Drama ‘The Parting Glass’ Coming to Digital Sept. 10 From Sony

The family drama The Parting Glass will come out on digital Sept. 10 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In his feature film directorial debut, Stephen Moyer helms an emotional drama about an estranged family coming back together when the youngest sibling, Colleen (Anna Paquin), mysteriously dies. Left to sort through her belongings, Colleen’s father (Ed Asner), three siblings (Melissa Leo, Cynthia Nixon and Denis O’Hare), and ex-husband (Rhys Ifans) revisit their memories and make peace together.

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Inspired by autobiographical events, Denis O’Hare makes his feature screenplay debut.

Sinister Superhero Flick ‘Brightburn’ Flying to Digital Aug. 6, Disc Aug. 20 From Sony

The superhero horror story Brightburn is coming to digital Aug. 6 and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 20 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Producer James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Slither) presents a subversive take on the superhero film, asking the question: What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister?

Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Gunn, Matt Jones and Meredith Hagner star.

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Bonus materials include:

  • three “Quick Burns” vignettes, hosted by Banks, producer James Gunn and director David Yarovesky;
  • the “Hero-Horror!” featurette, in which producer James Gunn and screenwriters Brian and Mark Gunn discuss the genre-bending category;
  • the “Nature vs. Nurture” featurette, about what motivates the film’s antihero;
  • and filmmaker commentary with Yarovesky, director of photography Michael Dallatorre, and costume designer Autumn Steed.

‘Zombieland’ Heading to 4K Ultra HD Oct. 1 From Sony

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Zombieland will come out on 4K Ultra HD Oct. 1 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in time for the theatrical debut of its sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap.

Directed by Ruben Fleischer and starring Academy Award nominees Woody Harrelson (2017, Best Supporting Actor, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, 2017), Jesse Eisenberg (2010, Best Actor, The Social Network) and Abigail Breslin (2006, Best Supporting Actress, Little Miss Sunshine) and Academy Award-winner Emma Stone (2016, Best Actress, La La Land), the film follows a shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the last Twinkie, and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park, who join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.

Remastered in 4K with High Dynamic Range, the release includes a Dolby Atmos audio track, along with the original theatrical 5.1 audio.

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The 4K UHD release features a new special feature with the cast offering a look back at the original film; a behind-the-scenes featurette; and “Shootin’ Zombies with Ruben Fleischer.” Special features on the Blu-ray include “Beyond the Graveyard Picture-in-Picture Track”; audio commentary with filmmakers and cast; the “In Search of Zombieland” featurette; the “ Zombieland is Your Land” featurette; deleted scenes; and visual effects progression scenes.

PlayStation Vue Ups Pricing by $5

Sony’s PlayStation Vue online TV service is increasing its monthly fee $5, effectively immediately for new subscribers. Existing members will be delayed the price hike until August.

The service’s entry-level “Core” plan now costs $50 monthly, with additional programming tiers “Elite” and “Ultra” priced at $65 and $85, respectively.

Launched in 2015, Vue shadowed Dish Network’s Sling TV as the second standalone online TV service that afforded subscribers monthly access to pay-TV without long-term contracts.

Unique to Vue, subscribers can access the app outside of PlayStation hardware, including on Apple TV, iPad and iPhone.

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With access to more than 650 local broadcasters, in addition to national networks, and HBO, FX, HGTV, ESPN, and NFL Network, Vue also added beIN Sports and the pending NHL Network and ACC Network.

“With costs rising each year for content, we constantly evaluate each deal to ensure we continue to deliver the content you want while considering the overall value of each package,” PlayStation Vue wrote in blog post. “After reviewing this, we have made the decision to raise the price of all of our multi-channel plans.”

‘The White Crow’ Flies to DVD and Digital July 30 From Sony

The White Crow, about the life of legendary ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, will come out on DVD and digital July 30 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Directed by Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes and penned by Academy Award winning screenwriter David Hare, the film follows the dancer from his poverty-stricken childhood in the Soviet city of Ufa, to his blossoming career in Leningrad, to his defection to the West at the height of the Cold War.

Bonus materials include “A Look Behind the Curtain: Making The White Crow,” in which Fiennes, Hare, and the cast and crew discuss the legacy of Nureyev and how the film portrays his larger-than-life character, and a Q&A with Fiennes, Hare and star Oleg Ivenko moderated by Alison Bailes.

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Animal Friendship Story ‘Adventures of Dally & Spanky’ Riding to DVD and Digital Sept. 10 From Sony

Adventures of Dally & Spanky, about a real-life dog and pony friendship popularized on the Web, will be released on DVD and digital Sept. 10 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Inspired by the true animal friendship of a Jack Russell Terrier and a rescued miniature horse, the film stars Brenna D’Amico (TV’s “Descendants”), whose father is played by country music star Trace Adkins, and Reylynn Caster (TV’s “American Housewife”) as half-sisters whose animal companions form an unlikely bond.

Elaine Hendrix (The Parent Trap) and Denise Richards (Starship Troopers) also star.

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The story follows Addy and Ella, teenaged half-sisters with little in common. When 17-year-old Addy loses her father, she retreats from her family and struggles to deal with his loss. Ella, with her dog Dally, reaches out to create a bond with Addy and Spanky, the miniature horse she’s just inherited from her father. The animals quickly become a dynamic duo thanks to Addy and Ella’s training, and their act quickly goes viral and wins their high school talent show, bringing the girls closer. When the family realizes that the cost to keep Spanky is too high and they’ll have to send him away, Addy submits their routine to a popular TV talent show.

Studios, Distributors, EMA Team Up on Massive Digital Movie Rental Promotion

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.

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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.”

Sony, Viacom, CBS, Showtime, NBC Universal, AMC Network Join Growing Studio Sentiment Not to Work in Georgia Should Anti-Abortion Law Go Into Effect

Then the dam broke.

Sony Pictures, Viacom, CBS, Showtime, NBC Universal and AMC Networks, which has produced “The Walking Dead” in Georgia for more than 10 years, May 30 joined a bandwagon of Hollywood studios, producers and actors who have said they would cease doing business should the state’s new anti-abortion law go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed the legislation on May 8 making it unlawful for a woman to have an abortion six weeks after pregnancy. Georgia currently bans abortions after 20 weeks.

The issue is unique to Georgia, which has become a prolific location for movie and TV show production, reportedly  accounting for 40 current content production outside of California and New York.

“If this highly restrictive legislation goes into effect, we will re-evaluate our activity in Georgia,” AMC said in a statement.

The network, which was one of the first to produce content in the Peach state with “Walking Dead,” said similar laws passed in other states have been challenged and so would the measure in Georgia.

“This is likely to be a long and complicated fight and we are watching it all very closely,” AMC said.

A spokesperson from Comcast-owned NBC Universal said the media company doesn’t expect the law to go into effect, but is ready to act if required.

“If any of these laws are upheld, it would strongly impact our decision-making on where we produce our content in the future,” said the spokesperson.

A Sony Pictures rep echoed the sentiment saying the Culver City, Calif.-based studio would continue to monitor the situation and “would consider our future production options” if warranted.

Report: Sony PS5 Details Revealed

During a recent Sony investor relations meeting,  a PDF emerged with details on the “next generation” of PlayStation, including Blu-ray capability, according to a report in Dealerscope.

In addition to the new CPU and GPU, support for 8K graphics, 3D audio, SSD storage, ray tracing, disc support, and backwards compatibility with PlayStation 4 details already known, according to Dealerscope, the Sony PDF states, “We will leverage backwards compatibility to transition our community to next gen faster and more seamlessly than ever before.”

The move to next-gen previously required buying all new game titles, but Sony seems to be making the upgrade easier this time, according to the report. The Sony PDF also stated the PS4 “will remain the engine of engagement and profitability for the next three years.”

Sony listed Blu-ray, download and streaming options under the capabilities of the next gen in the “long term.” For the “medium term” Sony is looking to boost its PlayStation Now service.

Sony in the meeting also showed how much more quickly the PS5 was able to load and navigate cities in the Spider-Man game.

Competitors Sony and Microsoft Ink Entertainment Innovation Partnership

Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. May 16 announced that the two companies will partner on new innovations to enhance customer experiences in their direct-to-consumer entertainment platforms and AI solutions.

Under the memorandum of understanding signed by the parties, the two companies will explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective game and content-streaming services. In addition, the two companies will explore the use of current Microsoft Azure datacenter-based solutions for Sony’s game and content-streaming services.

“By working together, the companies aim to deliver more enhanced entertainment experiences for their worldwide customers,” read a joint press release. “These efforts will also include building better development platforms for the content creator community.”

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As part of the memorandum of understanding, Sony and Microsoft will also explore collaboration in the areas of semiconductors and AI. For semiconductors, this includes potential joint development of new intelligent image sensor solutions. By integrating Sony’s image sensors with Microsoft’s Azure AI technology in a hybrid manner across cloud and edge, as well as solutions that leverage Sony’s semiconductors and Microsoft cloud technology, the companies aim to provide enhanced capabilities for enterprise customers. In terms of AI, the parties will explore incorporation of Microsoft’s advanced AI platform and tools in Sony consumer products, to provide highly intuitive and user-friendly AI experiences.

“Sony is a creative entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology. We collaborate closely with a multitude of content creators that capture the imagination of people around the world, and through our cutting-edge technology, we provide the tools to bring their dreams and vision to reality,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, president and CEO of Sony, in a statement. “PlayStation itself came about through the integration of creativity and technology. Our mission is to seamlessly evolve this platform as one that continues to deliver the best and most immersive entertainment experiences, together with a cloud environment that ensures the best possible experience, anytime, anywhere. For many years, Microsoft has been a key business partner for us, though of course the two companies have also been competing in some areas. I believe that our joint development of future cloud solutions will contribute greatly to the advancement of interactive content. Additionally, I hope that in the areas of semiconductors and AI, leveraging each company’s cutting-edge technology in a mutually complementary way will lead to the creation of new value for society.”

“Sony has always been a leader in both entertainment and technology, and the collaboration we announced today builds on this history of innovation,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, in a statement. “Our partnership brings the power of Azure and Azure AI to Sony to deliver new gaming and entertainment experiences for customers.”