to the top spot on both Redbox charts.

“Harry Potter” writer J.K. Rowling’s followup to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them took the No. 1 spot on both the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red vending machines, and the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks transactional video-on-demand (TVOD), both electronic sellthrough (EST) and streaming. The Warner release was new-to-disc for the week, streeting March 12.

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Two other new disc releases, both from Universal, entered the chart for the week. Best Picture Oscar winner Green Book nabbed the No. 2 spot. The film also picked up Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali. Mortal Engines, a post-apocalyptic actioner backed by Peter Jackson, came in at No. 4, just behind the previous week’s top title, Paramount’s Instant Family, a comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne.

Warner’s fight drama Creed II landed at No. 5 on the disc chart, falling from No. 2 the previous week.

On the digital side, coming in at No. 2 for the week was Instant Family, sliding from No. 1. Green Book entered at No. 3, followed at No. 4 by another Oscar-lauded film, Warner’s A Star Is Born, which picked up an Academy Award for Best Original Song and earned eight nominations, including acting nods for Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Mortal Engines rounded out the top five on the digital chart.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended March 17:

  1. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (New) — Warner
  2. Green Book (New) — Universal
  3. Instant Family — Paramount
  4. Mortal Engines (New) — Universal
  5. Creed II — Warner
  6. Ralph Breaks the Internet — Disney
  7. A Star Is Born (2018)— Warner
  8. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox
  9. Robin Hood (2018) — Lionsgate
  10. The Grinch — Universal

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended March 17:

  1. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — Warner
  2. Instant Family — Paramount
  3. Green Book — Universal
  4. A Star Is Born (2018)— Warner
  5. Mortal Engines — Universal
  6. Creed II — Warner
  7. Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox
  8. Nobody’s Fool (2018) — Paramount
  9. Robin Hood (2018) — Lionsgate
  10. The Possession of Hannah Grace — Sony