The Sony PlayStation Store will drop the sale and rental of digital movies and TV shows, beginning Aug. 31. The platform, which has sold and rented studio movies since 2008, cited an increase in the consumer adoption of subscription streaming services and ad-supported VOD services, for the decision.
“At [Sony Interactive Entertainment], we strive to provide the best entertainment experience for PlayStation fans, and that means evolving our offerings as customer needs change,” Vanessa Lee, head of video business for Sony Interactive Entertainment, wrote in a March 2 blog post. “We’ve seen tremendous growth from PlayStation fans using subscription-based and ad-based entertainment streaming services on our consoles.”
The PlayStation Store was not a member of Movies Anywhere, the studio-backed transactional retail platform that includes Vudu, Microsoft’s Movies & TV, DirecTV, Xfinity Store, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Verizon, FandangoNow and Row8.
Users can still access movie and TV content they have purchased through PlayStation Store for on-demand playback on their PS4, PS5 and mobile devices, she wrote.
“We thank our fans for their continued support, and we look forward to further enhancing the entertainment experience on PlayStation,” read the blog.
The move follows the 2019 shuttering of Sony PlayStation Vue, the online TV platform that in 2015 followed Dish Network’s Sling TV into the nascent streaming market.
Ironically, Sony is pulling out of the TVOD retail market at a time when digital sales and rentals are at an all-time high, thanks in part to the coronavirus pandemic. According to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, digital sales of movies, TVs shows and other filmed content, known as electronic sellthrough, rose 16% to $3 billion. Digital rentals were up 18%, to $2.3 billion.
Consumers who rent Bill & Ted Face the Music (due Aug. 28) in advance on FandangoNow can get 50% off rentals of more than 100 movies starring big-screen duos like Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter.
The deal includes the pair’s first two epics Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. Other films in the offer include Bad Boys for Life, Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion, House Party, Thelma & Louise, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Booksmart, The Blues Brothers, Wayne’s World, Tommy Boy, The Heat, The Sting, Bonnie & Clyde, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Friday, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, Midnight Run, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Back to the Future, Keanu and Ted.
Consumers will have 30 days to begin watching the titles after they are rented. For more info on the more than 100 discounted titles in the deal, see FandangoNow’s Movie Duos.
Vidiots, the iconic L.A. video store-turned-film nonprofit, will relaunch in fall of 2020 as an expanded entertainment, social and community space with an adjacent video store in a new home at the historic Eagle Theatre in Los Angeles, according to the Vidiots Foundation.
Restoring the 90-year-old, 200-seat Eagle Theatre as an independent theater with state-of-the-art sound and projection (35mm and DCP), Vidiots will offer a program of repertory titles, new independents, hard-to-find gems, classics and community-driven programs. An adjacent storefront will house Vidiots’ 50,000-plus DVD, Blu-ray and rare VHS collection for rental. The location will also have a multi-purpose, second screening room for film programs, educational workshops, and special events.
Vidiots is currently fundraising and identifying Cornerstone Donors and Corporate Partners for naming rights and is also inviting First-In Founding Members. Founding Members to date include Katie Aselton and Mark Duplass, Jess Wu Calder and Keith Calder, Emily Cook, Mackenzie Davis, Rian Johnson and Karina Longworth, Phil Lord, Nate Moore, and Morgan Neville. Vidiots friend and supporter Jason Reitman is donating a 35mm projection system.
“Vidiots relaunching on the cusp of our 35th birthday is a triumph for Los Angeles film history and cements the legacy of Vidiots founders Patty Polinger and Cathy Tauber as innovators in L.A. film culture,” said Vidiots executive director Maggie Mackay in a statement. “Bringing the Eagle Theatre back and providing L.A. with a long-needed new film space is thrilling. We’re deeply grateful for our valued programming partners present and future, our expert advisors, and especially our First-In Founding Members whose generosity and passionate belief in our mission have made this relaunch possible. Vidiots at the Eagle is a community space created by and for film lovers and filmmakers. We welcome and encourage everyone who believes in our mission to join us as we work towards opening in fall 2020.”
“Los Angeles should have more movie theaters, not fewer, and Vidiots has come to give all us punch drunk film lovers another place to call home where we can roam the racks. Thank you! So grateful to be a small part of this evolving institution,” said Reitman in a statement.
“We’re thrilled that Vidiots is moving into this next chapter and that our unique library of films will once again be made available to the public, especially in this era of streaming where choices are increasingly limited,” said Vidiots founders Polinger and Tauber in a statement. “Vidiots at the Eagle Theatre is a truly exciting and ambitious plan that revolves around our commitment to archival preservation, education, and accessibility, while maintaining and growing our passionate community of film lovers.”
“When we first moved in together and merged our belongings, we became a two-VCR family — and this was in 2013,” said Longworth and Johnson in a statement. “VHS and video stores were integral to both of us becoming who we are, and we couldn’t be happier to support the evolution of Vidiots and its media library. In a world remade by streaming, it’s never been more important to preserve access to physical media for all.”
“Their efforts towards creating community and preservation made Vidiots legendary in L.A. and I’m so excited to see their philosophy and energy reincarnated in a brick-and-mortar film space on the East Side. I can’t wait to spend all my time there,” said Davis in a statement.
Recently, Vidiots launched a programming partnership with Alamo Drafthouse L.A. with the series “Tales From the Video Store.” Vidiots is currently presenting a monthly 16mm series with Projections at the Bootleg Theater. New programming partnerships with The Black List, The Bob Baker Marionette Theater, and Cinema Eye Honors will launch in late in 2019/early 2020.
Future programming and partner organizations include Art House Convergence, Film Independent, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Outfest, Oxy Arts and the Occidental Media Arts & Culture Department, Sundance Institute, UCLA Film & Television Archive, Women in Film, and Vidéothèque.
Vidiots was opened as an alternative video store in 1985 by L.A. natives Polinger and Tauber. For 32 years Vidiots served its community via the iconic Santa Monica storefront, which shuttered in 2017 in the wake of rising costs. With the support of Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures (which became a major donor in 2015, along with Vidiots customer Dr. Leonard Lipman), Vidiots was able to store its collection and devise an extensive plan for sustainable relaunch in a new home.
Vidiots’ new home, originally conceived as a vaudeville stage, first opened in May 1929 as The Yosemite Theatre. After a few short days, the Yosemite re-opened as an independent silent movie theater, and a year later it transitioned to sound. In 1940, The Yosemite became The Eagle Theatre. From 1976 to 1979, the theater ran as a Pussycat, part of the adult cinema chain. In 1983, The Eagle once again became a traditional independent cinema, and operated into the 1990s before becoming a series of churches.
With almost-10,000 square feet of entertainment and educational space, Vidiots will operate seven days a week and offer daily screenings and special programs, the full video store with DVD and Blu-ray rentals, concessions, and a light menu with beer and wine. The main theater (200+ seats, a stage, 35mm, DCP, and state-of-the-art sound) will host screenings and tastemaker events. A second, smaller screening and event space (approximately 50 seats with DCP projection) will host screenings, workshops, and receptions.
A consortium of studios and key digital retailers, cable companies and satellite providers is sponsoring a digital rental movie sale May 31 through June 3 in which consumers can stream up to 250 different movies at prices as low as $2.99 for recent releases and 99 cents for older, catalog titles.
The “Ultimate Movie Weekend” initiative, led by the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), is believed to be the first time such a coordinated promotion has been undertaken in the United States.
The goal, according to EMA SVP Sean Bersell, is to “introduce consumers who haven’t rented digitally previously to the value and convenience of digital rental, and to entice consumers who haven’t rented digital recently to re-engage.”
The campaign will offer recent releases and catalog movies from Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. Participating digital retailers and cable and satellite companies include Altice USA’s Optimum and Suddenlink TV, Amazon Prime Video, the Apple TV app and iTunes, Atlantic Broadband, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, Cox, DIRECTV, DISH, FandangoNOW, Frontier Communications, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, PlayStation Store, Redbox On Demand, U-Verse, and Vudu.
The tagline for the Ultimate Movie Weekend is “Rent the Biggest Movies for Less.” Participating retailers will offer between 50 and 250 movies at discounted prices as low as $2.99 for recent releases and $0.99 for catalog movies. The Ultimate Movie Weekend sale includes some of the latest releases that are not yet available on subscription video services. Among the movies in the promotion are A Star Is Born (2018), Bumblebee, Fifty Shades of Grey, First Man, Forrest Gump, The Hunger Games, Robin Hood (2018), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Step Brothers, and Wonder Woman.
The promotional campaign will be supported by a significant media buy, social media marketing, direct-to-consumer outreach, and a dedicated website, www.ultimatemovieweekend.com. The Ultimate Movie Weekend sale is patterned after similar successful efforts last year in Australia, France and the U.K.
“While the popularity of digital movie rentals continues to grow, there is the opportunity to introduce even more consumers to the value and convenience of digital rental, so the industry has come together to offer a compelling promotion that we hope will attract new customers and remind infrequent digital renters of this option,” said EMA president and CEO Mark Fisher. “Plus, with the start of the summer, which is traditionally a heavy movie-viewing season, it’s a good time to remind consumers of the pleasure of getting together with family and friends for a movie night.”
According to industry statistics, in the first quarter of 2019, digital rental generated $564 million in consumer spending, which accounted for approximately 10% of all home entertainment consumer spending in the quarter.
“This is the first effort of its kind in the U.S., and the breadth of participants demonstrates that the home entertainment industry is making it a priority to communicate the value proposition of digital rentals to consumers,” said Richard Smith, SVP, domestic digital sales, for Paramount Pictures and chair of EMA’s Ultimate Movie Weekend planning committee. “We see significant potential to grow this sector of the industry, and in doing so grow the overall home entertainment market.”
“Our studio partners have assembled a fantastic slate of movies, many unavailable on subscription services, which FandangoNow will offer at compelling prices,” added Cameron Douglas, VP of home entertainment at Fandango and chair of the EMA. “Convenience and value have always been the hallmark of home entertainment, and these great movies at discounted prices draws attention to the ease and affordability of renting digitally.”
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.
“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.”
Redbox has more than doubled the number of cities offering 4K Ultra-HD movie rentals — bringing 4K to a total of 15 markets.
Rental pricing for 4K UHD titles is $2.50 per night.
“Our customers have spoken — they love the quality of 4K content,” said Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, in a statement. “We’re happy to make 4K rentals available to even more movie fans, giving them more format choices than ever before so they can make the most of their movie night.”
New markets include Colorado Springs, Colo.; Des Moines, Iowa; Kansas City, Mo.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Portland, Ore.; Reno, Nev.; San Diego; San Francisco; Spokane, Wash.
They join preview markets Austin; Detroit; Los Angeles; Miami; New York; and Seattle, Wash.
New movies available to rent in 4K UHD include Creed II and A Star Is Born, with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald due March 12, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse coming March 19 and Aquaman streeting March 26.
Consumers in test markets can discover and rent 4K UHD content at their local kiosks. At this time, online reservations are not available.
It may have picked up just one Academy Award (Best Original Song) from its eight nominations, but A Star Is Born triumphed on both Redbox charts the week leading up to the Oscar ceremony Feb. 24.
Warner’s 2018 update of the classic film story landed at No. 1 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 week ended Feb. 24.
The film, which earned $210.9 million at the box office and debuted on disc Feb. 19, stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga — both nominated for Oscars for their performances — as two musicians who come together on stage and in life in a complex journey through the beauty and heartbreak of a relationship struggling to survive.
Four other new releases appeared on the Redbox disc chart for the week. Lionsgate’s Robin Hood, another retelling of a classic story, starring Taron Egerton as Robin Hood and Jamie Foxx as Little John, debuted at No. 2. Paramount Pictures’ Overlord, a story produced by J.J. Abrams about a team of American paratroopers who encounter Nazi super-soldiers, entered the chart at No. 4. Lionsgate’s Backtrace, an action thriller starring Sylvester Stallone, debuted at No. 8. And 20th Century Fox’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? — which earned three Oscar noms, for Best Actress (Melissa McCarthy), Best Supporting Actor (Richard E. Grant) and Best Adapted Screenplay — entered the disc chart at No. 10.
Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which won all but one of the five Oscars for which it was nominated, including Best Actor for Rami Malek, finished its second week in disc release at No. 3, falling from No. 1.
On the digital chart, Bohemian Rhapsody fell one spot to No. 2, behind A Star Is Born, which shot up the chart from No. 10 the previous week. Robin Hood took the third spot, followed by Paramount’s Tyler Perry comedy Nobody’s Fool at No. 4 (from No. 2 the previous week), Overlord at No. 5 and Can You Ever Forgive Me? at No. 6.
Interestingly, two titles released in the fall of last year appeared on the digital chart. Sony Pictures’ Nov. 13 release Searching, which stars John Cho as a distraught father who sifts through his missing daughter’s digital footprint determined to find her, appeared at No. 9. And Universal Pictures’ Sept. 25 release Skyscraper, an actioner starring Dwayne Johnson, came in at No. 10.
Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Feb. 24:
A Star Is Born (2018) (New) — Warner
Robin Hood (2018) (New) — Lionsgate
Bohemian Rhapsody — Fox
Overlord (New) — Paramount
The Grinch — Universal
Nobody’s Fool — Paramount
Widows — Fox
Backtrace (New) — Lionsgate
The Girl in the Spider’s Web — Sony
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (New) — Fox
Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Feb. 24:
Sony’s Searching and Universal’s The House With a Clock in Its Walls topped the rental and sales charts, respectively, at FandangoNow, Fandango’s digital content service, from Nov. 27-29.
Searching, the story of a father’s quest to find clues in the laptop of his 16-year-old daughter after she goes missing, was followed on the rental chart by Warner’s romantic comedy hit Crazy Rich Asians at No. 2 and The Meg at No. 3.
On FandangoNow’s sales chart, The House With a Clock in Its Walls, director Eli Roth’s adaptation of the children’s book starring Jack Black, was followed by Fox’s remake The Predator at No. 2 and Paramount’s Mission Impossible — Fallout at No. 3.
The Incredibles 2, the latest animated hit from Walt Disney Studios, debuted at No. 1 on the Redbox kiosk chart for the week ended Nov. 11.
Lionsgate’s The Spy Who Dumped Me, meanwhile, remained at No. 1 on the Redbox On Demand chart for the second consecutive week.
The action comedy, with Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon as two best friends on the run from assassins, had debuted in the top spot the prior week on both charts. The film slipped to No. 2 on the kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red disc vending machines.
Universal Pictures’ BlacKkKlansman came in at No. 2 on the Redbox On Demand digital chart, which tracks digital transactions, both electronic sellthrough (EST) and transactional video-on-demand (TVOD) streaming. The Spike Lee-helmed biopic, about a black cop who sets out to infiltrate and expose the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, grossed $48.3 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters.
BlacKkKlansman debuted at No. 4 on the Redbox disc-rental chart, one spot behind Disney’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, which slipped to No. 3 from No. 2 the prior week.
Rounding out the top five on the Redbox kiosk chart for the week was another Universal Pictures film, Skyscraper, the action film about a high-rise rescue starring Dwayne Johnson and Neve Campbell.
On the Redbox On Demand digital chart, Skyscraper finished the week at No. 3, down a spot from the prior week.
The No. 4 spot went to Universal Pictures’ 2018 Papillon remake, with 20th Century Fox’s The Darkest Minds coming in at No. 5
The Darkest Minds also debuted at No. 7 on the Redbox disc-rental chart, the third new release to bow in the top 10 for the week.
The Darkest Minds is a science fiction thriller film based on Alexandra Bracken’s young adult novel of the same name. The film stars Amandla Stenberg, Harris Dickinson, Mandy Moore, and Gwendoline Christie and follows a group of teenagers on the run from the government after mysteriously developing superpowers. The film earned just $12.7 million in North American theaters.
A fourth new DVD and Blu-ray Disc release, Disney’s Christopher Robin, debuted at No. 9 on the Redbox kiosk chart with a domestic theatrical gross of $99.1 million.
Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ending November 11
The Incredibles 2 (new)
The Spy Who Dumped Me
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Hotel Transylvania 3
The Darkest Minds (new)
Christopher Robin (new)
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ending November 11
Uncle Drew, a sports comedy from Lionsgate that earned $42.5 million in North American movie theaters, saw higher rental demand at Redbox kiosks the week ended Oct. 1 than Walt Disney’s Solo: A Star Wars Story, which even with a domestic gross of $214 million was the poorest performer of the 11 “Star Wars” movies.
Both films were released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on Sept. 25.
Uncle Drew debuted at No. 2 on the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals, while Solo bowed at No. 3.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the latest installment in the blockbuster dinosaur franchise from Universal Pictures, remained at No. 1 for the second consecutive week on both the Redbox kiosk chart and the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital purchases (EST) and rentals (TVOD).
The film, the fifth in the “Jurassic Park” series, grossed $416.6 million in the United States and Canada and another $887.1 million in other territories for a total worldwide gross of $1.304 billion.
One other new release debuted in the top 10 on the Redbox rental chart: the much-maligned Gotti, starring John Travolta as the notorious New York gangster. The crime drama, bowing at No. 7, had been slated for release in December 2017, but two weeks before the scheduled release date Lionsgate sold the film back to its producers – hence, the delay. Gotti was ultimately released for the home market on Sept. 25 by Vertical Entertainment, with Lionsgate still handling distribution.
Rounding out the top five on the Redbox kiosk charts were the Sandra Bullock-starrer Ocean’s 8 at No. 4 and Tag at No. 5, both released by Warner Bros.
On the Redbox On Demand chart, Ocean’s 8 remained at No. 2 for the second consecutive week while Uncle Drew debuted at No. 3, even though it was released digitally two weeks prior to its disc issuance.
Rounding out the top five on the Redbox digital chart were Tag at No. 4 and Gotti at No. 5, the latter up from No. 8 the prior week.
Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ending October 1
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Uncle Drew (new)
Solo: A Star Wars Story (new)
Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ending October 1