Best Buy Q4 Entertainment Revenue Inches Up $2 Million

Best Buy March 2 reported fourth-quarter (ended Jan. 23, 2023), entertainment revenue of $1.21 billion, which was up $2 million from the previous-year period.

The segment, which includes products such as DVD/Blu-ray Disc movies, video game hardware and software, books, music CDs and computer software, saw comparable store sales increase 0.2%, compared with a 9.5% drop in the previous-year period.

Overall, the nation’s largest consumer electronics retailer realized a $1.46 billion decline in domestic quarterly revenue to $13.5 billion, from $14.9 billion in the prior-year period. For the fiscal year, sales dropped almost 11% to $42.8 billion, from $47.8 billion in the previous fiscal year.

“We believe the macro and industry backdrop will continue to be pressured in FY24 and we will continue to adjust,” CEO Corie Barry said in a statement. “At the same time, we remain incredibly excited about our industry and our future — there are more technology products than ever in peoples’ homes, technology is increasingly a necessity in our lives, and technology innovation will continue.”

CFO Matt Bilunas said the comparable sales outlook decline from 3% to 6% for the year is expected to improve after the first quarter.

“Most year-over-year [sales] comparisons [should] ease through the year,” Bilunas said.

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With Decline in Disc Sales, Black Friday for Home Entertainment Just Isn’t the Same

Black Friday came and went with some pronounced changes from just a few years ago: Shorter lines, plenty of parking, and fewer elbows from shoppers determined to grab the last bargain-priced item before you do.

Two factors are at play here: the rise in e-commerce, which has shifted much of the bargain-hunting from Walmart to Amazon, and extended Black Friday sales that in some cases began right after Halloween. The shift to online shopping really accelerated during the pandemic, and the bulk of the foot traffic has yet to return.

But for home entertainment, Black Friday has for all practical purposes ceased to exist. A steady decline in DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales, and a dramatic shift in consumer spending toward subscription streaming, has made the days of shoppers scooping up bargain-priced discs seem as antiquated as renting a videocassette at Blockbuster.

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The once-ubiquitous “dump bins” of $5 DVDs at Walmart are gone. Completely. Earlier this year, Media Play News reported that the nation’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer was shaving 20% off its already-small footprint for physical media, but the absence of cheap DVDs still came as something of a shock.

Best Buy, on the other hand, included DVDs and Blu-ray Discs front and center — literally — in its Black Friday blowout deals. At the consumer electronics chain’s store in Oceanside, Calif., there were standalone displays for “Black Friday Deals” and “$7.99 and Up” movies, though by midday Blu-ray Discs priced at the low end were gone and all that remained were mostly 4K Ultra HD editions of films such as Hacksaw Ridge, Total Recall, Dirty Dancing and the first two “John Wick” movies, priced at $17.99.

Best Buy also had a separate standee for Top Gun: Maverick, which was discounted to $24.99 for the Blu-ray Disc and $29.99 for the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

Target offered a buy-two-get-one-free deal on movies, books and games, as well as a selection of discounted holiday-themed DVDs with new slipcover box art.

Earlier this month, Samba TV released the results of a new survey, taken in late summer, that found 71% of shoppers were planning to take part in Black Friday shopping, up from about 60% last year. For tech-savvy millennials, the percentage, surprisingly, was even higher, at 88%.

Still, the survey found that just 31% of U.S. adults are planning to do most of their holiday shopping in stores this holiday season, which explains the lighter crowds. 

Online, however, is a different story. Adobe, which tracks sales on retailer websites, on Nov. 26 reported total online Black Friday sales of $9.12 billion, 2.3% more than U.S. shoppers spent online on Black Friday last year. 

Cyber Monday (today, Nov. 28) is once again expected to be the biggest day for online shopping, with Adobe projecting total sales of $11.2 billion.

On Thanksgiving Day, U.S. shoppers spent $5.29 billion online, another record. Popular items included Apple watches and AirPod, smart TVs and speakers, and gaming consoles. 

Adobe says sales from smartphones accounted for 55% of online sales on Thanksgiving Day. These sales are expected to account for 53% of total Black Friday sales, the company predicts.

Netflix Launching ‘Netflix at The Grove’ Pop-Up Store

Netflix will launch a pop-up store at The Grove shopping mall in Los Angeles Oct. 13-Jan. 6.

“Netflix at The Grove” will feature a broad range of limited-edition items from some of Netflix’s most-popular titles, including “Stranger Things,” “Bridgerton,” “Squid Game” and more. Items on sale include the Hellfire Club raglan shirt and Palace Arcade hoodie, the soon-to-be-released Inside Bridgerton book from series creator Shonda Rhimes, an assortment of Funko collectible figures from “Squid Game” and “Stranger Things,” and a curated series of products from some of the children’s properties on Netflix, including the iconic dollhouse, new apparel line and Gabby Girl Doll from “Gabby’s Dollhouse,” and kids activity books from “Ada Twist, Scientist” and “Cocomelon. ” 

The Netflix at The Grove pop-up store will feature licensed items from the streamers shows and films.

The 10,000 square foot space will feature “photo-ready vignettes,” according to a blog post, featuring life-size versions of notable Netflix characters, including Vecna from “Stranger Things,” the Young-Hee doll from “Squid Game,” Queen Charlotte’s throne and more. 

Previous Netflix experiences include “Stranger Things: The Experience,” “Stranger Things: The Store,” “The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience,” “Money Heist: The Experience” and “Viva Las Vengeance: Army of the Dead.”

“Following the incredible success and excitement from our fans for our immersive experiences around the globe, this felt like the most organic next step to continue our growth and bring Netflix’s most beloved shows together in a completely new way,” Greg Lombardo, head of live experiences at Netflix, said in a statement. “Celebrating our fans and giving them the opportunity to put themselves in the world of the stories they love is at the heart of what we do, and we’re thrilled to bring this experience to life at The Grove.”

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In early December, “Netflix at The Grove” will expand its experiential offerings to include a second floor with new immersive elements tied to the programming coming to Netflix this holiday season. Titles featured will include Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Slumberland, Enola Holmes, The School for Good and Evil, Matilda, and “Emily in Paris,” as well as a brand new slate of holiday programming including Falling for Christmas, Christmas With You, The Noel Diary and “The Great British Baking Show: Holidays.”

Paramount+ to Be Bundled With Walmart+

Walmart and Paramount Global have reached a deal to allow Walmart+ subscribers access to Paramount+ as a perk, according to reports.

The deal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources familiar with the discussions.

Walmart, according to an earlier New York Times report, has also held talks with subscription streaming video giants Disney+ and Peacock about incorporating the platforms in its e-commerce shopping service Walmart+, which costs $12.95 per month and features free shipping, fuel discounts and a free six-month subscription to the Spotify music service.

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According to The New York Times, which cited sources familiar with the situation, Walmart is interested in emulating marketing agreements Disney+ and Paramount+ have with Verizon and T-Mobile offering their wireless subscribers limited free SVOD access.

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Leads Weekly Vudu Chart

A24’s multiverse fantasy Everything Everywhere All at Once led the chart of the 10 most popular films on Fandango’s transactional digital service Vudu the week ended July 10.

The film, newly available for digital rental, stars Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Wang, a flustered immigrant mother who is contacted from a parallel universe and told that only she can save the world. The film is also available for digital purchase.

Remaining at No. 2 on the chart was DreamWorks Animation’s caper comedy The Bad Guys, available for digital purchase. Distributed by Universal, the animated adventure follows reformed but misunderstood criminal animals who attempt to become good.

Landing at No. 3 was Open Road Films’ Liam Neeson actioner Memory, also newly available for digital rental. Also offered for digital purchase, the film follows an expert assassin caught in a moral quagmire.

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Disney’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, available for digital purchase beginning June 22, fell from the top spot to No. 4 on the chart. The Marvel Comics-based sequel stars Benedict Cumberbatch, who returns as Doctor Stephen Strange, master of the mystic arts. Strange seeks to protect a teenage girl from a parallel world who has the power to travel between the multiverses and is being pursued by an entity who seeks to control her power.

Landing at No. 5 on the chart was Universal’s The Northman, available for digital purchase and rental. Based on the Viking legends that inspired Hamlet, it tells the story of a deposed Viking prince who returns from hiding to seek revenge against his uncle for murdering his father.

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

  1. Everything Everywhere All at Once
  2. The Bad Guys
  3. Memory
  4. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
  5. The Northman
  6. Last Seen Alive
  7. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
  8. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
  9. Morbius
  10. Ambulance

Vudu Mounts Sale on More Than 100 Focus Features Films

As Focus Features’ The Northman arrives on Vudu May 12 and Downton Abbey: A New Era arrives in theaters May 20, Fandango’s transactional VOD service Vudu is hosting a sale on more than 100 other titles from the Focus Features library, celebrating 20 years of indie filmmaking.

The sale ends May 23.

This year’s Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay, Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, is available for sale at $12.99, while features such as Downton Abbey, The Card Counter, The Sparks Brothers, Wolf, Blue Bayou, Stillwater and Last Night in Soho are available at $9.99 each. Other titles, such as Promising Young Woman, Let Him Go, Harriet, On the Basis of Sex, Emma, Kajillionaire, Never Rarely Sometimes Always and The High Note, are on sale at $6.99 each.

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Vudu is also hosting a “Mix & Match” bundle sale, where customers can choose two qualifying Focus Features titles for the total price of $9.99. Qualifying titles include:

  • Atomic Blonde
  • Atonement
  • BlackKKlansman
  • Boy Erased
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Burn After Reading
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • The Danish Girl
  • Darkest Hour
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Harriet
  • In Bruges
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • Milk
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Phantom Thread
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Tully
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Again Tops Weekly Vudu Chart

Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: No Way Home again led the chart of the 10 most-popular titles on Fandango’s transactional digital service Vudu the week ended April 3.

The Marvel Studios film became available for digital purchase March 15. As the film begins, Spider-Man’s identity is revealed, bringing his superhero responsibilities into conflict with his normal life and putting those he cares about most at risk, including M.J. (Zendaya). When he enlists Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) help to restore his secret, the spell tears a hole in the world, releasing Spider-Man villains from other universes.

Debuting at No. 2 was Lionsgate’s Roland Emmerich disaster film Moonfall, starring Halle Berry. Available for digital purchase beginning April 1, the film follows a space crew who attempt to save the Earth when a mysterious force knocks the moon out of its orbit.

Entering the chart at No. 3 was Paramount Pictures’ Johnny Knoxville comedy Jackass Forever. In the film, which debuted on digital March 29, Knoxville and the gang are back for another outrageous round of stunts and bad ideas.

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Landing at No. 4 was Paramount Pictures’ The Contractor, which debuted for premium rental and sale April 1. The film stars Chris Pine as a former elite Special Forces Sergeant who contracts with a private military force and uncovers a conspiracy.

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Illumination’s Sing 2 landed at No. 5 on the chart. The animated sequel, distributed by Universal Pictures, is available for digital purchase and rental. It follows the animal singers as they plan a new show and try to persuade the world’s most reclusive rock star, Clay Callaway (voice of Bono), to join them. The film also features the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson and Taron Egerton.

Also new to the chart for the week was Kenneth Branagh’s suspense thriller Death on the Nile, starring Gal Gadot, which landed at No. 6 and debuted on digital March 29.

Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended April 3, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Spider-Man: No Way Home
  2. Moonfall
  3. Jackass Forever
  4. The Contractor
  5. Sing 2
  6. Death on the Nile
  7. Dog
  8. The Matrix Resurrections
  9. Marry Me
  10. The Cursed

Family Video Shutting Down eBay Site

Family Video is reaching its end.

The last national video rental chain, which in January 2021 announced it was closing all of its stores, is shutting down the last vestige of its business, an eBay site liquidating an assortment of discs, memorabilia and other items.

“Last Call! Our Website is Shutting Down!” read a March 28 email.

Announcing a “Site Closing Sale” the email read “Thank You for Your Support!” and offered a 10% off use code of “THANKYOU.” The email also offered shoppers an extra 15% off with the promo code “MOVIES.”

Items for sale on the site included DVDs of Reservoir Dogs for 99 cents and The Ring for $3.99. Also available were a Family Video “Novelty Employee Vest” for $14.95 and an “Ergotron Workfit S Dual Sit-Stand” for $399.99.

Family Video opened its first store  — Video Movie Club — in Springfield, Ohio, in 1978. The privately owned company ultimately grew to 800 stores, but more than a year ago announced it would begin liquidation of its remaining 250 stores, citing the pandemic as the reason.

“While we have faced digital competition from Netflix and others for years, nothing has been as devastating to our business as COVID-19,” Keith Hoogland, CEO of Highland Ventures, the Glenview, Ill.-based company that owns Family Video, said in a media statement. “We are very thankful to have been able to provide entertainment for many family movie nights.”

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The chain posted a letter from Hoogland on its website shortly before noon PST on Jan. 6, stating that the impact of COVID-19 combined with the lack of fresh theatrical product “pushed us to the end of an era.”

In November 2020, the chain mounted a brief  promotional campaign called #SaveTheVideoStore to drum up consumer support. The campaign was supported by studios and Hollywood talent such as Clerks. director Kevin Smith.

Redbox Entertainment Picks Up Rights to ‘Johnny & Clyde’ Starring Megan Fox

Redbox Entertainment, the original content division of Redbox, has signed a deal for North American rights to Verdi Productions’ action crime film Johnny & Clyde.

Starring Avan Jogia (Zombieland: Double Tap), Ajani Russell (Betty), with Tyson Ritter (Preacher) and Megan Fox (Transformers), and directed by Tom DeNucci (Vault), Johnny & Clyde will premiere in theaters and will be available on the same date in Redbox kiosks and on demand.

The film is a spin on the iconic Bonnie and Clyde story and follows two serial killers (Jogia, Russell) who are madly in love and on a shocking crime spree. They ultimately set their sights on robbing a prosperous casino run by a crime boss, Alana (Fox), and her head of security Guy (Ritter).

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Rounding out the cast are Vanessa Angel (Kingpin), Bai Ling (The Crow), Robert LaSardo (The Mule), Armen Garo (The Departed), Sean Ringgold (American Gangster), Nick Principe (Vault), Brett Azar (Young Rock), Sydney Jenkins (Don’t Look Up) and Charles W. Harris III (Glass). 

Verdi Productions produced and financed the project and VMI Worldwide is handling international sales.

“Fans of dark, gritty action movies are going to love Johnny & Clyde,” Redbox CEO Galen Smith said in a statement. “Tom has created a film that will have fans on the edge of their seats. We’re looking forward to releasing the film later this year.”

“This film will keep fans engaged from beginning till the end — a true thriller with a twist of humor,” stated producer Chad A. Verdi.

Buddy Comedy ‘Dog’ Tops Weekly Vudu Chart

The canine buddy comedy Dog led the chart of the 10 most-popular titles on Fandango’s transactional digital service Vudu the week ended March 13.

Available for premium digital rental, the MGM film follows an Army ranger (Channing Tatum) who races down the Pacific Coast with an Army dog named Lulu to make it to a fellow soldier’s funeral on time. Along the way, they drive each other crazy.

Illumination’s Sing 2 remained at No. 2 on the chart. The animated sequel, distributed by Universal Pictures, was recently made available for digital purchase. It follows the animal singers as they plan a new show and try to persuade the world’s most reclusive rock star, Clay Callaway (voice of Bono), to join them. The film also features the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson and Taron Egerton.

Paramount Pictures’ new Scream horror flick, which became available for digital rental and purchase March 1, took the bronze on the chart, dropping from the top spot. It reunites Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, reprising their roles from the original series. The story takes place 25 years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro as a terrifying new killer resurrects the Ghostface mask. As the deaths mount, Woodsboro’s new targets must seek help from the survivors of the original attacks.

The Matrix Resurrections, the fourth installment in Warner Bros.’ “Matrix” franchise, landed at No. 4 on the chart. The film, which debuted in theaters and on HBO Max, is available for regular digital purchase after a premium-priced digital run. It follows up on the trilogy that ended in 2003 and features Keanu Reeves returning to the role of Neo as he learns about the aftermath of the war between humanity and the machines that he thought he ended. His mission becomes to reconnect with his lost love Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss).

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Falling from No. 3 to No. 5 on the chart was the Liam Neeson actioner Blacklight, available for premium digital rental. The film follows a government operative with a shadowy past who discovers a plot targeting U.S. citizens and finds himself in the crosshairs of the FBI director he once protected.

Among other titles new to Vudu’s chart were the Jennifer Lopez-Owen Wilson romcom Marry Me, Guillermo Del Toro’s Oscar-nominated Best Picture contender Nightmare Alley and the Peter Dinklage starrere Cyrano (Oscar-nominated for Best Costume Design), ranked at No. 7, No. 8 and No. 9, respectively.

Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended March 13, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Dog
  2. Sing 2
  3. Scream (2022)
  4. The Matrix Resurrections
  5. Blacklight
  6. Ghostbusters: Afterlife
  7. Marry Me
  8. Nightmare Alley
  9. Cyrano
  10. American Underdog