Pandemic Hammers Disney Q2 Home Entertainment Retail

Ongoing effects of the pandemic on studio production and retail saw Disney report a 36% decline in second-quarter (ended April 3) content sales/licensing and other revenue to $1.9 billion, from $2.9 billion in the previous-year period. The segment includes home entertainment, which includes both packaged media and digital.

The decrease in home entertainment distribution was due to lower unit sales of new release titles reflecting the ongoing impact of COVID-19, partially offset by lower marketing costs. The quarter included Mulan and Soul, whereas the prior-year quarter included Frozen II, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Ford v. Ferrari, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Onward.

Frozen II and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker were the top-two selling DVD/Blu-ray Disc releases in 2020.

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Segment operating results increased from a loss of $25 million to a profit of $312 million. The increase in operating income was due to higher TV/SVOD distribution results and lower film and television cost impairments, partially offset by lower home entertainment distribution results.

Higher TV/SVOD distribution results were due to an increase in income from sales of episodic content, partially offset by a decrease in sales of film content. Higher income from sales of episodic content was driven by sales of more profitable programs in the current period. Lower results from film
content sales were driven by fewer titles sold in the current year as a result of the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

Report: Disney’s ‘Soul’ Top-Streamed Movie in the Past Seven Months

New data from Samba TV finds the Dec. 25, 2020 debut of Disney/Pixar’s Soul remains the most-streamed movie in the past seven months — topping Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat and Amazon Prime Video’s Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm, among others.

Fallout from the pandemic has seen Hollywood alter traditional movie distribution to include direct-to-streaming launches for new titles. Disney and WarnerMedia have led the move, followed by Hulu, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video.

Warner is releasing its entire 2021 theatrical slate on HBO Max concurrently with box office rollout.

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Direct-to-streaming movies continued to roll out, with major blockbusters hitting living room screens the same day as, or even before, their theatrical debuts across all major platforms. While Soul and WW84 continued to lead the pack from the fourth quarter of 2020 over both their three-day premiere window and for 30 days after, March held some huge debuts as well, with HBO Max’s Zack Snyder’s The Justice League and Godzilla vs. Kong seeing sizable three-day viewership tallies.

Through the end of the first quarter, Soul had generated more than 5.8 million household views, followed by WW84 with 4.3 million. Mortal Kombat started strong with 3.6 million households since its April 23 launch. Detective drama The Little Things has slightly more than 3 million households.

Pay-TV Viewership Decline Continues

Separately, according to Samba TV’s analysis, there was a 10% quarter-over-quarter decline in the daily average number of TV-viewing U.S. households consuming linear-TV, along with a 14% decline in total minutes viewed. Every month since November has progressively seen lower daily average U.S. household tune-ins than the previous month.

On top of that, linear-TV advertising impressions were down year-over-year across the U.S., U.K., and Germany showing that demonstrates that the industry has not quite returned to pre-pandemic levels and likely will continue to shift to digital as viewers increase time-shifting and streaming behaviors.

Interest in premium linear content is down: The average number of households that watched Showtime, HBO and Starz each day in the first quarter of 2021 was lower than it was in the fourth quarter of 2020. Starz saw the steepest drop-off at -21%, followed by HBO (-17%) and Showtime (-6%).

Linear-TV losses were widespread: 81% of U.S. TV networks saw quarter-over-quarter declines based on average daily household. Live sports continued its viewership slide as well. Q1 2021 was full of major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, but overall sports viewership continued to decline year-over-year, which started with the stoppage of major sports leagues in March.

‘Soul’ Ascends to Top of Disc Sales Charts

Disney’s Soul debuted at No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended March 27.

The latest release from Pixar Animation Studios, Soul bypassed a theatrical release as a result of the pandemic and instead became available through the Disney+ streaming service Dec. 25, though it did make $116.8 million at the international box office in territories where Disney+ isn’t available.It also won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature and is nominated for the Academy Award for the same category.

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The week’s No. 2 seller on both charts was Universal Pictures’ News of the World. The Western stars Tom Hanks as a Civil War veteran who makes a living reading newspapers to people in frontier towns, whose travels get sidetracked when he is encounters a young white girl who had been captured and raised by Indians, and is tasked with returning her to her family. It earned $12.6 million at the domestic box office. News of the World sold about 91% as many overall copies as Soul, but only about 49% as many Blu-ray Discs.

Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 77% of total Soul unit sales compared with 42% for News of the World; 4K Ultra HD comprised 11% of total Soul sales and 8% of News of the World.

The title that had topped the charts the previous four weeks, Universal’s The Croods: A New Age, fell to No. 3 on both charts, with Sony Pictures’ Monster Hunter pushed to No. 4.

Warner’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray re-release of 2014’s Godzilla landed at No. 8 overall and No. 5 on the Blu-ray chart. The new 4K edition accounted for 97% of all sales of Godzilla for the week.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended March 28, News of the World was No. 1, pushing The Croods: A New Age to No. 2.

Monster Hunter remained No. 3 and Redbox’s SAS: Red Notice was No. 4. Universal’s Promising Young Woman dropped to No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 3-27-21
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 3-28-21
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 3-27-21
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 3-27-21
Sales Report for Week Ended 3-27-21
Digital Transactions Snapshot for Week Ended 3-29-21

‘News of the World’ Tops ‘Watched at Home’ Chart; ‘Soul’ Debuts at No. 4

Universal Pictures’ News of the World climbed to No. 1 on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the week ended March 27, bolstered by its March 23 release on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD. It had been No. 13 the previous week and No. 11 the week before that following its March 9 bow via digital sellthrough.

The Western stars Tom Hanks as a Civil War veteran who makes a living reading newspapers to people in frontier towns, whose travels get sidetracked when he is encounters a young white girl who had been captured and raised by Indians, and is tasked with returning her to her family. It earned $12.6 million at the domestic box office.

Universal Pictures’ The Croods: A New Age, which had topped the Watched at Home Chart for four straight weeks, dropped to No. 2.The DreamWorks Animation sequel features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds and Peter Dinklage, and follows the caveman Crood family as they encounter the more civilized Bettermans.

That pushed Sony Pictures’ video game adaptation Monster Hunter, starring Milla Jovovich as the leader of a military unit battling deadly creatures from another world, to No. 3 on the Watched at Home chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, but not premium VOD or disc rental).

The week’s top newcomer to the list was Disney’s Soul, the lauded Pixar Animation Studios film that as a result of the pandemic bypassed theaters and was released directly through the Disney+ streaming service Dec. 25, though it did make $116.8 million at the international box office in territories where Disney+ isn’t available. Soul was made available through disc and digital sellthrough March 23.

Rounding out the top five was Universal Pictures’ Promising Young Woman. The revenge thriller starring Carey Mulligan slipped a spot from the previous week.

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Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984, which became available for digital sellthrough March 16, dropped two spots to No. 6, but should get a boost in the coming week thanks to its release on all disc formats March 30.

Warner’s 2014 Godzilla movie made its first appearance on the Watched at Home chart at No. 17 thanks to a March 23 re-release of the film on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in the lead-up to the March 31 U.S. release of Godzilla vs. Kong in theaters and on HBO Max.

No. 20 was another newcomer, Vertical Entertainment’s The Devil Below, a monster movie about four amateur explorers who pay a visit to Shookum Hills, a town in the remote Appalachian Mountains that was abandoned decades ago due to a mysterious coal mine fire. It has been available for digital purchase and VOD since March 5.

  1. News of the World (Universal)
  2.  The Croods: A New Age (Universal)
  3.  Monster Hunter (Sony Pictures)
  4. Soul (Disney)
  5. Promising Young Woman (Universal)
  6. Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner)
  7. Girl in the Basement (A+E)
  8. Greenland (Universal/STX)
  9. Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  10. Wrong Turn (2021) (Lionsgate)
  11. Tenet (Warner)
  12. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  13. Let Him Go (Universal)
  14. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  15. Fatale (Lionsgate)
  16. Crisis (Quiver)
  17. Godzilla (2014, Warner)
  18. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Warner)
  19. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  20. The Devil Below (Vertical)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended March 27.

Merchandising: Finding the ‘Soul’ of Retailer Exclusives

Disney animated movies are reliable subjects for retailer exclusive editions, and the March 23 Blu-ray release of Pixar’s Soul was no exception.

Target offered a $34.99 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack of the Oscar-nominated animated film packed with a limited-edition gallery booklet of artwork from the film.

As it has been doing several times in the past few months, Target also touted another buy-two-get-one-free sale on movies, kids’ books, board games, activity sets, select video games and puzzles. The offer excludes new releases and preorders.

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Best Buy offered the Soul 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack in Steelbook packaging for $34.99.

Best Buy’s ‘Soul’ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook

‘Soul,’ ‘The Undoing,’ ‘Our Friend’ Among Top New Disc and Digital Releases March 23

Disney’s Soul, HBO’s The Undoing and Universal’s Our Friend top the slate of new releases available for home viewing March 23.

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution will release the animated movie Soul on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and through digital retailers. Directed by Academy Award winner Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray, Soul tells the story of Joe (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who lands the gig of his life at the best jazz club in town. But one misstep lands Joe in a fantastical place: The Great Before. There, he teams up with soul 22 (Tina Fey), and together they find the answers to some of life’s biggest questions.

The latest feature from Pixar Animation Studios was held back from its planned domestic theatrical release as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and instead was made available to subscribers of the Disney+ streaming service on Christmas for no additional charge. In limited release internationally it made $116 million at the global box office. It also won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature and is nominated for the Academy Award in the same category.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the six-episode HBO limited series The Undoing on Blu-ray Disc and DVD March 23. Based on the novel You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, The Undoing stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as a married couple whose lives are upended by a violent death and a chain of terrible revelations.

The drama Our Friend will be available for digital sellthrough March 23. The film tells the true story of the Teague family — journalist Matt (Casey Affleck), his wife Nicole (Dakota Johnson) and their two young daughters — and how their lives are upended by Nicole’s diagnosis of terminal cancer. As Matt’s responsibilities as a caretaker and parent become increasingly overwhelming, the couple’s best friend Dane Faucheux (Jason Segel) offers to come and help out. As Dane puts his life on hold to stay with his friends, the impact of this life-altering decision proves greater and more profound than anyone could have imagined. It arrives on DVD March 30 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

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Universal’s News of the World arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 23. Tom Hanks stars as a former Army captain in the 1870s who moves from town to town sharing the news from the far reaches of the globe. In the plains of Texas, he crosses paths with a 10-year-old girl (Helena Zengel) taken in by the Kiowa people and raised as one of their own, and agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles into the unforgiving wilderness, the two face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces. It was released for digital purchase March 9.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Breaking News in Yuba County on Blu-ray Disc and DVD March 23. Directed by Tate Taylor (The Girl on the Train, The Help), the film stars Allison Janney as a suburban housewife who becomes a local celebrity in Yuba County when she embarks on a city-wide search to find her missing husband. Along the way, she encounters her half-sister (Mila Kunis), a local news reporter desperate for a story, and also stumbles into a wannabe mobster (Awkwafina), a relentless local policewoman (Regina Hall), her husband’s deadbeat brother (Jimmi Simpson), who all set out to uncover the truth behind the disappearance.

Cinedigm March 23 will release the Super Bowl LV Champions highlight film on DVD and Blu-ray, presenting highlights from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Timed for Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max, Warner Archive releases a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — Ultimate Edition remastered to match the 4:3 aspect ratio of the Snyder Cut.

Paramount March 23 releases a Blu-ray collection of 10 Best Picture Oscar winners, including Wings (1927), My Fair Lady (1964), The Godfather (1972), Terms of Endearment (1983), Forrest Gump (1994), The English Patient (1996), Titanic (1997), American Beauty (1999), Gladiator (2000) and No Country for Old Men (2007).

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Netflix Content Dominates 2021 Golden Globes in Banner Year for Streamers

Netflix TV shows and movies won 10 trophies at the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony held Feb. 28 and broadcast on NBC. In a sign of the times, content that debuted on streaming services won 20 of the 25 categories presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

The big gun for Netflix came on the TV side, with the fourth season of “The Crown” winning in all four categories it was nominated (it had two nominees in two of the acting categories), including Best Drama Series. Emma Corrin won Best Actress in a Drama series for her role as Princess Diana, beating out co-star Olivia Colman, who played Queen Elizabeth. Josh O’Connor won for Best Actor in a Drama series for playing Prince Charles, while Gillian Anderson won Best Supporting Actress for playing Margaret Thatcher.

Netflix won two more statuettes for The Queens’ Gambit, which won Best Miniseries or Television Film, and Best Actress for Anya Taylor-Joy.

Among other TV categories, The Apple TV+ original series “Ted Lasso” won Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Series for Jason Sudeikis, while Amazon Prime’s “Small Axe” won Best Supporting Actor for John Boyega, and HBO’s I Know This Much Is True won Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film for Mark Ruffalo.

“Schitt$ Creek,” the complete series of which is streaming on several services including Netflix, and available on DVD from Lionsgate, won Best Musical or Comedy Series and Best Actress for Catherine O’Hara.

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On the movie side, because of theatrical shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, the HFPA opened eligibility to movies otherwise intended for theaters that had to be rescheduled and ultimately ended up at a streaming platform. Also, the eligibility period covering 2020 films was extended to include early 2021 releases.

Subsequently, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, which debuted on Amazon Prime Video in October and never played in theaters, won for Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy, while star Sacha Baron Cohen won Best Actor for reprising his role as the title character in the politically charged sequel.

Best Motion Picture — Drama went to Nomadland, which was released concurrently in theaters and on Hulu Feb. 19 (though it did screen at some film festivals and limited engagements last year). Chloé Zhao won Best Director for the film.

Another Hulu movie, The United States vs. Billie Holiday, won Best Actress in a drama for Andra Day in the title role.

Judas and the Black Messiah, which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival on Feb. 1, and was released in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures Feb. 12 simultaneously in theaters and for streaming on HBO Max, won Best Supporting Actor for Daniel Kaluuya.

Netflix’s movie haul included the late Chadwick Boseman winning Best Actor in a drama for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Aaron Sorkin winning Best Screenplay for The Trial of the Chicago 7; Rosamund Pike winning Best Actress in a musical or comedy for I Care a Lot; and “Lo Si (Seen)” winning Best Song for Italian film The Life Ahead.

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Pixar’s Soul, which saw its theatrical release scrapped in lieu of a Christmas Day debut on Disney+ domestically (it played in theaters internationally), won two trophies, for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score.

STX Films’ The Mauritanian, which will debut on Amazon Prime April 1, won Best Supporting Actress for Jodi Foster.

Finally, A24’s Minari, an American production in Korean, won Best Foreign-Language Film.

 

Pixar’s ‘Soul’ Coming to Disc and Digital Sellthrough March 23

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution will release the animated movie Soul on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and through digital retailers March 23.

Directed by Academy Award winner Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray, Soul tells the story of Joe (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who lands the gig of his life at the best jazz club in town. But one misstep lands Joe in a fantastical place: The Great Before. There, he teams up with soul 22 (Tina Fey), and together they find the answers to some of life’s biggest questions.

The voice cast also includes Phylicia Rashad, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Angela Bassett, Daveed Diggs, Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Wes Studi, Fortune Feimster, Zenobia Shroff, Donnell Rawlings and June Squibb.

The latest feature from Pixar Animation Studios was held back from its planned domestic theatrical release as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and instead was made available to subscribers of the Disney+ streaming service on Christmas for no additional charge. In limited release internationally it made $85.2 million at the global box office.

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Extras on the disc and digital versions (subject to retailer) include filmmaker commentary; deleted scenes with introduction; and several featurettes:

  • “Not Your Average Joe” — About how filmmakers crafted the story of Joe, Pixar’s first black leading character;
  • “Astral Taffy” — A look at the artistry and technical innovation that went into creating the sets and characters in the world of Soul;
  • “Pretty Deep for a Cartoon” — An examination of the philosophical questions posed by the film;
  • “Into the Zone: The Music and Sound of Soul” — An exploration of how the film uses music to enhance Joe’s journey;
  • Soul, Improvised” — A look at how the filmmakers finished the film during the pandemic;
  • “Jazz Greats” — Giants of the jazz world who consulted on Soul share their passion and wisdom about what music is and does for us all.

 

Soul will also be available as a collectible Steelbook at Best Buy, and packaged with a limited-edition gallery booklet at Target.

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Nielsen Retcon: ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Topped ‘Soul’ in Christmas Streaming Minutes

When Nielsen last released its list of Top 10 streamed programs from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Hulu on the television, Pixar Animation’s Soul emerged the winner for the period Dec. 21-27, 2020, with 1.67 billion minutes viewed.

Apparently, that didn’t sit well with WarnerMedia, which had released Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day — the same day Soul premiered on Disney+. While Nielsen doesn’t yet track HBO Max television viewing data, with WW84 the first of Warner Bros. Pictures’ theatrical slate launching concurrently on Max, WarnerMedia convinced Nielsen to take another look. And, voila, the research company now says the Gal Gadot-starring DC Comics superhero sequel tracked 2.3 billion minutes — 35% more than Soul.

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“As was announced on Wednesday during [AT&T’s fiscal] earnings and as this Nielsen data shows, Wonder Woman 1984 was a huge holiday gift to the consumer at a time when they wanted and needed it,” Andy Forssell, EVP and GM of HBO Max, said in a statement. “This partnership with Warner Bros. of course continues throughout the year, but it began with Wonder Woman’s arrival on Christmas Day to great success.”

Nielsen’s weekly reconfigure pushed Netflix’s last week streaming “The Office” into the third spot with 1.43 billion minutes. The streaming behemoth’s original series, “Bridgerton,” dropped to fourth with 1.2 billion minutes streamed.

Nielsen: Disney’s ‘Soul’ Tops Weekly Streaming Chart

The debut of Disney/Pixar’s Soul on Christmas made the animated movie No. 1 on Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 streaming chart Dec. 21 to 27, 2020. The movie generated 1.67 billion minutes streamed on televisions, topping Netflix’s final week exclusively streaming “The Office,” with 1.43 billion minutes across 192 episodes. Netflix’s original series, “Bridergton,” tracked 1.2 billion minutes across eight episodes.

Disney made additional news by placing two programs on the chart, the first SVOD to do so in the Netflix-dominated era. The week also saw four movies in the Top 10 for the first time.

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Persons 2+ Total Minutes Viewed – Week of 12/21/20 – 12/27/20
Source: Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings (Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix), Nielsen National TV Panel, U.S. Viewing through Television.